Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8, KJV)
One of the goals that I had set for myself this year was to study and teach the idea of YHWH’s Sabbath. This is key to understanding biblical time. If we apply the First Mentioned Principle (Note: 1) to this, the Sabbath is one of the very first principles mentioned in scripture, Genesis 1. We are told to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. This commandment is in the very heart of the 10 Commandments. Instead of looking at the Commandment as some kind of legal obligation that has been done away in the New Testament, I think it is better to think of it as a teaching (torah) of YHWH about the proper behavior of His people.
I didn’t see the moral issues involved with keeping the Sabbath holy until after I started keeping it. Then I realized that there is a morality involved in becoming a pecular people that hold a banner to the citizenship of YHWH’s nation. This banner is our behavior, our moral testimony that we put forth in our everyday life. We are living epistles, as the Apostle said. As we live our lives in front of the rest of the world we are being read and watched and looked at. It is the words of others as they read this lifestyle and relate it, and the testimony of our own words that explain it and teach it, that are words in this epistle. We, as the saints of YHWH, are ambassadors and representitives of His nation. The morality of the Sabbath is found in this idea. As we live our daily lives we are this testimony to those who are without, showing them what the citizens of this nation should look like. Keeping the Sabbath is part of this testimony.
“The Sabbath-day is set apart for God’s solemn worship; it is his own enclosure, and must not be alienated to common uses. As a preface to this commandment, he has put a memento to it, ‘Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy.’ This word, ‘remember,’ shows that we are apt to forget Sabbath holiness; therefore we need a memorandum to put us in mind of sanctifying the day.” The Ten Commandments; Thomas Watson, p. 94
Watson’s thoughts are true, in my opinion. The Sabbath is a type of enclosure. It is set as one of the boundaries of the Kingdom of YHWH. The believers that are observing the Sabbath see that boundary and realize that it is not for gaining righteousness and favor from YHWH, but for testifying of His righteousness, goodness and the favor He gave to those who believe on His Son, our Messiah. The Sabbath itself is a blessing for His people. It is His way of giving to us something to participate in that we can fellowship with Him on His terms and enjoy His presence in our midst. The enclosure that we find in the Sabbath is like the walls that were around the Tabernacle, to enter into the Tabernacle was to enter into a holy place set aside by the Creator Himself. A place of special service, where we are to focus on Him and His presence.
My prayer is that we all realize and find the Sabbath set for us by YHWH.