The Sabbath Rest Principle
The Sabbath Rest Principle Vs. A Spurious Sabbath
"And on the seventh day God ended His work...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..." Genesis 2:2, 3.
“YAH saw every thing that He made was "very good"; and of course, it was very good! All that YAH does has to be very good. He cannot do otherwise. "The Sabbath was made for man", Mark 2:27. Was the Sabbath "very good" also? Yes, but not only "very good", the Sabbath was blessed and sanctified for man. And the first whole day man spent with his Creator was the Sabbath. It is important to remember that all this happened before "the mystery of iniquity" entered our planet. The earth was a "wonder world" of perfect bliss and harmony-- Heaven on earth, so to speak. And the Sabbath held special significance to God and man.
Can you imagine the relationship that the first couple and their Master shared together there in the Garden of Eden? Can you picture the innocence of that abundant life, free from pain, disease, stress, death, and all the hardships of this present sinful state? And Christ utters these hope-inspiring words to us, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Matt. 11:28-30. Are you weary from the battles of this life? Many have found the answer in Christ, who offers THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE as a special gift.
When YAH appeared to Moses on the Mount, He provided him with Ten Commandments, written in stone by the very "finger of God." YAH says, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of YAH thy Maker: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter...nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days YAH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore YAH blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Ex. 20:8-11. The fourth commandment of the Decalogue thus sets forth THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE. And Paul, in the book of Hebrews, reiterates it. "There remaineth therefore a [sabbath] rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His." Hebrews 4:9, 10. In the Sabbath, man does no work at all.
The Sabbath, then, not only commemorates the Creation; it also stands as a perpetual memorial that man's own "works" will never advance him or bring him any merit whatsoever in the estimation of YAH. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8, 9. Let it be forever understood that the Sabbath reminds us weekly and every time we "remember" it, that salvation is "the gift of God: Not of works." How could a true "Sabbath-keeper", one who is walking in the "Sabbath of His rest", one who truly understands and experiences THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE, ever be labeled a "legalist"? Truly, the one who will not "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy" is the real "legalist." He must do something of his own making, his own devising, his own choosing, to please God, to create "a rest" in his soul. He must mold some sort of "idol" which will mask his false impression of the character of God. Is this authentic rest?
Ask that individual of his experience. Does he fight for his rights? Does he become offended when questioned on an issue or corrected? Does he ever complain about the circumstances of his life? Is there an occasional irritable spirit manifested by him? Does he always need to be right? Is he quick to pass judgment or condemn others? Does he experience "ups and downs"-- sometimes satisfied, other times discontented. What is the man's condition? The one who chooses not to obey YAH's commandments will find himself in a certain dilemma-- a state of unrest and unbelief. He will need something to provide him happiness-- a job, a car, a woman, a "bottle", a something. His life is a void, "dead in trespasses and sins", Eph. 2:1.
I am reminded of a rhyme my junior high school music teacher once told us, "Man's life's a vapor, full of woes-- He cuts the caper, down he goes--". This is characteristic of "the natural man [who] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Rom. 8:7. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." Rom. 8:5. "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Rom 10:3.
Church history chronicles examples of movements, kings, and kingdoms, all possessing voids and trying to fill them with their own "works of self-righteousness". Consider Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He "made an image of gold,... he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon." Dan. 3:1. The image was his own representation of himself, and he required that all "faithful souls" in his kingdom recognize his "endless kingdom" by bowing to the image. When YAH's worshipers refused to recognize this unrest as beneficial to their souls, persecution came upon them. The unrest of the wicked was forced upon the righteous. But the righteous were delivered because of their adherence to THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE. The man of God says, "we are not careful to answer thee in this matter...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. Dan. 3:16, 17. It was unto them as their faith.
The Jewish church sought a temporal kingdom on earth which would never end. They expected a Messiah to launch such a kingdom into existence and deliver them from their oppressors. They "established their own righteousness" in every conceivable way, making themselves ready for the Messiah of their fantasies. Christ said, "That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 5:20. Fabricating an "image beast" of their designs, they depended upon their vile enemies to crucify the only hope of freedom-- the Christ, Himself. And as the Messiah, he hung there in public humiliation, demonstrating THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE by saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34. What love, what selfless love! O what a Savior!
