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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON SIXTY-SEVEN Origin and Nature of the Sabbath

    1. The Sabbath was instituted at the close of the work of creation, and was made for man. Genesis 2:1-3; Mark 2:27.TDOC 195.1

    2. The Sabbath was observed by the children of Israel before the law was proclaimed at Sinai. Exodus 16:21-30.TDOC 195.2

    3. During their long bondage in Egypt, the children of Israel lost, to a large degree, their knowledge of the true God and of his requirements, therefore at Sinai their duty to God and to man, which had been enjoined before the experience in Egypt (Genesis 26:5), was summarized in the Ten Commandments, the fourth of which called attention to the Sabbath already existing and referred to the creation as its basic reason. Exodus 20:8-11.TDOC 195.3

    4. The presence of God gives rest and makes holy, and it was the blessing of his presence which made the Sabbath a day of spiritual rest and “hallowed it,” or constituted it a holy day. Exodus 33:14; 3:4, 5; Joshua 5:15; Genesis 2:3, ARV.TDOC 195.4

    5. The rest from physical work on the seventh day of the week is an outward token of our rest from our own works, which are sinful, and our entrance into that spiritual rest which comes as the result of ceasing from sin. Hebrews 4:1-5, 10, ARV.TDOC 195.5

    The meaning of “Sabbath.”

    Read the “Source Book,” pages 458-462.TDOC 195.6

    “The term ‘Sabbath’ is transferred from the Hebrew language, and signifies rest. The command, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’ is therefore exactly equivalent to saying, ‘Remember the rest day, to keep it holy.’ The explanation which follows sustains this statement: ‘The seventh day is the Sabbath [or rest day] of the Lord thy God.’ The origin of this rest day is given in these words: ‘For in six days theTDOC 195.7

    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.’ That which is enjoined in the fourth commandment is to keep holy the rest day of the Lord. And this is defined to be the day on which he rested from the work of creation. Moreover, the fourth commandment calls the seventh day the Sabbath day at the time when God blessed and hallowed that day; therefore the Sabbath is an institution dating from the foundation of the world. The fourth commandment points back to the creation for the origin of its obligation; and when we go back to that point, we find the substance of the fourth commandment given to Adam: ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified: it;’ i.e., set it apart to a holy use. And in the commandment itself, the same fact is stated: ‘The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it;’ i.e., appointed it to a holy use. The one statement affirms that ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it;’ the other, that ‘the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’TDOC 196.1

    “These two statements refer to the same acts. Because the word Sabbath does not occur in the first statement, it has been contended that the Sabbath did not originate at creation, it being the seventh day merely which was hallowed. From the second statement it has been contended that God did not bless the seventh day at all, but simply the Sabbath institution. But both statements embody all the truth. God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; and this day, thus, blessed and hallowed, was his holy Sabbath, or rest day. Thus the fourth commandment establishes the origin of the Sabbath at creation.”TDOC 196.2

    “Moses says, That in just six days the world, and all that is therein, was made; and that the seventh day was a rest, and a release from the labor of such operations; whence it is that we celebrate a rest from our labors on that day, and call it the Sabbath, which word de notes rest in the Hebrew tongue.”TDOC 196.3

    -“Antiquities of the Jews,” Josephus, book 1, chapter 1, section 1.TDOC 196.4

    The foundation of the Sabbath

    “Although the work of the Creator was finished, the first week of time was not yet completed. Each of the six days had been distinguished by the Creator’s work upon it. But the seventh was rendered memorable in a very different manner. ‘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.’ In yet stronger language it is written: ‘On the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.’TDOC 196.5

    “Thus the seventh day of the week became the rest day of the Lord. How remarkable is this fact! ‘The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary.’ He needs no rest; yet it is written, ‘On the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.’ Why does not the record simply state the cessation of the Creator’s work? Why did he at the close of that work employ a day in rest? The answer will be learned from the next verse-Genesis 2:3.TDOC 196.6

    He was laying the foundation of a divine institution, the memorial of his own great work.TDOC 197.1

