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Bible Study Seventeen: The Fourth Commandment



1. How does the fourth commandment read? Exodus 20:8-11

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

The seventh-day Sabbath is to be remembered, not forgotten and certainly not changed. It points to God as the Creator of heaven and earth. It distinguishes the true God from all false gods. As such, the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath shows our allegiance to the authority of God. He is the Lawgiver and the Lifegiver. The Eternal One has chosen the seventh-day of the week for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

God has given us six days to do our secular work, but the seventh is the Lord’s day. While we may care for the sick on the Sabbath, and pull our ox out of the pit, we are not to do any unnecessary secular work on the Sabbath. When we discuss business matters on the Sabbath, we show that we care more about our businesses than our worship of God. Even if we do not engage in business activities, God is dishonored when we discuss such things during the Sabbath hours. See Isaiah 58:13, 14.

But it is more than just business matters that are forbidden. Anything of a worldly character should be avoided. Therefore, let us not end the week with more of the world, but more of Christ.

The fourth commandment completes the first table of the Decalogue as the seventh day is the climax of the week. While the first commandment directs us to put God first and to worship Him and Him alone, the second commandment teaches us how to worship the true God and how not to worship Him. The third commandment tells us to approach the only true God in reverence and awe. The fourth commandment sets forth a specific day to be completely devoted to the worship of the one true God.

2. What other beautiful institution did God establish at the time of Creation? Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:21-24

The seventh-day Sabbath was instituted at the time of creation. See Genesis 2:1-3. It will continue through all eternity. See Isaiah 66:22. 23. Family was also instituted at the time of creation. As might be expected, Satan is out to destroy both of these two Edenic institutions.

Now the Sabbath commandment and the fifth commandment to honor our father and mother are the two links between the two tables of God’s commandments. It is in the home where we should learn to love the Sabbath and the worship of the one true God.

3. How many days does the Sabbath direct us to labor? Exodus 20:8-11

The fourth commandment does not deal with the Sabbath alone, but embraces the entire week. We are admonished to work six days as much as we are to rest on the seventh. God designed that the day of rest follows the six days of labor

Labor was part of God’s original plan to be a blessing to man. Working six days and resting on the seventh helps man to maintain good physical health. The word “Sabbath” means “rest,” and refers to both physical and spiritual rest. Man needs spiritual rest as much as physical rest.

Jesus said the “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27. Therefore the Sabbath must have been made and given to man when man was made, and will continue to bless man as long as he lives.

4. Did Jesus keep the seventh day Sabbath? Luke 4:16

Christ Himself kept the seventh-day Sabbath. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16.

5. Did the apostle continue to keep the Sabbath after Christ’s death and resurrection? Acts 16:13

The apostles and the early church keep the Sabbath. Consider the following passages: “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13
“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scripture.” Acts 17:2;

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. . . And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” Acts 18:4, 11.

6. What are some lessons in keeping the Sabbath holy? Isaiah 58:13, 14

In Isaiah 58, we are told how we are to keep the Sabbath holy. We are not to go our “own ways” or to find our “own pleasure” on God’s holy day. Nor should we speak our “own words” by planning work of the coming week or discussing business or personal affairs. All secular matter should be forgotten on the Sabbath, that we may refresh ourselves in the Lord.

We are to keep the seventh day Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. All the days in the creation week began at sunset until the next sunset. See Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

7. What is the Sabbath a sign of? Ezekiel 20:12

The Sabbath not only reminds us of the original creation, but also of re-creation. It is the sign of sanctification. The Bible says, “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12.

8. How are God’s people described in the end of time? Revelation 14:12

The description of God’s people in the end of time is that they will keep all Ten Commandments, which includes the fourth. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

Here is my concern. In one form or another, most Christians are breaking the Ten Commandments. Millions worship relics, statues, and other objects. Millions offer their prayers to someone other than Jesus. God’s name is often used flippantly amongst professed believers. We know that most of the Christian world does not keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Yet, the Bible says that God will have a commandment-keeping people in the end of time. They will follow Jesus wherever He goes. They will be keeping all of the Ten Commandments.

Think about it. If I kept the first commandment and made God first, best, and most, then I would draw closer to God and would know Him more. If I kept the second commandment and truly worshiped Him in spirit and truth by my loving obedience to His words, then I would be protected against all forms of false worship. If I kept the third commandment and always maintain a reverence for God I would be more careful in the things I do and say. If I kept the fourth commandment by keeping the seventh-day Sabbath I would recognize His authority over me by both creation and re-creation. Every one of these first four commandments is important for our spiritual growth. They are paramount to our relationship with God.

Every road leads somewhere. Obedience leads us to God, and disobedience puts a distance between us and Jesus. Every compromise makes us less capable of loving God with our whole heart. Obedience helps us to know God better.

