The Fourth Commandment Part 1
This is my eleventh post on the Ten Commandments using Buddy Dano’s study: FOR THE LAND OF THE FREE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FREEDOM and part 1 of 2 dealing with the fourth commandment.
This excerpt really doesn’t need a lot of introduction. Pastor Dano describes the purpose of the fourth commandment: it was a day of physical rest and meditation. This should come as no surprise to Christians, or Jews, but nowadays it is hard to tell what is being taught.
The one thing that I didn’t remember being taught was the concept of there being two Sabbaths for the believer. I like the concept and will try and hold onto this little gem.
Here is Pastor Dano:
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
‘‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’’
The fourth commandment dealing with the Sabbath has been the basis for the creation of great confusion and false doctrinal ideology, both in the Jewish Age and in our present Church Age. The first thing that must be settled is the fact that the Sabbath, which literally means ‘‘rest,’’ or ‘‘cessation,’’ is Saturday. It is the seventh day of the week, while Sunday is the first day of the week.
How then, you may ask, did we come to worship on Sunday? The first day of the week was resurrection day. The day the Church began, Pentecost, which was 50 days later. That was on a Sunday. The Bible also tells us to assemble together for worship on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7, ‘‘And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.’’ 1 Corinthians 16:2, ‘‘Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.’’ Colossians 2:16, 17, ‘‘Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.’’
The fourth commandment reads, ‘‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’’ Exodus 20:8. ‘‘Remember’’ connotes exercise of the mind, the memory center. This is a thinking verb, not an action verb, or a doing verb. On the Sabbath day the Jews were instructed to ‘‘manufacture GRACE’’ and GRACE orientation by calling on the Word of God in their memory center and keeping it as a frame of reference.
The object of the verb ‘‘remember’’ is the Sabbath day. And as already noted, the word ‘‘Sabbath’’ means rest. The phrase, ‘‘to keep it holy’’ means to set it apart. They were commanded to set aside Saturday, the seventh day, in order to do something they didn’t do any other day, and that is ‘‘rest.’’ The principle in view here is that freedom demands rest and meditation. You cannot have freedom when you stop thinking. Therefore the Sabbath days were days for physical resting and mental thinking.
THE SABBATH, THE REST
THE SABBATH TEACHES THE GRACE OF GOD. Genesis 2:2, 3, ‘‘And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.’’ The original creation of the Earth was instantaneous at a point in eternity past. Genesis 1:1, ‘‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth.’’
The Creator was the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:3, ‘‘All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.’’ Colossians 1:16, ‘‘For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him.’’ Because of the angelic conflict the original Earth became ‘‘without form and void.’’ The Earth was restored by God the Holy Spirit, Genesis 1:2, but Jesus Christ did the creating. ‘‘And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’’
ON THE SEVENTH DAY GOD RESTED. Having done everything, having provided everything that was needed for man, God rested. Did God rest because He was tired? NO! HE RESTED BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT TO BE DONE FOR MAN. Since man had received everything by GRACE in only six days, and nothing could be added to it, God rested on the seventh day as to commemorate the GRACE principle.
The Sabbath was to be observed by the Jews to remind them they too, had received everything by God’s GRACE. Observance of the Sabbath was designed to teach the principle of GRACE orientation in a day when the canon of Scripture was not yet complete.
THERE ARE TWO SABBATHS FOR THE BELIEVER.
The first of these is the ‘‘temporal Sabbath’’ and pertains to the believer’s life on this Earth. It refers to faith in the promises of God and resting in them, spoken of in Hebrews 3:11, and the moment by moment Sabbath, or rest, of Hebrews 4:1-7.
Since individual Old Testament believers were only rarely and for special functions indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, the faith in the promises of God and resting in them was the basis for Old Testament spirituality, as per Hebrews 11. They were to rest on the promises of God, claiming them, along with categories of doctrines and Divine principles as given to them in Scripture.
In the Church Age every believer is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and the filling of God the Holy Spirit is the basis for spirituality in this dispensation. Ephesians 5:18, ‘‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.’’ 1 John 1:9, ‘‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’’
In the Jewish Age the Holy Spirit was not yet given universally, because Jesus Christ was not yet glorified. John 7:39, ‘‘But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.’’
THE SECOND SABBATH: The believer in eternity. The eternal Sabbath, the believer in eternity, and it becomes the possession of each believer at the moment of salvation. This is recorded in Matthew 11:28. ‘‘Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’’
THE SABBATH OF ISRAEL IS A MEMORIAL TO THE GRACE OF GOD.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15, ‘‘Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.’’
Leviticus 23:3, ‘‘Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.’’ Isaiah 58:11-14, ‘‘And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 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, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt 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.’’
Therefore the principle of the Sabbath was instituted as the fourth commandment. The Jews were specifically commanded to ‘‘think’’ and ‘‘not to work.’’ Deuteronomy 5:11- 15. ‘‘Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. SIX DAYS THOU SHALT LABOR, AND DO ALL THY WORK.’’ Verse 14, ‘‘BUT ON THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD, THY GOD: IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant MAY REST AS WELL AS THOU.’’ Verse 15, ‘‘AND REMEMBER THAT THOU WAST A SERVANT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: THEREFORE THE LORD THY GOD COMMANDED THEE TO KEEP THE SABBATH DAY.’’
‘‘Remember’’ means to think and to draw upon the resources of your mind. Therefore it is a command that the mind control the soul. And this control of the soul is the basis for freedom.
One of the primary factors in the doctrine of freedom is the ability to think. So God says ‘‘You work hard for six days,’’ during which time you may do some thinking. But set aside the seventh day as the day ‘‘for thinking.’’ The Jews were to do no work on the seventh day in recognition and commemoration of God’s GRACE. Under God’s plan, He, God, does all the work. And the believer receives the benefit of His work.
Now the Lord Jesus Christ purchased our salvation en toto, and we cannot earn or work for it, ‘‘for it is a gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast,’’ Ephesians 2:8, 9. Since all blessing in time has been provided in God’s plan, not working on the seventh day was a wonderful way to bring home this lesson.
The fourth commandment also contains a principle related to the necessity of periodic rest for the body and a change of pace in the routine of the individual. Remember that the Ten Commandments are designed for both the believer and the unbeliever. The believer receives the direct blessing from God, for he belongs to God. While the unbeliever receives indirect blessing through the recognition of Divine principles. The unbeliever is not going to sit down and think about the Word of God, because he doesn’t know it. But he will sit down and rest his body. This commandment is designed to protect the physical health as well as soul stability, both of which are necessary for the protection of freedom.