In the Image of God

Covenant of Promise, the Sabbath

The Sabbath Covenant completes the study of the Biblical covenants, which God has made with people. We began with the Creation-Covenant, which has bearing on the Sabbath Covenant.

There is a creation, which even scientists today are discovering, or rediscovering, because of their understanding of the Big Bang and a recent detection of left over energy related to the beginning of creation. So, that there is a creation is gaining acceptance by scientists, which is not to say that scientists are ready to accede to a Creator; a first cause, yes, a Creator, well maybe.

We started out with the covenant of creation, which stated that because God created the universe for man, implicit in the creation is that God would provide all things necessary for an abundant life — materially, psychologically, and spiritually. All these are intrinsic to the creation.

After the creation, as shown in Genesis 2, God rested from all His work and, by resting, established the Sabbath, which completes and rounds out the whole understanding of God’s Covenants, which He made with us.

Everlasting Covenant

Now, let us establish the Biblical truth of the Sabbath. In Exodus and Leviticus, God commanded Israel to celebrate the Sabbath as a lasting covenant. But that is Israel. What about the rest of the world? I could simply say that God revealed His Word to Israel and through Israel the rest of the world. That is what God’s Word says, but the Sabbath is a contentious commandment in Protestant and Catholic theologies, which state that the “Christian” Sabbath is now not the seventh day, but the first. Germany, in fact, has
made Monday the first day of the week and Sunday, the seventh. However, that is not what the Bible says.

Even in the Old Testament, God says, “Blessed is the man…” (Isa 56:2) Not blessed is Israel or Judea, but man (meaning, of course all people) who holds the Sabbath fast. Further, God goes on to say in Isaiah 56, that foreigners who keep the Sabbath will be brought to God’s Holy Mountain and given joy from Him.

Later, in the New Testament, Paul reasoned with the Gentiles every Sabbath. In the Kingdom of God, all mankind will celebrate the Sabbath. So from the beginning of creation to the Kingdom of God, the Sabbath Covenant was, is and will be in effect. God is pleased by all who keep the day He made holy by resting.

(See: Exo 31:16, Lev 24:8.)

Revelation Given on the Sabbath

When Moses was on the mountain, he was hidden in the cloud for six days. On the seventh day, God revealed the Ten Commandments to him. God gives revelation on the Sabbath, on His Holy Days, and during His Holy Seasons, all three of them.

During Jesus’s ministry, he always revealed God’s Word to his listeners by preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Paul preached, as I said above, every Sabbath. A person has to rest from his daily activities to receive revelation from God because how can a shopper or a worker be where the Word is being revealed when their mind and body are far from God?

(See: Exo 24:16, Luke 4:16-19.)

Seventh Year Sabbath

Back to the Creation-covenant. God created the universe, the Earth in particular, to mirror His nature. Because God worked for six days creating the world, He determined to rest after all the work He did and made that rest holy. In the Sabbath command and covenant, God said that everything must rest on the Sabbath, including the animals. That’s God’s universe: work for six days and rest the seventh.

Seven is a special number for God, a time of completion. So, in keeping with His creation, God determined that every seventh year was a year of rest. Knowing that Israel would not keep the Sabbaths, He said that their captivity would allow the land and animals to rest as they were supposed to. The psalmist said it: “He maketh me lie down in green pastures.” No choice! He makes us lie down for the proscribed rest.

(See: Lev 25:4, 34-35.)

Pentecostal Sabbath

In keeping with the seventh day and seventh year rest, God determined that there would be a special, what I call, a Pentecostal Sabbath. Pentecost means to count to fifty, that is, seven Sabbaths plus one. There is also the Pentecostal Sabbath year called the Jubilee year that occurs every fifty years. The whole nation must rest on that joyful year.

It’s God universe and resting on the weekly, yearly, and fifty-year Sabbaths is part of His Creation. So, do not let anyone tell you that you are keeping your Sabbath because you are keeping God’s, not yours or any mans, Sabbath.

(See: Lev 25:8-12.)

Covenant Sign of the Sabbath

As you might guess by now, the Creation and the Sabbath are intrinsically entwined. So too the sign. As I shall say again later, just before God made the covenant with Abraham, He told him to look at the stars in the heavens.

And, I say to you, look at the stars in the heavens, for there you will find the sign of the Sabbath. The same God, who created the heavens and the earth, all things visible and invisible, all powers and authorities, after all these creations, rested on His holy Sabbath. All the creation praises the God, who made them, except man. All the creation would rest according to the covenant, if man would allow them.

