How Serious is God’s Sabbath?
Fred R. Coulter—August 8, 1998
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This is first in a series that we’re going to do concerning the Sabbath day versus Sunday. We’re going to make this very thorough, cover all the ground, cover all the scriptures. We’re going to look at all of the arguments. We’re not going to leave any stone unturned to understand that God wants us to keep the Sabbath and His holy days. And it’s a shame right now that there are so many thousands of brethren who used to be in one of the largest churches of God, and kept the Sabbath, and kept the holy days, and now they’re going back to Sunday.
Just recently down in Pasadena at the world headquarters of Worldwide Church of God, they had their very first Sunday meeting in the Auditorium. And the Auditorium was supposed to be the house for God. And everything now is just being turned upside down. There are ministers who say, “We don’t believe at all anymore in the Sabbath and holy days.” And they’re going back to Sunday, and they’re going back Christmas, and they’re going back to Easter with all kinds of excuses and things to try and justify what they’re doing. There has been 20, 25 years now of dumbing down the ministry and dumbing down the brethren to the point that they can’t even read the Scriptures with clarity or understanding. And these things now come in cycles. Because we know how Satan works. He sends his agents to sit within and just wait for the right moment, and then spring the trap and bring in all thefalse doctrines. And we’ve seen how that has happened. So here, we are caught up in the centuries old battle of the controversy between Sabbath and Sunday, and which day is the day that God wants us to worship on.
And a lot of Sunday-keepers believe that Sabbath is Sunday. And I realized this from the time that I was up in Salt Lake City pastoring up there. And of course, that’s predominantly Mormon. And I was driving down the road one day, and here’s a great big sign which says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. See you in church on Sunday.” And that’s about as bifurcated is you can get. I did a double take on that sign. But you see, that’s how confused that people are today. And of course, God is not the author of confusion. Satan is the author of confusion. And when he comes in and causes the confusion within the church, that creates a lot of problems.
Now let’s come to Hebrews 5, and let’s understand where we’re coming from in this. And let’s understand what is happening in the church, and why these things are taking place, and why people do not understand the Scriptures, and why they are so susceptible to giving up the Sabbath and going to Sunday. Hebrews 5, and this is a very important thing to really realize here. Now verse 12, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,...” To have been in the church for ten years, 20 years, 15 years, 40 years, wherever it may be. You ought to be teachers. That is, you ought to be able to teach your neighbor about God. “...Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God;...” And the Sabbath is one of the very first principles of the oracles of God. The very first beginning that you can understand the Word of God and the truth of God. And so we’re really dealing with quite a tremendous problem here. And not only that, it also affects the people in the world, with all the Sunday-keepers in the world. Because the time is going to come when we’re going to have to say to them, “Look, your Sunday is just plain wrong.” And we’re going to see in this series why it’s going to be wrong.
Now continuing, “...and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” Too many people have not been fed spiritually. Too many people have not understood the Bible. And Jesus Christ is going to hold accountable all of those ministers who would dare to say another word other than what God has said; who would dare to not feed the sheep; who would dare not to do the things that God would want them to do. But they themselves become so dumbed-down in a spiritual stupor that they don’t know right from wrong, up from down. They don’t know the truth of the Bible versus the false doctrines, which the churches of this world have.
“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (vs. 12-13). Now, it’s one thing to have grown up in Christ to a certain extent and then regressed back to being a babe, back in spiritual diapers, that you can’t even tell which day is the day of the Lord. And you cannot even understand the arguments that are given against Sabbath-keeping. Or you can’t see the errors that have given in Sunday-keeping. And that is a shame. And God is going to hold you responsible for it. Now if you’re someone who is in that condition, you better listen. You better listen to God. You better listen to His Word. You better really wake up and realize and understand that God has not called you to a religion or to do some physical thing. God has called you to eternal life. And eternal life is going to be based upon God’s Spirit, His grace, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and keeping the commandments of God.
Now back here in Revelation 22, hold your place here in Hebrews 5 because we’ll be back. Revelation 22, right at the end of the whole Bible it says, beginning here in verse 12, and we need to understand this. And as I read this, I want you to think about the reward that you may or may not receive. I want to think about what maybe you have thrown away that you still have a chance to go back and recuperate; that you still have a chance to go back and recover yourself from the error of your ways. Notice verse 12, “And, behold, I come quickly;...” And I’ll tell you one thing, that “quickly” is a whole lot more quicker for us today than when we first believed. Now I don’t know about you, but I have been baptized for 38 years. And very soon it’s going to be 40 years. And so this “quickly” is a whole lot quicker for us. Now if you’re getting up to be a senior citizen like a lot of us are, His coming to you to call you to death to put you in the grave is right around the corner. So for you, His coming is going to be when you expire. That’s it. Because your next breath is either you’re going to meet Christ in the air at the resurrection, or you’re going to go into the lake of fire, one of the two. And that’s how serious this whole issue of Sabbath/Sunday-keeping is. Salvation is at stake. Truth is at stake. Righteousness is at stake.
