Sabbath School Lesson for May 13-19, 2023

Overview of Lesson 8, The Sabbath and the End

Memory Text: “And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:9 NKJV

Topics studied this week include:

  • Sunday: The Judgment, Creation, and Accountability–We have been created by God and are accountable to Him, our Judge.
  • Monday: The Sabbath and Creation–The basis for Sabbath worship is the fact that we were created by God.
  • Tuesday: A Not-So-Subtle Deception–Satan has masterfully caused us to question Creation, leading to skepticism about His entire word.
  • Wednesday: Creation, the Sabbath, and the End Time–The three angels’ messages, given in the last days, call us to recognize God, our Creator on the Sabbath.
  • Thursday: The Sabbath and Eternal Rest–The Sabbath will remain a symbol of rest after Creation, even in the new earth, when we enter our eternal rest.

Although the Sabbath isn’t mentioned specifically in the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, there is a call to recognize and worship God as our Creator (Revelation 14:7). This is best done by resting on the day He gave us for worship. He has declared the seventh day a day of rest, making it a symbol of His rest after Creation week (Exodus 20:8-12). This holy time allows us to rest from our own labors and experience a special closeness with Him. True worship will always be lacking without this reminder of His creatorship on the seventh day.

The reason the Sabbath is important in the last days is because we have largely forgotten its true meaning and purpose. Satan has been successful in diverting us to worship on another day. Not only that, but many have developed an incorrect understanding of the sanctity of Sabbath. Not knowing how to properly observe the Sabbath has resulted in either a too lax or a too stringent form of worship. Satan doesn’t care how he carries out his deceptions, so long as they cause us to fail in our worship of the Creator.

Sunday: The Judgment, Creation, and Accountability

Our Judge and Creator holds us accountable for keeping His law. That law is clearly spelled out for us in James 2:8-13 as the Ten Commandment Law, which includes the fourth commandment about the Sabbath. We have a moral obligation to worship God the best we know how by remembering His day of worship and praising Him always for His wonderful Creation.

Our all-knowing God knew that His Sabbath would be the prime target of Satan’s attacks, because it’s a day all about worship. Thus, God said for us to “remember” His holy seventh-day when He gave the tablets of law to Moses (Exodus 20:8). And once again, He included a special invitation to worship Him as the Creator in His last day messages to the church (Revelation 14:7).

Being faithful in the Sabbath commandment shows our commitment to follow God by acknowledging Him as our Creator. He not only made Adam and Eve, but He re-makes us when we give Him our love and loyal obedience. Double reason to worship Him on the day He has given us.

Bible Verses:

James 2:8-13

  • Why does this New Testament writer clearly support the Ten Commandments found in the Old Testament?
  • Why is love and mercy mentioned so often in this passage?
  • Why is the Law referred to as the “law of  liberty”? What does it free us from?

Romans 14:10

  • How is judgment of our brother different than God’s judgment of us?

Monday: The Sabbath and Creation

The Sabbath, going back to Adam and Eve, is an unbroken connection between humanity and our Creator. The call to worship our Creator in the fourth commandment and in the first angel’s message is a call to go back to our roots. Not only that, but it links us to the glorious new heavens and earth in the future, providing us with a timeless, eternal link to our heavenly Father.

The Sabbath is a symbol of of our rest in Jesus, the One who gave us life, but also died our death so we can have eternal life. It’s a reminder of resting in His righteousness, rather than our own works–of receiving His grace, not relying on our legalistic obedience–of depending on God, rather than ourselves.

Bible Verses:

Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, and Deuteronomy 5:12, 15

  • How do these verses provide context for the first angel’s message?
  • Why have we been told to worship God on the seventh day, His Sabbath?

Revelation 14:6, 7

  • Why does worshiping our Creator need to be mentioned in this end-time message?
  • How have worshiping on another day and the theory of evolution contributed to our neglect of worshiping our Creator?

