A Perpetual Covenant Essential for Salvation

Fred R. CoulterAugust 22, 1998

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This is number two in a series we are doing on the Sabbath. And we’ll also do the holy days with this. And let’s understand something about the Sabbath day, brethren. Let’s understand the real purpose that God has given it. He has given it with His grace so that we can fellowship with Him; that the Sabbath can be the very best day of the week, the very highlight of our whole lives every week. Because in the Sabbath, then, we fellowship with God, fellowship with Jesus Christ, we fellowship with the brethren, and we grow in grace and knowledge, and God’s presence is with us. That’s why when He created the seventh day He made it a special time. And it says here – let’s just review in Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day [sixth day, as it should read] God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.” Now He rested so that He could be with Adam and Eve personally, to teach them, to tell them that He is their God, their Creator; and to show them as much of the plan of God as He could, just being newly created. And in that, then, the Sabbath is an integral part of our fellowship and our relationship with God.

See, we need to realize and understand something very important. And if you haven’t seen the two tapes, “Why God Hates Religion,” be sure and watch those. Because, you see, God is not interested in a religion; God is interested in a relationship. And the Sabbath day is a relationship day between you and God the Father and Jesus Christ and all the brethren together. So as God looks down upon the earth, and where the Sabbath begins – say, over in Australia – and then the Sabbath is coming to all the people that are on the earth for a whole twenty-four hour period, the Sabbath day is beginning. Then when it ends in Australia, then it’s beginning to end all around the world for another twenty-four hours. So from God’s perspective, His Sabbath day and fellowshipping with His people is actually forty-eight hours on the earth. But it’s one day wherever you are, from sunset to sunset. And that’s what’s so important.

So “…God blessed the seventh day…” Now, we don’t find that He blessed any other day, except the holy days. We’ll cover that when we get to it. “...And sanctified it:...” That means He set it aside and made it holy. That’s why the Sabbath is called the Holy Sabbath of God. “...Because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3). Now let’s go to another place which talks about the beginning. Let’s go to the epistle of 1 John, and the very first chapter. And let’s tie these two together so that we understand that the Sabbath is a very profound and important part of our relationship with God. And the truth of the matter is this: if you don’t keep the Sabbath, you don’t fellowship with God. Now you just think on that. Because that is the only day that God has put His presence in so that He can have that time to fellowship with those that He has called.

Now this is why John was writing here in 1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning,…” Now we just read about where the first Sabbath was created. So we’re talking about the beginning here. “…{That] which we have heard…”, referring to Jesus Christ and His ministry. And a little later we’re going to see how Jesus kept the Sabbath and the example He set for us. “…Which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon,…” Now that means to intently gaze upon in an earnest, deep, drinking in of Who He was as a person. “…And our hands have handled, of the Word of life [and He’s the one Who created the Sabbath]; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)…” And let’s understand something else that’s very important too: we are not going to have eternal life unless we’re keeping the Sabbath. Now you just think on that. Now that may come as a shock or surprise to you. And if you’re a Sabbath-keeper you may say, “Ooh, how ridiculous!” But we’ll show you a little later. So you just hold on here.

“…That which we have seen and heard…” And we’re going to see what they saw and heard Jesus do, “…declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1-3). So on the Sabbath day we are to have this relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, because this is the time that They have set for it. Now once we understand how important that is, then we need to realize something else. Let’s go to Exodus 31. We’ll review just a little bit what we covered last time. But Exodus 31 is very important for us to understand, because God is a covenant God. And let’s understand something here concerning Exodus 31, in what is called a “perpetual covenant.” Very important thing for us to realize. When God makes a covenant – and we’re going to see, this is a separate covenant. This covenant here is not the Old Covenant. This covenant here is a Sabbath covenant, which is perpetual. This covenant was made after the covenant with Israel was already sealed. Signed, sealed, and delivered. It was ratified in Exodus 24.

Now let’s review this very carefully, and let’s analyze what God is saying, and how important that this is. And we’re also going to see that this covers, not only the weekly Sabbath, but it also covers the annual Sabbaths. Now verse 12, “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,…” Now, let’s understand again, and reiterate again: Moses never said a word that God didn’t tell him to say. So this is not from Moses. This is from God. Too many people say, “Well, if Moses said it, well, then we can just forget it.” Well, Moses never said anything that God didn’t tell him to say.

“…Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep:…” And this is plural. This refers to all of the holy days. And also, let’s look at it carefully now: “My sabbaths you shall keep.” Not any other day. And we’re going to see that Sunday never was a day that God ever approved of under any circumstances.

“…For it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations;…” So it is something that it is a sign. Now when it says, “It is a sign,” that is referring to Sabbath-keeping. The Sabbath-keeping is a sign. Not the Sabbath alone is the sign, but the Sabbath-keeping is a sign. The Sabbath without keeping, it is of no value to you. You’re not fellowshipping with God, you’re not fellowshipping with each other, you’re not learning of His word, unless you keep the Sabbath. And God made it a very special time, that He would fellowship with His people, that we can study from His word, that we can learn of God the Father and Jesus Christ, that we can grow in grace and knowledge, that we can prepare for eternal life for all eternity. And that’s how important the Sabbath is.

“…That ye may know…” Now you see, we have to know God. There are a lot of people who say, “Well, do you know God?” or, “Do you know the Lord?”, and their Sunday-keeping doesn’t do them any good in knowing God. Because it says the Sabbaths are those things which help you to know God. Therefore, it also follows by extension then, Christmas and Easter and all of the pagan holidays do not teach you about God. And let’s just stop here and just think about something for a minute. God is a God of truth, correct? God is a God Who cannot lie, right? Yes. No question about it. All of the holidays of the world have lies in them. Can you worship the God of truth with a lie? No, you can’t. Sunday, as we will see, is a lie. Can you worship God, truly, on Sunday, which is a lie? No, you can’t.

