Why Did God Kill A Man For Picking Up Sticks On The Sabbath Day?

by David J. Stewart

Numbers 15:35, “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.”

       In Numbers 15:32-35 we read a startling story about a man who gathered some sticks on the Sabbath Day. God had forbidden the Jews under Mosaic Law from working on Saturdays (i.e., the seventh day of the week, their Sabbath). They weren't even allowed to light a fire. No doubt this man was gathering sticks for fire wood. No work was allowed on the Sabbath Day.

NOTHING could be done on the Sabbath that involved work and there's very good reason why, which I'll explain in a moment. But first, here's the story of a man who was sentenced to death by God for picking up sticks...

Numbers 15:32-35, “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.”

What was the Sabbath Day? The Sabbath was a ceremonial law given only to Old Testament Jews living in Palestine. Ceremonial laws pictured divine truths. Some were shadows of things to come. Colossians 2:14-17 teaches that the ceremonial laws ceased at Calvary when Jesus died on the cross. God had commanded the Jews to work 6-days, but on the Sabbath they were to rest completely. COMPLETELY!!! The 6-days of man working represents human effort in salvation. No amount of human effort can save. The Sabbath is our precious Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom we rest completely for salvation. The Sabbath was a shadow of the coming Messiah, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). God is telling us through the death of this man that adding even the smallest amount of human effort will send us to Hell forever.

Now you know why God sentenced the man to death for breaking the Sabbath. Leave those sticks alone my friend! Don't touch them! Don't add to the gift of God! God is teaching everyone who reads the Bible that He will kill anyone who adds human effort to faith alone in Jesus Christ for salvation. Jesus DIED on the cross for MY SINS and YOURS, He was BURIED, and He was RESURRECTED from the dead after three days! That is the gospel message as taught in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.

God will command the angels to cast your body and soul into the outer darkness of Hell forever and ever! Matthew 22:13, “...Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Leave those sticks alone on the ground. It's the Sabbath! Don't pick up those sticks of water baptism. Leave them on the ground! Don't pick up those sticks of sacraments. Leave them on the ground because it's the Sabbath, and no work must be done on the Sabbath Day! Don't pick up those sticks of human effort. Instead, you rest in Jesus Christ apart from all human effort. Leave those sticks on the ground my friend, because it's the Sabbath!

The Sabbath was a ceremonial law picturing the coming Messiah in Whom we rest for our salvation. God gave the Sabbath to the Jews to teach the world that salvation comes only by resting in Jesus Christ!!! Human effort cannot save!!! Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in the cross of Christ alone (plus or minus NOTHING)!

Picking up sticks on the Sabbath represents adding human effort to faith alone in the Savior. God sentenced a man to death for doing it. On the Sabbath the Jews were commanded to rest completely, which pictures resting in the coming Messiah for salvation (and NOT human effort). Don't pick up those sticks; you leave human effort on the ground! Don't add the self-righteousness of human effort to the free gift of eternal life, which comes only by faith in the Lamb of God (our Sabbath in Whom we rest for salvation). Amen!
 

Jesus Is Our Sabbath In Whom We Rest For Salvation

We are warned to enter into God's rest in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:1-11. Don't miss the following Scripture. Carefully notice what the first sentence tells us...

Hebrews 4:10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Did you read that? Those who have truly entered into God's rest (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) have also CEASED FROM HIS OWN WORKS. Boy that's good! Are you listening all you Lordship Salvationists (like Ray Comfort and Paul Washer) who teach that faith alone is not sufficient to be saved? Are you listening John MacArthur, Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses who teach that HUMAN EFFORT is also required to be saved? The Bible calls all of these false prophets LIARS! No human effort is required for salvation. Repentance is not a change of life; but rather, a change of mind, which means ceasing from one's OWN WORKS (Hebrews 4:1). Biblical repentance is ceasing from your own human effort, and instead believing THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Let me quote this wonderful Scripture again...

Hebrews 4:10, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works...”

What example of unbelief is Hebrews 4:11 speaking of? Look back to verses 1-2...

Hebrews 4:1-2, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

The Israelites in the Wilderness heard Moses preach the Gospel again and again, but they didn't believe. The reason why the Jews were always complaining is because most of them never got saved. They literally didn't believe in the coming Messiah. Many of them didn't care, but only wanted to party...

1st Corinthians 10:5-7, “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”

Men are saved when they cease from their own self-righteousness (pictured by the 6-days of work) and instead trust (or rest) completely in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ. JESUS PAID IT ALL! From the passages of Scripture I've just shared with you, it is clear that many of the Jews in the Wilderness perished in their sins without Christ and went to Hell. Carefully pay attention to Hebrews 4:1-2 again...

Hebrews 4:1-2, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

God promises to give eternal life to whosoever RESTS in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As you just read, the preaching of the Gospel didn't profit them because they didn't believe. They had no faith. They heard the Gospel, but it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it. My friend, the Gospel means nothing if you don't believe it. 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the Gospel as the DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ. If you REST upon the Gospel, receiving the sacrifice of Christ as payment for YOUR SINS, then you are saved.
 

God Will Cast Unbelievers Into The Lake Of Fire For Ever

God takes the plan of salvation VERY seriously. So serious that he had a man killed merely for picking up some sticks. This short story tucked away in the Old Testament speaks swelling volumes of books concerning the free gift of eternal life. It is a gift indeed and no work may be done to have it. If you even pick up some sticks to be saved, God will put you into Hell forever to burn and be tormented. There will be NO exceptions for anyone!!!

