Spiritual Reasons for the Sabbath
Be Kelly McDonald, Jr.
In Genesis 2:2-3, we learn: “2 And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made.” (ASV)
The word translated as hallowed also means “to be made holy.” God is the one who made the Sabbath holy because He rested on that day; the other six days He worked to fashion the earth. What makes something holy?
Other verses in the Bible help us understand this concept more. In Exodus 3:5-6, Moses was on the mountain with the Lord. The Lord spoke to him and told him to take his shoes off because the ground was holy. Why was the ground holy? Because God was there. His presence made it holy. In Exodus 29:43, God said, “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory” (KJV). The Spirit of God and the Glory of God consecrate things to make them Holy unto Him.
When God rested on the Sabbath, He set aside the entire 24-hour space of time as holy unto Him. It will always be holy, no matter what people think, say, or do. This means that His transformative power is present to touch, heal, and minister to us. A 24-hour outpouring of Holy Spirit power is available each Sabbath. This also means that the gifts of the Spirit are in the greatest degree of operation during this time.
In Ezekiel chapters 40-46, God revealed a magnificent Temple to Ezekiel. It has never been built, but will be one day in the future. The layout of this large structure provides an amazing revelation when it comes to the Sabbath. In Ezekiel 46:1-10, we learn that the Temple gates will be closed for six days and be open on the seventh day. In Hebrews 8:5, we learn that the earthly Temple is representative of the heavenly Temple. For the Temple in Ezekiel’s vision to have open gates every seventh day would correspond to the gates of Heaven being open during the Sabbath!
The gates of heaven are open when the sun sets on Friday! Let’s apply this concept to another verse: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise His name.” We should enter the gates of Sabbath with praise and thanksgiving for His rich provision in our lives. Seek Him for the things you may need. What do you need from God? Do you need strength to go through a hard season? Are there Bible verses that you do not understand? Do you or someone you know need healing? Do you need a breakthrough in your personal life? Do you need a revelation from God? Jesus did many of His miracles on the Sabbath! While we can pray at any time, the Sabbath is a special time to reach out to God. He is waiting on us to enter into the gates of the Sabbath every week.
In Ezekiel 46:8-10, we learn that the Prince is allowed to exit the same gate through which He entered. Everyone else has to go out a different gate than the one they entered. This shows us that we should not leave the Sabbath the same way that we came in. There is a transformative glory poured out on this day that does not allow us to leave the same way we came in. If we are really applying ourselves and forming our week around the observance of this day, we will be changed over time. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (NIV).
Another great reason to honor the Sabbath is to spend time with fellow believers. In Leviticus chapter 23, the Sabbath is called a “holy convocation”. This simply means a public gathering or rehearsal. We have an online fellowship finder to help find a group near you (CLICK here to view our fellowship finder). If you do not have a Sabbath-keeping church near you, then you can read the Bible, play worship music and watch or listen to a sermon at home. Maybe even try to call a like minded believer on the Sabbath and talk to each other for encouragement. Pray and ask the Lord to have one started near you. We have so much technology available to us today that previous generations did not have available. Utilize as much as you can to build your faith on the Sabbath (but don’t allow it to distract you).
The Sabbath is also a celebration of salvation. Just as we do not work on the Sabbath, we do not work to earn our salvation. Our works transition on the Sabbath from common to holy. In the same way, salvation marks the start of holy works that edify God (Ephesians 2:8-10). In the Bible, the number seven can mean “to covenant with”. When Abraham was trying to make a covenant with Abimelech in Genesis 21, he brought Abimelech seven ewe lambs. They then named the well Beersheba, which means well of the seven or well of the oath. The Sabbath is a weekly celebration of our covenant with God through Jesus Christ! Jesus even called himself the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:27-28)! He is Lord of this day. When we break from doing things our way, we are affirming our covenant with the God and Christ.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
BSA President – www.biblesabbath.org