Sabbath Keeping —


It is interesting that the one feature of the calendar agreed by every culture on the planet is the seven-day week. Some isolated points in history and culture have made attempts to deviate from the seven day week, but that always fizzled.

Sunday is the first day of the week. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. Don’t even try to tell me that Monday is the first day of the week. Sunday has been the first day of the week, by the decree of God, since long before the word “Sunday” even existed. It is outside the jurisdiction of humans to change these numbers!

The actual meaning of the word “Sabbath” is “rest” in the sense of “stop.” As a law, this was introduced in the Mosaic covenant. The word “Sabbath” is not used in the Bible until Genesis 16, when Moses is giving instructions for manna. This ordinance was revealed as a dispensation to the Jews after the exodus, though it was, of course, planned from the beginning of creation.

Nehemiah 9:13-14
13 Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments:
14 And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:

In Genesis chapter two, it says that God sanctified the seventh day because He was done with the work of creation. The word “sanctify” means “clean” or “holy.” As a ceremonial law, God ordained that the Jews were to commemorate the “sanctified” seventh day by also resting on that day, like God did when He completed all the work which He had made.

It makes sense that some people might have already discovered the blessings that God designed into the seven-day cycle, by resting one day in seven, even before the Ten Commandments were given to Israel.

I think it is clear from Romans 14, Galatians, and Acts 15, that strictly keeping the seventh day as the day of rest is not a requirement for Christians, now that we are in the New Covenant. Since Paul is instructing them to do what they think is right regarding the Sabbath, that means Sabbath keeping is optional. Since it is optional, it is not a requirement. Since it is not a requirement, we are no longer bound to practise this part of the Old Covenant. So, one could be fully persuaded in their own mind that they are going to keep the Sabbath, but it would be contrary to Scripture if one were persuaded that Sabbath keeping was required.

Romans 10:4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

The ceremonial law is no longer binding because it has been fulfilled in Christ. We can still benefit from the blessing of living our lives according to God’s design, so resting one day in seven will be more rewarding than otherwise.

Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

In these post-modern times, the hard part is building up to where we are actually working six days. Many of us are getting too much rest!

Colossians 2:16-17
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days:]
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

As a ceremonial law, the Jewish Sabbath was a living parable looking forward to a fulfilment. That fulfilment is the rest we have in Christ.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

We do not work for our salvation. Christ did it all, and we just place our trust in His work, not our own. This trust is not any form of work, it is rest. This trust is the opposite of achievement, it is humility. Sometimes, humility can be quite difficult. However, humility becomes completely effortless when I see the glory of God, compared to my stupid, filthy weakness.

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 66:2 To this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

We can live in the fulfilment of the Sabbath, we can rest from our works, we can live in the Spirit, we can walk in the Spirit. We can have our Sabbath rest in Christ. The New Testament fulfilment, of the Old Testament shadow of Sabbath keeping, is trusting in the virtue of Christ rather than trusting in my own virtue to save me.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

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