HFG-13 - Sabbath Purposes - Reflecting God's Ownership of My Time & Enjoying the Simplicity of God's Rest

Jesus Fulfills All the Scriptures

The word fulfill means to “fill in”, or to “fill up”, or to complete what is already there. Jesus didn’t add to the law He completed it fully and filled it with obedience and meaning.

So when Jesus lived a perfect life He lfilled the Moral Law with meaning.

When He died a perfect death He fulfilled the Ceremonial Law, and allowed the Temple to be destroyed all the ceremonial rituals were done.

When Jesus lived and perfect life, and rejected by Israel warned them that their nation was going to be taken away and they killed Him He fulfilled the Judicial Law and it was taken away from them with their nation.

So to Jesus all of the Old Testament was the inspired Word from God. The Scriptures are the Divine teachings of the Divine Ruler, who is to be obeyed. Jesus even stated five times that all of Scripture was pointed at Him. In Luke 24:27, 44 above plus in:

 Jesus Fulfills all Scriptures. Matthew 5:17 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

All of Scripture testifies of Christ. John 5:39 (NKJV) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

Jesus did God’s Will by Obeying the Scriptures. Hebrews 10:7 (NKJV) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’”

Now, the we need to consider the second half of that question:

 

 

 

Let me give it to you simply. He fulfilled the whole Old Testament law by being its fulfillment. Not by what He said or did, so much, but by what He was.

The whole judicial system was only good as long as Israel was God's people. When that was over, the system was over. The ceremonial system was only good until the final sacrifice came, and when it came, then the system was done away. That only leaves one element of God's law abiding still, and what is that? The moral law. That's what undergirded everything. That will be with us until we see Him face to face.

Think of it this way: in every way, Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial system.

Look at the tabernacle; what was that picturing?

1.    The tabernacle had a door. Christ said, "I am the door."

2.    It had a brazen altar, He said He was the altar, the ransom for many.

3.    It had a laver, He said He would wash and cleanse us.

4.    It had lamps, He said He was the light.

5.    It had bread, He said He was the bread.

6.    It had insense, He said, "My prayers ascend for you."

7.    It had a veil, He said, "The veil is my body."

8.    It had a mercy seat, He said, "I am the mercy seat."

Everything pictured Him.

Look at the Levitical offerings;

there was a burnt offering to speak of the perfection of life. He was that perfection of life.

A meal offering spoke of dedication; He was that one, dedicated wholly to God.

There is a peace offering; He is the peace.

There was a sin offering; He became sin for us who knew no sin. 

There was a trespass offering and He provided for our trespasses.

Think of the feasts in the ceremonies of Israel.

He is our Passover.

The unleavened bread speaks of a holy walk; He is the one who walked in holiness.

The feast of first fruits - He is the one who rose from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept. The feast of Pentecost - He is the one who poured out His Spirit.

The feast of trumpets - He is one who, someday, has His angel blow the trumpet and gathers the elect from the four corners of the earth.

The feast of atonement - He is the one who paid the price of atonement.

The feast of tabernacles which speaks of reunion - He is the one who will gather His people into His house forever.

 

 

Eternal Law

 

 

 

What was His attitude toward the Mosaic Law?

 

Let's go back to verse 17. "Think not that I have come to destroy the law." He says, "I didn't come to destroy it."

The word is kataluoand it means 'abrogate, destroy, nullify.' In a physical sense, the word is used of pulling down a wall or smashing a house to the ground. He didn't come to smash down the Old Testament or pull it to pieces. By the way, that word is applied to the temple, and it is applied, in II Corinthians 5, to the body. It is used in a physical sense of the breaking down, or destruction, of a building or a body. Here, in the spiritual sense, He didn't come to destroy the law.

To our Lord Jesus Christ, the new covenant did not throw away the old covenant; it did not annul everything. It was fulfilled, and that's different. He didn't come to tear it down, He came to fulfill it. That's very different, and what our Lord is saying is that the law is preeminent; nothing surpasses it or takes its place, and He gives three reasons in this verse.

The law is inviolable, the law is binding because God is the author of that law.

Reason number one is that it is authored by God. "Think not that I have come to destroy the law," and He uses the definite article 'the.'

God gave The Law that expresses His Character. They knew which law He meant, He meant the law of God. It goes without saying, and they knew what He was talking about. He was talking about the law of God, the law which was authored by God.

