Sabbath Food: Part 9

John Plunkett
January 4th, 2014

Today, in this final episode of our Sabbath Food study, I would like to really home in again on the sanctity of the Sabbath day.  The twenty four hours of each and every Sabbath day is Holy time.  I would like our last memory of this study to be that of the holiness of God’s weekly feast day – as well as His annual feast days.

With this in mind, let us return again to Matthew’s gospel account; and let’s examine here a few very intriguing verses in which Jesus is giving some recommendations as to what His people should do when the last days come upon the world – and in this case specifically, upon the area of Judea and Jerusalem:

Matthew 24:
16: Then
(at the end-times) let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:
18: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19: And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20: But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath Day:

We know that He is talking about the terrible dangers that will be there.  But why not in the winter; and why not on a Sabbath Day? 

The reasons why a person would not wish to flee to a mountainous area in winter should be obvious to us.  When I was out walking this morning I looked over at Mount Arrowsmith, a glorious snow-capped mountain which is part of the Vancouver Island Range.  I am pretty sure that in Judea they don’t have mountains as high or as snow-laden as that one; but we can still imagine the hardship of going up into any mountains in the wintertime.  Think of the requirement for heavy, cumbersome winter clothes; also perhaps for tents, sleeping bags, heaters and other camping gear that we would require to survive in a mountainous area at that time of year.  But Jesus said not to take anything out of their houses, but to just go.

But more relevant to our study, why would we not want to go up into a mountainous area on the Sabbath Day?  Possibly, perhaps, because the local mountains are more than “a Sabbath Day’s journey” away from Jerusalem (Acts 1:12).  That might have some bearing on it; but isn’t that just a non-binding Jewish tradition?  

Some brethren might have difficulty participating in a laborious trek on any day of the week; but for those who treasure the Sabbath and realize its holiness and sanctity, they would likely have an even more difficult time participating in a laborious trek, guilt free – even under emergency conditions.

Also, if the requirement to flee came suddenly and unexpectedly on a Sabbath Day, perhaps many of the people would likely be in services in their best clothes – not the most appropriate clothing to be making a trek into the mountains.

My mind goes to the closing scenes of “The Sound of Music” movie in which the Von Trapp family – dressed in their warm, travelling clothes – give a final night-time concert in their beloved Austria before fleeing up into the mountains en route to neutral Switzerland to escape the Nazis.  When I read this scripture and I think about fleeing danger like that, I often think about that true life event of the Von Trapps.

What is interesting and significant here in this Matthew 24 account, even though we are not given any further detail – is that Jesus’ words here imply the continued sanctity of His holy Sabbath time – both then when He said it and – even more significantly – that His Sabbath Days are going to be holy and sacred time at the end-time, in the very last days.  In other words, there is not going to be any sanctioned watering-down of the holiness of God’s Sabbath time. 

Some people might read this and say, “Surely Jesus would know whether the time of His brethren’s flight to the mountains is going to be in the winter or on a Sabbath, wouldn’t He?”  But context is king.  Let's read what He says just few verses on:

Matthew 24:36: 
But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Mark adds a detail that is left out in Matthew's account:

Mark 13:32: 
But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

Jesus did not know at that time the day and the hour.  Maybe He does now; but back then, He did not.

Luke’s gospel account describes two very relevant mentions of Jesus’ Sabbath standards – both linked to mentions of farm animals:

Luke 13:
10: And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
11: And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
12: And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity….
{Please notice the terminology}.
13: And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14: And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

There are a few times in the Bible where Jesus gets upset, and even angry.  This is one of them:

15: The Lord then answered him, and said, You hypocrite, does not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16: And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?

Obviously, the answer to Jesus' question here is "Yes."  But we have to be careful not to take this too far, because people have taken some of these things and tried to use them to prove that Jesus was downgrading, or watering down the Sabbath.

If we have animals, is it okay to feed them on the Sabbath Day?  Yes, of course it is.  However, I think I would careful not to buy a great big farm with hundreds of animals that I would have to look after on the Sabbath.  