“…[So] That ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” God is the one Who makes you holy. Because, you see, if you keep any other day, if you keep Sunday – which a lot of people are reverting to now – then you are committing an act of a work of self so that you can save yourself, and tell God how righteous you are. And then God must indeed save you. But He won’t do that, because no one tells God what to do. We’ll see that a little later on.

Verse 14, “Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore [because this comes every week]; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death [and the wages of sin is death]: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” And have we not seen that happen? Has not the church been split up? And have not those who have gone to working on the Sabbath and worshipping on Sunday, have they not been cut off from the people of God? Oh, they may have found a lot of friends in the world. But are those the people of God?

So then He reiterates it here. He wants to make it clear: “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [day] is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD [because He made it holy]: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath,…” (vs. 15-16). Now we also need to understand that the church is spiritual Israel. So this applies to the church. And we’ll see this covenant follows all the way down through to the church. Because when you go to chapters nine, ten, and eleven, and the apostle Paul is showing that the Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree, the olive tree is Israel. And we are spiritual Israel. And so this perpetual covenant continues right on, right on into the New Covenant. This runs parallel with the New Covenant. It is part of, but parallel. Just like it was part of, but parallel, the Old Covenant.

Verse 16, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath…” Now notice, He says, keep it and observe it “…throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” So this is a separate and additional covenant that is bonded to us by death. Because He says, “If you don’t keep it, you’re going to die.” A “perpetual covenant,” meaning, it goes on. It runs alongside every covenant that God has. Parallel to, and part of. Now 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” (Ex. 31:12-17). Now that’s so important for us to realize.

Now let’s pick up where we left off last time. Let’s go to Ezekiel 20, and let’s review again what the children of Israel did. Instead of following God and doing the things, even in the letter of the law, that God would have blessed them in, because that’s what He required of them. They went after their idols, and their hearts went after the things that they wanted. So here in Ezekiel 20, let’s review this again so we can understand it. Because right in here is part of the argument that some of those who are Sunday-keepers look at and say that, “God gave the Sabbath as a curse. God gave the Sabbath as something that you should not live in. So therefore, God cursed the Jews in giving the Sabbath.” Nothing, brethren, could be further from the truth than that. That is nothing but a satanic lie. God gave the Sabbath as a blessing. And He blessed it. And He made it holy. And He sanctified it. And He wants to fellowship with you on this day. So that’s how important the Sabbath really is.

Now let’s come here to verse 18, and we’ll review in Ezekiel 20. “But I said unto their children in the wilderness [after those who had rebelled all died], Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers [and those were following their own gods], 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;…” (Ex. 20:18-19). Now you can read in the book of Deuteronomy and Exodus, where God says, “I have given these things to you for your good, that you may live; that you may go in and possess the land. And I have given you these Ten Commandments because I love you and I loved your fathers, and I am fulfilling My word to you.” So you see, this is what’s important.

So His statutes and His judgments are right. You read all of Psalm 119 about the laws of God, the commandments of God, the statutes of God – they are right, they are good, they are whole, they are perfect, they are righteous. All the precepts of God are right altogether. And you see, when we come to that conclusion then we begin to have the mind of Christ and the mind of God to understand these things. But if we’re with our carnal minds, going to fight against God and hedge our bets, as it were, and keep our little old carnal reserve for us in the back of our minds, waiting for the day when we can just go out and do what we want to do…like a lot of people did when they first heard that they could eat unclean meats. Why, that very Sabbath before they even went home brethren were out there, all gathering together, planning to go to the Red Lobster and have their shrimp, and have their clams and have their lobster, and all of those things. Which God says those things are an abomination.

So you see, don’t reserve that part of your mind for yourself, because that carnal reserve is going to trip you up and cause you to walk away from God. See, God wants you to love Him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your being. It is a whole-hearted thing between you and God. So He’s saying here that, “I want you to walk in My statutes and keep My judgments.”

“…And hallow My sabbaths;…” Plural. Holy days. Leviticus 23 shows that all the holy days are Sabbaths. “…And they shall be a sign between Me and you,…” Remember what the perpetual covenant was: for the children of Israel, through all their generations for a perpetual covenant it will be a sign. “…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. 20-22), because God is merciful, kind, and gracious, and doesn’t even desire that sinners die. He wishes that they would repent. A little later on in Ezekiel He says, “O Israel, why will you die? Turn you, turn you!” And this is what God is saying today to the church: “O Church of God, why will you die? Why will you suffer any more? Why will you go back into the world? Turn you, turn you, come back to God! Come back to the Sabbath. Come back to the holy days. Repent, and turn your whole heart to Him!” That’s what He’s saying here.

So He withdrew His hand, “…for My name’s sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. 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,…” So they did those three things. “…And their eyes were after their fathers’ idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes thatwere not good,…” Now those are the statutes of the religions of this world. Those are not good. “…And judgments whereby they should not live;…” God’s judgments are in those things whereby they will live. So these are being turned over to all the pagan devices, which their hearts went after. “…And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb,…” Instead of the firstborn going to God, now they pass them through the fire to the god of Moloch. “…That I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD” (vs. 22-26).

Now there are two ways you’re going to know God: one, if you follow God and do His way and keep His laws and commandments, and have the Spirit of God, then you will know God. The other way you’re going to know God is if you sin, and if you go out and grievously destroy your life, and you come to the very end in trouble and tribulation and trial and difficulty, then you’re going to know that God has done that. And you will know God through that. And then you have to repent and really come to God. Otherwise, it’s the end. And for those who have once tasted of the holy gift and have received the Holy Spirit, and have done those things, it’s very important for you to understand that you cannot, under any circumstances, go back into this world and expect God to bless you. The blessing of God comes from His Spirit through Jesus Christ; through doing the things that please Him.

Now hold your place here, and we’ll come back to Ezekiel 22 in just a minute. But let’s go to 1 John 3 for just a minute, and let’s see something that’s very important and profound for us to understand. And this is how we know that we are in Christ. And this is how we love one another. Now, let’s pick it up here in verse 22. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Now, is it pleasing that you keep His commandments and His laws and His statutes and His judgments? Why, of course it is. Is it pleasing that you keep the Sabbath and the holy days? Certainly it is, because God gave those to us to keep. God gave those to us to fellowship with Him on. God gave those to us so we can learn of the Lord.

