Christ and the Sabbath



A blessing was placed upon the seventh day. What is the purpose of the blessing of God? “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Acts 3:26. The blessing of God is not put upon a man because he is good, but the blessing of God is put upon him to make him good. It is to turn him away from his iniquities. Now the Sabbath is designed for that very thing, because the Sabbath is the memorial of the power of God in Christ. And it is the power of God in Christ that saves from sin. So the Sabbath blessing is the blessing of being turned away from our iniquities as we are reminded of the great power of God in Jesus Christ to save from sin. That is to say, the Sabbath blessing is the blessing of sanctification. Can any one truly keep the Sabbath of our Lord Jesus Christ unless he is a converted person?-He cannot. It is only a converted person who can keep the Sabbath, because the Sabbath is the blessing of conversion, the blessing of redeeming power, the blessing of sanctification; and only that man can keep the Sabbath of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in whom creative power has wrought. So that the Sabbath becomes to him a sign, a memorial of the great power of God working in him to turn him away from his iniquities,-the sign of the great power of God working through Jesus Christ to save him from sin. And so it is clear that no unconverted person can keep the Sabbath. CAS 16.1

Furthermore, the Lord blessed the seventh day, sanctified the seventh day, hallowed the seventh day. We read in Genesis 12:2 concerning Abram: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” The blessing of God put upon any person or any thing is for the purpose of making that person or that thing a blessing to some one else. So when he blessed the seventh day, he designed that the seventh day should be a blessing to others. Wherever Abram went, he was a blessing to the people with whom he was associated. In exactly the same way wherever the Sabbath comes, it is a blessing to those who know the Sabbath. Those who were acquainted with Abram were blessed because of their acquaintance with him, because God had blessed him to make him a blessing to others. Those who are acquainted with the Sabbath which God has blessed, share in a blessing because God made it a blessing by putting his blessing upon it. CAS 16.2

The idea of Sabbath is rest. That is the meaning of the term. Turning to the record in Exodus, thirty-third chapter, we find that Moses requested the Lord not to carry him and the people up, unless he went with them. So the Lord says, fourteenth verse, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Who was it that went with the children of Israel?-“And they drank of that spiritual Rock that went with them, and that Rock was Christ.” Whose presence was it, then, that was to give them rest?-It was the presence of Christ. With this agree the words of Christ himself in Matthew 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It does not make any difference when it is, whether it be before the first advent of Christ, or since that time, the presence of Christ gives rest, and that constitutes the very idea of Sabbath-keeping. It was the presence of Christ in the day that was the special blessing of the day. It is the presence of Christ in the Sabbath that makes it a Sabbath day, a rest day, that is, spiritual rest. CAS 17.1