The Sabbath is the "hinge" on which the others turn. This basic study treats the foundational truths about God's Sabbath day.
A common idea is that the Sabbath is the sign of the Old Covenant, but the Holy Spirit is the sign of the New. Yet the seventh day has been holy since creation.
The Sabbath provides an opportunity for God's children to develop a relationship with Him, reflecting on the spiritual as well as the physical creation.
It is from the proper use of the Sabbath—in fellowshipping with Him and getting to know Him—that we derive true spiritual rest and refreshment.
We need to develop righteous judgment about what constitutes a genuine Sabbath emergency and what may be a deceptive rationalization of our human nature.
In the Gospels, questions about the Sabbath center on how to keep it, not whether it should be kept. The way Jesus approached the Sabbath gives us an example.
Observing the Sabbath day is a vital key that this world's Christianity has lost. It opens up whole vistas of God's way and purpose!
The recent Lunar Sabbath phenomenon is unbiblical and unworkable. The weekly Sabbath, observed every seventh day, is correct and in line with God's Word.
The biblical instructions for Sabbath keeping apply far more to the church than to the Israelites, who did not have the fullness of scriptural counsel.
How and why a person keeps the Sabbath determines whether this test commandment is really a sign between God and His people or an act of futility.
In order to justify not keeping the Sabbath, many use Colossians 2:16-17 as proof that Paul did not command it. Here is what they are overlooking.
The Sabbath is an antidote to the weariness we experience. It recalls God's pausing after completing His physical creation, focusing on the spiritual creation.
God has blessed us with the Sabbath, a period of holy time, when He redeems us from the clutches of our carnality and this evil world.
The Catholic Church admits to changing the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday. Protestants who keep Sunday are bowing to presumed Catholic authority.
It is generally known and freely admitted that early Christians observed the seventh day as the Sabbath, and that mere men changed God's times and laws.
The Preparation Day is a day of 'gathering' what relates to eternity so that we can properly ingest the spiritual manna on the holy day without distraction.
We live in a society that is increasingly concerned about ownership. Yet who owns the Sabbath? How does the answer to this question affect our keeping of it?
How can we know which day is the true seventh day God blessed and made holy? Has time been lost? Were not ten days dropped out of it at one time?
Most people think the fourth commandment is least important, but it may be one of the most important! It is a major facet of our relationship with God.
Correct actions become a sign—a witness—even without any preaching, which is why God's words are symbolically bound to the hand rather than the tongue.
The timing of Jesus Christ's resurrection has nothing to do with establishing which day God made holy, and everything to do with whether He is the Messiah.
God gave the Sabbath to His people so they can know Him intimately. Idolatry, scattering, and captivity are the natural consequences of Sabbath-breaking.
Protestants will not concede Papal authority. Instead, they justify Sunday-worship by saying they are honoring the day on which Christ rose from the dead.
God's word marks the Sabbath as a time of His calling His people together for worship, so attending church services is a vital part of the Christian Sabbath.
The Sabbath is a period of time God purposefully sanctified and set apart for the benefit of mankind, a time dedicated to God's spiritual creation.
Whether a matter is salvational is the wrong question. There is a better question and another approach to evaluating matters that will put us on better footing.
Universal in scope, the Edenic Covenant introduces God to mankind as his Creator and establishes the way human beings are to relate to Him and the creation.
At creation, God sanctified only one day, the seventh, as a day of rest. At Sinai, He again sanctified it as a holy day, tying it to creation and freedom.
Most Israelites are blind to their origins, thinking that only Jews are Israelites. Here is why Israel has forgotten its identity.
The work required on the Sabbath is to prepare for the Kingdom of God, fellowshipping with our brethren, serving where possible, and relieving burdens.
The Sabbath reminds us that God is Creator and that we were once in slavery to sin. The Sabbath is a time of blessing, deliverance, liberty, and redemption.
God, not man, created, sanctified and memorialized the seventh day Sabbath from the time of creation, intending that man use this holy time to worship God.
The Sabbath is a special creation, a very specific period of holy time given to all of mankind, reminding us that God created and is continuing to create.
Jesus magnified the Sabbath, giving principles by which to judge our activities. Each time Jesus taught about the Sabbath, He emphasized some form of redemption.
Here is the story of a young man's momentous choice regarding his keeping of the Sabbath, a decision he had to make all on his own.
Can anything be more paradoxical than professing Christians not following the words of the One they claim as their Savior? In works they deny Him.
Focusing on material and temporal things undermines faith. The Sabbath is holy time, created for building faith, energizing our minds for fellowship with God.
