The Sabbath and the End Times
Ask any Christian which day of the week is the Sabbath and most will state that it is Sunday. Others might attempt to show their intelligence by stating that the Christian Sabbath is Sunday and the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday.
In fact, there is only one Sabbath and it is the last or seventh day of the calendar week, which is Saturday. How did Christians get deceived into changing the Sabbath day from the last day of the week to the first day of the week? On March 7, 321 Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed: "On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in the cities rest, and let all workshops be closed." This "Day of the Sun" is our Sunday and was so named in honor of the sun god, Apollo. Although this decree sanctioned Sunday worship, the practice clearly existed many years prior to 321 CE. Observe the following quote of St. Ignatius who died in the year 107 CE:
Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ: Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and his death. -- St. Ignatius of Antioch
Did a few men know better than God as to what day of the week should be our special day of worship and rest? We should no longer keep the Sabbath but the "Lord's Day?" Hogwash!
By the time Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation, Sunday had become engrained in the Catholic Church as the "Christian Sabbath." It has remained so in most Protestant denominations. Very few Protestant churches had the courage to return to the true Sabbath. It is obvious that the significance of the Sabbath was lost on all these piously religious men.
From the quote of St. Ignatius of Antioch above it is clear that the church recognizes the first day of the week, Sunday, is not the Sabbath. It replaces the Sabbath. What do the Protestants really believe? Do the Protestant leaders recognize that Sunday is not the Sabbath? In a pamphlet published by Life Way Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention entitled The Baptist Faith and Message, beliefs important to Southern Baptists are listed. This pamphlet is described as "A statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention June 14, 2000." Under the heading VIII. The Lord's Day is the following:
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
There is nothing wrong with that statement as such. It does not state that the "Lord's Day" replaces the Sabbath. However, listed below their statement are Bible references which supposedly support that statement. The first reference is Exodus 20:8-11, which begins:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
Duh? There is no relationship between the above Southern Baptist statement and the fourth commandment of remembering the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. There is nothing wrong with their statement. However, regardless of what they do on Sunday, the first day of the week, they should keep the Saturday Sabbath holy and not work on that day.
I do not know the true reason why Christianity changed the Sabbath. Saint Ignatius' statement does not indicate why it was changed, it only seeks to justify the change. Most Roman Catholic and Protestant laymen today consider Sunday to be their Sabbath. However, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists both recognize that Sunday is not the true Sabbath as defined in the Bible. Both recognize that Sunday is the first day of the week, and not the seventh. The Bible states that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath. Therefore, assuming both of these leaderships read the Bible, they know that Sunday is definitely not the Sabbath day:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work,... (Exodus 20:10)
To this day most Christians do not see any harm in this change. So what? It just does not matter. In a sense, people who say this are correct. Since they do not understand the significance of the Sabbath and what it is a sign of, it would not make any difference if they did keep the true Sabbath holy. Except of course that they would be keeping the fourth commandment:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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)
Even though it is a commandment, would God even care that we changed the Sabbath? What's the big deal? The verses above state what the big deal is. 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. But Christians know how God created the heaven and earth in six days and rested on the seventh day without the Sabbath. Except for the fact that we are disobeying the fourth commandment, what else are Christians losing by not recognizing the Sabbath? Is there any other significance to the Sabbath? Let's explore this further:
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. (Exodus 31:17)
Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. (Exodus 31:13)
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)
Christians may have switched to Sunday to disassociate themselves from the Jews. The above verses specifically state that the Sabbath is a sign between God and the children of Israel. However, although the scriptures were sent to God's chosen people first, they apply equally to Jews and Gentiles:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
If Christians switched the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday due to anti-Semitism it was even more misguided. The Ten Commandments apply to all mankind! Man is almost comical. He is always asking God to give him a sign:
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it... (Matthew 12:39)
For the Jews require a sign... (I Corinthians 1:22)
Don't just tell us, give us a sign! So God gives man an obvious sign. It is blatantly broadcast as a sign! This is not some deeply hidden remote scripture. In three separate verses discussing the Sabbath day, the Bible states:
It is a sign... (Exodus 31:13)
It is a sign... (Exodus 31:17)
I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign... (Ezekiel 20:12)
How does man respond? The "Christian" church ignores the sign. It replaces the Sabbath with a day of their choosing. They know a better way! Let's observe our "Sabbath" on the first day of the week and call it the "Lord's Day." That will certainly please God. Wrong! It pleases Satan!
