SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Wednesday August 7, 1996

Sabbath as a Sign (Ezek. 20:9-12).

In what way is the Sabbath experience of sanctification comparable to the historical Exodus? Ezek. 20:9-12.

Again the Exodus is in focus in Ezekiel 20. Israelites were enslaved to false idols, as well as to the Egyptians. Christ longed to free them from their spiritual slavery. As the Exodus was a self-revelation of Christ to the freed slaves (verse 9), so He gave them Sabbaths "so they would know that I the Lord made them holy" (Ezek. 20:12, NIV). The word holy indicates a deeper meaning of the Sabbath. Holy in the Hebrew (qadosh) and the Greek (hagios) means "set apart." In the Exodus, Christ set His people apart from the Egyptians, with a view to making them a separate nation. The Exodus therefore typified historically what Christ desired for His people experientially-separation from the world to be one with Him. Just as He removed them from slavery in Egypt to bring them into their own Promised Land, so He sought to free them from the deeper slavery within, to bring them to Himself, the Promised Redeemer.

Christ gave Israel the Sabbath as the sign of their freedom, They were set apart to be with Christ. Only in relationship with Him could they be really set apart.

What does it mean that the Sabbath is a sign of sanctification? Ezek. 20:12.

Ezekiel speaks of the re-creative work within that only the Creator can actualize. As Christ created humanity, so only He re-creates. Sanctification is God's work, not people's. The Sabbath is a sign of sanctification, because it focuses on the distinction between the Creator, who alone makes holy, and the creature who receives His sanctification.

What part do God's people have in this sign of sanctification? Exod. 31:13, 16, 17.

"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.

Why do those who truly keep the Sabbath keep the whole law? Is this why the Sabbath is a test in the end time?