Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Bible Study about the Sabbath

Seventh-day Adventists
Observe the Bible Sabbath Because…

Short Version

1.      Revelation 1:10 – The Lord has a day.
2.      Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5 – The Lord’s Day is Sabbath.
3.      Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 – The Sabbath is the seventh-day of the seven-day week.
4.      Luke 23:54-24:1 – The Sabbath is the day between the day Jesus died (Friday, also called “Preparation Day”, to prepare for the Sabbath) and the day Jesus rose from the dead (Sunday, also called “first day of the week.”)
5.      Mark 2:27 – The Sabbath was made for man (to be a day of rest and renewal and restoration and relationship with God and man) and not man for the Sabbath (to keep the day scrupulously, so as to have the day be a day of downers and drudgery.)

Long Version

1.      Genesis 2:1-3:  God instituted the Sabbath on earth at the end of a week of creative “work.”  He rested, blessed and sanctified this day.
2.      Exodus 5:1-9   : This verse indicates that Moses tried to get his people – all slaves for 400+ years – to observe Sabbath.  Vs. 3 speaks of a request to Pharaoh for a 3 day journey to the wilderness.  (Fri – Sun?).  vs 5 – in the Hebrew, has Pharaoh objecting, that “you would have them cease from their labors!”   They Hebrew word is “Shabbat” or “Sabbath”.
3.      Exodus 16 – This whole chapter indicates that Heaven’s gift of food/manna was also given to the Israelites on a 6 day on / 1 day off schedule.  No manna was found on the 7th day.  Apparently the manna making miracle and the manna delivering angels get Sabbath off…as a day of rest.
4.      Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 – Both versions of the 10 commandments “command” the Sabbath to be observed.
5.      2 Kings 4:23 – This verse indicates that the Israelites kept Sabbath during the period of the prophets and kings after the wilderness wanderings and the period of the conquest of Canaan. 
6.      Isaiah 56:1-8 – This verse reveals a call to keep the Sabbath to Israelites/mankind (vs 2) , Eunuchs (vs 4) and Foreigners (vs 6).
7.      Isaiah 58:13, 14 – An exhortation to “take your foot off the Sabbath”…and call it a ROYAL delight!  If you do, there is an amazing blessing promised.
8.      Nehemiah  10:31 – In this book written after the Israelite return from Babylon exile, the leaders once again led out in observing Sabbath, and the 7th “sabbatical” year.
9.      Nehemiah 13:15-22 – Read a fascinating story about the practical realities of national Sabbath reform about 450 years before Jesus.  Shut the gates…it’s Sabbath!
10.  The 7 Sabbath Miracles of Jesus (see parallel passages also)
a.    Mark 1:21-28 – Exorcism of an Evil Spirit
b.    Mark 1:29-31 – Peter’s Mother-in-Law’s Fever.
c.     Mark 3:1-6 – The man with the withered/deformed hand.
d.    Luke 13:10-17 – The woman that was bent double.
e.    Luke 14:1-6 – The man with dropsy.
f.      John 5:1-18  - The man at the pool of Bethesda.
g.    John 9:1-41 (vs 14) – The man blind from birth.
11.  Luke 4:16 ff – Jesus, on the Sabbath in a Synagogue, read a verse from Isaiah…and proclaimed that He was the Messiah!
12.  Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5 – The Grain-field Incident   Jesus says on Sabbath there are emergencies (sheep in a pit) that need to be tended to….and humans are much more valuable than sheep.  It is lawful to do good on Sabbath.
13.              Mark 2:27 – Jesus says that “The Sabbath was made for man…and not man for the Sabbath.”   Always remember this when contemplating how to observe the Sabbath.
14.  Luke 13:15,16 – Jesus says that animals need to be watered on Sabbath (and fed, and milked and …..)  All things necessary and deeds of mercy and good are welcome on Sabbath.
15.  John 5:17 – In the context of the Sabbath…Jesus declares that “My father is working until now…and I Myself as working.”  Ponder this for a while.  The sun comes up on Sabbath.  God did that.   Your heart still is beating on Sabbath.  God did that too.   Just because it’s a day of “rest.” Doesn’t mean it’s a day of nothingness.  It is a day to appreciate what God has done
16.  Luke 23:54-24:1 – A reflection on the creation week along with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus reveals that: Jesus made and saved man on the 6th day and that on the first day Jesus did the “work” of raising from the dead starting “something new.”  In both moments…Jesus “rested” on the seventh-day / Sabbath.
17.  The “First Day” Texts
a.    5 “first day” texts (Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2, 9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1) simply state the fact that when disciples came to the tomb, they found it empty, or saw angels or the savior himself.  They received the glad news that heaven had “worked” on that day…and “He is risen!”
b.    John 20:19-25 – this passage is about what happened that same day, at evening. The sun isn’t set…and it is still “the first day of the week.”  It’s not a worship service of church…for “the doors are shut, for fear of the Jews.” (vs 19).
