"The Reminder Of The Evidence" — another look at the Sabbath — in the larger setting of the great controversy over God's character and government.
If God values nothing higher than our freedom, why has He placed right in the heart of the "royal law of liberty" (James) a command to remember the Sabbath? Is this possibly one instance where God has imposed an arbitrary requirement upon His people, just to show His authority and test their willingness to obey? But the whole message of Scripture is that there is no arbitrariness in our God. As Paul explained, God's laws were given to help us, to protect us in our ignorance and immaturity, to lead us back to trust.
Viewed in the larger setting of the great controversy over the character and government of God, the Sabbath was "made for man" (Jesus) not before but after sin entered the universe. Repeatedly in the sixty-six books the Sabbath is connected with times of special demonstration of the truth about our God — the perfection and freedom of creation week, the freeing of His people from Egyptian bondage, the costly and convincing evidence of crucifixion week, the promise of peace and freedom in the earth made new.
The Sabbath is a monument to freedom. It sums up the good news about God. It reminds us of the everlasting truth that "sets us free" (Jesus) and will keep us free for eternity. It should always be a "delight" (Isaiah), to be enjoyed in the highest sense of freedom. Observed merely as obedience to an arbitrary command, the Sabbath could turn us against God - even lead us to "crucify Him once again" (Hebrews 6) — then hurry home to keep the Sabbath holy, as happened that sad Friday nineteen hundred years ago.
Bible passages included:
Exodus 20:8, 11. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy...for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it." (RSV)
Revelation 14:7. "Honor God and give him glory, for his time has come to sit in judgment. Worship the Creator of heaven and earth, the Creator of the sea and the springs." (NAB)
Genesis 2:9. "In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 10:13. "But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm." (GNB)
Genesis 1: 28. "Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control." (GNB)
Genesis 2:2, 3. "On the sixth day God completed all the work he had been doing, and on the seventh day he ceased from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he ceased from all the work he had set himself to do." (NEB)
John 19:30. "It is finished." (KJV)
John 17:4. "I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." (New KJV)
Mark 2:27. "The sabbath was made for the good of man." (GNB)
John 1:3. "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (NIV)
Colossians 1:16. "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." (NIV)
Exodus 31:13. "Keep the Sabbath, my day of rest, because it is a sign between you and me for all time to come, to show that I, the Lord, have made you my own people." (GNB)
Ezekiel 20:20. "Make the Sabbath a holy day, so that it will be a sign of the covenant we made, and will remind you that I am the Lord your God." (GNB)
Ezekiel 20:12. "I made the keeping of the Sabbath a sign of the agreement between us, to remind them that I, the Lord, make them holy." (GNB)
Psalm 51:10. "Create in me a clean heart, O God." (KJV)
Deuteronomy 5:15. "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God brought you out with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, and for that reason the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day." (NEB)
Hebrews 4:9. "So there must still be a promised Sabbath of Rest for God's people." (Goodspeed)
"There must still be, therefore, a place of rest reserved for God's people, the seventh-day rest." (Jerusalem)
Ezekiel 20:12. "I gave them my sabbath, to mark the tie between me and them, to teach them that it is I, the Eternal who sets them apart." (Moffatt)
Revelation 14:12. "This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus." (GNB)
2 Peter 3:10. "The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (KJV)
©1984 Graham Maxwell