A DAY TO REMEMBER
We all have days in our lives that are very special to us. Many feel disappointed and even get angry when days that are important in their lives are forgotten by those that are important in their lives. We cherish our birthdays, our wedding day anniversary; graduation day et cetera. Many relationships have broken up because the other person forgot their birthdays. We all have days that are very important for us to remember. We keep diaries of important days not because a day is more important than another day astronomically but because there are some important events that add meaning and distinction to some particular days that make them worthy of remembrance. The sun shines on my birthday just as it shines everyday else; the sun rises and sets on your wedding day anniversary just as every other day. This means the significance of a day lies beyond the day itself but the activities that mark those days. The fact that no day is special in and of itself does not cancel out the need for people to celebrate or to remember their birthdays.
THE REST OF GOD
At the creation of the world, the bible gives us many details on how God in 6 literal, continuous days perfected his creation. After each day, the words of approval, “it was good” followed and after the 6 days of creation, the summary of the whole 6 days was “it was very good”. Everything that God created in its initial perfection was good. Before the curse of sin, there was no blight upon the creation of God. But the misuse of what God has created does not cancel out the fact that the creation of the universe was very good. When God looked at the creation of his hands, he was satisfied. On the Seventh day, God rested from his work of creation. ”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.”(Genesis 2: 1-2). The idea of God resting from his works is a very interesting one. In Isaiah 40:28 we are told that “the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength”. We understand from this fact that God can never be tired and in the context of God as the creator, it is emphasized that he cannot be weary. In Psalms 33:6, we are told that “by the words of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the words of his mouth”. God did not create the world by some exertion of physical strength and power that can lead to exhaustion but by the words of his mouth. The rest of God therefore was not a rest that came from tiredness but from fulfillment.
But that was not the end. God did not just rest from his work of creation on the Sabbath; he did two more things to the Sabbath. “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.” Sanctification is a word that is used to describe the separation of a thing or a person from common use to sacred use.
”And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy” (Exodus 32:29)
In Hebrews 4:4 we are told that “God did rest the seventh day from all his works” and these works were described as “finished from the foundation of the world”. This means that when God rested on the Seventh day, it was a rest from his work of creation and that rest has continued till today and when Jesus talked about he and his father still working(John 5:17), he was talking about the work of redemption that has continued from the time that man had fallen(John 6:19). The sanctification of the Sabbath; its separation for holy use as a day is not just the experience of God but an experience he desires his created beings to enter into. God does not create for another six days and rest and start all over again; his rest from creation has continued such that the sanctification of the Sabbath is for the use of man. Also, God blessed the day Sabbath as a day that he has separated unto himself. When a day is sanctified, it is separated from all other days not because of its astronomical qualities but because of the event of God’s rest that was to be a model for man.
Astronomy tells us why we have 30 days in a month; We speak of the month in terms of the moon – the lunar cycle, or a complete set of lunar phases, as in “From one new moon to another….”. We have 365 days in a year because of the orbit of the earth around the sun. We have 24 hours in a day because of the orbit of the earth upon its axis. But Astronomy does not tell us why we have a weekly cycle of 7 days. Some calendars based on the 8 day and 10 day weekly cycle have all failed and have been neglected. All over the world, across culture and civilization, we all live with this reality.”The week is a period of seven(7) days. It has been employed from time immemorial, in almost all countries”(Encyclopedia 11th edition Vol 4 Page 988) The seven day cycle originated from Eden. It is the cycle of the creation account. God created for six days and rested the seventh day. The divine pattern of six days of work and the Seventh day of rest has been brought to us down from Eden even though most times, we have lost the significance. Also, this fact implies that the Sabbath cannot be transferred to another day because it is rooted in God’s order of creation. If God rested on the Seventh day because his works were finished in the first 6 days, then the Sabbath must be on the day that signals the end of work; which is the seventh day. It cannot be on the 4th day because that belongs to the 6 days of creation; it cannot be the first because that is the day creation began.
