Manner of Observing
How are all commanded to keep the Sabbath?
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Ex. 20:8.
What constitutes a day?
"The evening and the morning were the first day." Gen. 1:5, 8, 13.
NOTE: "The day is made by the revolution of the earth on its axis. Each complete revolution makes one day, which for convenience is divided into twenty-four portions called 'hours.' If the sun were to become a body of darkness, the day would still be the same length that it now is. So there were days before the sun was maed to rule the day. The earth began to revolve as soon as it was created, each revolution making one day; and during the fourth revilution the sun was made a light-bearer. The sun does not make the day; it simply rules it. The Hebrew of Gen. 1:18, literally translated, says that the great lights were set in the firmament 'to rule in the day and in the night.'
"When the earth was created, 'darkenss was upon the face fo the deep.' The phrase 'in the beginning,' marks the beginning of the first day of time. Consequently the first day of time began in darkness. Before the earth had completed its first revolution, God said, 'Let there be light, and there was light.' God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening [the darkness] and the morning [the light] were the first day.' The first revolution of the earth was completed just at the dividing line between light and darkness; and as the first part of that [the first] day was in the darkness which up to that time had been unbroken, so the second day began with the darkness which had then been set off and placed within bounds. And because time began in darkness, the first portion of every day of time had been darkness. Men may adopt as many standards as they please, but every day of time has begun with evening, and so it will be as long as time lasts." --E.J. Waggoner, in International S.S. Lessons.
When does the evening begin?
"But the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place His name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun." Deut. 16:6.
How does the New Testament state this point?
"And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils." Mark 1:32.
When did the tenth day of the seventh month begin?
"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement... It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Lev. 23:27-32.
NOTE: It is plain that if the tenth day of the seventh month began on the evening of the ninth day, at the going down of the sun, then the seventh day of the week, or the Sabbath, always began on the evening of the sixth day, at the going down of the sun.
What kind of labor is permitted through the week?
"Six days shall thou labor, and do all thy work." Ex. 20:9.
NOTE: That is, whatever secular yet lawful work presents itself to be performed, may be done on any or all of the six working days. Such is called "thy work."
Is any kind of labor lawful on the Sabbath?
"Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days." Matt.12:12.
What example did the Saviour give to show the meaning of His words?
"Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other." Matt. 12:13.
NOTE: Disinterested works of mercy toward man or beast are always in place. From reading the entire chapter, it will be seen that the Saviour also classed the work of the priests in the temple, though very arduous, as necessary, because it was the Lord's work, and was therefore not a violation of the Sabbath law.
What is the day before the Sabbath called?
"And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on." Luke 23:54.
NOTE: The Jews had two evenings; one commencing about noon and lasting till sunset. In this time all preparation for the Sabbath was attended to. When sunset came, it introduced their second evening. This lasted as long as the twilight. See Dr. Clarke on Ex. 12:6.
On which day did the Israelites receive their Sabbath supply of manna?
"And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man." Ex. 16:22.
What instruction did they receive regarding this double supply of food?
"And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord; bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe [boil] that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." Ex. 16:23.
Was there any day in which the manna did not fall?
"Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none." Ex. 16:26.
NOTE: God's dealing with His people in the wilderness shows that elaborate preparation of food on the Sabbath is a violation of the Sabbath precept.
What were God's ancient people to do on the Sabbath?
"Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation." Lev. 23:3.
NOTE: The word convocation means "a calling together," and was applied invariably to meetings of a religious character, in contradiction to congregation, in which political and legal matters were occasionally settled. See "McCointock and Strong's Cyclopedia," art. Convocation.
What example did the Saviour set in this matter?
"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Luke 4:16.
How sacredly should the Sabbath be observed?
"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable: and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words." Isa. 58:13.