"Pastor, why is it that we're not visiting that gentleman who was having trouble with the Sabbath? I told him all about the difference between the two days, and he still didn't understand. It's just straight facts; I don't know how anybody could miss it."
Does the above scenario sound familiar? In Adventist churches all around the world, laypersons and pastors preach the Advent message to those in need of Christ. As they lead these people along the trail of Bible truth, they often have good success, encountering only a few places where the trail seems steep. Then many times near the end of an evangelistic series or Bible study they find that the Sabbath becomes a rough spot that the student finds impassable. The worker shows the facts clearly, but somehow the student seems unable to escalate above the issue of mere days. The lack of some essential element impedes progress.
Could it be that Adventists (myself included) have left something out of the Sabbath truth that needs to be there? As the world spins toward eternity, have we neglected to proclaim the Sabbath more fully? What is the Sabbath a sign of, anyway?
In recent Bible study I have found new beauty in the Sabbath. I found it to be a symbol of everything that Jesus is to the prodigal world. The Sabbath becomes a sign of Creation, rest, blessing, and holiness found only in Jesus. It tells us of a Creator who was Himself refreshed and made glad on that day (Ex. 31:17), and He wants us to enter into His joy. It tells of a God who loved unlovable, unthankful, sinful slaves enough to pull them out of their pit, treat them as sons and heirs to the kingdom of heaven (Deut. 5:15), and deliver them through Calvary. Maybe now I can help others see the Sabbath more fully, for "the Sabbath of the Lord" and the "Lord of the Sabbath" cannot be separated.
Robert Benardo is a church elder who resides in Graham, North Carolina.