 

God’s Law is Changeless because He is Changeless. The law of God never changes. They are God's standards, and the first commandment is this: I am the Lord your God, and you will have no other gods before me.

God is the only God, so His Law is the only law. This is an uncompromising standard based on the fact that He is the absolute sovereign and only God. This is not an obscure idol or remote deity, this is the holy, only God of the universe. He has created all things and all laws to govern them, so they are binding. By the way, God is still alive, right? His rules are still the same; His nature is unchanged and His laws remain.

Let's be specific about the law. To what does Jesus refer? Lots of people have discussed this. Well, Jesus uses the term 'law' in a rather comprehensive way. When the Jews used it in Jesus' time, and this is helpful, they had four things in mind, four possibilities.

1. The Ten Commandments are called law. First of all, sometimes they used the term to speak of the Ten Commandments.

2. The Pentateuch are called law. Secondly, sometimes they used the word to speak of the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses.

3. The Old Testament is called law. Thirdly, sometimes they used the word to speak of the whole Old Testament.

4. The traditions of the religious leaders are called law.  but most usually, when they used the word 'law,' they weren't speaking of the Ten Commandments, the Pentateuch, or the whole Old Testament, but they were talking about the oral, scribal traditions that they had been receiving from these various rabbis. In other words, Jesus put it right in Matthew 15, "You have substituted the traditions of men for the law of God." 

 

used the word 'law,' they weren't speaking of the Ten Commandments, the Pentateuch, or the whole Old Testament, but they were talking about the oral, scribal traditions that they had been receiving from these various rabbis. In other words, Jesus put it right in Matthew 15, "You have substituted the traditions of men for the law of God."

"Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets." That settles it. When you see the term 'the law and the prophets' together, that is a reference to the whole Old Testament. It is used that way 12 times in the New Testament. Twelve times, the New Testament refers to the Old Testament as the law and the prophets.

Let me give you some synonyms. Whenever, in the New Testament, you see the terms 'law, law of God, law and prophets, Scriptures,' or, 'Word of God,' they are synonyms for the Old Testament, in most cases. Unless the context gives you a narrower definition, those terms refer to the whole Old Testament.

Further on, Luke gives us more insight in a more direct statement in Luke 24:27. This is a great statement. "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets," here we are with the law and the prophets again. "He expounded to them in all the Scriptures," and notice this: the law of Moses and the prophets equal the Scriptures. Do you see it in that verse? "Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Who is the theme of the prophets? He is. Who is the theme of Moses? He is. Who is the theme of the Scriptures? He is.

Later on, in Luke 24:44, He says, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with

you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." He is the fulfillment of it all; that's what He's saying in Matthew 5:17.

It's a tremendous concept if you can just grasp this. Every single thing in the Old Testament points to Christ.

You can divide the Old Testament law into three parts. Let me give you an insight; look at Deuteronomy 4:13. This is Moses speaking to the people. "He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone." That's the first thing: God gave the Ten Commandments. Then verse 14, "And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess."

Chart: We can divide the law of God into three parts: the moral law, the judicial law, and the ceremonial law.

The moral law was for all men,

the judicial law was just for Israel, and

the ceremonial law was for Israel's worship of God. So the moral law encompasses all men, it is narrowed down to Israel in the judicial law, and to the worship of Israel toward God in the ceremonial law.

Stay with me; the moral law is based in the Ten Commandments, the great moral principles laid down once and forever. The rest of the moral law is built upon that. The judicial law was the legislative law given for the functioning of Israel as a nation, and that's very important. In other words, God said to Israel, "I want to set you apart from the rest of the world to be different and unique, so you'll have judicial laws. That means you will live with each other and the nations around you in a different way." This law was to govern their behavior. Thirdly, the ceremonial law dealt with the temple ritual and the worship of God.

You say, "Which law was Jesus speaking of?" He was speaking of all three. Some say He was just talking about the moral law, but He wasn't. He came to fulfill the whole thing, whether it was the moral law, the outgrowth of the moral law in Israel, the judicial law, or the ceremonial law, the law of worship. He came to fulfill every bit of it. It was all authored by God, it is all preeminent.

 

All the principles, patterns, prophecies, types, symbols, and pictures - everything in the Old Testament is authored by God and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Now we come to the third point. This is literally overwhelming. We're going to develop this in weeks to come as we go through the Sermon on the Mount, so just take as much as you can get tonight.

