Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Exodus 31:12-17 (Daily Verse and Comment)

  Exodus 31:12-17

(12) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (13) "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (14) You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. (15) Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. (16) Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. (17) It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'" 
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The high regard that God gives to the seventh-day Sabbath is evident throughout Scripture. God began teaching Israel about the Sabbath even before He gave the Ten Commandments and made the covenant with Israel (see Exodus 16:14-3020:8-11). For forty years, Israel had a weekly lesson on which day God had set apart because no manna fell for them to gather on the seventh day—God had provided twice the amount the day before.

Not only was the Sabbath command in place before the Old Covenant was made, but God even made an additional, perpetual covenant just for the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-17). The Old Covenant—that temporary agreement between God and Israel—was made obsolete with the coming of the New Covenant, but the Sabbath exists outside of that agreement. In addition, notice God's promise at the core of the New Covenant: "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts" (Hebrews 8:1010:16; see Jeremiah 31:31-34). While an agreement may be temporary, God is intent on writing His laws permanently on our hearts—and the Sabbath is one of the most important.

Time and again, ancient Israel was subjugated because of Sabbath-breaking and idolatry (see, for example, Ezekiel 20). God gives no indication that the Sabbath is temporary, that He intended to change it later, or that He is ambivalent about His command. In fact, the prophecies specifically show that the Sabbath will be kept after Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom (Isaiah 66:22-23Ezekiel 44:2445:1746:3).

The gospel writers also do not give any hint or suggestion that God's sanctification of the Sabbath would somehow be switched to the first day of the weekJesus leaves no impression that the day of worship would change upon His death. Though He and the Pharisees were frequently at odds over the Sabbath, it is clear that the controversy was always over how the Sabbath should be kept, never if or when.

Jesus' teachings about the Sabbath are just as applicable for His followers today as the Beatitudes and the parables (Matthew 12:1-1224:20Mark 2:23-283:1-4Luke 6:1-913:10-1614:1-5John 5:16-197:21-24). He taught the liberating intent of the Sabbath—not the abolishment of it!—because Pharisaic tradition had turned the Sabbath into a burden rather than the "delight" that God intended (Isaiah 58:13-14). Not only did Jesus keep the Sabbath and teach others on it (Mark 1:216:2Luke 4:16), but after His death, the apostles and even Gentile believers also kept it (Acts 13:14-15, 42-44; 15:1-2, 14-21; 16:12-15; 17:2; 18:1-11).

Thus, from creation through the Millennium—and including Christ's ministry and the New Covenant church—we see God's establishment and steadfast reinforcement of the seventh-day Sabbath. On top of this, there is no scriptural intimation that the day of Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, or any other activity would modify the blessedness, sanctification, and holiness that He had already given to the seventh day.

— David C. Grabbe

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