THE SABBATH = SPIRITUAL REST
Just as we discuss the nature of the true Israelites and we conclude that it is all about the Spirit of a person; so too we need to take a look at the Sabbath in the same regard. We see a true Israelite is not one in flesh but in Spirit. It matters not the color of the flesh when it comes to being born again, for when born again from above we become an Israelite at heart and in the Holy Spirit.
This same concept applies to the Sabbath…it was once the physical keeping of one day a week to worship God. That was before Christ came and changed everything. During His ministry the Law was still in effect and He came to fulfill the law. Yet, after His death and resurrection, He became our Sabbath rest via the Holy Spirit. The Sabbath rest, just like who Israel truly is, became a Spiritual thing, a Spiritual rest, one we partake of every day.
Those who keep this Sabbath rest in Jesus every day are the true Sabbath keepers of the New Covenant.
We must come out of our carnal understanding of Spiritual matters. In that regard, I think the following excerpts from this article and study shows how this is so, and how important it is for us to understand that giving up our own will to the will of our Savior and His Spirit, is the true meaning of keeping the Sabbath.
The Connection Between Rest & The Spirit
By Frank Hilton
(small part of entire article)
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.” (Isa 28:10-12)
This is very important because this is a direct link between a prophecy of the Old Testament and the foretelling of the “stammering lips and another tongue” (speaking in tongues) in the New Testament. But, notice what the “tongues” are directly related to; A REST FOR THE WEARY! This is also a direct link between what Jesus said about rest (peace) and the Comforter as mentioned above.
What About The Book Of Acts?
The New Testament dispensation didn’t actually begin until after Jesus’s death, his ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost (birth of the church). So, the time of the law was replaced (fulfilled) by the church age on the day of Pentecost.
When you read the book of Acts, you read about the Apostles preaching in the synagogues of the Jews. And since salvation was offered to the Jews first, they went to the synagogue on the sabbath days to preach. It wasn’t until chapter 10, that the Gentiles got the Holy Ghost. And as the Gentile church grew and the Jews started realizing that they are saved by grace and not by the works of the law, confusion and trouble began within the church.
Peter was rebuked by Paul because he lived as a Gentile, but compelled the Gentiles to live like a Jew and follow some of the Law (Gal 2:11-16). Certain Jews from Judea started telling the Gentiles that except they be circumcised after the manner of Moses, they cannot be saved (Act 15:1). So, whichever Jews, who kept the sabbath, tried to teach the Gentiles to be circumcised and or keep the sabbath, it was out of ignorance.
The Apostles had a meeting about this issue, and they, with direction from the Holy Ghost sent letters to the Gentiles telling them that they didn’t have to keep the law, except they had to abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: (Act 15:27-29).
Now think back… Circumcision was instituted by God way back in Abraham’s time, even before the Law of Moses. Yet, in the New Testament, circumcision is not necessary to be saved. So, since the circumcision was replaced by water baptism, that law was fulfilled in Baptism.
The lesson we should see from Acts 15 is that certain Jews tried to make Gentiles observe some things of the Law in the flesh, but the Holy Ghost only forbidded them things that was directly linked to sin. And the sabbath was not one of those things. So, now we will see how the sabbath was fulfilled.
Entering Into Rest By Ceasing From Our Works
In Hebrews 2:1-11 is some teaching on the rest that the people of the Old Testament failed to enter because of unbelief. The context of the chapter is not directly about the sabbath, but a rest that believers get through the finished work of Calvary and the promises made to the New Testament believers.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 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. (Heb 4:2-11)
Earlier, we defined that rest means to cease as God did when he finished creation. There is a direct connection between the prophecy of Isaiah’s rest (28:11-12), teachings of Jesus concerning salvation and rest (peace) and this scripture above. The key to the entire chapter is how a person finds this rest by “CEASING” from their own works as God did from His. Therefore, since the scriptures always speaks of the seventh day sabbath as a ceasing and rest, the New Testament “sabbath” is fulfilled when we enter into our rest through faith in Jesus Christ and the new birth plan of salvation. So, it is clear that entering a “rest” is directly linked to our salvation and how we are to “CEASE” from our own works as God did when He ceased from His when He created the earth in 7 days!!
