The Ten Commandments:

4a -- The New Covenant Sabbath

an article based on a sermon

by Jon Bowles

given 23 June 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

In preparing for this subject of the Fourth Commandment, I downloaded an article off the Internet written by individuals who were attacking the Sabbath. It states in part:

"Question: Was the Sabbath commanded at creation, even before humanity sinned?

"Answer: There is no evidence in the Bible that God commanded the Sabbath before the days of Moses. Genesis says that God rested, but nowhere does it say that the first humans were commanded to follow his example. Before humans sinned, they lived in a blessed and holy time, in which they were in a state of peace with God, trustful and obedient. They did not need to labor in the way they later did. They did not need to set aside a day for communion with God, for they had it continually."

My observation on that is: What about now? If someone claims that the last part of the above is true, then are they not also admitting that today we do need the Sabbath God set aside -- in order to have communion with God?

"The first human did not need to rest on the second day of his life.

"God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, but that does not mean that he required people to rest on it. In the days of Moses, the creation week was used as a pattern for commanding the seventh-day Sabbath, but that pattern does not prove that the Sabbath existed ever since creation.

"If God commanded the Sabbath, then we should keep it, of course, even if we have to adjust our schedules, suffer financially, and alienate our families. But if God does not require the Sabbath, then it would be wrong to put this unnecessary burden on anyone. When the effect on our lives is so great, we need to make sure that we have a clear command from God, not a questionable inference. Genesis does not command the Sabbath."

The thing we must keep in mind, is that there are two mindsets regarding any commandment God may give us. One mindset is a converted mind that looks towards trying to please God, trying to do what He commands. The other is an unconverted mind, a mind that has the attitude of children when confronted with a broken vase. "You never told me not to touch the vase. You only said not to play with it. I was not playing with it. I was just moving it when it fell" That is often how our own flesh and blood comes across to us as parents. But flesh and blood does not inherit the Kingdom of God, and neither does such carnal human reasoning.

Psalm 119 tells us about an individual who is going to be in the Kingdom of God as king over Israel under Christ. He is going to be in the Kingdom because he was a man "after God's own heart." God's laws are to be "written on our hearts" in the New Covenant relationship we have with God.

Psalm 119:26-29 I [David] have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. (27) Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. (28) My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. (29) Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

It is not enough just to have the word of God. If you have to be backed into a corner by God's Word before you will obey God, then that is a carnal approach. We saw this carnal approach earlier in the article I quoted: "Genesis says that God rested, but nowhere does it say that the first humans were commanded to follow his example."

We will see that is certainly what God requires. God did rest, and we are commanded to follow His example.

Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

In other words, we look at the judgments laid before us to understand the way of truth out of those judgments. It is not enough to get them all dissected so that you have a specific tick list of "required" points. It is the way that comes out of those judgments that then becomes our own choice.

Psalm 119:32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

A converted approach needs a mind that is opened to the truth of God, a mind that has the very Spirit of God pouring through it to the center of our being. It comes from the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts by God's Holy Spirit."(Rom 5:5) That Spirit converts our mind. And a converted mind approaches scripture in a totally different way to someone who is looking at scripture purely academically, trying to analyze it, desperate to take only what is an absolute, specific, direct command, going along with such carnal tunnel vision that even things that are patently obvious will be discarded -- a mind that does not really want God's commands to rule over them.

Ezekiel talks about walking in God's statutes and keeping His judgments, looking into the future when God's Spirit will be given to all people. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)

Romans 8 contrasts between the way mentioned in Psalm 119 and the carnal approach. Mr. Armstrong continually referred to this approach, because he knew there is only one way to fit scripture together. Scripture is like a jigsaw puzzle. It must be fit together in exactly the right way, and there is only one way of doing it. That way must be with a converted approach.

Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled [the Greek word here means: filled full, filled to the top] in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The love of God shed abroad in the heart by God's Holy Spirit gives us an approach to His law -- including the Sabbath -- which is totally different. The converted approach is not a Pharisaical approach. It seeks the same approach God Himself has.

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind [set their minds on] the things of the flesh but they that are after the Spirit [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit.

We can see that fleshly mind coming out in the article I quoted where the authors were trying to justify their position. We that are "after the Spirit," after the things that God's Holy Spirit is interested in, the things that God's Spirit illuminates us with, mind "the things of the Spirit."

