Is 7th Day [Sabbath] Observance Much Ado About Nothing?
Is this custom misdirected devotion and/or Levitical bondage?

Frankie [Sinatra] sang, "I did it my way" . . .

King David learned the hard way what happens when one does things his own way.  When Israel carried the Ark of the Covenant in a way that was right in their own eyes, inobservance led to the death of a loved one (See I Chronicles 13:7-10).

He said to them, "You are the heads of families of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your kindred, so that you may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it.  Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God burst out against us, because we did not give it proper care."  So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel.  (1 Chronicles 15:12-14 [NRSV])

On a different occasion, Joshua informed Israel that Jericho was the Lord's possession [to be destroyed].

And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.  The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live because she hid the messengers we sent.  (Joshua 6:16-17 [NRSV])

However, Achan did not observe the commandment, and took what was set aside for the Lord as an object for his own pleasure. Approximately 36 men died battling Ai because of Achan's disobedience to the Lord (See Joshua 7:5).

Joshua 7:12 Therefore the Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they turn their backs to their enemies, because they have become a thing devoted for destruction themselves. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.  (Joshua 7:12 [NRSV])

We must observe His commandments if we want to rest in Him.

And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient?  (Hebrews 3:18 [NRSV])

What is holy / sanctified is "set apart for a religious purpose".  What is holy / sanctified "belongs to the Divine Power" (the Lord).  Before Abraham and the Levites were born (which includes Moses), well before the Law, the 7th day was consecrated for the Lord's use. Therefore, the Law [and the annulling thereof] has no authority to negate the Weekly Sabbath Day which existed before it.  (Levi was not there when the Day began, and he has no power to make the Day null and void).  Therefore, the Lord's Day is not Levitical bondage (and those that are punctual should not be considered as "fallen from grace" for being so).

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from his work of creation.  (Genesis 2:3 [NLT])

Fidelity:  There is no Law against it

Some [non-Sabbath keepers] feel Weekly Sabbath observance is less important than "saving souls" and therefore many consider it as "majoring in the minors".  Just as some in "Christendom" think they can "harvest souls" for the Lord without being full of the Lord's Holy
Spirit, some that are not observant to the Lord's Day [/ Commandments] think they can successfully "harvest souls" without being in the Lord's will. (Although, "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable", as Romans 11:29 declares).

The "Lord of the Harvest" we serve is the same "Lord of the Sabbath" we must serve (See Matthew 9:38 & Matthew 12:8).  There is one Lord, and He is one Spirit.  Weekly Sabbath observance is an act of obedience to the voice of God.  It is His express will that we rest with Him at His appointed time, and it is better to obey the voice of our Lord than to give treacherous sacrifice.

If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:  But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.  (I. Samuel 12:14-15 [KJV])

But Samuel replied, "What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice.  Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.  (I. Samuel 15:22 [NLT])

Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you?  I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.  That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.’  
(Luke 6:46-49 [NRSV])

Some individuals or groups boast about their Sabbath keeping, while they arrogantly have no concern of receiving the baptism of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (which also makes evident they don't care about using divine gifts for their brother's benefit; and are short of actualization of the Law).  That sort of attitude is “majoring in the minors”  (See Romans 4:13).  “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (See Romans 8:9).  Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (See Luke 6:5).  It is by Jesus Christ that the Sabbath exists (See Colossians 2:17).   He is the authority and is not superseded by the Sabbath.   However, the Lord gives His Spirit to those that obey Him (See Hebrews 5:9).

"These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ."  (Colossians 2:17 [NRSV])

"How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?"  (Matthew 23:19

"Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life."  (1 John 5:12 [NRSV])

[Some feel, since I “walk on water”, I have no need to receive baptism of His Spirit.  Others feel, since the sick recover as their shadow passes over them, as did apostle Peter's in Acts 5:15, they have no need to exercise, amplify and display their faith through Weekly Sabbath observance]. 

Many of Israel could not enter rest because they rejected the Lord.  Likewise, a person will not have the Lord's rest without faith in Jesus Christ, receiving His Holy Spirit.  (Abraham was not justified by works, but he had works that were evidence of his faith.  In other words, Abraham did not receive clemency because of his good deeds.  He had good deeds because he believed [See Romans 4:9-10].  Some have good works without belief, and are not justified).

"So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief."  (Hebrews 3:19 [NRSV])

"For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law."  (Galatians 3:21b [NRSV])

"If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void."  (Romans 4:14 [NRSV])

"But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness." 
(Romans 4:5 [NRSV])

There are more important matters to be dealt with [than sabbath keeping, if kept unrighteously].  Jesus Christ specifically pointed out "justice, mercy and faith".  It should be noted that it is stipulated that these actions should be "practiced without neglecting the others".

‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.  It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 
(Matthew 23:23 [NRSV])

Acknowledgment the 7th Day while lacking these greater requirements would make our devotion false:  If we don't love our fellowman, our devotion to God is a lie.  (See 1 John 4:21, Matthew 12:5-8 & James 2:8-9).   For example:  A "Sabbath keeper" that does not keep the secular laws of the land [that righteously can be kept] has violated Matthew 22:39, and consequently also violated Matthew 22:37 [and has erroneous love].  (For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’  Likewise, the One that said to remember the Set Aside Day is the same One that commanded us not to use illegal software [do not steal]).  One is in error if they their neglect their neighbor's need, while claiming to serve God.  (Does a honorable and fair man steal from his brother?)

How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?  (1 John 3:17 [NRSV])

The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. 
(1 John 4:21 [NRSV])

Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless?  I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.  But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the guiltless.  For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’   (Matthew 12:5-8 [NRSV])

Then he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath;  (
Mark 2:27 [NRSV])

Man is not to be exploited by the Sabbath; the Sabbath is a gift for humanity (See Mark 2:27).  But, we must not go from one extreme to another (from overzealousness to impiousness, which Christendom corporately is guilty of).  We can't expect to walk in the fullness of the Kingdom of God while we are in a compromised relationship with our Lord.  We must submit to His will, keeping His statutes / ordinances. 

The Seventh Day is His.  He set the Day aside, and He did not change His mind (Nor will He.  Our Lord is not double minded [See Hebrews 13:8]).  Since it is necessary to be led by the Spirit, and it is the Spirit Himself that set the 7th Day aside, observance of His Day is not "misdirected devotion" (See Romans 8:14).  The church will not be in one accord until 7th day observance is heeded.  (I, for one, will not be in unity with those that walk in their brute nature, and will always be in disunity with those that oppose the Lord's Holy Day).  How can a person walk with God while bucking against what He instituted from the beginning?  (Some of us "are finding it painful to kick against the ox-goad").

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?  (Amos 3:3 [NLT])

And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. (Mark 3:25 [NRSV])

The LORD said to Moses: You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: ‘You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you(Exodus 31:12-13 [NRSV])

It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.’   (Exodus 31:17 [NRSV])

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says the LORD; so shall your descendants and your name remain.  From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the LORD.  (Isaiah 66:22-23 [NRSV])

Dear Dad,

You alone are the creator and the empowerment of all things.  Even with all the good you have done for us, we have impeded your incontestable sovereign privilege to enjoy appointed time, that You, Yourself decreed.  You have proclaimed in Psalms 50:12, that “the world and all that is in it is Yours”.

Friday nights, when the weekly Sabbath begins, many of us are trespassing by playing ball, [worldly] dancing and even enjoying ungodly media on Your Set Aside Time.  When daylight shines upon Your Day, many search the marketplace for bargains, and partake in other self serving agendas.

Provoking You even more, many are scornful toward their brothers because their brothers rejoice with You on Your Day.  This animosity is in the similitude of King David’s wife, Michal, despising him as he glorified You, as recorded in 1st Chronicles 15:29.  In spite of that, we must give You the thanks You well deserve, the way You deserve it.

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.”  (Psalm 50:14 [NRSV])

Please forgive us for being insensitive to Your Holy Spirit you have generously given many of us.  You have given us the 7th Day as a sign, which is as a catalyst for our faith (as well as a time for us and our beloved to rest).  There is no misfortune associated with this joyful time.  For when we consider time needed to sleep on Your Day, the devoted time equates to a mere week’s tithe of time given to You.  The adversary doesn't like us honoring You, but it is proclaimed in Joel 2:26 that Your people shall never be ashamed.

By Your record in the Old Testament, you are well able to manifest an overflow of provisions from just six days labor into that equal to eight days of work (as you proved using years in Leviticus 25).  And if we lift You up, You will draw all mankind.  You graciously blessed our forefathers in the faith, as the Old Testament testifies.  How much more we look for Your blessings in this better Administration.

In Your great redemptive name, that is above all names, Jesus Christ, we pray.

elevate your game!

Athletes exercise self-control in all things;
they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.
So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air;
but I punish my body and enslave it,
so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (NRSV)

Revised: 06/21/08
Compiled by Brother L. Harrell,
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