Nurture the Body with Real Food; Nurture the Spirit with Light and Truth!
The law of the Sabbath was given to help God’s covenant people come unto Christ to receive a fulness of His light and knowledge (intelligence). Obedience to this law enables us to fully reconcile ourselves each sabbath day with Jesus Christ, and our own spiritually begotten nature, and with our fellowmen. Bolded words that follow are Isaiah’s words, and non-bolded words are commentary (see chapter 58 of Isaiah):
“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sin.” The Lord commanded his servant Isaiah to call the house of Jacob to repentance—for trampling on the sabbath day—a day that is to be set aside for fasting and renewing covenants, which enables men to receive an increase in God’s divine influence and grace. The Hebrew name, Shabbat (sabbath) is related to the Hebrew verb that means “rest, stop, or cease.” The commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy requires God’s covenant people to rest, stop, and cease from doing typical activities that fill the other days of the week and to use this day to receive a fulness of the fruit of the spirit in their lives (i.e love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, meekness, and temperance, which is self-restraint or self-control), as well as all blessings that attend the fruit of the spirit.
“Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” Israel was once favored by the Lord for their righteousness. They took delight in coming unto the Lord and in walking justly and in love and peace with God, and with their own spiritually begotten natures, and with their fellowmen. However, at this time, Israel performed only outward observances of religion among. While they were trying to draw near to God and to understand his ordinances, they were not receiving the further light and knowledge from God, which he sends to all who fully keep their covenants.
“Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou sees not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? They fast on the sabbath, but it doesn’t seem to them that God notices. They even afflict their souls, but they receive no further light and knowledge, nor does their power in the priesthood increase, nor do they enjoy the fruit of the spirit. What is this once righteous nation doing wrong? Where have they fallen out of their covenant with God, and why isn’t he sending to them the further light and knowledge that he promises to send to the obedient?
Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors.” Israel is being drawn away from God on the sabbath by seeking pleasure and by carrying on their normal labors of the week. They do not keep the sabbath day holy by turning fully to God, but do their own thing. Because they are not keeping their covenant with the Lord their God, Satan has laid claim upon them, and the Lord cannot send them the further light and knowledge they need, unless they repent and become fully reconciled to the Lord, their own spiritually begotten natures, and to their fellowmen.
“Behold ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness; ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.” Israel is fasting for the wrong reasons, and if they want to be heard by the Lord and to receive answers to their prayers, then they must cease to pray for victory over their enemies. Rather, they must pray for knowledge to live in love and peace with all God’s children, including their enemies. They must draw near unto God and learn how to walk in his ways of justice, truth, love, and peace; rather than in the ways of strife, contentious debate, injustice, and the smiting with fists. As an apostate nation, they have forgotten the just, loving, and peaceable ways of the Lord.
“Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” The purpose of fasting is to subdue the natural man in us, so that we can be more easily led by God’s spirit to escape the wages of sin and to return to a fullness of the Lord’s righteousness and joy. At this time, mourners in Israel practiced the wearing of a rough garment against their skin while fasting, known as sackcloth, and they spread ashes before them as they walked, bowing down their heads while making a real showing before men. They had no understanding of how to return to a fullness of God’s righteousness and joy.
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Rather than lift up mournful voices and afflicted souls to God and abase ourselves to receive the Lord’s help—God looses our bands of wickedness, as we repent of our sins and come fully unto him. In so doing he forgives us of our sins and undoes our heavy burdens, and frees us from oppression, and enables us to break every yoke that we bear.
Then, even as has done for us; we forgive those who are oppressed for their sins against us, and we help break yokes that bind others—such as addictions, poor character traits, lack of employment, a faltering testimony, illness, disability, and so forth. The Sabbath is also a day to feed the hungry, and to cloth the naked, and to house the poor, and to care for the temporal and spiritual needs of family, friends, enemies, and even strangers. The Sabbath-day is set apart to get ourselves fully right with the Lord, with our spiritually begotten selves, and with our fellowmen, and to help others to do the same. Herein, we come to experience the full fruit of the Lord’s Spirit (i.e love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, meekness, and temperance, which is self-restraint or self-control).
Covenant Promises to All Who Keep the Sabbath-day Holy
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning.” As we return fully to the Lord’s ways of righteousness and become easily led by him, we receive further light and truth to guide us and grace to be made strong where we are weak. Thus, the light of our righteousness increases, as noticeably as morning’s light that follows night’s darkness.
“and thine health shall spring forth speedily:” Through proper fasting and sabbath-day worship the body and spirit are cleansed and purified from all that is impure—causing both temporal and spiritual health to spring forth speedily within us.
“and thy righteousness shall go before thee;” As we increase in good character and power to do good, our righteousness, or good name, goes before us, which opens doors and leads others to believe, with good reason, that their dealings with us will be just and fruitful.
“the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward” Moreover, the Lord God will go with us in our daily walk and will give us light, knowledge, and power to overcome all the fiery darts, temptations, and pitfalls directed at us by Satan.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity.” “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday.” By lifting burdens that others carry, rather than pointing out and speaking vainly of their faults; and by bringing relief to the hungry and satisfaction to all who are afflicted, then shall the light of our goodly influence rise from obscurity, until the light of Christ shines forth from us so brightly, that our goodly influence becomes as bright as the noonday sun. Thus, when we call on the Lord’s name, he will answer our every prayer.