(See: Gen 1:1-4, Heb 1:10, Col 1:16.)

The Sabbath Is the Sign that God Is the Creator

As much as theologians would argue against this fact, the Bible is clear. It says that the Sabbath is the sign forever that God made the world in six days and stopped working the seventh day and rested.

All the covenants have signs. This is the sign that we have that God rested from all the work He had done. It is so obvious that when we rest on the day God rested on, we are acknowledging God as the Creator.

(See: Gen 2:2-3, Exo 31:17.)

The Sabbath Is the Sign that Elohiym Is Our Yahweh

The only way a person can know that God (Elohiym) is the Lord (Yahweh) is by keeping the Sabbath. Meditating won’t do it. Looking at the creation won’t do it, even though it is the beginning of faith. Listening to music won’t do it, although Sabbath Services do contain music.

Why is keeping the Sabbath the only way to know that God is our Yahweh? The answer in part is above. When two or three are gathered together on the Sabbath, not only does God reveal Himself to them, but also Jesus joins the group. All, who keep another day as their day of rest instead of God’s day, find their knowledge of God severely lacking. They become confused as to how Yahweh created the world and confused about several beings making up the one God, who is the One Creator and Our only Father in Heaven.

(See: Eze 20:20.)

The Sabbath Is Holy

Keeping the Sabbath Covenant’s sign, the seventh day rest commemorating the Creator, makes people holy because the day is holy. It is the only day God made holy, makes holy. Sabbath keepers know that God makes believers holy. How else could they know? The Sabbath Covenant, of course, is holy to God because He said to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.

The day and the people keeping the Sabbath is made holy for the same reason God says it is holy, by resting — no other way can the day be holy except by resting.

Isaiah warned Israel and us to call the Sabbath a delight by resting and not doing our will, pleasure or speaking idly. No, indeed, instead find joy in the Lord by keeping His day. People say to us your Sabbath. No, it is not my Sabbath; it is God’s Holy Sabbath. We just keep it holy by not working or carry a heavy load and assembling together to learn of, worship and praise God. It’s your Sunday and it’s God’s Sabbath, the seventh day. It is a big difference.

(See: Exo 20:8, 11, Deut 5:12, Neh 9:14, Isa 58:13-14, Jer17:22.)

Faith of Abraham

Now, let us take the Sabbath, since we have established the foundation of its Truth, and see how this covenant is connected to Promise. Remember that was about the Sabbath and creation. Remember God showed Abraham the heavens above and told him to count the stars if he were able. So would Abraham’s offspring be as many. That was the Creation-Covenant. Right after that God makes the Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham about being given the Promised Land.

James agrees that Abraham believed God and was credited to him as righteousness. However, James says that a person is justified by his actions, not what he says or thinks. Thus, we keep the Sabbath by faith.

We have the Covenant of Promise. We recognize that it’s an everlasting and a holy covenant that must be acted on to receive its promise. What promise?

(See: Gen 15:5, Isa 40:26, James 2:23-24.)

Keep the Sabbath by Faith

Since James tells us that our works prove our faith, we keep the Sabbath by faith. Going back to creation, Hebrew says we believe that the universe created by God’s command. Yet, we have evidence of the creation, the heavens, et.al. Scientist know what the writer of Hebrews says, the universe was made, is made, out stuff not seen, like the atom or gluon or the electron. With the evidence of the Big Bang, we know the creation was made from what was not seen.

To reiterate, the Sabbath celebrates and honors the Creator, who rested after all He created. Now faith in God is demonstrated by keeping the Sabbath, except those who harden their hearts will not and cannot keep the Sabbath for they have neither faith in nor obedience to Our Father in Heaven. They will not keep the Sabbath because they are rebellious. They cannot keep the Sabbath because God swore that the faithless disobedient did not deserve the rest, blessing and promise the day provides.

The writer of Hebrews warns, make sure you do not have a rebellious faithless heart. That is why only those with a faithful heart can enter God’s rest. You see, the Sabbath rest, resting from our work, is only for God’s People. I call it the test commandment. Instead of following the disobedient, we must strive to enter God’s rest, because there is a Sabbath-Covenant rest for God’s People.

This is New Testament stuff, from Hebrews, the writer of which said that if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken about a later rest. Today, we have that rest which includes more than the Old Testament rest. Yet, the promise of entering God’s rest still stands for those who step out in faith to keep the Covenant of the Sabbath.

(See: Heb 11:3-4:11, Rom 4:3.)