“…Do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 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.” Again, the Sabbath brings us into a created relationship with each other. That’s why we are to have brotherly love. But you can’t have brotherly love unless you love God first. You can’t have brotherly love unless you all agree, and love God and keep His commandments. Then you can love each other.

Now notice, verse 24, “And he that keepeth [the one who is keeping] His commandments dwelleth [is dwelling] in Him,…” That’s how you’re dwelling in God. That’s why the Sabbath is so important; that you are dwelling in Him. “…And He [that is, Christ] in him [that is, the one who has the Holy Spirit]. And hereby we know…” We know. And brethren, put this test to yourself: Do you know? Do you know that you abide in God? Do you know that you love God? Do you know that you have the Spirit of God? Do you really grasp what this is saying? “…And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us” (1 John 3:22-24). So that’s important.

Now let’s see what happens when people go against this. Let’s see what has happened in the churches of God. It has happened in the past. Let’s go back to Ezekiel 22:25. And for those of you who are long-time church members and are now…understand what has happened in Worldwide Church of God – and also Seventh Day Adventists, it’s happened to them, because the Jesuits have an agenda to take down all Sabbath-keeping groups. We are against a satanic assault against the people of God. And that assault is not coming in a war that you would think of. It is coming in a war of ideologies; it is coming in a war of surreptitious doctrines. It is coming in clever-sounding arguments that Satan has devised that sound blessedly true, but lead you to destruction.

Right here, Ezekiel 22:25. “Thereis a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof,…” Now a conspiracy is a knowing, planned, plotted scheme to deliberately change and destroy. And that’s what has happened to the Worldwide Church of God. It was a deliberate, planned, schemed, worked-out thing, where the children of the devil, the tares, came in and planted themselves in the hierarchical structure of the Worldwide Church of God, the hierarchical structure of the Seventh-Day Adventists Church, the hierarchical structure of the Church of God, Seventh-Day. All three have been infiltrated, to take them down concerning the Sabbath, to take them down – especially the Worldwide Church of God – concerning the holy days; and now to bring them back in to the pagan Catholic days of Christmas and Easter and all of the other occult holidays that are of the world. It is done by conspiracy. It is a planned infiltration. We’ll see that Peter prophesied of that in just a minute.

"…In the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey;…"  Only they're ravening the prey through false doctrine.  They are ravening the prey through lying duplicities.  "…They have taken the treasure [have they not? Yes.] and precious things [have they not? Yes.]; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated My law,…"  The ones who should keep it, violated it.  The ones who should know it, have violated it.  "…And have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane,…"  Now how do you do that?  By saying, "Well, every day is alike."  Just like the Jehovah Witnesses: "Well, every day is holy to us."  And one man asked some of the Jehovah Witnesses one time, "Well, when do you work?  If every day is holy, when do you work?"  They put no difference between it.    "…Neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean,…"  And now people are eating unclean foods.  "…And have hid their eyes from My sabbaths,…" 

Now what does this tell us?  If you hide your eyes it is a deliberate conspiracy to avoid the truth.  And a conspiracy must have lies to replace the truth.  And these false doctrines sound so blessedly true; which we'll cover some of them when we get to them. "…And I am profaned among them" (Ezek. 22:25-26).  That means that since they have hid their eyes to the Sabbath, they are not fellowshipping with God the Father and Jesus Christ on the Sabbath; therefore, God becomes just like any other profane god in the world.  And that's exactly what Satan wants you to do.  And there has been so much confusion because of these false prophets and teachers coming in, that some people have given up even studying the Bible.  And given up, even saying, "Well, the Bible is confusing."  No, the Bible is not confusing, if you let the Bible interpret the Bible.  The Bible is confusing if you listen to the satanic arguments of the ministers of unrighteousness who have come in.

And as I told one woman, who said this happened to her husband, and I said, “If you can tell your husband this: tell him that Satan has got him exactly where he wants him.” He is no longer going to study the Word of God, he’s not going to listen to the Word of God. Things for a while will go smooth, because Satan wants to draw you out even more. And bam, the vice is going to close. Now, I hope that whoever is in those circumstances can recover themselves out of it. Because we’re talking about eternal life. We’re not talking about Sabbath-keeping or Sunday-keeping as a religion. We’re talking about eternal life and eternal death.

Now let’s come to 2 Peter 2, and let’s read this, and let’s see what their tactics are. And then we’ll get into a little more concerning the Sabbath again. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily…” Now that means stealthily. You don’t even know that they’re there. They don’t even let you know that they are an agent of Satan the devil. And in some cases, they may have a spiritual something about them that is rather magnetic. And Jude says those are the spirits of demons. Now let’s see what they do. “…Who privily [or stealthily] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1). Now what are some of the damnable heresies that they bring in? Sunday, Christmas, Easter, New Years, in the way of days of observance. What else do they bring in? That Christ was a created being, and He was not God before He became human. That Christ was just a prophet. Those are all part of it. What other damnable heresies do they bring in? Eating unclean meats. That’s another one. And then teaching things like going to heaven. And you can just start adding up all the heresies of the Catholics and the Protestants, and you’ve got exactly the recipe that Satan the devil uses to take down Christians.

Now notice, verse 2. How many are going to recover themselves from it? Read verse 2. “And many shall follow their pernicious ways;…” Many. And “pernicious” means blasphemous. Because they’re blaspheming God, they’re blaspheming His Sabbath; they’re blaspheming the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And many will follow them. Why? Because that is the broad way. As Jesus said, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many be that go in at that gate. But narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leads to life…” (Matthew 7:13-14, paraphrased). Now which path are you on? What have you believed? How many false prophets have you listened to? There’s one man whose name coincides with “wreck.” And he has gone around and “Rector-ed” all kinds of people with false doctrines. Perverting, especially, the Passover day, to say that we should keep it at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, which is a ridiculous heresy. A self-appointed teacher, and many are following his pernicious, blasphemous ways and have had their faith overthrown.

