"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Sabbath in Scripture, the Confession and BCO

Genesis 2

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host ofthem. And on the seventh day Godfinished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from allhis work that he had done. So Godblessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all hiswork that he had done in creation.

Exodus 16
27 On the seventh day some of the peoplewent out to gather, but they found none. 28 Andthe Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandmentsand my laws? 29 See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives youbread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of hisplace on the seventh day.” 30 So thepeople rested on the seventh day.

Exodus 20
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep itholy. Six days you shall labor, anddo all your work, 10 but the seventhday is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall notdo any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or yourfemale servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and restedon the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed theSabbath day and made it holy.

Deut 5
12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep itholy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Sixdays you shall labor and do all your work, 14 butthe seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your maleservant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of yourlivestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servantand your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and anoutstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your Godcommanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

Nehemiah 13
15 In those days I saw in Judah peopletreading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loadingthem on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, whichthey brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the daywhen they sold food. 16 Tyrians also,who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them onthe Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17  Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and saidto them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbathday? 18  Did not your fathers act inthis way, and did not our God bring all this disaster[a] on us andon this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning theSabbath.”
19 As soon as it began to grow dark at thegates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should beshut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath.And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be broughtin on the Sabbath day. 20 Then themerchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once ortwice. 21  But I warned them and saidto them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will layhands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they shouldpurify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy.Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to thegreatness of your steadfast love.

Isaiah 58
13  “If you turn back your footfrom the Sabbath,
    fromdoing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    andthe holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    orseeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Matthew 11-12
28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I willgive you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, forI am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 Formy yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on theSabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain andto eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him,“Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” Hesaid to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and thosewho were with him: how he entered the house of God and atethe bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for thosewho were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you notread in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane theSabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater thanthe temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘Idesire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. Forthe Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 Anda man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to healon the Sabbath?”— so that they might accuse him. 11 He said tothem, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath,will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12  Of how much morevalue is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Thenhe said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, andit was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Phariseeswent out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followedhim, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make himknown. 17  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophetIsaiah:
18  “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21      and in his name the Gentiles willhope.”

Hebrews 4
4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, letus fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but themessage they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faithwith those who listened.[a] For we who have believed enter that rest, as hehas said,
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
although his works were finished fromthe foundation of the world. For hehas somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on theseventh day from all his works.” Andagain in this passage he said,
“They shall not enter my rest.”
Since therefore itremains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good newsfailed to enter because of disobedience, againhe appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, inthe words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua hadgiven them rest, God[b] would nothave spoken of another day later on. Sothen, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has alsorested from his works as God did from his.
11 Let us therefore strive to enter thatrest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharperthan any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, ofjoints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13 And no creature is hidden from his sight,but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

WestminsterConfession 21:8
8. This Sabbath is then kept holy to the Lord when men,after due preparation of their hearts and arranging of their common affairsbeforehand, not only observe a holy rest, all the day, from their own works,words, and thoughts concerning their everyday occupations and recreations, butalso devote the whole time to the public and private exercises of God's worshipand to the duties of necessity and mercy.

Larger Catechism

Q. 116. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holyto God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole dayin seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to theresurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so tocontinue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in theNew Testament called The Lord's Day.

Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord's day to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath or Lord's day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all theday, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from suchworldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making itour delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken upin works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God'sworship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with suchforesight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch ourworldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of thatday.

Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directedto governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors offamilies, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep itthemselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under theircharge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments oftheir own.

Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of theduties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them,and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing thatwhich is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts,about our worldly employments and recreations.

Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the moreto enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, aretaken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our ownaffairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shaltthou labor, and do all thy work: from God's challenging a special proprietyin that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: fromthe example of God, who in six days ... made heaven and earth, the sea, andall that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessingwhich God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for hisservice, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifyingit; Wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of thefourth commandment?
A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there isless light of nature for it, and yet it restraineth our natural liberty inthings at other times lawful; that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it; and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.

The Sanctification of the Lord’s Day

48-1.“The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such
set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven,
to be a holy sabbath to himself.” (WSC 58).

48-2.God commanded His Old Testament people to keep holy the last day
of the week, but He sanctified the first day as the Sabbath by the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. For this reason the Church of the
new dispensation has from the time of the apostles kept holy the first day of
the week as the Lord’s Day.

48-3.It is the duty of every person to remember the Lord’s Day; and to
prepare for it before its approach. All worldly business should be so ordered,
and seasonably laid aside, as that they may not be hindered thereby from
sanctifying the Sabbath, as the Holy Scriptures require.

48-4.The whole day is to be kept holy to the Lord; and to be employed in
the public and private exercises of religion. Therefore, it is requisite, that
there be a holy resting, all the day, from unnecessary labors; and an
abstaining from those recreations which may be lawful on other days; and
also, as much as possible, from worldly thoughts and conversation.

48-5.Let the provisions for the support of the family on that day be so
ordered that others be not improperly detained from the public worship of
God, nor hindered from sanctifying the Sabbath.

48-6.Let every person and family, in the morning, by secret and private
prayer, for themselves and others, especially for the assistance of God to
their minister, and for a blessing upon his ministry, by reading the Scriptures,
and by holy meditation, prepare for communion with God in his public

48-7.Let the time not used for public worship be spent in prayer, in
devotional reading, and especially in the study of the Scriptures, meditation,
catechising,religious conversation, the singing of psalms, hymns, or spiritual
songs;visiting the sick, relieving the poor, teaching the ignorant, holy
resting, and in performing such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy.