A day to Remember
“The Sabbath was made for man,
Not man for the sabbath.
Built-in circadian rhythms mandate human sleep every 24-hours
and the security of a spiritual rest every seventh day.
The Sabbath offers humans a break from stress;
elevates the dignity of every person; and
builds a bulwark against slavery.
The Sabbath guarantees a weekly pause to celebrate life and to worship
the Creator. It symbolizes a Christ-led emancipation
from the shackles of sin’s bondage.
“The Creation,” by Nathan Greene, ©, All Rights Reserved, Used by Permission
A day to remember
Fresh from the Seminary, a young, 1951 grad showed up in Grand Rapids as an Assistant Pastor, armed to the teeth with the tools of the ministerial trade ready to preach the Christian gospel. Within a few weeks, he discovered his carefully crafted sermons, broadcast locally, meant little in contrast to the living sermons preached daily by devout parishioners.
Interstate truck driver, Wheaton, showed in church every Sabbath day thanks to the example of his dedicated Christian wife. Long retired, elderly gentleman Travis, who had served a prison term, not only showed in church each Sabbath but despite limited resources, his grandfatherly heart found the means to give the young preacher a Thesaurus reference tool. And then there as the always smiling Mr. Salisbury, a former railroad man, on the brink of retirement, who lost his job and all retirement benefits because of his personal commitment to honor God and worship his Creator in church every Sabbath day.
Three names long-forgotten to history, known only to God and to the young minister, inspired forever by living sermons, bound together by their humble worship of God every Sabbath day.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 “And God blessed the seventh-day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Genesis 2:3 Crowning the creation miracle, God blessed the Sabbath “and made it holy.”
The science of synthetic organic chemistry confirms the impossibility of life creating itself from non-living matter, even in millions of deep time years. God, the intelligent Designer, created all things. He is Father of the human race. “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’” Genesis 1:26
A newborn human baby’s birthday is celebrated annually by the family. Parents are honored by a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The weekly Sabbath day of “rest,” honors God, the Father of all mankind.
More than a tradition or ritual, the Sabbath’s sacred moment in time memorializes life’s origin; the dignity of labor; man’s liberation from the shackles of sin and the promise of life eternal to all who “obeys Gods’ commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12
Once sin marred human hearts and a perfect creation, the sacred Sabbath became a casualty of the war between good and evil blazing on battlefield Earth. God chose Abraham, a righteous man, and his descendants to remind the world that God created Earth and all its lifeforms.
After delivering the chosen people from the slavery of Egyptian brickyards and ironworks, He presented the uneducated, former slaves with ten rules for better living written on two tables of stone. At the center of those guidelines for mankind to discover the joy of living, was the Sabbath, honoring the Creator.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy…The seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…The Lord blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11 This holy moment in time memorialized the creation miracle and celebrated deliverance of Abraham’s descendants from physical slavery. The Sabbath celebrated freedom and the origin of life.
“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.” Deuteronomy 5:15
From the beginning of time, and the creation of mankind, the Sabbath “rest” was “made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27 Despite the glorious purpose of this sacred opportunity to communicate with God, pagans trampled on this golden moment and God’s chosen ritualized its practice.
A patient God sent His “only begotten son” to Earth to live out God the Father’s perfect character of love and justice and as the Messiah pointing to the promise of a heavenly kingdom. Honoring the Creator by worshiping Him during the Sabbath ranked central to Central to Christ’s mission.
Jesus “went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, He went into the synagogue, as was His custom.” Luke 16:4 While ignoring restrictions imposed by empowered religious leaders, He asserted “the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath” Mathew 12:8.
When critics accused Jesus of defying ceremonial rituals that pointed to a promised Messiah, He replied, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” As the that promised Messiah, Jesus made clear “my kingdom is not of this world.”
Their system was loaded with a vast array of odious, impossible do’s and don’ts by humans, blinding ritualists to the simple beauty of God’s love. While the Sabbath was still recognized as a memorial to creation and a celebration of deliverance from physical slavery, it was Jesus, God the Father’s “only begotten Son,” who arrived on the scene to set the record straight.
On the Sabbath, Jesus worshipped in the synagogue “as was His custom.” He asserted “the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” while ignoring restrictions imposed by empowered religious leaders. Jesus reminded critics that the Sabbath “rest” was “made for man and not man for the Sabbath;” and that the Sabbath was a “delight.”
Once the Messiah had fulfilled his mission, the Temple ceremonies pointing to the promise of His coming and sacrificial death, had no further purpose. Christ’s death fulfilled the promise of a Messiah but did not abolish weekly worship honoring the Creator and His master plan of salvation.
The Apostle Paul’s familiarity with the Jewish faith offered a unique perspective or God’s plan of salvation. Rites and rituals such as circumcision had no relevance to the Christianity. Led by the Holy Spirit, Paul shared the big picture of Christ’s ministry built on God’s character of love.
More than worshiping the Creator of life and deliverance from physical slavery, the Sabbath “rest” includes celebrating breaking the burden of sin’s shackles available to all who repent and invite the Holy Spirit to transfer the message written on cold stone to their hearts.
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23 “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12,13
“On the seventh day God rested from all His work…It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in because of their disobedience. Therefore, God again set a certain day, calling it Today…” Hebrews 4:4, 6, 7
“To whom did God swear that they would never enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed?” Hebrews 3:18 “Since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it…Now we who have believed, enter that rest, just as God has said.” Hebrews 4:1, 3
“There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest, also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that, no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active…” Hebrews 4:9-12
Worshipping God “Today” becomes a growing in grace Sabbath “rest” by walking in the footsteps of Christ, 24/7. When God’ commandments come alive in human heart, the ten laws inscribed on tables of stone are not abolished or replaced but are animated dynamically in Christian lives.
Looking to the future, John the Revelator pictured the simple beauty of membership in the family pf God. These are the “saints” who “obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” See Revelation 14:12
The Desire of Ages, Chapter 29
Ellen White, Author
Audio by Meyers Media Group, Ari Meyers, narrator