Fourth Law of Health - Rest
"Come ye apart . . and rest" are the words of Jesus. Are you weary and worn with the routine of everyday life? Rest is what you need; physical rest, mental rest. Come rest awhile. It is one of God's special healing remedies, and it is just for you, just now.
Let us, for a few minutes, learn some of the blessings that rest can bring, blessings that you may very much need.
Strangely enough, you can read almost any book on remedies and you will find hardly any mention of rest. Most of the directions are about swallow this or inject that. Yet rest is one of the most basic healers known to mankind. When you become sick, what is the first thing that you do? You lie down. Can you imagine a hospital in which all the patients only go to bed at night? No, they are lying flat in bed most the day as well as all the night because the restorative power of rest is a key to the success of all other remedial agencies.
But, just now, you are not ill. Do you need rest when you are well? To a startling degree, it is the lack of adequate rest while you are well that causes you to become sick.
Here are some simple principles about rest:
One does not always have to sleep in order to rest. Just a change of pacedoing something differentcan bring rest to your mind and body. Different muscles are used, different things are considered, and you begin to relax. The everyday work is set aside and you take time to think more of God and His blessings seen and felt every day of your life.
You can train yourself to relax. Even if you cannot lie down, you can stand by an open window or walk out-of-doors and take several deep breaths. As you do this, think thankful thoughts to God, in heaven, for His blessings. Ask for His help and guidance for the duties just ahead. Believe that He has heard your silent petition and thank Him in advance for giving the help you need.
As you do this, a sense of rest and calm trust will fill your heart; a genuine, quiet relaxation of spirit will come over you.
The "go, go attitude," so common to Western civilization, leads many to nervous breakdowns. They simply did not take time to rest. It was an objectionable word in their thinking. But such an imbalanced pattern of living crowds out thoughts of God and eternal life. And discouragement and despair begins to crowd in. By the time that George Sheehan, M.D., was 45, he felt ready to collapse. Work, work, work had brought him to the top of the professional ladder, but all he had achieved was a crowded work schedule and little else.
Then one night he recalled to mind something he read in a book: "We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is."
George Sheehan vowed then and there that he would immediately change his life style. He began to take time for the healthful exercise and much needed rest he had cheated his body out of for years. And then the better years began for him. They can begin for you just now also.
One reason so many people have nervous breakdowns is that they try to surpass and have the supremacy. So they go at high speed, without adequate rest, until the body machinery breaks under the load. Instead, put Jesus first, others second, and yourself last. Refocus your life. Take time to rest. Just go outside and sit in a chair and do nothing. If the very thought of that sounds ominous to you,then you are the very one who needs to restudy your attitude toward adequate rest.
Peace of mind does not come by being always in a hurry. And hurry is often concerned with gathering up tomorrow's problems and trying to tackle them all today. All God has given you is one day at a time; how will you use it?
What we want is a better way to livea new kind of day. Begin the first of your new days by praying to God when you first arise in the morning. Thank Him for His help, dedicate this special day to Him. Ask for His help and thank Him for giving it. Then open His Wordthe Bibleand read in it. Where should you read? It is all worthwhile, but, if you wish, start with the book of Ephesians. Read it slowly and thoughtfully, not hurriedly, like a regular book. (On later days, when Ephesians is completed, begin in 1 John, and then John. Try reading in the PsalmsPsalms 37 and 23 for example,and then go to Genesis, the first chapter. When you finish that, read on through to Revelation 22.)
After time alone with God and His Word, mingling prayer with your reading, arise and begin doing your daily duties, continually sending up little silent prayers of thanks and requests for help. Go out of your way to be a help to others. Too often in the past they have had to go out of their way to adjust to you, but now things are different. It is your concern to help them. Be not concerned if they do not seem to immediately appreciate or even want your help. Keep at it, quietly, thankfully, living to be a blessing to others around you. Even though others may misinterpret your efforts, you can know that you are doing what is right in God's sight. And that awareness will bring a peace and sweet joy into your life that you may not have experienced in years.
If you have children, take time to have morning and evening worship with them. Gather them to you, sing a song of Jesus, kneel down and pray with them, then read a portion from God's Word, and close with prayer, dedicating them that day anew to the care of their heavenly Father.
