14. The Refreshment of the Sabbath in the Sanctuary

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

We are now moving into the different aspects that we gain by way of the truths, of the doctrines, that surface out of the sanctuary study. This study enters into a research of the Ten Commandments as they are in the heavenly sanctuary. The Ten Commandments are there, in the most holy place. When Ellen White received the vision, she came into the heavenly sanctuary, and she saw something as these Ten Commandments were opened up.

In the city I saw a temple, which I entered. I passed through a door before I came to the first veil. This veil was raised, and I passed into the holy place. Here I saw the altar of incense, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the table on which was the shewbread. {EW 32.2}

She saw something similar to John when he saw the candlesticks and the altar of incense.

After viewing the glory of the holy, Jesus raised the second veil and I passed into the holy of holies. {Ibid.}

In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints’ prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the Ten Commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God’s holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious–a halo of glory was all around it. {EW 32.3}

In our study of the sanctuary, and looking at each item in the sanctuary, we will therefore enlarge them; and in this study, we will delve upon the halo around the Sabbath. That halo has to do with the beautiful light of truth that we need to discover about the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a beautiful gem of appreciation and understanding, which is refreshing to the spiritual life of God’s people. But that beautiful light, that beautiful refreshment has been polluted in the Christian world today. In Ezekiel 34:18, we read of what the ministers of the Bible have done to many aspects of the Bible, so that the people cannot drink of this beautiful, clear water of life.

Ezekiel 34:18 [Seemeth it] a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And [as for] my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.

Here is a description of how God depicts the behaviour of the ministers of the gospel, because He is writing here to the shepherds. He is saying, You are meant to feed the flock but you feed yourself, and then what is left over you tread down, and the sheep have to eat the marred grass, and the beautiful clear water that is supposed to be drunk was polluted by them stirring up the mud. He is identifying this water as the gospel and the beauty of the word of God to the people. In Isaiah 56, you have the terminology “fouled with your feet” put in a different way. Here we find the instructions that God gives in reference to doing what is right and what not to do.

Isaiah 56:1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation [is] near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed [is] the man [that] doeth this, and the son of man [that] layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

That is repeated further here:

Isaiah 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

The trampling of the water and polluting it and fouling it with their feet is what we are called not to do. That is what Isaiah 58 expresses:

Isaiah 58:12 And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 13 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, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words:

What were they doing? They were fouling the refreshing water with their feet. It had to do with the spiritual meaning of that water, the water of life, the word of life; and as the ministry is giving the word of life they are fouling it, they are polluting it by putting their feet in it. Now it says, If you’re going to be doing the opposite, you are going to turn away your foot from the Sabbath and no longer churn up that beautiful blessing of the refreshment of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath truth is part of that beautiful river that flows from the throne of God, the river of life. That river of life must not be polluted, in reference to the Sabbath which has a special halo around it in the heavenly throne. Let us discover this shining of the Sabbath. It is identified in Exodus 20. The Ten Commandments that were written by the finger of God are depicted here in this language:

Exodus 20:10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God:

That’s a very important statement. People just read is so quickly. It is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.

Exodus 20:11 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.

As you read the Ten Commandments you can see why in the heavenly sanctuary Ellen White saw in the vision a halo around the Sabbath, because it is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. There is the name of the law giver, the Lord thy God. Who is He? It says, For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth. His name is there, His position also, the Creator, the King of the universe; and what is His domain? Heaven and earth. In all of that law you have no other identification of the one who gives it. This therefore is recognised as the seal of the law giver.

A seal is where a law maker stamps upon that law His insignia, the name, the position He holds and the dominion that He has. There is no other commandment in the Ten Commandments that has that, and for that reason the Sabbath is the very seal of God and it’s called the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. When you reverse the words, The Sabbath of the Lord, it says, The Lord of the Sabbath, and that’s exactly the same meaning. The Lord of the Sabbath. If you have the day, you have the Lord, if you have the Lord, you have the day. It is a very simple conclusion without putting any man’s interpretation on that. That is what is written in Mark. Here is the terminology of Jesus in reference to the Sabbath.

The Lord’s Day

Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

Who was the Sabbath made for? It was made not for the Jew, as many people think, it was made for man and now Jesus says,

Mark 2:28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath of the Lord thy God, Jesus says, Well I am that Lord of the Sabbath; and you cannot change that, that’s a reality. The terminology of the Lord’s day cannot be misconstrued for anything else but the Sabbath that has been given in the Ten Commandments, and that Sabbath is the Lord’s day made for man, and that is how you can only understand Revelation 1:10. John was on Patmos and what was he doing on this day?

Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

What was the Lord’s day that he was in? It cannot be misconstrued, it is the Sabbath day, because the Sabbath is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, and Jesus said, I am the Lord of the Sabbath, and therefore the Lord’s day is the Sabbath. That is a very simple Bible conclusion. Why did I labour on this? Because all Christians claim to have Jesus as their Lord, and if He is my Lord, if you have the Lord, you will have His day as much as if you have the day, His day, you have the Lord. The affection that is encompassed by the term Lord comes into the equation.

The affection of a true Christian is bound with His Lord and is therefore bound with the Sabbath. We approach the Lord in the sanctuary, as we have been studying over the past studies and we look at the Lord and His way in the sanctuary. Remember, Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary. Jesus is in the sanctuary, He is the way, the truth and the life, and there in the sanctuary where Jesus the way, our Lord, is, is the Sabbath. When the Sabbath is studied it is brought out as an inseparable thing to all the other things that are in the sanctuary, it is all the way of God.

The word sanctuary, what does it mean? How is it used? A place of rest. You go into nature and they have a sanctuary for protection of the birds, a place set aside for the safety of certain creatures. The sanctuary is a place set aside, sanctified. As we approach the Lord of the sanctuary, we approach the Lord of the Sabbath which itself is sanctified, which means it is a place of protection for God’s people, where nobody must touch, they are protected.

The Sabbath is a place that has been sanctified and set aside just as the sanctuary. Therefore when the Sabbath arrives according to the instruction of God’s word, as the sun sets, there is a time set aside, a sanctuary. A person recently told me, I just love to come to church on the Sabbath because I am protected there. I’m protected there, it feels safe there. Of course, it is a sanctuary. If the Sabbath is kept according to the Lord’s way and will, it becomes a sanctuary. It is set aside for holy use. When the Sabbath arrives, the inseparable connection of the Lord of the Sabbath with the Sabbath begins to become meaningful as in the expression of this:

Then around the family altar all should wait to welcome God’s holy day, as they would watch for the coming of a dear friend. {ST, May 25, 1882 par. 9}

Because the Lord is connected with the Sabbath then you actually look for the coming of the Sabbath as for a dear friend. The affectionate bond that exists between the true Christian and His Lord, which is directly connected with the Sabbath, makes the coming in of the Sabbath as the coming of a dear friend. True Sabbath keeping lifts us up in an intimate affection with our Lord. True Sabbath keeping is a link with an affectionate bond of the Lord Jesus.

Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.

The sanctuary is a place set apart for the wellbeing of whatever it is. The Sabbath is set apart for God’s people, it has been made for man, and it is a very affectionate token of the One who sets us aside for Himself. “I am the Lord that sanctifies you.” It is a sign between whom? “Between you and me.” As you ponder upon this it begins to make your heart thrill. Have you ever had a very close friend and you had a little sign between you and that person that nobody else knows about? I had such a situation, I had a very close friend in my school years and we communicated with each other through this sign, and that really meant something to us. God says, I have a sign. In the world around you people don’t know Me, but you know Me, and I have a sign between you and Me; and that’s the Sabbath. An affectionate bond sign that I am setting you aside for me, for holy use; so we can be together and enjoy Him together one day.

This is the focus of the refreshment of the Sabbath, a clear beautiful stream that refreshes the soul. It is connected with the very word of life, with God’s way in the sanctuary. The knowledge of the Lord that a true Christian must have, the knowledge of His Saviour, is the sanctification of me as His, set aside for Him, a sign. The sanctifying of me to be part of Him and the sanctifying of the Sabbath is an inseparable element. He makes the Sabbath and me and God a bonding exercise, a wonderful bond of fellowship. I long for that unbroken fellowship.

Every true worshiper who keeps holy the Sabbath should claim the promise: “That ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13. {6T 360.3}

The preaching at our Sabbath meetings should generally be short. Opportunity should be given for those who love God to express their gratitude and adoration. {6T 361.1}

Do we adore Him? The Sabbath day, opportunity should be given that those who love God may express their gratitude and adoration. It is a time for adoration, because the Sabbath is a sign between God and the one He loves and sanctifies. The one who really admires and loves God wants to express himself in adoration. That is part of the equation. True Sabbath keeping reveals itself as a relationship, a relationship matter that needs to be truly understood. Let us investigate this relationship matter that comes along in the Sabbath, and that has to do with the Lord of the Sabbath and Him setting aside the Sabbath as a token of setting us aside for Himself.

