WASHINGTON – One of the least noticed and overlooked megatrends in the church today is the renewed interest and practice of the biblical Sabbath.
A new book and video companion by a medical doctor makes the practical case for observing the 4th Commandment – the same way Christians attempt to follow the other nine.
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy,” says the 4th Commandment. It’s the only one of the Ten Commandments that begins with the world “remember.” Of course, God knew His people would forget. And forget they have.
But Dr. Sleeth comes at the topic from a different angle than many new Sabbath observers who consider the matter only from the spiritual side of the equation. He makes the case that, as Jesus said, “Man was not made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for man.”
“Sounds nice, but how do we find rest in a 24/7 world?” asks Dr. Sleeth. “Just as the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, we have become slaves to technology. Our technological tools allow 24-hour productivity and connectivity, give us more control and subtlety enslave us to busyness itself. Sabbath is about restraint, about intentionally not doing everything all the time just because we can. Setting aside a day of rest helps us reconnect with our Creator and find the peace of God that passes all understanding. The Sabbath is about letting go of the controls one day a week and letting God be God. So how do we do it?”
Dr. Sleeth offers his own ideas. Those who adhere strictly to the letter of biblical law may be disappointed by his advice, as it doesn’t necessarily include practice on the seventh day of the week. But he makes a compelling case that human beings were created to have at least one full day away from their work – something that is still a minority practice within the church.
In “24/6,” Dr. Sleeth describes our symptoms, clarifies the signs, diagnoses the illness and lays out a simple plan for living a healthier, more God-centered life in a digitally-dazed, always-on world. He shares how his own family was dramatically transformed when it adopted Sabbath practices and helps readers better understand how their own lives can be transformed – physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.
Interested in other perspectives on the Sabbath? The WND Superstore is loaded with the best of the best.
Read the rave product reviews from customers of the WND Superstore to get an idea of what you are missing if you haven’t seen it.
Holbrook hosted this series as a television documentary that traces the history of the Sabbath through the ages and around the world. This thoroughly documented series features interviews with over 50 experts, classical art, animations and dramatic reenactments.
Have you ever wondered why Christians worship on Sunday rather than the Sabbath?
See the trailer:
Chances are you’ve never heard the story before. You’re not likely to hear it in your church. But it’s a matter of history – thoroughly and exhaustively told in “The Seventh Day.”
Likewise, one of the best scholarly works on the subject is a hard-to-find book by the late Samuele Bacchiocchi called “From Sabbath to Sunday.”
The book is a translation and an adaptation of his Italian doctoral dissertation, originally presented at and published by the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1977. The investigation establishes that the change from Saturday to Sunday began approximately one century after the death of Christ, as a result of an interplay of political, social, pagan and Christian factors. The change in the day of rest and worship was not merely a change of names or of numbers, but rather a change of meaning, authority and experience.
Essentially it was a change from a Holy Day into a holiday.
“From Sabbath to Sunday” has the distinction of being the first book written by a non-Catholic ever to be published by a Pontifical press with the Catholic imprimatur (approval). The book has already been reprinted 14 times in English and has been translated in several other languages. Hundreds of scholars of different persuasions have praised this book as a definitive treatment of the early history of the Lord’s Day.
Bacchiocchi received a gold medal from Pope Paul VI for earning the academic distinction of summa cum laude in his research and school work at the Pontifical Gregorian University, in Rome, Italy.
Most Christians will be shocked by what they learn about why they worship on Sunday and no longer observe a real Sabbath even on that day.
Then there’s “Sabbath: The Ancient Practices” by bestselling author Dan Allender. He and his co-writers present an insightful and fascinating look at the origins and purpose of Sabbath.
Why has this “day of delight” as instituted by God has become a dirge for millions of believers? For many, it is simply a break from the busyness of the workweek. So, what keeps us from properly understanding, sanctifying and celebrating this important day?
Allender looks at not only the history of this discipline, going all the way back to ancient Israel, but also at the modern manifestations and misunderstandings of its practice.
Allender bases his premise on the Hebrew word for rest, menuha, which is best translated as “joyous repose, tranquility, or delight.” It is through this lens that he resurrects this lost definition of what it really means to rest.
In “The Rest of God” by Mark Buchanan, the author reminds readers that we’ve lost “the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of Himself we can know only through stillness.” Stillness as a virtue is a foreign concept in our society, but there is wisdom in God’s own rhythm of work and rest. Jesus practiced Sabbath among those who had turned it into a dismal thing, a day for murmuring and finger-wagging, and He reminded them of the day’s true purpose: liberation – to heal, to feed, to rescue, to celebrate, to lavish and relish life abundantly.
He also gives practical advice for restoring the Sabbath in our lives today.
A book and DVD companion series called “Time Is the Ally of Deceit” by Richard Rives also retraces the history of the Sabbath and the way it was abandoned by force beginning in the 3rd century.
Rives’ book “Too Long in the Sun” covers some of the same material, and is also available in the WND Superstore.