September 12, 1999 – September 19, 1999
MEMORY VERSE: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And 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 2:2–3.
STUDY HELP: Desire of Ages, 281–289.
“The Sabbath is a golden clasp that unites God and His people. But the Sabbath command has been broken. God’s holy day has been desecrated. The Sabbath has been torn from its place by the man of sin, and a common working day has been exalted in its stead. A breach has been made in the law, and this breach is to be repaired. The true Sabbath is to be exalted to its rightful position as God’s rest day. In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is outlined the work which God’s people are to do. They are to magnify the law and make it honourable, to build up the old waste places, and to raise up the foundations of many generations. To those who do this work God says: ‘Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 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.’” Testimonies, vol. 6, 352.
“Call the Sabbath a Delight”
- When was the Sabbath instituted? Genesis 2:2, 3.
NOTE: “The object of the Sabbath was that all mankind might be benefited. Man was not made to fit the Sabbath; for the Sabbath was made after the creation of man, to meet his necessities. After God had made the world in six days, He rested and sanctified and blessed the day upon which He rested from all His work which He had created and made. He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labour, that, as he should look upon the earth beneath and the heavens above, he might reflect that God made all these in six days and rested upon the seventh; and that, as he should behold the tangible proofs of God’s infinite wisdom, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 583.
- What indication are we given that Noah was aware of the days of the week? Genesis 7:4, 10, 8:10, 12. (Compare Genesis 31:23, 50:10, Exodus 7:25, 12:15, 19, 13:6, 7.)
NOTE: Unlike the day, month and year, the week has no astronomical origin. The day, month and year are fixed by astronomical cycles. The day is the period in which the earth rotates upon its axis. The Month was designed to reflect the period during which the moon circles the earth while the year is the period during which the earth revolves about the sun. The week alone has no natural origin and comes only from the word of God.
“The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when ‘the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7. Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. ‘God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good;’ and He rested in the joy of His completed work. Gen. 1:31. Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,’—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love. The Scripture says, ‘He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered.’ ‘The things that are made,’ declare ‘the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world,’ ‘even His everlasting power and divinity.’ Gen. 2:3; Ps. 111:4; Romans 1:20, R. V.” Desire of Ages, page 281.
- For whom was the Sabbath made? Mark 2:27.
NOTE: Though there are still some who claim that Sabbath-keeping was confined to the Jews, the testimony of history does not support this opinion.
“It is a well-attested historical fact that the weekly cycle was observed and the seventh day was kept sacred by nearly all the most ancient nations of the earth beside the Jews. There are decisive evidences to show that the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Arabians, Greeks and Romans and even the Chinese knew of the Sabbath and at an early period regarded at as a sacred day . . . John G. Butler, a Free-Will Baptist author, in his Natural and Revealed Theology, page 396 says: ‘We learn also, from the testimony of Philo, Hesiod, Josephus, Porphyry and others, that the division of time into weeks and the observance of the seventh day were common to the nations of antiquity. They would not have adopted such a custom from the Jews. Whence, then, could it have been derived but through tradition, from its original institution in the Garden of Eden?’ The Asiatic Journal says: ‘The prime minister of the empire affirms that the Sabbath was anciently observed by the Chinese, in conformity to the directions of the king.’ The Congregationalist (Boston) November 15, 1882, referring to the Creation Tablets found by Mr Smith on the banks of the Tigris near Nineveh, gives the following: ‘Mr George Smith says in his Assyrian Discoveries (1875): ‘In the year 1869 I discovered, among other things, a curious religious calendar of the Assyrians, in which every month is divided into four weeks and the seventh days, or Sabbaths, are marked out as days on which no work should be undertaken…The calendar contains lists of work forbidden to be done on these days, which evidently correspond to the Sabbaths of the Jews.’” George I. Butler, The Change of the Sabbath, 20, 21.
“That I May Prove Them”
- What example of Sabbath-keeping is recorded before the giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai? Exodus 16:11–26.
NOTE: “Every week during their long sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites witnessed a threefold miracle, designed to impress their minds with the sacredness of the Sabbath: a double quantity of manna fell on the sixth day, none on the seventh, and the portion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, when if any were kept over at any other time it became unfit for use.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 296.
- What purpose did God have for the giving of the manna? Exodus 16:4, 28.
NOTE: “In the circumstances connected with the giving of the manna, we have conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was not instituted, as many claim, when the law was given at Sinai. Before the Israelites came to Sinai they understood the Sabbath to be obligatory upon them. In being obliged to gather every Friday a double portion of manna in preparation for the Sabbath, when none would fall, the sacred nature of the day of rest was continually impressed upon them. And when some of the people went out on the Sabbath to gather manna, the Lord asked, ‘How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 296, 297.
“The Seventh Day is the Sabbath of Rest”
- For what purpose was the Sabbath made? Exodus 20:10. (Compare Nehemiah 13:13–19)
NOTE: “Those who are not fully converted to the truth frequently let their minds run freely upon worldly business, and, although they may rest from physical toil upon the Sabbath, their tongues speak out what is in their minds; hence these words concerning cattle, crops, losses, and gains. All this is Sabbath breaking. If the mind is running upon worldly matters, the tongue will reveal it, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 703.
- What other purpose does the Sabbath afford? Leviticus 23:3. (Compare Isaiah 66:23.)
NOTE: Among the advocates of Sunday observance, the claim is made that the Sabbath was for rest only and not for God’s people to meet for worship. It is Sunday, they claim that is, in contrast, a day for worship. The Hebrew word ‘miqra’ ranslated as “convocation” has the meaning of a public meeting or assembly.