Brethren, one thing for sure, the true keeping of the Sabbath, in spirit and in truth, is going to ground you in Jesus Christ, that you build on that foundation of Christ. And then none of these false teachers or prophets will come along and knock you off the beam. Verse 3, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words…” knowing that they are deceptive; knowing that they are wrong, “…make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

Then God said here in verse 4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned,…” Think of it, brethren! What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law. Part of the law is the Sabbath. If you have gone to Sunday-keeping, you are sinning every single week with predetermined, malicious forethought. Now think on that. If God didn’t spare the angels, “…but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world,…” Flooded the old world. Killed all there was because of the sins of man. “…But saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an [everlasting] ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing [what they were doing], vexed his righteous soul from day to day…” (vs. 4-8).

Verse 9; now take this to heart. If you want to come out of this thing, you can. If you want to turn to God, you can; if you want to come back to God, you can. But you have to repent. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:…” So you can come out of it.

Let’s review a little bit more concerning the Sabbath day. Here’s what we have learned so far:

  1. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Not some other day. Not any day we choose.
  2. God is the one Who gives the commandment.
  3. God has given us six days to do all our work. We are to rest from our labor and work on the Sabbath day.
  4. The Sabbath is a memorial of God’s creation of heaven and earth. You will never believe in any form of evolution if you keep the Sabbath and know God. Because you will know that He is Creator.
  5. It is a memorial of Israel’s slavery and lack of Sabbath observance while they were in Egypt.
  6. It is the only day of seven in the week that God specifically blessed and made holy.
  7. The seventh day Sabbath is a holy convocation. It is a day of assembly and worship. Now when we get a little further along we will take one whole session and go through how to keep the Sabbath; what we can and cannot do according to the laws of God.
  8. This is perhaps the most important of all, the aspect of it: it shows that God owns the Sabbath. It is His.

So man has no jurisdiction over it. Man has no say-so in it. It belongs to God. He made it for mankind. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. So always remember that.

Now let’s understand something else. Can a man make something holy? No. What does it take to make something holy? In order to make something holy, whoever does it must be holy himself. And only God is holy. So therefore, think on it this way: no man can make Sunday holy. No man – I don’t care whatever his office is, even if he is the Pope – can proclaim another day holy. Man is not God. Now if we do that, then we are rebelling against God. And so, you see, what would happen is this: if a man could command something to be holy because of his intrinsic power, and God were to accept that, then man would be telling God what to do. And man has no power to tell God what to do. Shall the created thing say to the Creator, “What are You making?” No, of course not. So, you see, when we get to Sunday-keeping, keep that in mind.

Now let’s understand something else, when we judge the Sabbath as something unworthy that we should keep. Let’s remember that we are judging God. We are judging the Law. Now let’s go to James 4 and let’s review this, if we haven’t done it already. And this is a profound principal that you really need to understand and always keep in mind. If a man tells God what to do, man is then commanding God. And if man commands God, then man becomes God, and God becomes a servant of that man. Now you see, you need to put it in that perspective so you understand.

Now here, let’s pick it up right here, James 4:11. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law:…” Now we have that too, don’t we? We have people who judge us because we keep the Sabbath and they keep Sunday. So what is it that they are doing? They are judging the Law. How are they doing it? They are looking at the Ten Commandments and picking out the fourth one and saying that, “We don’t want to keep this law.” And they have, by conspiracy, hid their eyes to it with false doctrines. And we are going to go through every one of these false doctrines and see where they are false, when we come to Sunday-keeping.

“…But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge [and hence, you are judging God]. There is one lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” (vs. 11-12). And who are you that judges God? So in reality, what happens then, if you say the Sabbath is not worthy to be kept, you are saying that God lied. You are saying that God gave something which was evil. You are judging the Law, and you are judging God. Now maybe you’ve never thought of it that way before.

Now we have already seen that it is a perpetual covenant that we are to keep. And we have seen that Sabbath-breaking is against God; it’s polluting the Sabbath. And so those who have done that have done so in a conspiracy. Now let’s understand something very important: Sabbath-keeping is essential to salvation. Now let’s begin and understand that we need to have faith. Let’s come to Hebrews 11:6. And we’re going to approach this from a little bit different point of view than maybe we would otherwise. But I want us to understand when we come to the places in the New Testament I want you to understand what Jesus is doing, what He is really doing, and what He is not doing.

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him:…” Whatever is done, we do by faith. We do Sabbath-keeping by faith, we do holy day keeping by faith; we do all the Ten Commandments by faith. We do all the commandments in the Spirit and worshipping God in spirit and in truth and loving Him by faith. So if you don’t have faith, you’re not going to please God. Sunday-keepers do not have faith, the true faith. They may have a false faith, but let me tell you something – a false faith is going to fail you. And it will certainly fail you for eternal life. “…For [the one who is coming] he that cometh to God must believe…” Now the Greek there means, he is “obligated.” He is under obligation to believe that God is. Now when you believe that God is, you believe everything that He is, everything that He stands for, everything that He says. Because God is holy and righteous, and perfect, and loving, and true, and kind, and gracious, and longsuffering. So we are coming to God. So there wherefore, we have to believe that He exists, and “…that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Now if you excuse yourself from keeping the commandments of God, are you diligently seeking Him? You have to ask that question. I would say no.

Now let’s come to Isaiah 55 and let’s see something that is very important, and how Sabbath-keeping and salvation go hand-in-hand. While we’re turning to Isaiah 55, let me ask you a question: do you think that you can get into the kingdom of God if you have another god before Him? No. Do you think you can get into the kingdom of God if you have statues and idols? No. Do you think that you can get into the kingdom of God if you dishonor and neglect your parents, do so willfully, without repenting of it? No. Do you think that you can get into the kingdom of God if you are a willful, malicious murderer? No. Or a willful, malicious adulterer? No. Or a willful, malicious thief? No. Or a willful, malicious liar bearing false witness? Or ravening in your covetousness? No. Neither can you get into the kingdom of God unless you’re keeping the Sabbath.