Now continuing, Jesus said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed...” Now listen carefully. “Blessed are they that do His commandments,...” Now “doing” here in the Greek comes from the Greek word, poieo, which means, “to practice.” Are you practicing the commandments of God or not? Do you love God? Do you love His commandments? Do you love His word? Are you trying to keep it, or are you willing to say with all of those sinners, “Oh, well, God did not mean what He meant concerning the Sabbath day. That was for the Jews. We have the first day of the week.” Well if that’s the case, you are not doing His commandments, and you won’t have eternal life. Because it says here, “...that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:12-14). So it is a salvational issue. And I can state very frankly that no one is going to be in the first resurrection who does not keep the Sabbath of God. Because that’s the very first point, as we will see a little later, of fellowshipping with God.
Now let’s come back here to Hebrews 5:14. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Now sometimes things that are evil on the surface appear good. And it’s come to the point that a lot of people are willing to be satisfied with the righteousness of men rather than with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. So if you have not been exercising the Holy Spirit, if you have not been studying the Word of God, if you have not been keeping the commandments of God in truth and in deed, then you are in deep trouble when the Sunday problem comes around to you. You may choose the wrong thing and join the ranks of those who are in the Christian professing world.
Let’s come to Jeremiah 7. And let’s see just exactly what it is with conducting Sunday services down at the worldwide headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God, right in the auditorium that says this is the House of God. Now that’s really serious thing. They even had a Christmas tree in there last year. And I remember when we first got the letter that they were going to build an auditorium, which would be a house for God. “Oh, brethren, let’s all sacrifice and do extra.” We all did. We all sent in millions, and millions, and millions of dollars to do it, it didn’t we? And then other things happened. And then, lo and behold, when it came time to build it, all the money was gone, so they borrowed the money. So the whole thing started off on the wrong foot to begin with.
Now here in Jeremiah 7, and this is what it needs to be. This is exactly what is happening in the church. Let’s begin right in verse 1. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD” (Jer. 7:1-2). Now let’s just modify that just a little bit. “Hear the Word of the Lord, all you that worship the Lord, that enter in to Sunday and think that you can do it in the house dedicated to God and get away with it.” Now God may not send an earthquake or a lightning bolt to strike you down immediately. Because you see, there is a pleasure in sin for a while.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.” Or you can say today, “the House of God, we’re God’s people.” Don’t trust in those words. You trust in the word of God. Not in what you may think, not in what some minister may preach; not in what some theologian will say. Not in some doctrinal dissertation which makes it sound all nice and smooth, that “Christ has fulfilled everything for us.” Need to understand. “For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:…” (vs. 3-6).
Now brethren, let’s understand something very true, very right: you cannot worship God the way that the pagans worship their gods. And if you worship God that way, you are in fact worshiping other gods. And that’s what’s happening. We’re going to see that’s what you’re doing. He says don’t do that. If you don’t do that, “…Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” And we can apply that spiritually: “If you do what is right and don’t do these things, I will cause you to dwell in the church. And then you can be in the kingdom of God.” “Behold, ye trust in lying words,...” (vs. 7-8). We’re going to show that every doctrine concerning Sunday is a lie. Now who is the father of lies?
Let’s continue on right here. Very important to understand. And I want you to think about this spiritually. Verse 9, “Will ye steal,...” Now can you steal time? Can you steal time, Sabbath time? Holy day time? We’re going to see later that God says the Sabbath is His, and what should we do on it. “...[Will you] murder,...” And if you’re keeping Sunday and you’re rejecting the words of God, are you not murdering Christ all over again? “...And commit adultery,...” Go out and eat and drink with the drunkens of this world, the religious drunkards and do their thing? “...And swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name [stand in the very church of God], and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (vs. 9-10). I want you to think about it. Because that’s exactly what is happening when you do that. You turn your back on God.
Now, when we talk about Sunday, there are many professing Christians who keep Sunday. But they don’t think that they are required to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. No, they don’t. And they say that when God gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, He gave them to the Jews, and the Jews are the ones who are to keep the Sabbath, not Christians. So we need to really understand that. Now what happens here is that, according to the commonly accepted traditions and doctrines of men, it is claimed that professing Christians are justified in rejecting the commandment of God, the fourth commandment of God. And yet they go back and appropriate nine of them to themselves. It’s almost incongruous; and say, “Oh yes, we’re delivered to do this.”
Now we’re going to ask the question, are these claims true? What does the Bible record for us? What did Jesus really teach and do? What does the New Testament actually teach? To understand the truth, we need to begin with the basics. Now let me ask you a question: do you love God? Do you love Jesus Christ? Let’s put you to the test. Let’s go to John 14:15. We’ll just put you to the test. Here it is right here. Jesus said to His disciples...now if you’re a disciple of Jesus, this applies to you. These words were preserved for us. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” Now the Greek is even more strong here: “If you love Me, these commandments, namely Mine, you will keep” (vs. 15, paraphrased). Now let’s drop down here to verse 23. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words:...” And we’re going to see concerning the words of Christ. We need to go back and understand who Jesus really was. We need to go back and understand who has created the Sabbath. “...And My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. He [the one] that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye here is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me” (vs. 23-24). So you need to really think about it, that if you’re not keeping His sayings - and we’re going to see some of His sayings concerning the Sabbath - then you don’t love Him. If you don’t keep His commandments, you don’t love Him.