God sentenced that man to death in the Wilderness for just picking up some sticks! That doesn't seem very fair does it? I mean, they were just some sticks! What kind of God would kill a man for just picking up some sticks? A good God, that's Who! A good God that doesn't want anyone to go to Hell. God is telling us through the death of this man that adding even the smallest amount of human effort will send us to Hell forever. 2nd Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

God is warning the world in Numbers 15:32-35 that He is not playing games. If you ADD anything to faith alone in Christ, you will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. God will, guaranteed, show no mercy and have the angels cast you into second death forever. There will be many RELIGIOUS people at The Great White Throne Of Judgment, who will be bewildered and dumbfounded when they are cast into Hell...

Matthew 7:21-22,“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

The Bible tells us why they went to Hell, even though they were religious and devoted to serving Jesus...

Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

They failed to do THE WILL OF GOD. John 6:40 tells us what the will of God is concerning salvation. John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Religious devotion is a road to Hell. Water baptism, sacraments, amending one's ways, forsaking the world, surrendering all to Christ, making a commitment to Christ—NONE of these are salvation. Hebrews 4:1-2 tells us that the Jews didn't have faith in THE GOSPEL (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ). That's the ONLY way of salvation (Acts 4:10-12; John 14:6).

If God will kill a man for picking up some sticks (to show the importance of the purity of the Gospel), then don't foolishly make the grave mistake of thinking that He'll let you slide and go to Heaven “SOME OTHER WAY” (John 10:1). John 10:1 and 9, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. ...I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Please DON'T add to the Gospel message. Put those sticks down! Picking up sticks on the Sabbath represents adding human effort to faith alone in the Savior. On the Sabbath the Jews were commanded to rest completely, which pictured resting in the coming Messiah for salvation (and NOT human effort).

The very fact that God showed NO MERCY to a man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath, evidences clearly that God will NOT show any MERCY in eternity to those who add to faith in the Messiah. Eternal life is a gift, paid for by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for OUR SINS. Thank you, Lord Jesus! God's Words shall not pass away. The Law of God must be kept. God is bound by His promise to fulfill all of His Word (and that includes casting unbelievers into Hell for all eternity).
 

Are You Resting In The Gospel Of Jesus Christ?

Thankfully, and fortunately, every person is offered the same free gift of eternal life and forgiveness in Christ. I can't believe that so many people flaunt God's mercy and grace, even blaspheming the very God Who has given His Son for their sins. Wow! I am not worthy, and neither are you! I love God the Father so much, and His precious Son equally, for giving everything so I could have life instead of death eternally.

1st Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The gospel is the preaching of the cross upon which Christ died for our sins, and He was buried, and then He was miraculously raised up from the dead after three days. Afterwards, Jesus ascended into Heaven to sprinkle His shed blood upon the heavenly mercy seat in the presence of God the Father for our justification. Then, and only then when, Jesus' precious blood was upon the Mercy Seat, REDEMPTION WAS FINISHED. The blood had to applied to the Mercy Seat in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12,22-24). God doesn't expect anyone to become a theologian to be saved; but rather, God simply wants us to come through the cross of Calvary by faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). Jesus is the sinless and perfect Lamb of God Who was slain for our sins (John 1:29). Thank you God!

Can any man truly grasp the greatness of what God has so marvelously done for us? I think not. There's no other book, nor religion, nor prophet, nor teaching, nor philosophy in existence that can even compare or compete with the awe, greatness, amazement and grand scale of what the Bible reveals; of all that God has done for mankind through the Lord Jesus Christ!!! Oh my friend, whoever you may be, I plead with you... “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3). Acts 4:10-12 plainly states that there is NO other name given among men, whereby we must be saved, than the name of JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH!!!

Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Repeatedly we are warned throughout the Scriptures that God's salvation is offered freely to mankind (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6; Titus 3:5); paid for by God's gift of His dear Son, and the blood that He shed for us. How much greater then are we insulting God, even trampling underfoot the blood of His covenant, when we ADD anything to it. The man who picked up those sticks failed either to grasp or to care about the significance of what the Sabbath Day represented and meant to God and humanity. The Sabbath was not just a mere holy day of rest; but rather, it symbolized eternal rest for men's souls, through the sacrifice of Christ's body and the blood for humanity's sins. If you grasp this truth, then you will understand the importance of why no Israelite could perform any work (human effort) on the Sabbath.

Don't be deceived, no one who professes to be a Christian is truly saved if they HAVEN'T yet ceased from their own human efforts...

Hebrews 4:10, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works...”

Those who teach that faith alone cannot save, but that there must also be human effort—to depart from sin, forsake the world, and surrender to Christ—are NOT SAVED!!! Hebrews 4:10 confirms this! There's a fine line between faith and foolishness, between Heaven and Hell, between salvation and damnation. The dividing line is human effort. Add it and your doomed. Cease from it, and trust upon the Lord, and you're saved!

John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."


It's not what you're doing that gets you to Heaven, it's where you're looking. Look to Jesus!

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech of the First Amendment.

This website has been created in Jesus' name—the name above every other name (Philippians 2:9-10).

"...Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." —Zechariah 4:6

Using the internet to bring truth and Christ to a lost world!

You Need HIS Righteousness!

IFB 1000 - KJV Websites     The Baptist Top 1000     The Fundamental Top 500