The Sabbath in Bible Prophecy

The world in God's hands

In six literal days our Creator spoke this world into existence. Established as a celebration of God’s creative power, the weekly Sabbath was instituted on the seventh day of Creation week as a memorial to His creation (Genesis 2:1-3):  a literal 24-hour period of rest, reflection, and renewal with our Creator, coupled with our worship to Him. The importance of weekly Sabbath observance is underscored in God’s irreversible ten– commandment law in the fourth commandment, where God’s creation is reminded to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

The very nature of the word “remember” accentuates the verity that this blissful observance is everlasting and eternal in practice (Exodus 31:12-17; Isaiah 58:13, 14), as even Jesus Himself and the apostles participated in this sacred celebration (Luke 4:16-20; Acts 13:42-44), and in the new heavens and earth this adherence will continue (Isaiah 66:22, 23).

Our omniscient Creator’s use of the word “remember” also adeptly intimates that He was aware that an antagonistic authority would seek to change or alter His law. None of the other Ten Commandments begin with this reminder. Rather they declare: “Thou shalt not” or “Honor” (Exodus 20:3-7, 12-17, KJV). 

This specific reminder clues us into the Sabbath’s central role in the culmination of eschatological prophecy.  The Sabbath command is the predominant issue about which every human being that is living just before Jesus’ second advent will make a decision. That Sabbath decision is directly related to the acceptance or rejection of its observance in response to divine instruction.  According to prophecy there will be only two camps: (1) Those who keep the commandments of God, including the fourth, and have the faith of Jesus (Revelation 12:17), and (2) Those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9-11).  There is no middle ground. As Jesus says: “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Matthew 12:30).

it’s not a “law” thing, but a “love” thing

Through the prophecies of Daniel 7 God revealed His foreknowledge of the attempted change of His law with Daniel’s vision depicting an attack on God’s people and His law.  The attacking power, represented by a little horn, brings about the great apostasy within the Christian church.  Arising from the fourth beast and becoming a major persecuting power after the fall of Rome, the little horn attempts to “change [God’s] times and laws” (Daniel 7:25, KJV).

The Lord, however, declares, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples” (Isaiah 8:16).  The seal of God’s law is found in God’s fourth commandment.  This commandment, distinct from the other nine, brings to view the three necessary components of a seal: (1) name: the Lord, your God; (2) title: Creator; and (3) territory: heavens, earth, seas, and all that is in them.  Additionally, in this commandment our Creator claims our reverence and worship.  With the attempted change of God’s law, inclusive of the Sabbath, the enemies of God seek to remove God’s seal from His law.  Yet the disciples of Christ are called upon to restore the fourth commandment by exalting the Sabbath to its rightful position as the Creator’s memorial and sign of His authority just prior to the Second Advent.

As prophecies are being fulfilled every day, “wars and rumors of wars, . . . famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:6-8), which clearly point to Jesus’ second advent, let us take heed to God’s eschatological call in Revelation 14:7: “Fear God and give glory to Him,” for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”  The Sabbath must be restored to its rightful position as a memorial to the Creator’s power and the sign of His authority.  Let us not forget the promised blessing of eternal life when obeying God’s commandments (Revelation 22:14), and be reminded, it’s not a “law” thing, but a “love” thing, for it was Jesus who said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). 

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