Friday, November 25, 2011

The Sabbath A Perpetual Sign—Part 2

By Joseph Bates (adapted)

Some have argued that since the Sabbath wasn’t mentioned between the time it was established in Eden and the time the manna fell (Exodus 16:15), that it must have been instituted for the Jews there in the wilderness. But notice what Jesus said to the Pharisees: “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

If the Sabbath was made for any one man exclusively, it must have been made for Adam, the father of us all (2-thousand years before Abraham—the father of the Jews—was born). John says, the old commandment was from the beginning (1 John 2:7).

But it’s important to notice that the antediluvians did measure time by weeks. In the account given by Noah, when the waters of the flood began to subside, he sent out a

dove which soon returned. And after seven days he sent her out again. And after seven more days, he sent her out a third time.

Now why this preference for the number seven? Why not five or ten days, or any other number? Could it be that his fixing upon seven was accidental? Wouldn’t it be more natural to conclude that it was simply in obedience to the authority of God, as expressed in Genesis 2?

A similar division of time is also mentioned in Genesis 29:27-28: “Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also. . . . And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week.” Now the word “week” in the Bible is used the same way we use it. It never means more or less than seven days (except as a prophetic symbol of years), and one of those seven days was always the Sabbath.

But just suppose there had been an entire silence on the subject of the Sabbath for these 2,500 years. Would that be sufficient evidence that there was no Sabbath during that time? If so we have the same evidence that there was no Sabbath from the reign of Joshua until the reign of David (406 years)! It’s not mentioned at all in the history of that period.

But who could be persuaded that Samuel and the pious Judges of Israel didn’t keep the Sabbath?

Notice what God said about Abraham: He says that Abraham “obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws.” Incidentally, look at how God uses this same phrase in Exodus 16:27-30:

“And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

“See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

“So the people rested on the seventh day.”

Abraham kept all of God’s commandments, including reverencing God’s Sabbath.

Again, there is no mention of circumcision from the days of Joshua, until the days of Jeremiah—a period of more than 800 years. Will it be believed that Samuel and David and all the Godly worthies along with the whole Jewish nation, neglected that essential seal of the covenant for those 800-years? Of course not!

Then how could any one suppose from the alleged silence of sacred history that Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham didn’t keep the Sabbath merely because that fact was not stated?

If we look at Jeremiah 9:25-26 we can see that Israel had not neglected the rite of circumcision—in spite of the silence on the subject we can see that they had been keeping this command, but that they had neglected to spiritually circumcise their hearts as well.

So here the proof is clear: silence about God’s people keeping of any of God’s positive commands is not evidence that they were not in full force.


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