Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;
and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
Noticeably absent from Mr. Ritenbaugh's defense of seeking out unbelievers on holy time and paying them for their Sabbath labor, is any mention of the "preparation day." God originally introduced this concept to the children of Israel shortly after leading them out of bondage in Egypt. The profound lesson behind this aspect of God's great Sabbath law is recorded in the sixteenth chapter of Exodus. Here God explains that His Sabbath is not to be profaned by labor. To impress this upon them He declared that even food preparation on this day was an act of sacrilege.
God then clearly revealed that His people were to use the sixth day to gather and prepare their Sabbath meals. Furthermore, even He would not labor on the Sabbath by providing manna. God also stated that His instructions stood as a test to prove whether they would "walk in His law" (Ex. 16:4). This alone should cause His entire church today to carefully consider the implication of this command.
Although Mr. Ritenbaugh failed to address this day in his message, Messrs. Fischer and Braidic provide some astonishing insight concerning its purpose as well as its significance. In their book, A Sabbath Test they make the following observation concerning its connection to our pursuit of God's Kingdom.
"A Day of Preparation"
A Sabbath Test
"The scriptures indicate that God was so opposed to His people engaging in profane labor on the Sabbath that He actually designated the sixth day as a period to prepare for this holy time. Even the Great Creator Himself prepared for His Sabbath. Notice what He did.
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or not. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily. (Ex. 16:4-5)
Here, God declares that he rained a double portion of manna on the sixth day with the express purpose of “proving” the Israelites. In other words, He did this to see if they were truly committed to obeying Him. If they were, they would gather enough food on Friday to satisfy their needs for both that day and the next. They would then prepare all of it on the sixth day. Notice the instructions Moses gave to God’s people.
On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. (Ex. 16:22-27)
These verses reveal that God had to supernaturally intervene to provide a way for the Israelites to honor His Sabbath. In this case, He not only provided twice as much food on the preparation day, but He also miraculously preserved it so that it would not spoil.
The point to all of this is that God intended for His Sabbath to be treated differently. It was HOLY TIME. Furthermore, He would personally make sure His people had a way to keep it holy.
But what about the Israelites who failed to prepare adequately? What were they to do? Were they to go out and buy food from someone else on the Sabbath? Absolutely not! God did not give them an alternative food source when they failed to prepare on the sixth day. The scriptures state “they found none.”
Is there a lesson for God’s people today in the action He took so very long ago? It would certainly seem so. Based on His clear instructions to the children of Israel, perhaps we should ask ourselves a very important question: is it right for us to go outside our spiritual camp and buy from others on the Sabbath if we fail to adequately prepare for this day?
The Significance of the Preparation Day
Today almost all of God’s people understand the great significance of His Sabbath and holy days. These appointed times declare a great plan that was envisioned by Him before the world was created.
With this in mind, consider what God could be teaching His people with a preparation day. If the Sabbath pictures God’s kingdom (Heb. 4:9-10), could the sixth day reveal that His people must properly prepare themselves in order to enter into that kingdom? In other words, if we do not make ourselves ready for God’s millennial rest, will God allow us to be a part of it? Additionally, will we prepare for that kingdom by following His instructions, or do we think we can forge our own path and do it a different way? It is clear that some believe the latter because Jesus actually warned against such thinking. Notice His words:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. (Mt. 7:21-23)
When Jesus spoke of those who worked iniquity, He was referring to people who did not keep His law. A cornerstone of that law is His Sabbath. With this in mind, is it possible that Jesus’ warning could also apply to those who refuse to honor His instructions concerning the preparation day? After all, these instructions were given to ensure that God’s people could keep the Sabbath holy as He intended. Remember, He did it to “prove “ them (Ex. 16:4-5).
Now consider a sobering thought – could people in God’s church today ultimately be crying out “Lord, Lord” to Jesus Christ when His final judgment comes because they failed to obey the fourth commandment, including the appropriate preparation for it? Furthermore, does the convenience of dining out on the Sabbath actually make the preparation day somehow less meaningful to God’s people? After all, today there is no sense of urgency with respect to preparing food for the Sabbath. This is because it is so convenient to gather brethren and head off to a popular restaurant on this day.
Furthermore, if God’s people refuse to prepare for His Sabbath, why should He think they would prepare for His Kingdom? These are serious words and should not be taken lightly. Notice what God said to Israel because of their cavalier attitude regarding His Sabbath and how they prepared for it.
How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore He giveth you the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place. Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. (Ex. 16:28)
Here, God is rebuking the children of Israel for their failure to honor His Sabbath. Specifically, He was condemning their lack of preparation. In essence, God was conveying to His people three critical elements concerning eating on the Sabbath. These elements were as follows.
1) Food was not to be acquired on the Sabbath
2) Food was not to be prepared on the Sabbath
3) His people were not to leave “their place” on the Sabbath.
Notice that God said, “let no man go out of his place” on the Sabbath. With these words, He did not mean that individuals could not leave their tent for any reason as evidenced by the fact that they left their tents when Moses assembled them on the Sabbath and holy days. Additionally, Jesus Himself dined at the homes of others on the Sabbath (Lk. 14:1-6).
The point God was making with these instructions was that the Israelites were not to leave the community where God’s people were camped. Furthermore, they had no need to do so. God had already provided food on the sixth day. Now consider this. If God prohibited the Israelites to go outside their camp to acquire food on the Sabbath, why would He permit that practice today? The answer is HE WOULDN’T!
In reality, those who dine out on the Sabbath are breaking every aspect of God’s command with respect to eating. Consider what they do. They acquire food on the Sabbath. They have it prepared for them on the Sabbath. And they go outside the community of faith to procure the food as well as to consume it. Tragically, many of God’s people rationalize every one of these practices. Even more tragic is the fate that awaits them if they fail to repent of this sin.
It is also important to understand that God’s instructions to Israel were given a thousand years before Nehemiah was even a twinkle in his father’s eye. Simply put, His people were not to go out into a world of unbelievers on the Sabbath. This command seems so obvious and is totally consistent with God’s character. The Sabbath is holy. This being the case, why would God’s people even want to be a part of a society that profanes this day?
Virtually every person working in a restaurant on the Sabbath is breaking God’s command. Furthermore, they trespass against this wonderful law every time they comply with orders given to them by their patrons, including God’s people. With this in mind, do you really want to give that order?" (A Sabbath Test pp 31-46)
We at Blow the Trumpet totally concur with the assessment offered by A Sabbath Test. Sadly, Mr. Ritenbaugh rejected its wisdom and instead opted for an interpretation of the scriptures that allows him to do the very thing God prohibited when giving the command to ancient Israel in the first place.
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