1. The Law Reflects God’s Character. First of all, the law of God is binding because it is authored by God.

2. The Law was Repeated by the Prophets. Secondly, it is affirmed by the prophets, and

3. The Law is Fulfilled by Christ. thirdly, it is accomplished by Christ. This is the heart of the matter. It is accomplished by Christ.

Five times in the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be the theme of the whole Old Testament. Did you know that? Five times. Hebrews 10:7, John 5:39, Matthew 5:17, Luke 24:27, and Luke 24:44. Five times He said, "I am the theme of the whole thing." In II Corinthians 1:20, the Apostle Paul said, "All the promises of God, in Him, are yes and amen." He is the one who fulfills it all.

First of all, that's not what the word means. It doesn't mean 'to fill out,' it means 'to fill up.' It doesn't mean 'to add to,' it means 'to complete something that's already there.'

Jesus really didn't add anything new, did you know that? He just clarified God's original meaning. Let me tell you this: Jesus didn't come to give a moral lecture. The law isn't fulfilled by lecturing about it or adding to it; it is fulfilled another way. So some people say He fulfilled it because He met its demands. Some Bible teachers say, "In His life, He kept every part of God's law, the moral, judicial, and ceremonial law. He worshiped in the right way, He was fair and equitable, He never violated a rules God made, He was perfectly righteous, He was the absolutely holy one, the perfect righteousness." And that's true. 

You say, "How did Jesus fulfill that?" When Jesus died on the cross, that was the final, full rejection by Israel of her Messiah, right? That was it. And that was the end of God dealing with that nation as a nation. The judicial law that He gave to Israel passed away when God no longer dealt with them as a nation anymore and Jesus built His church.

That leaves only one other, the ceremonial law. How did He fulfill that? This is fantastic. He did it by dying on a cross.

The whole judicial system was only good as long as Israel was God's people. When that was over, the system was over. The ceremonial system was only good until the final sacrifice came, and when it came, then the system was done away. That only leaves one element of God's law abiding still, and what is that? The moral law. That's what undergirded everything. That will be with us until we see Him face to face.

 

Let me give it to you simply. He fulfilled the whole Old Testament law by being its fulfillment. Not by what He said or did, so much, but by what He was.

The whole judicial system was only good as long as Israel was God's people. When that was over, the system was over. The ceremonial system was only good until the final sacrifice came, and when it came, then the system was done away. That only leaves one element of God's law abiding still, and what is that? The moral law. That's what undergirded everything. That will be with us until we see Him face to face.

Think of it this way: in every way, Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial system.

Look at the tabernacle; what was that picturing?

1.    The tabernacle had a door. Christ said, "I am the door."

2.    It had a brazen altar, He said He was the altar, the ransom for many.

3.    It had a laver, He said He would wash and cleanse us.

4.    It had lamps, He said He was the light.

5.    It had bread, He said He was the bread.

6.    It had insense, He said, "My prayers ascend for you."

7.    It had a veil, He said, "The veil is my body."

8.    It had a mercy seat, He said, "I am the mercy seat."

Everything pictured Him.

Look at the Levitical offerings;

there was a burnt offering to speak of the perfection of life. He was that perfection of life.

A meal offering spoke of dedication; He was that one, dedicated wholly to God.

There is a peace offering; He is the peace.

There was a sin offering; He became sin for us who knew no sin. 

There was a trespass offering and He provided for our trespasses.

Think of the feasts in the ceremonies of Israel.

He is our Passover.

The unleavened bread speaks of a holy walk; He is the one who walked in holiness.

The feast of first fruits - He is the one who rose from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept. The feast of Pentecost - He is the one who poured out His Spirit.

The feast of trumpets - He is one who, someday, has His angel blow the trumpet and gathers the elect from the four corners of the earth.

The feast of atonement - He is the one who paid the price of atonement.

The feast of tabernacles which speaks of reunion - He is the one who will gather His people into His house forever.

 

Listen to Romans 8:4. "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." You too can fulfill God's moral law. That's the only part that is left.

The judicial law was set aside with Israel, and the ceremonial law came to a crashing halt when Christ came. The Lord even said to Peter, "Don't worry about unclean animals or rituals anymore. That whole deal is all finished." But the moral law is left. You say, "Could I ever fulfill the moral law?" The Bible says that if we walk in the Spirit, we will fulfill the righteousness of the law, because Christ in us fulfills it.