In our hectic culture, we commit far too little time to God, depriving ourselves of the Holy Spirit and attenuating the faith required to draw close to God.
Benign neglect of the Sabbath covenant can incrementally lead us into idolatry. We must treat this holy time as different from the other days of the week.
The reason for refraining from many activities on the Sabbath is not labor or energy, but the overall motivation. Certain works are perfect for the Sabbath.
Jesus Christ is not against signs; the book of John is structured around eight signs. The Old Testament is full of signs that the Pharisees missed.
From Passover to Pentecost to Trumpets to Atonement to the Feast of Tabernacles, these days should solidify our vision of he Father, Jesus, and one another.
There are over 1,200 Christian denominations in the United States! Why has God not intervened to remove the confusion and set things straight?
God has sanctified no day other than the Sabbath. Sunday worship is a pagan deviation, perpetuated by Gnosticism, a movement that despises God's laws.
John Ritenbaugh explores the several contexts in which the "first day of the week" (the word "Sunday" never appears) is used in scripture, observing that none of these scriptures (8 in all) does away with the Sabbath nor establishes Sunday as the 'Lords Day,' but invariably portrays the first day as a common work day. Because the days begin at sundown, the meeting Paul conducts at Troas in Acts 20 (on the first day of week) actually occurs Saturday night, having continued from the Sabbath. The miraculous resurrection of Eutychus occurs at this event. Paul, feeling pressed for time (feeling a compulsion to go to Jerusalem), decides (realizing he would have difficulty saying Good bye) not to go back to Ephesus, but gives final (Paul would never see them again) admonitory instructions to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, transferring responsibility for the care of the congregation over to them. Paul perceived that his work in the eastern part of the Mediterranean was coming to a close.
The Millennium or God's rest will be an exceedingly busy time, a time when all of humanity will be converted, a time everybody will be on the same trek.
God established the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day of Creation; He established His Holy Days (moedim) on the fourth day. These are His appointments.
The focus of Psalms Book IV and the Summary Psalm 149 is on the work of the glorified saints in serving as mediating priests under Christ.
Rejecting the Sabbath or embracing Christmas requires rejecting fundamental biblical truths. If we do not do what Christ did, we cannot claim to follow Christ.
Contrary to the assertions of Satanically-inspired men, the consequence for all sin is death. God's law applies to everyone, not just the Israelites.
There is a clear demarcation in God's mind regarding which is the true way and which is not. We were formerly children of Satan until God rescued us.
A summary of the Covenants, Grace, and Law series, reiterating the differences in the Covenants and the respective places of grace and law in God's purpose.
The Sabbath rest depicts the miracle of conversion, in which the transformation of mankind into God's image brings about a rest in which God takes pleasure.
Here are biblical strategies to cultivate the fruit of peace, including controlling our thoughts and emotions, submitting to God's will, and embracing His law.
Catholics and Protestants, because of lack of belief, do not find the Bible a sufficient guide to salvation. They claim to believe Christ, yet disobey.
A scriptural explanation of the time of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, showing that He died on a Wednesday and rose from the dead on the Sabbath.
Despite the Council of Laodicea's condemnation of the Sabbath, a group of believers termed Paulicians kept God's laws and resisted the heresy from Rome.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reminding us that the four fall feasts of God point to future events, having a breathtaking eternal scope, marvels that only 18 psalms -or 11.3%éapply to these fall holy days. Book IV of the Psalms align with Numbers in the Torah or Pentateuch, and Ecclesiastes in theMegilloth. The first several chapters of Numbers deals with censuses and the idea that God wanted Moses to take a census of Israel. Psalm 90:12 instructs all of us to number our days to gain a heart of wisdom; God alone can reveal to us how to do that. Ecclesiastes 12 challenges us, in our youth, to live our lives responsibly, reminding us that we will have to give an account of our behavior. A second principle theme found throughout Numbers is the idea of judgment against breaking God's laws, including breaking the Sabbath, sexual sins, rebellion, and disrespect. Ecclesiastes 12:14 warns us that every work (including every secret thing) will be brought into the open. The third theme focuses on God's sovereignty, reminding us that He has never been reacting to men's behavior, but is instead leading them on a path, motivating them with blessings and curses. God has given us a limited time-frame, oscillating between prosperity and adversity, to work out His purpose for us. The Psalms in Book IV repeatedly refer to God reigning; God is in control. The fourth theme shows the stark contrast between man and God. The carnality and the faithlessness of mankind are contrasted with the faithfulness and wisdom of God. Ecclesiastes contrasts the transience of man with the permanence of God. Salvation is the fifth and perhaps the most important, perennial theme of Numbers, Ecclesiastes, and Book IV of the Psalms. Moses reminds God in Psalm 90 that we are hopelessly transitory (a mere 70+ years) and weak, while He is permanent. Moses pleads to God to bring to an end the terrible affliction, a
The days, months, and times of Galatians 4:10 do not refer to God's Holy Days (which are not weak or beggarly), but to pagan rites the Galatians came out of.