Romans 8:6-7 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity [hostile] against God [why is the mind hostile against God?] for [the reason the carnal mind is hostile against God] it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The carnal mind has to be converted from being carnal to having God's mind. When you start to apply God's mind to the Sabbath commandment, totally different concepts are revealed. The carnal mind is hostile against the Sabbath. The carnal mind has an attitude of grudging obedience, only obedient if backed into a corner. We all need to be very careful to use the correct approach in studying this subject of the Sabbath command.

The title for this article on the Fourth Commandment is "The New Covenant Sabbath." I chose this title in part because the Sabbath command is what was being attacked in the article I quoted. Actually, they were trying to promote their idea of a "New Covenant Sabbath." The attitude of mind they displayed shows very clearly that not only have they completely departed from the Sabbath command -- they have departed from the New Covenant as well! They simply do not understand the subject at all.

This subject will be covered in two parts. The next part will go into all the practicalities of keeping the New Covenant Sabbath -- how we behave, what we do, how it fits into our present world. This article will look more at what the New Covenant is in relation to the Sabbath command itself. It will show how we are looking at the same law as that found under the Old Covenant, but now being written in our hearts by God's Holy Spirit. It is the principle of the law, God's Mind, written on our hearts by His Holy Spirit that should be uppermost in our minds.

There are indeed certain laws that were added for transgression that no longer apply today, but these are "works of the law" such as the "ribbon of blue" that we discussed in the "The Firstfruit Covenant" article. Though the "works of the law" had intense symbolism, such works are no longer required under the New Covenant.

The Sabbath command by contrast is not a "work of the law", in fact it is the very antithesis. The Sabbath is a rest specifically tailored for that relationship with God. It is designed to give us the time for extending and cementing that relationship. So many of the aspects of the Old Covenant (that Israel did not keep) had to do with relationships -- between God and man, man and man, man and animals, man and land. Today it is a matter of applying the mind of God into those same relationship areas. Having the time to have a correct relationship with God is a vital part of this. It is clearly not part of the "works," because you do not work! You stop working and rest. That is what the very word Sabbath means.

There are three areas that we will cover in this subject of the New Covenant Sabbath:

The New Covenant Sabbath is not just looking back. It is looking forward as well. Looking forward and looking backward both have to do with the Creator and with the relationship between that Creator and His people.

The Physical Creator

In the physical creation everything works by laws. But who made the laws? Who gave us the myriad of laws so that we can make something like an automobile, for example? The laws of Almighty God hold everything in existence. From a galaxy to a goldfish to a golf-club, all are held in existence by the Word of Almighty God.

Psalm 19 talks about the heavens declaring the glory of God. If you look up at the night sky, at all the stars with the vast distances involved, you can see the tangible result of the laws that have been made.

Job 12 talks about asking the beasts or the birds, and they will "declare unto you." When you look at the beasts or birds, they describe the Creator to you. Look at a peacock's feather. It is iridescent. As the light hits it, it refracts the light and, therefore, you get a refraction of color. In Kenya there is an incredible, chameleon-like lizard whose skin is iridescent; but the moment it dies, it turns totally gray. The lizard is actually able to alter the refractive index of its skin when it is alive!

God, the Physical Creator, made all these laws. He is the same Being who became Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: John 1:3 All things were made by him [the Logos, the Word]; and without him was not any thing made that was made -- including the Sabbath. The One who became Jesus Christ made the Sabbath, and He made the Sabbath for man.

Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. The same Individual who made these laws, stars and actually remade the earth and all the things that we see on this earth, was the One who became Jesus Christ. All things that were made were made by Him and without Him was nothing made that was made, John 1:3. That includes the Sabbath.

The One who became Jesus Christ also gave the words to Israel in Exodus 20 regarding the Sabbath; and He was the One who implemented it by resting, as recorded in Genesis 2. Of all the commandments, the Fourth Commandment is the only one that says "remember."

Exodus 20:8-10 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy [note that the Hebrew word for "holy" is "qadash". And this word ties the verse back to the creation of the Sabbath in Genesis] (9) Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: (10) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the [Eternal] thy God...

The word "Sabbath" means rest. That is why they were splitting hairs about it in the article I quoted. In Genesis 2 the Eternal clearly rested. It does not say there that you have to keep the Sabbath. It says that on the seventh day "He rested." Here it says, "Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath.." [It is a "rest." Who is it the "rest" of ?] "..of the Eternal your God."

