The Sabbath and the End

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(Revelation 13 & 14, Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 8

The Sabbath and the End

(Revelation 13 & 14, Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Have you considered that the name “conservative” means an attitude of conserving things? Keeping things as they are currently? In the United States we face a movement trying to erase our history rather than conserve it. The history reflected in statues and building names is being erased by tearing down the statues and renaming buildings. Whether this is good or bad depends on your view. But this tearing down is nothing new. Revelation 14:7 tells us to worship our Creator God. Satan has been tearing down the reminders of our Creator God for some time. We have considered how he attacked the creation account and how he is attacking marriage in several ways. This week we turn our study to how Satan has been attacking the Sabbath, the weekly reminder of the Creation. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Worship
    1. Read Revelation 14:7 and Revelation 14:9. What are the opposing calls to worship? (One call is to worship the Creator God. The other call is to worship some things called “the beast” and “its image.”)
    2. Read Revelation 13:4-6. Who is the dragon and what is the dragon’s relationship with the beast? (We know from Revelation 12:7-9 that the dragon is Satan. That makes the beast Satan’s agent.)
    3. Read Revelation 13:7-8. What does the beast do on Satan’s behalf? (It makes war against God’s people. It demands worship.)
      1. How important is the decision on who we will worship? (If we worship the beast, which is worshiping Satan, then we are lost. Those whose names are written in the book of life worship God and not the beast or Satan.)
    4. Re-read Revelation 14:9 and read Revelation 14:11. How can we tell those who worship the beast? (The beast worshipers receive “a mark on [their] forehead or on [their] hand.” This mark represents the name of the beast.)
      1. Notice the link between the mark and the name. How do you understand this connection? (The mark reflects the character of the beast, who is the agent of Satan.)
    5. Read Revelation 14:12. What does this tell us is the counterpoint to those who decide to worship the beast and receive its mark? (The saints have faith in Jesus for their salvation and take God’s commandments seriously.)
  2. The Sabbath
    1. Read Genesis 2:1-3. What does the “seventh day” represent? (It is a holy memorial to creation.)
      1. We just learned that the mark of the beast reflects the character of Satan’s agent. Does the Sabbath reflect the character of Jesus? The character of His creative work?
    2. Read Exodus 20:8-11. Again we are told that the seventh day Sabbath is “holy.” What do you think the phrase “the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” means?
      1. What were the people supposed to do in place of work? (The day was meant for worship of our Creator God. This demonstrates why Revelation 14:11-12 makes the connection between commandment keepers and the issue of receiving the mark. Those who have faith in Jesus and keep His commandments (including the fourth) are worshiping God and not Satan.)
      2. Is it reasonable to conclude that the “mark” of false worship is the day on which a person worships? (Discussing why we worship on Sabbath will help to make this clear. We turn next to the reasons to worship on the seventh day Sabbath.)
  3. Reasons For Sabbath Worship
    1. Re-read Exodus 20:11. Why are we told to worship on Sabbath? (It acknowledges the creative power of God and His decision to rest.)
    2. Read Deuteronomy 5:15. The Ten Commandments are restated in Deuteronomy 5. What reason is given here for worshiping on Sabbath? (Freedom from slavery due to the “mighty hand” of God.)
    3. Read Luke 23:54-56. What group do we seeing observing the Sabbath? (These are the followers of Jesus at the time of His crucifixion and entombment.)
    4. Read John 19:31-33 and John 20:17. While Jesus’ followers were resting on the Sabbath, these texts (and their greater context) show that Jesus was also resting in the grave the seventh day. On Sunday He explains that He had not yet ascended to heaven. Why the rest? Why the delay in His resurrection? Why not fly off the cross in plain sight of those who killed and mocked Him?
    5. We have seen that the Sabbath celebrates the Creation and it celebrates the defeat of the Egyptian slave masters. Jesus used it to celebrate His defeat of sin and the one who claimed to be the ruler of the earth. See Matthew 4:8-9. Can you summarize the Biblical reasons to worship on the seventh-day? (It is about the power of God to bless us and give us freedom. Jesus turned nothing into a perfect creation. He defeated the powerful Egyptians (and their supposed gods) to free His people. Jesus defeated Satan to free us from sin and eternal death.)
    6. Let’s get back to the “mark” issue that reflects the character and power of Satan. When you ignore the Sabbath, what are your actions saying? (That you reject Jesus’ power of creation, His freedom, and His salvation. You are allied instead with the enemy of those things.)
      1. Is the foregoing an overstatement?
    7. Read Isaiah 66:22-23. Where is this taking place? (In heaven!)
      1. What is the purpose of the Sabbath in heaven? (Worship! This reinforces the idea that the Sabbath is central to the issue of worshiping God.)
      2. These people have chosen God. They have not received the mark of the beast. Isn’t the Sabbath old history? Something of relevance only in the past? (Consider this Sabbath worship in accord with the history of Sabbath worship. We add to the celebration of the Creation, freedom from slavery, the defeat of sin and Satan, the celebration of a new heaven, a new earth, and the end of sin. Of course Sabbath is still celebrated in heaven!)
    8. Look again at Exodus 20:11. We see the central idea of rest. Is rest still relevant in heaven? (We are still resting in the power and the victory of our God.)
  4. A Hard Look at Counter Arguments
    1. If you agree that Satan is frantically tearing down all memorials to our Creator God, what is your attitude about substitutions for the memorials other than the Sabbath? Specifically, would a belief in same sex marriage be an acceptable substitute for what God designed in Eden? Would the view that gender is an arbitrary label slapped on you at birth be an acceptable substitute for the binary sex designed by God?
      1. If you answered, “no,” to these questions, then is the substitution of the first day of the week an acceptable memorial?
    2. Nowhere in the Bible is there a command to keep Sunday. At best the argument is that the specific day doesn’t matter. Is that true? (If the day doesn’t matter then the other memorials coming out of Eden don’t matter either. In fact, only the Sabbath is specifically given as a memorial to Creation.)
    3. The Council of Laodicea took place 363 to 364 AD. Canon 29 of that Council specifically states the change in the day of worship: “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.”
      1. To my knowledge this is the only written authority for the change. As you look at it, on what is it based? (Prejudice against Jews.)
      2. If hatred of the Jews is sufficient to change the Fourth Commandment, what about the rest of the commandments? Aren’t they also Jewish?
      3. If hatred of the Jews is sufficient to ignore the consistent statements of the Bible on the Sabbath, what about the other things written in the gospels? What about the writings of Paul?
    4. Friend, a war is going on over the memorials to God’s Creation. A war over worship. Will you join those who stand against erasing the memorials? Will you stand with those who worship God? Why not, by the power of the Holy Spirit, take your stand right now?
  5. Next week: A City Called Confusion.