“Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” Exodus 31:13
As God comes to the end of giving instructions to Moses for the building of his house he closes with a reminder to keep the sabbath. Verse eighteen also tells us that it was at this time he gave Moses the two tables of stone upon which he’d written his laws with his own finger.
In this reminder God gives only a few pieces of new information. One new item is the penalty for breaking the Holy Sabbath day, death. I don’t believe that defining the consequences of sabbath breaking was the main purpose of this reminder. The second piece of new information is his declaration, in verse thirteen, that the sabbath is a sign that he is the Lord who sanctifies them.
The sanctuary itself doesn’t directly tell us much about God. The purpose of the sanctuary is to be his dwelling place and to teach about, and to facilitate, salvation by grace through faith in the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb. God’s ways are revealed very clearly in the temple but, up to this point, he himself has been more clearly revealed to us in his creation. And even in the incarnation and all that the Godhead would do in fulfilling the plan of salvation none of that would negate or even overshadow God’s place as the creator.
There are many in this world that would present God’s actions relative to the cross and the tomb as being the defining moment of his place in our lives but to do this is to set aside the several times that he himself has declared the act creation to be the definer of his place, status, and role in our lives.
The sabbath commandment is the heart and center of the Ten Commandments and it recalls God’s role as our creator. The sabbath is then forcefully reinforced immediately following the instructions for building the sanctuary; it’s in fact the sign of the creator’s sanctifying work in their lives. In the book of Revelation when one of God’s last messages is proclaimed to the world he opens it with a call to worship him and not as the worlds redeemer but as our creator.
Revelation thirteen verse eight describes the Lamb as having been slain from the foundation of the world. This tells us that the plan of salvation was something that was created at the same time as the plans for humanities existence.
From the very beginning God has loved us. He loved us so much that he gave us the choice to truly love him in return which meant that he gave us the choice to not love him in return. And knowing that we’d need salvation, and that his love for us would never let him just let us go without doing all he could to to win us back and set us free, God made the plan to sacrifice his own Son.
When we remember the sabbath we remember that our creator from the very beginning loved us so much that he created us and planned to sacrifice himself to save us.
That’s something worth remembering.