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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries


The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 04/13/08
The Doctrine of the Sabbath.
Our main passage is ROM 9:4 Who are Israelites, to whom is the adoption and as sons and the glory [that is the Shekinah glory], and the unconditional covenants, and the deposit of the law, [Mosaic Law], and the temple service [the service of God] and the promises.
The service of God refers to the worship of God and it's a reference to the manner of operation of the Levitical priesthood, the Levitical offerings, the articles of furniture in the tabernacle, in the temple, the Holy days, the feasts, etc. You are here for a reason and your life is to have definition and purpose. We have five purposes: 1. Worship. 2. Discipleship. 3. Fellowship. 4. Ministry. 5. Evangelism. We have begun to note the first one, worship. For example, in giving the Law for His people, God set several appointed "feasts of the Lord" for Israel to observe at specific times during the year (Lev 23). The first holy day God set aside is the Sabbath day, which was to be observed every week. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week or Saturday. The Jews rested every Saturday, and it was to remind the Jews of the principle of grace. It reminded them that there was nothing you could do for Salvation, and that there was nothing you could do to gain the approbation and the blessing of God. This has led us to the Doctrine of the Sabbath.
Point 1. Introduction. Freedom demands rest and rest demands freedom. You can never have freedom when you stop thinking. The Sabbath was a thinking day when you didn't work physically, but instead you sat somewhere, rested, and thought. There are two kinds of Sabbath: The temporal Sabbath is the faith-rest technique of the believer, this is the moment-by-moment Sabbath (HEB 3:11; HEB 4:1-7). Then there is the eternal Sabbath (MAT 11:28).
Point 2. Salvation rest (MAT 11:28).
Point 3. Supergrace rest and test.
DEU 6:10-13, “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and [given you] houses or homes full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you shall eat and be satisfied, then watch yourself, lest you forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery. You shall respect only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,” This literally means back up your promises with His name only or with His character. This also means not follow other god’s such as money, materialism, pleasure, etc.
In DEU 8:10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.” This is part of the Biblical premise of praying after a meal, because your satisfied and so you bless GOD, your God, for the good place He has given you, and for the good family and friends He has provided. DEU 8:11 “Beware lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today;” DEU 8:13-14, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then beware that your heart becomes proud, and that you forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt [the cosmic system], out of the house of slavery [bondage to the devil, the flesh or the OSN and the world.” We forget to remember grace and Divine blessings, so, the commandment said to remember grace. The commandment was a ritual, and has to do with what you think.
Let's look at a passage where the importance of the Sabbath is really brought out, HEB 3:7-10, Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts [your way of thinking] as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial or testing in the wilderness, Where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, And saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart [system of thinking];And they did not know My ways.’” Even though they watched God at work for forty years, they refused to accept God's way of doing things.
You are the beneficiary of many wonderful blessings from God. Yet, many of you don't even know a thing about those blessings. The Sabbath or rest that God has for you is completely neglected because of ignorance. The modern tendency of apostasy today stresses the works and production of the believer. Just like the Jews distorted the ritual Sabbath, most Christians distort the real one.
HEB 3:11 “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest.” This rest is a state in which the believer has a relaxed mental attitude no matter what the situation may look like. It is a complete trust in the character and nature of God working for you. God knew in eternity past every problem you would ever face, and He made a provision for those problems.
HEB 3:12 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. This heart of unbelief is a heart without rest. Having no faith-rest is to say God is a liar. One of the greatest problems the Christian faces is fear. Fear, worry, anxiety, stress, always takes away your rest.
HEB 4:1 Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. Refusing to enter into His rest will not stop God from being glorified, but it will surely rob us. JOH 10:9-10, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have {it} abundantly.” The Lord is constantly pouring out His grace on His people while His people are constantly pouring out complaints.
