The Fourth Commandment

Jeff Wehr

Wehr Publishing
PO Box 88
Orange, VA 22960
(540) 672-2211
email: jeff_wehr21[AT]yahoo[DOT]com

Let us begin our study on the fourth commandment by turning to Exodus 20:8-11.

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."

The seventh-day Sabbath is to be remembered, not forgiven and certainly not changed. It points to God as the Creator of heaven and earth. It distinguishes the true God from all false gods. As such, the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath shows our allegiance to the authority of God. He is the Lawgiver and Lifegiver, and has chosen the seventh-day of the week for us to worship Him apart from any secular work.

God has given us six days to do our secular work, but the seventh is the Lord's day. While we may care for the sick on the Sabbath, and pull our ox out of the pit, we are not to do any unnecessary work on the Sabbath. Those who discuss business matters on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. See Isaiah 58:13, 14. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. This commandment includes all within our house. We should not be asking family members or employees to do work for us on the Sabbath.

The First Table

The first commandment directs us to the true object of worship and warns against all false gods. The second commandment sets forth the true mode of worship and prohibits all false forms of worship. The third commandment tells us the proper approach to worship and warns against irreverence, profanity, and hypocrisy. The fourth designates a special time purely devoted to worship Him who has given us life.

The fourth commandment is the climax of the first table of the Decalogue as the seventh day is the climax of the week. The seventh-day Sabbath was instituted before the fall of man and will continue through all eternity. See Isaiah 66:22. 23.

The fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath holy and the fifth commandment to honor our father and mother, are two positive commandments that link the two tables together, and are two institutions that God established in Eden. As such, the Sabbath and family become foundations for a strong society.

The fourth commandment does not deal with the Sabbath alone, but embraces the entire week. We are admonished to work six days as much as we are to rest on the seventh. And it is logical that the day of rest follows the six days of labor, as God has instituted it. Observing the first day of the week, to rest before we work, is a complete reversal of how God established the weekly cycle.

Labor was part of God's original plan to be a blessing to man. Working six days and resting on the seventh helps man to maintain good physical health. The word "Sabbath" means "rest," and refers to both physical and spiritual rest. Man needs spiritual rest as much as physical rest.

Jesus said the "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27. Therefore the Sabbath must have been made and given to man when man was made, and will continue to bless man as long as he lives.

Christ Himself kept the seventh-day Sabbath. See Luke 4:16. The apostles and the early church keep the Sabbath. See Acts 16:13; 17:2; 18:4, 11.

In Isaiah 58, we are told how we are to keep the Sabbath holy. We are not to go our "own ways" or to find our "own pleasure" on God's holy day. Nor should we speak our "own words" by planning work of the coming week or discussing business or personal affairs. All secular matter should be forgotten on the Sabbath, that we may refresh ourselves in the Lord.

The Sabbath not only reminds us of the original creation, but also of re-creation. It is the sign of sanctification. The Bible says, "Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them." Ezekiel 20:12.

We are to keep the seventh day Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. All the days in the creation week began at sunset until the next sunset. See Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

The description of God's people in the end of time is that they will keep all Ten Commandments, which includes the fourth. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. We know that most of the Christian world does not keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but there are hundreds of Sabbath-keeping groups around the world. In the end, millions will take a stand to repair the Sabbath breach that has been made in the Law of God. See Isaiah 58:12. Maranatha,

Jeff Wehr


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