Are you tired? Are you weary of the rat race and busyness of life? Do you wish you could take a break from it all? In the Bible we are told that God took a break from His work. When God created the world, He worked for six days, and then “He rested on the seventh day from all His work, which He had made.” Genesis 2:2. Even the God of heaven and earth stopped His work for a day of refreshment. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17.
A Day of Rest – Instituted at Creation
God understands our need to rest. He knows our need for a break, and in the very beginning (creation), He instituted a day for us to rest and be refreshed just as He was. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. When God says to “Remember the Sabbath day,” He is saying to remember the seventh day of creation, because in verse 11 He points us back to creation when the Sabbath was created, His example of rest. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11.
A Day of Refreshment
The Sabbath was made for man to be a refreshment. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17.
God’s Gift to “All Mankind”
“And He [Jesus] said unto them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27. The Sabbath was instituted after the creation of man. It is meant to be a blessing, a gift, for all mankind. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
A Rest from Labor
“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.” Exodus 20:9–11. “The weekly cycle of seven literal days, six for labor and the seventh for rest, which has been preserved and brought down through Bible history, originated in the great facts of the first seven days.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol.1, 86.
A Day of Holy Thoughts
This day is also given to us as a rest from all our wearisome thoughts. “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3.
Sabbath is a Day of Holy Worship to God
“Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” Leviticus 23:3.
“Remember” the Seventh-day Sabbath
The Sabbath was not instituted when God gave His law to the Jews. The Lord told the Jews to “remember” the Sabbath. The Sabbath was not a new commandment; it had already been given; it was instituted at creation for all mankind. The Jews were told to “remember” the Sabbath, because when they were in Egypt, they were slaves and had lost the importance of the Sabbath rest. The Lord tells mankind to “remember,” because He knew this was the one commandment the world would tend to forget.
Sabbath is an Everlasting Covenant
“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16.
God’s Law is for All Mankind
Jesus says to us, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15. “Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:15. God’s law was given to the Jews, because He was their Saviour from bondage/Egypt. God’s law is given to us, because He is our Creator and our Saviour from bondage/world of sin.
Saturday – the Seventh-day is the Sabbath
When Jesus died for our sins, He hung on the cross and died on the sixth day of the week — Friday. He “rested on the Sabbath,” the seventh day — Saturday. He was raised from the dead on the first day — Sunday. As Creator, Jesus rested on the Sabbath. As Saviour, Jesus rested on the Sabbath. “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. . . . And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.” Mark 15:37, 42. “And when the Sabbath was past, . . very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.” Mark 16:1, 2. “And he took it [Jesus’ body] down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation [Friday], and the Sabbath [Saturday] drew on. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. . . . He is not here, but is risen. . . .” Luke 23:53–56; 24:1, 6. “When Jesus . . . said, ‘It is finished:’ and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day. . . .” John 19:30, 31.
Choose Ye This Day — A Blessing or a Curse
“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, . . . And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God. . . .” Deuteronomy 11:26-28. “On the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.” Exodus 35:2. “Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it . . . shall be cut off from among his people.” Exodus 31:14.
Sabbath keeping — A Special Blessing Given
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13, 14. “Blessed is the man. . . that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it. . . .” Isaiah 56:2.