Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on the Sabbath

Recently, I was preaching through Genesis 1-2 and studied how the on the seventh day the Lord rested from all His work which He had made. This led me to do some studying on the Sabbath Day. The Lord blessed my heart and taught me some things, and I just wanted to praise Him for it and share it as it may be a blessing to others as well.
I believe in the Bible there are three Sabbaths. The first is the Lord's Sabbath spoken of in Genesis 2:1-2 when He rested from from all His work. It is so important to note that He rested "from all His work..." Many misquote this passage in just saying "On the 7th Day, God Rested;" as if God was tired or worn out from all His creating. This is not the case as we read in Isaiah 40:28,
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
God wasn't worn out or weary, He did just what Scriptures say He did, "rested from all His work which He had made." In other words, it was all finished and he ceased creating! Gen. 2:1 reads, "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them."
My mind went to a cross when our Lord cried out "It is Finished!" It was not that Satan had beaten Him, He had lost the battle, or His strength was depleted! No, salvation's work was completed and He was finished with what He had come to this earth to do!
Secondly, there is the Jewish Sabbath. It is first mentioned in Ex. 16:23 before the 10 Commandments demanded it be observed. Here the Jews were to collect enough manna so that none would have to be collected on the seventh day. What was this seventh day for? Ex. 31:12-14 says clearly that is was to be a sign between God and His people-the Jews:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Further, it is stated in Deut. 5:12-15 that the Sabbath was for the Jew to remember how they were delivered from Egypt:
Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
13 Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work:
14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
Again, I think how that the Lord has brought us out of the world and delivered us with a mighty hand; but we are not the Jews and the observance of the Sabbath is not for us. When Christ came, He fulfilled the law and observing of such days is no longer mandated on the believer (Gal. 4:1-11; Col. 2:16-17).
The third Sabbath is for the New Testament saint as read of in Hebrews 4:3-11. Upon our salvation, we entered into His rest. You see, we do not rest in a day, we rest in a Person-the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:28).
There are many out there who believe that we are to observe the Jewish Sabbath. This is incorrect as the Jewish Sabbath is just that-for the Jew. It was a sign between them and God. Others try to make Sunday a Christian Sabbath, and we must be careful there.
Sunday is the Lord's Day. After the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, churches in Scripture gathered "upon the first day of the week." (John 20:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). Why do we gather upon the first day of the week and not the seventh? One may quickly answer, because that is the day He arose! Amen, but there is more.
The Old Covenant (Testament), shows how the Jews did all that they did believing and looking forward to the day when Christ would provide Himself a Lamb sacrifice for all sin. The Old Testament Saints were saved just as we are saved today, by faith in the work of Calvary (Romans 4:3-"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." James 2:23 also). They were saved by faith in what Christ would do. Thus they lived their lives, sacrificed, and did all their works believing what Christ would do one day.
We are saved by faith as well. The only difference is that we place our faith not in what Christ will do, but what He has done! We enter into His rest and then spend our lives serving God (Eph. 2:8-10; James 2:17).
The Jews observing the Sabbath was a testimony between them and God that they were delivered because of what Christ would one day do. They did their works because of their faith in what Christ would do for them on the cross. Thus, six days of labor and then that day of observance.
We gather on the Lord's Day, the first day of the week, because we are saved by faith in what Christ has done, we are born again, a new creature, and our life then is new and spent in service to our Saviour. We entered into His rest and then present ourselves a living sacrifice. Thus, the Lord's day and then six days of labor.