The Purpose of this 24-hours
By Carlton Foster – July 2019
Mankind decided to break up the period from sunset to the other sunset in 24 segments called ‘hour’. So when the Bible recorded in Genesis 2:2-3, “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation,” God did this to demonstrate to us that we also would need a period to rest mentally and physically from our weekly activities of provision and sustenance and we must use that 24 hour time to focus on learning about him. Jesus said it in John 17:3 “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ.”
This 24 hour period he blessed and declared it as holy – that is, to be set apart from the other days. If we concentrate and understand the purpose of this period of time, then we will not forsake to use the time wisely. If everyone, all people come together on that day to focus our attention on God, the enormous synergy that would resulted from this effort. Synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, churches, groups, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. That is why a period of 24 hours is set apart for this synergy to be manifested. God said in Ezekiel 20:11-12, “There I gave them my decrees and regulations so they could find life by keeping them. And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the Lord, who had set them apart to be holy.”
If from one sunset to the other is one day, and as the earth rotates around the sun, people in some areas of the earth will experience their 24 hours at a different time than others! That is still OK, because the setting a-part this 24 hours specific to the area that mark off that period is for that area only. And if the activities that will bring us closer to God are exercised for that group in that area, then God’s purpose for the 24 hours would be accomplished.
God organized this period for us, and if some people chooses not to adhere to the consensus of the group in the area of the earth where they decided to follow the cycle of the set-apart 24 hours, then chaos and dissension would set in. Chaos practices can be a complex system whose behavior is highly sensitive to slight changes in conditions so that small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences. The synonyms for chaos are disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, madness, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, disruption, upheaval, furor, frenzy, uproar, hue and cry, babel, hurly-burly; a maelstrom, a muddle, a mess, a shambles, anarchy, entropy, lawlessness.
These are the conditions that will be manifested on earth in the areas where some of the people do not conform to that 24-hour cycle that God gave us to focus on him; to worship him and to learn of him. Some may choose a different time period, a different day, while some may only choose a small portion of the 24 hour period – 2 hours. There are others who will set a period of time to focus on another god or another occasion. Some may go with the flow and try to focus on God for that period, but because of the many distractions – the things that prevent them from giving full attention to God, which they allowed in their surroundings, these drowned out the essence of the effort to know God; therefore, the purposes for the day of worship that God gave humans are not being realized as he expected, because the purpose is for everyone who believes in him, will have eternal life (John 3:16).
The Bible has many warnings for those in contempt of God’s declaration and law. For example, in Genesis 31:15, the Bible stated, “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.” This rest is from ordinary work, and death is eternal. Again is Exodus 20:8-11, God said, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”
Also in Isaiah 58:13-14, “Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
God’s people throughout the Centuries tried their very best to honor God’s request for the Sabbath; however, some distorted the activities and the purpose of the day and caused the sentiments and real purpose to be repressed. So in Mark 2:27, Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.” It is like saying that shoes were made for the feet and not that the feet were made for the shoes. So the Sabbath was made to keep mankind aligned with God and it would be a key tool to everlasting life. Jesus again wants us to understand the purpose of the Sabbath when he said in Matthew 12:11-12, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course, you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do ‘good’ on the Sabbath.” Even Jesus did what was expected on the Sabbath day: when he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures (Luke 4:16).
Isaiah 56 shows us God’s promises for those who are obedient to the 24-hour time period he allotted for the Sabbath. This is what the Lord says, “Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you and to display my righteousness among you. Blessed are all those who are careful to do this. Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong. Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will never let me be part of his people!’ And don’t let the eunuchs say, ‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’ For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me. I will give them—within the walls of my house—a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. The name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! “I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name, who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant. I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
God is good! And He who does good is of God (3 John 1:11). Any act of goodness done during the period of the Sabbath is Godly! However, the main purpose for the 24 hours, the day, the Sabbath day, is to focus on God, to learn of Him, and to worship Him.