The Hebrew word for Sabbath means “to rest” or “to cease.”
Rudy Ross points out in our YouTube video today that before the giving of the Sabbath command the world did not know that there were seven days in a week.
One of the gifts of the Sabbath is a day off from labor, something that we can all appreciate.
This is one reason why the Sabbath is so special, but there are more.
The Sabbath Commandment
The fourth commandment involved the Sabbath. It reads like this:
— Deuteronomy 5.12 – Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.
The Sabbath, a day of rest, is to be observed as a holy day. Something holy has been set aside for God’s purposes.
The first four commandments are aimed at maintaining a love relationship with God. The Sabbath reserves a day of the week for people to refresh their love connection with God.
Couples who love one another often have a date night every week. God reserved the Sabbath for a date with his people.
Rather than an oppressive demand, the Sabbath is God’s gift to maintain our personal connection with him.
The Sabbath Remembers Creation
The Sabbath is an image of creation. Just as God created for six days and ceased his creative activity on the seventh, so we are commanded to do the same.
— Deuteronomy 5.13-14 – Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross explains the value of ceasing from creative activity on the seventh day.
If we spend all of our time creating a business, a reputation, an education, or some other work, we run the risk of believing that we are self-sufficient.
Rest on the seventh day reminds us that God is the Creator and we are not. It emphasizes our dependence on God and the love relationship with which he has blessed us.
The Sabbath Remembers God’s Great Events
The two greatest events in history are the Exodus of Hebrew people from Egypt and the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
The gift of the Sabbath remembers the Exodus and the Lord’s Supper on Sundays recalls how Jesus frees us from slavery to sin and self.
— Deuteronomy 5.15 – Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
“Remember” is a key word in Deuteronomy. The Hebrew people were charged to remember God’s mighty acts, how he set them free, and gave them the Law on Mount Sinai.
When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we are commanded to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22.19, 1 Corinthians 11.24-25).
The Sabbath is a pause in the week for people to remember God’s grace and love. To forget God will result in prideful self-sufficiency and bring harm to our lives.
Saturday or Sunday
It is easy to see how Jewish people set aside Saturday to be a day of rest or a Sabbath to the Lord. After all, it is the seventh day of the week.
Why do the majority of Jesus’ followers set aside Sunday for the worship of God?
The Book of Revelation is the guide for worship on the first day of the week. John wrote, “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” (Revelation 1.10).
All of the principles of the Sabbath commands are to be followed on this day, just as on the seventh day. The purpose of Sunday worship is intended to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is a Jewish follower of Jesus. He has many years of Hebrew training and is a lover of God. His insights on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel are well worth the time you spend listening.
I am indebted to Peter Craigie for his writings on Deuteronomy. He has challenged me and added much to my knowledge of the book.
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