Is it okay to feed ourselves and our families on the Sabbath?  Yes, of course it is.  But we cannot logically equate the loosing of one’s ox or ass from their stalls and taking them to their feeding places, with loosing ourselves and our families from our homes and/or workplaces to be fed in some café or restaurant.  

That might sound absurd.  Would anyone really try to use this scripture to justify Sabbath restaurant meals?  You might be surprised at some of the pet scriptures that brethren do come up with in order to do what they want to do.
Now let’s look at the second of the two relevant accounts in Luke's gospel.  We’re all familiar with the phrase “ox in a ditch” which is normally used with regards to emergencies that arise on Sabbath Days.  Here’s its origin:

Luke 14:1: 
And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched him.

Interesting that Jesus would venture into a "lion’s den" for His Sabbath meal.  But here we read of Jesus eating a meal on the Sabbath Day.  I mention this just to verify the fact that He did, in fact, eat meals on His Sabbath Days, just in case there was any doubt of it in anyone’s mind.  As we have already seen in earlier parts of this study, the weekly Sabbaths are to be counted amongst God’s Feast days; so normally it is not best to fast on the Sabbath days.  It is certainly not absolutely wrong to do so if the Sabbath is the only available day for fasting; but because it is a feast day, it is more a day of rejoicing.  

2: And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.

I had to look that up as I didn’t know what the dropsy was.  Dropsy is a swelling or edema which is often cause by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

3: And Jesus answering spoke unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?

It is usually them who gave Him a hard time and accused Him after the fact; but here, He turns it around and He is the one who brought it up in advance of the healing.

Luke says that “Jesus answering spoke unto the lawyers and Pharisees…”  Their question is not recorded here.  As we read through this we do not get all of the detail.  This is a good example and lesson for us to learn, that every single detail is not always included.  I would have been really interested to read all of the detail of how the conversation went; but God did not inspire Luke to give us all of that detail.

Jesus’ answer was in the form of another question; but the lawyers and Pharisees declined to answer Jesus’ supplementary question:

4: And they held their peace.  And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;

The grammar indicates that they may have asked Him another question – because He gave them yet another answer again in the form of another question:

5: And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?

Notice that Jesus implies that it would be quite acceptable for a person to act on such an emergency straight away and not wait until after the sunset that closes the Sabbath Day.  Yes, even if the owners were dressed up in their nice Sabbath service clothes.  Any unnecessary extension of a large, valuable animal’s distress could bring about its untimely death.

Bringing it into our day today, what would be an acceptable ox-in-a-ditch scenario?  Again, we have to be careful of claiming that it was an ox-in-the ditch situation when the person responsible for buying the cream for the Sabbath service coffee forgot to do so on the Day of Preparation and felt quite justified in buying it at the store on the way to services!

What about an accident or a serious illness, causing a person to miss Sabbath services and go to the hospital’s emergency room?  This is exactly what happened to me in Florida just a couple of weeks ago!  I tried to put off going to the emergency room because I knew that the Sabbath was coming on.  I could have lain there and died, but I chose not to.

What about an ox-in-a-ditch scenario relative to Sabbath Food?  In that same situation in Florida, would it have been okay for my wife to buy her meals in the hospital cafeteria while I was lying in my hospital bed awaiting my gall-bladder surgery?  Possibly.  But what if she’d had ample opportunity to prepare in advance?  What if she had been able to buy some food and drinks prior to sunset beginning that Sabbath?  These are real-life scenarios and decisions.  

It might sound like nit-picking; but I don’t believe it is.  I believe that, without being Pharisaical (in the commonly understood meaning of that word), we still need to recognize the facts that:

Keeping all of this in mind then, would it be okay for us to eat out at a restaurant on the Sabbath just because we’re too busy to buy and prepare anything on Fridays?  Or if the cream purchase had been forgotten, is it okay to go and buy some on the Sabbath?

Is it just because we allow ourselves to be too busy to buy and prepare Sabbath food on a Friday? Or is it just because we are too tired?  Are these really valid reasons?  Are these true emergency, ox-in-a-ditch situations? 

