Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven --Jesus (Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV).
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away-Jesus (Luke 21:33)
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail - Jesus (Luke 16:17 (KJV)
In recent years, the Lord put me somewhere, and began to teach me many lost truths of His word. As He continued to teach me, He asked me to keep writing those things as books.
When He gave to His people the ordinance of worship on Mount Sinai through the hands of Moses, including the Ten commandments; He did not mean that any of His words will fall to the ground. Since man could only approach Him through the atoning blood of sacrifice, He instituted animal sacrifices on Mount Sinai as daily and seasonal offerings to continue to host His Presence in their midst, and on Earth.
On the first advent of Jesus, whom John the Baptist introduced as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the whole world, the Old system of atoning sacrifices was done away. Jesus became the perfect Lamb of God that would be sacrificed once and for all, as atoning sacrifice for man; for the punishment of the sins of man. Since He kept the laws of God perfectly, our relationship with God was therefore established by grace, so that through our faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, His righteousness became our righteousness. In this new covenant of our right standing with God by faith, the same laws of God are now written in our new hearts which has been washed by the Blood of Jesus Christ so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to keep the laws of God and be taught by the Holy Spirit Himself. So then, the laws of God are still effective; they are not abolished as many people preach, but are written in our hearts.
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin (Hebrews 10:16-18; Jeremiah 31:33-34 (KJV).
Now, the fourth commandment of God’s laws says: Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. I will not exhaust the truth of God’s Sabbath here, but I will point out basic things.
FACTS ABOUT SABBATHS
God’s Sabbath is not Saturday or Sunday. When God created everything, the Bible says that He rested on the Seventh Day. He thus sanctified that day and made it Holy. His Calendar was lunar Calendar. In Psalm 104:19, it is written that He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. God’s Calendar is built around New Moons. So, in Jewish Lunar Calendar, the beginning of the month is marked by the first sighting of the moon in the sky. From then, the Sabbath is set on the 7th day. The rest of the Lord’s appointed feasts for that month are set. The sighting of the Moon is to be followed by the Lord’s feast for the New Moon: Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob. This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony…:(Psalm 81:3-5). It is God’s monthly appointed times of meeting with Him, just as Sabbath is one of the Lord’s weekly appointed times of meeting with Him. We also have daily appointments with God in which we must meet with Him at least two times daily at the appointed times. For more information on God’s appointed seasons and times of meeting with Him, you can get my book: Divine Appointments: Fasts, Feasts, and God’s ordinance of worship (Entering divine circle of life and blessings).
We accepted Saturdays or Sundays as Sabbaths because we are using Gregorian or Roman Calendar (not Lunar Calendar). This Calendar is different from God’s Calendar. Roman Calendar marks Saturday as the 7th Day, and Sunday as the first day of the week. Since Rome conquered the world, and the world adopted Roman Calendar, Jews now observe Saturdays (Friday sundown to Saturday Sundown) as the Sabbath Day, since that is the 7th day of the Roman Calendar. In God’s system of creation, a day begins from evening till the next morning, and by the next evening, twenty-four hours is completed. So, the creation expression was: Evening and morning was the first day…. Sabbath therefore, begins from 6pm till 6pm the next day (sundown to sundown).
Now, Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity because of the sign of the cross of light above the sun, with the inscription that says that by this sign you will conquer. He thus, conquered in the war. As a Christian, he abolished the Christian persecution, enslavement and poured set up his empire to honor his new faith. He also decided to improvise Christianity, and blend it with paganism. In his improvisation, he abolished the early Church way of Christianity, God’s ordained system of worship such as House Churches, Jewish feasts (God’s ordained feasts and ordinances), including the observation of Sabbaths and New Moons. He changed the Sabbath day from 7th day to 1st day of the week, Sunday. He chose this day, Sunday, in honor of his worship of Sun god.. He poured great wealth to make church wealthy, so he outlawed house churches and built cathedrals and many improvisations that finally became the Catholic system of worship. With the Council of Nicea, they declared with persecution, anathema to anyone or group that observed Sabbaths and the rest of the Jewish (God ordained feasts). He thus declared Sunday, a holiday/holy day and a day of worship. Though he relieved Christians of persecution they were passing through at the time by his conversion, but he sought to blend Christianity and paganism, which resulted to Catholic paganized Christianity.
