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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 32

A Day to Remember

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Once again, let’s pray the Lord for His assistance:

Our heavenly Father,

We now know that Your Ten Commandments are the expression of Your will for each one of us.

Therefore, please enlighten us by the presence of Your Spirit, so that we may better understand the content of Your perfect Law, and that we may have the power we need to keep it.

In Jesus Christ we pray.


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John 16:12

I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.


Dear friends, this lesson is very important.

Before going on, we strongly advise you to review the previous four lessons about God’s law, namely:

- «When God’s Finger Writes»
- «The Law Reflects Its Author»
- «The Two Laws»
- «Under Law or Under Grace?»

By doing so, you will better understand the content of the present lesson.

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Matthew 5:19

Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


In our preceding lessons, we have seen the importance of God’s Ten Commandments.

Here, Jesus says that we must keep each one of these commandments, without breaking any one of them.

Yet, one of the Ten Commandments, the fourth one, is kept by a minority of people only. What does it say?

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Here is the complete text of the fourth commandment: Exodus 20:8-11

«Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.

In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.

Why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.»

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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 commandment says, «Remember the Sabbath day...».

In fact, the institution of the seventh day as the day of rest does not date back to Moses, but rather to Creation, when God blessed the seventh day, the Sabbath.

Now, when God blesses something, for how long is it blessed?

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1 Chronicles 17:27

For You bless, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever.


Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that, whatever God does, it shall be for ever.

Nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it.


What God blesses is blessed forever.

So God blessed the seventh day, as early as the Creation of the world, so that we should keep it as the day of rest forever.

In fact, the Word of God shows us that the Sabbath continues through the ages, from Creation to the New Earth.

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Genesis 2:2

[God] rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.


Isaiah 40:28

The Creator of the ends of the earth faints not, neither is weary.


First, God Himself rested on the seventh day, not because He was tired, but rather to give us an example.

The aims of the Sabbath are numerous, including: commemorating God’s Creation, offering rest to man, giving him the occasion to worship his Creator.

But the Sabbath is also a sign between God and His people, as we will see in a moment.

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Matthew 12:8

For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.


Luke 4:16

And, as His custom was, [Jesus] went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.


1 Peter 2:21

For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.


Jesus declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath.

Indeed, no one ever kept the Sabbath as Jesus did, giving it back all the spiritual value that had been removed by the Pharisees’ heavy and useless restrictions.

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Matthew 12:11,12

[Jesus] said to them,

«What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

How much then is a man better than a sheep?

Why it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.»


The useless restrictions of the religious leaders had transformed the Sabbath into a real nightmare for the Jewish people.

More than once, Jesus showed the utter nonsense of these restrictions and taught the true way to keep the Sabbath, so that this day might be a blessing for everyone.

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Matthew 24:20

Pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.


Jesus never taught that we no longer have to keep the Sabbath.

On the contrary, He expected His disciples to continue keeping the Sabbath, as we can see through His words describing events which would take place after His departure.

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1 Corinthians 11:1

Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.


The apostle Paul said he was following the example of Christ.

Is there evidence, then, that Paul and the other apostles were also keeping the Sabbath?

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Acts 18:4

[Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.


Acts 17:2

And three Sabbath days [Paul] reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.


Acts 16:13

On the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made.


Yes, Paul and the apostles actually kept the Sabbath.

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Acts 13:42-44

The Gentiles sought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.

Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.


This scene took place in Antioch, a city in which lived Jews and Gentiles, that is, non-Jews.

Nevertheless both, without distinction, came together on the Sabbath day to hear the preaching of the apostles.

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Isaiah 66:22,23

«For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me,» said the Lord, «so shall your seed and your name remain.

And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me.»


The prophet Isaiah reveals that the Sabbath will be kept even on the New Earth!

Thus, we see a continuum in the observance of the Sabbath, from Creation to the New Jerusalem, including the days of Jesus and the apostles.

So God asks us to keep the fourth commandment too, just like the nine other commandments!

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Isaiah 56:1,2

Thus said the Lord,

«Keep you judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.

Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of man that lays hold on it; that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.»


Mark 2:27

[Jesus] said to them, «The Sabbath was made for man.»


The Sabbath was made for every man, not only for the Jews.

Indeed, when the Sabbath was established at Creation, there was no race, no ethnic group!

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Isaiah 56:6,7

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.

Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.


Whether we are Jews or «sons of the stranger», God calls each one of us to keep the Sabbath and enjoy its blessings.

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Exodus 31:13,16,17

Truly My Sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the Lord that does sanctify you. (...)

Why the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever.


We now tackle a crucial point: the Sabbath is a distinctive sign established by God between Him and His people.

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Ezekiel 20:12,18-20

Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. (...)

Walk you not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.

I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them.

And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.


God’s people will therefore keep the Sabbath as a distinctive sign demonstrating that the Lord is their God.

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Revelation 12:17

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.


Revelation 14:12

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.


Furthermore, the observance of God’s commandments, including the fourth one, will be a mark of God’s people in the last days.

We will come back on this important subject in a future lesson.

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Mark 16:1,2

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint [Jesus].

