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A Sabbath Day's Rest

By Donald P. Moss


Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 - THE BEGINNING - A Foreshadow of the Christian's Birth


Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time


Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption


Bible Lessons



For thousands of years the Sabbath Day has been a ceremony observed in obedience to God's commandment. Few Christians have an indepth understanding of the meaning of the Sabbath Day, not as ritual obedience, but the meaning of a Sabbath Day's rest for interpersonal spiritual growth. Many do not work on the Sabbath and attend Church every Sabbath Day. Should we be focused on the observance of the Sabbath Day or should we be focused on entering the Sabbath rest?

Many Christians have a difference of opinions of the exact day of the Sabbath. Some believe the Sabbath is observed on the seventh day of the current calendar (as prescribed by the Old Testament), others choose observing the Sabbath on the first day of the week (honoring the resurrection of Christ).

This short study will look beyond the day upon which the Sabbath is observed and seek to understand why God called the church (covenant people) to rest on the Sabbath.


The following scriptures are the first scriptural account of God commanding the Israelites to keep the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath day of rest. The Sabbath Day was a provision for the Israelites in the wilderness.

Exodus 16:12-30 (KJV) -

(12) I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

(13) And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

(14) And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.'

(15) And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

"Manna" - (Strong's Concordance / Hebrew) #4478 man (mawn); from #4100; literally, a whatness (so to speak), i.e. manna (so called from the question about it):

#4100 - mah (maw); or mah (mah); or ma (maw); or ma (mah); also meh (meh); a primitive particle; properly, interrogative what? (including how? why? when?); but also exclamation, what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively, that which).

The Israelites saw the manna and wist (to know) what it was.

"Bread" - (Strong's Concordance / Hebrew) #3899 lechem (lekh'-em); from #3898; food (for man or beast), especially bread, or grain (for making it).

#3898 lacham (law-kham'); a primitive root; to feed on; figuratively, to consume; by implication, to battle (as destruction).

What is this bread which God provides in the wilderness? The Spirit reminds me of Jesus' words spoken to the devil during His testing in the wilderness - Matthew 4:4 (KJV) - But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God's daily provision for each Christian is given for the purpose of building his faith. When we consume God's Word (bread), we take into our minds a new way of thinking and trusting in Him as our Provider during our time of personal wilderness (a place where there is only our faith in God and God overseeing our wilderness circumstances).

Manna means God gives us the answer or solution to our wilderness predicament. Manna (Word of God) is God's answer to our What? Why? How? and When? questions. All the questions of life's issues are answered through our faith in Christ Jesus. Faith in God's provision is paramount to entering into His rest.

(16) This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

(17) And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.

(18) And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

God's provision is adequate for every Christian. I am reminded of the first congregation of believers after Pentecost Sabbath - Acts 2:44-47 (NIV) - All the believers were together and had everything in common. (45) Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. (46) Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, (47) praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This congregation was of one heart, providing to each person according to his needs. Truly, they thought not of themselves and were empowered by Christ to be more concerned with the needs of others.

(19) And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.

God wants the Israelites to have faith in Him for their daily provision. This is also revealed in Christ's instructions for our daily prayer - Matthew 6:9-11 (KJV) - After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread.....

(20) Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

(21) And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

(22) And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

(23) And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

"Rest" (Strong's Concordance / Hebrew) #7677 shabbathown (shab-baw-thone'); from #7676; a sabbatism or special holiday.

Use in KJV - rest, sabbath.

#7676 - shabbath (shab-bawth'); intensive from #7673; intermission, i.e (specifically) the Sabbath:

#7673 - shabath (shaw-bath'); a primitive root; to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causative, figurative or specific):

Use in KJV - (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away.

It is important to see the word "shabbathown"(rest) is derived from the root word "Shabath" (Sabbath). Rest and Sabbath are tied to each other in their meaning. Shabbathown is a holy rest in the Lord and not to be confused with leisure rest from our daily work. Shabath is used in the KJV to mean "suffer to be lacking" (patience in our lacks). Also, "leave", "rid", "make to rest" - All of which imply, to be intentional in our observance of the Sabbath by "desisting from exertion" (setting aside daily toils and worries) and trust God with the provisional answer to our needs. In this way, we enter into His rest (free from the worries and anxieties of life's issues). It is the ultimate experience of faith in Him as our Provider. Then we have consumed His bread by faith, His Word and His promises. He is trustworthy! Amen!