Yes, true rest of heart and life means taking time for God and living for Him. And such a rest as this will bring tranquillity of mind and lengthening of your days.
Rest with God includes time with Him each day, and it also means time with Him on the Sabbath day. He wisely knew our needs better than we, and back in the beginning (Genesis 2:1-3) gave us the Seventh-day Sabbath as a weekly day for physical, mental, and spiritual rest. So important was it, that He wrote it into the Moral Law of Ten Commandments. It is the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), and is of equal importance with all the rest. In fact, by carefully observing the Seventh-day Sabbath, we shall be enabled by His grace to keep all the other commandments as well. There is always a blessing in obeying God. And that which He wants us to obey is written in Scripture.
Here are more principles for obtaining the rest that your body so much needs:
No muscle works continually. After some work there is some rest. Even your heartthe hardest-working muscle in your bodyrests after each beat. Your lungs rest at the end of each breath. Your stomach should rest for thirty to sixty minutes after each meal. By this we mean that immediately after a meal you should not do hard physical work. (But rest after a meal does not mean lying down. Be up and active after every meal.)
Your heart works for a lifetimewith only one tenth of a second rest stops. Whatever you do to deprive it of that rest will cause serious trouble later.
Rest should be preceded by exercise, or it may not accomplish its objective. It is the exercise that makes the rest necessary.
And keep in mind that one's best sleep is with the stomach empty, and that sleep out-of-doors in summertime is more restful than sleeping indoors.
It is said that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight. They say that some people go to bed with the chickens. Several years ago this writer was told of someone's friend who did it all his adult life. He decided that the chickens knew the best time to retire, and so he went to bed when they didat sunsetand arose the next morning when they didlong before dawn. That may not fit into your work schedule the best, but let me tell you of another pattern that is very helpful.
Try lying down for a brief rest before lunch every day. Fifteen minutes rest in the middle of the day is equal to 45 minutes or more at night. Oh, but you say, you are not able to fit that into your work schedule. Then do this for sure: When you eventually retire from the 8 to 5 work schedule at the shop or factory,then give your last years an hour of rest in the middle of the day, just before lunch. And keep active throughout the remainder of the day doing those things which are important. You may thus lengthen your lifespan.
A number of years ago this writer read a report by one of the actuarial experts, at the Social Security Administration, in Washington, D.C. Did you know that the average American dies just three years after he begins receiving social security? This fact is indeed significant. In commenting on it, geriatric authorities believe that it is partly due to the fact that, when retirement is suddenly thrust upon them, many people find that they have lost their purpose in life. The best preparation for retirement is to begin working for God by helping others now. You will then have something very worthwhile to live for when the retirement years come. Rest and work, work and rest is what is needed. But do not slack on the rest; you need enough of each in order to fully enjoy both.
The old adage that "a change is good as a vacation" is often true. Overwork, worry, lack of exercise, overeating, and a distressed mind are among the chief causes of fatigue. Living for a purposeand that purpose being to honor God and help othershelps you rest better at night and makes you feel more restful all through the day.
Adequate rest is necessary in order to protect the alkalinity of the blood. This is due to the fact that waste matter is especially eliminated during those periods when you are resting or sleeping.
The ever-active, ever-growing child requires more sleep than does the adult. Yet we also need itmore than we often think we do.
"Oh," but you may say, "I don't know how to relax and rest day or night!" Go down by a babbling brook, and lie down and listen to the sounds of nature all about you. Gaze upward through the trees and view the glorious panorama of sunlight striking leaves and limbs, with the blue, cloud-flecked sky beyond. Then shut your eyes and listen to the soft chirps of God's little creatures around you. All are telling you softly that God loves you and will do wonderful things in your life as you yield yourself to Him. By now, as you lie thereinGod's great out-of-doorsyou will find that you are becoming wonderfully relaxed.
Amid the hurry and rush of life, our weary bodies and minds need rest. Even metals can become tired. They lose their vitality from repeated shocks and strains, and become exhausted and break under the load. If you feel as if you are nearing the point of breaking under the load, reread this chapter againand the other tracts in this series on the Eight Laws of Healthand put them into practice. There are answers that will workfor youjust now.