Now let’s understand what we need to do. Isaiah 55, and let’s begin in verse 6. We saw there in Hebrews 11 how we are to seek God. Now notice, here’s something that He tells us. “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found,…” Now this is also telling us that there is a time when He won’t be found. And as a matter of fact, God told Jeremiah that the Jews were so bad, that He said, “Do not pray for this people. Do not lift up your voice unto Me for them, for I will not hear” (Jeremiah 7:16, paraphrased). So you need to ask yourself this question: “Am I going to seek God while He may be found, or am I going to be too late?” Now you have to determine that. That is a choice you have to make.

 “…Call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:…” Because that’s where all of this rebellion and rejection of the Sabbath comes in, from carnal human reasoning, from the carnal mind that is not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be. So He says, “Let him forsake his thoughts.” “…And let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.” And how true that is concerning the Sabbath. I read an article where one man said, “Well, I don’t believe where God still calls all the unclean foods ‘abominations’.” You see, that’s his thought: “I don’t believe…” So let’s think about it here.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (vs. 6-9). Yet we are to come…

Part 2

…We are to come to have the mind of Christ, are we not? How do we do that? One of the best ways is by fellowshipping on the Sabbath. So we need to repent. Now let’s come here and see what else we need to do. Let’s come to Isaiah 56. And here’s where salvation and Sabbath-keeping go together. Isaiah 56:1, and I want you to understand the time setting. I want you to realize what this is really telling us. Now let’s read beginning in verse 1. “Thus saith the LORD [these are the Words of God], Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.” What is judgment? And what is justice? He explains it. You must have the right judgment to see that you need to keep the Sabbath. Notice: “Blessed is the man that doeth this,…” Not cursed. Sunday-keepers say you’re cursed. God says you’re blessed. Now who are you going to believe – men or God? Take the words of a man, or the words of God?

“Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” So there’s a blessing for Sabbath-keeping, and it’s profound and important. Now notice, “Neither let the son of the stranger,…” That is, the Gentile. The ones who, under the Old Covenant, did not have access to God the way that the children of Israel did. But under the New Covenant, there is equal status with Gentiles and Jews and Israelites. “Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from His people:…” (vs. 2-3). Now you see, one of the sins that we find in the New Testament is the separation of the Gentiles and the Jews. Paul said, “We are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28, paraphrased). The stranger is saying here that he is separated from His people. But God says,” Don’t say that.” Because now we’re dealing with the New Covenant. And this is a prophecy of the New Covenant. This is a prophecy at the end time when God’s salvation is ready to be revealed.

 And He says, “…neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree [I have no family; I have no one].” Christ said, “With Me, you will have returned a hundredfold in this life, and in the next life, everlasting life” (Mark 10:30, paraphrased). “For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me,…” So choosing Sabbath-keeping is pleasing to God, is it not? Yes. “…And take hold of My covenant;…” And this is a prophecy of the New Covenant. This also is taking hold of the perpetual covenant of Sabbath-keeping, as we saw. “…Even unto them will I give in Mine house…” (vs. 3-5). Jesus said, “I go prepare a place for you, and come again, I will receive you, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3, paraphrased). This is a prophecy of that.

“…And within My walls a place and a name better than of sons…” (vs. 5). “I will give you a new, eternal name, and the name of My Father, and the name of New Jerusalem.” See, all of this is New Testament doctrine, right here in the book of Isaiah. “…I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain,…” (vs. 5-7). That’s coming in to the kingdom of God. It says there in Isaiah 11, “Behold, in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be exalted above the hills” (Isaiah 2:2, paraphrased). This is referring directly to that.

 “…And make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar;…” (vs. 7). Now it’s getting back into the Old Covenant, and so forth. But right in mingled in with it, then, is the New Covenant and the New Covenant application. Turn the page and let’s come to Isaiah 58, and let’s see something else that’s very important, and how the Sabbath is a blessing. Let’s really understand…the Sabbath is a blessing. What is wrong is false doctrine. What is wrong is false teaching. What is wrong are the lies against the Sabbath. What is wrong is a conspiracy, and a hiding of the eyes to the Sabbath and the unclean so that they can perpetrate false doctrines.

Notice here, verse 13. He says, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath,…” That means, from using the Sabbath for your ordinary day of work. “If you will turn…” And that’s repentance. “…From doing thy pleasure on My holy day;…” You see, the doing the things that please God should be the pleasure that you have on the Sabbath day. Not doing the things of sports, or shopping, or other things. And we’ll talk about that later on. You see, do the things that are pleasing to Him. “…And call the Sabbath a delight,…”

Now not only do you have to call it a delight, you have to, with the Spirit of God and the understanding of God’s word, make it a delight. And you do this through fellowship with God the Father, through prayer, through study, through fellowship with the brethren. And if you’re all there and have the Spirit of God, whenever anyone shakes your hand, Christ is shaking your hand. When anyone gives you a hug, it is God the Father hugging you, through His Spirit, through that person, to you. And God joyfully loves the Sabbath. And He is happy to be there, to put His Spirit and His presence. And if we prepare for the day spiritually, especially so the day is a delight, your whole perspective of the Sabbath is going to change. It is going to be the best and most wonderful day of the week. Because you are fellowshipping with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and fellowshipping with the brethren, the heirs of eternal life. Now that’s a profound and a precious thing, brethren. Let’s read on.

“…And call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable;…” That means right, and good, and upstanding in every way; “…and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then…” Now notice all the “ifs.” Notice the responsibility of our part on the Sabbath for making it right until we get to the “then.” Let’s review that again. If:

  1. Turn your foot away from the Sabbath day
  2. From doing your pleasure on My holy day
  3. Call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord
  4. Honor
  5. Honor Him, not doing your own way
  6. Nor finding your own pleasure
  7. Nor speaking your own words.

