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The Seventh-Day Sabbath and Righteousness by Faith

How does the Sabbath relate to righteousness by faith? Read this Bible study!

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The Seventh-Day Sabbath and Righteousness by Faith
By Pastor George Rice

A. Sabbath commands

1. The commandment to observe the seventh day as the Sabbath appears in two books of the Old Testament

a. Exodus 20:8-11 - here the command is to observe the seventh day as a memorial of Jesus’ creative act

b. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 - here the command is to observe the seventh day as a reminder of Israel’s deliverance from slavery

2. Israel’s deliverance from slavery is a type of man’s deliverance from the slavery of sin, and the seventh day Sabbath is sign that sinners have accepted this deliverance through the blood of Jesus.

3. Saturday, the seventh-day Sabbath, is popularly called the “Jewish Sabbath,” but it is never called that is Scripture. Jesus always refers to it as “My Sabbath” - Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12, 20; etc.

4. As a memorial of creation, the seventh day Sabbath stands in opposition to the theory of evolution.

B. Sign of sanctification

1. Observing the seventh day Sabbath is a sign that a sinner has entered into God’s rest or saving grace - Hebrews 4:1-4

2. This passage in Hebrews says that God’s works were finished from the foundation of the world (v. 3).

3. What works were finished?

a. Creation - Genesis 1

b. Redemptive works - Revelation 13:8 (Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world).

4. What does Revelation 13:8 mean?

God’s plan of salvation existed from eternity in the past. This plan was activated when Adam sinned and Jesus introduced the new covenant to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis3:15). God foreknew that His plan would be successful in redeeming man, therefore He gave repentant sinners prior to the cross the experience of forgiveness and righteousness by faith just as He gives us this experience today. Therefore those under the first covenant Paul speaks of in Hebrews 9:1-5 and the sanctuary services were saved by faith in God’s grace and righteousness.

5. The seventh-day Sabbath is a sign for them and for us that we have accepted Jesus’ grace and His power to sanctify the sinner.

6. In Exodus 31:12, 13 and Ezekiel 20:12 Israel was told that Jesus’ Sabbath is a sign for them that He is the Lord who sanctifies them. Observing Saturday, the seventh-day Sabbath, is not works, it is a sign that we accept the blood of Jesus and His sanctifying power.

7. For Paul tells us that it is the blood of Jesus that sanctifies us - Hebrews 13:12

C. The importance of the word Lord

1. Notice the word “Lord” in Exodus 31:12, 13, 15, 17 and Ezekiel 20:12, 20. The whole word is in caps.

This is what the NKJV says about this word, “The covenant name of God in the Old Testament, represented by the Hebrew consonants YHWH, is translated “Lord” or “God” (using capital letters as shown), as it has been throughout the history of the King James Bible.” - “Preface,” NKJV, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992.

2. YHWH is the personal name of the covenant God and comes from the Hebrew verb “to be” thus showing eternal existence. YHWH is transliterated into English as Jehovah.

3. YHWH, or I AM, was the name of God gave to Moses at the burning bush - Exodus 3:14.

Jesus claimed to be I AM or Jehovah - John 8:57, 58 (YHWH or Lord). Therefore it was Jesus who spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). It was Jesus who told Israel that He was the Lord who sanctified them and that the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is a sign of this sanctifying work. Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the sign today that we have accepted the blood of Jesus, a sign of its sanctifying power, and a sign of righteousness by faith.

4. If we revisit the ten commandments (Exodus 20:2-17), the following must be noted:

a. They begin with the statement, “I am the Lord your God.” It is Jesus saying that He is the God of Israel and that He gave the ten commandment law to them which has been passed on to us.

b. Within the fourth commandment (the Sabbath command - Exodus 20:8-11), Lord is used three times:

“But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God” (v. 10). Therefore Jesus claims the Sabbath as His.

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth” (v. 11). Therefore Jesus claims to be the Creator.

“Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (v. 11). Therefore man is not authorized to set aside what Jesus has blessed.

All human beings are obligated to honor the seventh-day Sabbath. But this is especially true of Christians who claim to be the followers of Jesus who instituted and blessed the seventh day of the week as His Sabbath.