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually,” Moreover, the Lord will guide us continually and our ascension in grace to receive of his fulness, will be uninhibited.
“and satisfy thy soul in drought,” The spirit and body do not hunger or thirst for the same things. When temporal needs and desires rule us, a spiritual drought occurs in us. But when the body is subdued through proper fasting and sabbath-day worship, we feast upon the fruit of the spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, meekness, and temperance (self-restraint or self-control), and because we have become fully justified before God, against us there is no law by which Satan can further bind us. Therefore, God can send his Spirit to more abundantly abide in us. (see Galatians 5:22–23.)
“and make fat thy bones,” If your bones our healthy, then they produce in the marrow a continual supply of new red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body, white blood cells that protect the body from all foreign attacks, and progenitor cells that replace worn out cells. These physical or temporal blessings are a type and shadow of the Lord’s promises to the obedient—which include attaining one’s allotted time in life; and protection against principalities of darkness; and being renewed, regenerated, and re-created in both body and spirit, as we ascend to receive a fulness of the Lord’s righteousness. Anciently, the use of fat in a phrase was a reference to the fulfillment of Lord’s promises to the obedient. They would lack for nothing. Here he is promising to fully extend the same covenant promises that we learn of today in the temple endowment—to all who keep the sabbath-day holy—as described by Isaiah.
“and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Watered gardens are fruitful; dry gardens are unfruitful. As we serve one another we come to feast upon the fruit of the spirit and become fruitful servants who lift others to Christ. Thus, we become as a fruitful watered garden, and like a spring of water that fails not, and the fruit of our righteousness flows through our posterity unto us forever and ever, without compulsory means.
“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations.” “Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” After Israel fell into apostasy, Jerusalem was breached by her enemies, and her streets were ruined. Great destruction befell her, as it befalls all who fail to keep their covenants. In contrast, all who keep their covenants increase in the power of their righteousness and become arbiters of peace, and builders of nations, and they also turn places that were formerly destroyed, into beautiful habitations of the Lord. Proper observance of the law of the sabbath enables us to undergo spiritual and temporal renewal, regeneration, and re-creation—which lead to the repair of both temporal and spiritual breaches, and to the restoration of righteous paths to dwell in on this earth. Thus, we raise up foundations of righteousness for many generations to come.
“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.” If we do as Isaiah commanded Israel to do on the Lord’s holy day, then we will experience great delight in our continual relationship with the Lord, who wants to prosper and bless us exceedingly. We will also become people of goodly influence in the world (“I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.”).
For example, Daniel was placed in Babylon’s royal court, where his influence over various kings served to bless Israel and every other nation that was ruled by Babylon. Likewise, Joseph became Pharaoh’s right-hand man and saved Egypt and the entire House of Israel during a great famine. Ester ascended to be made queen, and through her influence with her husband, the king, all of Israel was spared. Enoch led his entire people to become translated people who do the work of redemption 24/7, on this and other worlds.
This phraseology is also a reference to those who will become translated beings and endowed with great power, and will go forth in the last days with an innumerable company of angels and resurrected beings, to hunt out and gather in lost and scattered Israel from the four quarters of the earth and bring them to Zion.
“And feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father.” The covenant blessings of the Lord that were promised to Abraham, and were then passed on to Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of his posterity, are also passed on to modern Israel, as we properly keep the law of the sabbath. All such become ministers of the gospel, fathers of great nations, and their names will become great among all nations. They will receive an everlasting inheritance for self and posterity, and their posterity will become as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands of the sea.
They will become a nation of priesthood bearers that bless other nations. Leaders in Israel will come through their seed and blessings will follow those who bless them, and curses will follow those who curse them. All of this becomes ours, as we come to fully obey the law of the sabbath, as described above, and to thus become circumcised of body, heart, mind, and spirit before the Lord, and prepared to do his will in all things.
“For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” After telling Israel what they must do to receive a fulness of the Lord’s promised blessings, Isaiah finishes his description of proper sabbath-day worship with the Lord’s own endorsement of Isaiah’s words. With this endorsement, we are to give great weight to the words of Isaiah regarding the Law of the Sabbath. Through proper fasting and Sabbath-day worship, we return to a fullness of God’s righteousness and joy, and all the blessings that are described above by Isaiah will become ours. The Law of the Sabbath is central to our becoming firm, steadfast, and immovable in every form of Godliness and to thereby receive a fulness of our Savior’s light, truth, joy, and love—which is the power of his righteousness.
Proper sabbath-day worship enables us to retain a powerful relationship with the Holy Ghost, and without such, it is impossible to receive eternal life. Proper Sabbath-day worship fully enables God’s covenant people to renew their baptismal covenant weekly, insomuch that the sanctification process, which is made possible by the baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost that follows baptism by water—may continue in our lives, uninhibited and unabated from day to day, until each and every covenant promise becomes ours, as spoken of above.
Our journey unto the fulness of Christ is not an overnight journey, even as Christ did not receive a fulness of his Father’s light and truth all at once, but ascended in grace, while experiencing all things other men suffer in the flesh. As we follow his Spirit, while experiencing all things other men suffer in the flesh, we come to receive a fulness of his light and truth. The Sabbath was made for man, to enable the continual reconciliation with Christ that makes a fulness of God’s mercy and grace possible in our lives.