Now there are seven conditions to this “if.” Now we come to verse 14, “…Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD;…” Now if you don’t do these things, it’s going to be a pain in the neck because your mind is somewhere else. Your heart is somewhere else. Your thoughts are somewhere else. And you are sad when the sun goes down Friday night because you can’t do what you want to do. And you can hardly wait for sundown the next night so you can do what you want to do. Listen – if that’s your attitude, you don’t have a clue as to how to keep the Sabbath. And you will never derive out of it what God desires for you to derive out of it, because you haven’t even started to worship Him in spirit and in truth. See how important that is? So you’ve got to fulfill all seven of these conditions to make the Sabbath right. Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord.

Notice how it changes the whole perspective when you do that. Then the Sabbath is a delight; it’s not a burden. Then the Sabbath is a wonderful time, not a drag. Then the Sabbath is a time to learn and grow in grace and knowledge, and it’s not a time where you’re frustrated because you can’t do what you want to do. Why, if you love God, would you want to do your things on the Sabbath day? Why, if you love God, would you want to turn your back on Him to ignore Him on the day that He set aside as an appointment to fellowship with Him? You see? Look at it that way and understand how marvelous the Sabbath is. He says, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth,…” That’s a prophecy of entering into the kingdom of God, to rule the world with Christ. “…And feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father:…” And he’s going to inherit what? The inheritance of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, right? Which is the whole world, isn’t it? Yes it is. “…For the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (vs. 14). It’s a guarantee. You want something that’s a guarantee? You got it. Right there. Right in front of you. And God has given that as a guarantee. That’s a marvelous thing.

Now let’s come to the New Testament. Let’s look at some New Testament things. Now first of all, we need to knock down a satanic argument, which is this: the satanic argument is, if it’s not stated in the New Testament you don’t have to do it. That is a satanic argument because it is not true. We are going to see, however, that keeping the Sabbath is stated in the New Testament. Now how many times must it be stated? Since God is a God of truth, if it’s only once then it’s binding, is it not? Yes indeed.

Now let’s come to Matthew 4 and let’s see where in the New Covenant, in the words of Christ – and let’s understand something profound concerning Christ and His ministry. Jesus Christ, with His ministry, was not under the Old Covenant. He was under the New Covenant, the firstborn under the New Covenant. Now notice in the temptation that He had with Satan the devil. And Satan is the one who wants to keep you from keeping the Sabbath. He is the one who wants you to reject it and forsake it. He is the one that wants you to keep Sunday, because that is his day – the day of the sun, the day of Baal.

Now verse 3. “And when the tempter came to Him [that’s after He fasted forty days and forty nights], he said [to Him], If Thou be the Son of God,…” Now notice the divisive argument that Satan always uses. “…Command that these stones be made bread.” In other words, “If You don’t do this, You’re not the Son of God.” Notice Jesus’ answer. “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 [shall man live]” (Matt. 4:3-4). Now then, did the command for the Sabbath proceed out of the mouth of God? No question about it. He spoke it on Mt. Sinai, didn’t He? Repeated again in Deuteronomy 5 before they went into the promised land. How many times must God say, “Keep the Sabbath holy” before you believe Him? So this is an affirmation of the Sabbath, no question. Broad, inclusive statement, “…by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Now that’s a profound statement. All-inclusive.

Now let’s come over here to chapter 5. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law,…” And that is, the word means, “to abolish.” “…I am not come to [abolish] destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). Now there are two aspects of fulfilling. Number one, for the law, to fill the law full with the spiritual requirements beyond the letter of the law. That’s why in chapter 5, 6, and 7, He says, “You have heard it said of old time, but I say to you…”, “You have heard it said of old time, but I say to you…” And He’s bringing the law to fulfill the law to a high spiritual standard. The other part of fulfilling is to fulfill the Scriptures that pertain to Himself in His first coming.

Now let’s read on. Verse 18, “For verily I say unto you [which is, ‘Truly;’ or, ‘In truth, I’m saying to you’], Till heaven and earth pass,…” Now God did a wonderful thing here. He took the two greatest witnesses that there could be – the universe, and the earth. And He says, “If these pass, then all My words have passed.” Well, the heaven is here, the earth is here, so guess what? “…[Not] one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Then He says, “Wherefore…” I want all of those of you who are beginning to believe in Sunday, I want you to stop and think. I want you to pull yourself up in the path that you are going, stop and plant your feet down, and focus your mind on this verse.

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments,…” And Sabbath-keeping is one of the least, isn’t it? Any commandment that you think that you can throw away is a “least commandment,” because you don’t want to be bothered with it. Now notice, He continues on. “…And shall teach men so,…” And that’s what is happening. “…He shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:…” And being least means you’re not even going to be there. “…But whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (vs. 19). So if you teach and preach about the Sabbath, if you teach and preach about the love of God, if you teach and preach about the commandments of God and serving Him and loving Him, then God says you will be called “great” in the kingdom of heaven.

Now notice again, verse 20. “For I say unto you,…” Christ, first person. If you believe in Christ, do you believe these words? “…That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees [who did everything in the letter of the law], ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Why is that? Because God has now a higher standard of worship. Let’s come to John 4 and see what that is. He has a higher standard of worship for you today, for all of those who are the sons of God today, begotten with the Holy Spirit of God.

Now this is when He was in the city of Samaria. Let’s pick it up here in verse 19. “The woman saith unto Him, Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem [because it was the place] is the place where men ought [are obligated] to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” It is not going to be restricted to a physical place. Because the kind of worship is going to change. “Ye worship ye know not what [because they were worshipping demons]: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews [meaning, coming out of Christ]. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:…” (John 4:19-23).

You must have the Spirit of God, you must have the right heart, you must seek Him with all your heart and mind and soul and being; you must love Him with all your heart and mind and soul and being; and it must be according to truth. And Jesus said God’s word is truth. Sabbath-keeping is truth. Holy day-keeping is truth. That’s how we are to worship God today. That is the only way that your righteousness is going to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees. Because they were so punctilious in the letter of the law that they had hundreds and hundreds of “do this” and “don’t do that” and “don’t do the other thing.”

