The Sabbath Day Exodus 20: 11

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The Sabbath Day

The passage alludes to Moses' instruction to the Israelites to observe the seventh day as a day of rest, just as God did after finishing the process of creation (Exodus 20:11). The Sabbath serves as a remembrance of the biblical creation narrative, which serves to remind Christians of the need of taking a day off after working for six days in order to relax and worship God. He informs Christians that in addition to the physical creation at the beginning of the world, creation continues now through spiritual creation. God designated and blessed the Sabbath day as a day of rest (Exodus 20:8). Then, He instructed His people to follow the command. Some scriptures guides on some of the things which should not be done on the Sabbath day including all physical activities like working. The Almighty God has not provided a detailed list on what and what not to do. But He provides principles which stipulate what is proper and what is improper during the day of rest.

The Purpose of Resting

The act of resting was not due to tiredness since God does not grow weary (Isaiah 40:28). However, man is different from God. The physical body of human beings must be rested during the Sabbath. This is in line with the creation requirement in the bible. The rest followed the achievements God had made and does not signify inactivity but is always active to nurture and take care of His creation. Jesus Christ told his followers that His father (God) is working. The holy day of rest is a special time of spiritual activities.

The Holiness of the Sabbath

It is only the Almighty God who can set apart a holy time. It is God alone who can declare anything to be holy but not man. The Sabbath day is the evidence for this, and it means that it should be given respect, devotion, and deference not granted to other days. It is set aside for sanctified purposes since its origin dates back to the beginning of the earth and its reverence is a command from the highest God. The original idea in the context of this verse is “different.” The root word is “cut” showing “separation” or “cutting out.” When something is referred to as sacred it means it is dissimilar to the rest.

The Covenant at Mount Sinai

The covenant at Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11, 24:3-8)

The theme of worship is of great importance in the biblical context. Several scriptures in the bible convey instructions, commands, and patterns of worship. It is a subject of great deal to the religious community. Exodus 24 is a chapter of prominence to the understanding of worship in Ancient Israel and the old testament in general. The premise for this is the climax it provides in the guidelines of the covenant at Mount Sinai and the close link with covenant making. This section provides an analysis and theology of fellowship and worship in the covenant sanction festival on three accounts.

Divine Presence and the Covenant

First, divine presence and the covenant (24:1-2). The section provides the peak of covenant ratification which was formally initiated when God came down from heaven and stood on Mount Sinai. God (Yahweh) commands Moses to climb the mountain. The sanction addresses three groups of people: Moses, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu (i.e. the priestly family), and the seventy elders of Israel. The last group are possibly the Chiefs and tribal leaders who were selected to serve as judges (in numbers 11: 6). Seventy is symbolic of complete representation of the Israelite nation.

Yahweh's invitation was meant for worship (Verse 2). Moses together with the priestly family were to ascend the mountain and not the people. Besides, Moses alone was to draw near and not Aaron and his two sons. Three categories of nearness are described here. The primary one takes place at the base of the mountain, and it is the point of the ceremony (verse 4). Also, Moses, the priestly family moves a further ahead, but only Moses is required to draw closer to the cloud of the glory of God. Closeness in this context means visual and verbal interaction or face-to-face communication (Numbers 32:16).

Covenant Ratification

Second, covenant ratification (Exodus 24:3-8)). Moses goes back to the Israelites with the report from Yahweh and which include directions and the law given as it is outlined in Exodus (20:22-23:33). The commands explain the terms of the covenant. The gathering responded with vows of allegiance to God, to welcome the pact as Moses read it. Further, Moses provides an account of the covenant provisions for use in the sanction ceremony. The ratification party began with the sacrifice. The animal was slaughtered and burnt whole. The sacrifice symbolized atonement of sin thus building a relationship with God. The animal was burnt wholly and entirely consumed by fire on the altar to signify total commitment of the worship to the service of GOD.

Blood from the animal was used to solemnize the sacrifice after the ceremony. Half of the blood was dashed on the altar while the other was tossed by the people. This symbolized the coming together of God and his people or renewed communion.

The Communal Meal and Theophany

Thirdly, the communal meal and theophany. The experience of fellowship by those allowed to ascend the mountain was marked by a celebration through peace sacrifice consummation. The roundtable sacrifice marked the peak of worship to God as illustrated in verse 9 to 11. Verse 1 and 2 remind us that elders together with Moses and the priestly family were ordered to go up the mountain to worship. In line with this statement, they rose up the mountain and celebrated the peace offering sacrificed at the bottom of the mountain by dining in the presence of God to ratify the covenant.


In conclusion, this paper takes us through the law concerning the Sabbath day. God expected his people to rest on this day to show respect for creation and obey his commandments. The second part is the highlight of the covenant of God with the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai. The agreement was sealed by peace and burnt offerings and all the people agreed to comply.

Work cited

Testament, Old. "The Holy Bible." (1989).

April 13, 2023




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