During the years of the early apostolic church, Christians came under the cruelest hand of persecution. The unrest and unbelief of the Jews reached unto the portals of heaven in 34 A.D., when they stoned the faithful Stephen. As he was being killed, "he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep." Acts 7:60. Do you think that Stephen possessed THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE in his heart? Christ was in him "the hope of glory," and the same rest that God gave to Adam at Creation, was reigning in his soul. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven...". Matt. 5:44, 45a.
As the Papacy developed, unrest well nigh permeated the whole known world. With the policies of Constantine, Emperor of Rome, history records the depths of apostasy to which a man will fall in sustaining his own kingdom. He became the father of Sunday legislation, a principle that is dichotomous to THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE. Under Constantine's successors official paganism was abolished, and Christianity made the only legal religion of the state. The end result was "the beast power." This church-state union would "wear out the saints of the Most High" 1260 years before receiving the "deadly wound." Fox's Book of Martyrs contains the horrible story and pictures of those cruel persecutions. But within that recorded history is preserved "the patience of the saints" who had THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE sealed in their souls just as the faithful of all ages.
In modern church history, we see gross unrest and unbelief with every sort of persecution arising because of religious differences. From the "innocent act" of shunning one's own family members, to maligning character in the press, to malicious gossip, to divorcing an "unbelieving spouse", to suing dissenting church members [or ex-members] in the courts of law, to disfellowshipping church members without due cause, to actual murder and religious war(s). All these methods of mind-control, manipulation, condemnation, violence and/or force are unconscionable acts for anyone professing Christianity. These behaviors are impossible to those walking in THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE. The very keeping of the Sabbath forbids these evils.
Those who observe and keep a "spurious sabbath" will find themselves without "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding...". Phil. 4:7. They will need to "prop up" God's program with some "image beast" of their own creating. There is that void in the soul, a "black hole" which seeks to pull others into it. Christ utters this scathing rebuke, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Matt. 23:15. This is often done to people with the Sabbath-day doctrine. Many will go to great lengths in teaching work stoppage on the seventh day of the week or Saturday. However, you are never taught how to keep the Sabbath holy. You are not introduced to the Christ of the Sabbath that you might enter into His rest. Thus, you miss receiving THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE which creates within you a new spirit of submission with the calm restful expectation of deliverance from sin and death by the power of YAH's Word-- freedom indeed!
Those who have had the great privilege of entering into YAH's rest know how important it is to refrain from all their labors sundown Friday through sundown Saturday-- the holy Sabbath hours. They have "ceased from [their] own works, as God did from His [on the seventh day of Creation]." Heb. 4:10. This new covenant experience brings one to the realization that "all things work together for good to them that love God...". Rom. 8:28. This new life in Christ says, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phil. 4:11. One begins to reason from cause to effect, "for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Gal. 6:7.
"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God..." Rev. 7:2. "...and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Rev. 7:4. YAH says, "...I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign [or seal] between Me and them, that they might know that I am YAH that sanctify them." Eze. 20:12. "Thus saith YAH, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil." Isa. 56:1, 2. "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of YAH, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in YAH; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of YAH hath spoken it." Isa. 58:13, 14. (All emphases supplied).
We see from the preceding paragraph that the Sabbath is the "seal of God". On the seventh day of Creation He put His seal to the completion of His good work. At the close of the work of redemption, He stamps His seal in the hearts of the 144,000 who shall stand faultless before the throne of God. Their "trademark" is the character of Christ, the seal of the living God, the Sabbath of His rest. They shall not yield to any other mold. Their only allegiance is to the God of Heaven and His commandments of love. They are "Sabbath-keepers" because Christ is the Author of Sabbath. He is "the author and finisher of [their] faith." Heb. 12:2. They are anticipating the soon second advent of their Savior, when He will escort them to the mansions above, prepared by Him for the redeemed of all ages. They have dispensed with self-seeking and sustaining earthly kingdoms. Thus, having entered the true Sabbath of YAH's rest, THE SABBATH REST PRINCIPLE is their constant delight.”