“…When the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. [For] God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must…” And this word “must” in the Greek means under obligation or compulsion, to “…worship Him in spirit and in truth” (vs. 23-24). And that means with a humble heart; that means with a contrite spirit; that means with a yieldedness to God. So let’s understand that. That’s very important for us to realize that.

Now let’s continue. Let’s go on a little bit further here. Let’s understand what God wants us to do. Now let’s go back, before we start surveying what Jesus said, let’s go back and review one more verse, Matthew 22, and let’s read the verse here, beginning in verse 37. There are certain key verses, brethren, which are absolutely basic. And all of the teachings and doctrines of God come and cross through these certain very key intersections of verses, because they are profound, because everything hinges on that. If you liken the Word of God unto a sphere, and all the doctrines and teachings and the word of God passes through this sphere, there are almost an infinite number of angles for it to go through, and an infinite number of angles where it crosses. And in the core of it, in the core of this sphere, is what we have here in Matthew 22:37.

“Jesus said to him,…” The lawyer wanted to know which is the greatest commandment of the law. And there’s always a debate of that: “Oh, the greatest commandment? I will do the greatest commandment!” But what did Jesus say? If you do and teach even the least you will be called great. So you see, man’s perspective is always the opposite. He wants to do the great things; God wants you to do the simple and loving and humble things. And that becomes great. So Jesus answered and said, “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Now verse 40…memorize this. Key this. Make this a part of your very mind and soul and being. “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40).

So if someone says, “God is a God of love; therefore, we can keep Sunday.” That is a satanic lie by taking truth and twisting and perverting it. Because all the law and commandments are supported by and hung from the love of God. You need to really understand that and realize how important that is. Now let’s go on. Let’s continue and see some things here. Let’s see how Jesus kept the Sabbath. Let’s go to Matthew – not Matthew, but Mark 2. This is another profound, key verse. Mark 2:27. This tells us which day the Lord’s day is. Now remember, the one Who became Jesus Christ was the Creator of the Sabbath. And that’s why He’s Lord of the Sabbath. He made it. Now, it’s just like if you have a house, and you build the house, and you made it. You are lord of that house. It is yours. Right? Well, maybe share it with the bank. [Laughs] But it’s yours. Christ made the Sabbath. Let’s get that straight. If He made it, He is Lord of it. If He made it, He owns it. If He made it, which He did, He tells us what to do on it.

Now verse 27, “And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man,…” And the word “man” comes from the Greek anthropos, which means, “mankind.” God intended all mankind to keep the Sabbath. And as we’re going to see, the way that the day Saturday is called today, in almost every language it means “the Sabbath day.” And that is a perpetual witness to all people in all languages that that is the day of God.

“…The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:…” Now this is telling us something very important that we need to know and understand. That is, since it was made for man, and God made it for us, for our good, and for rest, and for fellowshipping with Him; therefore, man – since it was made for him, and not man for the Sabbath – see, God did not create the Sabbath day and then create man. God created man then He created the Sabbath day for him. This means that man has no say-so on the Sabbath day, whether we ought to keep it or not. Now it’s given to us that we should choose to do so. And hopefully we should choose to do so, because Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath. Therefore, man has no jurisdiction over the Sabbath day. Meaning that no man can say, “I proclaim another day holy.” Now he can do that, but does that in spiritual terms change spiritual reality? No, it doesn’t. Here’s why: “…Therefore, the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath [day]” (Mark 2:27-28). Which day is the Lord’s day? The Sabbath day. Sunday never was, and never will be, and never can be the Lord’s Day, because it – the first day of the week – is not the seventh day of the week; it is not Sabbath.

Now, let’s see what Jesus did. Let’s come to the book of Luke, chapter 4. Jesus kept the Sabbath. Because, you see, the perpetual covenant runs alongside all the covenants of God. Remember that. You can never do away with the Sabbath or the holy days because they are in a perpetual covenant. And that’s in addition to every covenant that God makes. Now, did Jesus give us an example that we ought to follow in His footsteps? Yes, He did. Peter said so.

Luke 4:16, “And He [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was,…” His custom. “…He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” And what happened? “And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias.” And He read out of there His very commission, didn’t He, and the very purpose of His ministry? Yes He did. Let’s read that. And this is what the Sabbath day is to do for us also. “And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel…” New Testament doctrine, right? Isn’t preaching the gospel New Testament doctrine? And He’s preaching this on the Sabbath day, isn’t He? Yes.

“…To preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.” And He had something else to say. They were all looking at Him. “And He began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (vs. 17-21). Now, on what day, brethren? The Sabbath day. Very important.

Let’s continue on and see. Let’s come over here to verse 31. “And [He] came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.” That means Sabbath, after Sabbath, after Sabbath, after Sabbath, Jesus Christ taught them. And this is an important lesson for us today. If we are keeping the Sabbath and keeping the Sabbath properly, and we are studying the word of God, will not God’s Spirit teach us? Do we not have the promise of Jesus Christ, that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth? That it will teach us things? Yes. That’s why the Sabbath is important, because God’s Spirit is there. That’s why Jesus taught on the Sabbath days. Now He taught also during the week. But on the Sabbath days was especially important.

“And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power” (vs. 31-32). That’s something. And with that power He didn’t change the Sabbath to Sunday. Listen - the only way that Sunday-keeping could be considered worthy of considering is if Jesus Christ said, “I, as Lord of the Sabbath, am changing the Sabbath from Saturday – or, from the seventh day – to the first day, and I seal it with My blood.” Can you find anything like that anywhere in the Bible, Old Testament or New Testament? No. Nowhere. Let’s see what else He did here on the Sabbath day. Let’s see how He kept the Sabbath day. Let’s see the example that He gave us that we need to follow. Let’s come here to Mark 3. Now back to the book of Mark. Right after He said He was Lord of the Sabbath, back here in Mark 3, we have what He did, then, on the Sabbath day. And let’s notice what the Jews did. Let’s notice the hostility that the Jews had.

