THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT –
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY – Exodus 20


Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:8‭-‬11 ASV

God’s mention here of the creation sabbath was not for the purpose of telling Israel why a sabbath was commanded, but it was a way of pointing out that six days of full employment would enable the doing of all the work that was necessary.

Note that it is in connection with “Six days shalt thou labor” that this reference occurs.

The purpose here was to stress the relationship between God’s nature and man’s nature.

It is the philanthropic side of the sabbath” that appears here.

Some have postulated “ages of observance of the sabbath” prior to this verse, on the strength of the word “remember.” “Remember,” however is just as appropriately understood as a call for Israel to “remember the sabbath day” that had been revealed to them only a few days earlier. See Exodus 16:23.

There is positively NO sabbath commandment in the Bible prior to that verse!

Sabbatarians who wish to bind this commandment upon people today are themselves NOT keeping the sabbath in any true sense whatever.

Under God’s law, the total number of sabbath days during a period of fifty years amounted to no less than 5,785 days!, a period of nearly sixteen years, or about one-fourth of the whole time.

Of course, nobody honors any such commandments today.

The usual thrust of the sabbatarian insistence on this is comprised of having a religious service on Saturday, for which many of them travel long distances, contrary to the Law, and the additional custom of washing their clothes and stringing them out on a clothesline on Sunday!

All people know, or should know, that this commandment is not binding upon people today.

In this connection, perhaps it is advantageous to look at the major part of the injunction, which regards not rest at all, but work.

“Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work …” If the “rest” part of this is binding, so is the “work” part, but ask any of the New York labor unions in certain crafts dominated by sabbatarians about working “six days a week.”

Nevertheless, the Bible extols and honors the glory of the workman.

This is the gospel of labor –
Ring it, ye bells of the kirk –
The Lord of Love comes down from above to dwell with the men who work.

A common fallacy about “labor” is that it is only something that men in overalls do.

Look at murals all over the world. It is the man with the wrench, or the oil can, invariably clad in overalls who is represented as “the worker.”


This is a false view.

The “worker” is also the thinker, the writer, the preacher, the capitalist, the salesman, the artist, and a host of others.

Paul wrote, “I labor,” but he was not talking about making tents, but about preaching the gospel.

Some of the violators of this commandment are: the idler, the neglecter of public worship, the playboy, the spendthrift, the gambler, the chiseler, the loafer, the disdainer of honest work, the irreligious, and the man who lives by the sweat of other men’s faces.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 RSV

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