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Sabbath Borders: Separation and Reunification

Sabbath Borders: Separation and Reunification
  • A U.S. policy has been criticized for separating illegal immigrant families
  • In response, a Jewish synagogue hosted an interfaith “Sabbath Against Separation”
  • For thousands of years, Christians have separated the Sabbath from God’s Law

An interfaith event called “Sabbath Against Separation,” held recently in Indiana, addressed the controversy surrounding immigrants illegally crossing the Southern border into the United States. Until recently, a controversial immigration policy has led to more than two thousand children being separated from their parents and placed in detention centers or foster care after their parents are arrested crossing the border. The service was held at a Jewish synagogue on a Sunday and was well attended by Evangelical, Catholic, and Muslim religious leaders who all strongly support finding an alternative enforcement solution.

As the wider culture debates this issue, very soon it will face another separation crisis—the one that has separated the fourth commandment from God’s law in Christian culture for more than a thousand years. Many sincere Christians have lived and died believing that they have been faithfully obeying God as they worship on Sunday, but Bible students are confronted with a different reality.

From Genesis to Revelation, God has consistently demonstrated and explained to His people the importance of worshiping Him on His holy day—the seventh-day Sabbath. At Creation, He showed Adam and Eve how to live: “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2, 3).

At Sinai, He pointed people back to the importance of that first Sabbath when He said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: … 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. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8–11).

Throughout the Old Testament period, God reminded His people of the importance of honoring the Sabbath for everyone, not just the Jews: “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant” (Isaiah 56:6).

Later, Christ came to restore the true meaning of the Sabbath, not as a day filled with impossible rules, but a day for worship, healing, and fellowship. The Gospels record that He faithfully attended Sabbath worship services and on multiple occasions healed people from disease. He stated, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12).

Although the early Christians continued to faithfully observe the seventh-day Sabbath, as evidenced in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul warned them that a dangerous influence was soon to break upon the church.

He said, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. … For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. … The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7, 9).

Paul was well aware of the prophecies of Daniel that pointed to a mysterious power that would undermine the very heart of the law of God (Daniel 7:25). As the Christian church gained power and influence, it lost its purity. In attempting to influence the culture around it, it separated the seventh-day Sabbath from the law of God and adopted the customs of the culture that venerated Sunday. This gradual change took place so innocuously that many failed to recognize what was happening until it was too late.

All the same, throughout the history of the Christian church, faithful believers have continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath, but they have often been persecuted and maligned by the popular church. They remembered the words of Christ, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:21, 23).

Today, God calls His faithful followers to stand in the gap, to “build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach” (Isaiah 58:12).

Click here for a great resource that you can freely share with your friends about the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath at this time in Earth’s history.

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