Why is it a rest of the "Eternal your God"? Because it points back to the creation. The Sabbath was created on the seventh day of creation by the One who became Jesus Christ. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Eternal your God. It is the rest of the Eternal.

Exodus 20:10-11 (cont'd) ...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: (11) For in six days the [Eternal] made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the [Eternal] blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

He "hallowed" it. He "qadashed" it, in Hebrew. It is the same word we saw translated in verse 8 as "holy." "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it "qadash." This is the command, and it is pointing clearly back to the Creator who created the Sabbath Day on the seventh day of the week of creation.

Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) 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. (3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it...

He "sanctified" it. He "qadashed" it. It is the same word used in Exodus 20. He sanctified, hallowed, made holy the seventh day. The word means the same thing. The actual reference that is cited by the One who became Jesus Christ in Exodus 20 is referring back to what He had done already in Genesis. The idea that you would separate the two passages and say "He did not mean that you would have to rest" is not the conclusion of a converted mind. That is the conclusion of a carnal mind. A carnal mind will come to the conclusion it wants to, but a converted mind cannot do that. Exodus 20 points clearly, absolutely, utterly back to this event.

Genesis 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified [hallowed] it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

God did not have to rest. He was not tired. He rested to create the Sabbath Day.

Notice again what was said in the article that was quoted from: "Before humans sinned, they lived in a blessed and holy time, in which they were in a state of peace with God, trustful and obedient. They did not need to labor in the way they later did. They did not need to set aside a day for communion with God, for they had it continually."
This writer is saying that Adam and Eve did not have to keep the Sabbath. He is saying that God, the One who became Jesus Christ, is resting on the Sabbath; and Adam is digging in the garden. Does this honestly make sense? Is there any way that that could possibly be the case? Ridiculous! It is a perversion, a twisting of the mind. The very concept is totally absurd.

These people who wrote this article want to see "Thou shalt keep the Sabbath" in Genesis 1. If it is not there, then they do not have to keep it. Ridiculous! All we have to do is read what it says and understand the context. Here is the God being who became Jesus Christ speaking at the time of the Exodus, referring back to what He did in Genesis.

In looking at scripture, we need to apply a converted mind and ask: "What is it that God wants us to do as human beings? How does He want us to behave?" In part two of this subject, we will look at the specifics of how we should keep the Sabbath. In looking at scripture, it becomes absolutely obvious that the Sabbath has to be kept.

Matthew 15:1-2 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, (2) Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

They did not perform the ritual of washing "with the fist" beyond the elbow every time they touched or ate anything like the Pharisees did.

Matthew 15:3-6 But he [Christ] answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? (4) For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. (5) But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; (6) And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Christ condemned them for applying a tradition instead of the commandment of God. What does the Protestant world say today? "You do not have to keep the Sabbath." By what authority do they say this? By their tradition. The Catholic Church also says you do not have to keep the Sabbath. Why? Because the Pope has changed it, and "the Pope is in Peter's position." How is he in Peter's position? By tradition. There is not the slightest shred of evidence of that in the Bible.

Matthew 15:7-8 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, (8) This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

A converted person with a converted attitude has the law of God written in his heart.

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

In these verses Christ reinforced the commandments of God. What did the apostles do?

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

These "certain men" were saying you had to be circumcised the way that Moses had done circumcision. This was the basic problem that was being addressed.

Acts 15:19 Wherefore my [James'] sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: (20) But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. [These were things that they would concentrate on because they were the major problems within the Gentile societies.]

Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

The people had the opportunity to go into the synagogues and listen to what was being preached there every Sabbath Day.

Acts 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down (15) And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

There were no books to speak of at that time. Books were very expensive. Where did the people get the knowledge of scripture? They went to the synagogue where the scrolls were kept and sat down and listened to the scrolls being read. That is where they got the knowledge of scripture. Notice the following verses in Romans:

Romans 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

All these verses talk about how they "knew" the scriptures. How did they know them? They had to go to the synagogue to listen. Were these just Jews? The Romans were not Jews. Was Paul, in Acts 13, just talking to Jews?

Acts 13:16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel [Jews]. and ye that fear God [Gentiles], give audience.