Would it be okay for us to drop by the store to pick up a bottle of wine if we are unexpectedly invited out to a post-Sabbath-service dinner at the last minute?

Again, are these really valid ox-in-a-ditch situations?  Are they real emergencies? 

I admit to having done these things in the past; but I have decided not to do them in the future. We have to think about these questions and to answer them for ourselves in our own minds.  It’s not up to me or to anyone else to judge you or to judge your situation.  You have to be guided by God’s Word and make your decisions on those things.

But again, preparation is the key!  The Day of Preparation is the key!  Please remember that God gives us a full 24-hour Day of Preparation every week – starting each Thursday evening at sunset.

It is likely that YHVH instituted His Day of Preparation immediately after He and His Father created Adam and Eve.  But as far as I am aware, we don’t read of it until the time that He gave manna to the children of Israel.  Let’s just go back to Exodus 16 for a quick reminder of this.  We have read these scriptures before in this series; but I think it is important for us to read them again as we come to close out this study. 

Please remember these words.  Please don't say, "Oh well; that is Old Testament stuff, so we don’t have to worry about it."  On the contrary, it all ties in closely with what Jesus taught:

Exodus 16:
22: And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23: And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD has said...
{N.B. This wasn’t Moses’ idea}… Tomorrow is the rest {shabbathown} of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which you will bake today, and seethe that you will seethe; and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24: And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25: And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the LORD: today you shall not find it in the field.
26: Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.
27: And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
28: And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse you to keep…
{To keep what?  Moses’ rules? Moses’ laws? The law of Moses? No!} my commandments and my laws?
29a: See, for that the LORD has given you the Sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days...

Please notice that the LORD gave them and us the Sabbath Day and He gave them and us the Day of Preparation. The precedent is set right here!  As He gave it to them, so He gives it to us!

29b: ... abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

This doesn’t mean that we are to stay at home and that we can’t drive to services.  He is talking about them and us going out specifically to gather food.  (I often wonder what it would be like if, all of a sudden, God caused all of the stores to be closed on the Sabbath).

This reads quite clearly to me, and I don’t believe that there is anything really difficult in it.  But are some of us like those Israelites who still went out to seek manna on the Sabbath day and in doing so were thus refusing to keep God’s Commandments and His laws?  That is what they were breaking.  They were breaking God’s Commandments and laws.  This was a clearly written example for the keeping of the Day of Preparation each Friday.

Let’s go back to Jesus’ human lifetime during which the Day of Preparation was still being observed – first of all – by the Jews:

Matthew 27:62: 
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 

The Day of Preparation was not something that they just did back in the days of the manna.  The Jews carried the observance through and believed that it was to be kept before every Sabbath and Holy Day.

John 19:
14: And it was the preparation of the Passover…
{actually on Passover Day – Abib 14 – the preparation for the Holy Day of the First Day of Unleavened Bread}… and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!...
31: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day
{the First Day of Unleavened Bread} besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away…
42: There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

The fact that the Day of Preparation was observed by Jesus’ beloved brethren here strongly indicates that it was also recognized and observed by Jesus Himself. 

Mark 15:
42: And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath
43: Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus….

Luke 23:
54: And that day
(Wednesday Abib 14) was the preparation, and the Sabbath (First day of Unleavened Bread on Thursday, Abib 15) drew on.
55: And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
56: And they returned
(Friday, Abib 16 a second Preparation Day), and prepared spices and ointments;  and rested the sabbath day (Abib 17) according to the commandment. 

Luke 24:1:
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

So, what is the lesson here for us?  Just this… If the weekly Day of Preparation was observed by Jesus’ closest followers in order to be able to properly rest on His Sabbath Days and thus was likely observed by Jesus Himself, when we link that fact to what we just read in Exodus 16, don’t you think that this is a good example for God’s New Testament people today, and that we too should be keeping that Day of Preparation prior to every Sabbath and Holy Day?