What a climax! He fulfilled the law, and He fulfills it in us. It is tremendous to think about how He fulfilled everything the law and prophets ever spoke of. Tonight we didn't even talk about the prophecies that He fulfilled. He fulfilled hundreds of them.

 

090614 Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath, Part 2 Mark 3:1–6

Code: 41-12

 

By the way, just as a footnote, Jesus is Lord over the Sabbath, and He abolished the Sabbath. After His death and resurrection, there is no more Sabbath. The seventh day of the week disappears from all religious calendars. We now meet on the first day of the week, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Sabbath was a shadow, we have the reality in Christ. Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 says Christ is our rest, we have entered into the rest the Sabbath portrayed, a rest to come. Christ is that rest, we don't need the shadow, the substance is here. And so Colossians 2 verses 16 and 17 says, “Don't let anybody hold you to a Sabbath.” The Lord of the Sabbath has nullified the Sabbath, it's gone.

I don't know what system you're in; if you're trying to keep the law as a Jew, or if you're trying to keep the law of the Mormons, or the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the rules and regulations of Roman Catholicism that claim to get you into God's Kingdom, but if you know that in your heart, you're not there, and are tired of the toiling, look to God. He wants to give you rest. All these man-made systems do is bury the heart of God under a pile of legislation, and He wants to give you a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

Christians, isn't there a lightness and freedom in knowing Christ and walking in the power of His Spirit? Even though we commit ourselves to obedience to Him, it's lightness, not heaviness.

The second lesson is, Christians, why do you come here? Why do you worship? What's your purpose? Are you here because it's functional, because you think it is your duty? Are you just cranking it out? Having begun in the Spirit, are you going to be perfected in the flesh? Are you defining true spirituality in terms of a bunch of little things you do or don't do? Is your relationship to God function, rules, laws, or do you realize that those are only things to assist us? They can never stand in the way of meeting needs, serving God, and showing mercy, because they violate the heart of God.

Verse 40 tells us, "because God had provided something." What's the next word? Better. Better than what? Better than the old economy. Better than the Old Covenant. Something better for us, so that apart from that better thing, which has been for us who have lived since the cross, they should not be made perfect. That something better, friends, is the New Covenant. Now they had heard about this New Covenant. Jeremiah 31 had talked about the New Covenant. There are some other allusions to it in the Old Testament, but they had never experienced the New Covenant, because the New Covenant had not been ratified yet, because Jesus had not come and had not died, and therefore, the New Covenant had not yet occurred.

You say, "Well, how were they saved?" They were saved, because God applied the terms of the New Covenant to them, even though it had not yet happened.

But the something better is the New Covenant. Salvation was based for them and for us and for everybody on what Jesus Christ would do to establish the New Covenant in His blood on the cross. They were not saved. Now mark this, please. They were not saved by keeping the Old Testament law. They couldn't do it. They were cursed by trying to keep the Old Testament law.

They were saved by realizing they couldn't do that and pleading for God to be merciful. And God was merciful and did forgive them, because Jesus would bear their sins on the cross in the New Covenant.

We saw that only the New Covenant saves, and we saw that there is an abandonment of the Old Covenant with all its ceremonies, all its rituals, all its external trappings. The holy of holies is gone. The veil was rent from top to bottom. The temple is gone. It was all destroyed in 70 A.D. It's never come back again. The whole Judaistic ceremonial ritualistic sacrificial system is gone, all of God's Law that was non-moral.

Even the Sabbath day rest, that one day a week rest, is replaced by a life of rest when believers delight in the God of salvation all the time, when believers rejoice, aware of their sin, in the sacrifice for sin, the Lord Jesus Christ.

There was a pattern of life with Him. He just continued to break the Sabbath, continually involved Himself in incidents that violated Sabbath law. And so the Pharisees charged Him for breaking the Sabbath and making Himself equal with God, and it led them eventually to Calvary. Jesus never attempted to curb His actions by Sabbath law, by Old Covenant prescriptions for that day. Jesus lived. Listen, He lived. He was born of the woman, Galatians 4:4, born under the law, and He obeyed every component of the law until it came time for the introduction of the New Covenant. Then He began to dismantle the ceremonies. The temple veil is ripped. This is just one of those same kind of things as He takes apart the externals, the shadows, in favor of the reality.