HEB 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. The prerequisite for entering into rest is being filled with the Holy Spirit for the believer (rebound), but it's not enough, we need the daily intake of Bible doctrine. HEB 4:4-6, For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works;” and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, This rest depends upon the faithfulness of God and not the faithfulness of man. The Lord's invitation for rest has always been available to every believer. His rest consists of specific instructions and directions, and must be accompanied with the hearing of Bible Doctrine. Faith is not blind, it is the greatest vision in the world.
HEB 4:9-12, There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Point 4. The origin of the Sabbath rest.
GEN 2:1-3, Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. On the seventh day of the earth's restoration, everything was provided for man, and God rested in the sense that nothing else could possibly be provided for man in grace. Everything man needed at that point was provided. The principle: Since there was nothing God could add, obviously there is nothing that man can add.
Point 5. The Sabbath is given to Israel as a command from God.
EXO 20:8-11, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy [set it apart as a holy day] for Him.” This very change of pace was not only beneficial to them physically and mentally, but it had ultimate benefit to them in the spiritual realm because it was a reminder of grace. Also, by maintaining good health with periodic rest, this contributed to the full, free function of the mind. With loss of health, your mind becomes a slave to certain preoccupations, like pain. In Exo 16 the Sabbath was taught to the Jews in a special way. EXO 16:22-30, Now it came about on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, “This is what the Lord meant: Tomorrow is a Sabbath observance, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul, nor was there any worm in it. And Moses said, “Eat it 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.” And it came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? See, the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain 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. They had received manna from heaven which represented Divine provision for the believer in time. In verse 22 on the 6th day (Friday) they were told to gather a double portion because on day 7 God wouldn't provide manna and they were not to try and gather it. This was the first specific reference to the Sabbath since GEN 2:2, when God rested. You go at from GEN 2:2 to Exo 16 and all of that time man understood the principle of the Sabbath without being forced to.
EXO 20:9-10, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; {in it} you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” All work was to stop on the Sabbath for the purpose of orienting to the grace of God. The basis for this commandment is given in EXO 20:11 “for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” This one day of rest each week is not only a principle of blessing, it is also a principle of freedom.
Point 6. The Sabbatical Year of Israel.
The Sabbatical year is tied to the Biblical concept of the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week and a time of rest. The Sabbatical years provided a form of regular debt release to stabilize social and economic gaps in society. According to the Bible, during the seventh year all land had to be left untilled and unplanted, and debts from close neighbors that had been unpaid during the previous six years were to be cancelled. This command can be divided into three different concerns: First, the environmental concerns that overuse of the land would make it unusable. Secondly, some of the commands covered debt concerns. Because of drought and other cyclical crop failures, the poor needed to be allowed to start over and not languish in poverty. Thirdly, land ownership and management concerns affected families in inter-generational settings. The Sabbatical year was intended to be not simply a year of leisure, but also one of religious instruction and exercises. EXO 23:10-11 we read, “And you shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield or crops, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat;[in the seventh year leave it alone and give it a rest so that your poor may eat from it] and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” A release of debts owed by Israelite to Israelite was made. Then look at LEV 25:3-4, “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard.” However, as usual, they did not obey God. So, In LEV 26:33-37 we read “You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it. As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them and even when no one is pursuing, they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall. They will therefore stumble over each other as if running from the sword, although no one is pursuing; and you will have no strength to stand up before your enemies.” Every seven years, the Jews were supposed to stop work. If they had been functioning properly under supergrace, then this was really a year's vacation in which they didn't have to work. This was a great test to see if they had entered supergrace or not. Could they trust God to provide everything for them? If so, it was no problem. If not, they were like squirrels who hadn't gathered nuts for the winter.
Now, it is very interesting that the failure of the Jews to observe the sabbatical year was the basis for determining how long they would stay under the fifth cycle of discipline. From the Exodus until the first administration of the fifth cycle of discipline to the southern kingdom, they had accumulated 490 years in which they had not observed even one sabbatical year as a nation. Over a period of 490 years they had accumulated seventy lost sabbatical years. God told the southern kingdom in 586 B.C. that since they had missed seventy sabbatical years, therefore He would give them those seventy years (that’s 490) in slavery. Therefore, the first administration of the fifth cycle of discipline lasted for seventy years (LEV 26:33-36; 2CH 36:20-21; DAN 9:2; JER 25:11-12; JER 29:10). 2CH 36:20-21, And those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.