Mark 3:1, “And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse Him.” Now you see, the Jews truly made the Sabbath a burden. They did. Because they had hundreds and hundreds of laws and traditions which they had. So they were looking to see if He was going to break one of their laws and one of their traditions by healing. See, to heal on the Sabbath is proper, because it is part of what we read there, that He is to heal the brokenhearted; raise up those who are sick; set at liberty those who are held captive by Satan the devil.

“And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.” Now in the synagogues they had an area up front, so He told him to come up front. “And He saith unto them [He preached to them on the Sabbath day], Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” See, because Jesus knew how to say it in such a way they couldn’t answer back. “And when He had looked round about on them with anger,…” because of their self-righteous, religious attitude, in making the Sabbath a burden. And the fact that they were looking to accuse Him. “…[And] being grieved for the hardness of their hearts,…” What hard-heartedness! Here’s a man with a withered hand, that you would be so stingy and so selfish, and so evil that you would not want to see him healed on the Sabbath.

“…He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” And notice, there wasn’t one rejoicing person in the synagogue. “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Mark 3:1-6). So that’s something, isn’t it? Boy, I tell you. That’s really something, the way that they did.

Let’s come here to John 5. And again, here’s another healing. And here again, we’re going to see where the liars against the Sabbath come with their doctrine to say that Jesus broke the Sabbath. “So therefore, if Jesus broke it, it’s Ok if we break it. Therefore, I will see you in church on Sunday.” Which is saying what? They know they’re breaking the Sabbath, correct? I mean, think about it! Now, we’ll examine this very carefully.

Verse 1, “After this there was a feast [or a festival] of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.” Because God did one thing. He wanted them to know once a year when this occurred, or whenever it occurred, when the waters moved the first one down there would be healed. “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years” (John 5:1-5). Now you think on that. If you’ve had a sickness over a period of time, have you had it for thirty-eight years?

“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man,…” And I imagine he was, tears in his eyes. “…[That] When the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.” Did he do that thirty-eight years and miss it every time? I don’t know. But it was for a long time. It says he was there a long time. “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” Now what kind of bed did he have? I’m sure that it was not a Simmons box spring and mattress. I’m sure it was a bedroll, like what we would call a sleeping bag. Now how much does one of those weigh? Oh, maybe, if you have a big heavy-duty one, maybe eight pounds? Ten at the most? “And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day:…” (vs. 6-10).

Now let’s understand one thing that Jesus did: Jesus released the Sabbath from all of the letter-of-the-law, picayune traditions that the Jews added to the Sabbath day. This is what He did here. So they said, “…It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed [on the Sabbath day]. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk [what am I to do? I’m walking. I’m healed]. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not [didn’t know] who it was: for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (vs. 10-14).

Now, let’s talk about the physical condition here for just a minute. There are things which cause debilitating things such as this man had. Doesn’t tell us what he had; he was just an impotent man and couldn’t walk. But it was the result of some kind of sin. Now we are not told what it is. But he is told, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” Now let’s look at that in relationship to the Sabbath day. If you reject the Sabbath day and begin sinning, is something worse going to come upon you somewhere down the road when you are least expecting it? Think on that. If Jesus released this man on the Sabbath day so he could keep the Sabbath, and loosed that law of the Jews which said, “You can’t carry a bedroll on the Sabbath.” And that was a law of the Jews. That’s why He loosed it. Just think of our relationship, if we are turning our back on God with the Sabbath.

Verse 15, “The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.” Now I don’t know why the man did that, but he did. “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (vs. 15-17). Now that’s a profound statement. We’ll come back to this a little later on. But God is doing a spiritual work on the Sabbath. And therefore, any physical thing that we do on the Sabbath to keep the Sabbath spiritually, that is allowable under the New Covenant. It was even allowable under the Old Covenant. But the Jews, in trying to be so strict, and to be more righteous than God, made the Sabbath a terrible, terrible, terrible burden.

So this blew the Jews’ minds by saying on the Sabbath that, “My Father is working,” it blew their minds in two ways. “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath,…” Now that is an incorrect translation. That should read, “He loosed the Sabbath day from that burdensome law that the Jews had put on the Sabbath day,” that a man could not even carry his bedroll. He did not violate the Sabbath because Jesus never sinned once. So therefore, this should be properly translated, and the Greek verb here is luo, which means “to loose.” He loosed the Sabbath day. “…But said also that God was his Father, making Himself equal with God” (vs. 18).

So they just didn’t understand what Christ was all about. They didn’t understand what He was doing with the Sabbath day. They didn’t understand that the spiritual aspect of the Sabbath day, where spiritual work is to be done. Now brethren, on the Sabbath day spiritual is to be done with us: that we grow in grace and knowledge; we grow in understanding; we grow in the love of God. And those are the spiritual works that the Father is working today. Now next time we’ll pick it up from here, and we’ll look at other aspects of the New Testament Sabbath-keeping.

Holy Sabbath #2

Scriptural References

1)     Genesis 2:2-3 14)    Galatians 3:28
2)     1 John 1:1-3 15)    Mark 10:30
3)     Exodus 31:12-17 16)    John 14:2-3
4)     Exodus 20:18-26 17)    Isaiah 2:2
5)     1 John 3:22-24 18)    Isaiah 58:13-14
6)     Ezekiel 22:25-26 19)    Matthew 4:3-4
7)     2 Peter 2:1-9 20)    Matthew 5:17-20
8)     Matthew 7:13-14

21)    John 4:19-24

9)     James 4:11-12 22)    Matthew 22:37-40
10)   Hebrews 11:6 23)    Mark 2:27-28
11)    Isaiah 55:6-9 24)    Luke 4:16-21, 31-32
12)    Jeremiah 7:16 25)    Mark 3:1-6
13)    Isaiah 56:1-7 26)    John 5:1-18