The Gnostics criticized by Paul in Colossians 2:16-17 were guilty of bringing in ritualistic ascetic discipline to propitiate demons.
Jesus Christ's and Paul's example in Sabbath observance (including the annual Sabbaths) provide a model as to how we keep the Sabbath and the holy days.
Richard Ritenbaugh, focusing on the subject of agricultural cultivation, including tilling land, sowing seeds, and cultivating crops, indicated that God had created everything good. Genetically modified seeds as produced by Monsanto seem to place mankind into the position of usurping God's prerogatives. Improving upon God's creation (something very good) seems to be absolutely presumptuous. Secular historians, unwisely influenced by the theory of evolution, have given fuzzy and unreliable explanations for the origins of agriculture, believing that farming had simultaneous origins around the globe. The only authorized origin of agriculture appears in Genesis 2:15-19, when the Lord God instructs Adam to dress and keep the Garden of Eden, having provided an example of how it was to be done. God's intent from the very beginning was that mankind should dwell in a state of repose for all time (a kind of rest while creating) and permanent state of security, only possible in God's presence. Both Shabbat rest (ceasing from activity) and nuach rest (pleasantly creating) are necessary for the proper keeping of the Sabbath. Both nuach and Shabbat denote a state of permanent stability, securely settled in peace, blessing and delight—- true bliss. God promises to live His life among us, recreating the ambience and conditions of the Garden of Eden. The Sabbath Day depicts a time God wants us to dwell with Him forever in Paradise, experiencing both nuach (active and creative) and Shabbat (passive, quiet, and tranquil) rest. We need to take the peace of God with us during the other six days. We are God's workmanship, designed to tend and keep His Creation. We are commanded to abide in Our Creator in order to bear fruit and attain His rest.
Richard Ritenbaugh, after marveling that money spent upon education seems to be inversely proportional to its effectiveness and quality, concludes that re-education is a most difficult (nearly impossible) process. Nevertheless, God Almighty, through the Days of Unleavened Bread, mandates that we must totally unlearn old carnal processes (purging the leaven of sin or hypocrisy) and totally adapt to (or assimilate) new spiritual processes- eating unleavened bread of sincerity and truth - cultivating clear unadulterated discernment. Pure character develops incrementally through systematic re-education, displacing the culture of Egypt (sin and carnality emanating from the world) with God's truth and God's ways of doing things. Like our forebears on the Sinai, we have to be re-educated to trust in God's providence (for protection, food and water) patiently yielding to the tests He has designed for us.
The Sabbath is not a mere ceremonial observance, but identifies God's people as different, and consequently a perpetual irritant to the world.
Richard Ritenbaugh, acknowledging the existence of the paranormal, asks, "What is it about magic that captivates so many people?" The Bible is replete with examples of demonic influences involving magic and sorcery. America's most famous theme park is established on magic lore, and the secular heroes in episodes like Star Wars derive their powers from magic. Magic seemingly provides a shortcut that bypasses overcoming and growth, effortlessly attaining something for nothing. Throughout the Bible, God is depicted as working, completing His innumerable projects. The Sabbath itself designates a memorial of rest from work, a time God Almighty rested from His work. We are commanded to emulate the work ethic, tending and keeping what we have been given, as already demonstrated by God. In a metaphorical sense, we are God's garden and God's temple, venues that need continual care and upkeep and hard work. Work brings intense joy to God Almighty, but tragically sin causes mankind to hate work. As God the Father and Jesus Christ work hard giving their energy to their creation, we are obligated to emulate this pattern of work and sacrifice, putting off the old man and putting on the new man.
