When it comes to God’s command to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8; Lev. 23:3; Deut. 5:12), practically all churchgoers find a way to relegate the Sabbath to “something that the Jews do,” or “something lost in antiquity.” Alternatively, they claim, “It doesn’t matter what day you keep, as long as you keep a day.” Others say, “Sunday has replaced the Sabbath.” Most simply believe it has been done away with. They concoct endless arguments as to why the Sabbath command no longer applies. But God’s Word reveals that the Sabbath was made for all people, for all time.
Be willing to open your Bible and honestly accept what it says about the Sabbath. Many have supposed that Christ “nailed it to the cross” along with most everything else in the Old Testament. Yet, no one can be guilty of sin—of any kind—where there is no law: “Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). No one can be guilty of sin, or be under the death penalty, if there is no law—if it was nailed to the cross.
The Sabbath Belongs to God
Remember that after giving the Ten Commandments, God “added no more.” His Law was complete and anything that came later could not be considered part of it. Even agreements (covenants) between men cannot be amended or changed in any way by either party alone: “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannuls, or adds thereto” (Gal. 3:15). Yes, even men’s contracts are binding as is, once agreed upon. Exodus 24:4-8 describes the confirmation of the Old Covenant, of obedience between God and Israel in Exodus 19 and 20.
However, the Sabbath originated before the Old Covenant was established. The Ten Commandments did not come into existence along with the Old Covenant, but pre-dated it. They had been in force since creation.
After God had completed His covenant with Israel, He introduced another very special and unique covenant. It pertained solely to the Sabbath: “And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak you also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths you shall keep…” (Ex. 31:12-13).
Make no mistake. All Sabbaths belong to God—He calls them “MY Sabbaths.” This indicates ownership—they are His. They belong to no one nation or race, including the Jews.
The Sabbath Belongs to God and those who belong to God honor and remembers His Sabbaths.
The Sabbath is a Sign
In Exodus 31:12-17, God made a special covenant with Israel regarding His Sabbath. “For it is a SIGN between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify [set apart] you. You shall keep the Sabbath…the seventh [day] is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord…Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath…for a perpetual covenant. It is a SIGN between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested.”
Remember that this last phrase proves that the Sabbath was established from the creation week, over 2,500 years prior to Exodus 31.
God explains that His purpose is that the Sabbath “sanctifies” those who keep it. They are set apart as belonging to—being owned by—God. Christians are told, “You are bought with a price; be not you the servants of men” (I Cor. 7:23) and “You are bought with a price: therefore glorify God” (I Cor. 6:20).
Those who remember the Sabbath to keep it holy are signified as God’s people—and that He OWNS them. They are also publicly identified as people who keep the Commandments of God. Civil laws generally acknowledges, in one form or another, the need to observe and keep some of the Commandments of God such as laws against stealing, murder, lying, etc. But keeping some of God’s eternal Laws does not identify one as a commandment-keeper! Only the Sabbath does that! It is a sign that people are of God, since no human being would ever think or choose to keep this law without it having been divinely revealed by God.
Please understand this. God had to reveal this sign so that we would appreciate how it functions and what it represents. Take a drive down the street. You will notice all kinds of signs indicating ownership of various businesses and retail establishments. If you are looking for something or someplace in particular, signs are a very important tool in finding and identifying what you are searching for. When God says the Sabbath is a sign, He is saying that it identifies who we are as well as who our God is.
Notice that God established the Sabbath as a “perpetual covenant” to be kept “throughout your generations”—and “forever.” This is ironclad. God’s command is for all time. The Sabbath is to be kept forever! Remembering the Sabbath keeps us in touch with the true God. It is the way God intended for us never to lose sight of who He is (our God)—and who we are (His people)!
The Sabbath identifies God for who He is—The Creator God!
Someone will surely ask: “Couldn’t Sunday point to the true God?” Absolutely not! Here is why. Remember that God tied the Sabbath to the creation week: “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested.” God’s rest was on the seventh day, not the first. Only by keeping the Sabbath are we forced to look to the God of creation. . Sunday-worship and Sunday-keeping does not do this.
Therefore, The Sabbath points us to God as our Creator and the One who sanctifies us!