In this video, Pastor Ted Wilson and his wife, Nancy, talk about the Sabbath, which constitutes the twentieth fundamental belief of the Seventh-day Adventists.
The Sabbath was given in a perfect world at the beginning of time. It commemorates Creation and honors the Creator.
Genesis 1 describes how God created this world and everything that is in it in six days. Then, in Genesis 2:1-3 (NKJV), we read: "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it, He rested from all His work which God had created and made."
Now, did God rest after His work of Creation because He was tired? No. "The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary" (Isaiah 40:28). He rested to reflect on the work He had finished and blessed and sanctified the Sabbath as a holy, special day of communion with God and fellowship with other people.
Sabbath is central to our worship of God. He is the Creator and we are His creatures.
Our twentieth fundamental belief states: "The gracious Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom. The Sabbath is God's perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts."
The Sabbath has existed since Creation but it had become obscured and forgotten by some. As such, the fourth commandment begins with the word "remember."
Exodus 20:8-11 says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
God knew we would need the Sabbath for physical, mental, social, and spiritual restoration. As one of His most precious gifts, it keeps us focused on our connection with Him. For this reason, "the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).
It was not only after His work of Creation that God rested on the Sabbath. He also did so after His work of redemption.
After His ascension to heaven, Jesus' followers continued to observe the Sabbath. The book of Acts has several examples of Paul and other believers meeting and worshipping together on the Sabbath.
The Sabbath will continue to be an important day until the end of time. Just as Adam and Eve's loyalty was tested by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil placed in the Garden of Eden, every human being's loyalty to God will also be tested by the Sabbath placed in the middle of the Ten Commandments.
Before Christ's second coming, the world will be divided into two classes: those who "worship the beast and his image" and those who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:9, 12).
During this time, God's truth will be magnified before the world and everyone will be given the opportunity to show where their loyalties lie. By accepting the gift of the Sabbath, we allow Him to work in our lives, changing and bringing us closer to Him.
"The power that created all things is the power that recreated the soul in His own likeness. To those who keep holy the Sabbath day, it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience" (Testimonies to the Church, volume 6, page 350).
Indeed, God has given us the wonderful gift of the Sabbath and His begotten Son. He created us and gave His life to redeem us. With this, He longs to spend the Sabbath with us every week.
Let us experience the joy that awaits us on God's special day.
To learn more about our twentieth fundamental belief, the Sabbath, visit www.adventist.org/the-sabbath/.