People who try to supplement their spiritual diet with lawlessness or other heresies risk losing their identity, and ultimately their spiritual life.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that the Sabbath Command (as well as all of the Ten Commandments) was made for both Jews and Gentiles (all of mankind). Throughout the book of Acts, Gentiles are faithfully keeping the Sabbath along with the Jews. Paul's insistence that a relationship with God could not be established by keeping the law did not lead to the fallacious conclusion that the law (including the Sabbath command) had been done away. Following Paul's tearful and poignant farewell to the Ephesian elders, one finds startling parallels between Paul's final journey to Jerusalem and Christ's final journey to Jerusalem, including their awareness of plots on the part of zealous Jews to kill them, their being handed over to Gentiles for sentencing, their receiving multiple predictions and warnings that they would be apprehended, their demonstrating a resolute determination to do God's will regardless of the consequences and resigning themselves to suffer death. Paul, like Christ, was accused and tried on totally fabricated charges of being antinomian and defiling the temple. As with Christ, the Gentile officials recognized that the charges made against Paul were baseless, but felt coerced by mob influence to carry out the sentence anyway. Paul, through the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit, times his arrival in Jerusalem to coincide with the pilgrim crowds arriving for Pentecost, when his testimony would have the greatest impact. Before his apprehension and imprisonment, Paul delivers the love offering collected from Gentile converts for the Jerusalem church after undergoing a purification rite demonstrating his respect for law and custom.
The ancient Israelites resisted the gospel, refusing to mix it with actual obedience. What they heard never became a part of their lives; Egypt never left them.
We must avoid forgetting the connection between past and present, especially as our forebears had to battle outer and inner enemies of God's truth.
It is easy to denigrate a matter as not being 'salvational,' but the real question to ask is, How will this action affect my relationship with God?
The traditions of men have perverted the Sabbath, but if we keep His law with the intent in which He gave it, we can produce actions in line with His will.
God promises to write His Law on our hearts and minds. When we experience the consequences of our or others' sins, we lean the depth of how bad sin is.
Kim Myers, reflecting on the uniqueness of our calling, asks us if we appreciate the miracle of our calling, an event which changed our orientation regarding our belief structure, diet, and moral behavior, totally at odds with the world. God has called each of us differently, giving us different support systems and different time sequences, and motivations. Nobody can come to God without His calling. God manages the events, contacts, and circumstances so we are motivated to obey Him. The men Christ called to be His disciples were not the rich and powerful, nor the high profile movers and shakers of the world, but everyday men. The calling of Saul of Tarsus, a man who had many trials and triumphs, was particularly dramatic. The common denominator of all these callings constitutes adoption as God's offspring. As a result of our calling, we will have tests and trials, but the end of the process is sanctification and glorification.
John Ritenbaugh insists that this particular topic is attached to the Old and New Covenants, solemn agreements which are eternal (God's Word is eternal) and will not pass away, nor will they be 'done away.' Some things may be set aside for a while, but they are there for our purposes for learning how to judge. Some of the aspects which the world's religious claim are 'done away' will at a future time be brought back. We need to learn to judge in a godly manner, putting merciful restraints on our tendency to condemn or jump to conclusions. We need to inculcate the two great commandments: loving God and loving our fellow humans. We need to learn that sin has different levels of consequences. When it comes to judgment, one size does not fit all. Not everything is on the same level. God is going to judge each of us individually. Our ultimate destiny is to share rulership with our High Priest, Jesus Christ, judging righteously in God's Kingdom, rightly dividing the Word of God. God's Laws set the standards upon which righteous conduct is to be judged. It takes a lifetime to prepare to judge in the Kingdom of God. Learning to apply the spiritual dimension of the law is much more difficult than applying the physical dimension. But both of these dimensions are easier to keep than the traditions and regulations of men, inherently heavy burdens. When Gentile converts were admitted into the church, they were instructed to follow Old Covenant laws regarding the strangling of animals, eating of blood, or eating meat offered to idols. Clearly, the Old Covenant was not 'done away.' After Christ's return, some of the aspects of the Old Covenant, currently in abeyance (for example, circumcision and sacrifices), will be re-instituted. There is nothing evil about the Old Covenant; it provides insights on righteous judgment.
Even though keeping the law does not justify us, it does point out to us what sin is. The law is a guide keeping us within moral and ethical boundaries.
Martin Collins, reflecting on Philippians 4:4-9,observes that although America is the most blessed nation on the face of the earth, it is also the most unthankful, providing a contributory cause for anxiety. As Paul counseled the Philippians, thankfulness and gratefulness lead to joy and profound peace, while ungratefulness and ingratitude lead to profound anxiety. As Jonah painfully learned, salvation also follows thankfulness and faith. Paul indicated that the peace of God which passes understanding (the antidote to anxiety) stems from thankfulness or thanksgiving. The socialist redistribution of wealth (rewarding sloth, dependency, and an unhealthy attitude of entitlement) will not bring about peace or tranquility. Godly joy and gentleness drive out anxiety, fear, worry and all other forms of inner turmoil which bring about deleterious health effects. Meditating on godly things, with the motivation and aid of God"s Holy Spirit, displaces worry and mental anguish. Paul counsels us to pray (realizing and acknowledging we are in His presence) with supplication and thanksgiving (even for trials and correction), always according to God's will. Prayers often become difficult because we fail to add thanksgiving, praise or adoration toward God. Thankfulness is an obligation to which God's called-out ones are bound.
