Sabbath is from the Hebrew shabbath meaning day of rest. The rest, though important, is incidental to the true keeping of the Sabbath. The important thing to remember is the Sabbath is a Holy Day. A day for the sons and daughters of God to turn to the Lord through church attendance, prayer, scripture study and serving others. It is a time for building close family relations and strengthening our spiritually.
History of the Sabbath
From Adam to the Exodus from Egypt
The Sabbath commemorated that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ had rested from their labors in creating the earth. “And 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 in the Bible)
From Exodus to the day of Resurrection
The Sabbath also commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. “Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5: 12,15)
From the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Present
From the days of the early Apostles until today, the Sabbath has been the first day of the week in commemoration of the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected and came forth out of the Grave on Sunday the first day of the week. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them …” (Acts 20: 7 in the Bible)
The apostle John received the revelation contained in the Book of Revelation on the Lord’s day. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book,…” (Revelation 1: 10-11 in the Bible)
Keep the Sabbath Holy
The Savior instructed us to keep the Sabbath holy. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20: 8 in the Bible) “And he commanded them that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy, and also every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.” (Mosiah 18: 23 in the Book of Mormon) The Savior Jesus Christ adds to our understanding of the blessings of keeping the Sabbath holy and keeping His commandments. “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High”. (Doctrine & Covenants 59: 9-12)
Covenant with God
“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” (Exodus 31: 16 in the Bible)
“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 in the Bible) The meaning of “to ride upon the high places of the earth” is receiving the abundance of life’s blessings and spiritual help from the Lord.
Suggestions for the Sabbath Day
What things could we do to keep it a holy day to the Lord.
- We can attend our church meetings, pray, study the scriptures to draw closer to God
- We can spend time with family members to lift and strengthen family ties.
- We can visit the sick, down-trodden, lonely and anyone we know that needs a friend or listening ear.
- We can provide service to anyone we know that needs help.
- Personal and family planning, rest, read an uplifting book, walk with family or friends.
- Take time to enjoy the beauties of nature and express gratitude to our Lord for them.