The Relationship of the Lord

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

And these three are one. Stop to think here. Many people trip over that concept, but it is very simple. This intimacy of three beings is such an intimacy that they are one. There is no better representation of the meaning of intimacy that there exists a threesome in the universe that are so intimate with one another that they are one, and yet they are three different persons. That is what every male and female dream about marriage, and it is elusive, it doesn’t happen in this sinful world. But heaven is a representation of that. It is an intimacy. Let us explore this intimacy in the Scriptures. Jesus was on this planet and He had left behind His Father.

Psalm 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Jesus is on the cross.

Psalm 22:19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog

My darling? What did He call His Father? My darling. What does that mean? The marginal reading says, My only one. That is the expression that depicts the oneness that existed between the Father and the Son.

Said the angel, “Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no.” It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His darling Son to die for them. Angels were so interested for man’s salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man. “But,” said my accompanying angel, “that would avail nothing.” The transgression was so great that an angel’s life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercession of God’s Son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery.  {EW 127.1}

But the work which was assigned the angels was to ascend and descend with strengthening balm from glory to soothe the Son of God in His life of suffering. They administered unto Jesus. Also, their work was to guard and keep the subjects of grace from the evil angels and from the darkness which was constantly thrown around them by Satan. I saw that it was impossible for God to change His law in order to save lost, perishing man; therefore He suffered His darling Son to die for man’s transgressions. {EW 127.2}

It opens up an entire field of meditation that begins to throb in your heart, and it touches your admiration and emotion that this darling communication does exist with the God of the universe. This leads us right into this appreciation of intimacy, a precious intimacy:

Zechariah 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

What did He call Him? The man that is my fellow, my darling. From that word fellow comes the word fellowship and that is a beautiful word when it is correctly applied. The intimacy, the fellowship that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit is emphasised in the words of Jesus in John 17. Here He is praying to the Father, His darling, in His one fellowship experience.

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

What is He talking about? Before the world was we had a wonderful, glorious union. Here we can know exactly what He is talking about:

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

He says, That love and glory, I want it back, I want to be back there with you in that fellowship, in that glory which is the love and the intimacy of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That intimacy it is our privilege to enjoy through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has been given us so that the fellowship that exists in the Godhead can be transmitted to us through Jesus Christ. As you ponder upon this as it is written in the Word, you begin to realise that there is something about Christianity that is very poorly understood today, but here it is, it is all depicted in the word inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.

He says, I want to have that glory again, and we are to be glorified together with Christ to come into that glory that He had before the world was. We are to be glorified together with Him to be the sons of God, to be heirs of God. O to understand the meaning of this. To be not only an heir of the estate, but to be an heir of the Godhead. That is what the Lord said, I want to sanctify you because the Sabbath of the Lord thy God is My day, It is part of me, and I want you to be part of Me, and there is the sign that we are together. It is the Sabbath.

Notice how the Holy Spirit enhances this understanding. This deep, close intimacy can only be felt inside of you, because it is part of you, of your own spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

It’s impossible to comprehend this, to be an heir of God? Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard what is meant here.

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

The Spirit of God in Him is so close, so intimate, that all the deep things of God are known by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

He is making this amazing comparison. Inside of you there is a consciousness, which is called the spirit of man, that knows your deep, inward feelings, and nobody else can share that because the spirit that is in me cannot come into you. It’s impossible. But God has a Spirit, like I have a spirit, and that Spirit in Him is actually one of His intimate bosom companions. That intimate bosom companion can impart to us these deep things.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

What is freely given to us of God? The intimacy of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit takes of Jesus and shows it to us. The intimacy of Jesus Christ, the heirship of the Godhead can be actually transmitted to us. That is what apostle John meant in 1 John 1. Remember the words fellow, darling, the fellow experience of the Godhead between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

What a joy to believe and experience the fellowship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and have fellowship with one another in that. That is what the apostle says, We are communicating to you what we have experienced so that you may have fellowship with us, which is the fellowship of the Father and the Son. In such intimacy the Sabbath is drenched because it is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. It is the external sign of an internal intimacy. It is the seal of God in the forehead, right in the heart. It cannot be segregated from a deep relationship with God.

