• Law,  Old Testament

    When Did God Establish the Sabbath Command?

    There are many questions a New Testament believer is faced with when thinking through the Sabbath. For example, why was Israel commanded to keep the Sabbath? This is perhaps the most important question, and as I have written elsewhere, I believe the purpose of the Sabbath command was to give visible demonstration of the fact that Yahweh is Creator and Redeemer. When Israel kept the Sabbath, they were demonstrating that, as Creator, God had the right to dictate how one is to function in the created world. But another important question arises concerning the timing of the Sabbath. When did God institute the Sabbath? Did the Sabbath predate Moses? Evidence for a Pre-Decalogue Sabbath Some theologians argue that the Sabbath has always been an obligation for mankind since creation. To arrive at this conclusion, some have appealed to passages like Genesis 26:5 which says Abraham obeyed the voice of Yahweh,…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    The Purpose of the Sabbath Commandment

    The Sabbath commandment is the subject of many controversial debates. Those who hold to the Ten Commandments as the standard of God’s moral law have difficulty explaining how this commandment fits into that system because the command to keep the Sabbath does not have a moral nature intrinsic to it. We need to remember that the Ten Commandments are not a moral standard. Rather, they are specific applications of creation principles that are built into the fabric of creation. Further evidence that this command is not inherently moral is a comparison of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Note that both texts discuss the Sabbath command differently. Exodus 20:8-11 Deuteronomy 5:12-15 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son…