Dr. Frederick Rossiter wrote, "Recreation is a vitalized form of rest." Sleep is important and few are getting enough. But rest is not merely sleep. A change of activity is also needed from time to time. Go outdoors for an hour or two and experience this change. Set aside the vexing perplexities of the everyday world, and relax out in nature. Reading a good bookespecially God's bookis also restful. The mind is drawn to better thingshigher purposesand the mind and body are rested. Once again you can return to your daily duties refreshed in heart and soul.
But recreation that consists only of foolishness lacks that deep refreshment that you so much need. You must guard your hours for recreationmaking sure that you take time for them. And you must guard what you do during those hours. All true recreation is re-creative; it genuinely refreshes, draws us closer to God, and strengthens us for the better performance of our daily duties.
And we all need sleep, good sound sleep every night. But many have a difficult time obtaining it. So they take such medicines a Sominex, Mytol, Sleep-Ese, Compos, Nite Rest, Sure-Sleep, or something similar. But sleep studies reveal that many nonprescriptionand almost all prescription sleep medicationsdrastically alter sleeping cycles, suppressing the very important REM sleep. And this applies to all the "sleeping pills," containing barbiturates or benzodiazepines, as they do. In order to more fully understand why suppression of REM sleep is harmful, we must delve into the physiology of sleep itself.
In the early pre-sleep phase, body temperature falls and alpha brain waves are prominent. Then comes Stage 1 of sleep as the pulse slows and your muscles relax. About 5 to 10 minutes later, Stage 2 begins. The brain waves become larger and the eyes roll from side to side. Another 20 minutes or so and Stage 3 is entered. Brain waves now become slow and fairly large. Muscles are relaxed and breathing is slow and even. Stage 4 begins next, is called delta sleep, and generally lasts about 20 minutes. Then the sleeper enters REM sleep. REM stands for "rapid eye movement." This is a lighter sleep, and it is quite easy to know when a person is in it, for his eyes move very rapidly as if he were watching something. He is,this is the dream part of his sleep. The heartbeat becomes irregular and brain waves are similar in the waking state. After about 10 minutes, the sleeper returns to Stages 2, 3, and then delta sleep, in a cycle lasting about 90 minutes. Then REM starts again. There is more delta sleep earlier in the night, and more REM sleep toward morning.
Experimenters have discovered that people who do not get their REM sleep awaken irritable and tired. They become depressed, aggressive, angry, restless and or /apathetic. If kept from their REM sleep, as soon as they are asleep again they will try to get longer sessions of REM sleep.
But a condition know as "REM withdrawal sleep" occurs when people take sleeping tablets or most other types of put-you-to-sleep pills. The lack of REM sleep, brought on by taking these sleep medications, makes folk feel bad enough that they are convinced more than ever that they need go-to-sleep tablets in order to survive. So they take more and the problem gets worse.
You need your sleep. Try getting it in the natural way and you will be well rewarded. As we said earlier, work and rest during the day. When evening comes, after your evening worship and just before bedtime, go outside and walk in the fresh air, breathing it in deeply. You may not think that you have time to do this, but you have time to lay in bed trying hard to fall asleep. Just before retiring, take that walk out-of-doors in the quiet of the evening, drinking in the fresh air. Then go inside and immediately take a relaxing shower and go to bed. As you lay there if you find that you want to think about something, think about these two things: First, think about God, how good He is to you all the time, and how thankful you are for His watchcare. Second, think about being relaxed and breathing well. Mouth breathing just then will help clear out your mind so that it can go to sleep more quickly. During the sleeping hours, the body is repaired and invigorated for another day of work. So be regular in obtaining your sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. The most vigorous, enthusiastic people I know are generally individuals who are quite consistent in getting their full sleep. They are usually the ones who retire on a definite schedule every night.
Oxygen intake is an important part of the rejuvenating effect of sleep. Your body is working less, and the air you breathe is used to restore and rebuild body tissue. Therefore be sure there is a current of fresh air entering the roompreferably outdoor airwhile you sleep. If you do not have that fresh air at night, you will tend to awake tired and exhausted.
Keep in mind the words of the wise man: "The sleep of a laboring man is sweet" (Ecclesiastes 5:12). Only those who use their muscles during the day in physical work can enjoy sweet sleep at night.
Go to bed early and arise early. Staying up late and then sleeping in the next morning is a poor way to live.