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulcher.


Here on earth, Jesus lived under the Julian calendar: the seventh day of the Jews corresponded to the Roman Saturday, and the first day to Sunday.

Now, the week in use in Jesus’ times is exactly the same as the one in our modern calendar.

«But,» some people will say, «weren’t there some changes in the calendar during the last 2000 years?»

Excellent question.

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The weekly cycle has never been broken, in spite of change

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Nehemiah 13:19

When the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath.


Leviticus 23:32

From even to even, shall you celebrate your Sabbath.


According to the Bible, a day begins at sunset: «And the evening and the morning were the first day.» (Genesis 1:5).

Thus, the Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday night and ends at sunset on Saturday night.

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Luke 13:14

Because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, [the ruler of the synagogue] said to the people,

«There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.»


Mark 1:21,32

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day [Jesus] entered into the synagogue, and taught. (...)

And at even, when the sun did set, they brought to Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.


Fearing the religious leaders, the crowd waited until after the Sabbath, that is «when the sun did set», to bring to Jesus those who were sick.

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Exodus 16:21,22

And they gathered [the bread] every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man.


Some people will say, «Keeping one day in the week, whatever the day, is what really matters, isn’t it?»

Let us, for a moment, study the miracle of the manna, the bread coming from heaven.

The Hebrews, wandering in the desert, depended on the manna given by God each morning. On the sixth day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, a double quantity of manna was given.

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Exodus 16:26-28

«Six days you shall gather [the bread]; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.»

And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.

And the Lord said to Moses,

«How long refuse you to keep My commandments and My laws?»


Whoever keeping a day of rest other than the seventh day would have fasted twice a week:

- on his personal day of rest (unless it was not a real day of rest);

- and on the Sabbath, since the manna was not given on this day.

God blessed the seventh day, not the other days.

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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.


On the other hand, some people, forgetting all the verses we have just studied, present these verses as proof of the abolition of the Sabbath.

But as we have seen in our lesson «The Two Laws», there was a ceremonial law describing some feasts also called «sabbaths», distinct from the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, called «the Sabbath of the Lord» (Exodus 20:10).

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Leviticus 23:27,32,37,38

On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a Day of Atonement. (...) It shall be to you a sabbath of rest. (...)

These are the feasts of the Lord (...) beside the Sabbaths of the Lord.


These feasts, such as the Day of Atonement, were called «sabbaths», that is, days of rest. These are the sabbaths which were abolished by Christ’s death on the cross.

We must not make the mistake of confusing them with «the Sabbaths of the Lord» - the seventh day of each week - which constitute one of the everlasting Ten Commandments written by the very finger of God!

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Romans 14:5

One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.


Galatians 4:10,11

You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed on you labor in vain.


The same comment applies to these verses which are classically used to prove that the Sabbath is abolished.

But if we read the entire chapters containing these verses, we’ll see that they do not speak at all about the Sabbath.

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2 Peter 3:15,16

(...) as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you; as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


Let’s note that the three passages used to «prove» the abolition of the Sabbath all come from the epistles of Paul, which are «hard to be understood» according to the apostle Peter.

Paul’s teaching cannot contradict the rest of the Bible.

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Exodus 20:10

But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God: in it you shall not do any work.


Matthew 12:12

It is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.


God wants us to put aside our everyday work and the cares of this life on the Sabbath. However, this doesn’t mean that we should sleep all day long!

The Word of God suggests many activities, to do good around us on the Sabbath.

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Leviticus 23:3

Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation.


Acts 13:44

And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.


God desires His people to gather together on the Sabbath day, to worship the Lord, to share, to have fellowship, to study the Word of God.

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Nehemiah 10:31

If the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the Sabbath.


Luke 23:54

That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.


So as to entirely consecrate the Sabbath to God, it is advisable to plan what we will need on that day, so that nothing has to be bought after the beginning of the Sabbath.

This is why the sixth day is also called «the Preparation».

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Acts 16:13

On the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made.


The Sabbath can also be the occasion for a family excursion in nature, to be filled with wonder before God’s creation.

Generally, everything that can increase our gratitude and love for God, everything that can strengthen our union with our Savior, may be done on the Sabbath day.

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Isaiah 58:13,14

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall you delight yourself in the Lord.

And I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.

For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.


God’s blessing truly rests on the Sabbath’s holy hours. All those who have had the experience of devoting this time to worshiping God, learning to know Him better, and serving Him, can testify to this very special blessing.

And with such a promise transmitted by the prophet Isaiah, why wouldn’t we want to keep the Sabbath?

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Let’s thank the One who gives us so many blessings:

Dear Lord,

It is written, «For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not grievous.» (1 John 5:3).

Among Your commandments, we find the observance of the seventh day as the day of rest, Your holy Sabbath.

This is not a burden You want to put on our shoulders, but rather a privilege which You grant us. Indeed, You know better than anyone that we need the Sabbath to forget for a few hours the worries of this earth, giving us a foretaste of the wonderful world You prepare for us.

Please help us to keep the Sabbath as we should, in Jesus Christ.


The test of Lesson 32 is waiting for you!

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