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Showing posts from January, 2010

Joshua and the Sabbath Rest

Sabbath Study, Part 15
In the book of Joshua, we find a familiar story that implicitly deals with an expansion on our understanding of the Sabbath observance.

And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:2-5)

Six days. An entire week passed during this time: six days each of marching around Jericho one time, and one day of circling the city seven tim…

Remember Your Chains

Sabbath Study, Part 14
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses (nearing the end of his life at 120 years) reminds the children of Israel of all that the Lord has commanded them. Chapter 5 begins with his review of the Ten Commandments. This time, however, he includes a Sabbath reference that wasn’t given in Exodus 20.

And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:15)

You were a slave. This reason for the Sabbath is not a contradiction of Exodus 20, which gave a different reason. It is simply an additional reason to observe the Sabbath. One thematic element of Deuteronomy is God’s deliverance of His people from the land of Egypt (15:15, 16:12, 24:18, 24:22), an historic event that also symbolizes the Christian’s deliverance from the slavery of sin and his entrance into the rest of God. The Christian will fully a…

Dead Serious

Sabbath Study, Part 13
The following story details what may have been the first instance of a Jewish man blatantly disregarding the Sabbath. Some might look at this account and be shocked by the apparent harshness of God’s dealings with him. On the surface, it may seem that the punishment did not fit the crime. But such a response shows an ignorance of both the holiness of God and the nature of the man’s sin—both of which come into clearer focus through studying the context of this passage.

Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So, as the LORD commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him out…

Public and Private

Sabbath Study, Part 12

In Leviticus 23, God instructs the Israelites to keep various feasts throughout the year: the Passover, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks, and so on. This list begins with a call to observe the most important feast, the one that stands out above the rest—the weekly Sabbath.

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3)

A holy convocation. In this verse, we see that there are corporate and private aspects of the Sabbath celebration. First, it is a holy convocation—that is, a sacred assembly. God’s people are called to gather together on the Sabbath for public worship. In addition to this public aspect, it is to be observed “in all your dwellings.”
Seventh day. That is, weekly. “No other seasons or occasions of public worship are ever to set aside, supersede, or lead nay to neglect the habitual and holy observan…