SPECIAL NOTE FROM CLP: To improve our coverage of the Scriptures, we are making some changes. For the next number of quarters, special studies will replace one regular lesson per quarter. The June-August 1997 youth and adult quarterly features "The Lord's Day."
(Genesis 2:2,3; Deuteronomy 5:12-14; Mark 2:27,28; Luke 24:1,6,7;
John 20:19,26; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2)
Lesson 6 -- third quarter 1997
July 6, 1997
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications
Is Sunday the Sabbath?
Why is Sunday our day of rest?
The simplest answer I can think of for the first question is "No." Various Scripture passages clearly identify the Sabbath as the seventh day of the week. A quick check of the calendar should verify that Sunday is the first day. So just in that sense, Sunday is not the Sabbath. However, we need to probe beyond the placement of days in the week.
A law. Some 2500 years after God gave man the gift of one-day-a-week rest, He codified the gift into law. He demanded that His people not do any work one day each week. He stipulated a severe penalty for violation of that law: death. The history of the children of Israel includes the sad account of a man who dared ignore the Sabbath law. Can you imagine facing your executioners knowing that if you'd just let those sticks lie till tomorrow you wouldn't be here (Numbers 15:32-36)!
A day. God didn't let His people decide on their own, neither as a group nor as individuals, which day of the week they would observe His laws regarding the rest day. He specified one specific day to be kept, generation after generation for centuries. God declared the last day of the week to be His day. So God sanctified the Sabbath. This would be their day of rest and a special day to delight in God. They were to keep it with total rest.
A sign. God chose the Israelites from all of Earth's tribes and nations, calling them out, sanctifying them, making them holy. And they knew it. Each time the Sabbath cycled around, they remembered the covenant between them and God. No doubt they remembered the words Jehovah had spoken to Moses, "It is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you" (Exodus 31:13). They knew that they were what they were because of God's work in them and among them. At least that was the Lord's plan!
So why then is Sunday our special day?!
Sunday is the Lord's day. On this day He rose from the dead, signalling the end of His redemptive work on Earth--He rested, you see. We could say that Sunday marks the culmination of a new spiritual creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10). Furthermore, if we look first at Hebrews 4:10 and then at Ephesians 2:8,9, we notice that the Lord's resurrection on this special day marks the beginning of a new rest. We need not try to win our salvation through good works.
Sunday is the day power arrived for the Church. Jesus died to atone for our sins and rose again that we might be justified (Romans 4:25). Then the Spirit came so that we might have the power to live the life of the justified. What would we do in this life without the Spirit of God empowering us from within?!
Sunday is the day light first shone. Go ahead, check the record (Genesis 1:3-5). Jesus said, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). He also said, "Ye are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). I challenge you to remember these two facts every Sunday, then let the Light shine on you and through you all through the week. Then you will know that your Sunday observance had significance.
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