The Sabbath day means Saturday of the present time. It is the day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews.
The Sabbath day has its origin from the word of Genesis 2:2 in which God ended six days’ creation and He rested on the seventh day.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 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.
God said to keep the Sabbath day holy. So the Jews keep the Sabbath holy very strictly, doing no works and prohibiting entertainment. We, Christians, also keep Sunday holy.
Today’s churches have applied the rule for the Sabbath to Sunday, and thus try to keep the day holy. The current service on the Lord’s day is kept in memory of the first day of the week after the Sabbath, the day of His resurrection. However, the Sabbath the Scripture refers to is not Sunday but Saturday.
Meaningless Argument About the Sabbath
Some people insist that the Scripture instructs us to keep the Sabbath holy but it does not tell us to keep the Lord’s day holy, and so they made a new sect. They gather together and worship God every Saturday, and then they criticize those who go to church on Sundays, which is the day of the sun god of heathens. Naturally, the traditional churches also judge them in return. Both parties argue with each other over which is the right day.
Some churches changed the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy in the Ten Commandments to keep the Lord’s day holy. That is only a desperate countermeasure to fix the Lord’s day as a service day.
However, all these arguments and efforts have digressed from the point of the Scripture. The Sabbath in the Scripture does not refer to a day of the week. It indicates the born again man himself, which I will describe later. Therefore, it is totally meaningless to dispute whether the Sabbath that we must keep holy is Saturday or Sunday. It would only be a waste of time, if we argue over something which we understand incorrectly.
In chapter 16 of Matthew, when Jesus departed together with His disciples, they forgot to take bread. Knowing it, He says as follows for the purpose of enlightening them: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
Upon hearing Him, they think of the leaven in bread. “Ah, we forgot to take bread. He is pointing it out!” When they are talking to each other about not taking bread, He hears them and then says: “I did not speak to you concerning bread, but you should beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” The leaven He said was not the leaven of bread but their teaching.
Assume that He told us to beware of leaven. If we understand it as the leaven of bread and have a quarrel with each other over it, how pathetic will we be? We are quarreling about the wrong thing and are far from His intention.
Those having a quarrel over the day of the Sabbath are doing such a meaningless thing. As the leaven is not the leaven of bread in its true interpretation, the Sabbath is not the Sabbath of the calendar.
True Meaning of the Sabbath
Then, what does the Sabbath signify? The Sabbath means a born again man. Specifically, the man whom God created in the image of Himself through the born again process, which is the six days’ work of God in Genesis 1, is called the ‘Sabbath.’
Read Genesis below:
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. 3 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.
He is the man in whom God is well pleased and He rests from all His work. Also, he is the holy man whom God has made holy. “Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45) has been fulfilled in the man of Sabbath.
Ceasing From Works
Now I will explain what it means to cease from work on the Sabbath. When we individually meet Jesus in our life, our sinful nature starts to be healed by Him. This is the start of my new creation corresponding to the first day of Genesis Chapter 1. This process will be complete when I reach the sixth day of the creation whereby I become a man in His own image as stated in Genesis 1:2. It reads “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
During the above period, i.e., from the first day to the sixth day of the creation, I need to follow Him forsaking all, to the cross where my ‘old man’ will die united with Jesus. Read Matthew 16:24: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” During this period of time, God in Jesus works and I also work. Regarding the aspect of God’s working, He leads my ‘old man’ to the cross to be crucified.
And regarding the aspect of my working, ‘old man’ in me tries to do something good for God in my own way. ‘Old man’ labors to produce good works, which are self-righteousness, the fake good. In fact, salvation eliminates the ‘old man’ and its works. Therefore, I am working for self-righteousness, pending ‘old man’ being destroyed at the cross. However, on the seventh day, I will rest, as God commanded.
Think about the case of Peter. Whilst he was being healed and led to the cross, he tried to work for the Lord. Read John 13:37: “Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.”
This is the work that he thinks he can do for the Lord in the process of salvation. But, such work of his is not necessary at all. Only when Peter grows to know that his works profit nothing in life, he will stop and will only follow Jesus. This is the rest of the Sab-bath day. And it was achieved in Peter at the cross.
There is a point in time when the work of Jesus and my work end and rest together. That is the time when the crucifixion of Jesus has occurred to me. At this time, the Lord has ceased from His works as I have been made complete, and I have ceased from the works of self-righteousness as my ‘old man’ died on the cross.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Here, this verse mentions two aspects: one for God’s ceasing and the other for my ceasing. God ceases from His works after having completed creation, and I cease from self-righteous works of the ‘old man.’ The Creator has completed the creation of creature and both creator and creature so have entered their rest.
On the Sabbath day son, daughter, manservant, maidservant, cattle, and stranger within the gates should not work. All these refer to my various thoughts and theories that are against God. On the Sabbath they are supposed to be calm and at rest.
It is God’s wish in the Scriptures that we are to be recreated to have new life. Jesus will come to us individually and he will create us in six days, and will finally lay down Himself united with our ‘old man’ at the cross. This completes the creation of myself as a born again being from heaven. Thus, I enter the rest and become holy. My seventh day begins from here onward and continues forever. Now I am the Sabbath day itself, thus, I keep the Sabbath holy.
Keep the Sabbath day holy!
*Taken from the book “Fresh Eyes to Read the Bible II – The Real Jesus”