>Home >Bible Study >Explorer 1 >Explorer I: Exploring Bible Truth - Lesson 12

Builders of Faith Explorer I:  Exploring Bible Truth

Lesson 12—Keeping the Sabbath Holy

 

 

1.  Exactly when does the Sabbath begin and when does it end?

 

“…the evening and the morning were the first day.”  Genesis 1:5.  “…the evening and the morning were the second day.”  Genesis 1:8.  “…the evening and the morning were the third day.”  Genesis 1:13…and so on.

 

Answer:  According to the Genesis Creation account, the night portion is the first part of each day.  Therefore, since we have learned in the previous two lessons that Saturday is the Sabbath, each Sabbath begins at Friday sunset and ends at Saturday sunset.

 

 

2.  What was the first thing that Genesis 2 says God did on the 7th day, and what is its meaning for us?

 

“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”  Genesis 2:2.  “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them [Old Testament Israel]; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.  For we who have believed to enter that rest….”  Hebrews 4:2-3.  “There remains therefore a rest [Sabbath-rest] for the people of God.  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”  Hebrews 4:9-10.

 

Answer:  God rested.  But God does not need to rest, for He is the source of all life and energy.  Thus He rested as an example for us to rest.  Certainly, it is appropriate for us to rest from our daily work in order to admire His creation.  Each Sabbath is a kind of weekly birthday for the earth to celebrate God’s mighty work of creation.  But as we also learned in Lesson #10, the 7th-day Sabbath is a special time in which God’s people enter His spiritual rest in the gospel.  So far from being a day representing legalism, the Sabbath allows God’s people to more fully focus on His salvation by grace through faith.

 

 

3.  What second thing does Genesis 2 say that God did on the 7th day, and what does that mean for us?

 

“Then God blessed the seventh day….”  Genesis 2:3.

 

Answer:  When we bless someone, we give that person a benefit of some kind.  Likewise, God gives His people a special benefit in the Sabbath.  The only way someone can place a benefit in time for someone else is to give of his time to that person.  Therefore, as “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28), Jesus makes Himself available to us in a special way—thus making each Sabbath a kind of spiritual date with Him.  This is how He blessed, and continues to bless, the Sabbath.

 

 

4.  Finally, what third thing does Genesis 2 say that God did on the 7th day, and how does that affect us?

 

“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it….”  Genesis 2:3.  “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.”  Ezekiel 20:12.

 

Answer:  The word for “sanctified” means “to set apart for holy use”.  Thus, the Sabbath is holy time, 24 hours of time set apart by God for holy use, or service to God.  The Ezekiel text here adds that same God who created holy time also wants to recreate a holy people unto Himself.  Therefore, as we dedicate each Sabbath to the Lord, it reminds us that He wants to make us a holy people.

 

 

5.  Why is the day before the Sabbath called the Preparation?

 

“That day was the Preparation [Friday], and the Sabbath drew near.”  Luke 23:54.  “And so it was, on the sixth day, that they [Israelites] gathered twice as much bread [manna]….  Then he [Moses] said to them, ‘This is what the Lord has said:  ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord.  Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’  So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.  Then Moses said, ‘Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.  Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.”  Exodus 16:22-26.

 

Answer:  This Bible story illustrates that Christians should use part of Friday to prepare for the Sabbath hours (that begin at Friday sunset) by shining our shoes, taking out the trash, dusting, vacuuming, and cooking ahead of time what can be safely cooked early.  Remember that the Sabbath is a special day on which you are going to meet Jesus in a way that is impossible on any other day of the week.  If an earthly king or president were coming to your house, would you do any less to prepare for his/her visit?

 

 

6.  What event should be the highlight of each Sabbath?

 

“Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation.”  Leviticus 23:3.  “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:25.

 

Answer:  A “holy convocation” refers to a holy meeting of the people together.  Thus, the highlight of every Sabbath should be a public worship service.  While it is true that you can worship God at any time and any place, the Bible warns against the habit of not attending a worship service on Sabbath.  This is because, among other things, public congregational worship encourages individual believers and helps keep the spiritual coals of fire glowing—when they will eventually go out if a member isolates himself from the body of Christ.  Naturally, those whose health does not permit regular attendance should have regular contact with the congregation, and perhaps tapes, CDs, or DVDs of worship services should be provided free of charge to such members.  But others have no excuse to isolate themselves from the congregation.

 

 

7.  What should we avoid doing on the Sabbath?

 

A.  Exodus 20:9-10:  “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.  In it you shall do no work:  you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”—We should avoid our ordinary, everyday work.  This would require a job that does not require Sabbath work hours, as well as avoiding work around the house or outside, such as cleaning, gardening, car-washing, and so on.

 

B.  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 day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father….”—In addition to ordinary work, we should avoid secular reading, conversation, music, and entertainment in order to have more time to “delight yourself in the Lord….”

 

C.  Nehemiah 13:15, 19:  “In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day.  And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions….  So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath.”—Apart from a real emergency, the Sabbath-keeper should not engage in the practice of buying and selling or other business on the Sabbath.  Make certain your house has sufficient groceries and the car sufficient fuel before sunset on Friday.

 

 

8.  Apart from attending a public worship service at church, what other kinds of activities are especially appropriate during Sabbath hours?

 

A.  Because the Sabbath is a weekly memorial of Creation, the Sabbath is a perfect day to explore nature themes outdoors, weather permitting, of course.  If the weather is bad, read nature stories or watch nature videos. Engaging in special Sabbath-only nature projects, such as placing tree leaves in as scrapbook, would also be appropriate.  If you have any Bible-based videos, they can be viewed as well.  For those with children, the Creation theme is one of the best areas to explore for Sabbath afternoon activities.