Let’s go to 1 John 5, and let’s come here and we’ll see what John had to write about it here in the epistle of 1 John. Very important. 1 John 5:2, “By this we know...” So you have to know. “...That we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.” Now this means all of them. It doesn’t mean part of them. It doesn’t mean with what you agree with. We’re going to see a little bit later on, that if you don’t agree with the Sabbath, you’re judging God. And that can lead to some fatal mistakes.
Now let’s come over here to 1 John 3:23. “And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he [the one who is keeping] that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.” Christ is dwelling in you, and you are dwelling in Christ, if you are keeping His commandments. “And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us,…” (1 John 3:23-24). And there comes a time when there is despite done to the Spirit of grace. And we will see about that a little bit later on.
So if you are not keeping His commandments, then, of which the fourth commandment is the second longest commandment in all of the ten. You can agree with nine. But think of it this way: take the body and divide it into ten parts. And you take and cut right out of the middle of the body that which equals the amount of the fourth commandment out of the ten, and you’ve got a dead body. And that’s why you have a dead religion if you keep Sunday. Now there may be other life there temporarily, but you have to ask the question, is that from God, or is that from human beings, or is that from Satan the devil? Because you can be guaranteed God is not going to put His nose into a Sunday meeting because He never made the day holy.
Now let’s go one step further. Let’s come to Matthew 4:4. We’re going to see something is very important what Jesus said. And let’s understand something here right now: when Jesus was conducting His ministry it was under the terms of the New Covenant. It was not under the terms of the Old Covenant. That’s one of the false arguments that people have. “Well, when Jesus came He was under the Old Covenant.” No. He was under the New Covenant for eternal life. Now notice what He said during the temptation. The devil here, in verse 4, or verse 2 rather, “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:2-4). And who was Jesus? Jesus was God. Jesus was the one Who created the Sabbath, as we will see. A basic fundamental thing we need to understand. Have we forgotten that?
Now can you throw out the Sabbath and say you’re living by every word of God? Can you deny that and say that you can choose any commandment you want, and you’re going to go ahead and do that? Let’s look at it another way. Since Jesus said, “Your word is truth,” John 17:17, can you throw out truth and live a lie and say you’re justified before God? Now think on that. This is something. We need to really understand it. We really need to get into the word of God and realize.
Now let’s come back to Psalm 119, and let’s refresh our memory concerning the commandments of God. Listen brethren, God has given us the greatest thing He can possibly give us, which is His Holy Word. And then He gives us His Spirit in order to keep it, which is greater than His Word; which gives us understanding, which gives us knowledge, which gives us truth, which leads us and guides us. Are we going to turn our back on the Holy Spirit? Are we going to go back and say that it really is meaningless, it doesn’t mean anything to us? That we can now choose whichever commandments of God we want to keep? Or what if someone says, “Well, we don’t keep the Sabbath, so why should I keep the commandment concerning adultery? Why, adultery is all right. As long as I think that it’s really good.” Or how about murder? Can you do the same thing? Throw that away? No. Let’s understand something. You cannot throw away the truth of God.
Here, Psalm 119:142, “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,...” So all the commandments of God are everlasting righteousness, are they not? Are they not done in righteousness and truth? Is not the Word of God the truth of God? “...And Thy law is the truth.” Now let’s come down here to verse 151. “Thou art near, O LORD; and all Thy commandments are truth.” Very profound. We need to realize and understand that. Let’s come over here to verse 160. Put it all together. “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of Thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” Now if you don’t have the tape, you write in for it, “Jesus and the Prophetic Words of the Law”, which is Psalm 119. This is how Jesus viewed the laws of God. After all, He’s the one Who made and created them and set it all in motion, isn’t He?
Now let’s understand one other thing concerning the word of God, as a basic to begin with, so we know where we are going in this. Let’s come to 2 Timothy 3, and let’s understand that God has given us by inspiration His word. Now the reason I’m going over this and being very clear on this is because we need to understand that you can’t do as the Sunday-keepers say, and do away with the Sabbath and keep Sunday. And by your own choice think that you can make Sunday holy and have God accept it. Let’s realize that. Let’s come here to verse 15. Paul is writing to Timothy and says, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,...” Now this is all of them. Old Testament and New Testament, because a lot of the New Testament was written by this time. “...Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Now notice he didn’t say that you have faith in Christ Jesus and the law is done away. We’ll talk about that a little bit later on when we go through every one of the arguments.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God,...” All scripture. And that literally means, “God breathed.” Now think on that. Jesus said man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God; and all scripture is given by inspiration - God breathed. “...And is profitable for doctrine,...” And doctrine is teaching. And the doctrine concerning the Sabbath is profound and important, and we need to understand and realize it. “...For reproof,...” There’s going to be some reproof in what I’m going to say. “...For correction, for instruction in righteousness:...”, that you may learn how to lead a godly life. “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (vs. 15-17). Now we are to become perfect in Christ. So let’s understand that a great part of this has to do with the Sabbath.
