The Sabbath Rest Test
by Marty Purvis
Perhaps the most common question we receive at Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS) is, "Why do you believe in worshiping on Saturday?" In fact, many people believe that WUAS is somehow associated with or sponsored by a denomination since we believe in the importance of resting on the Sabbath. Immediately, some individuals respond by stating that a requirement to worship on Saturday was eliminated at the cross. They have concluded that denominations which worship on the seventh day of the week are legalistic. Regrettably, in many Sabbath-keeping churches today, an attitude of legalism does exist. However, from creation to the present, Satan continues to hide the universal principles established by God's laws.
In this short article, we cannot address all the reasons why the accepted day of worship was changed from Saturday to Sunday by the second century AD Christian church. Neither will it provide the reasons why the New Testament does not support worship on the first day of the week. (For an explanation of this subject, read chapter 5 of the book Warning! Revelation is about to be fulfilled.) Instead, this article will focus on the perpetuity of the Sabbath and its role in end-time events. See if you can identify the concept of "rest" as you continue with this study.
The Seventh Day Sabbath Existed at Creation
The Bible specifically states the seventh day of creation was blessed and made holy. "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." (Genesis 2:2-3) No scriptural evidence can be found showing that the seventh day of the week is no longer blessed or made holy to God. The Bible specifically states that there were seven days of creation, not six days as many individuals presume. If the seventh day was not a part of creation, we would have a six day, not a seven day, weekly cycle. The crowning work of creation was God's gift of the seventh day Sabbath to man. God blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy just as surely as the marriage covenant.
The Seventh Day Sabbath Existed During the Exodus
The Bible says the importance of the seventh day of the week was renewed at the Exodus when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. God said to the children of Israel from Mt. Sinai "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 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 manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." (Exodus 20:8-11) The only communication from God to man throughout recorded history worthy of being recorded on stone in God's own hand were these ten commandments. These tablets signified the enduring nature of God's law for all people, not just the Jewish people. The Lord said to "Remember the Sabbath day" Have you considered why God said to "Remember" rather than "You shall not" for the fourth commandment? Could it be that God knew man would forget this one commandment and keep the other nine? In discussing the fourth commandment, most contemporary Christians maintain that the requirement for keeping the ten commandments was eliminated at the cross. If this was the case, the same argument would exist for the other nine commandments. Yet, James 2:10-11 directly references two of the ten commandments. Using the same logic, if the necessity for keeping ten commandments was ended at the cross, then James could not have classified murder as breaking the Ten Commandments.
Another point of reference that indicates God's preference can be found when God provided manna for the children of Israel. He specifically directed them to collect manna on six days of the week, but on the seventh day, His people rested. Every week on the sixth day (Friday), God gave the children of Israel a double portion of manna for the sixth and the seventh day (Saturday). For nearly forty years, the importance of a Sabbath rest was placed before the children of Israel on a weekly basis. (See Exodus 16:29,30)
The Sabbath Day Was an Important Feast Day
The seventh day of the week was also appointed as a feast day distinct from the other ceremonial days that were established for the Children of Israel. The observance of feast days are not part of the moral law documented by the Ten Commandments. The observance of feast days, as established in the ceremonial laws, pointed forward to the redemption and salvation of Christ. The ceremonial laws were given to Israel in addition to the moral law that was imposed on all mankind. One difference between the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath of ceremonial laws was the temporary nature of the ceremonial laws.
However, more importantly, the Bible distinguishes between the seventh day Sabbath and the Sabbath identified in the ceremonial laws. Leviticus 23:3 states: "There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD." This seventh day "Sabbath to [or of] the LORD" was to be distinguished from Sabbaths of rest that were observed on other ceremonial feast days. For example, the Day of Atonement was also considered a "Sabbath of rest." (Leviticus 23:32) However, it nor any other feast day was identified as a "Sabbath to the Lord." Every time the "Lord's Sabbath" or a "Sabbath to the Lord" is mentioned in the Bible, it always refers to the seventh day of the week.
The Pattern of the Sabbath in the Jubilee Calendar
The Jubilee calendar was also established for the children of Israel. It again highlights the importance of a Sabbath rest. "The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,