The point in all of this?  Just that God has given us a 24-hour work day in which to get ourselves and our needs – including food – ready for every one of His weekly and annual Holy Days.  Why? So that we can properly rest!

I would like to now concentrate on this word “rest.”  We all know that life is busy.  I took a walk this morning by our local marina.  Even though it is a Saturday, I saw all of the guys working on their boats and getting the fish in. I saw them working and how busy they were.  I thought to myself, "I'm retired; but I'm probably just as busy as those guys are on a daily basis.  Life is busy and every week seems busier than the week before.  But look what Jesus promises us:

Matthew 11:
28: Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Throughout the Old Testament, as we have seen, one of the most commonly used Hebrew terms for the verb “rest” was “shabath.”  In the New Testament, the most frequently used Greek word for “rest” is the verb “anapauo” and its noun form “anapausis.” 

The verb “anapauo” is used both for the English words “give” and “rest” here in Matthew 11:28.  It is almost like Jesus is saying, “I will rest you with rest.”  The repetition seems to be for emphasis. 
(We’ll see a similar kind of repetition again later on in the book of Hebrews).  It is almost like He is saying, "I am going to give you rest like you have never seen before."

Jesus might have been talking primarily here about the ultimate rest that is promised to His brothers and sisters at the time of the Millennium and on into His Kingdom.  But isn’t this ultimate rest exactly what His weekly Sabbaths symbolize every week?  We have six days of work and then we have the Sabbath.  That day of rest symbolizes the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 4:9:
There remains therefore a rest
{sabbatismos} to the people of God. 

This verse is slotted in close to the end of a wonderful discourse on the subject of spiritual rest which begins in the previous chapter.  We are really not sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, although many think that it was Paul.  I always refer to the writer simply as "the author of the book of Hebrews."

Let’s take a quick look at the account and let’s think about it in relation to the proper keeping of God’s Sabbath Days, their sanctity and their spiritual symbolism:

Hebrews 3:6: 
But Christ as a Son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

I wanted to introduce our examination with that verse, because we have to stick with it unto the end.  The implication here is that is he is talking about the ultimate rest that we are going to be given.  He is not just talking here about the rest that the Israelites had when they were given the land of Canaan. As we shall see as we continue, he is talking about the ultimate, end-time rest.

7: Wherefore as the Holy Spirit says, “To day if you will hear His voice,

Here the author begins a direct quote from Psalm 95, starting at verse 7.  As a side note, please notice that the Holy Spirit was around in Old Testament times – in David's time.

8: Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

This was quoted from Psalm 95:8.  He is referring to the Israelites in the wilderness who were provoking and trying the LORD including their Sabbath-breaking with regards to the manna and the firewood.  It doesn’t mention those things specifically; but we can be sure that it certainly would include them.  In modern parlance, the Israelites were just "trying it on" with God.

9: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

But as we know, even after they went into the Promised Land, they became even worse.  That verse is quoted from Psalm 95:9-10.  Again, the ancient Israelites were really trying it on with the LORD.

10: Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, 'They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.'

They didn't know God’s ways, even though they were faced with them all the time and were being taught them all the time!  With all that they had seen, they should have known God’ ways!  With all the things that they had been given, they should have known God’s ways!  This not knowing God's ways despite all He'd taught them equates to unbelief, as we shall see.

11: So I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest.”

That is the end of the quote there from Psalm 95.  The Greek noun used here for “rest” is “katapausis” and is translated from the Hebrew “menuwchah” from Psalm 95:11.

12: Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you (and we can also apply this to ourselves) an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

This is exactly what they were doing.

13: But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today”; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

He wants us to exhort – encourage – one another.  He wants us to stay in contact with one another about these things.  We need to have that fellowship and unity as much as we can.

14: For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;

Again we see here that the accent is not so much on the rest that we can have now, even though Sabbath rest is great, important and very necessary; but we are to be looking out to the ultimate rest out there.

15: While it is said, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

He is repeating his quote of Psalm 95:8

16a: For some, when they had heard, did provoke... 

