Chapter 27: The Law of the Sabbath

Doctrines of the Gospel Teacher Manual, (2011), 95


Introduction

Why has the Lord given us holy days such as the Sabbath? Why have holidays developed among different nations and cultures? What are the differences in purpose between holidays and holy days? What are some of your favorite holidays? If the anticipation and enthusiasm individuals feel about a holiday could be directed toward the Sabbath day, what might be the effect on the individual? On the community?

Ideas for Teaching

  1. A.

    Sabbath observance is a law of God.

    1. Using the scripture references listed in Doctrinal Outline A 1 through A 3 on page 72 of the student manual, briefly establish observance of the Sabbath as an eternal law of God.

    2. Read in Supporting Statements A on page 72 of the student manual Elder Mark E. Petersen’s statement about the esteem in which God holds the Sabbath (see Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 70; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 47). Emphasize that when we consider the purposes of the Sabbath, we can better understand why Elder Petersen referred to the law of the Sabbath as “one of the laws most dear to the heart of God.”

    3. Read Luke 4:16. What evidence does it give that the Savior regularly observed the Sabbath? (“As his custom was.”)

    4. Ask the students to find scriptures indicating that the Sabbath is still to be observed in our own dispensation. Have the students look up “Sabbath” in the Topical Guide in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible. Have them read the passages that apply to our times (D&C 59:9; 68:29).

  2. B.

    The Sabbath day was changed in the meridian dispensation.

    1. Discuss with your class the observance of the Sabbath on the seventh day in ancient times.

      • Exodus 20:10. Which day was observed as the Sabbath during Old Testament times? (The seventh.)

      • Exodus 20:11. What had been accomplished before the hallowing of the seventh day? (The creation of the earth and those things associated with it.)

      • Deuteronomy 5:15. What else was to be commemorated by observing the Sabbath? (It was another reminder of the Lord’s work in behalf of his children. Ancient Sabbath observance included praise and thanksgiving for those blessings. See verses 12–14, which are a repetition of the commandment to keep the Sabbath.)

    2. Have half of the class look up “Sabbath” in the Topical Guide and locate scriptural evidence that the Saints in New Testament times began meeting on the first day of the week. Have the other half of the class look up “Sabbath” in the Bible Dictionary and find similar evidence. Read in Supporting Statements B on page 73 of the student manual Elder James E. Talmage’s explanation of the changing of the Sabbath day (see The Articles of Faith, p. 449).

  3. C.

    The Lord has given some general guidelines for proper Sabbath observance.

    1. Consider Doctrine and Covenants 59:8–14. This revelation, which suggests proper Sabbath activities, was given on 7 August 1831, a Sunday. Analyze selected phrases and words by allowing the students to suggest meanings and applications. Write on the chalkboard such key words and phrases as “broken heart,” “unspotted,” and “joy may be full.” Refer to them during the discussion.

      Ask what activities are proper on the Sabbath day. Suggest that the following four questions can be used to help determine proper Sabbath observance:

      1. 1.

        Will this activity bring me closer to God?

      2. 2.

        Is it unselfish?

      3. 3.

        Does it keep me unspotted from the world?

      4. 4.

        Does it prevent others from keeping the Sabbath day holy?

    2. Select inspired counsel from Supporting Statements C on pages 73–74 of the student manual to further enrich your discussion of appropriate Sabbath day attitudes and activities.

  4. D.

    Blessings come to those who observe the Sabbath.

    1. Refer again to Doctrine and Covenants 59, and pay particular attention to verses 15–19. Discuss the blessings that result from faithful Sabbath observance. Explore the great promise that “the fulness of the earth is yours.” How is the fulness of the earth ours? Does this promise refer to spiritual or temporal possession, or to both?

    2. Invite your class to share Sabbath day worship and service experiences that have given them joy and helped them to grow.

Conclusion

Challenge your students to evaluate individually their Sabbath worship. Do they feel uncomfortable about certain activities and attitudes? Invite them to more fully commit themselves to keeping the Lord’s day holy and thereby realize the promised spiritual refreshment and refinement.