There were two groups that Paul was talking to, the ones who were of Israel and the ones who "feared God." Both groups were there in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day, listening to the Word of God.

Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Not the next day, but the next Sabbath. It was not during the week, but the next Sabbath.

Acts 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

This is where they heard the Word of God taught. This is why James said in Acts 15:21,"For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." In the synagogues on the Sabbath Day was when they heard the Old Testament expounded. They could not have understood it otherwise.

Acts 18:1-4 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; (2) And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius [Caesar] had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. (3) And because he [Paul] was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. (4) And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Paul was working all week; and on the Sabbath, on "the rest," he was in the synagogue. He was keeping the Sabbath.

Acts 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Paul taught the Word of God "among them" for one and a half years. What about when he left after this year and a half?

Acts 18:26 And he [Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Apollos was in the synagogue, and where were Aquila and Priscilla? In the synagogue on the Sabbath Day as well. They were keeping the Sabbath. We need to make sure that we apply a converted mind to these scriptures. We need to ask, "What is the indication?" "What is it that God wants us to do?" "What is the direction?" "What is the New Covenant aspect regarding the Physical Creator, the creator of the physical things that point back to that physical creation?"

The Sabbath of the Old Covenant pointed back to the physical creation. In the New Covenant the Sabbath is also pointing back to that physical creation as well, if you apply the mind and the Spirit of God.

The Sabbath As A Sign

What about the Sabbath as a sign, the Sabbath as the test commandment?

Exodus 31:12-13 And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses, saying, (13) Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [the keeping of the Sabbaths] is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the [Eternal] that doth sanctify you.

"I am the Eternal that "qadashes you." Here again is this same word. You are keeping the Sabbath, which is "qadashed" by God "qadashing" it, by resting on it at the time when Adam and Eve were created. The idea that Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden when Christ was resting on the Sabbath Day is a ridiculous idea!

Exodus 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

This is the Old Covenant, "the covenant of death," because that was the penalty of law breaking. We have life through Jesus Christ our Lord who paid the penalty for our sin; but the definition of sin does not change. The definition of spiritual sin is the same.

Exodus 31:15-17 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the [Eternal]. whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. (16) Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. (17) It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the [Eternal] made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

The Eternal did not need to be refreshed. Why was He refreshed? Because that is what we are to do. We are to cause refreshing to take place on the Sabbath. This is what the Sabbath is all about. It is for a refreshing of relationships, so that you have the time, the peace, the space to be refreshed. Refreshing is part of the Sabbath commandment.

Exodus 23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.

Revelation 11 talks about the Ark of the Testimony being seen in heaven. What was in the ark? The two tables of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them.

Revelation 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

In Old Testament Israel the Ark of the Testimony was in the temple. Under the New Covenant the temple, remember, is a spiritual temple. This Ark of the Testimony with the Ten Commandments within it is in the heart of the spiritual temple, which temple we are.

Revelation 12 is a summary of Israel. It talks about Old Testament Israel initially, then goes straight into Spiritual Israel of today almost without a break. The woman (the Church in the wilderness) with twelve stars, then spiritual Israel, the woman (God's Church today) fleeing into the wilderness, with Christ caught up to God between the two events. It is almost without a break, but the woman remains the same. It has to do with the Ark of the Testimony being in the woman, in the Church, in the temple.

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [Not one jot or one tittle will pass from this law until all is fulfilled.] This verse comes shortly after Christ's being tempted by Satan.

In tempting Christ, Satan's approach was one of, "If You are the Son of God, do what You want. Tell these stones to become bread!" Satan used a casual, unconverted approach. What did Christ respond with? "It is written."

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God [Christ quoted scripture from Deuteronomy 8:3].

When we are looking at the Sabbath being a sign, we need to understand something about the way the Sabbath was given. The Sabbath is a test commandment. What was happening with Christ in Matthew 4? He was being tested by Satan the devil. Satan's approach to Him was an unconverted, non-New-Covenant approach: "You are the son of God. Do what You want to! You can command these stones to become bread. Why don't You do that?"

Christ's approach was different. He said to Satan: "No. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Deuteronomy 8:1-3 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the [Eternal] sware unto your fathers. (2) And thou shalt remember all the way which the [Eternal] thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (3) And he humbled thee, and suffered [allowed] thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the [Eternal] doth man live.

