by Eric C. Wheeler (

I want to share some information that I received from God regarding the Sabbath. I kept the seventh-day Sabbath (from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) from childhood, all the way through my teenage years and well into adulthood. As a child and teenager, I voluntarily kept the Sabbath. (I was given the choice by my parents because my father didn’t attend the church denomination my mother raised my sisters and me in.) Even though I loved playing sports – and many sporting events were held on Friday nights and Saturday mornings and afternoons – out of a healthy fear and respect for God, and in my faith and love for Him, I chose to observe the Sabbath day instead.

When I was about twenty-six years old, God started talking to me. This occurred after I had been earnestly seeking Him in prayer, wanting to personally know Him, and serve Him with my whole heart, no matter the cost. And according to what He has promised all of us in the Bible if we sincerely pursue Him, God mercifully answered my prayer, and began revealing Himself and His Word to me. Being raised in a Christian denomination since I was five years old, I thought that I already intimately knew His Word. But little did I realize, before God started talking to me – I knew nothing!  One particular day, as He was showing me some amazing things, especially regarding the New Covenant, I asked Him about keeping the Sabbath. In this article I want to share our conversation and what He told me.

“Lord, should I still be keeping the weekly Sabbath?” I asked.

“What does the Scripture say?” He responded.

I didn’t know which Scripture He was referring to, so I answered, “I don’t know, Lord.”

He said, “It is written that those who believe have entered My Rest!” At that moment, the Holy Spirit pulled up in front of my mind’s eye the verse in Scripture that God was referencing. I had never noticed it before. “For we who have believed do enter that Rest…” (Heb. 4:3).

I was shocked! As my mind slowly began processing what the Lord had just said to me, the Holy Spirit began illuminating some of Jesus’ words that He had spoken as recorded in the Bible: [Afterall, isn’t this what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do for us? Notice this in Scripture:]

When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you [illuminate it]. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-15). “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26).

The Holy Spirit reminded me of what Jesus had said to us: “Come to Me, all you who labor [work] and are heavy laden [doing your own works], and I will give you rest [sabbath]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest [sabbath] for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30).

“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matt. 12:8).

“He [or she] who has entered God’s Rest has himself also ceased from his [own] works just as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:10).

As sinful human beings, what are the fleshly works we do? The Bible is very clear on this: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” (Gal. 5:19-21). When we stop doing these things, by believing God and doing what He says, we begin to live in the Spirit (which is Christ in us), and thereby we enter into His Rest – His Kingdom. As it is written: “The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). Though this statement is not to imply that the Kingdom of God has come yet in its fullness.

These very things were foretold in the Prophets! Notice:

“Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message? Those weaned from milk! Those drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept; precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little. For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people. To whom He said, ‘This is the Rest with which you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing!’ Yet, they would not hear.” (Isa. 28:9-12).

“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not. And you said, ‘No, for we will flee on horses [do our own thing]’ – therefore, you shall flee! And ‘We will ride on swift horses’ – therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!” (Isa. 30:15-16).

God’s people did not believe Him! Therefore, He said in His wrath, They shall not enter My Rest! (Heb. 3:11; 4:3-5). Hebrews makes it very clear that God is indeed talking about His Sabbath – His Kingdom – His Millennial Rest. Afterall, this is what the weekly seventh-day sabbath represents – His coming millennial reign and worldwide REST over all creation. Let me explain.


The Weekly Sabbath Points to the Coming Millennial Rest

Approximately six-thousand years ago, at the beginning of our current age, during the time we now commonly refer to as “Creation Week,” God gave mankind the whole creation to rule over (see Gen. 1:26-28; Psa. 8:3-8; Heb. 2:6-8). He put mankind in charge of His creation and allowed us to govern ourselves and experience “self-rule,” under the general auspices of certain guiding parameters, commands and principles, primarily summed up in the embodiment of the Ten Commandments. In doing so, at the beginning of our creation, and again at Mt. Sinai, He informed all of mankind that human self-rule and governing was limited to only “six days” (“six-thousand years” – see II Peter 3:8), and that God was going to one-day grant all of creation “a millennial Rest” (a Sabbath) from its struggles, toils, hardships, and sufferings at the hands of mankind’s inept, greedy, and wicked self-governance. Collectively speaking, kings and rulers down through the ages, for the most part, have only been cruel, self-serving taskmasters and despots, as God warned they would be (see I Sam. 8:7-22). That is why it says that “all of creation groans, eagerly waiting for the sons of God to be revealed” which will mercifully release and deliver us all, as well as the whole creation itself, from the slavery and bondage of futility that we are all currently under (see Rom. 8:19-22). In His mercy, God has only allowed mankind to do “his wicked works” for six days (six-thousand years); because God knew that apart from submitting to Him, all of mankind’s works would ultimately only lead to death and destruction. Apart from having the mind and character of Christ, mankind will ultimately only serve himself and his own lusts based on consuming others, which is inherently self-destructive. In fact, Jesus said that if God didn’t intervene, man would ultimately completely destroy himself and all creation, so that “no flesh would be saved alive” (Matt. 24:21-22).

