How is Jesus our
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:45am
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Rest from your work one day a week,
any day you choose.
MINI BIBLE STUDY FOR THE DAY
In the New Testament, nine of
the Ten Commandments were repeated. But not #4.
"Honor the Sabbath day".
You think He forgot it? Of course not.
As Christians, we are no longer under the law of Moses. Go has given us
a New Covenant.
- Have no other gods.
- Have no idols.
- Honor God's name.
- Honor the Sabbath day.
- Honor your parents.
- Do not murder.
- Do not commit adultery.
- Do not steal.
- Do not perjure yourself.
- Do not covet.
Mark 10:19 — You know the commandments, "DO NOT MURDER [#6],
DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY [#7], DO NOT STEAL [#8], DO NOT BEAR FALSE
WITNESS [#9], Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.[#5]"
Luke 18:20 — You know the commandments, "DO NOT COMMIT
ADULTERY [#7], DO NOT MURDER [#6], DO NOT STEAL [#8], DO NOT BEAR FALSE
WITNESS [#9], HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER [#5]."
Romans 13:9 — For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY
[#7], YOU SHALL NOT MURDER [#6], YOU SHALL NOT STEAL [#8], YOU SHALL NOT
COVET [#10]," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in
this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
The only commandment not repeated was to "Remember
the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Exodus
20:8). The early Christians met on the first day of the week
- Sunday was the day of the Lord's
- The six post-resurrection appearances were on
- The Holy Spirit came on Sunday.
called Sunday the Lord's Day. And, in Scripture, the number eight
is always used to mean "new beginning," i.e. — eight people on the Ark,
But more than anything, it's
not what day you choose to rest that concerns God, it's why you do it in
the first place.
"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look
at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have
rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the
outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." —
1 Samuel 16:7
It is often claimed that “God instituted the Sabbath in Eden” because of
the connection between the Sabbath and creation in
Exodus 20:11. Although God's rest on the seventh day (Genesis
2:3) did foreshadow a
future Sabbath law, there is no biblical record of the Sabbath before
the children of Israel left the land of Egypt. Nowhere in Scripture is
there any hint that Sabbath-keeping was practiced from Adam to Moses.
Some claim that a mandate by Constantine in A.D. 321 “changed” the
Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The
idea of a Sunday “Christian Sabbath” is unscriptural. There is
one time the Sabbath is mentioned after Paul began to focus on the
no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in
respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — things which
are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to
For all Christians (Jews or
Gentiles), the Jewish
Sabbath was abolished at the cross.
"When you were
dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He
made you alive together with Him, having
forgiven us all our
transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt
consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;
and He has taken it out of the way, having
nailed it to the cross." (Colossians
In the Old Covenant, there was not one
day set aside for worship. Sacrifices were made daily at the tabernacle
/ temple. The “worship” was continual. The idea that the Sabbath day
is the God-ordained day of corporate worship is not biblical. OT
Scriptures commanded against working on the Sabbath, but say nothing of
the Sabbath being the ordained day for worship (Exodus
On what day did the early church meet for worship? Scripture never
mentions any Sabbath (Saturday) gatherings by believers for fellowship
or worship, except to preach
Christ to the Jews. Paul went to the synagogue on the
Sabbath because that is when and where people were assembled to hear
discussions of Scripture. That is when and where he had a ready-made
audience. He went to Jews first, and then to Gentiles, and the best way
to preach to Jews would be to go to the synagogues on the day Jews were
Paul would use any day of the week to
preach about the Savior.
His example shows liberty, and nothing about requirements.
The apostles went to the temple on the Sabbath and preached in
synagogues on the Sabbath, but they also met and preached on every other
day of the week. Their example is not a command for Christians today.
Paul considered himself under the law of Christ, not under the law of
the old covenant.
"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave
to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so
that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the
Law though not being
myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are
under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though
not being without the law of God
but under the law of
Christ, so that I might win those who are without law."
He was free to observe old covenant customs when with Jews, and he was
free to ignore them in other situations. Peter was free to “live like a
Gentile,” and Paul was, too. Paul pointed this out to them.
"But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the
truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If
you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how
is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Galatians
(Note: To any of my siblings still under the law in the Armstrongist
churches, I would be happy to come anytime to preach the freedom we have
as Christians. Call me to schedule a teaching time. ... phh)
Today, we are to obey the commands of Jesus (Matthew
28:20), and Jesus
never commanded anyone to rest on the Sabbath. However,
there are clear passages that mention the first day
of the week.
Christians have historically held their primary corporate worship
services on Sundays, the first day of the week, in celebration of
Christ’s resurrection, which occurred on a Sunday (Matthew
John 20:1). It is important to understand, though, that
Sunday is not the commanded day of
corporate worship either.
There is no explicit biblical command that either Saturday or Sunday be
the day of worship. Scriptures such as
Romans 14:5-6 and
Colossians 2:16 give
Christians freedom to observe a special day, or to observe every day as
special. God’s desire is
that we worship and serve Him continually, every day, not just on
Saturday or Sunday.
The Word of God makes it quite
clear that Sabbath observance was a special sign between God and Israel:
“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the
generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me
and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens
and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested”
31:16-17). Once the New Covenant was established by the death
and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the New Testament nowhere describes
Christians setting aside the Sabbath day as the day of worship.
The only Scriptures that describe
Christians in any sense meeting on the Sabbath are in fact pointing to
evangelistic efforts at Jewish synagogues, which met on the Sabbath day.
Acts 3:2 records the early
Christians meeting every day. The
Bereans studied the Scriptures every
Acts 20:7 and
1 Corinthians 16:2 both mention Christians meeting on the
first day of the week. There is no evidence in the New Testament that
the Apostles or the early Christians in any sense observed the Sabbath
day as the prescribed day of worship.
