As we enter into a new Sabbath week, let’s look at this Scripture more deeply:
Verily My Sabbath ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I, JEHOVAH, am sanctifying you.
— Exodus 31:13
Do you see the element of relationship there? The Sabbath is a sign—not the hidden truth, or reality, that cannot be explained. This is what shadowy signs are for. They are experiences of their own, representing a greater experience; this is also why JESUS spoke in parables. And the experience that passes all understanding that we all need to have is a sanctifying relationship with JEHOVAH; this is what the Sabbath represents.
It is also written in Verse 17, “It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days JEHOVAH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.”
Again, we see the relationship component there. But we also see that JEHOVAH is refreshed. Why? Well, in Creation He had seen that all things were good, and after He had made man in His image, it was very good. He was refreshed in His created work, and also He is refreshed each and every Sabbath—which all come from the original one in Creation—as His people worship Him, entering into that relationship with Him.
The Sabbath comes at the end of every week. Why? Because this Sabbath experience—this sanctifying relationship with GOD—should be the end towards everything we do each week. Everything we are doing should be for this end purpose. We should be doing everything to the glory of GOD, as the apostle Paul wrote to the church, even to His refreshment. He is refreshed when we enter into a sanctifying covenant relationship with Him.
The same phenomenon happens in the year. The Sabbath of the year is the tenth day of the seventh month—the month that all the holy days are called ‘shabbaton’. It is the month of rest. All of the yearly ceremonies climaxed on this day when the final atonement was made.
So it will be in the antitype. In the final atonement that will take place on this day, CHRIST will have finished sanctifying a people unto Himself. They are all sealed, whether in death or in life. This the the end purpose, and everything that happens after this event only flows out of it as the Sabbath overflowing.
What we need to remember is that we are to labor to enter into this rest every week. If we are only remembering to stop working on the seventh day, we are missing the whole purpose, because that experience is only a sign. We need to be entering into the Sabbath each and every day, just as each and every day flows into the Sabbath as the concluding day. We need to rest from all forms of worldly and religious (fanatical) excitement and find our purpose and peaceful wholeness (shalom) in JEHOVAH, in having a close relationship with Him. Then, when we especially come to Him on Sabbath in the congregation, we can truly and confidently approach Him. But we must put away all fanaticism, all the nervous excitement of dwelling on doctrines themselves, whether they are true or false.
We must not let ourselves get distracted. Our sanctifying relationship with GOD—time alone with Him every morning, and unceasing prayer throughout each day, both being part of the Tamiyd (both daily and continual) experience of entering into the Shabbat experience—nothing replaces it. But without it, everything replaces it. I have learned this by experience the last 13 years, ever since GOD first taught me of the Sabbath more fully in the daily experience (before I ever knew the roles that New Moons and holy days played into it). This relationship of GOD needs to become everything to us. This is what we are to enter into moment by moment.
What is the result? I want you to hear this from the Young’s Literal Translation that renders the tense more accurately:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth did pass away, and the sea is not any more;
and I, John, saw the holy city—new Jerusalem—coming down from GOD out of the heaven, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband;
and I heard a great voice out of the heaven, saying, “Lo, the tabernacle of GOD is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and GOD Himself shall be with them—their GOD,
and GOD shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.”
And He who is sitting upon the throne said, “Lo, new I make all things;” and He saith to me, “Write, because these words are true and stedfast;”
and He said to me, “It hath been done! I am the ALPHA and the OMEGA, the BEGINNING and the END; I, to him who is thirsting, will give of the fountain of the water of the life freely;
he who is overcoming shall inherit all things, and I will be to him—a GOD, and he shall be to me—the son.”
— Revelation 21:1-7
This reality already exists in GOD, who dwelleth in eternity, whose Name is holy. He only needs to bring us to that reality. We must labor, yea strive, to enter in. Let us never lose sight of our goal. It is a process. It is a close relationship with GOD. It is sanctification, resulting in holiness, which in turn, will result in no more suffering of any kind—perfect peace.
May JEHOVAH SHALOM be with you. Amen.