Now there are six more commandments. These have to do with our relationship with our fellowman.



The Fourth Commandment


“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

The seventh-day Sabbath is to be remembered, not forgotten and certainly not changed. It points to God as the Creator of heaven and earth. It distinguishes the true God from all false gods. As such, the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath shows our allegiance to the authority of God. He is the Lawgiver and Lifegiver, and has chosen the seventh-day of the week for us to set apart from the rest of the week to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

God has given us six days to do our secular work, but the seventh is the Lord’s day. While we may care for the sick on the Sabbath, and pull our ox out of the pit, we are not to do any unnecessary work on the Sabbath. When we discuss business matters on the Sabbath, we show that we care more about our businesses than our worship of God. Even if we do not engage in business activities, God is dishonored when we discuss such things during the Sabbath hours. See Isaiah 58:13, 14.

But it is more than just business matters that are forbidden. Anything of a worldly character should be avoided. Therefore let us not end the week with more of the world, but more of Christ.

The fourth commandment completes the first table of the Decalogue as the seventh day is the climax of the week. While the first commandment directs us to put God first and to worship Him and Him alone, the second commandment teaches us how to worship the true God and how not to worship Him. The third commandment tells us to approach the only true God in reverence and awe. The fourth commandment sets forth a specific day to be completely devoted to the worship of the one true God.

The Sabbath and Family


The seventh-day Sabbath was instituted at the time of creation. See Genesis 2:1-3. It will continue through all eternity. See Isaiah 66:22. 23. Family was also instituted at the time of creation. As might be expected, Satan is out to destroy both of these two Edenic institutions.

Now the Sabbath commandment and the fifth commandment to honor our father and mother are the links together the two tables of God’s commandments. It is in the home where we should learn to love the Sabbath and the worship of the one true God.

Six Days of Labor



The fourth commandment does not deal with the Sabbath alone, but embraces the entire week. We are admonished to work six days as much as we are to rest on the seventh. God designed that the day of rest follows the six days of labor

Labor was part of God’s original plan to be a blessing to man. Working six days and resting on the seventh helps man to maintain good physical health. The word “Sabbath” means “rest,” and refers to both physical and spiritual rest. Man needs spiritual rest as much as physical rest.

Jesus said the “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27. Therefore the Sabbath must have been made and given to man when man was made, and will continue to bless man as long as he lives.

Jesus and the Sabbath


Christ Himself kept the seventh-day Sabbath. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16.

The apostles and the early church keep the Sabbath. Consider the following passages: “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scripture.” Acts 17:2;

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. . . And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” Acts 18:4, 11.

In Isaiah 58, we are told how we are to keep the Sabbath holy. We are not to go our “own ways” or to find our “own pleasure” on God’s holy day. Nor should we speak our “own words” by planning work of the coming week or discussing business or personal affairs. All secular matter should be forgotten on the Sabbath, that we may refresh ourselves in the Lord.

The Sabbath not only reminds us of the original creation, but also of re-creation. It is the sign of sanctification. The Bible says, “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12.

We are to keep the seventh day Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. All the days in the creation week began at sunset until the next sunset. See Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

The description of God’s people in the end of time is that they will keep all Ten Commandments, which includes the fourth. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

Here is my concern. In one form or another, most Christians are breaking the Ten Commandments. Millions worship relics, statues, and other objects. Millions offer their prayers to someone other than Jesus. God’s name is often used flippantly amongst professed believers. We know that most of the Christian world does not keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Yet, the Bible says that God will have a commandment-keeping people in the end of time. They will follow Jesus wherever He goes. They will be keeping all of the Ten Commandments.

Think about it. If I kept the first commandment and made God first, best, and most, then I would draw closer to God and would know Him more. If I kept the second commandment and truly worshiped Him in spirit and truth by my loving obedience to His words, then I would be protected against all forms of false worship. If I kept the third commandment and always maintain a reverence for God I would be more careful in the things I do and say. If I kept the fourth commandment by keeping the seventh-day Sabbath I would recognize His authority over me by both creation and re-creation. Every one of these first four commandments is important for our spiritual growth. They are paramount to our relationship with God.

Now there are six more commandments. These have to do with our relationship with our fellowman. If you do not have a copy of our companion booklet entitled, The Ten Commandments: Man’s Relationship with His Fellowman, please visit our website to order a copy. www.reformerpress.com

This is an important matter. This is about becoming more loving. It is about recognizing God’s authority over us. Each one of us has the power of choice, the power of decision. It is important that we follow the Lamb. God has made it very plain how we are to follow.

Every road leads somewhere. Obedience leads us to God, and disobedience puts a distance between us and Jesus. Every compromise makes us less capable of loving God with our whole heart. Obedience helps us to know God better.