Well, Christians accepted Sundays as holy day of worship, just as they accepted his blending the story of nativity (the birth of Jesus) with the birth of the sun god which was being celebrated on the 25th of Dec., hence Christmas.The early Church met every day including the first day of the week (Roman Calendar Sundays) to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight (Acts 20:7 (KJV). They constantly celebrated the Sabbaths on the seventh Day of the week. God already commanded us to meet with Him, both on the seventh and first days of each week:
And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you (Exodus 12:16).
Since the first day of the Roman Calendar is Sunday, Christians accepted Sunday as their first day, when they meet to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. To some especially, Gentile believers in Christ, it became both Sabbath and celebration worship.
2. The Lord’s appointed days or seasons of meeting with Him are holy unto Him. This includes Sabbaths.
The fourth commandment says:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, 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 (Exodus 20:8-11 (KJV)
Since Gentile believers accept Sundays as our day of meeting with God, even as the early Church also did on the first days of every week, after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to celebrate His resurrection; then we ought to treat that day we have set apart unto the Lord as holy. How are we keeping God’s day holy?
* We are to do no manner of work that day (Exodus 20:8-11; Genesis 2:2-3)
* We are not to cook food that day.
The Holy Spirit taught me this Himself. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day (Exodus 35:3). When the Lord was raining bread from Heaven for His people in the wilderness, He did it every day except for Sabbath days. On the 6th day, He gave them double and asked them not to go out to gather on the seventh day because it was God’s holy day. They were to prepare all their meals on the sixth day, and were not permitted to cook or bake anything on the Sabbath day. As I said earlier, the Holy Spirit taught me that Himself. He does not allow me to cook anything from Saturday evening to Sunday evening, our appointed day of the Lord.
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. And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow 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. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 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. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none (Exodus 16:22-26 (KJV).
Here Moses warned them to bake and cook whatever they needed to cook or bake, on the 6th day: : 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
* Do not spend or make money on Sundays.
How many Churches launch into business immediately after services each Sunday whereby DVD and bookstores are displayed for sales? As soon as the service is over, people rush into the bookstores to buy books and some materials, especially the DVD message for that day. Besides, many people see opportunity to market their goods: foods, snacks, materials. These are not proper. It is forbidden to carry loads through the gates of Jerusalem on Sabbath days (Sundays), whether they are church materials or people who come to make money.
Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers… And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched (Jeremiah 17:22, 24-27).
Here, God warned His people not to do any business on His holy Day. He promised blessings to the obedient, and the judgment of unquenchable fire for the disobedient.
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp (Numbers 15:32-35 (KJV)
It is true that we are in the days of grace when such offences are not met with instant judgments as above; yet, God’s judgment will still come on the violators of God’s holy Days. We will look into that later.
The Lord Jesus honored both Sabbaths and the Lord’s House. He was angry with those who turned the House of God into a merchandise. He made small chord and sent them away; overturned the tables of the money changers, scattered their goods and pigeons: because, God’s House is not a place for merchandise. It is not a business arena, but a Holy Sanctuary where we gather to honor and reverence Him as a Body of Christ. Th altar of the Lord is not a place to market books, tapes, all kinds of products. When I visited Nigeria in 2012, I had many tapes and new books I needed to market and raise money. The Lord reminded me what I was doing during my self-employed businesses, those days: 5 Linx, Mary Kay, Primerica, and so forth. I always gathered people, speak or preach about the products and sell to them. He asked me the difference between what I was doing then and now as a minister except that we have free gathering of people who were looking upon us to feed them with the adulterated word of God, and lead them unto the Lord. Many ministers rather take advantage of the congregation. One way or the other, they use them as their bank accounts. God promised to meet all my needs, but never to use His altar for business. When I visited East Africa, at one point, He gave me an idea of how to raise money. When I followed the idea, He surprised me. Yet, I could hand out my books to some people. I depend on Him to lead me on how to put the materials into people’s hands for I realize that true riches and blessings come from Him, not through marketing materials. So, in most cases, if He wants me to give them out and depend on Him for blessings, I do just that. But He warned me not to use His altar as a business spot. It profanes His holy things, and causes His anointing to lift from the minister. Everything set apart for the Lord is holy, and must be treated as holy. When I asked Him about other great men of God who market their books in Churches and on the altars, He said to me that most of what we call ministries are not ministries, but business empires. He gave me two names of such ministries in Nigeria, which pose as ministries but business empires.