 

B.  The Sabbath is also a good day for acts of mercy.  Stop and help someone with car trouble or a flat tire and offer assistance.  Help (for free) in a soup kitchen to feed the hungry and homeless.  Jesus often used the Sabbath to show mercy to others, even though it infuriated the religious leaders in His day (for they kept the Sabbath legalistically and not from the heart).  Jesus also often healed people on the Sabbath.  Naturally, you should not take this principle too far and volunteer to help someone renovate his house or work with a neighbor on his car on the Sabbath.  Such activities go beyond simple acts of mercy and tend to bog down the Sabbath-keeper in ordinary work.  If you are part of the medical profession, you should only make yourself available to do the necessary work of doctoring or nursing to maintain the health of patients, not cleaning hospital rooms, mopping floors, and so on.  And you should not use your profession as an excuse to work every Sabbath, because then you will be missing the fuller joys of Sabbath-keeping.  Many conscientious Sabbath-keepers donate all the money they earn on Sabbaths to their church; but there is no actual rule about that.

 

C.  Since we learned that the Sabbath is also a symbol of the gospel rest, and that Jesus used that day for the “work” of spiritual healing also, any kind of gospel ministry is certainly appropriate for Sabbath hours.  This would include giving Bible studies, being involved in prayer sessions, listening and/or playing sacred music, preaching the Word of God, and similar spiritual activities.

 

 

9.  Are there other helpful principles for keeping the Sabbath holy?

 

A.  We have learned that the Sabbath is a time for God to recreate us as His holy people (see Question #4 above).  Thus, it is a time for both physical and spiritual renewal.  Any activity on the Sabbath, mental or physical, which wears us out rather than renews us for the coming week, is improper no matter how “good” it otherwise is.  So do things in moderation.

 

B.  Those with children and/or teenagers should remember that their higher energy level needs to be utilized for the Lord on the Sabbath.  Special care and planning should be exercised for appropriate and varied Sabbath activities for them.  For example, make the Sabbath meals simple but delicious by providing some of the children’s favorite foods only for the Sabbath.  Encourage activities that they can do that won’t wear you out.  Failure to plan often leads parents to allow their children and teens to fend for themselves on Sabbath afternoons.  And when that happens, their minds tend to wander away from holy themes and thus eventually lead them to a total disregard for the Sabbath.

 

C.  We should also be aware not to do anything that leads others to break the Sabbath, even if they don’t know anything about it.  That means, that in addition to no buying or selling except for a real emergency on the Sabbath, that Sabbath-keepers should refrain from shopping and eating out at restaurants during Sabbath hours.

 

D.  Finally, remember that the bottom line of all Sabbath-keeping is that whatever we do during Sabbath hours should clearly lead us into a closer relationship with Jesus.  If a specific activity does not do this for us, even though it may do so for someone else, then we should eliminate it from our Sabbath activities.

 

 

Quiz for Lesson 12—Keeping the Sabbath Holy

 

1.  Exactly when does the Sabbath begin and end each week? (1)

  It begins at midnight on Friday and ends at midnight on Saturday.

  It begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ends at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.

  It begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.

Answer

It begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.

2.  What are the true statements below about the first thing that God did on the 7th day of Creation Week? (2)

  God rested because He was tired.

  God blessed the day.

  God sanctified the day.

  God rested as an example for mankind to rest.

  God rested so that mankind would rest and enjoy His Creation.

  God blessed the day because He wanted mankind to receive a special blessing.

Answer

God rested as an example for mankind to rest.
God rested so that mankind would rest and enjoy His Creation.

3.  What does it mean that God sanctified the 7th day? (2)

  It means that He set it apart for man to use for holy purposes.

  It reminds us that God wants to make Christians holy people.

  It means that He put a special blessing in the day for His people.

Answer

It means that He set it apart for man to use for holy purposes.
It reminds us that God wants to make Christians holy people.

4.  Which of the following things should most people do on Friday? (2)

  They should prepare the house as if a king or president were coming the next day.

  They should shine their shoes and put gasoline in the car.

  They should prepare the most elaborate meal that they can afford.

Answer

They should prepare the house as if a king or president were coming the next day.
They should shine their shoes and put gasoline in the car.

5.  The highlight of each Sabbath should be going to church to worship God. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

True

6.  Which of the following things below should be avoided during Sabbath hours? (4)

  Ordinary work at the job or around the house

  Secular reading, music, and entertainment

  Buying or selling unless there is a real emergency

  Walking more than one mile

  Preparing for a test or doing other homework

Answer

Ordinary work at the job or around the house
Secular reading, music, and entertainment
Buying or selling unless there is a real emergency
Preparing for a test or doing other homework

7.  Which of the following would be acceptable Sabbath activities in addition to church attendance? (3)

  Start on a trip to see some relatives

  Walking in nature to admire God’s Creation

  Watching Bible DVDs

  Doing Bible study or any other Christian ministry

Answer

Walking in nature to admire God’s Creation
Watching Bible DVDs
Doing Bible study or any other Christian ministry

8.  Doing medical work is a proper Sabbath activity as long as you don’t make it a habit every Sabbath. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

True

9.  What are some other helpful principles for keeping the Sabbath holy? (3)

  Don’t require someone else to work by going to a restaurant to eat.

  Special care should be taken especially if you have children so that the Sabbath does not become a boring day.

  Avoid wearing yourself out even in doing good things on the Sabbath.

  Have a lot of friends over for a big Friday evening meal occasionally.

Answer

Don’t require someone else to work by going to a restaurant to eat.
Special care should be taken especially if you have children so that the Sabbath does not become a boring day.
Avoid wearing yourself out even in doing good things on the Sabbath.

10.  The bottom line of all Sabbath-keeping is that whatever we do should lead us into a closer relationship with Jesus. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

True