They heard the voice and Word of God.  They heard the gospel that God preached through Moses and Aaron.  But they provoked the Eternal!

16b: ... howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

There were a few who knew better than to provoke the LORD.

17: But with whom was He (the LORD) grieved forty years?  Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

What they did was sin.  Their rebellion and unbelief was sin!

18: And to whom swore He that they should not enter into His rest, {katapausis}, but to them {those rebellious Israelites} that believed not?

Please notice the possessive pronouns used in the terms “my rest” and “His rest.”  They reveal an interesting tie-in with God’s ownership of His Sabbaths in the terms “my Sabbaths,” “the Sabbaths of the LORD” and “the Lord of the Sabbath.” 

19: So we see that they could not enter in {into His rest} because of unbelief.

Moving on into chapter 4:

1: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest {katapausis}, any of you should seem to come short of it.

We should apply this to ourselves.  This is an exhortation from God given to us through the author of the book of Hebrews, warning us to fear. God doesn't want us to be quaking, of course; but He does want us to have a proper, healthy fear of coming short of receiving this wonderful promise of eternal rest.  We will come short of it if we have a similar kind of unbelief as those Israelites did.  I want to be there and I know that you want to be there too.  I want to participate in that rest and I know that you do too.  There are things that we need to be doing in order to be there.

2a: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them...

Yes, they had the gospel – the good news – preached to them in the wilderness way back then!

2b: ... but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
3: For we which have believed do enter into rest
{katapausis}, as He said, “As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”

“All this talk of God’s rest is all very nice,” some might comment; “but does it really relate to the weekly Sabbath?”  Well yes, it does!  Please notice once again those possessive pronouns that are used.  He talks about "My rest" and "His rest."  Once again, that use of personal pronouns ties in with God's ownership of His Sabbaths in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  These terms "My" and "His" are frequently used in phrases from which we can be absolutely sure that the Sabbath belongs to the Lord God!

Please remember that serious Sabbath-breaking was a major symptom of the Israelites’ "evil heart of unbelief" and their "departure from the living God."  It was one of the main reasons that they were rejected by God and that they fell short of receiving the promise of His rest in the Promised Land.

But were David and the Hebrews author discussing God's Sabbath rest in their linked discourses?  Yes, they most certainly were!  We see it right here:

4: For He spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, “And God did rest {the verb form “katapauo” is used here} the seventh day from all his works.”

Here, the author links God’s past rest (at the end of creation week) with His future rest.  And He makes that link through the weekly Sabbath Day.  He uses it to make that link between God's past rest and His future rest, both belonging to God.  He uses the Sabbath Day to symbolize that.

Looking back in time and quoting Genesis 2:2, the author refers all the way back to the time of the creation of the Sabbath when Elohim rested on the seventh day of that first creation week. 

Looking forward in time, the author of the book of Hebrews is obviously referring to the ultimate rest that God will give us in His Kingdom:

5: And in this place again, “If they shall enter {please note future tense} into my rest {katapausis}.

Someone may say: "Yes but weren’t the Israelites given their rest when God – through Joshua – settled them in the Promised Land?  Well yes – to some small extent, although even that rest (which they ultimately spurned and rejected anyway) was merely symbolic of the ultimate rest that God will give us in the World Tomorrow:

6: Seeing therefore it remains {in the future!} that some must enter therein {into His rest}, and they to whom it was first preached {the ancient Israelites} entered not in {into His rest} because of unbelief:

We know that those first rebels went round in circles for forty years and virtually all of them died in the wilderness.  They didn’t even get to receive the physical rest in the Promised Land.

7: Again, He limits a certain day, saying in {through} David, “Today,” after so long a time; as it is said, “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

I told you earlier that there was another "double rest repetition" verse.  Here it is:

8: For if Joshua had given them {verb: katapauo} rest {katapauo again} then would He {God through David in Psalm 95:11} not afterward have spoken of another day.

Yes. Another day!  Another day of rest!  Still in the future at the time the book of Hebrews was written.  And still in the future now in our day.  That ultimate rest is still in the future.  It was symbolized by God’s weekly Sabbath Day.  That is one of the reasons that the Sabbath is sacred time.