He gave all of creation this hope and promise that one day (beginning the “Seventh Day” – the Seventh Millenium) mankind would cease his perverted works and rulership, and all of creation would then be granted a Rest – a Sabbath! Remember the command to the people: “Six days you shall labor and do all YOUR WORKS, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, YOU SHALL DO NO WORK!” (Exod. 20:9-10). Anyone who has not ceased from doing his or her own evil works will not enter the Lord’s Sabbath – His Rest. Just like in ancient Israel, when a person was trying to do their own thing (“their own works”) on the Sabbath, like picking up sticks and/or building a fire, God had them put to death (see Num. 15:32-36). God explains this in Hebrews:

“For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His Rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His Rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the Gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the Word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that Rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My Rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’, and again in this: ‘They shall not enter My Rest!’ Since therefore it remains that some must enter it – and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience – He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them Rest [by bringing them into the Promised Land], then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a Rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His Rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that Rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.” (Heb. 3:16-19 thru 4:1-11).

It is very clear from these passages that God gave us both the weekly seventh-day sabbath and the Israelites’ “Promised Land” as spiritual prototypes and prophetic forerunners of the true Millennial Sabbath Rest that He is going to grant all of creation after the six-thousand-year rule of mankind ends.


What Does the Fourth Commandment Actually Say?

I want to share something else God said to me regarding the Sabbath that is very profound. He asked me, “What does the Fourth Commandment actually say, Eric?”

“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.” I replied.

He then asked, “And how can you humans, being sinful, dirty and unclean, make anything holy?”

As I pondered His question, I began to think about how Scripture testifies that “we are all unclean, and that all our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6); and that “there are none righteous, no, not even one” (Rom. 3:10). As I was thinking about this, the Lord then told me to go to the book of Haggai because He wanted to show me something. When I turned there, He brought the following verses to my attention:

“On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Now, ask the priests concerning the Law, saying, ‘If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge of his garment he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will the thing that he touched become holy?” Then the priests answered and said, ‘No.’ [In other words, holiness is not contagious.] And Haggai said, ‘If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?’ So the priests answered and said, ‘It shall be unclean.’ [In other words, unholiness is infectious.] Then Haggai answered and said, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer is unclean.’” (Hagg. 2:10-14).

This biblical principle is like our modern-day proverb: “one bad apple can ruin the whole crate; but one good apple cannot make the other crate apples good.” The point being, evil is contagious and infectious, but holiness is not. Holiness isn’t transferable, nor can something be made holy by association and/or affiliation.

After showing me these verses in Haggai, the Lord then asked me again, “How can you humans, being evil, make anything holy and good? As Scripture says, ‘There is none good, but God.’ (Mark 10:18). How then can you, being inherently evil and unclean, make My Sabbath Day holy?”

I was stumped. God was showing me that it is impossible for us humans to make anything holy. By ourselves, and left to ourselves, we cannot keep this commandment. It is impossible! We cannot make (or keep) the Sabbath Day holy. We are not holy. And whatever we touch in our unholiness becomes unclean. These Scriptures clearly tell us so.

Keep in mind, when God spoke these things to His people – the returning Jews – through His servant Haggai, they were truly being loyal and obedient to God, faithfully building His House (see Hag. 1:12-14)! Yet, God still profoundly declared all of them – their whole nation, their works, and their offerings to Him – as being unclean (Hag. 2:14). Why did God do this? What spiritually deep and incredible truth was God revealing?

God was showing (and is showing) us that despite our very best human efforts and our most ardent spiritual desires, it is impossible for we humans to make anything holy. In fact, if God isn’t in it, then it’s not holy. Make sure that you understand this deeply spiritual point before going any further in this article. (Remember, “precept must be built upon precept” – Isa. 28:10).

