Theology of the Sabbath

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Our eternal God was the first Sabbath observer. He who rested on that first seventh day was also the Designer and Maker of all things for His good pleasure. Prior to the assembly with Israel at Mount Sinai, the self-existent Lord [Yahweh], whose nature is holy, ordained that one day in the weekly cycle should be set apart from the other six.

The teaching of Sabbath is a systematic theological truth from the Bible. The Torah (book of the law) declares God’s covenant and requires man’s obedience by faith. Even in the new covenant of Jesus Christ, Sabbath can be observed and practiced as we trust God to supply our needs in modern culture, so different from earlier centuries.

The Hebrew noun for Sabbath means “intermission,” or “day of rest.” This consecrated day was initiated by God, and the information about it shows the blessings that can be derived through it. The content of the Sabbath command means much considering the God who gave it. The day should be observed by Jews and Gentiles alike (Isaiah 56:1-8). The seventh day is a means of shutting down from servile work to recognize the Creator and His covenant with man.

The Sabbath provides more than time for a rest; it serves as a memorial, reminding us of God’s creative power. By this means man can celebrate with God, entering fellowship with Him. With other believers, we share the wonders of God’s magnificent greatness, recognizing God for who He is and the purpose of His creation.

Other Sabbaths like the sabbatical year or annual Pentecost Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9) were given directly to Israel under God’s government with Moses. These should not be confused with the seventh-day Sabbath that climaxed the creation as its weekly memorial (Exodus 20:8-11).

When Christ our Savior came to His earthly mission, He not only observed the Sabbath but also took time to reaffirm its purpose and correct the teachers of the law (Matthew 12:1-13; Mark 2:23-28). Today the Church of God (Seventh Day) and others observe the weekly Sabbath and testify of the spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental renewal they have received through it.

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