Eight Sabbaths

The word "sabbath" is from the Hebrew shabath, which means "to repose, to desist from exertion." Eight sabbaths are described in the Bible. All are designed to be times for men to cease from toil and to celebrate God’s abundant provisions.

  1. The sabbath of God (Gen 2:1-3; Heb 4:4)
    The sabbath of God sets the tone for all other sabbaths. God is omnipotent; He never gets tired. Yet on the seventh day, He rested. God did not need rest; He was declaring that His work was accomplished. He wanted His people to know that everything they would ever need had already been provided.
  2. The weekly sabbath (Exo 20:7-11; Deu 5:12-15)
    The weekly sabbath was a reminder to the Jews that everything they had, they had by the grace of God. Every Saturday they would remember that they could not work for or earn God’s grace, that everything they had and everything they would ever need had already been seen to.
  3. The sabbatical year (Exo 23:10-11; Lev 25:3-4; Lev 33-37)
    The weekly sabbath was a test for the Jews, to teach them faith-rest. The sabbatical year was just a bigger test of their ability to enjoy fellowship with God and rest in His perfect provision. For the believers who were spiritually mature, every sabbatical was a great year, because all their needs were supplied, and they had a whole year to play. But for a lot of people the sabbatical was a miserable time of poverty. They struggled, they scraped, they agonized through the sabbatical year. Why? Because they were not advanced in their faith. God gave them six years of weekly sabbaths to learn that He could be trusted to provide for them in the seventh year. For those who had not taken advantage of grace and learned to rest week-by-week, that seventh was a bitter time.
  4. The Canaan rest (Heb 3:7-19)
    The Canaan rest was life in the promised land. The land of Canaan was not trouble-free. There were giants that had to be defeated, wars that had to be fought. But every test had to be won the same way—through the faith-rest life. The promised land is a picture of spiritual maturity and entrance into the full enjoyment of divine blessing (Jam 4:6). This is a life of enjoyment in the plan of God. This is learning to love the battle. Those who went into the land of Canaan had to fight, but they loved the battle. And even in the promised land, when they tried to conquer in their own energy, they got whipped, like they did at Ai (Jos 7).
  5. The year of Jubilee (Lev 25, 27)
    God kept laying sabbath, after sabbath, after sabbath on these people. The year of Jubilee was the year when all debts were forgiven, all slaves were set free, and all land that had been lost through indebtedness went back to its original owner. It was a time when everyone got back everything he had lost. Jubilee came every fiftieth year. But the people who were uptight would never make it to the Jubilee. They had to be relaxed, they had to live at peace with themselves and with God and their environment.
  6. The moment-by-moment sabbath (Heb 4:1-9)
    This is the sabbath of the faith-rest life, the rest that God wants us to enjoy every moment of our lives. It is a sabbath when things are going badly; it is a sabbath when things are going well. It is a sabbath when we are under pressure; it is a sabbath when things are peaceful. We enter the moment-by-moment sabbath by believing what Jesus said on the cross: "It is finished" (Joh 19:30). God has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phi 4:19). He wants us to live every moment in that peace that passes all human comprehension (Phi 4:7), but we can only enter by choosing faith.
  7. The Millennium (Rev 19-20)
    The thousand year reign of Christ on this earth will be humanity’s greatest test. In the Millennium there will be 1,000 years of sabbath. It will put to rest forever the human claim that environment is the issue. For a thousand years there will be perfect environment, perfect government, and absolute, complete justice. There will be no violence, no warfare. There will be plenty for all; the earth will be bursting with divine provision. All this time the devil will be bound from earth. After a thousand years, God will turn the devil loose and he will lead in revolt multitudes who lived through this perfect sabbath. Even when Jesus Christ rules on earth, people are not going to be happy. There will be complainers, whiners, people who despise His government, His authority, His leadership, His provision. The Millennium is going to be an unhappy time for some.
  8. Eternity (Rev 14:13)
    Eternity is the final and everlasting sabbath rest for man. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord … that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."


This material was originally a highlighted topic in "The Basics".

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