The Official Journal of the Ensign Trust, London

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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

THE SABBATH AND THE LORD’S DAY

By

USA

June 1951

‘We are not poorer but richer because we have in this country, through many generations and through many ages, rested from our labours upon one day in seven. That day is not lost. While industry is suspended, while the plough lies in the furrow, while the Exchange is silent, while no smoke ascends from the factory, a process  is going on quite as important  to the wealth of nations as any process which is performed on more busy days. Man, the maker of machines, is repairing and winding up so that he returns to his labours on the Monday with clearer intellect, with livelier spirits, with renewed corporal vigour.’ These words of Lord Macaulay were quoted by Mr. Thornton-Kemsley in the House of Commons during the debate on the Festival of Britain (Sunday opening) Bill. The voting on the Bill approved the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Churches under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury and decided against the opening  of  the Fun Fair on Sunday; a decision which all Christians will have greeted with thankfulness, however great  the estimated financial loss might  be.

Why has Sunday been  held  in  such high  esteem by our Anglo-Saxon Israel nations? Obviously it is part of our Christian heritage, for the pages of Scripture  are filled with the strict observations to honour the Sabbath because it is a covenant made between God and man. lt is a memorial of His recreation of an earth wrecked and made chaotic by Satanic forces; it is a memorial that He had successfully done this great  and stupendous task in what is known as a six-day period. It is a memorial that man himself had been created and had been set up to be head of creation, God’s representative on this earth, boasting a three­ fold nature, the very image of the Trinity and the forecast of God’s incarnation. It is a memorial that all is very good, in fact Divine satisfaction, for we read that “He rested on the seventh day” (Genesis 2:2); His rest was not made necessary by weariness, but rather as a symbol of  perfect completion.

The original Sabbath was not given to man in the sense that it was his rest day, as man as yet had done no work. However, this original Sabbath was destroyed by man’s sin and since then God  has had no rest, for our Lord Himself stated, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I  work”  (John  5:17).

There is no mention of Israel having had a Sabbath whilst  they were  in Egypt,  or even of  the Patriarchs keeping a Sabbath Day. It is first mentioned after the deliverance from bondage whilst Israel was in the Wilderness and at the time of the gathering of the manna, for at this time they gathered enough on the 6th day to last them during the 7th day during which time none fell. Here we see a type of Christ Who is the Bread of Life and a forecast of the great Sabbath when rest would come to this sin-worn and weary world. But even this was primarily “a sabbath unto the Lord” (Exodus 17:25). Concerning this time we read “in it thou shalt not do any work” (Exodus 20:10). Two reasons, reminders are given: that Creation was effected in six days and that Israel was to be a servant in Egypt.

The purpose of the Sabbath was a national recognition of God as the Creator, as Deliverer and National Saviour; therefore, one day was set apart as an act of reverence, respect, gratitude and worship. Also it was a rest day for man’s own good, for this law of the Sabbath is written into the very constitution of the human body. Apparently one night’s rest does not completely restore mankind to fitness from the day’s fatigues, therefore a whole day is required to put man back on the normal plane of vitality and strength. In this sense we can say quite literally that the Sabbath “was made for man” and we see in it a loving Divine provision enabling us to resist disease of every kind and thus ensure long life.

In Exodus 31:16 we read: “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever.” Our Lord said, “The Sabbath was made for (the) man” (Mark 2:27), not mankind in general. That is, the Sabbath was made for the Hebrew man, or the Israelites and is, therefore, a national and not an international promise. Today, only the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples, the Nation and Commonwealth of Nations, those of Hebrew-Israelitish stock, principally found in Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and the United States of America, observe this Sabbath by a legislative enactment. Thus it has become a national sign, or testimony, a witness to every other nation that Jehovah is recognised by His Covenant Nations.

Furthermore, the Sabbath can be regarded as a pledge of ultimate conquest of other nations, for in Isaiah 58:13-14 we read, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shall honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shall thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth and feed thee with the heritage  of  Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

The Sabbath should not be regarded as a condition of individual salvation, neither should it be understood that the Law can be kept in its entirety, for Paul shows us that this is impossible. Our Lord Himself defined this when He condoned those who went through the corn fields and plucked the corn on the Sabbath when they were hungry. He performed miracles on this day declaring it to be a day when good should be done.

It is not the purpose of this article to explain the change over from the 7th to the 1st day of the week, but it would suffice to say that the 7th day was not the only Sabbath, for in Leviticus we read that there were times when both the 1st day and the 7th were Sabbaths in succession. Actually all national festivals were termed Sabbaths and we know that there was  a Sabbatic day, a Sabbatic year, a Sabbatic week of weeks and a Sabbatic week of weeks of years. Jubilee year was therefore the 49th and the 50th years, and was a repetition on a yearly scale of Pentecost which represented the 50th day from Easter.

The first day of the week marked the completion  of  the seven  previous  days  and  just  as  our  Lord inaugurated it as His Resurrection Day so it inaugurates to us the dispensation of a New Race under  a  New  Federal  Head,  the  Second  Adam, the life-giving Spirit, the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Lord of the Sabbath. Thus the first day of the week becomes a forecast, a pledge of the great Sabbath rest  when  the age-old conflict will have ceased and we will then be able to enter into His Millennial  Sabbath.

In, therefore, honouring this first  day Sabbath in our national life we recall that it was on the first day  of the week that He rose from the dead, on the  first day He broke bread with them and ate with them; on the first day of the week He gave instructions to them; on the first day of the week He gave the Commission of the Gospel to the Church; on the first day of the week he ascended to Heaven; on the first day of the week He breathed upon them and gave them the promised Comforter; on the first day of the week, the Day of Pentecost, He sent down the Holy Ghost the Comforter; on the first day of the week He revealed Himself to the Apostle John on Patmos; on the first day of the week He revealed Himself as Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the Almighty; on the first day of the week He gave the Seven Letters to the churches; on the first  day of the week He gave the Book of Revelation and completed the Bible, thus finishing the task of thousands of years.

When ‘Israel in the Isles’, having already been separated from the Jews who rejected Him and who were still dwelling in the land, accepted the Gospel, they received “the first day of the week ” with the Gospel of the Resurrection and eventually they legally made it their Sabbath, replacing the one they had lost during the exile.

In keeping the Sabbath of Resurrection we testify, howbeit blindly, our national belief in  the  Divine promise of National Resurrection, National Restoration and National  Entrance into His  Rest.

End


Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms  unto him, talk ye of  all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord Seek  the Lord  and  his strength,  seek  his face continually.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the Lord our God; his judgments  are in all the earth.

Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;

Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and  of  his oath unto Isaac;  And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant.

I Chronicles 16:8-17

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