“Those who receive the light of truth are to have lesson upon lesson to educate them not to keep silent, but to speak often one to another. They are to keep in mind the Sabbath meeting, when those who love and fear God, and who think upon his name, can have opportunity to express their thoughts in speaking one to another. Let not the little companies think that they can have no meeting when they have no minister. Let them not think that one of their members must stand in the pulpit and preach to them. The time and season are very precious. The assembled believers are in the audience chamber of the universe of Heaven. They are to witness for God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the world. The little company are to do service to God by offering to him spiritual worship. When there is no delegated minister to speak to the little companies, let each one witness to the truth, and be faithful to speak often one to another of the love of God, and thus train and educate the soul. Let each one seek to become an intelligent Christian, bearing his responsibility, and acting his personal part to make the meeting interesting and profitable.” Review and Sabbath, September 10, 1895.
“Lawful to Do Well on the Sabbath Day”
- What other activity did Jesus describe as lawful for the Sabbath day? Matthew 12:10–13.
NOTE: “He had chosen the Sabbath upon which to perform the act of healing at Bethesda. He could have healed the sick man as well on any other day of the week; or He might simply have cured him, without bidding him bear away his bed. But this would not have given Him the opportunity He desired. A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ’s life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching. Among the afflicted ones at the pool He selected the worst case upon whom to exercise His healing power, and bade the man carry his bed through the city in order to publish the great work that had been wrought upon him. This would raise the question of what it was lawful to do on the Sabbath, and would open the way for Him to denounce the restrictions of the Jews in regard to the Lord’s day, and to declare their traditions void. Jesus stated to them that the work of relieving the afflicted was in harmony with the Sabbath law. It was in harmony with the work of God’s angels, who are ever descending and ascending between heaven and earth to minister to suffering humanity.” Desire of Ages, 206.
- How was this teaching of Jesus regarded by the Pharisees? Matthew 12:14.
NOTE: “The Jews had so perverted the law that they made it a yoke of bondage. Their meaningless requirements had become a byword among other nations. Especially was the Sabbath hedged in by all manner of senseless restrictions. It was not to them a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honourable. The scribes and Pharisees had made its observance an intolerable burden. A Jew was not allowed to kindle a fire nor even to light a candle on the Sabbath. As a consequence the people were dependent upon the Gentiles for many services which their rules forbade them to do for themselves. They did not reflect that if these acts were sinful, those who employed others to perform them were as guilty as if they had done the work themselves. They thought that salvation was restricted to the Jews, and that the condition of all others, being already hopeless, could be made no worse. But God has given no commandments which cannot be obeyed by all. His laws sanction no unreasonable or selfish restrictions.” Desire of Ages, 204.
“Hallow My Sabbaths”
- What special significance did the Lord attach to the Sabbath? Exodus 31:13, Ezekiel 20:12.
NOTE: “The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness. To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience. To us as to Israel the Sabbath is given ‘for a perpetual covenant.’ To those who reverence His holy day the Sabbath is a sign that God recognises them as His chosen people. It is a pledge that He will fulfil to them His covenant. Every soul who accepts the sign of God’s government places himself under the divine, everlasting covenant. He fastens himself to the golden chain of obedience, every link of which is a promise.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 350.
- What further significance has God revealed in Sabbath observance? Ezekiel 20:20.
NOTE: “The Sabbath is the Lord’s test, and no man, be he king, priest, or ruler, is authorized to come between God and man. Those who seek to be conscience for their fellow men, place themselves above God. Those who are under the influence of a false religion, who observe a spurious rest day, will set aside the most positive evidence in regard to the true Sabbath. They will try to compel men to obey the laws of their own creation, laws that are directly opposed to the law of God. Upon those who continue in this course, the wrath of God will fall. Unless they change, they cannot escape the penalty.’ Testimonies, vol. 9, 234, 235.
“When the claims of the Sabbath are presented, there are many who ask, What difference does it make what day we keep as the Sabbath, so long as we observe one day in seven? We answer, It makes all possible difference whether we obey or disregard the word of God. God has given us the Sabbath as a memorial of the great work of creation . . . He declares through Moses, ‘It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever.’ And the children of Israel include all who believe in Christ. For ‘if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed.’ Again, by the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord says, ‘Hallow my Sabbaths; for they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’ The Sabbath is a sign of God’s creative power; it shows him to be supreme, the Maker and Upholder of the universe, the One from whom we receive ‘life and breath and all things,’ and hence the One to whom our allegiance is due.” Signs of the Times, June 12, 1893.
“Turn Away thy Foot From the Sabbath”
- What attitude towards the Sabbath will bring the blessings that God placed upon the Sabbath? Isaiah 58:13.
NOTE: “To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matt 11:28.” Desire of Ages, 289.
- What special promises are for those who remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy? Isaiah 58:14.
NOTE: “Great blessings are enfolded in the observance of the Sabbath, and God desires that the Sabbath day shall be to us a day of joy. There was joy at the institution of the Sabbath. God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All things that He had made He pronounced ‘very good.’ Genesis 1:31. Heaven and earth were filled with rejoicing. ‘The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7. Though sin has entered the world to mar His perfect work, God still gives to us the Sabbath as a witness that One omnipotent, infinite in goodness and mercy, created all things. Our heavenly Father desires through the observance of the Sabbath to preserve among men a knowledge of Himself. He desires that the Sabbath shall direct our minds to Him as the true and living God, and that through knowing Him we may have life and peace.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 349.