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Exodus 20:11  (King James Version)
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<< Exodus 20:10   Exodus 20:12 >>


Exodus 20:11

Because God rested after six days of labor, the Sabbath is also our day of rest and a memorial of Creation. He wants us to remember, not only what He did in the physical creation, but also that His spiritual creation continues in us now. When God blessed and sanctified the seventh day, He made it holy, set apart for God's use! Only God can make a day holy, and He does this by putting Himself, through His Spirit, into it.

We are then instructed to "keep" it holy. Various scriptures give examples of things God prohibits on His Sabbath: working, cooking, carrying burdens. God does not make a comprehensive list of "dos and don'ts" for us to follow. Instead, He gives us principles of what is proper and improper Sabbath behavior, and we then must use God's Spirit to decide our actions.

Martin G. Collins
The Fourth Commandment



Exodus 20:8-11

The fourth commandment links the Sabbath to creation.

God did not rest as a result of tiredness because He does not get weary (Isaiah 40:28). In this, man is unlike God. We need to rest this physical body on the Sabbath. This ties the rhythm of our bodies to the rhythm in which God made the world. God rested from the achievement of the physical creation, but that does not indicate His rest means inactivity because God nurtures what He creates. This is why Jesus said that His Father is working. The Sabbath is especially a time of spiritual activity that the Father spends preparing His children for His Kingdom.

The Bible says He blessed the Sabbath day. To bless is to favor. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word means "to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc." Does God point out the fact that the proper observance of the Sabbath will go a long way toward promoting success in those who keep it? Yes, because He also sanctified it, consecrated it, hallowed it. He made it HOLY TIME!

It takes a holy God to make holy time, and this holy God made no time holy other than His Sabbaths. God can make man holy, but man cannot make anything holy. All of this is seen within the context of the seventh day, a specific day following the first six days of creation. Using any day other than the seventh day, the Sabbath, for the normal weekly worship of God is man-directed, and is neither blessed nor holy.

That the Sabbath is holy means it is worthy of respect, deference, even devotion not given other periods of time. It is set apart for sacred use because it is derived from God's own acts of creation and commands. The overall idea of the word holy is "different." Its root word means "cut," indicating "cut out," "separate," or in more modern terms, "a cut above." When it applies to God or those persons or objects He declares holy, a thing that is holy is different from the common. It is thus separate from others, cut out from the ordinary, or a cut above, indicating transcendence.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part One) (1997)



Exodus 20:8-11

Verse 10 plainly states the seventh day is God's Sabbath. This passage also shows that, although it is God's time, we still have a responsibility to ensure that we observe it properly. Verse 11 reiterates Genesis 2:1-3, that God Himself set the seventh day apart.

The context of the fourth commandment explains why He commands us to observe it. Notice Exodus 20:1-2: "And God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.'" Why do we keep the Sabbath holy? Why do we keep any of the commandments? Because God first acted to free us from spiritual Egypt, that is, slavery to sin. Before God began working with us, we had no power over sin; we were slaves to it, just as the Israelites were literal slaves to the Egyptians. When we choose to follow God and His way of life, we no longer serve sin but God, and God gives us everlasting life. Paul explains this in Romans 6:22-23:

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since Jesus Christ paid the ransom for our lives, freeing us from the bondage of sin, we are now subject to the laws of the Kingdom of God, one of which is the seventh-day Sabbath.

David C. Grabbe
It's Not Our Time



Exodus 20:8-11

Some ministers assert we have to keep only nine of the Ten Commandments. They teach that we do not have to keep the Sabbath commandment because God made an abrupt change upon the death of Jesus Christ. The Sabbath commandment is merely ceremonial, they say.

If it was merely ceremonial, why is it included in the Ten Commandments that God, with His own voice, spoke from the mount in the presence of all Israel? Why is it included in the Ten Commandments that God, with His own finger, wrote upon tablets of stone? Did He do these things with any lesser laws? Does this mean we are free to declare that one or more of the other commandments is also ceremonial? How about the second?

The Bible gives strong indication that the Sabbath has existed since Genesis 2. Jesus and the apostles clearly kept the Sabbath. Scripture does not indicate that they kept any other day or commanded any other day to be kept. In addition, there are prophecies that mention Israel keeping, not only the weekly Sabbath, but also the holy day Sabbaths in the future.

Even with all of this exemplary evidence, especially our Savior's and the apostles', they tell us that God changed. This is very interesting since there is no scripture saying that the Sabbath is merely ceremonial or that we may keep it according to our own discretion.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is God a False Minister?