He says not only do you not have any obligation to that, it is not moral. The Sabbath is not moral. None of those Sabbaths are moral. None of those feasts or festivals are moral. Not only do you not have an obligation to the non-moral elements of the law, but those, frankly, are weak and worthless elemental things. They had their place in the elementary era. Why do you want to go back and be enslaved all over again, because in Christ you have implied, entered the true rest. What are you doing observing days and months and seasons and years again? 

Every believer has an obligation to the unchanging moral and spiritual realities that forever reflect the nature and will of God, but not the external Old Covenant observances, and most particularly, those are tied to weekly Sabbaths, monthly Sabbaths, seasonal Sabbaths, and yearly Sabbaths or multi-year Sabbaths.

There is not one New Testament command to keep the Sabbath, not one. All that the New Testament says about the Sabbath you have just seen in terms of the epistles. There's not one New Testament command to keep the Sabbath.

Furthermore, all of the Ten Commandments, all of them, are repeated in the New Testament except the Fourth Commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Every other one, all nine, are repeated in the New Testament. This one is left out.

 

Jesus Fulfills All the Scriptures

The word fulfill means to “fill in”, or to “fill up”, or to complete what is already there. Jesus didn’t add to the law He completed it fully and filled it with obedience and meaning.

So when Jesus lived a perfect life He lfilled the Moral Law with meaning.

When He died a perfect death He fulfilled the Ceremonial Law, and allowed the Temple to be destroyed all the ceremonial rituals were done.

When Jesus lived and perfect life, and rejected by Israel warned them that their nation was going to be taken away and they killed Him He fulfilled the Judicial Law and it was taken away from them with their nation.

So to Jesus all of the Old Testament was the inspired Word from God. The Scriptures are the Divine teachings of the Divine Ruler, who is to be obeyed. Jesus even stated five times that all of Scripture was pointed at Him. In Luke 24:27, 44 above plus in:

 Jesus Fulfills all Scriptures. Matthew 5:17 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

All of Scripture testifies of Christ. John 5:39 (NKJV) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

Jesus did God’s Will by Obeying the Scriptures. Hebrews 10:7 (NKJV) Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’”

Now, the we need to consider the second half of that question:

 

 

 

 

Applying a Biblical Worldview of Time

There are at least four applications for this biblical view of time.

First, we should honor our bodies by keeping sensible schedules and getting the rest we need. We have enough time to work, rest, love our families and friends, worship, and exercise. Because, God has said in 2 Cor. 6:19-20 that since we were bought at a price we should glorify God by what we do with our bodies because they belong to Him.

Second, prayer and meditation on God's Word must be built into our schedules. Keeping God and His Word at the forefront of our minds helps us develop the biblical notion of time. Because God has said in Mt. 6:33 that we should seek first the rule of God in our lives above all else, the rest will follow.

Third, we can say no. Our overscheduled lives are testimony that our notion of time has not been formed by a biblical worldview. Because God has said in 1 Tim. 4:7 that we need to discipline ourselves, and as Rom. 6 says, to say no to things that keep us from fully following God.

And finally, we can enjoy the freedom ofSabbath [rests in our lives], that foretaste of our eternal rest with God. Because as God says in Romans 14 we are to observe any day as unto the Lord. The goal is to nurture an intimate and growing relationship with God. That is what any Sabbath is geared towards ultimately. Not points with God but relationship.

Time is a profound worldview issue. And this biblical perspective on time will revolutionize the way we live, play, rest, worship, and work.

So the next time you look at your watch, take a moment to remember who your God is and how He has providentially given you all the time you need[1].

 

What is the Sabbath?

The New Testament Sabbath is God inviting us to set aside time with Him because we love Him. Looking to the days ahead as we dig into the Scriptures, let me just share my conclusions with you.

1.    The Sabbath is a reflection of God’s ownership of my time. Thus it is not a day we observe, but an attitude that flows from a relationship. It has nothing to do with shopping, traveling, or activities; and everything to do with knowing God, longing for His Word, and delighting in His His Presence. 1 Cor. 6:19-20

2.    The Sabbath is an affirmation of my desire to redeem the time. Our time investments as New Testament believers should show a conscious move away from endless time invested in work for physical profit, and growing choices for regular time invested in knowing God better each day. Ephesians 4

3.    The Sabbath is a conscious renewal of my need to abide. Sabbath observance becomes a daily lifestyle of enjoying moments of resting in Christ. Any temporary daily cessation from work is primarily to open time for reflecting our desires for intimacy with our Savior and Creator. We don’t live to work every moment, we live to know Christ and work hard to fulfill our Biblical responsibilities in life.

