The history of the Sabbath
On the 7th day God finished His creation, and rested. Creation was brought to completion on the 7th day and the phrase “there was evening and morning..” does not appear, it’s like a day with no end. The idea is that this Sabbath is not limited, and it does not expire after one day, it continues eternally. On the 7th day, God’s presence fills His creation, the land provides for all God’s creation including humans who are appointed to rule over God’s creation and creature.
But the humans are deceived by satan and they forfeited the rest, the eternal Sabbath. It’s like they are exiled into Egypt. When God put the Israelites under slavery in Egypt, they are looking for rest, for release, for liberation. In other words, they are seeking for Sabbath. So God brings them out into the Wilderness, the Wilderness represents the fallen state of our hearts. But even in that Wilderness, God creates a circumstance where the Israelites can experience the Sabbath of God. God provided the tabernacle representing His presence, God provided the pillars of fire and cloud, God provided water and manna. They experienced God’s blessing and grace in the Wilderness, they experienced prosperity, and protection. And through the law and the manna, God trained them to keep the Sabbath on the 7th day. God said they may collect the manna for 6 days but on 7th day, God says they shall not collect and they shall rest. Even before giving them the ten commandments, God put them in training and had them rest and worshipped God on the 7th day.
For us also, although we are not yet there in the Eternal land of Sabbath, the promised land, the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of heaven, God already has us practice experiencing the blessing of Sabbath here every Lord’s Day.
God blessed the seventh day and God sanctified this day (Gen 2:3), what does that mean?
1. God blessed the Seventh day (Exod 20:8-11)
It’s the 4th commandment; God wants us to keep this day holy (Exod 20:8). And at the end it says therefore God blessed the 7th day and made it holy (Exod 20:11).
God has put His blessing into this day, into this realm of Sabbath, those who come into it will receive those blessings. But those who ignore it are neglecting God and rejecting God’s blessings. What are these blessings ?
(1) Blessing of flourishment, growth and being fruitful
Ps 92:12-15 tell us the righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar. Cedar wood lasts long and repels bugs. Cedar tree represents people who are blessed so that temptations and satan’s work are repelled from them. It represents eternal life. They are full of sap and very green. God will use us to declare His uprightness.
(2) Blessing of prosperity and sanctification of the soul
3 John 1:2 is speaking about the wellbeing of our spirit, soul and body. If you brought your heart of depression, worries and concerns today, may God bless you with this today so that your heart, your soul may be rejuvenated. On Sabbath, let us come to seek His grace, and His salvation. And may we receive it.
(3) Blessing of salvation and consecration
Deuteronomy 5:15 – this is the day we remember God’s salvation. When we observe it, God will save us, God will save us from our troubles, God will save us from the sins of this world, and from the sin we committed.
(4) Blessing of God remembering His covenant/promise
Keeping, observing the Sabbath will allow us to celebrate the Sabbath throughout our generations, and God will remember His covenant with us. We will become the people for whom God will fulfill His covenant (Exod 31:16). And we will become the receiver of God’s promise – eternal life (1 John 2:25).
(5) Blessing of the joy of redemption
Isaiah 56:2-8 tell us that even gentiles or foreigners can enter into the general assembly of God’s people if they do 2 things; remember the Sabbath and keep the covenant of God.
(6) The Sabbath day is the foreshadowing of the eternal Sabbath in heaven
(Rev 21:1-2, Heb 4:1-10) All the wrath, all the condemnation will be taken away, you and I will be able to enter into the eternal Sabbath.
2. He sanctified this day
Sanctify means to make Holy. To make holy means to give it a purpose, it’s only for God.
(1) It’s a blessing of being able to worship God and come into fellowship with God.
Unless we are given the Holy Spirit, we are not able to truly worship Him. Those who come to the Sabbath are given that permission, meaning we can find God as our friend on this day. God is here, and He wants to have fellowship with you; this is the great privilege of the sanctification of this day. This is the day when the channel is really wide open, so come and pray to God believing that your prayers will be answered according to God’s goodness.
(2) Those who come into His presence will also be sanctified, will be cleansed so that today will be a new day (Matthew 6:33, Isaiah 58:13-14).
Let us pray that we all together will enter into God’s presence, God’s Sabbath. When we enter into His Sabbath that is forever. Let us lift up all our troubles to God. And He will return His covenant, His blessings, His sanctification to us. Let us take all of that, and more than anything we have the greatest blessing, we become friends of God. May we receive that blessing and gain victory.