Now let’s come clear to the beginning. Let’s see when the Sabbath was made. God wanted it understood from the beginning, no doubt about it. He wanted all mankind to know and to realize. And the very first ... He doesn’t even let you get done with two chapters before He lets you know about the Sabbath. And He wants you to understand about the Sabbath in a profound way. And the Sabbath, as we’re going to see a little later on, was not just something of a willy-nilly thing, but it was planned by God. And it was for the purpose of giving it to mankind.
Now Genesis 2:1. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the [sixth] seventh day...” Sixth day, as it should read. The King James says seventh day, but it should read sixth day. “...God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 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” (Gen. 2:1-3). Now let’s look at this verse and understand a little bit more in it, because there’s a lot more for us to understand from this verse that we can realize what is happening and what it’s really telling us.
Now first of all, who does the blessing? God. Nowhere here does it say Adam blessed the day. Nowhere do we find that Adam kept the first day of the week holy. Nowhere. God blessed it and sanctified it. Now, man cannot make something holy, because man is not holy. God alone is holy. So God sanctified it. Set it aside. Made it holy. Why? Because God rested in it from all His work which God created and made. In other words, God put His very presence into that day. So picture this: right after the creation of Adam and Eve, God rested, instructed them, told them, “I am your God, you are My creation. I’ve got a fantastic plan for you and all your children, and I want you to increase, I want you to multiply, I want you to replenish the earth, and I’m going to bless you. And I’ve got a tremendous plan. And this plan is going to be absolutely marvelous, and you are the first man, and you are the first woman. And you’re going to be the mother of all the living.” And so can you imagine the instruction that they had on the first Sabbath?
Now let’s also understand something here too. Because a lot of people say that Sabbath is not grace. They were in a perfect state of grace - in the presence of God. In the Garden of Eden, right there, living and dwelling with God. And so right from the beginning God intended all mankind to keep the Sabbath. Now let’s jump forward to the New Testament for just a minute, and then we’ll come back and see some other things in the Old Testament. Now let’s go to Mark 2 and let’s understand something very important. And we need to realize how important this is. Verse 27 - New Testament doctrine. Let’s understand one thing clear: one of the arguments is that, “Since it’s not restated in the New Testament exactly like it is in the Old Testament, therefore, we don’t have to do it.” Not so. Man shall live by every word of God. Does that not restate it? Why should everything have to be restated? That is a carnal, satanic, salacious argument that has no standing at all. You need to realize that.
Mark 2:27, “And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man,...” Now what does that mean? “Man” here in the Greek, verse 27, is anthropos, meaning, “mankind.” And a little later we’re going to see, even in the languages on this side of the Tower of Babel, we have Saturday listed as sabado, saba, etc., in almost every language on earth. Now let’s understand, that is meaningful and that is highly significant. The Sabbath was made for man. That’s why God created it, that He could have a day of fellowship with man, He could have a day where they could come together to worship Him, that He put His presence in this day. It is holy time made for man. “...And not man for the sabbath:..” Meaning that God created the Sabbath first, and then mankind. He didn’t do that, did He? He created mankind first and then the Sabbath. And that’s the first thing that man observed. It was the Sabbath day. Because God wanted to know, as we saw back there in Genesis, God wanted them to know right away who was God, who was their Creator. So that’s the first thing that they were told. So you see, that’s quite a thing.
Now notice verse 28. And this is important. “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath [day].” Now nowhere does it say Sunday. He is Lord of the Sabbath day. Now which day is the Lord’s day? The Sabbath. Jesus said so. Nowhere did He ever, ever, ever, ever say that Sunday was the Lord’s Day. That is a concocted lie by men. It is absolutely not true, and does not hold any water whatsoever. Nowwe need to realize that. Now I know people are going to say, “Well, after Genesis 2, you don’t find any place for keeping the Sabbath until you get to Exodus 20, and giving the Ten Commandments.” I understand that’s what people will say. But let’s examine that argument for just a minute. Let’s go back and look and see. Let’s understand that that also is a salacious argument. Let’s look at the facts of the Bible. Let’s let the Bible show us, let’s let the Bible teach us, let’s let the Bible give us the understanding that we need to do.
Now let’s go back to Genesis, and let’s come to Genesis 26. Because here’s something we need to understand. It is very important for us to realize, because if we are Christ’s, then we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. And a lot of people will put up the concocted argument that Abraham did not keep the Sabbath. Well if it says there in Revelation 22:14 that, “Blessed are those that do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life” (paraphrased), and it says that you’re going to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and “you yourselves thrust out”, (He told the scribes and Pharisees) that means he kept the commandments, didn’t he? That means he kept the Sabbath. Doesn’t have to say specifically that He did, because these verses here tell us exactly that He did. And there can be no question whatsoever about it. Now there may be an argument, but that is only the disputations of men.