4.    The Sabbath is not a law that I must obey. The New Testament teaches that all the Old Testament rules regulating Sabbath Day behavior were part of the ceremonial law that God gave to Israel. The moral law is repeated in the New Testament and is binding upon all believers of all ages; but the ceremonial law is not repeated in the New Testament and is not binding upon New Testament believers. The system of sacrifices, the system of a Levitical priesthood, and all the elements of the ceremonial law system including Sabbath Day behavior, passed away when Christ came to bring the New Covenant.

5.    The Sabbath is a reminder of God’s great act of Creation. Sabbath observance was not stated anywhere in the creation account in Genesis 1-2. But, in Exodus, Ezekiel and Nehemiah the Sabbath Day is stated to be a sign to Israel, not to the Church.

6.    The Sabbath is a reflection of  my salvation in Christ. In the Epistles Paul explicitly says that the Old Testament ceremonies were shadows of Christ that are past, now that He has come (Gal. 4:10-11; Col. 2:16-17). When Paul wrote about sins to avoid, he never stated sins of not observing the Sabbath, rather he stated the opposite. Paul says beware of Sabbath observance that leads to bondage.

7.    The Sabbath is a blessing not a burden. So the Sabbath Day has blessings, but an unbiblical observance leads to bondage. That is what we will see in the days ahead. God wants us to understand the Sabbath rest He has given both in salvation and in our rythmns of life.

 

Are the Sabbath laws binding on Christians today? Colossians 2:16-17; 1 Chronicles 23:31; Nehemiah 9:14; Acts 20:7

Code: QA135

We believe the Old Testament regulations governing Sabbath observances are ceremonial, not moral, aspects of the law. As such, they are no longer in force, but have passed away along with the sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood, and all other aspects of Moses' law that prefigured Christ. Here are the reasons we hold this view.

In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul explicitly refers to the Sabbath as a shadow of Christ, which is no longer binding since the substance (Christ) has come. It is quite clear in those verses that the weekly Sabbath is in view. The phrase "a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day" refers to the annual, monthly, and weekly holy days of the Jewish calendar (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 31:3; Ezekiel 45:17; Hosea 2:11). If Paul were referring to special ceremonial dates of rest in that passage, why would he have used the word "Sabbath?" He had already mentioned the ceremonial dates when he spoke of festivals and new moons.

The Sabbath was the sign to Israel of the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 31:16-17; Ezekiel 20:12; Nehemiah 9:14). Since we are now under the New Covenant (Hebrews 8), we are no longer required to observe the sign of the Mosaic Covenant.

The New Testament never commands Christians to observe the Sabbath.

In our only glimpse of an early church worship service in the New Testament, the church met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

Nowhere in the Old Testament are the Gentile nations commanded to observe the Sabbath or condemned for failing to do so. That is certainly strange if Sabbath observance were meant to be an eternal moral principle.

There is no evidence in the Bible of anyone keeping the Sabbath before the time of Moses, nor are there any commands in the Bible to keep the Sabbath before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai.

When the Apostles met at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15), they did not impose Sabbath keeping on the Gentile believers.

The apostle Paul warned the Gentiles about many different sins in his epistles, but breaking the Sabbath was never one of them.

In Galatians 4:10-11, Paul rebukes the Galatians for thinking God expected them to observe special days (including the Sabbath).

In Romans 14:5, Paul forbids those who observe the Sabbath (these were no doubt Jewish believers) to condemn those who do not (Gentile believers).

The early church fathers, from Ignatius to Augustine, taught that the Old Testament Sabbath had been abolished and that the first day of the week (Sunday) was the day when Christians should meet for worship (contrary to the claim of many seventh-day sabbatarians who claim that Sunday worship was not instituted until the fourth century).

Sunday has not replaced Saturday as the Sabbath. Rather the Lord's Day is a time when believers gather to commemorate His resurrection, which occurred on the first day of the week. Every day to the believer is one of Sabbath rest, since we have ceased from our spiritual labor and are resting in the salvation of the Lord (Hebrews 4:9-11).

So while we still follow the pattern of designating one day of the week a day for the Lord's people to gather in worship, we do not refer to this as "the Sabbath."

 

 

 

[1] Ibid. [173 words]