Lesson 4

The Sabbath and the Second Coming

(Genesis 2, Exodus 16& 20, Isaiah 66, Ezk. 20, Hebrews 4)
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Introduction: Why do you want Jesus to come again? Why do you look forward to His Second Coming? If it is because you are tired of a world of sin, if you long to live in a perfect place where your family and friends are safe and secure, then the Sabbath has much to teach us about God's future promise. Let's dive into our study!

  1. WHY THE SABBATH?


    1. Read Genesis 2:1-3. What is special about the Sabbath?


      1. When the text says that God made the seventh day holy, what does that mean?


      2. Do you think God actually needed to rest? If not, then why did He rest? (Have you ever built something well? After you get done, you take the time to look at it and admire your work. I think that is what is reflected in these three verses.)


    2. Read Exodus 20:8-11. Does this clarify why God rested on the Sabbath? (Yes! While God may not have needed the rest, He knew that we would. This clearly commands us to refrain from work on the Sabbath.)


      1. This text (v.11) also tells us (as did Genesis 2:3) that God made the Sabbath holy. Why does this text tell us the Sabbath is "holy?" (Link verses 8 and 11 of Exodus 20. The Sabbath is holy because it memorializes God's power and work in creation.)


    3. Read Ezekiel 20:10-12. More about being holy! What does this say the Sabbath has to do with holiness? And whose holiness are we talking about? (The Sabbath is also a sign that God makes us holy! Now that takes work!)


    4. If I asked you what you should think about at Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas, would you have an answer?


        1. What do you think you should be thinking about on the Sabbath? (Our relationship to our Creator!)


          1. What could you conclude from meditating on the fact that God created us and we did not evolve from simple organisms? (This shows God's power to create us and to recreate us spiritually. By the way, I noticed a news article in the secular press recently that confirmed, based on DNA testing, that Neanderthal was not our ancestor!)


    5. Read Isaiah 66:22-24. Will we have the Sabbath in heaven?


      1. Does the Sabbath have anything to teach us about the Second Coming? (Yes! The fact that we now contemplate God's power to create us and the world the first time, gives us confidence that He can do it the second time as He promises in Isaiah 66:22)


      2. What are we going to be contemplating on Sabbath in heaven?


        1. Should we be enjoying our Sabbaths now because we are going to be thinking about dead bodies, worms and fire in heaven?


        2. Is verse 24 heaven's equivalent of the horror film of today?


        3. What is going on here? How is this kind of viewing consistent with the Sabbath?


          1. How is this uplifting? (The Sabbath is not only a time to celebrate the creation, this text suggests that we will celebrate God's victory over sin. God is responsible for creation, the recapture of creation and the final recreation. Rebellion will never arise again because we can contemplate this victory. This is a tremendously important aspect of heaven. The idea that our family, our friends are safe from the dangers of sin.)


          2. Do you think we will actually be viewing bodies? (I doubt it. Verse 24 has much to indicate it is symbolic. The bodies are dead, yet the worms that eat them do not die and neither does the fire that burns them. Obviously, that does not make any literal sense unless the message is that the death is permanent. We have a permanent solution to the sin problem.)


    1. Paint a picture for me, based on these texts, about the purpose of the Sabbath? (The Sabbath should be a reminder that God made us, that He saved us and made us holy, that He will defeat sin and not only have a recreated people, but a recreated world. The Sabbath is a reminder of all the great things about God!)


  1. ATTACKS ON THE SABBATH


    1. Some of the texts we have looked at form the basis for current arguments against the Sabbath. Let's look again at Genesis 2:1-3. Critics say that this text does not tell us to keep the Sabbath. Does this text contain a command to keep the Sabbath? (Not explicitly. It says God kept it.)


      1. What makes you think this text tells you to keep the Sabbath? (Verse 3 tells us God made the Sabbath holy. He was not making the world for Himself, he was making it for man. Obviously, His decree that the Sabbath was to be considered holy was for us -- not Him.)


      2. Critics say that Sabbath keeping is nowhere mentioned from the time of Creation until the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Jews on Sinai. This shows it was a "new deal" for the Israelites. Is that true? (No! Read Exodus 16:23-26. Once God's people were rescued from Egypt, God provided food in accord with His Sabbath command.)


        1. What do you say about the fact that the Sabbath is not mentioned from Genesis 2 to Exodus 16? (None of the intervening history deals with Sabbath issues. Exodus 20:10-11 explicitly links Sabbath worship to the Creation. God's purpose is clear. We see the Commandment on Sabbath-keeping is not something new -- based on the pre-Sinia instruction to the people not to expect to collect manna on Sabbath.)


    2. Read Hebrews 4:3-9. We have references to the Sabbath rest and those who do not enter God's rest. What "rest" are we talking about here?


      1. What does verse 8 mean when it talks about Joshua not giving the people rest? (The discussion about "entering in" and the mention of Joshua is an obvious reference to God's people entering the promised land.)


    3. Let's read on. Hebrews 4:9-11. What do you think is meant by entering into the Sabbath rest here?


      1. Is this referring to a literal Sabbath or is it referring to a state of salvation?


        1. When verse 10 tells us that we "rest" from our work, is that the weekly rest on Sabbath or is it the rest from trying to be saved by our own works? (At a minimum, this text is talking about salvation.)


      2. This text is at the center of the argument that keeping the Sabbath today simply means entering into God's salvation and not keeping a day holy. How would you answer that? (Sabbath has always stood as a memorial for what God has done for us. Little wonder the writer of Hebrews made this (true) analogy between salvation and Sabbath-keeping. Instead of this extinguishing the need for Sabbath-keeping, I think this text provides another very strong argument for keeping a literal Sabbath as a weekly reminder of our salvation!)


    4. If you regularly read my lessons, you know I am always concerned about the practical aspect of a Bible teaching. My question about the Sabbath is this: what should we do each week? How then shall we live? Should we ignore God's crystal clear command, going back to Creation, because we have made the executive decision that our salvation spiritualizes the Sabbath command? Or shall we, in accord with God's command, keep the Sabbath holy as a reminder of what God He has done and is doing for us? (If you review these verses in Hebrews, the problem with the people is disobedience and rebellion. I cannot help but conclude that rejecting the Sabbath is simple disobedience and rebellion.)


    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7, 12. What does this text say is the "eternal gospel" for those living in the end times? (Worship the Creator!)


      1. How does that fit into the purpose of a literal, weekly, holy Sabbath? (It is the precise purpose for giving us the Sabbath.)


      2. Will those who are taken to heaven when Jesus comes again be people who are concerned about obeying God's commands? (That is the message of verse 12.)


    2. Read Mark 2:27-28. Can you explain this text based on what we have studied so far? In what way is the Sabbath made for man? (The Sabbath is for our benefit. So that we can have a special time to reconnect with our Creator. To contemplate all He has done, is doing and will do for us to recreate a perfect world and a perfect us.)


    3. Friend, God calls on us to keep His Sabbath holy. He calls on us to make the seventh day a memorial, a special time, to put away the world and recharge our spiritual batteries and show that we recognize His power as Creator and Savior. Will you be counted among the saints that obey?


  1. NEXT WEEK: "The First Coming Prepares for the Second Coming."

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