Genesis 26, and He told Isaac the reason he was going to receive these blessings was because, verse 5, “…That Abraham obeyed My voice,…” Now I want you to go and understand some very important, fundamental things. Everything we have in the Bible here is from the voice of God, or the inspiration of God. And if you read the New Testament, since, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1), and that was Jesus Christ; He’s the one Who, then, inspired the Old Testament and the New Testament. And you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and ninety-nine percent of the words there are the words of Christ and His teachings. So when you read that, you’re reading the voice of Christ. When you read here about what God said to Israel, “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Moses, say unto the children of Israel: “Thus says the LORD God…”, that is His voice. We’ll see that a little bit later on.
Now notice, “…Obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Gen. 26:5). Now, which laws and commandments and statutes did God give to Israel? Are they not the same ones? Does He not say, “These are My laws”? Since Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, do you think that He’s going to change it? If He started out from the beginning with the Sabbath, and created it, and made it for mankind, do you think that Abraham kept Sunday? Do you think that Abraham kept any of the holidays of the world for the pagan gods around, and the nations that God was going to destroy and give his descendants that inheritance? I’ll use a modern saying: Spare me! If you believe that, you’re not even in the ballpark, let alone get a chance to get up and bat. So you need to think about that and cover these things.
Now let’s carry the story forward a little bit further. When the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, they didn’t have an opportunity to keep the Sabbath. Moses came in and said, “We want them to have a day of rest.” And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I will give them rest?” Let’s come here to Exodus 16. Very important. This is a profound chapter when you understand everything that is here. Because Exodus 16 tells us concerning the Sabbath, and God has performed some special miracles on it. Now we need to understand and realize, that when this message was given about the manna, and about the quail, that it was given on the Sabbath day.
So let’s read here. Let’s begin right here in verse 4. The whole assembly was there. “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or no.” Because you see, God’s law is in existence, whether it is stated in a particular place that you may think it needs to be. Because that’s neither here nor there. That’s a false judgment, you see. God’s laws are God’s laws at all times. And whether people even in the world don’t know God’s laws or not, that’s neither here nor there. God’s laws are spiritual and active and moving, and they are in place and in operation all the time, just like the law of gravity.
Exodus 16:5 now, “And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even [at sunset], then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: and in the morning [sunrise], then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat,…” (Ex. 16:5-8). And that was after sunset, because on the Sabbath He sent the quail right at sunset. And after the Sabbath, in the evening, here it’s between the two evenings, as I’ve explained in great detail in the Passover book; meaning, “Between sunset and dark, you shall eat flesh.”
“…And in the morning…” So you’ve got sunset, Sabbath ends, quail comes, they eat them that night, between the two evenings, between sunset and dark. “…In the morning, [sunrise] bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against Him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD” (vs. 8). So then, God sent it. And here’s all the instruction that He gave them to do. They went out and they found the manna in the morning the way that they were supposed to. Some of them brought in more than they should have during the week, and it bred worms and stunk and rotted. So then when they went out on the sixth day, they went out and they were to get in twice as much. Now let’s read that.
Exodus 16:22, “And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for [every] one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To- morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath…” (vs. 22-23). The Sabbath was in existence before the Ten Commandments were given. Don’t let anyone kid you and say, “The Sabbath did not come into existence until God gave it to the children of Israel.” Nonsense! He created it right at the beginning, didn’t He? Yes He did.
“…Bake that which ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to-day; for to-day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to-day ye shall not find it in the field.” And from that day forward, every week, six days a week, the manna came. Even all during their wanderings for forty years. There was no doubt when the Sabbath was. Now notice, “…To-day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none” (vs. 23-27).
Now here’s the question: what does it take for people to understand the Word of God? What does it take for them to believe the Word of God? What will it take for you to believe the Word of God? Now, if you’ve gone to Sunday-keeping, do you really believe it? Do you really think you can turn your back on God? I mean, think about it. That’s something.
Now notice, they didn’t find any. They still went out to work. They didn’t find any. How do you feel when you work on the Sabbath? How do you feel now, that a man has come along and said, “Well, if you have to, it’s ok to work on the Sabbath day. After all, you’ve got to feed yourself. After all, you’ve got to take care of your family.” This is a lesson, brethren, that God is showing us, that He’ll take care of us. He will feed us. He will clothe us. He will watch over us. Now He doesn’t say that we won’t have trials. He doesn’t say that there may not be difficulties. But He’ll still take care of us. That’s all fundamental in believing God.
Now notice verse 28. This is a key and an important verse. Profound saying. “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?” Now there it is. God’s laws are living. God’s laws are eternal. They are a spiritual creation. They therefore never are done away. Now when we come to the New Testament, and you want some New Testament arguments, we are going to see that God did not do away with a thing. Yes, He changed the terms of the covenant, but He amplified the law to make it more binding. That’s what He did, not do away of any of His laws.
