We read in Genesis 2:1- "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 -And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which he had made.
3- And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made."
There are some who maintain there is no proof that the seventh day Sabbath was ever observed until Israel began keeping it at Mount Sinai in Exodus 16. This was one of the arguments used by some theologians to turn members away from their Sabbath observance during the 1990's.
That really is an incredible assertion since Christ tells us in Mark 2:27-28- "And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man. and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord therefore of the Sabbath." One of the chief benefits the Sabbath gives man is rest.
Man was not intended to work nonstop seven days a week. Stop to ask yourself, why would a loving God create the Sabbath for man's benefit and then not instruct him to keep it? It just would make no sense at all. Would a loving mother for example , make a set of mittens for a child to wear when it was cold and then tell the child there was no reason to them ever wear them? It is unthinkable and irrational!
Furthermore we read in Exodus 20:8, when the Commandments were codified and etched into two tablets of stone by God's finger, "REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". If you remember anything, you usually recall something that has already existed. That especially applies when there is a reference to the past; which is the case here. Obviously the Sabbath had existed and been practiced from the beginning of God's Creation. It had been sanctified and made holy by God from it's very start. They had the greatest instructor in the universe, God Himself, to show them how to do so. This knowledge was passed down from generation to generation.
Yet some will maintain there are no scriptures that describe man ever keeping the Sabbath Day before Mount Sinai. They seem to believe the absence of any accounts of individuals keeping the Sabbath in that early time period, as a proof it was never kept.
But I am going to show you there are some subtle proofs that the Sabbath was kept before Mount Sinai. The proofs don't jump out of the text, but they are there, like nuggets of truth, just waiting to be dug out.
NOAH KEPT SABBATH FIRST DAY ON THE ARK
Let us look at one in particular that you will find in the King James Bible at the time of Noah and the flood. Let read now very carefully the account when Noah loaded up the ark in Genesis Chapter 7.
Genesis 7:1- "And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.
2- Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of the beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3- Of fowls of the air by seven, the male and the female: to keep seed alive upon the face of the earth.
4- FOR YET SEVEN DAYS, And I will cause it rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. (Adam Clarke in his commentary states, "God spoke these words probably on the seventh or Sabbath Day"-)
5- And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.
6- And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood waters were upon the earth.
7- And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons's wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8- Of clean beasts, and of the beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth.
9- There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass AFTER SEVEN DAYS, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11- In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month,THE SAME DAY were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
12- And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
THE FLOOD BEGAN ON THE SEVENTH DAY!
Now here is an important insight to understand. Notice the words in verse 10 that I have underlined. The King James translators have an alternate rendering (printed in the center column reference) from the Hebrew which they read as "ON THE SEVENTH DAY."
Adam Clarke's Commentary and the renowned Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary give this alternate meaning of the Hebrew as well. If you have a King James Bible with a center column reference, I would encourage you to circle the reference "Or on the seventh day". Either that, or make a side reference beside verse 10 with that reading. In other words, it was ON the Seventh day that it began raining and the springs of the deep were opened. Now this gives us an insightful proof that Noah kept the Sabbath! Let's examine closely the account and scenario we have find record here in Genesis 7.
Vs. 1-3 -We find God giving instructions to Noah about the number of clean and unclean the animals to take into the ark.
4- God tells Noah "FOR YET SEVEN DAYS and I will cause it to rain for forty days and forty nights;"-
5-9- Noah does as he is commanded. All of the beasts of the earth, Noah and his family come into the ark. We will see now that it took six days to complete this work.
Vs.10- (Original Hebrew alternate reading)- "And it came to pass ON THE SEVENTH DAY the waters of the flood were upon the earth." Obviously, the flood began on the Seventh day of the week!
Vs.11- "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the SAME DAY were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."
Vs. 12-" And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
V. 13- "IN THE SELFSAME DAY entered Noah, and Shem , and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah , and Noah's wife, the the three wives of his sons with then into the ark;"
What a revelation we find here when we read this account closely! God obviously did not want to put Noah into a situation or temptation to break the Sabbath Day by working on the Sabbath, loading the animals on the ark. He tells Noah that in SEVEN DAYS he would flood the earth. He gave Noah a full six days to get the ark loaded with beasts and next to get his family into the ark on the Seventh Day after their work was done. On the Sabbath or Seventh Day of the week the rain began falling! They kept the Sabbath that first day they were in the ark! How grateful they must have been that day to close the door on the ark; and then have a day rest of from their labor!
Stop to consider obviously why God arranged Noah coming into the ark at this time of the week. First of all we must remember that the Sabbath is the fourth commandment listed in the Decalogue. Notice carefully the reading we find in Exodus 20:8-"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 -Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 -But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
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."
The Sabbath is a memorial of God's Creation. It honors Him as Creator. To ignore it is idolatry. It is a sin. It tells us clearly in 1 John 3:4, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." Notice below that the Apostle James show clearly that sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments.
James 2:8- "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9- But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
10 -For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11- For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 -So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."
These words of James just quoted are a POWERFUL PROOF that sin is primarily
the breaking of God's Law enumerated in the TEN COMMANDMENTS!
God would never have placed Noah into a situation that would have required or tempted him to sin by breaking the Sabbath, THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT! Notice what is also said James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
ARK A TYPE OF OUR SALVATION AND REST
So God in His love enabled Noah and his family to observe the Sabbath on their FIRST DAY in the ark. There are also some wonderful truths I will not take the time to go into detail at this time. The ARK was a TYPE of JESUS CHRIST, that brought salvation to mankind just as it saved Noah, his family and the beasts of the earth from sure extinction! They entered into REST in the ark, just as we entered into REST in CHRIST.
The rest in the ark after their work was also a TYPE of the rest we will have in GOD'S KINGDOM.
And of course the SABBATH is a type of the rest we have in Christ and God's Kingdom as well! Indeed the ark is also a type of the Sabbath , because Noah and his family found rest and comfort in the ark! Part of this typology is discussed in detail in Hebrews 4. We will examine this closer in a future nugget!
PROOF THE SABBATH WAS OBSERVED BEFORE MOUNT SINAI!
Thus we find PROOF in the account of Noah and the Ark at the time of the flood, that the Sabbath was observed before Mount Sinai! Notice what it tells us about Noah in 2 Peter 2:5- " And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;". Notice it tells us in Psalm 119:172- " My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy COMMANDMENTS are righteousness." The Fourth Commandment was the Sabbath Day. Surely Noah, this great preacher of righteousness, preached to a rebellious and wicked generation, "REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY!"