OceanSide church of Christ
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SABBATH-KEEPING AND EXODUS 16
Victor M. Eskew
A. When I initially thought of this sermon, I was going to confront the doctrine of Sabbath-keeping.
B. This doctrine is taught by several religious groups:
1. The Seventh-day Adventists
2. United Church of God
3. Seventh Day Baptists
C. There are about ten arguments that are presented by the Sabbatarians in an attempt to prove that the Sabbath is still binding today.
D. As I was studying, there was one argument that was very interesting and stood out to me. It is this argument that we will be confronting in this lesson.
I. WHAT IS THE SABBATH?
A. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, our Saturday.
B. The Sabbath is a day of rest.
C. The Sabbath is a holy day in the Jewish religion.
D. Exodus 20:8-11
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the sabbath is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: 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: for in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hollowed it.
1. This law was given to the Jews only (See Exo. 19:3-8).
2. This is the first time the Sabbath is commanded by God as part of the Law of Moses.
3. The Old Covenant, including the Ten Commandments, was done away at the cross of Calvary (Col. 2:14).
II. THE ARGUMENT FROM EXODUS 16
1. The children of Israel have been delivered from the bondage of Egypt and are now in the wilderness.
2. The children of entered into the wilderness of Sin, and “murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (Exo. 16:2).
3. Their complaint came because they were extremely hungry (Exo. 16:3).
4. The solution that God gave involved quail and manna (Exo. 16:11-12).
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread: and ye shall know that I am the Lord you God.
5. God gave specific instructions relative to how the manna was to be gathered.
a. Each person was to gather one omer (Exo. 16:16).
b. When the sun waxed hot, it would melt (Exo. 16:21).
c. It was not to be left over until the next morning or it would stink (Exo. 16:19).
d. They were to gather one omer each for five days and on the sixth day they were to gather two omers (Exo. 16:5).
e. It was not to be gathered at all on the seventh day (Exo. 16:29). In fact, the manna did not fall on the seventh day (Exo. 16:26).
B. Some might wonder how this pertains to the doctrine of Sabbath-keeping. The answer is found in Exodus 16:23-26, 29-30.
And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worms therein. And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none…See, for the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.
1. The main argument from this text is that the Sabbath was enjoined on the children of Israel prior to the covenant being given at Sinai. “: “It is clear that God had previously spoken and instituted a Sabbath for which Israel was accountable prior to the inauguration of the Mosaic covenant” (Richard C. Barcellos as quoted at www.rbap.net/1821-22/).
2. A more subtle argument comes from Exodus 16:23.
a. It reads: “And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said…”
b. The NASV translates the passage: “This is that which the Lord hath meant…”
1. The Sabbatarians say that this is what God meant since the seventh day of the creation week (Gen. 2:1-3).
2. Their argument is that the Sabbath had always been binding on man and that it was not just a precept found in the Law of Moses.
III. HOW TO ANSWER THIS DOCTRINE
A. Some refer to this as a “test Sabbath.”
1. This seems like an imagination of the desperate until we read Exodus 16:4.
Then said the Lord 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 them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
a. It appears that this is the first time that Israel has been given such a commandment. If they had been keeping it, God would not have needed to prove them.
b. NOTE: If they had been practicing the Sabbath up to this point, this would not have been difficult for them.
c. When the law was first given, Israel had great difficulty with this.
1) First, they kept some of the manna overnight and it bred worms and stank (Exo. 16:20).
2) Second, some of the people went out on the seventh day and tried to gather manna (Exo. 16:27).
3) The Point: This observance of the Sabbath was not a common practice. It had not been done until this point in time. It was not authorized for observance since the creation.
2. Yes, the law of the Sabbath was given before Sinai. It was strictly a test to see how well they would truly observe the Law once it was given in its completeness.
B. The meaning of the words: “This is that which the Lord hath said,”
1. When the children of Israel murmured about being hungry, God first spoke to Moses about his solution to the problem (Exo. 16:4a).
Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day…
3. Moses and Aaron then communicated God’s message to the children of Israel (Exo. 16:6).
And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel…
4. In verse 23, Moses is not saying this is what God said from the creation, he is saying this is what God has communicated to me in answer to your murmuring. The Sabbath was the answer.
C. A counter that the Sabbath-keepers would bring up is that silence does not prove that the Sabbath was not being kept up to this point in time.
1. The silence about the Sabbath is explained in two ways:
a. God’s purpose in the book of Genesis is not to go into great detail about all of the laws He communicated to His people and how they were carried out.
b. Silence indicates that the children of God had no problems observing the command, namely, the Sabbath. Therefore, God did not have to address it.
2. Answer: If the children of Israel understood the practice so well that God did not have to address it, why did they have such a problem with it when it God addressed their hunger in Exodus 16. They should have flawlessly carried out God’s instructions.
3. Their counter: Perhaps God’s people had violated God’s authorization found in Genesis 2:1-3 and had not been keeping the Sabbath, and were not skilled in its observance.
4. Answer: They cannot have it both ways. Either God’s children keep the Sabbath or they did not. Remember, they had just argued that the reason it was never mentioned in the book of Genesis is because God’s people obeyed it.
D. God gave numerous laws during Patriarchy that were also laws that would be found in the Law of Moses.
1. In Genesis 9:6, God had forbidden man to murder another human being.
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
2. In Genesis 20, we learn that adultery was forbidden by God during Patriarchy. This same law also was made part of the Law of Moses (Exo. 20:14).
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
3. The same could be said of the Sabbath.
a. God gave it to Israel as a test in the wilderness.
b. At Sinai, God made it an official law of the Old Testament (Exo. 20:8).
Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.
A. We have taken this time tonight to help us to answer an argument made for Sabbath-keeping by those who believe the Sabbath is still binding. NOTE: I do not want us to get blindsided when we speak to others about their beliefs.
B. The Sabbath was still a part of the Law of Moses given specifically to the children of Israel (Deut. 5:2-3). This law is no longer binding upon mankind to day. Paul says we are dead to the Law, we are delivered from it, and it is dead to us (Rom. 7:4, 6).
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God…But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
C. The authorized day of worship in the New Testament is the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2).
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.