After Adam and Eve, God began to work through different individuals to uphold his name and his law in the world. From righteous Cain to Seth when men returned to calling the name of God, from Enoch that walked with God to Noah who was just and perfect in a world filled with violence and wickedness, to Abraham who was faithful when men decided to build a tower that will reach up to heaven. However, God gave a promise to Abraham of how nations and not just individuals will be blessed through him. From his grandson came the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. Famine took them to Egypt under the protection of Joseph and Pharaoh. However, another Pharaoh emerged who could not tolerate their presence and feel threatened by their numeric growth. Israel went into captivity for 430 years and in those years they lost much of their heritage. They were worked tirelessly without rest. God raised up Moses who was to work for their deliverance from Egyptian captivity. The first point that Moses raised with Pharaoh was that the people should be allowed to rest from their labors. After many episodes, Israel was delivered and began a journey to Canaan. At Sinai, the voice of God called them. The law that they had forgotten as a result of their captivity needed to be spoken to them and written for constant reflection and for the next generation. The moral law; the Ten Commandments were given to Israel to guide them. The fourth of these 10 commandments began with the word, “REMEMBER”. The word ‘remember’ points us to two directions; to the past and to the future. Israel were called to remember what they have already been given in the past and to keep it in mind that they will not forget in the future. Israel need not be asked to remember what they have not been told before or what they need not regard in later times. What was it that Israel was to remember? “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” What God had made holy in Genesis 2, he called Israel to keep holy in Exodus 20; such that the making holy in Genesis 2 is for the purpose of man. “The Sabbath was made for man”(Mark 2:27) said Jesus. And in Exodus 20, God re-emphasized the creation origin of the Sabbath by reminding Israel that “ Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 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: 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 20:9-11). Since we already learnt that God is particular, we see in this text God maintaining not just the generality of the Sabbath but the particularity of the Seventh Day, in such a way that the Sabbath cannot be divorced from the Seventh day. To root out the Seventh day is to root out the Sabbath and to attack the creation order of things
THE SABBATH EXPERIENCE
What was to be the experience of those who enter the Seventh day Sabbath rest? “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.”(Leviticus 23:3). Every Seventh Day, just like God ceased from his work of creation on the Seventh day, Man was to rest from all his ordinary works and gather together with other believers to worship God while he spend the rest of the day resting; not in idleness but in the worship and contemplation of God. It was a full 24 hours of ceasing from the secular work and focusing entirely on he who made us.
When Jesus, the magnifier of the law came (Isaiah 42:21), he did not just deny the thought that he was going to destroy the law, he magnified the law by showing the spirit of the law and the principles that the law was to convey. In obedience to the commandment of God rooted in creation, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read” (Luke 4:16). “And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man, these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?”(Mark 6:2). And to show that the purpose of the Sabbath is anchored in the redemption of man and not in legalistic norms, he made it an occasion for many of his healings. To remind the disciples of their continuous obligation to spend time in contemplation of his sacrifice, he told them how they need to pray that their “flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day”(Mathew 24:20) and the bible tells us a lot about how the disciples “came into the synagogue on the Sabbath day”(Acts 13:14), preached about Moses every Sabbath (15:21); reasoned with Jews for three Sabbaths(17:2) and both the Jews and the Gentiles(18:4) for us to understand how after the cross, not just the Jews as a result of national heritage but how both Jews and Gentiles came together to worship.
THE SEVENTH DAY: LOST OR FOUND?
A faithful, careful, open heart study of the scriptures will not lead us to doubt the existence of the Sabbath but only to ask, which day then is this Seventh Day that God has “particularized” for his worship and for man to devote all of it to his service and his contemplation. Days in the bible are numbered from 1 to 7 while days today are named. Can we find today an equivalent of the Seventh day that was numbered? A dated event that is generally agreed with by Christians will suffice.
The day that Jesus died and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea was described by the Paul in the account of Luke as the preparation day and on that day, the Sabbath was drawing on(Luke 23:53, 54).” This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.” This means that the day that followed the preparation day was the Sabbath and the day that precedes the Sabbath is the day that Jesus died. The disciples went away from the tomb to prepare spices on the preparation day, but they could not apply it because it was Sabbath and they went and “rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Not even the decaying body of Jesus was an excuse for them to break God’s commandment. Not even a desire to honour his death was sufficient for disobedience, I wonder if his resurrection will also be a sufficient reason? The day that followed the Sabbath is referred to as the “first day of the week”. “Now upon the first day of the week”(Luke 24:1). Then followed an account of what happened on that day- THE RESSURECTION OF CHRIST. “He is not here, he is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee” (Luke 24:6). The order of events is clear and straight forward:
PREPARATION DAY (DAY OF CHRIST DEATH)→SABBATH DAY→FIRST DAY(THE DAY CHRIST RESSURECTED)
DAY OF CHRIST DEATH
DAY OF CHRIST RESSURECTION
An event is celebrated yearly by many Christians to remember this period of Christ’s life. The day of his death is called good FRIDAY; the day of his resurrection is called Easter Sunday. Even those who do not celebrate the days agree with the order. Wikipedia comments; “Easter[nb 1] also called Pasch[nb 2] or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.” “On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches. Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross. As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter.”(Christianty.about.com)
If Christ died on Friday and resurrected on Sunday, it means;
FRIDAY→ SABBATH→ SUNDAY
It means that the Sabbath( the seventh day) that was numbered is what we have named as the day between Friday and Sunday which any calendar anywhere tells us is SATURDAY
It means that from the testimony of Christians themselves, the Seventh Day is Saturday and it is the day that God has commanded for us to keep as the Sabbath
The Jews are the first set of Sabbath Keepers. Just like the fact that they are the first set of people that came to the knowledge of salvation (John 4:22) did not preclude others from being saved (Galatians 3:28); the fact that they are the first keepers of the Sabbath do not preclude gentiles from keeping the Sabbath. If the Jews kept the Sabbath when it was numbered and they still keep it when the days have been named, the day the Jews still keep today (if there had been no change) is the Seventh day Sabbath. History does not provide us with any record of Jews changing their day of worship even when anti-Semitism was prevalent. Therefore, the question to be asked is what day the Jews keep today. Undoubtedly, it is Saturday. The nation of Israel even today still closes their shops on Saturday. For example, it was asked on Answers.com, “Is there public transportation in Israel on a Saturday? “ Someone responded
Answer by Doronsaar
Confidence votes 4
Most of the public transportation stops before the Sabbath begins (Friday evening) and continues after the Sabbath ends (Saturday evening).