Calcium in the diet helps you relax. It relaxes your nerves and is even restful to your heart. If you have a history of poor tooth structure, that is an indication that taking a little calcium each day will make life more restful for you, and will help you sleep better at night. Two facts are well-known: Older people need more calcium . . and have more sleeplessness at night.
Pantothenic acid (calcium pantothenate), a vitamin of the B complex, will also help you get to sleep at night. Along with this, take some niacin (best taken in its niacinamide form to avoid face flushing) in your meals to aid in sound sleep at night.
Certain nontoxic natural herb teas have been used for years to help folk to go to sleep at night. Two of the best are hops and chamomile. Others include catnip, henbane, lady's slipper, yarrow, and mullein. To our knowledge, herbs are not mixed for this purpose. Select one and use it. The first two listed above are, by far, the best of them.
Living on micro-sleep is a poor way to go through life. After only a few hours of sleep loss, the body begins experiencing momentary lapses into sleep, each one of which lasts only a split second. As in real sleep, eyelids droop and heartbeat slows. Each micro-sleep is a period of blankness, or it may be filled with wisps of dreams. As the sleep loss increases, the micro-sleeps increase to two or three seconds at a time. If you are driving when it happens, you may die.
Nervous tension, the use of caffeine products, and too much salt in the diet,all are items found to cause sleeplessness at night. Anything that increases cerebral (brain) activity causes sleeplessness. Neutral temperature baths for 8 minutes or more are excellent for relaxing and calming the mind, and preparing one for sleep. As you leave the tub, blot your skin dry without undue friction, move slowly, climb into bed, think little, breathe relaxed, thank God for peace of heart, go to sleep.
Dr. Samuel W. Gutwirth, in his book, How to Sleep Well, describes a method to help insomniacs learn how to go to sleep. In a quiet room, lie on your back, outstretched. Then tense each group of body muscles for several minutes (the arms, legs, trunk, facial muscles, eye muscles), then relax them. Try to relax them even more. The point here is twofold: to learn what it feels like to relax, and then to do it when you want toso you can go to sleep at night. If there are any diehard insomniacs out there, you might want to try Dr. Gutwirth's approach. He says that, to start with, you need to do it for 45 minutes at a time.
If you cannot sleep, take a warm bath. It is relaxing and will help induce sleep. Never retire soon after eating. Going to bed within an hour or so after supper is hard on the heart and other vital organs, and exhausts the brain. There appears to be a positive correlation between going to sleep at night after a big mealand the frequency of heart attacks.
For most adults, eight hours of sleep at night is sufficient. Some appear to do well on less. Older people need less sleep, but at the same time they may have a harder time getting it. If you tend to be sleepless at night, get some active exercise in the day, and take that outdoor walk before retiring. If you still feel tired from lack of sleep, the midday nap will do much to solve your problem. Sleep for an hour or two before lunch. It will not hurt you and can only help you.
Sleep should come naturally and not be induced by drugs. If you are napping during the day, do not fear some sleeplessness at night, for just by laying there you are having a good rest. As you lay there, think cheerful thoughts about God and heaven. From time to time send up little prayers for yourself and your loved ones. Keep positive, for it is sad, gloomy thoughts that kill, not sleeplessness.
During the day, rest your eyes by shutting them occasionally or by gazing outdoors upon the things of nature. Rest your ears by avoiding the loud noises of civilization. Noise exhausts the mind and nervous system, and even damages the heart. Rest your mind by not talking so much. Too much talk wears people out: those who do it and those who have to listen to it. Rest your mind by not constantly dwelling upon a particular problem and trying endlessly to solve it. If you cannot solve it in five minutes, forget itis a dictum that has helped this writer. Solutions will come to mind later. Rest your body by not being such a workaholic. Work and rest is what is needed; not work, work, work. Rest your lungs by going out-of-doors every so often through the day and drinking in the fresh air deeply. If you live in a city, move out into the country where there is fresh air. If you smoke, stop; if you do not smoke, refuse to work in rooms where people smoke.
Rest your soul by reading God's Word daily, praying to Him, trusting in Him. Refuse to worry but give all into His hands. Peace of heart, peace with God; this is what you want. Few people have it, but it is as near as your silent prayer to your Creator as you go through the day.
