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    September 25, 1893

    “True Sabbath Keeping” The Signs of the Times, 19, 46.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 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.” Genesis 2:1-3. Accordingly we read, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work.... For in six days the 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.” Exodus 20:10, 11.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.6

    “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:12, 13. And again, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable...Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13, 14.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.7

    The object of quoting these texts is to show that the Sabbath which we are commanded to keep is the Lord’s Sabbath. It is not the Sabbath of any man, nor of any set of men. It is not the Sabbath of any nation or people. It is the Sabbath of the Lord. He alone made it, and he alone has the right to command its observance. He who does not keep the Sabbath is answerable to God alone. People who keep a Sabbath of their own making feel very much affronted if everybody else does not pay the same respect to the day that they do. Their solicitude is not so much for the day as that their own feelings shall not be hurt. But they who truly keep the Sabbath of the Lord do not think of such a thing as trying to compel others to do the same. We shall soon see why. They feel solicitous that the people shall not disobey God, but their knowledge of what true Sabbath keeping is teaches them that it is as impossible to force one to keep the Sabbath as it is to force one to love the Lord.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.8

    The word “Sabbath” means “rest.” On the seventh day God rested, therefore it is the Sabbath of the Lord. The Sabbath is God’s rest. To keep the Sabbath of the Lord is to keep the rest of the Lord. It is to rest with the Lord.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.9

    The Sabbath was given to man in Eden. Sin had not entered into the world and the curse was unknown. Man was given work to do, but it was not wearisome labor. Work is not a part of the curse, but weariness from labor is. If man had not fallen, he would have had work to do throughout eternity, but he would never have known anything of weariness. Yet he would have had the Sabbath of the Lord, and would have kept it. But after he had sinned, then the Lord said to him, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” Genesis 3:17-19.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.10

    From this fact it is clear that is not designed for merely physical rest. It was given to men when it was not designed that he should ever become physically tired. It is true that in his fallen condition he may derive physical rest from ceasing work on the seventh day, but the object of the Sabbath is something far higher than that.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.11

    Again, let us remember that the Sabbath which we are to keep is the Lord’s Sabbath. It is the Lord’s rest. God rested after the six days of creation, and we are to rest with him. But the creation of the heavens and the earth did not tire the Lord. “Hast thou not know? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” Isaiah 40:28. Now since we are to keep the rest of the Lord, it is evident that the Sabbath is for something else than mere bodily rest, for that is not what God took.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.12

    Still further, “God is Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. I have given the marginal rendering of the Revised Version, which is literally exact. There is no article in the original, and there is no reason why there should be; for God is not one of many spirits, but he is Spirit. There is none besides him; every other being derives its existence from him. Let it not be thought, in passing, that because God is Spirit, therefore he is not a real being. Spiritual does not mean immaterial. God is a spiritual being, yet Christ is “the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance.” Hebrews 1:3. Christ’s body was certainly a spiritual body after his resurrection, yet he was a real being, and could be handled. This much so that no one will get the idea that God is not a real person. Spiritual and immaterial are by no means synonymous terms.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.13

    Now, then, with the fact clearly before us that God is a spiritual being, let us again consider the nature of his rest, or Sabbath. It must of necessity have been spiritual rest. And that is the nature of the rest that we are to enjoy in the Sabbath day. And what is spiritual rest?-It is that rest which the Spirit of the Lord gives. And what is that?-It is rest from sin. The simple reading of two or three texts make this plain.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.14

    “For we ourselves were aforetime foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Titus 1:3-6, Revised Version.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.15

    “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” 1 Peter 1:22.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.16

    “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Romans 8:6-8.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.17

    Christ said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” John 6:63. And again, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3. It is the word of Christ, which we well know to be the Creator, that cleanseth us from sin. That word is able to build us up and give us an inheritance among all them that are sanctified. See Acts 26:32.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.18

    It was by the same word that the heavens and the earth were created. The word that made and upholds all things is the word that by the Gospel is preached unto us. When God ceased speaking, and the heavens and the earth stood in all their perfection, he rested, but his word continued in force. It is because his word never ceases to exist, that everything is upheld. We may say that when God rested, it was upon his own word. So whether we keep his Sabbath, or not, we rest upon his word, which created all things, and which upholds them. We know that that same word is able to uphold us and keep us from falling. We rest in the full assurance that we shall be made and kept righteous by the same power that created the heavens and the earth.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.19

    From this it can readily be seen how that one who really keeps the Sabbath of the Lord, will delight himself in the Lord. He will know and be sharing the rest which God, the Creator, calls all to share, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Nothing less than this is Sabbath keeping. It is true that Sabbath keeping involves rest from our own work on the seventh day, but he who does no more than this does not keep the Sabbath of the Lord. As the Sabbath was the seal of a perfect creation, so it is also the seal of a perfect new creation in Christ Jesus.SITI September 25, 1893, page 706.20

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