c.     Acts 20:6-17 – This passage tells the story of Paul at Troas.  Having been there ministering for “seven day” (vs 6), a weekly cycle of activity…now it is the “first day of the week.”  The context indicates a Saturday evening all night (vs 8) farewell meeting.   Supper together. (vs 7)  Long preaching. (vs 7) A miraculous resurrection. (vs 9, 10)  Morning food (vs 11).  Then when the day dawned (vs 11), Paul’s companions traveled by ship, while Paul “took a hike” (vs 13).  If the day we call Sunday is not the Sabbath to Paul (a converted Jew), one should ask him why he is walking/traveling and not in church on that Sunday morning!   Troas to Assos is at least a 17 mile trek!
d.    1 Corinthians 16:1-9:  Rather than being a Pauline offering call for Church offerings, Paul is suggesting a personal giving plan for the Corinthian church.  “put aside and save.” (vs 2) are key words.  He is telling them to lay out their cash and coin on the table and put some in a container on the first day of the week…so that then he comes, they will have the money to give, rather than having spent it all before hand.  When we do our personal budgets, we should “give to God first” making our stewardship of tithe and offerings the highest priority.
18.  Paul and the Sabbath – There are several verses in the Book of Acts that reveal that Paul was a Sabbath observer, as a Christian Apostle.  Luke, the gentile author of Paul’s biographical book  for his friend gentile Theophilus (Acts 1:1) records the following Sabbath references.
a.    Acts 1:12 – A Sabbath day’s journey distance is mentioned.
b.    Acts 13:13-  - Paul at Pisidian Antioch went to synagogue on Sabbath and preached a powerful sermon.  (vs 27)  In the middle of his sermon he makes mention of the prophets being read “every Sabbath”.  (vs 42-44) when the meeting concludes, people ask for him to speak again “the next Sabbath”…and there is an even bigger and more diverse crowd the next Sabbath.
c.     Acts 15:21 – James, in the Jerusalem Counsel about being open and affirming to the Gentiles, mentioned Moses being read in the synagogues on Sabbath.
d.    Acts 16:11-18 – When Paul was at Philippi, the group sought out a place of prayer on the Sabbath.  Apparently there was no synagogue…so they found a riverside place of prayer…and lead a conversation…that resulted in a convert: Lydia. (vs 16) As they were going to “the place of prayer” (was this the next week?) they cast out a demon from a slave girl. (Sabbath: a day of healing and wholeness.)
e.    Acts 17:1-9 – In Thessalonica, Paul’s custom of Sabbath keeping found him in the synagogue of the Jews…preaching the risen Christ!
f.      (Acts 17:10, 17 also refer to synagogue events.  Though Sabbath isn’t mentioned…it is implied.)
g.    Acts 18:1-11 – In Corinth, Paul set up residence, even working in a tent shop by day to make money so he could preach and travel with the  gospel.  (vs 4) Every Sabbath he went to synagogue reasoning with the Jews. And Greeks.   (vs 11) he did this for a year and six months.  Do the math.  That’s a lot of Sabbath’s recorded for Paul to keep.
h.    (Acts 19:8) – Deeper study into the Book of Acts records many synagogue preaching moments. (on Sabbath is implied).  Here Paul ministers at Ephesus for 3 months… (12 Sabbaths?)
19.  Hebrews 3:1 - 4:16 : Perhaps the most amazing and neglected passage about the Sabbath in the New Testament.    Here the writer (Paul?) says to the Hebrew people they should consider Jesus (3:1).   And that to reject Jesus is to reject “entering into God’s/His rest.” 3:11, 18, 19; 4:1, 3, 5)  He links the rest in Christ with the Sabbath rest and the land of Canaan rest.  The high point is the bold statement.  “There remains therefore a (Greek word: sabbatismos) Sabbath rest for the people of God.”   When you enter Jesus rest…you rest from your works of law attempting to earn (work) for heaven…just as God rested from his works at creation (vs 10).   For the Jesus follower…Sabbath takes on new significance.  It is not just about remembering the creation of the world by the pre-incarnate Christ…but also about remembering  the redemption of the world by the incarnate Christ on the cross.  Sabbath remains!
20.  Revelation 14:6-12  - The first angel of three angelic messages calls all humanity (vs 6) to… “Worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of water.” In language drawn from the 4th commandment, God’s end time people are called to worship the creator…through the memorial of creation, the Sabbath.
21.  Isaiah 66:22-24:  In this verse of prophecy about the new heavens and earth, vs 22),  it anticipates worship of God in that new time and place from “Sabbath to Sabbath.” Vs 23.

Bible Study by….

Elder O. Kris Widmer; BA, MDiv
Ordained Minister -  Seventh-day Adventist Church  - 1989.
Parish Pastor:  Antioch, California, U.S.A. : January 2009 to the Present
Printed:    October 31, 2015
Permission is Given to Share Freely

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