From the above verses it is evident that the Sabbath, the seventh day of the calendar week, Saturday, is given to all mankind as a sign; but a sign of what? What does the sign point to? What are we supposed to look for? A Sabbath is a period of rest following six previous equal periods of work. The periods are not always equal to a day:
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. (Leviticus 25:2-4)
The Sabbath defined above for farmland is to sow and harvest the land for six years, then let it rest the seventh year. If one performed a study today, this would be discovered to be the most productive method to farm land. Much land has been ruined in the past by over farming. Today we add fertilizers to artificially keep the land productive.
Today's Christians should be at work spreading the gospel:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you... (Matthew 28:19-20)
Although all cannot go, we can make it possible to send others. In addition, we can feed, clothe, house, visit, and heal people in need. It is obvious that all Christians should presently be in a working mode. Man was instructed in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. In addition, we are working against the devil! Is there a period of rest coming for Christians?
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10)
According to the Bible, there will be a period of rest for God's people. Once again, this is a scripture with a dual meaning. Most of God's people will die their first death on the earth. After they die, they rest in their graves as do all humans who have died. Rest in peace. Therefore, they do not go immediately to heaven when they die. The only body they have is a physical body which has died. They "rest" in their graves while awaiting their resurrection and rebirth as a spiritual body at the Second Coming of Jesus.
The second meaning of this verse is that it is a prophecy or prediction of the millennium. The Sabbath is defined as a period of rest. The people of God also await the millennium period of rest. When will this period of rest, or Sabbath, for all of God's people occur?
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, (Revelation 20:1-7)
This scripture details what we know as the millennium. It is a thousand-year period in which our adversary Satan is imprisoned. The first mass resurrection for humans occurs. Only Christians are resurrected during this resurrection. They are born again as spiritual beings and become priests of God and Christ. They live and reign with Jesus Christ for the thousand-year millennium. Since Satan is locked away during this time, it is truly a period of rest. At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released and it's back to work for "a little season." So the millennium is a period of rest, or Sabbath, equal to a thousand years. However, a thousand years to God seems like only one of our days:
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4)
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (II Peter 3:8)
For the millennium to be a Sabbath, it must have been preceded by six equal periods of work. Therefore, from the Genesis creation of man, we should have six one thousand year long periods of work before the millennium Sabbath begins. So the sign which the six-day Genesis recreation followed by the Sabbath day of rest points to is what we are living through presently! This is the age of man. Our age will be six thousand years of work, or six days to God since a thousand years is like one of our days, followed by a thousand years of rest which is the millennium Sabbath. It is an exact replica of the Genesis recreation! This is another of the many dualisms in the Bible.
The Genesis recreation required six earth days of twenty-four hours each. God then rested on the seventh day. Jesus is now working to prepare a place for those who believe in Him:
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
Following these six one thousand year "days" of work, Jesus will return to the earth and rest one "day" with Christians who are born again as spirits at His Second Coming. This "day" of rest is the millennium. Since we have been tricked into observing the wrong day as the Sabbath we do not recognize this pattern or sign. Theologians have been incorrectly guessing the date of the end times and the Second Coming of Christ because they have never understood the sign pointed to by the true Sabbath. So, how close are we to the Second Coming? Remember, if the Sabbath is a sign pointing to the end times and the Second Coming, then these events will occur 6,000 years from the Genesis recreation!
By my calculations performed in the year 2009, 5967 years with a possible error of plus or minus 10.5 years have passed since the Genesis recreation. My approach was to start from the first man Adam and go forward to some significant event which is documented in history books as well as in the Bible. That event was the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar during the period 586-588 BC.
If the Sabbath is truly a sign pointing to the millennium, indicating that we have six one thousand year periods or God days before the millennium or end times occur, and 5967 years have passed since man was created, then we are truly near the end times. If 5967 is a good calculation the millennium will begin approximately (6000 - 5967) years from the year 2009. This would be in 33 years, or in the year 2042. However, my calculations contained a plus or minus error of 10.5 years. Taking that into account, the millennium should occur within the period of years 2032 to 2052, with the likely date being the year 2042.
Does this period make sense with other signs of the end times? One sign is that when Israel forms a nation for the second time, some of those alive will live to see the second coming of Christ. Israel became a nation the second time in 1948. Remember that God placed an upper limit of one hundred and twenty years on the life of man in Genesis 6:3. Therefore, the longest any Israeli baby born in 1948 could live would be to 1948 + 120, or the year 2068. The year 2042 is well within this maximum life period of those born in 1948. People born in 1948 will be ninety-four years of age in the year 2042. This life expectancy is not uncommon today.
In conclusion, we are in the beginning of, or very near the end times. The millennium is approximately thirty-three years in the future from the year 2009!
Proceed to the next chapter.
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