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Bible verses about Polluting the Sabbath
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Isaiah 56:1-7  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Notice the context here: "My salvation is near." This is an end-time prophecy, for our day and age. What He is talking about here actually began with the ministry of Jesus Christ. We have not reached its peak by any means, but it began when Jesus Christ began to turn to the Gentiles. It was a signal that He was moving away from Israel, and something new was beginning.

The "foreigners" here are Gentiles who are becoming part of the church of God. God was dealing with Israel primarily, and certainly Gentiles and foreigners were permitted to be a part of Israel. But this is signaling something that is far bigger than that! This is signaling something that involves worldwide activities.

Eunuchs were usually set apart to serve the king, and were castrated. Another way of saying it is that they were mutilated. But every one of us are mutilated spiritually. And we have been set apart to serve the great King—God. This really fits everybody in the church, not just Gentiles!

God is very concerned about the way things are done. Twice here He uses the word "defile." "Do not defile My Sabbath." In verse 2 and then again in verse 6, He says that those who "do not defile" are the ones who will be blessed. They will be His servants.

Can perfection come to any person who does not care how things are done? The answer is obvious. In regard to the Sabbath, it not only matters to God that we do it, but also how we do it. Why? Because it affects the outcome of the product! A person can produce something of poor quality, and they have, indeed, produced something. But if they produce something in which they really care about what the outcome will be, they are going to produce something that will be closer to perfection. It is like the difference between a mass-assembled automobile and a Rolls Royce built by hand—"customized" from the bottom up. Because a person cares about the product, he will produce something that is much better.

That is the principle involved here. God is concerned that "His people—the Gentiles" and "His people—the eunuchs" do not defile the Sabbath. Defile means to pollute, to make impure, unclean, dirty, corrupt, to profane. Biblically, it means "to put to common use."

A polluted steam is unfit for drinking. It might even be unfit for swimming. It might be so unfit that even fish cannot live in it. It might even be deadly. Think about that in relation to the Sabbath. Does it matter how something is done? God is concerned—otherwise something like this would not appear in His Word.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 4)


 

Ezekiel 20:16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In this passage, God consistently uses a word translated in the King James as "polluted" and in the New King James as "profaned." Pollute means "to defile." Polluted air and water are, to some degree, defiled, stained, poisoned, contaminated, foul. It can imply desecrated, violated, and profaned. Profane means "to treat with irreverence and disrespect." It means "to treat as common": Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are common days of the week, whereas the Sabbath is holy. It is special, set apart.

So, what motivated these people to despise and to pollute His Sabbaths?

Proverbs 4:23 reads, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Jesus updates this in Matthew 15:19: "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, . . ." and about half a dozen other sins. Yet, just as surely as these evil things come out of the heart, so do good things.

God says through Ezekiel that they broke the Sabbath because their hearts went after their idols. Spiritually, an idol can be anything to which we give our time or attention to the detriment of our relationship with God. However, we must understand that idolatry forces a person to do its will rather than God's. If the heart goes after an idol, the rest of the body will follow the heart. The heart—the thinking and emotional processes—imposes its will on the hands, the eyes, the ears, the mouth, etc., and they just follow what the heart wills to do. If our hearts follow an idol, God says we will surely break the Sabbath.

The idol does not have to be the same for each person, but in relation to the Sabbath, the result is always the same: All or some part of the Sabbath day will be used as one pleases—pursuing one's own interests—rather than what God intends. This is why God says in Isaiah 58:13 that we should not speak one's own words on the Sabbath. When we are speaking our own words, our tongue is following after the idol. Undoubtedly, we sometimes do this ignorantly. For most of us, we know better, but our hearts are still going after our idols.

So we can reach a conclusion directly from God's own Word: Idolatry is at the foundation of Sabbath-breaking.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sabbathkeeping (Part 1)


 

Ezekiel 20:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Ezekiel 20:21 appears in the midst of God's charge that He was sending Israel into captivity because of idolatry and Sabbath breaking. There are three possibilities regarding Israel's Sabbath breaking:

  1. They rejected God's Sabbath for another day entirely;
  2. They polluted what they did have of God's true Sabbath by careless, self-centered observance; or
  3. Most likely, it was a combination of both. Some completely rejected it, others treated it carelessly.

Whichever it was, it resulted in their captivity. Keeping the Sabbath day properly is a serious issue to God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part Two): Christ's Attitude Toward the Sabbath


 

 




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