Faith, rest and Sabbath are all one with the same dynamic. For example, the Israelites could not enter into the rest of the Lord because of unbelief -

Hebrews 3:7-13 (NIV)

(7) So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
(8) do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
(9) where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
(10) That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.'

(11) So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest."

(12) See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

"Unto the LORD" - (Strong's Concordance / Hebrew) #3068 Yehovah (yeh-ho-vaw'); from #1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:

#1961 - hayah (haw-yaw); a primitive root [compare #1933]; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic)

Use in KJV - beacon, X altogether, be (-come), accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), do, faint, fall, follow, happen, X have, last, pertain, quit (oneself-), require, X use.

"Unto the Lord" is a phrase that is derived from the root word "hayah", meaning to exist or become (like Him). To rest in the Lord is to be totally submitted, humbly obedient and desirous to in our hearts to have Him reside in our hearts as Lord, Overseer of our souls. It is a place of complete self-denial (quit oneself) and complete trust in Him (committed). It is a place of breakthrough (break). Then we follow Him and He causes things to happen in our lives for our good (Romans 8:28).

(24) And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

God's provision will be adequate for Christians to observe the Sabbath and do not be involved with working for daily provision. God is faithful!

26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

(27) And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.

(28) And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

(29) See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

(30) So the people rested on the seventh day.


The Sabbath was made for man

Hebrews 4:1-11 (NIV) - Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (2) For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. (3) Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

"So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest.'"

And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. (4) For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." (5) And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."

(6) It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. (7) Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:

"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts."

(8) For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (9) There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; (10) for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (11) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

"God would not have spoken later about another day" - "Today" (verse 7) is another day pointing to the day of Christ Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath. Verse 6 states that some will not enter God's rest because of their disobedience to the gospel. Verse 7 states that we should not harden our hearts when we hear His voice (gospel). We should accept the gospel by faith and obey what we have heard, including observance of the Sabbath so we can experience entering into His rest.

"Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his" - When we rest from out daily toil, we prepare a time for entering into God's rest. God counsels us to set aside all our six day activities so we are not distracted, as we focus on Him. We need to spend time considering our faith in Him as Provider of all things.


Mark 2:27-28 (NIV) - Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (28) So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

The Sabbath is a time of spiritual growth when a Christian enters into a special place of faith and trust in Christ. A place that transcends adversity, affliction, and / or any form of worldliness. A place where Christians love the Lord with all their hearts and strength. A place of vigor and zeal for their new lives in Christ. A place of desiring to serve Him by serving others because they love Him and love the people He loves. He is our Lord of all!!

Colossians 2:16-17 (NIV) - Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (17) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

The reality of the Sabbath is found in Christ. I encourage every Christian to see every day as a Sabbath day and rest in the Lord, trusting Him for all things. Do not look upon the Sabbath as a literal ritual religious requirement of God. We keep our Sabbath by resting in Him and praising Him for all that He has done with gladness of heart and devotion of soul. The Lord will be with you in strength and power when you work, when you are grieved, when you are sorrowful, when you are rejoicing, when you are loving, and when you are bad. You are in Him and He is in you!


God's Objective for All Christians is to be "In Him"

A good rule of thumb to use when perceiving your relationship with God is to realize you obey God only because He loves you and you love Him with your whole heart. God gave all of Himself to you and you, as a covenant child, give all of yourself to Him. No one can earn God's love with works of righteousness. He gives Himself freely just because He loves each person. Likewise, each Christian should freely give himself to God, withholding nothing from Him. Give Him your sin, your possessions, your entire being. Then you will have entered His rest! You will reside "in Him". This is God's refuge for each Christian.

God's Objective is Seen in Jesus' Prayer Over the Church, Which is Still Effectual Today

John 17:13-23 (NIV) - "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (14) I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (15) My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. (17) Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (18) As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (19) For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

(20) "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (21) that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (22) I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (23) I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


"He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world"

Ephesians 1:4-5 (KJV) - According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

"Us in Him" is a Sabbath phrase. Even before the foundation of the world was laid by God, He had decided to have children that were like Him. Children that would be in Him and Him in them. His command to keep the Sabbath is His guidance to show us the way to rest in Him and trust Him for all that we need in this dimension of time.