What was the word of the Lord by the prophet Jeremiah? Look at it in JER 25:11-12, “And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, declares the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation.” Then look at JER 29:10 “For thus says the Lord, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.”’ So the Jews had to be reminded about the sabbath. For 6 years they planted as much as they wanted to and operated under the principle of free enterprise, but on the 7th year they were to stop. However, the Jews would not do that. They completely rationalized the 7th year sabbath away. In reality, the sabbath never meant a thing to most of the Jews. So when the first 7 year sabbath came they didn't observe it, 14 years later they again did not observe it, and this went on until finally in a period of 490 years in Jewish history they had missed 70 sabbath years. So because they didn’t want to rest when God told them to rest, He would bring about the rest Himself. So they went into 70 years of captivity in Chaldea and Persia. They have actually served 69 of those and God still owes 1 more (7 years) according to DAN 9:24-25.
Point 7.  The year of Jubilee.
LEV 25:8 “You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, {namely,} forty-nine years.” This could be called a super sabbatical year. After forty-nine years (in which there were seven sabbatical years), the fiftieth year was called the year of Jubilee; it was a sabbath year also. During the year of Jubilee, all the real estate in the land went back to its original owners, all the businesses went back to their original owners; everything reverted back to how it was in year one. All slaves were to be freed, and whatever was their portion of land allotted to them by tribe and by the system was given back to them. So, no matter what you ever owned, it was all, always on a lease basis, and you were never to keep any of it past the year of Jubilee. This same principle applies to all of us, everything that we have or own is only on lease. Now, of course if the Jews wouldn't even keep the sabbath once a week, you can be sure that the Jews violated this one also. So, the Lord knew that they were not going to observe the Sabbath year. He gave them another chance. He gave them what was called the year of jubilee (yobel).
Point 8. Profaning the Sabbath was Associated with Idolatry and the Apostasy of the Jews (EZE 23:37-39). EZE 23:38“Again, they have done this to Me: they have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and have profaned My sabbaths.”
Point 9.  Sabbath Violation Occurred even after the Restoration or the Jews were Restored Back to Their Promise Land. NEH 13:15 In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, and they brought them into Jerusalem on the sabbath day. So I admonished them on the day they sold food. Jeremiah taught the Jews in JER 17:21'Thus says the Lord, "Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. They rejected this command concerning the Sabbath, just like many believers today reject the command to rest. Nehemiah found the people not only doing business on the Sabbath, but also doing their daily work and carrying unnecessary burdens. NEH 13:16-21, Also men of Tyre were living there who imported fish and all kinds of merchandise, and sold them to the sons of Judah on the sabbath, even in Jerusalem. Then I reprimanded the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing you are doing, by profaning the sabbath day? Did not your fathers do the same so that our God brought on us, and on this city, all this trouble? Yet you are adding to the wrath on Israel by profaning the sabbath.” And it came about that just as it grew dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and that they should not open them until after the sabbath. Then I stationed some of my servants at the gates that no load should enter on the sabbath day. Once or twice the traders and merchants of every kind of merchandise spent the night outside Jerusalem. Then I warned them and said to them, “Why do you spend the night in front of the wall? If you do so again, I will use force against you.” From that time on they did not come on the sabbath.
Nehemiah took three steps toward changing the situation. First, he rebuked the Jews who were working and selling on the Sabbath and made them stop. Secondly, he rebuked the nobles for allowing business on the Sabbath Day, reminding them that the nation's violation of the Sabbath was one cause for their captivity. Thirdly, he ordered the gates of the city to be shut on the Sabbath Day. The guards had been willing to open the gates to the Gentile merchants, possibly because they were bribed; so Nehemiah put some of his own servants on duty. He also ordered the Levites to set a good example on the Sabbath and minister to the people.
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