"Some make themselves sick by overwork. For these rest, freedom from care, and a spare diet, are essential to restoration of health. To those who are brain weary and nervous because of continual labor and close confinement, a visit to the country, where they can live a simple, carefree life, coming in close contact with the things of nature, will be most helpful. Roaming through the fields and the woods, picking the flowers, listening to the songs of the birds, will do far more than any other agency toward their recovery."Ministry of Healing, pp. 236-237.
"All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God . . When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, `Be still and know that I am God.' . . Amidst the hurrying throng, and the strain of life's intense activities, he who is thus refreshed, will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace."Ministry of Healing, p. 58.
"Nature will restore their vigor and strength in their sleeping hours, if her laws are not violated."Solemn Appeal to Mothers. p. 16
"The influence of pure, fresh air is to cause the blood to circulate healthfully through the system. It refreshes the body, and tends to render it strong and healthy, while at the same time its influence is decidedly felt upon the mind, imparting a degree of composure and serenity. It excites the appetite, and renders the digestion of food more perfect, and induces sound, sweet sleep."1 Testimonies, p. 702.
"The stomach, when we lie down to rest, should have its work all done, that it may enjoy rest, as well as other portions of the body. The work of digestion should not be carried on through any period of the sleeping hours."How to Live, p. 162.
"Rooms that are not freely ventilated daily, and bedding that has not been thoroughly dried and aired, are not fit for use. We feel confident that disease and great suffering are brought on by sleeping in rooms with closed and curtained windows, not admitting pure air and the rays of the sun . . The room may not have had an airing for months, nor the advantages of a fire for weeks, if at all. It is dangerous to health and life to sleep in these rooms until the outside air shall have circulated through them for several hours and the bedding shall have been dried by the fire. Unless this precaution is taken, the rooms and bedding will be damp. Every room in the house should be thoroughly ventilated every day, and in damp weather should be warmed by fires . . Every room in your dwelling should be daily thrown open to the healthful rays of the sun, and the purifying air should be invited in. This will be a preventive of disease . . If all would appreciate the sunshine, and expose every article of clothing to its drying, purifying rays, mildew and mold would be prevented. Healthful Living, pp. 142-143
"One great error of the mother in the treatment of her infant is, she deprives it very much of fresh air, that which it ought to have to make it strong. It is a practice of many mothers to cover their infant's head while sleeping, and this, too, in a warm room, which is seldom ventilated as it should be. This alone is sufficient to greatly enfeeble the action of the heart and lungs, thereby affecting the whole system. While care may be needful to protect the infant from a draught of air or from any sudden and too great change, especial care should be taken to have the child breathe a pure, invigorating atmosphere."How to Live, p. 66.
"Much harm has resulted to the sick from the universal custom of having watchers at night. In critical cases this may be necessary; but it is often the case that more harm is done the sick by this practice than good . . Even one watcher will make more or less stir, which disturbs the sick. But where there are two watchers, they often converse together, sometimes aloud, but more frequently in whispered tones, which is far more trying and exciting to the nerves of the sick than talking aloud. Attendants upon the sick should, if possible, leave them to quiet and rest through the night, while they occupy a room adjoining . . The sick as a general thing are taxed with too many visitors and callers, who chat with them, and weary them."How to Live, pp. 58-59.
"Keep the patient free from excitement, and every influence calculated to depress. Her attendants should be cheerful and hopeful. She should have a simple diet, and should be allowed plenty of pure, soft water to drink. Bathe frequently in pure, soft water, followed by gently rubbing. Let the light and air be freely admitted into the room. She must have quiet and undisturbed rest."How to Live, pp. 54-55.
"Many agitated people on the brink of a psychotic break suffer from severe insomnia."Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry.
"I believe it can safely be said that all human beings need a minimum of six hours' sleep to be mentally healthy. Most people need more. Those who think they can get along on less are fooling themselves."Dr. George S. Stevenson, National Association for Mental Health.
"If we do not get enough sleep, we cannot be fully awake during the day."Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman.
Our kind, heavenly Father has not only given us a physical law of rest which we need for optimum health; He also knew we needed time to come apart and rest with Him,time to worship Him and refresh ourselves in the things of God.
As soon as God created man, He gave him the Seventh-day Sabbath. The Sabbath was designed to stop our ceaseless turmoil of the week, and draw apart to be with our Creator and with our families.