Exodus 20:11

We honor men and women who have made significant contributions to mankind by setting apart a day as a memorial to them so others will remember their deeds and strive to emulate them. Hence, men celebrate the birthdays of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The Sabbath memorializes God. Compared to any man, God's contributions are beyond compare, but one stands out above all: He is Creator.

What an awesome contribution to consider! Everything in this fantastic floating greenhouse we call Earth is a tribute to His genius, power, and love. Mankind has yet to develop his first flea! Men can impart life only within the narrow parameters God has created. Yet if a man did develop even one flea, how much publicity would he seek? What would he demand as remuneration?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part One) (1997)



Exodus 20:8-11

We live in a grubby, grasping, material world. Every day challenges us with its built-in bias toward material things. With human nature ever-present within us, it is not hard to overlook spiritual things in the pressured rush to accomplish each day's work.

The Sabbath, though, almost forces us to think about the spiritual—about God and His ongoing spiritual creation in us. It presents us with the opportunity to consider the whys of life, to orient ourselves properly so that we can best use our time during the other six days. The Sabbath is the kernel, the nucleus, from which proper worship—our response to God—grows.

Existentialist philosophers say that life is absurd, that it is but a prelude to death. All of life, they proclaim, is virtually empty of value because it has no ultimate goal better than what one already has. Life is going nowhere. Yet, keeping the Sabbath is in fact a celebration of just the opposite: It is all about life and its great goal as planned by the very Creator! It concerns His ongoing creative process toward our being made into the spiritual image of His Son.

Life may indeed be stressful, tiring, and sometimes even frightening, but life is not absurd. It is a prelude to life on an infinitely greater and higher level. As we proceed through the time given to us, the more we become like Him, the more sanctified we become from the world. In this mentally refreshing and elevating experience, we have a tiny foretaste of what is to come.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment



Exodus 20:8-11

In verse 8, God says "Remember the Sabbath day." Then He tells us that we are to work six days, and the seventh day we are not to work. Verse 11 gives the reason why.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day [not a seventh day.] Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

This verse firmly establishes the Sabbath as law, a command to be kept. Yet, it is very clear that this law has its roots in Genesis 2:1-3, for there, God set the example in what He did. He rested, and He blessed the seventh day.

God could have rested at any time. Or, we might say, He needed no rest at all. But He rested. God does not grow weary or become tired. He could have ended the creative cycle at the end of the sixth day, but He did not. Creation did not cease at the end of the sixth day. This is a very important concept. The seventh day is also a creation of God. He kept right on creating, only this time He created by not working, by ceasing.

What did He do? He created a period of rest and of holy time. He created a specific period of time: the seventh day. What He created was just as real as the things created on the other six days. Thus, on the Sabbath, creating continued, but it took on a different form in that it was not outwardly visible. The Sabbath symbolizes to man that God is still creating.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 1)



Exodus 20:11

Some may use this verse to say that God created everything in six days. However, "heavens" refers to the earth's atmosphere, not to outer space. The Bible recognizes three heavens (II Corinthians 12:2). The first heaven is the earth's atmosphere; the second, outer space; and the third is the throne of God.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Genesis 1: Fact or Fiction?



Exodus 20:8-11

When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them a law for community relationships. Did He say, "All of My commandments you must keep—except for one"?

The Sabbath is not a minor ceremonial regulation that rarely affects man's relationship with God. It is one of the major Ten Commandments, the laws that spell out God's character, defining love and sin for us. This is why James explained that the law is a package (James 2:10); if you break one law, you break them all. Once the package is broken up, it loses its effectiveness.

The fourth commandment is especially important in keeping the other nine. In Ezekiel 20, God specifies two specific commandments that Israel broke: the ones concerning idolatry and Sabbath-keeping. They are linked: If one does not keep the Sabbath, he will commit idolatry.

In one sense, these are the two key commandments around which all the others revolve. If we break the first one, we will certainly break the rest. If our god is not God, then we are off the track already. In the same way, if we break the Sabbath day, then the others will be broken. Without the Sabbath, contact with God is lost.

God has called a meeting of His Kingdom and Family to occur on that day. If we fail to attend, we are obviously absent and unable to benefit from it. God's commanding something that we do not really have to keep would not be beneficial. It would be double-dealing, like handing someone a biscuit with one hand and taking it back with the other.