9: There remains (and if it remains, it is still in the future) therefore a rest {Greek: sabbatismos} to the people of God.

The technical translation of the Greek word ‘sabbatismos’ is “a keeping Sabbath.”  Are we the people of God?  If so, we need to be keeping His Sabbaths in the ways He has clearly instructed us. 

10: For he that is entered into His rest {katapausis} , he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His.

We must be careful of this because it uses a tense that we don’t use in everyday English.  It is called the "aorist" tense.  “For he that is entered” and “he also has ceased” are both in the aorist tense.  It does not mean that we have fully entered into God’s ultimate rest just by being baptized into the Church of God.  Although we members of God's church certainly do, of course, enjoy a certain level of rest from involvement in the world and its labours.  

Yes, if we are God’s people, we are as good as there; we are as good as in that rest; but only as long as we don’t give up.  Only as long as we keep working.  This leads us right into an important concept that is introduced in verse 11:  We must keep working!:

11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest {katapausis}, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

This is a wonderful play on words!  We are to labour now if we desire to enter into God’s ultimate future rest then!  We must labour now in order to be able to rest then! 

This is a picture of the Day of Preparation.  Work now (during the 6th day) so that we won’t have to work then (on the 7th day).  Jesus said basically the same thing:

Matthew 11:
28: Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

Yes, we are to work.  Jesus expects us to work for our physical daily bread (II Thessalonians 3:10-12) – even though the physical labours of some of His brothers and sisters constitute suffering under heavy burdens.  The mere daily lives of some of our brethren are heavy burdens to them.  We can’t imagine how some brethren live and what they go through each day.

In addition to our physical labours, Jesus also wants us to work with Him and alongside Him – sharing His “yoke,” working for His (and our) Father and for our brothers and sisters.  If we do, He promises to give us wonderful, refreshing rest:

29a: Take my yoke upon you…

Everybody knows what a yoke is.  It a large, usually wooden crosspiece which enables a couple of horses, mules or oxen to pull a plough or some other burden.

29b: ... and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest {anapausis} unto your souls. 

We are all to do our very best and put in our best effort.  We're not to try to get out of the yoke and let Jesus do it all.  We have to get in there with Him, sharing that same yoke as Him,  But guess who takes the lion’s share of the load?  He does, of course!  

30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

But we still have to do our little bit.  Jesus probably does in excess of 99.9999999% of the necessary work and only requires us to do what's left over – our little bit.  But He still wants us to our little bit!  And our little bit must be our all – everything we have to give!  

If we do this, what will the result be?  Jesus promised that we would find rest unto our souls.

So, once again we see the same picture of the Day of Preparation: Work now (during the 6th day) so that we won’t have to work then (on the 7th day).  It is not that we won’t be busy during that future rest time; but we will be so freed from our physical human bodies that it won’t be like work to us then.

Let’s go back and read Hebrew 4:11 again.  I hadn’t quite finished with it:

11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest {katapausis}, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

God wants us to work.  Here we see the same warning again.  We are basically no better than our ancient Israelite brethren; but God has given us His Spirit, His faith and so much more through that Spirit.  It is crucial that we do not fall by following the Israelites’ bad “example of unbelief” which is what caused them to fall. 

What were those bad examples?  We have studied these things extensively in this series over the past 18 months; so we should know that a major part of their downfall was Sabbath-breaking!

Remember!  "Sabbatismos" is a keeping Sabbath!  The proper preparation for God’s Sabbath Days and the proper keeping of God’s Sabbath Days is crucial if we want to receive the promise of entering into God’s ultimate, future rest. 

I am not saying that we are saved by works, of course; but we are told here quite clearly that there are things that we are required to do and there are things that we must not do, in order to be saved and if we want to be in God’s Kingdom.