The Bible explains that the Sabbath was also given to remind us that God is our Creator.
"Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the Seventh day He rested, and was refreshed." (Exodus 31:16-17).
It is crucial that we remember and honor our Creator, because it is the fact of God's creatorship that makes Him our God. Because of this we are to worship Him.
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11).
God created all things from nothing (Hebrews 11:3), and hung the earth upon nothing (Job 26:7), upholds all things (Hebrews 1:3), and sustains life (Acts 17:28); He is our owner, ruler, and only God.
The Bible Sabbaththe Seventh-day Sabbathwas made before man sinned. It was made on the Seventh day of Creation Week.
"On the Seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the Seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the Seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:2-3).
It is the only day of the week on which God rested, and the only day He blessed. In order to change that day to some other, He would have to abolish this world and create a new one! The Seventh day Sabbath is the day, fixed by the God of heaven, on which we are to worship Him.
When God wrote the Ten Commandments, He gave us the Fourth Commandment in its heart:
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy . . The Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God . . In six days the Lord made heaven and earth . . and rested the Seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11).
God does not change, and neither does His Sabbath change. "I am the Lord, I change not." (Malachi 3:6). "Thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever." (1 Chronicles 17:27). "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent . . He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it." (Numbers 23:19-20).
The Sabbath was made for all men, not just the Jews. It was given to mankind 2,000 years before Abraham, the first Jew (Genesis 2:1-3). Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27). This does not mean for Jews only. Woman was created for man (1 Corinthians 11:9), but that does not mean women were only made for the Jews. The Sabbath is universal.
Abraham knew and obeyed God's laws. "Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." (Genesis 26:5).
God brought forth Israel from Egypt, that they might obey Him and keep His laws. "He brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness: . . that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws." (Psalm 105:43-45).
Many blessings were promised to those who kept the Bible Sabbath. "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, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isaiah 58:13-14).
The Seventh-day Sabbath was also the Sabbath of Jesus. Since Jesus was the Creator, He made the world and the Sabbath too (John 1:1-3, 14). "He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and as His Custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read." (Luke 4:16).
Jesus kept all His Father's commandments. He did not come to destroy them, but to show how they should be kept. "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." (John 15:10).
He rested in the tomb on the Sabbath (Luke 23:52-54). His followers sacredly kept it also, for He had not taught them to keep any other day of the week.
"The women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." (Luke 23:55-56).
His followers honored the Sabbath forty years after His death. He had commanded them to do so. "Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." (Matthew 24:20).
In Matthew 24, Jesus told His disciples what would occur at the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, and at the end of the world (Matthew 24:1-2). In verse 20, quoted above, Jesus told them to be sure and keep the Sabbath when those terrible events (the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and the end of the world) should occur.
"Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4), and Jesus never sinned (1 Peter 2:22). He always kept the Ten Commandments.
In Paul's time, the apostles kept the Bible Sabbath also. "When they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down." "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath." "And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of God." (Acts 13:14, 42, 44).
Paul, a servant of God, would have no more right than you or I to dishonor God and His sign of creatorship. He was a loyal observer of the Bible Sabbath. "This I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets." (Acts 24:14; also Acts 25:8).
The Sabbath will also be kept by the saved in the new earth.
"As the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord." (Isaiah 66:22-23).
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14).
How is the Sabbath related to the work of redemption?
First, redemption involves a work of creation. Since it takes creative power to redeem, God used the Sabbath as a sign of sanctification, or redemption. When He creates the new earth the Sabbath will continue on as the sign of God's peace and power. Throughout all eternity it will carry the double significance of a sign of power to create and to redeem (2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 51:10).
Second, the Sabbath is a sign of this sanctifying power.
"Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." (Exodus 31:13).
"Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them . . 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." (Ezekiel 20:12, 20).
The Bible Sabbath is the special symbol of loyalty to God. It is God's flag. We dare not dishonor it. We are not to disregard it, lower it, or trample it beneath our feet. His Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to Him as Lord and Saviour.
