1. THE SIGN OF THE NEW COVENANT
a. How long did God intend for His covenant to last and to which covenant is this referring? Exodus 31:16; Hebrews 8:10.
b. From what did God rest during creation week and what does rest have to do with the new covenant? Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 35:2; 20:11.
c. How does rest from physical work illustrate rest in a spiritual sense? Hebrews 4:4, 10; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Ezekiel 20:12.
d. When a person is born again (John 3:5, 6), what kind of works cease in their life? Galatians 5:19–21; Exodus 31:15.
“To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 350.
2. DIVINE POWER
a. Why did the Hebrew nation fail to enter into God’s spiritual rest—and what warning then comes to us? Hebrews 4:1, 2; 3:12, 19; 4:4–6.
“The cause of Israel’s weakness lay in their departure from God by disobedience to His commandments. The reason of the weakness and backsliding of modern Israel is their neglect to obey the divine law. God requires from all mankind obedience to His commandments. The whole world will be judged by the moral law according to their opportunity of becoming acquainted with it, whether by reason, or tradition, or the written word.”—The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1881.
b. How did Israel come to this point in their unbelief? Did it occur suddenly—and how did it actually begin? Hebrews 3:8–11, 15–18.
“When men yield their hearts to unbelief, they place themselves under the control of Satan, and none can tell to what lengths he will lead them.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 389.
c. Is it possible to keep the Sabbath holy if we have not experienced spiritual victory in our lives? Explain. 1 John 5:4.
“Every failure on the part of the children of God is due to their lack of faith.”—Ibid., p. 657.
“So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. . . .
“No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ. When the command was given to Israel, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’ the Lord said also to them, ‘Ye shall be holy men unto Me.’ Exodus 20:8; 22:31. Only thus could the Sabbath distinguish Israel as the worshipers of God.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 283.
a. Does justification begin with obedience? How is this manifested in Sabbathkeeping? Romans 3:28; Deuteronomy 5:15.
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 111.
“We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”—Steps to Christ, p. 62.
“Jesus loves to have us come to Him just as we are, sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all impurity.”—Ibid., p. 52.
b. How does the creation week illustrate the divine power to bring forgiveness and transformation of character? Exodus 31:16, 17; Psalm 51:10.
“The Sabbath is a sign of Christ’s power to make us holy.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 288.
c. Can we say that the same process of creation takes place in conversion? 2 Corinthians 5:17.
“As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.”—Christ Object Lessons, p. 163.
“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 324.
a. How does the Sabbath illustrate sanctification? Leviticus 20:7, 8; Exodus 31:13.
b. As God’s priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), what must we do weekly just prior to sunset on the sixth day of the week? Nehemiah 13:22, 19.
c. What is symbolized by when the shewbread was prepared—and how does this help in sanctification? 1 Chronicles 9:32; John 6:48, 53, 54, 56, 63; Hebrews 4:12.
“Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God means studying God’s word.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1683.
“As the blood is in the body, so the life of Christ must be in those that present the Word, circulating through them as a vitalizing power. The man is not to be exalted. It is the Holy Spirit that changes the sinners heart, and pardons his transgression and sin, giving him peace, and joy, and light in the Lord. No power but the truth as it is in Jesus can sanctify the heart.”—Letters and Manuscript, vol. 12 (1897), Ms 138, 1897.
“The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe would we open God’s word, and with what earnestness would we search its precepts! The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 393.
d. What important activity is necessary on the Sabbath, especially as we approach the end of time? Leviticus 23:3; Hebrews 10:24–26.
“When our brethren voluntarily absent themselves from religious meetings, when God is not thought of and reverenced, when He is not chosen as their counselor and their strong tower of defense, how soon secular thoughts and wicked unbelief come in, and vain confidence and philosophy take the place of humble, trusting faith.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 426, 427.
“Never entertain the thought that you can be Christians and yet withdraw within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the nature and quality of your experience will be largely determined by the experiences of those with whom you associate.”—Ibid., vol. 7, p. 190.
5. THE SABBATH BLESSING
a. What do we receive when we thoroughly enjoy the Sabbath in our lives? Isaiah 56:2; 58:14; Psalm 144:15.
“To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 289.
b. For whom was the Sabbath designed and what does it become when we accept it fully in both a literal manner as well as a spiritual manner? Mark 2:27, 28; Ezekiel 20:20; Hebrews 4:9.
“The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness. To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 350.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How important is the new covenant and the new birth to the true keeping of the Sabbath?
2. In order to keep the Sabbath holy, what type of experience do we need?
3. How is justification illustrated in the way God delivered Israel from Egypt?
4. How can a person maintain a sanctified holy experience?
5. What special blessing do we receive when we truly keep the Sabbath as God intended?