I repeat that the physical labours of many of Jesus’ brothers and sisters are sometimes quite a heavy burden.  But that burden is not overlooked.  The apostle John was inspired to mention this fact:

Revelation 14:
12: Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13: And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest
{anapauo} from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

The Greek word for the English “labours” here is “kopos” (2873).  It can mean intense labour united with trouble and toil; weariness or wearying work; work accompanied by beating; beating of the breast with grief or sorrow.  In this regard, please keep our African brethren in your thoughts and prayers.

Yes, the dead-in-Christ that the apostle John alludes to here certainly do enjoy a degree of rest in the grave.  They are not in pain anymore.  Through the restful sleep of the “first death,” God frees them from their trouble, toil, pain, weariness, grief and sorrow.  It is interesting that he finishes this verse off with: “and their works do follow them.”  It is like their work experience enables them for their future work in the World Tomorrow.  Not just them; but us as well.  Many of us have had experience in going through certain labours in our life-times; and these enable us for our future work in the World Tomorrow.  In the resurrection they and we are going to be fully rested and re-energized. They and we won’t know that time has gone by; that 20, 200 or 2,000 years have flown by and here it is! Time to get up and get back to work!  But that rest that they and we will have had and that work experience is going to provide spiritual energy for their and our future work in the World Tomorrow.  Paul mentions this too:

II Thessalonians 1:4: 
We ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

Again, please let us think and pray about our African brethren.  Let us boast about their example, because so many of them are sticking with it despite their persecutions, tribulations and the other hardships that they have to endure.

5: which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer...
Verse 7a: And to give you who are troubled rest
{Greek noun: anesis, which means liberty, ease, loosening, relaxing, relief} with us…

Yes.  With us.  Our labours, which might include energy-sapping persecutions, sufferings and tribulations, might lead to the temporary rest in the sleep of the first death; but they will also lead to that ultimate rest in the Kingdom of God.

But when will that be?  Our brethren in Africa are no doubt asking this same question: “When will our rest come?”  Our brethren back in Paul's and John's days asked those same questions.  Two thousand years have gone by and it is still not here.  But it will be here!  When will our rest come?   When will “thy Kingdom come”?

7b: … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.

Yes!  Our rest will come at the return of Jesus Christ to this tired old earth.  All we can say is: God speed that day!

One more time!  The main symbolism of God’s holy, weekly Sabbath Day of rest is that of the ultimate rest in the Kingdom of God.  And the related symbolism of the weekly Day of Preparation is that of our preparatory work now so that we may be able to enjoy that ultimate rest then.

And so we arrive at the conclusion of our long, nine-part series on the subject of Sabbath Food.  How should we conclude this long series?  There are a few things that I feel that I must repeat in summary.  The first is that, no matter what standards our fellow-Christians may hold regarding the sanctity of God’s Sabbath Days, if their standards happen to differ from ours, please heed these words from God which were given to us through His apostle Paul:

Colossians 2:16: 
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.

Over the past couple of months, this has become one of my favourite scriptures; and it is one that we should all live by, I believe.  But conversely, please don’t you – and me – judge other brethren in respect of their keeping of the weekly Sabbaths and the annual Holy Days.  It is so easy to do; but we must beware of being on the giving end – as well as the receiving end – of unrighteous judgment.

Yes, we may need to exercise some loving, righteous judgment as to how we deal with brethren whose standards might differ from ours; but please, let's make absolutely sure that our methods are loving, merciful and peaceful.  We must all be learning to agree to disagree when necessary, for the sake of peace, respect and unity with our brethren.  Until the ultimate Judge shows us otherwise, they are still our brethren, even if we may disagree on certain points; even if we may feel that they are doing wrong; even if they may feel that we are doing wrong!  Still, let’s learn to peacefully agree to disagree.

Finally, although we have titled this series “Sabbath Food,” it all comes down to the fact that God’s Sabbath Days are holy time.  That is the bottom line.  God’s Sabbath days are holy time.  Let us all remember the sanctity of the God’s Sabbath.  

And so, we will end our study by re-reading the crystal clear words from God:

Exodus 20:
8: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9: Six days shall you labour, and do all your work:
10: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
11: 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.

Repeating verse 8:

Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy!