Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Sabbath: A Gift From Eden"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Lesson 11: 
"Sabbath: A Gift From Eden" 
The Forgotten Sign--The True Sabbath
When you travel into an unfamiliar area, you pay attention to the signs in order to identify the right road to your destination. In the journey of life we also need to follow the Lord's direction signs. But there is one of His signs which most people are not following. Yet this sign was appointed by Christ our Creator in the beginning.
There are several references in the New Testament which identify the Lord Jesus Christ as the Creator-God who made the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Why the seventh? Not because He was weary. The Word of God declares that "the Creator ... fainteth not, neither is weary" (Isa. 40:28).
Scripture presents the reason: "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" (Gen. 2:2, 3).
Christ's Sabbath is a memorial or sign that He is the Creator: "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord." "It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for [because] in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed" (Ex. 31:15, 17).
Not only did Christ the Creator rest on the seventh day of the first week, He also sanctified it, or set it apart, as holy. The Word of God declares that He "sanctified it: because that in it He had rested."
What Makes the Sabbath Holy?
The six days of creation formed the groundwork for the sanctification of the seventh day for man. The word "Sabbath," from the Hebrew, means rest. The Hebrew cognate verb shabbath means to cease, to rest, or to keep asabbath. This verb occurs twice in Genesis 2:2, 3, where it is translated as "rested." In the beginning, Christ's rest made this day the Sabbath day. Christ the Creator confirms this in Exodus 20:11. He identifies the seventh day as the Sabbath day: "The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."
The Lord who spoke the Ten Commandments at Sinai is Christ. The fourth commandment identifies Him as the Creator (Ex. 20:8-11). So according to the New Testament, Christ is the Creator, the Lord who spoke these commandments, with God the Father. And, the Lord who spoke the Ten Commandments is the same One who sustained them: "They [the children of Israel] drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:1-4; see also Neh. 9:12, 13).
Christ says: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work" (Ex. 20:8-10).
Christ has given His Sabbath to be a sign that He is the One who makes persons holy, the One who saves in addition to being the Creator. He considers His Sabbath as a sign that He is the Savior. This reveals the high value Christ places upon the Sabbath for His people. The heart of theSabbath is Christ.
A False Sabbath and Righteousness by Works
The substitution of human ordinances for divinely appointed institutions forms a part of the false principle of righteousness by works. The man-made Sunday sabbath in place of the Christ-appointed seventh-day Sabbath is one example. This substitution places the authority of man above the authority of Christ. Many do not realize that the keeping of the false sabbath of the first day of the week in place of the true seventh-day Sabbath of Christ is a part of this false principle of righteousness by works!
God's threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12 is designed to correct this false principle. The message leads into the righteousness by faith that is seen in obedience to all the commandments of God. It restores the trueSabbath of Christ as a sign of righteousness by faith. The issue of the worship of Christ as the Creator (vs. 7) versus the worship of the beast and his image (vs. 9) is basically the issue of righteousness by faith and the essence of the third angel's message.
Someday the work of the threefold message will come into its final movements. The earth will be illuminated with the glory of Christ's righteousness. (Compare Rev. 18:1-4 with Rom. 9:28.) The Sabbath will be preached and understood in its deep spiritual aspects.
The Lord wants you to be a part of this last-day threefold message. Be one of those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This is the wisest, the best, the most rewarding decision you will ever make.
Justification by Faith and the Sabbath
Ellen G. White, in her familiar quotation about the Lord in His great mercy sending in 1888 "a most precious message through Elders Waggoner and Jones," continues: "it [the message] presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God(Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 91, 92; emphasis added).
Justification by faith is far more than a legal declaration, it becomes a purely personal experience. The heart of the one who believes is reconciled at-one with God. And furthermore: since no one can be reconciled to God and at the same time not be reconciled to God's holy law, it follows that genuine justification by faith makes the believer demonstrate "obedience to all the commandments of God," including willing acceptance of the Sabbath truth.
The Sabbath Seals Your Oneness With Christ
If you were offered a truck loaded with gold, it would not be a blessing as rich as the Sabbath. It brings what gold can never bring--happiness. The Hebrew title of Psalm 92 is, "A Song for the Sabbath" (GNB):
How good it is to give thanks to You, O Lord, 
to sing in your honor, O Most High God, 
to proclaim Your constant love every morning 
and Your faithfulness every night, ... 
Your mighty deeds, O Lord, make me glad; 
because of what You have done, I sing for joy.
When we are oppressed by temptation and trials, we are to think of His "mighty deeds," and we shall be made glad again. That great power is exercised to deliver us. Nothing is too hard for the Lord, and no power can withstand Him. When we rest in that power, the victory is already won.
For this reason, the Sabbath is the seal of a new creature in Christ, one who is united with Him by faith. Born a creature of the dust, he is now a newly born member of the heavenly family. The Sabbath is therefore the "seal of God" which is placed upon "the foreheads" of God's servants in these last days (Rev. 7:1-4). It came from Paradise and marks those who are destined to live eternally in Paradise. As they assemble through eternity from Sabbath toSabbath, they will "sing for joy" because of what their Savior has done for them: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
In Christ we find rest; in Him we keep the Sabbath, in Him we find rest from sin and self.
--From the writings of Robert J. Wieland
(Compiled by Carol A. Kawamoto)