Tuesday: A Not-So-Subtle Deception

The first two chapters of the Bible teach us how the creation of our world came about, including the sanctity of the Sabbath. The Hebrew word for “day” used in that passage is yom, the same word used throughout Scripture for a 24-hour day. And yet, Satan has blatantly deceived most of the world, first by getting them to substitute another day of rest, one that had not been declared holy, and then by introducing an alternative story for how we were created, known as evolution.

Belief in the theory of evolution has itself evolved and taken many forms. Some totally disregard the fact that a higher power had anything to do with it. And there are others who have since “sanitized” the theory and admit that a higher power could be involved, but that it still took eons of time to accomplish. Either conclusion diminishes the existence and power of God, expressed in Genesis 1 and 2.

The very word of God is brought into question by Satan with these deceptions. If God did not truly speak our world into existence, as we’re told in the Creation story, then we are left to question the spoken word of God in the rest of the Scriptures. And wasn’t this the result Satan was looking for with his deception of Eve when he convinced her that God’s word was not to be trusted?

Bible Verses:

Psalm 33:6, 9 and Hebrews 11:3

  • If God spoke our world into existence as both the Old and New Testaments claim, then why would He need more than six, literal days to do it? Why is it important to believe that Creation week was a period of seven, actual days?
  • What deceptions of Satan have drawn us away from our belief in God as our Creator?

Wednesday: Creation, the Sabbath, and the End Time

Although God’s final messages in the last days in Revelation 14 do not mention the Sabbath, they do draw our attention to God as our Creator (Revelation 14:7). The Sabbath was part of that creation. He made the Sabbath day holy, a perpetual sign for all time to remind us of our our roots, where we came from.

The central issue in the great controversy between God and Satan is worship. Will we worship God, our Creator, or Satan, His accuser? God reveals in the last days that He will ultimately win and Satan will lose this battle for our minds. We’ve been given the gift of choice. We can decide which side we will be on.

Our choice is revealed in our obedience to one of these competing powers. If we choose God and all the love He represents, we will wholeheartedly obey His law of love and keep the Ten Commandments. These Commandments spell out for us explicitly what is required of us–how we are to love and worship God, and how we are to love and respect our fellow human beings.

Bible Verses:

Revelation 14:11, 12, 1 John 5:3, and Matthew 5:19

  • Why is the Sabbath commandment especially important in our worship of God?

Thursday: The Sabbath and Eternal Rest

Abraham Heschel, a Jewish author, has called the Sabbath a “palace in time”. This seems a very appropriate way to envision our time with God. We are invited to spiritual fellowship with Him in His heavenly throne room every seventh day of the week. Experiencing the rest He provides us on that day thrills us with anticipation, as we contemplate resting with Him in the soon-coming new heavens and earth He has promised.

Isaiah, in describing this new heavens and earth, tells us that there will continue to be designated times to worship God there (Isaiah 66:22, 23). The Sabbath is specifically mentioned as one of those times. It is no doubt an eternal symbol of our rest in Christ.

Our awesome God, who has created everything we can see and touch, will create a new place for us to live that will be without sin. The Sabbath, in addition to giving us rest here on earth, is a small taste of our eternal rest with Him.

Bible Verses:

Isaiah 66:22, 23 and 2 Peter 3:13

  • How does the Sabbath remind you of your eternal rest when we get to heaven?

Friday: Final Thoughts

We look forward to getting away from our everyday labor and spending special, bonding time with our loved ones at least one day a week–usually on the weekend. God has the same desire for family closeness with His created beings, and that is why He has set aside one day a week to build our relationship with Him.

A welcome bonus of families drawing close together during their special, bonding time is that it makes them more loving and respectful of each other. The same happens with our heavenly Father. When we spend time with Him, not just every day, but on the special day He has given us, the Sabbath, we, too, find our love and respect growing for each other. Sabbath worship is a sweet experience,when we take time to contemplate all our Creator God has given us, and all He has done for us. He was there for us at the beginning, and He’ll be there for us all the way to the end.

Next Week: A City Called Confusion

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