The key to understanding how Jesus is our Sabbath rest is the Hebrew
word sabat, which means “to rest or stop or cease from work.” The origin
of the Sabbath goes back to Creation. After creating the heavens and the
earth in six days, God “rested on the seventh day from all His work
which He had made” (Genesis
2:2). This doesn’t mean
that God was tired and needed a rest. We know that
God is omnipotent, literally
“all-powerful.” He has all the power in the universe, He never
tires, and His most arduous expenditure of energy does not diminish His
power one bit. So, what does it mean
that God rested on the seventh day? Simply that He stopped what
He was doing. He ceased from His labors. This is important in
understanding the establishment of the Sabbath day and
the role of
Christ as our Sabbath rest.
God used the example of His resting on the seventh day of Creation to
establish the principle of the Sabbath day rest for His people. In
Exodus 20:8-11 and
Deuteronomy 5:12-15, God
gave the Israelites
the fourth of His Ten Commandments.
They were to “remember” the Sabbath day and “keep it holy.” One day out
of every seven, they were to rest from their labors and give the same
day of rest to their servants and animals. This was not just a physical
rest, but a cessation of laboring. Whatever work they were engaged in
was to stop for a full day each week.
The Sabbath day was established so
the people would rest from their labors, only to begin again after a
The various elements of the Sabbath
symbolized the coming of the Messiah, who would provide a permanent rest
for His people. Once again the example of resting from our labors
comes into play. With the
establishment of the Old Testament Law, the Jews were constantly
“laboring” to make themselves acceptable to God. Their labors
included trying to obey a myriad of do’s and don’ts of the
ceremonial law, the
Temple law, the
civil law, etc.
Of course they couldn’t possibly keep
all those laws, so God provided an array of sin offerings and
sacrifices so they could come to Him for forgiveness and restore
fellowship with Him, but only
Just as they began their physical labors after a
one-day rest, so, too, did they have to continue to offer sacrifices.
Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the
law “can never, by the same
sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who
draw near to worship.”
these sacrifices were offered in anticipation of the ultimate sacrifice
of Christ on the cross, who ”after He had offered one sacrifice for
sins forever, sat down on the right of God” (Hebrews
10:12). Just as He rested after performing the ultimate
sacrifice, He sat down and rested—ceased from His labor of atonement
because there was nothing more to be done, ever.
Because of what He did, we no longer
have to “labor” in law-keeping in order to be justified in the sight of
God. Jesus was sent so that we might rest in God and in what He has
Another element of the Sabbath day rest which God instituted as a
foreshadowing of our
complete rest in Christ is that
He blessed it, sanctified it, and made it holy. Here again we see the
symbol of Christ as our Sabbath rest—the holy, perfect Son of God who
sanctifies and makes holy all who believe in Him.
God sanctified Christ, just as
He sanctified the Sabbath day, and sent Him into the world (John
10:36) to be our sacrifice for sin.
In Him we find complete rest from the
labors of our self-effort, because He alone is holy and righteous.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God” (2
can now cease from our spiritual labors and rest in Him, not just one
day a week, but always.
Jesus can be our Sabbath rest in part
because He is “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew
12:8). As God incarnate,
He decides the true meaning of the
Sabbath because He created it, and He is our Sabbath rest in the flesh.
When the Pharisees criticized Him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus
reminded them that even they, sinful as they were, would not hesitate to
pull a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath. Because He came to seek and
save His sheep who would hear His voice (John
10:3,27) and enter into the Sabbath rest He provided by
paying for their sins, He could break the Sabbath rules.
He told the Pharisees that people are
more important than sheep and the salvation He provided was more
important than rules. By saying, “The
Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark
2:27), Jesus was restating the principle that the Sabbath
rest was instituted to relieve man of his labors, just as He came to
relieve us of our attempting to achieve salvation by our works. We no
longer rest for only one day, but forever cease our laboring to attain
God’s favor. Jesus is our rest from works now, just as He is the door to
heaven, where we will rest in Him forever.
Hebrews 4 is the definitive passage regarding Jesus as our
Sabbath rest. The writer to the Hebrews exhorts his readers to “enter
in” to the Sabbath rest provided by Christ. After three chapters of
telling them that Jesus is superior to the angels and that He is our
Apostle and High Priest, he pleads with them to not harden their hearts
against Him, as their fathers hardened their hearts against Jehovah in
the wilderness. Because of their
unbelief, God denied that generation access to the holy land, saying, “They
shall not enter into My rest” (Hebrews
3:11). In the same way, the writer to the Hebrews begs
them—and us—not to make the same mistake by rejecting God’s Sabbath rest
in Jesus Christ. “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people
of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work,
just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter
that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of
There is no other Sabbath rest besides
Jesus. He alone satisfies the requirements of the Law, and He alone
provides the sacrifice that atones for sin. He is God’s plan for us to
cease from the labor of our own works.
We dare not reject this one-and-only
Way of salvation (John
14:6). God’s reaction to
those who choose to reject His plan is seen in
Numbers 15:32-35. A man was found gathering sticks on
the Sabbath day, in spite of God’s plain commandment to cease from all
labor on the Sabbath. This transgression was a known and willful sin,
done with unblushing boldness in broad daylight, in open defiance of the
divine authority. “And Jehovah said to Moses, ‘The man shall surely
be put to death’” (v.
So it will be to all who reject God’s provision for our Sabbath rest in
Christ. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
beyond proof is faith. Belief in spite of proof is folly.
or email me if you have questions.