Deut. 5 Lesson 2


While we are in this chapter, we would like to cover one of the more controversial of the laws, the Sabbath, vv.12-15. There can be no doubt that this has become one of the most neglected of the ten words of God, the Ten commandments.

We will have to say that the removal of this portion of the covenant-law from public life is only a reflection of the removal of God from society.

In this lesson we will look at the OT law and principles contained therein. In the next lesson, we will look at the Christian Sabbath.

"The pattern of the sabbath is God's creation rest; the goal of the sabbath is man's redemptive rest." Institutes, pg. 128.

1. What was the reason behind the OT sabbath, Ex. 31:17? _______________________________

a. In addition, observing the sabbath showed what, Ez. 20:12, 13? (Hint, the opposite of rebellion, v. 13.) ____________________________________________________________________________

The observance of the sabbath would be obvious for all to see. This would be a clear testimony as to who was the god of the nation.

2. The sabbath was given for who's benefit, Mk. 2:27? _________________________________

a. What does sabbath mean, Ex. 31:15?_________________________________________________

b. Who all was included in this sabbath, Deut. 5:14? ____________________________________

3. What else was included in this law of the sabbath, Lev. 25:2? ______________________

a. The sabbath portion of the law was so important to the Lord that He did what because it was not kept, 2 Chron. 36:21? __________________________________________________________

1.) This means that how long had the people ignored this requirement?_____________________

4. How many days did the Lord give man to work in, Deut. 5:13? _________________________

5. Who is our example, Ex. 20:11?


6. Remembering the sabbath day is contrasted with what, Deut. 5:15? __________________

This is one of the most obvious points about this sabbath law which is all around us. As this law is ignored by the church and then by society in general, the employed becomes no more than a servant to the employer who makes unlimited demands upon his time. As the sabbath has been removed, so has the family. The day that once encouraged family unity is now at war against the family, little more than another work day. The family unity is not even considered in a pagan work force.

7. Under the OT economy, where was the sabbath observed, Lev. 23:3?_______________________

The OT law did not require worship as we think of it because worship was (and is) a family matter. The OT law required rest.

The next logical step would be that the sabbath basically meant salvation and looked forward to the deliverance from the power of sin that was coming in Christ.
8. The sabbath was given to Israel to commemorate what, Deut. 5:15?_______________________

Because the basic meaning of the sabbath was salvation, what was permitted on the sabbath.
a. Mk. 3:4? ________________________________________________________________
b. Lk. 14:3, 4? _________________________________________________________
c. Lk. 14:5?________________________________________________________________
d. Lk. 6:1-5?_______________________________________________________________

Under the Maccabees, self-defense was permitted.

9. How important did the Lord regard the sabbath? What was the result of its violation, Ex. 31:15? ____________________________________________

10. We are in the midst of a war against the sabbath, because the sabbath speaks of a God who controls all things and a people who recognize that control. As this war is carried on against God in these many areas of society, what will be the result in that area, Pro. 8:36?__________


In conclusion to our overview of the OT law in this area, let us deal with a greatly misunderstood point, the seventh day. The sabbath did not always fall on a Saturday, as we would think of it. The day on which the sabbath would fall would rotate, like our birthday would rotate. Therefore, any effort to treat our modern Saturday as the OT sabbath would be clearly unbiblical.

"Since the date of the month was constant, the day of the week was variable. "This means that once in seven years each of them would fall on every single day of the week, just as your birthday comes on a different day of the week every year." To cite Ewing further,
But this is not all. According to Exodus 12:3, 5, 6, 24 and Leviticus 23:15, the 10th, 14th and 16th of Abib could never be Sabbaths because they were work days of specific command: real work like cleaning house, butchering cattle, and reaping fields. We know these dates would fall on Saturday once every seven years and if Saturday were the Sabbath there would be a conflict of commands. There would be three dates in which Israel is commanded to work falling every seventh year on days in which Israel was commanded not to work. We know that never happened, because God is not the author of confusion.

We have now shown by Scripture, and the calendar disclosed therein, that Israel's Sabbaths were fixed to fall on the same dates of the month every year. With these fifteen regular Sabbaths coming on the same dates every year and the three commanded work days coming on the same dates every year, it is impossible for Saturday to have been the Sabbath.
If the year had 365 days in it and we divide 365 by 7 we get 52 weeks and one day left over. The question then is, where did the extra day go? That was absorbed by a 48-hour Sabbath on the 4th and 5th of Sivan as shown by Leviticus 23:15, 16 and 21. This changed the day of the week on which the Sabbath was celebrated each year, but also maintained the fixed Sabbaths on the same day of the month and the 7-day cycle. . . .
There is nothing in the Bible to determine the length of a Sabbath. The Scriptures use the same word to describe: (1) A rest one day long (Ex. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15), (2) A rest two days long (Lev. 23:15, 16, 21), (3) A rest one year long (Lev. 25:4, 8), (4) A rest two years long (Lev. 25:8-12), (5) A rest seventy years long (II Chron. 36:21).
The meaning of the word "Sabbath" is cessation or rest. One cannot rest twice unless he has worked between those rests. This 48 hour Sabbath was not two rests or Sabbaths but a lengthening out of the one rest or Sabbath through two days. As a illustration, note that the rest of the land during the whole of every 49th and 50th year was not two rests to the land, but one rest to the land during the two whole years, hence a Sabbath two years long once in fifty years. Just so, when God required "the seventh Sabbath" and the "morrow after the seventh Sabbath" both to be a Sabbath, it was one Sabbath 48 hours, long because no work came between them.

In like manner, by a law of necessity, we know that 3 days of the additional 5 days at the end of the year were added at the end of the month Elul, because we have shown that the 1st of Tisri had to be a Sabbath every year. The last Sabbath of Elul was the 27th of the month, thus leaving only 3 more days in the month; but, in order to have 6 days labor before another Sabbath, 3 days have to be added here. After the same manner we know that the 2 remaining days of the 5 supplementary days were added at the end of Adar. We have shown that the 1st of Abib in every year was a Sabbath; but the last Sabbath of Adar was on the 26th, leaving 4 days of the 30. So, in order to have 6 days labor before the next Sabbath, we must insert the 2 extra days of labor here."


Curtis Clair Ewing, Israel's Calendar and the True Sabbath (Los Angeles: The National Message Ministry, n.d.), p. 9. (As cited by R. J. Rushdoony, Institutes, pgs. 135, 136.)