The Sabbath is God’s special present to the working people, and one of its chief objects is to prolong life and preserve sanity. The savings bank of human existence is the weekly Sabbath.
#ThrowbackThursday #Sabbath #HappySabbath
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the May/June 1980 edition of Message. We adapted it today to reflect gender inclusive language.[Humanity] was created as spiritual beings, and God intended that we should develop the aesthetic and spiritual phases of his nature. We were to crave the inspiring, lofty association of the divine.
He wanted us to meditate upon and study into all the secrets of the world in which God had placed him.
The sum of these spiritual interests and activities were to develop our characters in all lines God had ordained. They were to make us what God intended us to be. But we had to have time to pursue these interests. We had to have time to commune with the Creator. Hence God gave the Sabbath.
Without the Sabbath we would have had a continual round of physical and mental labor, concerned solely with only our material needs. But, in observing the Sabbath, with its elevating, spiritual interpretation of life, we are changed and ennobled.
Date and Time Certain
God refers to the Sabbath as His “holy day” (Isaiah 58:13). It is as specific a part of time as the most holy place was a specific part of the tabernacle Moses built in the wilderness. As no other tent among the thousands in which Israel lived could be substituted for the most holy place, so no other part of time can be substituted for the holy time of the Sabbath. Just as the holy atmosphere of the most holy place could not be transferred to any other tent in Israel, so the sacredness of the Sabbath cannot be transferred to any other section of time in the weekly cycle.
As Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of Creation Week, orFriday, the very first sunset they saw introduced to them the sacred hours of the first Sabbath day this planet had ever experienced. Doubtless, throughout their lives, the beauty and glory of every sunset reminded them of the first one that brought to them the sacred hours of that first holy Sabbath day and reminded them of the coming Sabbath at the end of the week.
The Sacred Record of that distant day reads in Genesis 2:2, 3: “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.” By virtue of these three acts of blessing, sanctifying, and resting, God made the Sabbath day.
Created by the Act of God
Let us note, however, that the act of creating the Sabbath day was entirely different from the acts of creation that God performed on the other six days.
On the first day He said, “Let there be light.” On the second, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters.” Then on the third, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place.” The fourth is when He said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven.” On the fifth, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly, . . . and fowl that may fly above the earth.” Then on the sixth, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind”; also, “Let us make man in our image.”
Throughout God’s activities of the entire six days His creation was by fiat.
The psalmist says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth . . . He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6, 9).
The creation of the Sabbath, however, was of a different order. He did not create it by fiat. Instead, He rested twenty-four hours; He blessed those twenty-four hours; and He sanctified those twenty-four hours in order to make the Sabbath day. Making the Sabbath took all the time from that first sunset, Friday night, till sunset, Sabbath night. We may conclude, therefore, that if it took twenty-four hours to make the Sabbath, it takes the same amount of time to keep it.
Still a Part of the Program
The creation of the Sabbath was an essential, integral part of God’s creation activities during that first week of time on this planet. It comprised one seventh part of Creation Week. The making of the Sabbath was just as much a part of Creation as was the creation of light, the dry land, the beasts, or humans. The completing act was the creation of the Sabbath day. Hence the Sabbath day is just as lasting as that which was created on any other day.
Just as we are continually blessed with light, air, and other blessings of Creation Week, so we are blessed with the continuance of the holy Sabbath day. Its spiritual gifts are just as essential to us and our present and eternal good as the material things God created on the other six days. If one believes in Creation, one must of necessity believe in the seventh-day Sabbath, because the Sabbath was one seventh of Creation and an inseparable part of it.
The Sabbath day had a Godward and an us-ward significance. God knew the vital importance of placing in our program a memorial of our beginnings. Hence the Sabbath day was a memorial of God’s creation work, a perpetual reminder of His lofty and holy creation. He states, “Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: . . . that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you” (Exodus 31:13).
As stated above, the Sabbath was an integral part of the entire scheme of Creation. It was the capsheaf, as it were, the climax, of God’s creative work. It was as unchangeable as any other act of Creation Week.
Save the Date
The Fourth of July affords an illustration of the importance of the Sabbath. Independence Day is the memorial of a great historic event [the signing of the Declaration of Independence]. It came as a climax of a series of events. This memorial of the American Revolution is as unchangeable as the facts of history are unchangeable. In order to change the Fourth of July as Independence Day it would be necessary to blot out the entire history of the Revolution. It would be necessary to expunge from the pages of history all the events connected with it. Indeed, the entire series of revolutionary events would have to occur all over again in order to change that date. The same would be true with July 14 in France, the memorial of the fall of the Bastille, which, in French history, occupied a vital relation to their developing concepts of freedom. Again, in China, the same would be true concerning the Double Ten, the tenth day of October, their independence day, a day that was the culmination of over one hundred years of history.
These commemorative days are as unchangeable as the events to which they are related and of which they form a part. In like manner the Sabbath, being a part of the series of events of Creation Week, is also immovable and unchangeable.