In Leviticus 19:30, it is written: Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. The House of God is not a place of merchandise. Besides, the Churches with bookstores and things for sale may allow the Lord to lead them. They could be opening their Church stores during the week, and not on Sundays, and make sure no business takes place inside God’s Sanctuary. Remember, Jesus drove people out of God’s House for that and overturned their tables. Would someone tell me that, that was Old Testament?
In Isaiah 56, there are list of great blessings from the Lord for those who take hold of God’s covenant and keep His Sabbaths holy, both the Jews and Gentiles:
Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:1-7 (KJV)
· We are also commanded not to do our personal pleasures on Sabbaths (Sundays)
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (Isaiah 58:13-14 (KJV).
In the above scripture, we are warned not to speak our own words (idle chatter), or do our own things, the things we want to do for ourselves probably including playing games for I feel that some people play some poker games that day. I sense in my spirit some people sitting with a board game between them and playing the game. These are all forbidden in God’s Holy Days. We are not to profane it, or treat it as common or ordinary day. We are to honor it as we honor God, and His Sanctuary: we are not to talk on phones, browse internet for worldly things, go shopping, watch sports including footballs, do laundry, braid hair, watch movies that don’t edify, go to restaurants with guest speakers or friends to eat. If you are a Pastor, prepare and save in your house the food for the guest speaker. Probably, you may keep them in a warmer. You know what to do. We allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in these things. That’s why Paul asks us not to allow anyone judge us on how we keep Sabbaths, or New Moons. There are no set traditions of men or rules, apart from God’s word, on how to observe God’s ordinances. We are however, to do all things as we are persuaded by the Lord, by faith since we observe these holy days unto Him. However, He asked us to make it a delight and honor that Day as His holy Day. It is for Him alone, that’s what it is all about and must be treated as so.
We therefore, spend more time in His Presence, meditating and sharing the word such as Evangelism, sharing the love of Jesus with the needy, testimonies, encouraging and lifting one another; worshipping and rejoicing in His Presence. When we consider the ordinance of worship that He mapped out in Ezekiel concerning the Millennium worship, we see that the entire day is to be spent in His Presence. When we truly call the Sabbath a delight, not doing the things that please us, but the things that please God: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it -Isaiah 58:14. Jesus testified that He did the things that pleased God. His whole life was about pleasing God, to do the Will of God,
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29 (KJV). God also testified that He was well pleased with Him. He wants us to follow the footsteps of Jesus to do the things that please Him, even as the Lord Jesus did. This is well pleasing to Him.
· Sabbath is a sign that God sanctifies His people. As we keep the day holy, the Lord sanctifies and blesses us.
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).
And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God (Ezekiel 20:20).
· Sabbath is a sign that there is rest for God’s people.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God (Hebrew 4:9).
So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; (Hebrews 4:9 Amp.)
For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labor peculiarly His own (Vs. 9-10).
This final verse supports our Savior’s call to: Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28). Jesus is our Sabbath rest also pointing to His Millennium reign when both Heaven and the earth will join as one in worshipping the Lord, and enjoying His glory and the abundance of His goodness on His Holy Mountain as He tabernacle with us on Earth (More on my book: Divine Appointments book).
Our bodies are also made in such a way that it needs Sabbath’s rest each circle of the week to totally recuperate and refresh for the week. It will one way or the other, take its rest when it is denied its God-given Sabbath of rest. Some people break down and spend much time in hospital bed.
Sabbath is extended to land properties and some circle of years. I grew up in village We owned many plots of lands in various places for agricultural purposes. After a period of five or six years, the land is allowed to rest for the next year, or even for a couple of years before we return to farm in such lands. This is in keeping with God's command concerning landed properties. He faithfully provided double or triple harvest before the land goes into rest. As our people engage in other lands that were not on Sabbath within these periods, He bountifully blesses us with great harvest. The LORD had to send His people into Babylonian captivity for seventy years to make up the number of years they violated the land and Sabbatical years, so that the land had to take its rest. It is surely sin not to observe the Lord’s Sabbath in all it’s entirety.
…to be continued...
Part two will consider the life of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles and God’s Sabbaths. I shall also share some testimonies from the people that received messages from the Lord Jesus concerning Sabbaths observance.
His Priestly Bride
Archbishop Gloria Grace.
For more information on Keeping Divine Appointments, you can get this book from Amazon:
Divine Appointments: Feasts, Fasts, and God’s ordinance of worship (Entering the LORD’S circle of blessings).