Why was the Sabbath given? The Lord, through the prophet, gives the answer in these words: “And hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezek. 20:20). Mark, it is a sign by which the people are to know God. Therefore there is no room for the supposition that the Sabbath was simply for the purpose of distinguishing the Jews from other people. It was made before the Jews had any existence. It was that they might know God; and that which would serve to make them know God would serve the same purpose for all other people. It was given to Adam in the beginning for the same purpose,—that he might know and remember God.
But how would the Sabbath be a sign that men might know God? The answer to this is found in the Epistle to the Romans: “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from [or, ever since] the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19, 20). We have only to recall some of the things noted in the preceding pages to see how God is known by His works.
Yet again the question comes, How does the Sabbath make us know the true God? Why, we have just read that the eternal power and Godhead of the Creator are seen from the things that He has made; and the Sabbath is the great memorial of creation. The Lord rested upon the seventh day, after the six days of creation, and He blessed and sanctified the day, because that in it He had rested from all His works. So we read, “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honorable and glorious: and His righteousness endureth forever. He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” Some versions give, more literally, “He hath made a memorial for His wonderful works” (Ps. 111:2-4).
The one thing necessary for man to learn in this life is God. The poet may tell us that the proper study of mankind is man; but the Lord tells us that the proper study of mankind is God. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jer. 9:23, 24). Knowing Him, we have all that is worth knowing, for He is the truth, and all the truth. Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God, and in Him are contained “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).
E. J. Waggoner
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