Mark Schindler, cuing in on a theme in a previous sermonette titled Perception is Reality, suggests that the further away perception is from truth, the more dangerous become the consequences. The debacle of Enron and the disastrous Bernie Madoff ponzie scheme, followed by the latest financial meltdown, has illustrated the chasm-like gulf between the perceived version of reality and the truth. Because we live in a world whose leader's (Satan's) mind is totally deceptive, we could be coasting on the verge of destruction. Unless we love the truth, anchoring ourselves in God's precepts, we are in danger of succumbing to deadly deception. As we learn about God's Holy Days, we need to learn to treat them as sanctified times and not just substitutes for the world's holidays. As we are offered the prospects to be made whole, we have a responsibility to bring forth fruits of repentance bringing glory to God, realizing that to whom much is given much will be required. We are evidence of Jesus' power and authority through our calling. The feasts of God enable us to present ourselves as living sacrifices, our reasonable service, humbly looking for opportunities to serve one another in the function God has given us within the body of Christ, transforming our minds from a false reality to conformity to Christ's image.
Both Lot and Ezekiel were tormented by the abominations, sins, and defilement taking place within their culture, polluted with idolatry and paganism.
Richard Ritenbaugh reiterates that people are attracted to magic because they think it brings quick results, bringing them their fondest desires, erasing their fears and providing for their needs, altruistically cleaning up the annoyances of the culture and the people around them, and fashioning the world around them in their own image. However, ridding ourselves of sin and building character is not a matter of hocus pocus; it takes intense work. Like our Israelite forbears, we are dependent upon God for our escape from Egypt as slaves of sin. We are reconciled to God by Christ's death, but we are saved through His life-His active work as Mediator of the New Covenant and our High Priest, yielding to His leadership. We are obligated to follow Christ's lead, living a lifetime of good works, overcoming our nature and mortifying our flesh, becoming transformed into a new creation. The New Covenant is a contractual agreement, requiring Christ to work in us; we must fulfill our part of the contract, actively and vigorously mortify the flesh, walking in the spirit, depending upon Christ to fill in the deficits and gaps. God's grace makes us perpetual debtors, forcing us to put away the leavening of sin.
Most people have a dread of something. Even Jesus experienced dread the night He was betrayed, manifested in acute hematohydrosis (sweating drops of blood).
Richard Ritenbaugh reflects that, with the deliberate disinformation explosion in the information age, it is getting harder to distinguish truth from error. Scientific truth is established on rigor and testing. In matters of theology, only God's revealed Word is a reliable indicator of truth (John 17:17), expressing His will and defining His nature. Many people have difficulty accepting internal biblical evidence attesting to the Bible's authority. When properly investigated, there are no contradictions or errors in Holy Scripture. Because the Yahweh of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New, there are no contradictions or inconsistencies between the Old and New Covenants. Answered prayer, with the conditions of praying according to His will and keeping His law, living our lives to please Him, proves the existence of God and strengthens a person's faith. All the proofs of the Bible hinge on the nature of God.
Richard Ritenbaugh, acknowledging the deleterious effects of modern culture upon worship, examines New Testament examples of worship to glean some principles. Throughout Acts, we learn that: 1) people assembled together, 2) men and women worshipped together, 3) sometimes in houses, 4) in one accord, 5) publicly prayed and sang together, 6) listened to public preaching on the Sabbath both in the synagogue and in temporary halls. The apostles, to properly honor God (the sole reason for worship), reinforce existing traditions to create unity, order, and decorum, avoiding the common, crude, or profane (anything that would dishonor God). Scripturally, compromising to please the people ultimately leads to incremental apostasy and dissolution. Paul teaches that all elements of worship should 1) edify, 2) be free of confusion, 3) be led by men, and 4) should be done orderly. In the fierce tug of war between traditional and contemporary, we must "err" on the side of tradition.
If we patiently endure, trusting in God's faithfulness to bring us to completion, there will be a time when we will attain the rest we desperately yearn for.
Galatians 4:9-10 is a favorite crutch of those who claim Christians no longer need to observe God's holy days. However, Paul's meaning is quite different.
Those who advocate doctrinal change portray God as a confused and false minister who lacks the power to instruct his chosen leaders to 'get it right.'
The proponents of a 15th Passover discount clear scriptural details and instead speculate. One cannot build doctrines on implication, distortion, and traditions.
Nine steps had to be included with the Passover observance, all within the house until morning. It takes place between sun's setting and complete darkness.