The quotation that Christ used in Matthew 4 is going directly back to the manna, the manna being a test. The Sabbath is a sign between God and His people, between the Creator of physical things and His people, between the Creator of spiritual things and His people in the New Covenant relationship. But it is also a test command. What was the test that was taking place?

Exodus 16:4-6 Then said the [Eternal] unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove [test] them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. (5) And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. (6) And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the [Eternal] hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:

Exodus 16:24-28 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. (25) And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the [Eternal]: to day ye shall not find it in the field. (26) Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. (27) And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. (28) And the [Eternal] said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

When Christ quoted, "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," He was referring back to the miracle of manna being rained down from heaven. It is referring back to the way the Sabbath was to be kept and determining which day is the Sabbath.

The miracle of the manna went on for 40 years! That is 2,080 Sabbaths! That is 2,080 Fridays that they gathered twice as much, so that they could keep it over. At other times they undoubtedly left some till morning, and then the stink would come. They were tested for 40 years, for 2,080 Sabbaths and 2,080 preparation days where they prepared the manna, to be able to eat it on the Sabbath.

Hebrews 10:23-27 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

They were not to forsake the people assembling together. How did they assemble together? As we saw in Acts, Paul worked through the week as a tentmaker. When the Sabbath came, he rested and joined the assembly in the synagogue. That was his custom. That was what Christ and the other apostles did. That was the way it was done.

Remember the Eternal is the One who created the Sabbath by resting, the One who became Jesus Christ, whose custom it was to keep the Sabbath.

Leviticus 23:1-2 And the [Eternal] spake unto Moses, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the [Eternal], which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations [gatherings], even these are my feasts.

These are the feasts, the holy gatherings, of the Eternal, not the Jews. We read in Hebrews: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." This is how important it is. When did they assemble together? On the Sabbaths. They obeyed the commands of God.

Numbers 15 is the account of a man being presumptuously disobedient to the Sabbath command. He was going about gathering sticks on the Sabbath, saying, in essence: "It does not make any difference. The Sabbath does not apply to me." This presumptuousness is immediately followed by the command to make fringes on the borders of the garment with a ribbon of blue, as a physical reminder of the commandments. It was a "work of the law" added because of transgressions, as it says in Galatians 3.

The Sabbath is a sign between God and His people. It is a test command. It points backwards, and it also points forwards.

The Spiritual Creator

The greatest creation that God could possibly engage in is to make something that is like Him, because there is nothing greater than Him. God is the pinnacle, the top. How is He described? God is love [I John 4:8,16]. This love [Greek word "agape"] is a mindset, a character trait. It is not just a warm, fuzzy feeling. As it says in I Corinthians 13, though I give my body to be burned, though I give all my goods to the poor, without this character trait, those things do not profit at all.

The greatest creation of all of God's creation is sons and daughters with His character, with His mindset. This is what God is creating at this time.

I Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively [living] hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The resurrected Christ gives us this living hope, not the dead Christ. The dead Christ paid for our sins with His shed blood. The resurrected Christ gives us the ability to have Him living in us.

I Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven [on high] for you.

This does not mean that we go to heaven to receive our inheritance. Rather, it is reserved in heaven for us.

I Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [when Christ actually returns to this earth]. (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations [trials].

Peter was writing to the people in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (I Peter 1:1), areas where there appear to be Israelitish nations; and they were having great trials.

I Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried [tested] with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

It is "at the appearing of Jesus Christ" that the greatest spiritual creation takes place.

In I Peter 4 Peter also mentions the trials and difficulties that the people were going through. I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try [test or prove] you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. .[In other words, "You are partaking of the same kinds of things that Christ went through while He was living on this earth."]

I Peter 4:17-19 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (18) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (19) Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

They were to commit the "keeping of their souls," their very being, the "breathing creature," to the Faithful Creator. God is creating in us right now, through the trials that we go through, His own righteous, holy character.

In Revelation 5, we find the elders around the throne of God referring to this creation. It is not very well translated in the King James Version, but is better translated in the Moffatt translation.