At the same time, God has revealed another profound truth in His Word: when God is dwelling in something or someone, then that object and/or person becomes holy! Case in point, the burning bush. Until God came and dwelt in that specific bush on that particular day when it appeared to be on fire, it was like any other bramble bush on Mt. Sinai. It was not holy. It wasn’t even special or unique. Yet, when God’s Presence was in it, it became holy. Moses was told when he approached it: “Take off your sandals, for the ground you stand on is holy!” (Exod. 3:5). God’s Presence was dwelling there at that moment and that bush then became holy (Exod. 3:2-6; Deut. 33:16)!

Likewise, when God’s Spirit is in us, we become holy. So say the Scriptures: “For you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…” (I Pet. 2:9). “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (I Pet. 1:15-16). But how can we be holy? By having the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us! When God’s holy Presence is dwelling in us, we literally become a holy temple hosting and housing the Spirit of the Living God! When God is in us, we are in Him – and thus we are One – just as the Scripture says: “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (I Cor. 6:17).


Built on the Foundation of Jesus Christ

Continuing on in Haggai: “Now give careful thought to this from this day on – consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s Temple. When anyone came to a heap of sheaves of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to Me,’ declares the Lord. ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Give careful thought: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. From this day on I will bless you.’ The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: ‘Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah [a prophetic type of Christ] that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother [God will destroy man’s government]. On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, My servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like My signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Hagg. 2:15-23).

As the Bible says, Jesus Christ is the foundation which has been laid – the Cornerstone upon which we must build our lives (I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:19-22; Matt. 7:24-25), and He is also the Owner and Lord/Master of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8). If we have not built our lives on Him, and He is not dwelling within us, our works mean nothing, and we are unclean, and so is everything we offer. Only in Him, and by Him, can we be holy and clean, and dwell in His House, and truly keep the Sabbath holy. As it is written: “For Christ is the end [result] – the actual fulfillment – of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom. 10:4). And “now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:6).

God prophetically revealed through His prophet Haggai that “going to the Temple” (“going to Church” in today’s vernacular) means nothing if your life is not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ being one with Him in Spirit. As God pointed out to the Israelites during Haggai’s day, all of our works mean nothing – and come to nothing, and produce nothing – if they are not the direct result of being one with God in Christ. If you do not have Christ’s Spirit in you, then going to church on the Sabbath day means nothing to God! And as God made clear by His servant Haggai, our association and/or affiliation with His holy day – the Sabbath – cannot make us holy either! Additionally, we of ourselves cannot make or keep the Sabbath day holy. If God is not in us, then our Sabbath observance and/or attendance means nothing! Isn’t this what Jesus Himself told the religious people of His day? That everyone who ate of Moses’ bread – partook of his “legislative package” – died, because they never believed God from their hearts, and as a consequence, they were never able to truly enter into His Rest (the true Sabbath and Promised Land) which can only be found in Jesus (see John 5:39-40, 45-47; 6:32-33, 49-50, 58; Heb. 3:10-19; 4:1-11). That is why God told the returning Israelites: “From this day on… give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid [Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone]. Give careful thought… for until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. But from this day forward [from the day that the Foundation of Jesus Christ was/is laid] I will bless you [you will become fruitful and profitable in Him]’ (Hag. 2:15-19).  

God is going to shake everything that can be shaken to see whether or not we are truly built on Christ Jesus – the true Foundational Rock (the prophetic “Zerubbabel”). And if we are, then we truly have REST (sabbath) in Him now, and are not shaken, stressed, worried, and/or doing the works of the flesh. If we are in Him and He is in us, then “we who have believed enter that Rest” and “have ceased from our own works” (Heb. 4:3,10) – which is the true purpose and meaning of the Sabbath! We are already now living in Him and in the Spirit, although the Kingdom of God has not yet arrived in its fullness. We are “remembering and keeping” His Sabbath day holy by living in the Spirit as though the fullness and reality of the Seventh-Day Millennial Rest (Christ ruling over all of creation and mankind) is already here! We are no longer physically serving “the shadow of things to come” in the oldness of the letter, but are now spiritually experiencing and enjoying the very reality and fulfillment of these prophetic things ordained long ago which pointed to Christ and were (and are) about Him (Col. 2:16-17). As Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill!” (Matt. 5:17). And as the Apostle Paul added: “Let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance [the reality of these things] is Christ.” (Col. 2:16-17).


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