Samson and the Sabbath
In the story of Samson’s wedding feast we found out that the feast was to last for 7 days (Judges 14:12). Therefore at least one of the days of this 7 day feast was the Sabbath. When Samson presented his riddle, the 30 companions could not understand the riddle or come up with any truth – sort of like the kings wise men in Egypt or in Babylon (Exodus 41:8 and Daniel 2; 4:1-7; 5:1-8). By the third day they were desperate and they did not seek out the Lord God of
In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there are many series of 7s – 7 Candlesticks, 7 Churches, 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, 7 Eyes, 7 Horns, 7 Spirits, and 7 Last Plagues. In the Revelation 7 indicates completeness – a total picture of an event or process. In the Book of Genesis we have our first 7 the 7 days of the Creation week. Jesus, our Creator (Colossians 1:7-20) had finished all of His “work” on the 6 days of Creation and chose to rest on the 7th day. Jesus Himself says that that 7th day, or the Sabbath, had been made for mankind and not mankind for it (Mark 2:27-28). Sabbath, the 7th day of the week had been created as a gift and blessing for mankind, before sin had come into the world. We have a number of texts that speak to the Creation moment that God had rested from His labors, and those labors had been for us (Revelation 14:7; Mark 2:27-28; Exodus 31:12-17; Exodus 20:8-11; Genesis 2:1-3). This 7th day had been blessed (Genesis 2:3), sanctified (Genesis 2:3), and hallowed (Exodus 20:10-11). The Sabbath, the 7th day, was a special day in the mind of God and it was to be a blessing to mankind, not because Jesus had become tired from speaking the universe into existence.
We know from the Bible that the Sabbath was created in the beginning, and that it must have become a bone of contention with people before the flood for the thoughts of their hearts were evil continually (Genesis 6:5). To do evil continually, and to have every imagination of the heart to be evil, means that anything that God had created for our blessing would have been neglected, twisted, or downright rebelled against. To counter these thoughts God sent a man with a special name. Noah, interestingly enough, means “rest”. Rest is another way of explaining Sabbath – to rest from ones works (Hebrews 4:1-11). God created this day to help us and to protect us from the idea that we can take care of ourselves. God says we needed the 7th day to help us to stay focused upon God, our Creator. So when God called Noah/Rest He called him to build the ark that God was going to instruct him how to do. God was going to send the flood if the people did not repent and He wanted a place of safety for His people. He sent His man Noah to do all of the work so that any who wanted to be saved could enter into that place of safety and rest while God sent the flood to do its work of destruction. Anybody who wanted safety could enter into the tabernacle of God made by the man named rest through God’s instructions. Anybody who entered into this ark of rest would be saved, not by his works but by the works of God working through His prophet. This system, trust in God through His prophet is one of the working metaphors in the Bible.
This principle repeats itself in the story of the Exodus. Apparently
“In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the knowledge of God’s law, and they had departed from its precepts. The Sabbath had been generally disregarded, and the exactions of their taskmasters made its observance apparently impossible. But Moses had shown his people that obedience to God was the first condition of deliverance; and the efforts made to restore the observance (Exodus 5:5) of the Sabbath had come to the notice of their oppressors.” Patriarchs and Prophets page 257-258.
Sabbath keeping, or trusting in God to care for His people, was a constant struggle all through the history of
After Jesus’ death not one facet of the covenant agreement could be changed for a covenant contract can not be altered nor anything added or deleted (Galatians 3:15; Hebrews 9:16-17). So when Jesus died His disciples continued to observe His Sabbath according to God’s commandments (Luke 23:56) and according to His covenant of love for nothing had changed regarding His New Covenant requirements. His disciples continued to observe Sabbath and even the Gentiles in
An interesting issue seemed to spring up in the Galatians church and the church of Colossians and that there was salvation in the observance of keeping Sabbath as the way of salvation to the neglect of focusing on Christ and observing His ways and commandments out of love rather than works. In Colossians 2:14-17 there are concerns about the Sabbath as a way of saving oneself. Many people conclude that Sabbath is not one of the commandments of God any longer because they look for the Sabbath to be expressed in the style of the last six commandments as expressed in Romans 13:8-10. But the issue of Colossians 2 is outlined in verses 8, 18, 22 where Paul expresses that the commandments and traditions of men are not the standards of God. The 7th day Sabbath is not a shadow of things to come but a testimony of the fact that God is our Creator and demands our worship, and worship is required of God’s people forever and even in the new heavens and the new earth Sabbath will take place (Isaiah 66:23)
Now that we have a little better awareness of the 7th day Sabbath let us go back to Samson. The 30 companions had intimidated Samson’s wife to the point that she harassed Samson into telling her the answer to the riddle for she did not know Samson’s God and she tried to defend herself from her kinsmen by manipulation and compromise rather than by resting in the care of Jehovah – the Christ of I Corinthians 10:1-4 – the essence of Sabbath rest. Once she received the answer from the man of God, on God’s 7th day, then they took that information and answered the parable by works of deceit rather than by the awe of Jesus’ gospel. As a result of her cheat, she, as well as Samson, set in motion the early stages of the deliverance of