Exodus 16:22 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, 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. 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. 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.
Proper Sabbath observance includes the laying aside of all our temporal and secular pursuits so that we can spend quality time with God, and in fellowship with one another, and also doing good as exemplified in the life and teachings of Christ. In our passage for today we can clearly see that the Lord made special provision for His people over the Sabbath hours so that it would not be necessary for them to worry about the transient things of life. However, as the sacred record shows, some of them insisted on violating both the spirit and letter of the law by going in search of food, which really represents all of the temporal concerns of life we usually attend to on the other six working days of the week.
These actions and attitudes displayed by some of the Israelites drew a response from God, in that He solemnly reiterated again, the sacredness of the Sabbath hours. The Sabbath is given so that we can be rested, refreshed, and re-energized to face the challenges of daily life, and therefore a disregard of this sacred institution inevitably puts us at odds with our Creator who gave to us the great principle of rest for our benefit.
It was because of our tendency to forget, why the Lord opened the fourth commandment with the word remember, and it was also because of the disposition of many of God's people to regard the sacred hours lightly, that Nehemiah chapter thirteen was written for our instruction and admonition. Let's read:
Nehemiah 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. 16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.
In our day the very same mistakes are being repeated each week. Most Christians now do not recognize the sabbath of the Bible as being binding upon them, and with many who keep the first day of the week instead, the secular pursuits of life are included in their day of rest. Very many Christians can be seen shopping at the grocery or at the malls after their worship services, and so, like the Jews of old, many are trying in vain to synthesize the spiritual with the temporal, the transient with the eternal.
And so it is with great sadness that the Bible makes a profound prophecy pertaining to the very last generation to exist on planet earth, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Let's observe the following very carefully, for it will certainly come to pass.
Genesis 4:6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. 8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Here we see in this passage of scripture that the very first conflict resulting in death, took place over the issue of worship, but the Bible makes a profound statement about God's method of teaching through repetition. Let's read:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
This means that we can certainly expect a repetition of that first conflict over the issue of worship, that took place between Cain and Abel, so let's fast-forward into the twenty-first century to see what predictions the scriptures make. Let's read:
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Any "man" therefore, that surfaces in the twenty-first century, promoting the the first day of the week as the holy day of rest, and who by so doing, fosters the elimination of proper Sabbath observance will be repeating what Cain did originally, and the consequent actions and legislations will reflect the enmity for true worship that existed in the mind of Cain. That's why The God of heaven is urgently calling all people around the globe to return to the worship of the true God by faithfully following the instructions He has ordained pertaining to His Holy day of rest. God therefore makes a solemn promise to all who live in the twenty-first century, that those who by faith obey His voice by keeping all the commandments of God, will be shielded when the final conflict over worship unfurls in the near future. Let's read:
Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
We hope and pray that every believing Christian, and every sincere person will take their stand under the banner of Jesus Christ, who said these words, "If ye love me, keep my commandments". May this be our experience as we look forward to Christ's second coming in the clouds of heaven, for the time is at hand. God bless!