When it comes to the arrival of the Sabbath and we understand what this means, we will be welcoming the Sabbath as the coming of a darling, because that is what this is. When you spend time with a darling who comes into your presence and you haven’t had a chance to be together perfectly, you have this wonderful friend that comes so close, and what do you do when somebody that is really precious comes to you? Don’t you prepare thoroughly beforehand so that you can spend all your time unadulterated with any interference on that day? That time that He is with you, you prepare to do things that will enhance your relationship with that person.

When you invite a person to your place and you spend wonderful time together and then it’s time to eat, you sit down at a meal that you have prepared for that time. The meal is finished and then all those dirty dishes are on the table, what do you do with your friend? Do you say, Just stay here, I’m going to go do the dishes? What do you usually say? Let’s forget about the dishes today, let’s just enjoy each other. Is that right?

We would charge all not to wash their dishes on the Sabbath if this can possibly be avoided. God is dishonored by any unnecessary work done on His holy day. It is not inconsistent, but proper, that the dishes should be left unwashed till the close of the Sabbath, if this can be managed.–Letter 104, 1901. {3SM 258.4}

You can see that there is no legalistic content here. It is not that I’m not allowed to wash the dishes, it is because I want to put that aside so I can spend lots of time with my friend. To have fellowship with one another in the Word without having the hassles of having to do dishes, so that when the Sabbath is over we can do those dishes later, when the time of fellowship is past and we can go and do what we have to do. This is Sabbath keeping.

If this is understood in every other aspect, we have a most precious Friend that we want to prepare for and we want to keep that most precious Friend with us as long as that time is allotted to us, and nothing must interfere with that. The concept comes simply, if this can be managed. If you are going to have another meal on the Sabbath and you have dirty dishes, of course you’re going to have to wash them so you can eat out of them later. But where it is possible, it says. You have to be realistic. Where it is possible we can decide, Well, leave them for later, we have other dishes to be used for the next meal. These are the principles of intimacy that govern this action.

Many need instruction as to how they should appear in the assembly for worship on the Sabbath. They are not to enter the presence of God in the common clothing worn during the week. All should have a special Sabbath suit, to be worn when attending service in God’s house. While we should not conform to worldly fashions, we are not to be indifferent in regard to our outward appearance. We are to be neat and trim, though without adornment. The children of God should be pure within and without.  {6T 355.2}

The Sabbath is sanctified, and our clothing must relate to that setting aside; setting aside our clothing for our darling. The Lord is depicted in the clothing. He has clothing for beauty and for holiness. God is particular about our clothing. He is my Darling, He is my Friend, and I am going to honour Him with the kind of clothing that is the best I can do in reference to him.

The reason why we prepare for the Sabbath is the intimacy factor. The reason why even Saturday keepers will not be sealed with the Sabbath seal is because of the distance in their relationship with Him. The seal of God is the Sabbath which is an intimate sign of Him implanted in me. If that is not the case, I might be a Saturday keeper, but I’m not sealed, because the relationship is not there.

Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. {5T 213.2}

Why?

They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart. {Ibid.}

By their lack of devotion and piety, and their failure to reach a high religious standard, they make other souls contented with their position. {5T 214.1}

Did you catch the word “devotion”? It is sometimes expressed when you see a young couple that are really in love, Look how devoted she is to him. Their lack of devotion reveals the fact that they haven’t been sealed. They are not devoted in adoration in the intimacy of the Godhead that has been imparted to them through Jesus Christ. It is so simple to understand when you see from this perspective what the seal of God actually is, and who can be sealed.

It is the impact of the power of the cross of Jesus Christ that will fill the soul with an intense devotion to the Lord. With that intense devotion of the cross of Jesus Christ as the atonement of Jesus with us, the atonement that He, God, became at one with me in an intimate fellowship by actually taking my sins and my death and taking me to the grave and rising again, we can rise together with Him into the heirship of God Himself. That has to operate within in order to enjoy the Sabbath as it is really meant to be, as a wonderful sign, a token of outward expression in which we do all the things on the Sabbath day that pertain to that close relationship, and that make the other people think, They are really going over the top; when in reality they are in deep devotion to their Lord.

May God help us to understand the refreshment of the Sabbath.

Amen

Posted on January 24, 2011, in Sermons by John Thiel, The Sabbath, The Sanctuary Series. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is a powerful message I appreciate this is wonderful

  1. Pingback: 14. Le Rafraichissement du Sabbat dans le Sanctuaire | Sermons du Sabbat

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