Now let’s ask another question here: can you do away with the law of gravity? No, you can’t. And if the law of gravity were done away with, what would happen? The whole earth would fly apart. And we would become so much junk floating around in space. Well, you know, it’s the same thing with the Sabbath day. The Sabbath day anchors you to God. And if you are not anchored to God, you are going to fly away spiritually, and become spiritual junk, as it were, floating out in the nether-nether of religious stupidity.
Verse 29, “See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath [day],…” Now, did God ever give us anything that wasn’t good for us? Even His chastisement is good for us, right? So that we learn not to sin. Isn’t that true? I mean, think of it. God gave the Sabbath day. Are you then going to turn around and say, “God, I hate your gift. God, I don’t want what you’ve given me. God, I have something better – I have Sunday”? I mean, maybe you’ve never really put it that way, but that’s exactly what you’re doing, just exactly as these people, who went out there on the Sabbath day to try and find manna, when God told them it wouldn’t be there. So you need to really think on that, and really need to understand it.
Now let’s go to Exodus 20. Let’s come back to chapter 19 first, for just a minute. Let’s understand something concerning obeying the voice of God. This is very important. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 3. “And Moses went up unto God,…” Now this is quite a scene. “…And the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;…” The greatest event to ever happen before the coming of Christ, brethren – the giving of the law at Sinai. And God gave all the commandments for the good of the people, because He loved them. And God wanted to bless them, and God wanted them to prosper; and God wanted them to love Him and serve Him, and have that close relationship with Him.
So He said, “…Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed,…” (vs. 4). And all the way through, you go through the book of Jeremiah; it’s all based upon obeying the voice of God, hearkening to the voice of God, or not doing it. So that’s very important. I want to ask you a question: do you hear and obey the voice of God today? Do you hear Jesus? Do you hear the words of truth? Do you hear the word of God? God wants it in your mind and in your heart. Is it there? Are you willing to obey? “…If ye will obey My voice indeed and keep My covenant,…” And the New Covenant also has laws. “…Then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine:…” Now you apply that spiritually for the New Covenant. Didn’t we read that, “If you love Me you will keep My words.” Isn’t that what Jesus said? Was not Jesus Christ the Lord God of the Old Testament?
Let’s come here to Exodus 20 now, and let’s see the words of God. This is the voice of God. He spoke this to the people. So if you claim nine of these, and you reject any one of them, you’re going to fall into the same category as James said: if you keep all the law, but offend in one point of the law, you have broken the whole law. So let’s read the one concerning the Sabbath. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:…” This is not a principle of “one day in seven.” This is the seventh day. That’s why it needs to be stated. It is Saturday, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. That is the Sabbath day. “…But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD…” That means He owns it. It belongs to Him. He created it His holy and special time. “…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 [on] the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Ex. 20:8-11).
Brethren, no other day has been made holy, except the holy days. And those are also called Sabbaths. So there we have it, right there. And if you keep the Sabbath you will never believe in evolution of any kind. No question about it. Now let’s understand something else concerning the Sabbath. Let’s go to Deuteronomy 5, where the Ten Commandments are given again. There is another reason why we keep the Sabbath. And in particularly for us today who live in the end of the age. Very important for us to understand and realize. This world, brethren, out there, is a slave-hold. Just exactly like Egypt. And if you don’t keep the Sabbath, you’re bound up in that slave-hold. You’re wrapped up in the world.
Now let’s pick it up here in Deuteronomy 5:12, where then, He again talks about the Sabbath day. “Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it,...” Now how can you keep the Sabbath day if you reject it? How can you keep the Sabbath day if you cast it behind you? “...As the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, [where you couldn’t keep the Sabbath]...” And so, brethren, we keep the Sabbath to remember that God has called us out of the world. And we’re going to see that Sunday-keeping is part and parcel with the world. “...And that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day” (vs. 12-15). Now are you going to go to God and say, “I don’t want to keep the Sabbath day”? I mean, that’s something. Keep it in mind.
Now to be called and receive God’s Holy Spirit is the greatest blessing that you can receive in this life. Do you understand that? There can be nothing greater. What are you going to compare it to? I mean, God is giving you the opportunity for eternal life. God has begotten you with His Holy Spirit. God has made you a part of His family, to be the sons and daughters of God at the resurrection. So He has brought you out with a mighty hand. And furthermore, we know it is that God the Father is the one Who draws us. And no one can come to the Father except through Christ. And He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Now let’s come back to Exodus 31. Let’s understand something concerning the Sabbath. Let’s realize that there’s also another aspect to it, which goes on in a perpetual situation. Now here in Exodus 31, beginning in verse 12. And let’s understand that this is a profound section of scripture. This is not only part of the Old Covenant, but also part of the covenant, which perpetuated beyond the Old Covenant. Because “covenant” merely defines the terms by which God engages with you. The New Covenant defines the terms in which God engages with you. There are commandments, there are laws, there are statutes that we are to keep. And they are to be in our hearts and in our minds, in our inward parts, a very part of our being, of which the Sabbath day is that. He says, “I will write My laws into their hearts and inscribe them upon their minds” (Jeremiah 31:33, paraphrased). And this is part of it here.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily [or that is, truly] My sabbaths ye shall keep:...” (Ex. 31:12-13). And this is plural, meaning also the annual sabbaths. And of course, the world doesn’t understand God’s plan, because they don’t keep the holy days. And, you know, what a shame, even within the Church of God the holy days have been so, just skeletonized, if I could put it that way, that it really has virtually no meaning topeople today. I had one woman tell me that she never knew that the days of Unleavened Bread had more to do than just putting leavened bread out of her home and eating unleavened bread. Now that’s how far down some people have gotten. Brethren, the holy days are so full of understanding and meaning, and portray for us the great plan of God, marvelous and wonderful indeed. And yet people are willing to turn their back on it. And what you’re doing is turning your back on God.
