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Why do we keep on the Seventh-day Sabbath?

Quick Answer

Not because we are tired, nor because we want to attend church, but because the creator rested from his work of creating the world in six days on the seventh day.

Bible Answer

Exodus 20:11 (NKJV) "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."

Inspired Answer

"The seal of God, the token or sign of His authority, is found in the fourth commandment. This is the only precept of the Decalogue that points to God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and clearly distinguishes the true God from all false gods. Throughout the Scriptures the fact of God’s creative power is cited as proof that He is above all heathen deities. { ST November 1, 1899, par. 9 } The Sabbath enjoined by the fourth commandment was instituted to commemorate the work of creation, thus to keep the minds of men ever directed to the true and living God. Had the Sabbath always been kept, there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel. The sacred observance of God”s holy day would have led the minds of men to their Creator. The things of nature would have brought Him to their remembrance, and they would have borne witness to His power and His love. The Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. It points to God as the Creator, and is the sign of His rightful authority over the beings He has made."—Ellen White, Signs of the Times, November 1, 1899, par. 10

Further Answer

The following excerpt comes from James White, in a chapter entitled, "God's Memorial," in Life Incidents.

"The great God was not wearied with the six days of creation. His rest upon the seventh day means simply that on that day he ceased to create. Nor did man in Eden need rest from toil, as since the fall. In fact, rest from labor is not a leading feature of the Sabbatic institution. The fourth commandment makes no reference to man’s physical wants of a day of rest. Neither does it speak of his spiritual necessities of a day of public worship. 

It gives quite another reason for the Sabbath. Here it is: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Ex. xx, 11. This reason relates to what God did in the first week of time. He has given no other. It is as old as the world, and will continue to be the reason why man should revere Jehovah’s rest-day as long as the world shall continue. Man rests upon the day of the Sabbath in honor of the Creator. And wherever he may turn his eye, whether to the heavens, the earth, or the sea, there he beholds the Creator’s work. As he rests upon the seventh day, he sees in the countless varieties of nature the wisdom and power of him who created all in six days, and thus is led from nature up to nature’s God. The Sabbath now becomes the cord that binds created man to the infinite Creator. It is the golden chain that links earth to Heaven, and man to God. Had he always observed the Sabbath, there could not have been an idolater nor an atheist. The Sabbath, as a memorial of what the Creator did during the first week of time, is now seen in its dignity and importance. It is the memorial of the living God. Man is to rest on the day of the week on which the Creator ceased to create. 

But those who belittle the grand Sabbatic institution to only serve man’s physical wants of a day of rest, and to provide for him a day of public worship, and see no higher design in it, are satisfied with a change of the day of the Sabbath. They think that a day on which the Creator did not rest, will do quite as well as the day on which he did rest. With this limited view of the subject, why may they not be content with the change? If a day of rest from toil, and a day for the public worship of God, are all the blessings secured to man by the Sabbath, the one-day-in- seven and no-day-in-particular theory looks quite plausible. For, certainly, man can rest his weary limbs, or weary brain, on one day of the week as well as on another. And if only a season of divine worship is to be secured, Sunday may answer for this purpose. In fact, one day in six might do as well for rest and worship as one day in seven, if rest and a day of public worship are the sum total of the reasons for the Sabbath. There is nothing in man’s physical or spiritual wants to mark the number seven.

The original design of the Sabbath was for a perpetual memorial of the Creator. Yet it secures the seventh day of the week to man in his fallen condition, not only as a day of rest, but a day for public worship, in which to draw nigh to God and share his pardoning love. But these blessings, of comparative importance, can be obtained on either of the other six days of the week, and do not constitute the grand reason for the Sabbatic institution. That reason given in the law of the Sabbath is, in its importance, as much above the simple idea of repose from weary toil, and a day for public worship, as the heavens are higher than the earth. With this agree the words of the prophet: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isa. lviii, 13, 14.

Here the great object of the Sabbath is set forth. It is to honor God. Man is required to turn away his feet from the Sabbath, and refrain from seeking his own ways, words, and pleasure, on that day, not because he needs a day of rest, but because by so doing he can honor the great God. Those who keep the Sabbath with this object in view, will call it a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honorable.

James White, Life Incidents, pp 360-362.