THE MAN WHO GATHERED STICKS ON THE SABBATH DAY
In the matter of the man who was found gathering sticks on the
sabbath day, we read:
"And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses." Numbers 15:32-36
It was the LORD, not Moses, that determined that the man be put to death.
"...for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, he will cast you off for ever." (1 Chronicles 28:9)
The LORD determined that the man had hardened his heart. He had despised the word of the LORD. He had profaned the sabbath with a high hand and his presumptuous sin would not be forgiven.*
"And all the churches shall know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve." (Revelation 2:23)
Jesus is searching our hearts and is going to judge us according to our intentions regarding the sabbath day. The writer of Hebrews, gave this alarm:
"TODAY WHEN YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION."
Hebrews 4:11, says that we are to be wary of falling by disobedience, and a previous verse (Hebrews 4:9) tells us what particular kind of disobedience of which we were to be wary...
"So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God's rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience." Hebrews 4:9-11 RSV
The warning is clear, Jesus is looking at the intentions of our hearts about the sabbath. If we know to keep the sabbath day holy and then go ahead and break it by working for money, or setting it aside in order to keep our worldly pleasures, we will fall by the same sort of disobedience that caused the man who picked up sticks to fall in the wilderness. He never entered God's rest and received the death penalty.
Harold and Donna Kupp
* Note - These verses that pertain to sins of ignorance and sins of presumption precede the account of the man who picked up sticks on the sabbath day:
Numbers 15:29 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
Numbers 15:30 But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Numbers 15:31 Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.
a. Sins of ignorance condemn to death (Lev 5:17) and required atonement ( Num 15:28)
b. Presumptuous (willful) sin not forgiven (Num 15:30)
c. The day of atonement covered only sins of ignorance. (Heb 9:7)
"Christians" who presumptuously disobey any of the commandments of God (including the sabbath commandment) have either never fully repented --or they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit of God.