People observe the practices of their religion because they matter to them. Yet, we have been told that one can be a Christian without keeping this beneficial day. Some people claim that it does not matter. If, then, we can meet the requirements of being a Christian without keeping the Sabbath, a law that does not fit the flow of this world's social, business, and religious activities, then why keep it? That would not make sense.

What has happened? They have bought into the Protestant notion that God is only trying to save people, and that His law only defines sin. Such a belief has ramifications: The law will be seen in a totally negative light, rather than God's intended positive purpose. Law not only defines sin, but also provides a guide that will produce character in us identical to the Creator's, if we live by the power of His Spirit.

Our small part in this entire wonderful purpose is not merely to say, "I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior," but it is to use our God-given free moral agency to choose the right in order to do our small part in producing godly attitude and character.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)



Exodus 20:8-11

God does not specifically identify Himself with any other day of the week, and He commands His people to meet with Him on no other day. These truths are so strong that God includes the Sabbath in the ten foundational laws governing morality. How much plainer can it get? In addition, the apostle Paul says this body of laws is spiritual (Romans 7:14). This has universal and eternal ramifications, further enhanced by the fact that Jesus kept it (and we are to follow His example, I John 2:4-6), as did the apostles.

God created the Sabbath because it enhances and protects our relationship with Him. It provides a witness to God, to ourselves and to the world. It keeps us in a proper frame of mind and furnishes us with the right knowledge of our part of the pilgrimage to God's Kingdom.

We live in a grubby, grasping, materially oriented world, where a built-in bias exists toward materialism and the exercise of carnality. If we follow it, we can find it is not hard at all to avoid spiritual things. But keeping the Sabbath almost forces us to think about God, the spiritual side of life and His creation. It presents us with opportunities to consider the WHYS of life, to get ourselves correctly oriented to use our time properly the other six days. Keeping the Sabbath correctly is the kernel, the nucleus, from which grows appropriate worship (our response to God).

Existentialist philosophers tell us that life is absurd. They say that all life is but a prelude to death. The Sabbath celebrates just the opposite! It reminds us that God's creative process is continuing. God is creating us in His image so that physical life is not absurd but a prelude to life on an infinitely higher, spiritual level. As we grow more like Him, we become more sanctified from this world. In experiencing, refreshing, and elevating the mind in the realm of the spirit, we get a foretaste of what is to come.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part One) (1997)



Exodus 20:11

This verse tells us why the Sabbath should be kept holy and as a day of rest. Note the opening word "for" and the later word "therefore." Is it to be kept holy and as a day of rest because these people were Israelites? No, it is to be kept holy and as a day of rest because God made it so (for man) at creation... before Israel existed as a nation (see Genesis 2:1-3)!

Some say that it is possible that only the very first seventh day was blessed and hallowed by God. This very verse disproves that idea! This verse says that man is commanded to keep each seventh day holy because God rested on the (first) seventh day, and He blessed and sanctified that and all succeeding seventh days.

It was still considered holy by the time the prophets Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel came on the scene (see Nehemiah 9:14; 13:22; Isaiah 58:13; Jeremiah 17:22-27; Ezekiel 22:26; 44:24).

Staff



Exodus 20:8-11

The fourth commandment provides the means by which His Family members can guard and maintain things pertaining to His purpose, keeping them aligned with His creative purpose. The Sabbath provides a more formal environment for coming to know more clearly the truth regarding God's plan, His purpose, His character and personality, and the right and true goals toward which we are to expend time and energy. His Word shows that when Israel failed to keep the Sabbath, they lost track of the wholesome qualities of His purpose. Sabbath-breaking and idolatry go hand in hand.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment



Exodus 20:11

We have been taken out of the spiritual "house of bondage." We can see here that the Sabbath is enjoined on God's people for two basic reasons. The one reminds us that He is Creator. The other reminds us that, at one time, we were slaves.

Ezekiel 20 clearly demonstrates that when God's people do not keep the Sabbath, they lose their liberty. They go into captivity—for us, that means back to the captivity of Satan, the world, and sin. The Sabbath is given by God to keep His people free! It is the day to keep His people from going back into bondage.

God has specifically used the Sabbath throughout Israel's history as the day in which He emphasizes the Sabbath's tie to deliverance, liberty, to keeping His people free. On this day, He has pointedly performed acts of liberation for His people. For example, on what day did the children of Israel leave Egypt, the house of bondage? They left on an annual Sabbath, the first day of Unleavened Bread. On which day did they completely break free of their captors? It was on the following Sabbath, the seventh day of Unleavened Bread that they went through the Red Sea, were baptized, and went out into the wilderness. At that point, they were politically free.

