Lou: Someone raised this question: “Was there no Sabbath before Creation Week? If the commandments are a transcript of God’s character, there must have been a Sabbath before the creation of our world. And is not the Sabbath going to be carried into the new earth and eternity (Isa 66:22-23)? Will not all creation keep the same day, the seventh day, the Sabbath day?” We’ve already touched on that—but please say a word more about it.
Graham: Well, I’m not an astronomer, but I do know that it would be a great difficulty even within our own solar system for this to happen. Our planets are different sizes and rotate at different speeds. Doesn’t Venus rotate about once every year? On Venus we would be keeping Sabbath every seventh year!
Lou: So it wouldn’t be very practical to get them all coordinated.
Graham: I am impressed that the Sabbath was made for humankind. And it serves particularly well for us in the emergency. What God has for His children elsewhere in the universe, we are not told. But Jesus Himself said, “It was made for you” (Mark 2:27). So it was particularly tailored to this planet of ours.
Lou: That in a way answers the next question: “Do you think the Sabbath is observed on the other planets, or did God create it for this earth because He knew that man would not be able to speak to Him face to face after sin?” Didn’t you mention that the Sabbath was intended to help us during the emergency?
Graham: Oh, very much so. I really see the Sabbath as an emergency measure that will turn into a great celebration. So it really is a foretaste of the hereafter (Heb 4:9). The beauty would be to begin the celebration now. The Sabbath, rightly understood, is not only a reminder of the truth about God, but a foretaste of the Sabbath-like security and trust that we will have in knowing Him throughout eternity.
Lou: You emphasized that the Sabbath was a matter of celebration, not just an arbitrary test that God imposed. So someone asked this question: “If it’s not a test, then why in Revelation does it mean so much to be a commandment-keeper? If you can’t command enjoyment of the Sabbath, why is it made clear that if you don’t enjoy it, you’re going to die?”
Graham: If you have a legal approach to the Sabbath you would be worried every sundown Saturday evening, “Did I enjoy Sabbath? What if the sermon was really heavy?” No, you’ve got to sit there and say, “I’m enjoying myself. I’m enjoying myself, if I don’t I’m breaking this day.” That kind of response doesn’t make sense. It just destroys human reason. No. In the next chapter we will explore what it means to keep the commandments. I believe the Ten Commandments describe the way trustworthy people will live together. And if I don’t want to be that kind of a person, it will be a serious thing, and God will have to let me go. So it’s not arbitrary. It’s no more arbitrary, really, than breathing and eating. In a way, eating is a test of obedience. But He won’t punish you if you don’t eat. You’ll just get in very bad shape, and if you abstain from food forever, you will die. So I don’t have to follow these rules, but if I don’t, I’ll be a different kind of a person, and eventually I will just ruin myself, and I would not be safe to save.
Lou: That’s a good way to put it. That means the commandments are a statement of the way God made things to work.
Graham: And the commandments express the best way to run the universe and keep it free. I hope He’ll never run it any other way. Mutual love and trust, as described in the Ten Commandments, is the only way to have a really secure, safe, and free universe.