The bible says your sins have separated you between you and your God. If the Sabbath was essential for Adam in Eden, why wouldn’t the Sabbath be essential for us outside of Eden, in this world that is tainted and saturated with sin?
So there is no question in the first era, in the first epocal age pre-fall, the Sabbath stands. But the next age is the patriarchal age. Someone is always going to claim that the Sabbath commandment never occurs in the book of Genesis, and that’s true.
You can read Genesis chapter 1 all the way to Genesis chapter 50. The Sabbath commandment does not occur in the book of Genesis. But I got news for you. None of the commandments occur in the book of Genesis because the book of Genesis is not a book of laws. It’s a book of origins and beginnings.
So then do we have any evidence that the patriarchs, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, prior to the flood, kept the Sabbath? The answer is yes.
Genesis chapter 26 verse five says, “Because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, commandments, statutes, and my laws.” This is hundreds of years before we ever arrive at Mt. Sinai and Abraham is keeping God’s commands, ordinances, statutes, and His charge.
First Kings chapter two says David is dying and on his death bed. He had some words of instruction for Solomon, his son. “Now the days of David drew near that he should die and he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I go the way of all the Earth. Be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, commandments, judgments and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses that you may prosper in all that you do, wherever you turn.” All four of those words are referred here by David to Solomon-the commandments, the ordinances, the laws and the statues as occurring in the law of Moses.
Abraham came first, so did God have ordinance in the days of Abraham? And all of those things were later codified. Your bible is in the form which is called the codex form. In the days of Jesus, they weren’t in the codex form, they were in scrolls. And so the word codify means to write down or to formally write down.
Moses was responsible not for initiating the law, not for the creation of the law, and not for the giving of the law the first time. He simply codified a law that had already existed in the days of Adam and onwards through the patriarchal age. Incidentally, there are very powerful evidences of the fact in the book of Genesis that the law existed because this nasty little thing called sin existed. Can you have sin when you don’t have a law?
No. For example, Cain killed his brother Abe. And remember what God said to Cain? He said, “Hey listen- if you do what’s right you’ll have no problem, but if you don’t do what’s right sin lies at the door.” Is there such a thing as sin in the days of Cain? Absolutely!
And Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because of their growing immorality and sin. This all happened before the time of Moses. And how about this one? When Potiphar’s wife laid hold on Joseph and Joseph pulled himself away. He said, “How can I commit this great sin?” Well what sin is he talking about? Of course the 7th commandment- thou shall not commit adultery. Now here’s the point: all of those commandments existed, but they were oral in their passing on and tradition.
They were codified at Mt. Sinai. We already know that the Sabbath existed in the pre-fall era and in the patriarchal era. But how about in the prophetic era, the time of Moses? Well, rest assured that the Sabbath was kept and honored in the prophetic age, the age of Israel, and nobody disputes that because everybody to this day knows that the Jews keep the Sabbath.
Exodus chapter 20 verses 8-11 says, “God through His great prophet Moses delivered the 10 commandments to the people of Israel.” And right there in Exodus chapter 20, you have God speaking, thundering from Mt Sinai, the 10 commandments. There it is again, “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Six days you labor and do all your work but the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. On it, you shall not do any work.”
“You or your son or your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, the soldier who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and Earth, the sea and all that is in them and rested the 7th day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
It’s fascinating that the Sabbath commandment begins with the word remember. The word remember comes from the latin meaning to call to mind. That’s the “member” part and the “re” means to do it again. So remember means to call it to mind again. Really when God says to the children of Israel, “Remember the Sabbath” it’s saying “you had it, now call it to mind again.” I find it fascinating that when you look in the History of Israel during that prophetic age, in times of faithfulness and prosperity, the Sabbath was honored and kept. But in times of rebellion and disobedience, the Sabbath was neglected. The faith of the people of God went along with their faithfulness to the command.
Jeremiah 17 verse 27 says, “If you do not listen to me to keep the Sabbath day holy and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates and each shall devour the pharisees of Jerusalem and it shall not be quenched.”
You have the Jewish nation and they began to disregard the Sabbath. They were living in Jerusalem but God is telling them, “If you do not get faithful in this area, I’m going to destroy your cities. It’s gonna be a nightmare for you.”
And it’s fascinating that they did not listen and ultimately were taken captive to Babylon. While they were in Babylon, they learned a lesson and that’s when they became overboard about how to keep the Sabbath. That’s when they began to develop all their legalistic rules.
Yes God wants us to remember the Sabbath day. God wants us to do what the Word of God says about the Sabbath. But God does not want us to go the way of the pharisee and make unending mountains of unbiblical rules of how to keep it.
God says in this prophetic age, when the Jews were at the peak, essentially, “If you listen to Me and obey this commandment, you will have prosperity. But if you don’t, you will have adversity.”
You can rest assured that the prophets in Israel to whom they prophesied were called by God to know, honor, proclaim and enjoy the Sabbath.