Did Israel keep the Sabbath before the Ten Commandments?

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By BibleAsk Team


Israel Kept the Sabbath Before the Ten Commandments

The Bible teaches that Israel did keep the seventh day holy before the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandment in Sinai. The instruction given about gathering the Manna is evidence to that. The Israelites were instructed to gather daily an omer for every person. And they were not to leave of it until the morning. Some attempted to keep a supply until the next day, but it was then found to be unfit for eating (Exodus 16:20). On the sixth day the people were instructed to gather two omers instead of just one as in the rest of the days.

Moses said, “Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’ ” So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, “Eat that 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” (Exodus 16:22-26).

Every week during their 40 years in the wilderness, the Israelites witnessed a threefold miracle. This miracle intended to teach them the sacredness of the seventh day. A double amount of manna fell on the sixth day, nothing on the seventh. And the serving needed for the seventh day was preserved without getting spoiled. When if any were kept over at any other time it became unfit for eating.

In being instructed to gather every Friday a double portion of manna, the sacred nature of the seventh day of rest was taught. And when some of them went out on the seventh day to gather manna, the Lord said to them, “How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?” (Exodus 16:28). Thus, this is the clear evidence that the Sabbath was not first instituted, as some claim, when the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai.

The Seventh Day Observance Instituted at Creation

The Bible tells us that the seventh day observance was instituted at the very beginning of time – at creation. “And on the seventh day God ended 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” (Genesis 2:2,3).

Jesus Himself declared, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17,18). By fulfilling the law the Savior simply “filled” it “full” of meaning—by giving us an example of perfect obedience to God, in order that the same law “might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:3, 4).

The great Lawgiver Himself confirmed the Ten Commandments as binding upon those who would be His children, and declared that anyone who should attempt to break them either by precept or by example would “in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Jesus declared, “the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28). Man has no right to tamper with the day of God’s choosing (Genesis 2:2,3). Today, God requires that His holy day be as sacredly observed as it was in the beginning and through the ages (Hebrews 4:9,10).

For more on the Sabbath, please check (Lessons 91-102) of the Bible Lessons.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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