What is the purpose of the Sabbath commandment?

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The purpose of the Sabbath was to set time for moral and spiritual growth. Man needed time to study the character and will of God as revealed in nature, and later, in revelation. The seventh-day Sabbath was given by God to meet this need. To tamper in any way with the Creator’s purpose is to cancel the truth that God knows what is best for His creatures (Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 20:8-11).

God ordained the Sabbath to be a blessing not a burden “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). It was designed to increase his happiness, not to put a hardship on him. It was to give man a pleasure and a delight and enhance His well being.

Sabbath-keeping does not consist essentially in the trivial observance of certain formalities and abstaining from certain pursuits. To do that is to engage in the gaining of righteousness based on works. Christians should not work on the Sabbath day in order to devote their time, energies, and thought to increase their understanding of God, reflect on His goodness and be a blessing to others.

Sabbath keeping that consists only in the negative aspect of not doing certain things is not Sabbath keeping at all; it is only when the positive aspect of Sabbath keeping is practiced that Christians may hope to derive from Sabbath observance the benefit ordained by a wise and loving Creator.

Therefore, whatever draws Christians closer to God, helps them to understand better His will for their lives, leads them to cooperate more effectively with Him, and contribute to the happiness and well-being of others—this fulfills the purpose of the Sabbath (Isa. 58:13; Mark 2:27, 28).

The Lord promised: “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 58:13,14).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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