"...by shedding thy blood hast ransomed for God men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation; thou hast made them kings and priests for our God and they shall reign on earth (Rev 5:9-10 - Moffatt)"

The elders around God's throne are talking about the people that they are seeing that are being created. This Faithful Creator is making His people into king-priests. The elders are seeing these king-priests being prepared. These king-priests will live and reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

We in God's Church today are being created as king-priests for the millennial rule. The New Covenant Sabbath command is not just looking back at the old, physical creation. It is also looking forward to this new creation and the millennial rule, which begins the very Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 4:1 Let us [let God's Church today] therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it [this future rest].

Paul is talking about the millennial rule, which is this future rest.

Hebrews 3:7-9 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost [Spirit] saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, (8) Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (9) When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. [Paul is referring to Psalm 95.]

What were their "fathers" doing for forty years? Gathering manna. And it was the manna that was testing them. Testing them for what? That they should not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. This was one of the greatest tests they had during their time in the wilderness.

Hebrews 3:11-13 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest [referring to Psalm 95]. (12) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (13) But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 4:1-2 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest [the millennial rest], any of you should seem to come short of it. (2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them...

"The gospel" is the gospel of the Kingdom of God. To us, the people in God's true Church with our minds having been opened by God, that means the Kingdom of God as literal born king-priests in the family of God. To "them," the family of Israel under the Old Covenant, the Kingdom of God was the Government of God over the nation of Israel.

Hebrews 4:2-7 (cont'd) ...but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise [in this way], And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest (6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: (7) Again, he limiteth [determines] a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

The heart has to be sorted out. The law (the same spiritual law found in the Old Covenant) has to be written on the heart.

Hebrews 4:8-9 For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (9) There remaineth therefore a rest [a keeping of the Sabbath, (Greek word "sabbatismos")] to the people of God.

Paul is talking about the coming "rest" of the Millennium, the time of our being king-priests, the time of being able to give the entire earth the rest that is needed.

Hebrews 4:10-11 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Just as the Sabbath looks back to the creation week, to the rest that God had then, to His creating the Sabbath and sanctifying it (as we should also), so the Sabbath also looks forward to the "rest" of the Millennium as well. Romans 8 speaks of the looking forward to the fulfillment of that rest.

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

The Faithful Creator is creating His righteous character in His sons and daughters. Why? For the "rest" that will occur, for the picture of the Sabbath, for the millennial rest that will take place, so that these sons and daughters can reign for a thousand years and can, therefore, put in place the laws of God.

Romans 8:20-21 For the creature [creation] was made subject to vanity [The Greek comes from a word "to chew". It can include the survival of the fittest], not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption [of decay] into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

God is creating "the children of God." For what? For "a rest" at the end of the 6,000 years. When we look at the Sabbath from a New Covenant perspective, using the mind and the Spirit of God, we can see that it is not just looking backwards, but looking forwards as well. It is looking both forwards and backwards to a creation. And it is a relationship between God and His people, a time that is given to us to establish that relationship. Once a week we rest from sunset to sunset on the Sabbath. This rest allows us to have the time to have a relationship with God and with each other, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." Why? Because it is a holy convocation.

The Sabbath looks forward to "the glorious liberty" (Romans 8:21), the glorious rest of the children of God. Daniel 12:10 says, "the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." What causes us to be determined as wise?

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the [Eternal] is the beginning of wisdom...

The fear of God is how it starts. It is a case of keeping God's Sabbaths, including the Holy Days.

How did we understand about the plan of God? How did it come to us? There was one individual, Mr. Herbert Armstrong, with his wife, who was faithful, who was wise, who feared God and did what God said, who applied a New Covenant mindset, a converted mindset, where God's laws were written on the heart. He went to God and had a relationship with Him and used the time that God specified to keep that relationship going.

Remember the purpose of the Sabbath command. The Sabbath is looking backwards, reminding us of the Creator of all things, the Creator of all laws, and that we are to work within those Laws, whether they are physical or spiritual laws. The Sabbath is also looking forward, reminding us that God is the Creator in the future, as well as the Creator now -- creating His greatest creation in His people -- ready for this rest that will occur in the Millennium.

As we go through our trials and difficulties today, we are being prepared for the world tomorrow, for this millennial rest. At that time we will take God's laws - including God's Holy Sabbath Day - and implement those Laws in the entire world. The entire world, then, will also have these Holy, Spiritual Laws of God written in the very core of their being - on their hearts - taught by the resurrected, Spirit-born, New-Covenant King-Priests who must learn the same today within God's True Church.

transcribed in article form by KA. Edited by JB.