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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Sabbath (rest). Exodus 16:23. The institution of a day of rest is founded in man's nature, and dates back to Paradise. Genesis 2:2-3. The term is used of days or times, generally every seventh day, or a seventh portion of time, separated and sanctified for God's service, Leviticus 19:3; Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 25:4, and in the original text of the New Testament for a whole week. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2. In a spiritual sense it designates the eternal rest in heaven. Hebrews 4:9 margin, and Greek. The fourth commandment, Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15, enjoins no specific religious service, except in the general direction to keep it holy. Subsequent legislation made it a day of holy convocation. The sacrifices of the temple were doubled; the shew-bread was changed; the inner court of the temple was opened for solemn services: the prophets and the Levites took the occasion for imparting religious instruction to the people. It was a day of holy joy. Indeed, the fear was that the day would be "wasted by idleness and degraded by sensuality and drunkenness," because it was so joyous. Nehemiah 8:9-12; Hosea 2:11. Christ kept the Sabbath in the highest sense of the term. He observed every jot and tittle of the Mosaic Law in the freedom of the spirit. From him we learn that acts of necessity and mercy are to be performed on that day, but that worldly occupations are to be put as far as possible out of our thoughts. It is true we transfer the observance of the Sabbath to the first day of the week, but we do not thereby violate the spirit of the divine law; for what God asked for was the seventh of our entire time. We have a warrant for this change. Upon the first day of the week Christ arose from the dead. We find the disciples, before the Ascension, assembled on that day, and Jesus appeared to them. John 20:26. According to tradition, which is confirmed by every probability, the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost was on Sunday. Paul preached at Troas on the first day of the week—evidently, among those Christians, the day of religious service. Acts 20:7. Paul tells the Corinthians that every one is to lay by him in store upon the first day of the week as he is prospered. 1 Corinthians 16:2. It was upon the Lord's day—and by this name he calls it—that John on Patmos saw through the opened door into heaven. Revelation 1:10. Around the Lord's day we do well to throw safeguards. It is, in a sense, the palladium of Christian liberty. The various states and cities have good laws for the protection of the civil Sabbath and against its open desecration. The American churches are unanimously in favor of a quiet Sabbath, in opposition to the evils of the so-called "continental Sunday," and earnest efforts have been made to protect us against them. See Lord's Day.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Sabbath'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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