    “The second act of the Creator in instituting this memorial was to place his blessing upon the day of his rest. Thence forward it was the blessed rest day of the Lord. A third act completes the sacred institution: the day already blessed of God is now, last of all, sanctified, or hallowed, by him. To sanctify is ‘to make sacred or holy; to set apart to a holy or religious use; to consecrate by appropriate rites; to hallow.’ To hallow is ‘to make holy; to set apart for holy or religious use; to consecrate.”TDOC 197.2

    “The time when these three acts were performed is worthy of special notice. The first act was that of rest. This took place on the seventh day; for the day was devoted to rest. The second and third acts took place when the seventh day was past. ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work.’ Hence it was on the first day of the second week of time that God blessed the seventh day, and set it apart to a holy use. The blessing and sanctification of the seventh day, therefore, relate, not to the first seventh day of time, but to the seventh day of the week for time to come, in memory of God’s rest on that day from the work of creation.”TDOC 197.3

    Luther on the Sabbath

    Martin Luther, in his ‘Sermons on Genesis,’ thus clearly testifies to the existence of the Sabbath before man sinned:TDOC 197.4

    “Seeing the Scriptures mention the Sabbath before Adam, was not he then commanded to work six days, and rest on the seventh? Doubtless go, for we hear that he should labor in Eden, and have dominion over the fishes, birds, and beasts.’TDOC 197.5

    “That man would have kept the Sabbath, had he not fallen into sin, Luther shows, as follows:TDOC 197.6

    “And this labor and dominion would have remained, yet without toil and misery. Woman would also have borne children, yet without anguish, wailing, or travail: but on the seventh day all would have been quiet and at rest.”TDOC 197.7

    The Sabbath for man

    “Testimony of our divine Lord relative to the origin and design of the Sabbath is of peculiar importance. He is competent to testify; for he was with the Father in the beginning of the creation. ‘The Sabbath was made for man,’ said he, ‘not man for the Sabbath.’ The following grammatical rule is worthy of notice: ‘A noun without an adjective is invariably taken in its broadest extension; as, Man is accountable.’ The following texts will illustrate this rule, and also this statement of our Lord’s: ‘Man lies down, and rises not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.’ ‘There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.’ It is appointed unto men once to die.’ In these texts, ‘man’ is used without restriction, hence all mankind are necessarily intended. TheTDOC 197.8

    Sabbath was therefore made for the whole human family, and consequently originated with mankind. ‘The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;’ yet he made the Sabbath for man. ‘God made the Sabbath his by solemn appropriation, that he might convey it back to us under the guaranty of a divine charter, that none might rob us off it with impunity.”TDOC 198.1

    The Sabbath at creation

    “The Sabbath institution, which originated in Eden, is as old as the world itself. It was observed by all the patriarchs, from creation down. During the bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were forced by their taskmasters to violate the Sabbath, and to a great extent they lost the knowledge of its sacredness. When the law was proclaimed at Sinai, the very first words of the fourth commandment were, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’ showing that the Sabbath was not then instituted; we are pointed back for its origin to creation. In order to obliterate God from the minds of men, Satan aimed to tear down this great memorial. If men could be led to forget their Creator, they would make no effort to resist the power of evil, and Satan would be sure of his prey.”-Patriarchs and Prophets, 336.TDOC 198.2

    What a history!

    “Although the Sabbath was trodden underfoot and generally neglected during the long period of papal supremacy it has never wholly ceased to be observed. From creation all along down the ages a holy line of witnesses for the Sabbath of the Bible may be traced. And now since the darkness of the world’s midnight has been dispelled, thousands of witnesses for the Sabbath of creation, Sinai, and the cross are springing up in all lands.TDOC 198.3

    “What a history, therefore, has the Sabbath! Instituted in Paradise; honored by God; set apart by divine appointment and given to man; observed by patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself; trampled in the dust for over one thousand years by the man of sin; and finally restored by the remnant people of God such, in brief, is its record.”TDOC 198.4

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