On which day did God give His law? On the day of Pentecost, another Sabbath, which "if a man will keep, he will live in it." On which day did Israel go into the Promised Land? On a Sabbath day. On which day did the walls of Jericho come down? They came down on a Sabbath, and Israel made their first important conquest in the land.

This Sabbath redemption is all through the Old Testament. God did that to focus our minds on what the Sabbath is for. It is the day He has blessed for the purpose of liberation. It is the day He has blessed to continue the liberty of His people. Jesus also emphasized this in His ministry, driving this point home by how He used the Sabbath, giving us an example so that we could see how He wants us to use the Sabbath to the greatest benefit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 2)



Exodus 20:8-11

No other day is hallowed as the Sabbath is: It is set aside as holy to God. It belongs to Him. It is time for Him. Thus, the basic rule that the commandment lays down is that God requires that each person set aside this day for the worship and service of Him. Nothing in it even begins to suggest that this commandment is merely ceremonial in nature. Protestants say Christians do not have to keep the Sabbath because it is just a ceremony, but they cannot find that idea in Scripture - certainly not in the commandment itself.

Like the other commandments, the fourth commandment deals with relationships. One set of relationships - the business and work-a-day-world ones - is broken off or stopped on Friday at sunset, and another set of relationships - the spiritual ones - begin to be emphasized. In addition, the commandment looks back on creation, identifying that we are to keep the seventh day because God, the Creator, set it apart at creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sabbathkeeping (Part 4)



Exodus 20:8-11

This generation has a particularly difficult time adjusting from a workday mode to a Sabbath-keeping mode for a number of reasons. One is that life is so fast paced, with so many ways and activities to give our time, our energies, our minds, and our attention to.

This can be seen in the parable of the Sower and Seed in Matthew 13, where the seed falls on stony places. With people whose minds are focused on too many things, the Word of God does not take very deep root. And so, as Jesus says, when persecution or trouble arises as a result of this way of life, then they very quickly turn aside. They have nothing really rooted very deeply in them. They have been giving their time, energy, and all of their talents to something else entirely.

Another thing that we can extract from this same parable is that we have never, in any generation of man, been so close to the creations of man and so distant from the creations of God. We are surrounded by concrete, steel, glass, plastic, rubber, and all of the things that man makes. And we are very rapidly losing touch with the things that God has made.

Our mind tends to focus automatically on what we are surrounded by. Today, we are not walking behind a mule, plowing the ground, and listening to the birds as we plow; or putting seeds in the ground, watching them come up, and eating the products of what God has made possible by His laws and by the fact that He continues to provide for His Creation. He sends the rain, and He brings forth the fruit. If we do not have contact with God's creation, we very quickly begin to have our minds surrounded by other things, and we are then cast adrift because of paying attention to those things.

In addition to that, we have been spiritually trained by this Protestant society not to regard a day as belonging to God, but rather to use time for our own pleasure as though it all belonged to us. And if we have been taught at all, we have been taught the wrong day.

It seems that we do not have enough time for God, even though we literally have just as much time as Peter, James, John, Philip, and all of the ancients besides them. How much time does a working mother have today for a good spiritual life after giving her time and energies to her employer and then returning home and doing her responsibilities there? How much time does a father holding two jobs, or working as much overtime as he can, or working plus going to school at night in order to get ahead (in order to afford all of the finer things of life) have for God? How much energy does this mother and father have at the end of the week?

All of us are pressured and victimized by this insane system that Satan has put together. But few of us have much excuse for not using Sabbath time in the way that God intended that it be used.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 4)



Exodus 20:8-11

Because God rested after six days of labor, the Sabbath is also our day of rest and a memorial of Creation. We are to remember, not only what God did in the physical creation, but also that His spiritual creation continues in us.

God blessed the seventh day, making it holy. It is holy time, set apart for God's use! Only God can make a day holy, and He does this by putting Himself, through His Spirit, into it. We are then instructed to "keep" it holy.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
God's Sabbath




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Exodus 20:11:

Genesis 1:20-25
Genesis 2:1-3
Genesis 2:2-3
Genesis 2:2-3
Genesis 2:2
Genesis 4:16-17
Exodus 16:23
Exodus 20:8
1 Kings 12:25-33
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Matthew 12:38-40
Matthew :
Luke :
John 5:10

 

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