Category Archives: Sabbath

The Fourth Commandment

From my earliest memories I knew about the Sabbath. Both of my parents came from generations of ancestors who kept the Sabbath, Seventh Day Baptists. When I grew up I was puzzled by the seeming lack of honor for the 7th day Sabbath (or the “Lord’s Day” Sabbath as well) in other Christian communities. As time went on, and I did not normally live where I had access to Seventh Day Baptist churches, I grew accustomed to worshiping in church for an hour or so on Sunday, and nodding to Sabbath by trying not to shop or clean my house on that day. I wouldn’t say, now, that I kept the Sabbath holy.

This week I was surprised to hear Alistair Begg, who is not a Sabbatarian, preach passionately on the Sabbath and the fourth commandment. From the sermon:

Now, there are two things that mitigate against any good understanding of this commandment, and they are these: on the one hand, an almost complete lack of conviction about any notion of the abiding significance of the fourth commandment—and we’ll address that in a moment—and on the other hand, almost total confusion concerning the nature not only of all the Ten Commandments but peculiarly of this one day.

Now, we can highlight this in a number of ways. Let me do so by quoting from the Civil War. I think it’s the Civil War, isn’t it? Stonewall Jackson? General Jackson is a legend in American history. Any of you who have read of Jackson will know that he was a man of extreme principle and character. At the very heart of this was his conviction of faith in Jesus Christ. And his extreme rigorous character attached itself also to the observance of the Sabbath. And writing in his biography, his widow says,

Certainly he was not less scrupulous in obeying the divine command to “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” than he was in any other rule of his life. Since the Creator had set apart this day for his own, and commanded it to be kept holy, he believed that it was … wrong for him to desecrate it by worldly pleasure, idleness, or secular employment, as to break any other commandment of the decalogue. Sunday was his busiest day of the week, as he always attended church twice a day and taught in two Sabbath schools! He refrained as much as possible from all worldly conversation, and in his family, if secular topics were introduced, he would say, with a kindly smile, “We will talk about that to-morrow.”

He never travelled on Sunday, never took his mail from the post-office, nor permitted a letter of his own to travel on that day, always before posting it calculating the time it required to reach its destination ….

One so strict in his own Sabbath observance naturally believed that it was wrong for the government to carry the [mail] on Sunday. Any organization which exacted secular labor of its employees on the Lord’s day was, in his opinion, a violator of God’s law.[2]

And so his life was marked by a rigorous obedience to the law of God.

Now, loved ones, here’s the question: Is this quote from Jackson an anachronism? In other words, if Jackson was right, where does that leave us? ’Cause if we’re right, most of us, he was wrong. But one thing is for sure: we’re not both right. So we need to go to our Bibles, then, and determine who approximates to the instruction of God’s Word closely. Is it us, in our libertine rejection of the Lord’s Day, or is it Jackson, in his rigorous obedience of it?

You can read the transcript, or listen (which I suggest) here:

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/holy-day-or-holiday-pt1/https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/holy-day-or-holiday-pt2/

A Day of Re-Creation

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Jan Brueghel the Elder, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1615

The Seventh Day

You left the final day for re-creation,
For art and song and festive feasts for all.
You knew we’d work and toil to our damnation,
So you left us space where we could wholly call
Upon your name. Our feasts and songs are sourced
In celebration of you, our only Lord.
You gave us life and yet we were not forced
To listen to your voice, your holy Word.
And when we fell, you did not take the space
You set aside to give us rest and play.
Instead you came and took from death our place,
So from the night we could find the final day.
The week is done, but soon that day is coming,
When we at last will have eternal Sonning.

David Russell Mosley

Found here.

 

Sabbath

I was raised in a Sabbath keeping family, a Sabbath keeping church, Seventh Day Baptist.  As an adult I have spent most of my life where I could not be a part of such a church.  That was not bad because it caused me to think about what I believed and why.  I still believe God blesses the Sabbath in a different way than he does the rest of the week.  I do not think it is A, or THE critical thing required to be a believer in Christ.  But, it IS one of the 10 commandments….the only one most think is no longer commanded.  I understand the arguments and logic of fellow Christians who say the idea that Sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ.  But what I have observed in myself as well as a lot (really most Christians I know) is that when we don’t keep Sabbath we lose the sense that it is a sacred 24 hours, kept as a reminder that we are in debt to a holy, loving, merciful and redeeming God.  I need to be reminded of that at least once  a week.  Thank God for the Sabbath.

 

Sabbath: a Rest toward God

From one of my favorite preachers/teachers, Alistair Begg:

“The key to the Sabbath is not inactivity.  The rest which God has ordained is a rest from labor and a rest toward Him (emphasis added)…  to be released to the worship of the glory of God…a great day for acts of mercy….to enjoy the privilege of God’s presence, the study of God’s word, the fellowship of God’s people.”

Listen here

A Time to Re-soul

I find it too easy to read quickly over familiar passages assuming I know the meaning without much, if any, further thought (it is so obvious!).  Reading this from Dr. Paul Manuel, in Time to Reboot gave me a much richer, almost concrete, way to understand the idea of renewal in the gift of the Sabbath.

Whereas rest is a common reason to keep the Sabbath, God mentions another reason that is not common. In addition to rest…

B. It is for renewal.8

He says the individual will “be refreshed,” rejuvenated. Those are common terms in English, and they are good translations of the Hebrew. The Hebrew word, however, is unusual, at least the form it takes here, because a common noun—the word for “soul”—has become a verb, literally “to re-soul” as if the benefit this day brings affects the very core of one’s being (emphasis added).

Endnotes 8 and 9 from the PDF:
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The Sweep of the Sabbath

This is one of my Dad’s notes I found in one of his books.

 

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I have not found this quote in context but was able to find an article written by Bacchiocchi.  From that article:

The free offering of time to God is a supreme act of worship, because it means acknowledging God with the very essence of human life: time. Life is time. When “time is up” life ceases to be. The offering of the Sabbath time to God enables the believer to acknowledge that his whole life, not just one seventh, belongs to God. It represents the Christian’s response to God’s claim on his life. By bringing all routine work to a halt for one day, he acts out his commitment to the Lord of his life. A similar objective is accomplished through the return of the tithe to God, as a recognition of His ultimate ownership.

http://www.giveshare.org/bacchiocchi/sabbathsign.html