Sabbath

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The first time the Sabbath is specifically mentioned in scripture is in Exodus 16:2323And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. (Exodus 16:23), after the manna had been given from heaven; but the Sabbath clearly had its origin in the sanctification and blessing of the seventh day after the six days of creative work. And a hebdomadal division of days apparently existed up to the flood, since it is very distinctly mentioned in connection with Noah. We are also told in Mark 2:2727And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: (Mark 2:27) that the Sabbath was made for man. It was an institution which expressed God’s merciful consideration for man.
The Sabbath had a peculiar place in relation to Israel: thus in Leviticus 23, in the feasts of Jehovah, in the holy convocations, the Sabbath of Jehovah is first mentioned as showing the great intention of God. God had delivered Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, therefore God commanded them to keep the Sabbath (Deut. 5:1515And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:15)). The Sabbath was the sign of God’s covenant with them, and it may be that the Lord in repeatedly offending the Jews by (in their view) breaking the Sabbath by acts of mercy foreshadowed the approaching dissolution of the legal covenant (Ex. 31:13, 1713Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. (Exodus 31:13)
17It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. (Exodus 31:17)
; Ezek. 20:12,2012Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. (Ezekiel 20:12)
20And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. (Ezekiel 20:20)
). The Sabbath foreshadowed their being brought into the rest of God; but, because of the sin of those who started to go thither (who despised the promised land), God sware in His wrath that they should not enter into His rest (Psa. 95:1111Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. (Psalm 95:11)). God has purposed to bring His people into His rest, for whom there remains therefore the keeping of a Sabbath (Heb. 4:99There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)).
The Sabbath was never given to the nations in the same way as to Israel, and amid all the sins enumerated against the Gentiles, we do not find Sabbath-breaking ever mentioned. Nevertheless, it appears to be a principle of God’s government of the earth that man and beast should have one day in seven as a respite from labor, all needing it physically.
The Christian’s Sabbath is designated the LORD’S DAY—and is as distinct in principle from the Jewish legal Sabbath as the opening, or first day of a new week is from the close of a past one. The Lord lay in death on the Jewish Sabbath: the Christian keeps the first day of the week, the resurrection day. See LORD’S DAY.