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Still Waters: The Sabbath

Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh 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.”

The “seventh day,” referred to as the Sabbath, is Saturday. The Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday evening at 6:00 pm, and continues until Saturday evening at 6:00 pm. Remember the notation made in Genesis 1, And the evening and the morning were....” God created all things in six days, and then He “sanctified,” or set apart as special the seventh, and He rested on that special day. He was herein providing an emphasis by illustration of His desire for the “sanctifying” of that day and the dedicating of it for rest and for worship. See the following passages: Exodus 16:22-30; 20:8-11; 23:12; Deuteronomy 5:12-14 (And there are many other similar passages).

Why then do we set aside Sunday as the day of worship? The observance of the Sabbath was a binding requirement given to the Jews in the Law of Moses. There were additional days throughout the Jewish year that were considered Sabbath days, such as certain days during the feasts of Israel. (See Leviticus 23:3, 4-8, 9-14, 23-25, 26-32, 33-44.) These “Sabbath Days” are connected to the Law given by Moses to Israel. Sunday is associated with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Note carefully the wording of Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn upon the first day of the week....” Jesus had lain in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea after crucifixion until that glorious morning when He conquered death and rose again. The Sabbath had ended and a new day had dawned; a day of life, hope and joy. The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to His own on the morning of the first day of the week, and again on that evening. He appeared to them again on the following Sunday to reveal Himself to Thomas who had been absent the week before. We read in the Book of Acts that the disciples met together on the first day of the week to “break bread,” or for the observance of the Lord’s Supper. (Acts 20:7) Paul referred to the practice of the Church of Corinth gathering on the “first day of the week” in 1 Corinthians 16:2. Also, it should be noted that the Apostle John referred to Sunday as “The Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10, when he spoke of “being in the Spirit” when he was given the great vision of things to come. The Christian Church has historically met on the first day of the week, on Sunday, for the purpose of Christian fellowship and worship. As stated earlier, the Sabbath is associated with the Law of Moses, and Sunday is associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and with the grace of God which offers salvation from sin to all through His Son.

Pastor Steve Smith


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