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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON SIXTY-NINE The Sabbath in the Old Testament

    1. The Sabbath was known and observed before the law was proclaimed at Sinai. Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 16:27-30.TDOC 200.3

    2. After the deliverance from Egypt the Sabbath was set forth as a sign of the power which wrought in that deliverance. Deuteronomy 5:15.TDOC 200.4

    3. The Sabbath was recognized in the instruction concerning the sanctuary service. Leviticus 23:15, 16; 24:8.TDOC 200.5

    4. When the Babylonish captivity was impending, a definite promise was made that Jerusalem would stand forever, if the people would regard the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:21-25.TDOC 200.6

    5. In the time of the restoration of Jerusalem the people were told that the captivity came because of the disregard of the Sabbath, and Nehemiah took action to prevent the continued desecration of the day. Nehemiah 13:15, 16, 19-22.TDOC 200.7

    6. Through the prophet Isaiah special blessings were promised to those who kept the Sabbath.TDOC 201.1

    Isaiah 56:1, 2, 6, 7.TDOC 201.2

    7. A merely formal observance of the Sabbath is mentioned by the prophet Amos. Amos 8:4, 5.TDOC 201.3

    8. Throughout the whole period previous to the first advent the Sabbath stood as a sign of the power of God for the sanctification of his people. Exodus 31:12, 13; Ezekiel 20:12.TDOC 201.4

    NOTES
    Why not mentioned in Genesis

    “It is objected that there is no precept in the book of Genesis for the observance of the Sabbath, and consequently that no obligation existed on the part of the patriarchs to observe it. There is a defect in this argument not noticed by those who use it. The book of Genesis was not a rule given to the patriarchs to walk by. On the contrary, it was written by Moses twenty-five hundred years after creation, and long after the patriarchs were dead. Consequently, the fact that certain precepts are not found in Genesis is no evidence that they were not obligatory upon the patriarchs. Thus the book does not command men to love God with all their hearts, and their neighbors as themselves; nor does it prohibit idolatry, blasphemy, disobedience to parents, adultery, theft, false witness, or covetousness. Who will affirm from this that the patriarchs were under no restraint in these things? As a mere record of events, written long after their occurrence, it was not necessary that the book should contain a moral code. But had the book been given to the patriarchs as a rule of life, it must have contained such a code.”TDOC 201.5

    No argument from this silence

    “There is not on record a single instance of the observance of the great day of atonement, notwithstanding the work in the holiest on that day was the most important service connected with the earthly sanctuary. And yet the observance of the other and less important festivals of the seventh month, which are so intimately connected with the day of atonement, the one preceding it by ten days, the other following it in five, is repeatedly and particularly recorded. It would be sophistry to argue from this silence respecting the day of atonement, when there were so many instances in which its mention was almost demanded, that that day was never observed; and yet it is actually a better argument than the similar one urged against the Sabbath from the book of Genesis.”TDOC 201.6

    What Exodus 16 shows

    “This narrative [Exodus 16] shows: 1. That God had a law and commandments prior to the giving of the manna. 2. That God, in giving his people bread from heaven, designed to prove them respecting his law. 3. That in this law was the holy Sabbath; for the test relative to walking in the law pertained directly to the Sabbath; and when God said, ‘How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws?’ it was the Sabbath which they had violated. 4. That in proving the people respecting this existing law, Moses gave no new precept respecting the Sabbath, but remained silent relative to the preparation for the Sabbath until after the people of their own accord had gathered a double portion on the sixth day. 5. That by this act the people proved, not only that they were not ignorant of the Sabbath, but that they were disposed to observe it. 6. That the reckoning of the week, traces of which appear through the patriarchal age, had been rightly kept; for the people knew when the sixth day had arrived. 7. That had there been any doubt existing on that point, the fall of the manna on the six days, the withholding of it on the seventh, and the preservation of that needed for the Sabbath over that day, must have settled that point incontrovertibly. 8. That there was no act of instituting the Sabbath in the Wilderness of Sin; for God did not then make it his rest day, nor did he then bless and sanctify the day. On the contrary, the record shows that the seventh day was already the sanctified rest day of the Lord. 9. That the obligation to observe the Sabbath existed and was known before the fall of manna; for the language used implies the existence of such an obligation, but does not contain a new enactment until after some of the people had violated the Sabbath. God says to Moses, ‘On the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in,’ but he does, not speak of the seventh. And on the sixth day, Moses said, ‘Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord,’ but he does not command them to observe it. On the seventh day he says that it is the Sabbath, and that they would find no manna in the field. ‘Six clays you shall gather it; but on the seventh day’, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.’ But in all this there is no precept given, yet the existence of such a precept is plainly implied. 10. That when some of the people violated the Sabbath, they were reproved in language which clearly indicated a previous transgression of this precept. ‘How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws?’ 11. And that this rebuke of the Lawgiver restrained for the time the transgression of the people, for the record says, ‘So the people rested on the seventh day.’”TDOC 201.7

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