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The Necessary Rest in Times of Challenge

21.01.2019, Chuck D. Pierce, Daniel Glimm

The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word “šabbāt” and means “to cease, to rest” or “to repose”. The primary meaning of the word is the renunciation of all work. The Sabbath regulations are an essential characteristic of the Mosaic laws. The Ten Commandments already state that the Sabbath belongs to the Lord.

On six days the Israelites were to work, but on the seventh day they and all slaves, foreigners and animals were called to rest. Despite this clear instruction, many believers among God's people choose not to follow the biblical priniciple of rest “in the garden”. The first time the word “holy” is used in the Word of God is in Genesis 2:3, where it appears as a verb.
Genesis 2:3:
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The Enemy's Plan to Bring God's People Out of the Place of Rest

It is important in Jesus Christ to be aware that it is the enemy's plan to pull believers out of their dwelling place in God, which is evident by the fact that during the week we can avoid remaining at rest despite the challenges. One consequence of this is that we react wrongly to situations and thus don't experience God's blessing in its fullness.

The adversary hates it when we as believers understand how to come to rest in God's covenant plan and thereby walk in the blessings of God according to the principle of Romans 11:16 in the following days of the week.

Romans 11:16:
16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

And this is what the enemy attacks with the help of antichrist systems on earth for the simple reason that the Sabbath is the heart of God's covenant plan with His creation.

Nevertheless, it happens that believers in business of everyday life turn against God's established basic principle of rest.

In this context, the enemy uses a lie to make believers think that they are losing a business day, hence reducing their personal economy. This makes it all even more important that we give this relationship with God the first place in our lives, so that our personal economy is also secured in the future by God, which is promised to us (see Matthew 6:33).

Matthew 6:33:
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

In spite of all those modern devices, technologies and innovations of our time, which are supposed to make our daily work easier, it seems as if people have less time available to really enjoy life.

It is above all unbelief, fear and greed that the opponent of God uses to disrupt and infiltrate the God-given order of work and rest. For this reason, God wanted to preserve the blessing of the Sabbath with the help of the Ten Commandments.
The Sabbath, Part of God's Value System

Even if people oppose the day of rest appointed by God, which, by the way, is a part of His values for us human beings and was already established by God before the Mosaic law, the Sabbath is not a day that should be abused for a legal ritual and should not be ignored by a worldly thought of work.

The Sabbath is rather a part of the value system of God which it has made available to mankind to enter into the sanctified days of the week through this special day, because they are sanctified through the celebration of the Sabbath.

It was important for God to embed the observance of the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments, which means that working seven days a week, is just as much a violation of God's standards as killing, stealing, or committing adultery ( Exodus 20:8-11).

Exodus 20:8-11:
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Sabbath rest includes a time of rest which is regularly repeated when we stop working with the aim of experiencing physical, mental and emotional rest. During this time no pressure and responsibility should be present because it is a time to take the freedom to enjoy the goodness of God.

Rest is a gift of God to His creation. It was God's plan to weave rest into the universe and also to anchor it in its spheres.
The Perversion of the Sabbath by False Knowledge
Unfortunately, the Pharisees at the time when Jesus was living on earth as a human being, accepted the blessing of God and perverted it into another lawful burden for mankind, which unfortunately led many Christians unto this day to consider Sabbath to be an ceremony of the Mosaic law, which has not been God's intention in this way (see Mark 2:24).
Mark 2:24:
24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
Jesus Christ made it clear that the Sabbath should not be considered a day of legal observance, but a day of blessing (see Mark 2:27).
Mark 2:27:
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. …”
This is illustrated by the fact that Jesus healed and delivered people on the Sabbath and allowed His disciples to rejoice in the harvest (see Matthew 12:9-12; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14:1-6; Mark 2:23-26).
Matthew 12:9-12 (Healing a man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath):
9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,
10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Luke 13:10-17 (Healing a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath):
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,
11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”
13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?
16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
Luke 14:1-6 (Healing of a man with an abnormal swelling on the Sabbath):
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body.
3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?”
4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child1 or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”
6 And they had nothing to say.
Mark 2:23-26 (The picking of grain by the disciples of Jesus on the Sabbath):
23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.
24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?
26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
The Sabbath as the Heart of God's Covenant Plan
The Sabbath has an important position in God's covenant plan, which can also be described as the heart. This special time frame carries God's encouragement to us to enter this day in faith and experience it as a day of physical and spiritual joy and relaxation. The result is that the needs in our hearts are purified and clarified, so that we experience joy in His presence. The time of the Sabbath helps to come to rest by entering into the awareness of God's presence in our relationship to triumph over our enemies.
As already mentioned, the Sabbath is not meant to be a legal set of rules to be followed, but to help us to rest and consciously enjoy fellowship with God and His blessings.
It is important that we are know that we are not condemned by people because of the way we celebrate the Sabbath, but that we simply enjoy it in freedom as Jesus Christ celebrated it (see Colossians 2:16 i.c.w. Mark 2:27-28).
Colossians 2:16:
16 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.
Mark 2:27-28:
27 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 as a Day of Salvation and Deliverance
In conclusion, it is important that the Sabbath should not be a rule because there are times in life when we do not fail to do work on a Sabbath.
This is made clear by the statement of Jesus when He spoke of the prevention of that risk of losing a Sabbath by asking the Scribes and Pharisees whether they wouldn't pull out one of their sons or oxen if they fell into a well on Sabbath (see Luke 14:5).
Luke 14:5:
5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child1 or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”
Therefore, people getting into trouble on the Sabbath should be helped. This is the reason why Jesus helped people on the Sabbath by healing and delivering them.
People are subject to different working time models, which have different effects on weekly time planning according to profession and degree of responsibility (note: night and shift work, self-employment, business travel, driving times, etc.), which God knows best and therefore understands. He knows the complexity of our work and our obligations beyond that.
However, if people don't allow themselves a day of rest in God as believers in Christ, the result is that they miss the blessing of God that He has linked to the Sabbath. This can mean losing the joy, creativity, and strength for the challenges ahead.
God gave the Sabbath as a gift. He set it as a day of blessing to enjoy it, to enjoy its creation, and to express thanksgiving for His goodness.
By grasping this value of God for ourselves as human beings, we will go deeper into our destiny of fellowship with Him and become a blessing to our environment.
(note: This message is based on a teaching from the newsletter of Chuck D. Pierce, GZI from 05.10.2018)
Amen and Amen.
In His Wisdom,
Daniel Glimm