Holiness: Worship in Time
“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16).
So if God requires us to be holy, then what does holiness look like? To be holy means to be set-apart, sanctified unto God. So what makes us sanctified and set-apart? Let us look into God’s Word to find the answer to this question. Our whole life is an act of worship unto God. We were created for this purpose. We are going to look specifically at worship in God’s time.
Creation of God’s Day
Genesis 1:14 starts us off. “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.’” We want to note that it was here that God created time, and we are going to look at this element regarding worship. Genesis 2:1-3 tells us, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested (took a sabbath) from all His work which God had created.” From this we see that God set apart the seventh day and made it holy. We want to note that this was one reason that He created time, for the purpose of marking sacred times. Christians feel that this was only for the Jewish people, but as we see that is not true, for there was not yet a people-group called “Jewish.” We must also understand that when God chose Abraham, he was not Jewish but a Chaldean from Ur.
When God called out a people, they had to accept Him and His Commandments. This is what we see at the mountain of Sinai. Exodus 19:5-8, “‘Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession. Although the whole earth is Mine, you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.’ So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the Lord has said.’ So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.” If this sounds familiar it’s because Peter tells us that same thing. Not that we have replaced Israel—God is faithful to His Word, or else what assurance do we have? No! It’s because the promise is for us also. So what is this seventh day Sabbath about?
The Seventh Day Sabbath
Exodus 20:9-11 tells us, “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Here we see what holiness looks like. The Bible tells us in Mark 2:27-28, “Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’” We see clearly that the Sabbath was created for mankind and Yeshua/Jesus, our Lord, is the Lord of the Sabbath.
We see the first thing that God did was to set apart a certain day as holy, and that day is the seventh day. So how does that relate to worship?
Worship as One
I’m sure you are thinking that you can worship God any day of the week. Remember, God created time for the purpose of creating not only day and night, but seasons and sacred times, His Appointed Times (Genesis 1:14-16). These times are when God and man meet in a special way. We become one, like on the day of Yom Kippur when the cloud from the incense came together with the cloud that was over the Ark to form one cloud. Today when we keep the Sabbath we are telling God that we trust Him with our lives, that we lay down our ability to provide for ourselves and that He is our source for everything. The psalmist writes in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Hebrews 4 speaks about that Sabbath rest. The previous verses speak about those who refuse to believe. God tells them that they will not enter His rest, but for those who believe, God says in verses 10-11, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.” Worship God with all your heart, soul and strength any day of the week, but on the seventh day Sabbath come to God by resting from your works and worship Him in Spirit and in the Truth of His Word, as one who is betrothed, and the two shall become one. Like the cloud from the Incense Altar and the cloud from the Ark mingled together as one, so we become one with Him on His Appointed Time of worship.
By resting from our works, we show God that we trust Him with our lives. Paul writes to the Philippians, “For my God shall supply all my needs.” When we rest from our works, we are depending on God to provide for us. Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” And Yeshua goes on to say in verses 31-33, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or, ‘What shall we drink?’ or, ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We must worship God with our lives according to His truth, and that truth is that God created the seventh day Sabbath and He rested, and so should we.
God has other Appointed Times, and those Biblical times are listed in Leviticus 23. These Appointed Times were created especially for man so that we may have that closeness with God. God created the sun and the moon on the fourth day of creation for the purpose of holiness. Today the Jewish people still use a lunar calendar as a witness of the God of Creation, for Scripture says that first there was night and then morning.
These Biblical times are: Passover (the same day Yeshua became our Passover Lamb), Unleavened Bread (Yeshua took our “leaven,” sin, and made us “unleavened,” sinless), Pentecost (fifty days later, the giving of the Holy Spirit and His teachings, “Torah”), Day of Trumpets (preparing for the coming King, starting with repentance), Day of Atonement (judgment day, “Is your name written in the Book of Life?”), Feast of Tabernacles (foreshadowing the Messianic Age).
All of these point to Messiah, with the Sabbath foreshadowing the age to come when we will have that eternal rest in God forever. But the Sabbath is the Crown Jewel of all the feast days. We too have our appointed time with God every day and that is our prayer time, our time to praise the Lord and lift up His name. These times are the morning and afternoon and evening prayers that we see in Daniel 6:10, which tells us that Daniel always prayed to God three times every day: “Three times every day, he bowed down on his knees to pray and praise God.” Three times a day we should acknowledge God in prayer and thanksgiving. This is what sets us apart. This is what makes us holy: worshiping God in His times.