By Rev. Dr. Rick Chesher
For those of us who have been in the church for any amount of time, at one time or another, you have heard arguments about the Sabbath. Some today claim the Sabbath is on Saturday and still other claim it is on Sunday. I believe the answer lays in the Bible, not only explaining what day but what it means.
In Exodus 20:8, it tells us to keep the Sabbath holy, and we are to labor six days, but on the seventh we are to observe the Sabbath. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the calendar and see that the seventh days is a Saturday, and that Sunday is the first day of the week. I think beyond that it comes down to what we want to believe.
Having said this I don’t believe we really understand what the Sabbath is, and I believe this understanding is the more compelling argument. When we understand the purpose it takes it beyond just an argument over a law or rule to a relationship issue with a living God.
To understand this I would like to go to Exodus 31:12-13. Moses is told to go to Israel and remind them they are to keep all of the Sabbaths, and Yahweh (God) says something really important. Yahweh says it is to be a sign of a covenant between us and Yahweh. The word sign in the Hebrew language means flag or a beacon, signal, but it can also mean token. The root word of sign means consent.
The word token is interesting because we use this in our wedding vows today. We come to the part where we exchange rings and we call them a token of our love for each other. In Jeremiah 31:31-34 Jeremiah prophesies about a time coming when Yahweh will make a New Covenant with Judah and Israel. In this passage Yahweh said that He had married them and they had broken that marriage covenant.
This word New is important because in the Hebrew is means new or fresh, but the root word means to rebuild, renew or repair. So this ties the word covenant to marriage and Yahweh says He is going to renew, rebuild, or repair His marriage covenant with His people. So this shows us the Sabbath being His token of love for us as His people, or in this case the sign of our betrothal to Him.
This is important because it clarifies Rev. 19:6-10 speaks to us about the marriage supper of the Lamb. So the more we know about what the Bible says it becomes more about His love for us and our love for Him. Then keeping the Sabbath becomes about a sign of His love for us and our love for Him. The word Keeping by the way means to guard and protect the Sabbath, or as we know now our betrothal to our King.