What about the first day of the week (Sunday) in the Bible? It is only found eight times in the Bible. Here they are: The first day of Creation week (Genesis 1:3-5). No mention of sacredness here. It is mentioned six times as the day the resurrection occurred (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 9), but no word or hint that it was now sacred. The disciples were in the upper room, but not to keep Sunday holy but "for fear of the Jews" (Mark 16:14: Luke 24:33-37). They were hiding from their enemies. The seventh occurrence of the first day is in Acts 20:7Sunday is only mentioned once in the book of Acts! Paul spoke to the people, then resumed his traveling, and a couple days later held another meeting. The eighth time is the only mention of the first day by Paul: I Corinthians 16:1-2, where he asks the believers, while they are figuring up their weekly income from the previous week (which they would not do on the Sabbath, since it was holy time), to lay aside some money at home for the poor in Jerusalem. Paul intended to later get the money from them.
So there is no Sunday sacredness in the Bible.
In the centuries since the Bible ended, the Seventh-day Sabbath has continued to be kept by faithful ones here and there. As for the weekly cycle, it has not changed over the centuries. There is historical, scientific, linguistic, and astronomical proof of that. Look in any encyclopedia. The number of days in the year have been altered, but the number of days in the week has not changedgoing back through time immemorial. Everyone keeps the seven-day weekly cycle and it has never changed. The existence of the Jewish people is profound proof of this. All other Near-Eastern groups have disappeared, but the Jews have continued as a distinct people on down to the present time. And they have always kept the Seventh-day Sabbath. Ask any Jew what day is the Sabbath, and he will tell you: It is the Seventh day of the week, Saturday.
Sunday is the first day of the week. Saturday is the Seventh day of the week. There is no authority for Sunday sacredness in Sacred Scripture. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20).
Someone tried to change the Sabbath to Sunday. If the change is valid, who authorized it? Nowhere in the Bible do we find the change. God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). The Ten Commandments are His own covenant (Deuteronomy 4:13). He will not break the covenant or alter His words (Psalm 89:34). He keeps His covenant for a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9). His acts stand forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
We know that Jesus did not change the law and the Sabbath. Christ is the active agent in God's plans, by whom God created all things (Ephesians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 8:6) Christ, as Creator, made the Sabbath in the beginning, so He could not have come to earth to destroy it (John 1:1-3, 14; Genesis 2:1-3). We know, from Scripture, that it was Christ who led the Israelites in the wilderness, and who therefore gave them the law on Mount Sinai (Nehemiah 9:12-13 with 1 Corinthians 10:4).
While here on earth, Christ kept His Father's commandments (John 15:10). Jesus did no sin (1 Peter 2:22), and "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). Indeed, Christ came to fulfill (keep) the law, not to destroy it.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19).
The Greek word for "fulfill" means "to give a perfect example of." Christ came to magnify the law (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28). He Himself kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). He openly ignored the Jewish Sabbath laws not found in the Bible (Luke 6:1-11). He indicated that the Sabbath was to be sacredly observed forty years after Calvary. "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." (Matthew 24:20).
Did Paul change God's law or Sabbath? He would have no authority to do that; only the God of heaven could do that. And Paul specifically said that he did not attempt to do so. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3:31).
However, keeping of the yearly sabbaths (the ceremonial sabbaths), were eliminated at Calvary (Colossians 2:16). This includes the Passover, Pentecost, etc.
Do men claim that there is Bible proof for the change? Roman Catholics say there is absolutely no Bible proof.
Cardinal Gibbons declared:
"You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday."Faith of Our Fathers, p. 89.
"There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the Seventh to the first day of the week . . Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely not."Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual, in a paper read to a New York Ministers' Conference, November 13, 1893.
Historians tell us the change did not come until long after the Bible was finished.
"Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, A.D. 321."Chamber's Encyclopedia, article, "Sabbath."
The Roman Catholic Church made the change over three centuries after Calvary.
"Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the council of Laodicea [A.D. 336], transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."Peter Geiermann, Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p. 50 [R.C.].
For a better way of life, we want to enter more fully into God's rest for our souls. That rest is found, not only in physical rest, but also in the Sabbath rest. And our kind heavenly Father has promised that, if we keep His Sabbath holy, we will receive the blessing He placed in the keeping that day!
Surely, that is not something we want to miss! We can always know that what God wants to give usis always the best for us!
Thank the Lord for His wonderful blessings to us! He loves us more than we will ever know!