Jesus Is the Lord of the Sabbath

If you believe Jesus is Lord, that is good. It follows the faith of Abraham, who believed the promise. We believe the promise, which Jesus obtained for us. But, just believing in Jesus, as James said, is relatively worthless because works must follow faith. Just as Abraham proved his faith by attempting to sacrifice Isaac by whom the promise would come, we must prove our faith in Jesus. It is not as difficult a thing to do as Abraham’s test. Faith without works is dead.

Obviously, the proof that we believe Jesus is Lord is by keeping the day he is Lord of — the Sabbath. How do we know that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath?

How can those who refuse to enter God’s rest, the day Jesus is Lord of, believe or obtain the promise? Keeping the Sabbath confirms our faith in Jesus.

(See: Mark 2:27-28, Matt 12:8, Eph 1:20-21.)

The Promise Comes by Faith

The key, the key to faith, covenant, and promise all come by keeping the Sabbath Day. The Sabbath brings everything together. It is the first commandment cited in the Bible, Genesis 2. Abraham received the promise through faith. What promise?

It is through faith in Jesus that we receive a better promise and a better covenant than Abraham’s, though based on his promise and covenant. Abraham’s covenant was the Promised Land of Canaan. The Sabbath Covenant of Israel was kept in the Ark of the Covenant and later the Temple built by Solomon. The priest would go into the Holy of Holies, and he would throw blood on the altar. Then he would come out and read scriptures and have a lesson; you know a service to God. But, today there is no temple, for it was destroyed almost two thousand years ago. But, God must have His temple for His Holy Spirit to dwell in. So, He could not let the world go on without His temple. So, He created a temple out of His People; the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. By faith we get the Spirit and all the things the Spirit can do through us.

(See: Rom 4:13, Gal 3:14.)

Freed from Satan by Keeping the Sabbath

All who believe in Jesus, God makes them His children. Again, if Jesus is Lord, we show our faith in Jesus by keeping the Sabbath, the day he is Lord of. Well then, what happened to the former lord of the Earth?

One day, when Jesus was preaching, giving revelation on the Sabbath, a woman was there who was crippled and bent over by an evil spirit from Satan for some eighteen years. Jesus brought her forward and freed her from her infirmity caused by Satan, ultimately.

Jesus, who is Lord also of all powers and authorities, also thus frees Sabbath keepers from Satan. Jesus is our King in shining armor. He defeated Satan, not by a lance or a sword, but by the cross, by dying on the cross and being resurrected. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

(See: Luke 13:10-12.)

Covenant of Promise

By Jesus’s dying for us, he obtained for us a better covenant and a better promise. Abraham believed God’s promise. By faith Abraham made his home in the Promised Land as a foreigner living in tents as an heir to the promise. That’s the promise, the covenant of promise. Everything comes together in this covenant of promise and the Sabbath because this proves the faith. It is not the faith that Abraham believed God’s promise; that’s what he believed for we, too, believe in the promise. But, we believe in Jesus because it by him that we get the promised land, not the land of Canaan, but a land a little bit better than the land of Canaan — the Kingdom of God. He was looking forward to a city whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though, he was past age as was Sarah was able to become a father because he considered Him faithful Who made the promise — the God faith. And after Abraham came Isaac and Jacob, and from there we trace the ancestry to Jesus.

So, everything starts with Abraham, but everything comes together in the Covenant of the Sabbath, the Covenant of Promise. It’s through faith in Jesus, which comes through the hearing of the message of the Gospel. And then we know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. At the last trumpet those alive in Christ will be changed and the dead in Christ will be raised.

Now, Jesus is the lord of the Sabbath, over disease, over sin, over Satan, over death. When we keep the Sabbath, we are proving our faith in Jesus as Lord of the Sabbath and as the one who made possible the Covenant of Promise. Not only do we believe in the Covenant of Promise, we are showing by our actions, by our deeds that we want this Covenant of Promise in the Sabbath day.

So, death, where is your victory, your sting from the power of sin. But, thanks to God he gives us victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath.
God set up the Sabbath in the beginning, right after He created the world. He made Jesus Lord of the Sabbath of an everlasting Covenant, of an everlasting promise of eternal life in the Kingdom of God. By showing our faith in God, by keeping the Sabbath in Jesus, and by keeping the Sabbath, the day Jesus is Lord of, we enter the Promised Land, the Kingdom of God.

(See: Gal 3:17-18, Rom 4:3, 10:14-17, 1 Cor 15:50-57, Heb 11:9-11.)

Amen.

Gil Kovacs

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