According to Wikipedia.com, “Jewish Shabbat or Biblical Sabbath lasts from sunset on Friday to the fall of full darkness on Saturday, leading to a Friday–Saturday weekend in Israel”
The Oldest Church today is the Roman Catholic Church. It is the only Church old enough to exist between the time when the days were numbered and when they were named. Yet the Catholic Church has always held that the resurrection of Christ took place on Sunday and that Easter should be celebrated in its honor. This means by the bible account that Sunday is the first day when Jesus resurrected. For example, in the Convert Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, it was asked, “Which day is the Sabbath”; The answer, “Saturday is the Sabbath”
In many languages of the word today, the words for Saturday are root words from the word “SABBATH”. In Spanish it is “Sabbado”, in Greek it is “Sabbaton”, In Coptic it is “Sabbatan”, in Georgian, it is “Shabah”; in Yugoslav, it is “Subbata”; in Italian it is “sabbato”; in Portuguese, it is “Sabbato” in French, it is “Samedi”; in Russian, it is “Subbata” and so on. In summary, in 108 out of 160 languages, the word for Saturday is closely linked to the word Sabbath.
SATURDAY- Merriam Webster
• the seventh day of the week
• The seventh day of the week, following Friday
SATURDAY- The Free Dictionary
• the seventh and last day of the week: the Jewish Sabbath
Has the calendar changed? The Julian calendar which went into effect in 45BC became part of the Christian church history as a result of decisions made at the Council of Nicea. It has 365 days plus leap year and one leap year every 4 years. It was off by 11 minutes every 4 years; so that over 400 years, it would gain 3 days. The Gregorian calendar was introduced in March 1582. 10 days were eliminated in this new calendar to bring March 21 back to the vernal equinox and it stopped the accumulation of 3 extra days/ 400 years by eliminating leap years in century years that are not evenly divisible by 400. This led to Friday the 5th of March , 1582 to become Friday, the 15th of March, 1852. It was adopted by Italy, Portugal and Spain at that time while England adopted in 1752 and Russia in 1918. This change does not affect the weekly cycle; Friday was still Friday and the next day was still Saturday. It was only the number that was adjusted and it did not affect the weekly cycle in any way.
REDISCOVERING THE SABBATH
The greatest test of our love for God is our ability to obey God just because God has spoken. “If ye love me, keep my commandments”. Those who love God will not do anything that disobeys him. Those who love God will long to spend time in his presence and rejoice in taking a whole day off work with God. Those who love God will trust him to take care of their needs when obedience to him seems to be leading us to difficult circumstances. Those who love God will keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath is the divine rest for human restlessness. God calls us every Seventh Day to rest in him and place our burdens on him; to rest in his righteousness by Faith and to remember his creation and redemption. Every Saturday, God calls us into his presence, to worship him with other believers. Even though it seems that the Sabbath has been lost sight of, God has preserved his holy day pure and even today there are those who worship God on his appointed day and rejoice in obedience to his will. They believe not just the promises of God but also his commands and that in every of his command is a promise of grace to accomplish it. If you have never kept the Sabbath in your life, I can assure you that it is an experience that you will always ask for again again. Rest from your secular labors, find God’s faithful people who still keep the Sabbath, worship with them and spend personal time in God’s presence worshiping and adoring him.
O Day of Rest and Gladness
O day of rest and gladness,
O day of joy and light
O balm of care and sadness,
Most beautiful, most bright;
On thee, the high and lowly,
Who bend before the throne,
Sing, Holy, holy, holy,
To the Eternal One.
Thou art a port protected
From storms that round us rise,
A garden intersected
With streams of Paradise;
Thou art a cooling fountain
In life’s dry dreary sand;
From thee, like Pisgah’s mountain,
We view our promised land.
A day of sweet reflection
Thou art, a day of love;
A day to raise affection
From earth to things above.
New graces ever gaining
From this our day of rest,
From thee, like Pisgah’s mountain,
We view our promised land.
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