He says, “...My sabbaths [truly] ye shall keep:...” And He means just that. “...For it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations;...” A perpetual generation. Not only to just the children of Israel, but who is the Israel of God today but the church? “…That ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you” (vs. 13). Now it puts you in contact with God. The Sabbath is the very first day that gives you the understanding of who God is. Now, in other churches and religions, you may know some things about God. But to know God, that’s profound. Do you know God? Do you have a relationship with God? Do you fellowship with God when you pray, when you study, when you keep the Sabbath? Is it a day that you fellowship with God on? Here, hold your place here and let’s go to the epistle of 1 John for just a minute, and let’s see what else it tells us concerning commandment keeping, where He says, “Verily, My sabbaths you shall keep.” Now I don’t know how you can get around that. That’s pretty straightforward.
1 John 2. When they had different false teachers coming around then - because this is not the first time that the people of the Church of God have been giving up on the Sabbath. Here, 1 John 2:3. “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” Now we read earlier that His commandments are not burdensome and grievous. And that’s how we know that we love God and the children of God, when we keep His commandments. So notice this. We know that we know. So I want to ask you a question, and I want you to answer it in your heart and mind right now: do you know God? Does God know you? Now you think on that. I hope you do. “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” Now notice what else John says. “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” And who is the father of lies but Satan the devil? Very important. “But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:...” And that means, “being perfected.” “...Hereby know we that we are in Him” (1 John 2:3-5).
Now it’s the same way back here. Let’s come back to Exodus 31 again and see how this ties in. This is a commandment of God. “...Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations;...” Are we still in the generation of human beings? Of course we are. “...That ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” Now continuing, verse 14, “Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore;...” There it is. “Keep the sabbath,” again. “...For it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death:...” And if you defile the Sabbath, you’re going to be put to death spiritually. You’re going to die the death, little by little by little by little. But there may even be a fool’s elation in keeping Sunday. Because there is pleasure in sin for a season. But it’s going to happen. You’re going to be cut off.
“...For whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people” (Ex. 31:13-14). And the greatest punishment that you could ever have is to be cut off from God. That’s the greatest punishment. And you don’t even know it. The people out here in the world don’t even know it. They don’t even know God. They don’t care about God. They’re out there shopping on the Saturdays, polluting and destroying the Sabbath. You can go into stores on a busy day… And I know, I was in Costco yesterday. I had to get some things. And it just struck me as I was pushing the cart around, I could hear the beep, beep, beep of all the checkout stands going together. And so I stopped and I just listened, it was going beep, beep, beep, and it’s just money, money, money, money, money. Well, Saturday is their biggest day. They polluted the Sabbath. They’re cut off from God. They don’t have any spiritual values, no truth, no understanding. No hope of life, no purpose where they’re going. No love of God. Oh, but they have goods. Oh, they have services. And oh yes, they have all these physical things, don’t they? But they’re cut off from God. Walking in blindness. And their spiritual leaders are blind. And Christ said, “Let the blind lead the blind and they’ll both fall in a ditch” (Matthew 15:14, paraphrased). They’re cut off from among the people.
Verse 15, “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy unto the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” The wages of sin is death. That’s New Testament doctrine. “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath,...” Now three times it says right here within these few verses, “Keep the Sabbath.” I don’t know how people can get around it. How can theologians and ministers have the gall to stand up at a pulpit and say you don’t need to keep it when God says you do need to keep it? And we’ll show that there is New Testament doctrine to show that, yea, you better keep it.
“...To observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant” (vs. 16). This, brethren, is a separate, perpetual covenant in addition to the Old Covenant that is to go down in time through all history. That’s why it’s listed as separate. That’s why God wanted to make it sure that it was understood. Because He knew there would be clever men coming around with clever arguments who would blaspheme the truth. Men who have stealthily snuck in for the day when they can undo the truth of God and destroy the Church of God and destroy the faith of brethren. So He has it right here. Perpetual covenant. “Perpetual” means never ending. Question: does God still exist? Yes. Question: Do the people of God still exist? Yes. So therefore, in a perpetual covenant you are to keep the Sabbath, no question about it.
And verse 17, “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” So it always goes back to creation. The Sabbath day has been in effect from creation. Now let’s look and see here in just a minute what the children of Israel did in the wilderness, and what their fathers did when they got into the land, and what the priests and the prophets did to turn their back on God and reject the Sabbath day.