The Shadows Have Come
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: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (Col 2:16-22)
If there was one scripture that could imply that we are not obligated to observe the actual Sabbath day, it is the one above. However, you have to interpret it correctly because if you read it to fast you will miss why Paul is writing this.
The statement “Let no man therefore judge you in meat… or of the Sabbath days”, on the outside, looks like Paul is saying we should observe the Sabbath day. However, look at the context of all those verses. He says, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” He is warning believers to not let outsiders (or false Christians) draw them away from the faith and the worship of God. He accuses the deceivers of not seeing the truth and judging them because they don’t keep the Sabbath.
He then asks us a question. If we are dead with Christ (saved), then why are we subject (observing) things of men; Touch not; taste not; handle not; after the commandments of men? Paul is telling us; don’t let outsiders judge you because you are not keeping the law like they think you should. When we try to keep the letter of the law, without the Spirit of the law, we then are not justified by Christ.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:2-3)
An important point in this entire study is found within these words at the beginning of (Col 2:16-22 – above)… “Which are a shadow of things to come;” The Sabbath is referred to as shadow. Which means it is an example or allegory that ushers in the real thing.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Heb 10:1)
Since the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, it is also applicable that most of the Old Testament rituals and ordinances was just a shadow of things to come. What that means is a lot of the physical things done in the Old Testament is fulfilled spiritually and done only through Jesus Christ. Because, we are not saved, or justified by the law, keeping the letter of the law will do us no good. And since the verse specifically mentions the “Sabbath day” as being one of those shadows, we can safely say that the physical Sabbath day has been replaced with the spiritual rest we have through Jesus.
The First Day of the Week
The only reference of the church having a service on the first day of the week is found in 1 Cor 16:2. This is the only passage that actually states Sunday as being the day of worship. If you were to look back at some history, you will read that Sunday was the day they worshipped on as well. And since a Jewish Sabbath was on Saturday, and if the church did hold services on Sunday, then we can conclude that they didn’t observe the actual Sabbath day on Saturday.
Now, do we doctrinally consider Sunday as a Sabbath day. No! (even though we do set this day aside). Since the Holy Ghost is our “Sabbath” rest, it doesn’t matter what day we have church. Even if we wanted to have it on Saturday, it doesn’t matter to God because he is only interested in our “spiritual sabbath” (rest) between us and Him. All he cares about is if we are living in sin or not, no matter what day it is!
Points To Ponder
• If God wanted the sabbath to continue as a literal day, then why didn’t Jesus teach it?
•Why didn’t the Apostles put that in their letter to the Gentiles in Acts 15?
•Why hasn’t people died because they refuse to obey the sabbath like they died in the Old Testament?
•If Christians are not keeping the physical Sabbath day, then why do people get the Holy Ghost on Sunday or any other day?
•The keeping of an actual Sabbath day was enforced in the Old Testament only because it was under the Old Testament covenant with Israel.
•Nowhere in the New Testament are we commanded to keep an actual Sabbath day.
•A person can decide to honor a day above another if that is their conviction (Romans 14). But, it is not a command or a law that we have to keep the Sabbath to be saved, for salvation is in Jesus.
•Back then, God was more interested in what people did on the Sabbath, than the actual Sabbath day. Just like today, He is more interested in the sin we commit than if we keep a Sabbath day. Because, if you are sinning on a “Sabbath day”, then the Sabbath day doesn’t matter, it’s the sin that will cause you to be lost.
The last point is…
DO WE KEEP THE SABBATH? … YES!!! …
IT’S A SPIRITAUL SABBATH OF REST WHEN WE ARE SAVED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!
In the following Scripture we see what happens to those who are not saved by Jesus Christ:
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they HAVE NO REST day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
“they have no rest”…..
Salvation and Sabbath rest go hand in hand…there cannot be one without the other, and neither without being born again from above, and resting in Jesus and His Holy Spirit.
JESUS IS ALL AND EVERYTHING!!