The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good;” and He rested in the joy of His completed work. Genesis 1:31.
Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it”—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love. The Scripture says, “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered.” “The things that are made” declare “the invisible things of him since the creation of the world,” “even his everlasting power and divinity.” Genesis 2:3; Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20, RV.*
All things were created by the Son of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.
The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. . . .
The Sabbath was embodied in the law given from Sinai; but it was not then first made known as a day of rest. The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai. On the way thither the Sabbath was kept. When some profaned it, the Lord reproved them, saying, “How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?” Exodus 16:28. . . .
To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight.
The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to [humanity] in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.” So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. “From one Sabbath to another” the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up “to worship before me, saith the Lord.” Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23.
No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” the Lord said also to them, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me.” Exodus 20:8; 22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God. . . .
When accused of Sabbathbreaking at Bethesda, Jesus defended Himself by affirming His Sonship to God, and declaring that He worked in harmony with the Father. . . . “Have ye not read so much as this,” He said. . . . “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” . . . “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:3, 4; Mark 2:27, 28; Matthew 12:5, 6. . . .
Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God’s work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law. . . .
“Wherefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For “all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3.
Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God. For, speaking of Israel, He said, “I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they may know that I am the Lord that sanctify them”—make them holy. Ezekiel 20:12. Then the Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy. And it is given to all whom Christ makes holy. As a sign of His sanctifying power, the Sabbath is given to all who through Christ become a part of the Israel of God.
And the Lord says, “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, honorable; . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13, 14.
To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
*Texts credited to RV are from The Holy Bible, Revised Version, Oxford University Press, 1911.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. These passages were excerpted from the book The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898, 1940), pp. 281-289.