Now let’s come to Ezekiel 20. This is a very profound chapter. This is something that is so important for us to realize. Here, let’s go back to Ezekiel 14, because I want us to understand profound principle that we need to understand concerning not only the Sabbath day, but everything that we do. Let’s begin right in verse 1. Now they were in captivity for their sins. God had destroyed their temple, had destroyed their land, removed them out of it for sinning; for breaking the Sabbath; for destroying the knowledge of the holy days; for worshiping pagan gods, which meant keeping Sunday, and Easter, and Christmas, and all that sort of thing. Maybe under different names, maybe in a little different fashion than some people do today, but it’s still exactly the same principle.
“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart,...” God took them out of the land, God destroyed the idols, sent them off into captivity, and yet they still had them in their heart. I want to ask you, do you have any idols in your heart? And if you are not keeping the Sabbath any longer, are you not idolizing another day? Think on it. You can’t make it holy, but you can make an idol out of it. “...And put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?” (Ezek. 14:1-3).
Are you going to go and inquire of God when you reject His way? “Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations” (vs. 4-6).
Now let’s come to Ezekiel 20. Again, “And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me” (Ezek. 20:1). And isn’t that what people do on Sunday? Don’t they all come and sit before the Lord? “We’re here.” But God says, “Yesterday, I was there.”
“Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to enquire of Me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you. Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers: and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up Mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known unto them in the land of Egypt,...” So we go right back to that day. “...When I lifted up Mine hand unto them, saying, I am the LORD your God; in the day that I lifted up Mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands [a beautiful place]: then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (vs. 2-7).
Now let’s understand one thing about Egypt. One of their main gods was sun worship. And guess which day they kept? Sunday. Think on it. That’s an abomination of Egypt. Verse 8, “But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken unto Me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.” So God was going to destroy them right then. “But I wrought for My name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made Myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.” And now today we’re to live in truth and in the spirit. “Moreover also I gave them My sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them” (vs. 8-12).
Where they pleased with that? Where they thankful with that? No. “But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My sabbaths they greatly polluted:...” (vs. 13). That’s what’s happening today. People are polluting the Sabbath by counting it nothing. Let me tell you something, what of God’s way would you count as nothing? What commandment of God to you is worth so little you will throw it away? Now, you need to think about it, because we’re talking about a profound thing. Greatly polluted.
“…Then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.” But again, He held back His hand. “But I wrought for My name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up My hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; because they despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols” (vs. 13-16). So there it is. When you start having idolatry and Sabbath-breaking, they go hand in hand. No question about it.
“Nevertheless Mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the LORD your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; and hallow My sabbaths [plural]; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against Me: they walked not in My statutes, neither kept My judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted My sabbaths; then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew Mine hand,...” (vs. 17-22). Look at God’s mercy, time and time again. Over and over again.
“…That it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen…I lifted up Mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, and had polluted My sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes thatwere not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;…” (vs. 22-25). Now whose statutes and judgments is this talking about? He turned them over to their own devices. He turned them over to the statutes and judgments which their fathers had created, the pagan abominations based upon their idols, which had Sunday-keeping, Christmas, Easter, and all the pagan things that they were doing. And those were the judgments which were not good. All of God’s ways are good. And it says here, “…whereby they should not live:…” You can’t live in those things.
“…And I polluted them in their own gifts,…” Listen – if you’re keeping Sunday, God is going to pollute you in your own way. It is going to come upon you. “…In that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD” (vs. 25-26). Now look – there are two ways you’re going to know the Lord. We’re going to end it here. You’re going to know Him by keeping His Sabbath and keeping His commandments. “Hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). There’s another way you’re going to know God. The other way is, you go your way, you go do your sin, and God’s fury and God’s judgment is going to land on you, and you are going to know that God is the one Who has done it. Now, brethren, that is how serious Sabbath-keeping really is. And we need to understand it. We’ll continue next time, and get into more in the Old Testament, and then get more into the New Testament.
Holy Sabbath #1
|1) Hebrews 5:12-13||15) Genesis 26:5|
|2) Revelation 22:12-14||16) Exodus 16:4-8, 22-29|
|3) Hebrews 5:14||17) Exodus 19:3-4|
|4) Jeremiah 7:1-10||18) Exodus 20:8-11|
|5) John 14:15, 23-24||19) Deuteronomy 5:12-15|
|6) 1 John 5:2||20) Exodus 31:12-13|
|7) 1 John 3:23-24||21) 1 John 2:3-5|
|8) Matthew 4:2-4||22) Exodus 31:13-14|
|9) John 17:17||23) Matthew 15:14|
|10) Psalm 119:142, 151, 160||24) Exodus 31:15-17|
|11) 2 Timothy 3:15-17||25) Ezekiel 14:1-6|
|12) Genesis 2:1-3||26) Ezekiel 20:1-26|
|13) Mark 2:27-28||27) 1 John 2:3|
|14) Revelation 22:14|