THE TRUE MEANING OF THE
God’s Rest – Commencement of a Great New Work
- God worked six days in creating the present
physical order on earth - Genesis 1:31
- On the
seventh day He rested and sanctified it - Genesis
- Nonetheless God’s work continued
unabated throughout that and every subsequent Sabbath day - John
- But it was work of a different kind - He
began the spiritual work of a new creation - Ephesians 4:24; 2 Corinthians
- So God calls on us to cease our own work and
to turn to doing His work each day of the week without ceasing - Isaiah
The Sabbath First Revealed at the Exodus
- Sabbath imposed on Israel to memorialise rest
from bondage in Egypt - Deuteronomy 5:15-16
original observance initiated under Moses - Exodus
- The Sabbath first made known at the
time of Israel’s exodus from Egypt - Nehemiah
- The punishment for disobedience to the
Sabbath law unknown before the exodus - Numbers
The Sababth Less in Importance than Circumcision and Animal Sacrifice
- Circumcision displaced the Sabbath when the two
laws clashed - John 7:22-23. Ritual of sacrifice took precedence over the
Sabbath each and every Sabbath day - Numbers 28:9; Matthew
- The Sabbath made for man and displaced by
God when the needs of man require - Mark 2:27; Luke
Sabbath Observance Passed Away, Superseded by Christ
- The only things in the law
“necessary” for Christians to observe exclude the Sabbath - Acts
- Christ did away with the Sabbath -
Colossians 2:16. The term “Sabbaths” includes the seventh day
Sabbath - Exodus
The Ten Commandments and the Rest of The Law Indivisible
- The sacrificial code was both Law of Moses
and Law of God - 2 Chronicles 30:16;
- All the Law was “God’s law by
the hand of Moses” - 2 Chronicles 34:14; 35:6; Leviticus
- The ten commandments are both
“law” and “commandments” - Exodus
- The ten commandments are the
“covenant” of God - Deuteronomy 4:13 and the “words of the
covenant” which covenant was done away in Christ - Hebrews 9:1-4;
Colossians 2:11-18; 2 Corinthians 3:6-11 because it was a ministration of death
- 2 Corinthians 3:7
- The ten commandments were
spoken by God in common with the rest of the law - Deuteronomy
How and Why the Sabbath Should be Kept?
Reading: Deuteronomy 5
Colossians 2:16-17 In Christ we have the reality; the
law was but a shadow. v14 the handwriting was taken away. The Law of Moses made
salvation impossible through law keeping. The only way to take the law from man
was through the death of Christ. To save man it was necessary to get the law
out of the way. v16 - Don’t let anyone attempt to regulate your life or
criticise your way of life in regard to these things that have been removed.
Seventh Day Adventists say that it is not the weekly Sabbath because the word is
plural. This is not a case because it is common in the New Testament to
describe the weekly Sabbath in plural form. Matthew 12:1-2, 5 (plural),
v10 (plural - this time Pharisees speaking), v11 (he replies - Sabbath singular)
v12. There is a progression of time in v16 - yearly, monthly, weekly. Luke
6:2, 9 (same incident as Matthew 12 - v2,9 - the term is identical to
Colossians 2:16 Sabbaths “days” not in original).
Acts 16:13 (Greek - the day of the Sabbaths).
“The Sabbaths” was the normal Jewish term describing the seventh day
of the week. Acts 17:2 - yet obviously the normal weekly Sabbath (the
word day not in original - so same as Colossians 2:16). Matthew 28:1
Sabbaths - plural, as also Luke 4:31.
Now consider the Old Testament context and compare:
Exodus 20:8-11, although vv8-11 clearly is singular in
Hebrew, compare Leviticus 19:3-4 clearly referring to the commandments of
Exodus 20. See Exodus 31:13-17 (Sabbaths obviously the weekly Sabbath -
the background is Exodus 20 cp. v11) Sabbaths (same in LXX as Colossians 2:16)
for IT is a sign. So in the Old Testament they are used in the same way
as in the New.
Perpetual does not mean unending without break - cp.
Levitical priesthood Exodus 40:15 (same word here translated
everlasting). Cp. Hebrews 7:12 because there is a change in the
priesthood there must be a change in the Law. Ohlam - time is a length of time
to be determined by context. Exodus 31:17 - between God and
Israel (and no one else) for the ohlam defined in Hebrews 9:24-26
(note THE END OF THE AGE i.e. of the Law’s duration, Greek AION = Hebrew
OHLAM) and for which the Sabbath was instituted. The end of the Mosaic Age from
the Exodus until the Roman overthrow. There is a contrast made between the
covenant to be made at Christ’s return.
Hebrews 8:13 - the shadow gives way to the object which
casts it. The Seventh Day Adventist’s main argument - two types of law -
moral which remains and ceremonial which was done away. They say the 10
commandments are the moral and the rest was ceremonial. But the Sabbath is
not essentially a moral commandment.
One can work to save on the Sabbath - that is moral.
Compare 2 Chronicles 30:16 with 31:3-4 - shows that one cannot
divide one as law of God and other as law of Moses (Passover therefore
ceremonial says Seventh Day Adventists - but ch.31 says that law of Moses -
ceremonial - is law of God).
The word of God doesn’t make the same distinction as do
the Seventh Day Adventists, 2 Chronicles 34:14 (the first 5 books).
Moses was not its author but God, cp. 35:6. Leviticus 26:46 - obviously
God’s law is more than simply the 10 commandments.
Is there a difference between LAWS and COMMANDMENTS?
No, they are the same thing, see Exodus 24:12 (speaks of
the 2 tables). Cp. 2 Corinthians 3:3, 6-7 (the new covenant, cp. also
The law kills but what God writes on your hearts saves, vv
8-9, 14-16 (cp. Acts 15: 21).
Deuteronomy 4:12-13 (two different Hebrew words are
translated commandments - here Dabar = word/s). These words constituted
a covenant, cp. Exodus 34:28; 2 Corinthians 3:6 7.
Mitzwah - used in Leviticus 21 of the 10 commandments.
Compare Galatians 4:9-11. Hebrews 8:6-13 the “fault”
was that they condemned rather than saved. The new covenant is of
righteousness, forgiveness and grace.
How not to use the Bible!
Deuteronomy 5:22 - Seventh Day Adventists say that
since God stopped speaking and added no more - so these are special. But note
vv31-33 which shows that argument is obviously unsound. It was only on
that time that he added no more. The greatest commandment of all “Thou
shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart..” is not found in the 10
commandments, nor the second “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself”. They are in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18
(tucked away with a multitude of what is called by some “ceremonial”
laws) yet v30 - Sabbaths mentioned - moral? or ceremonial? The
distinction between ceremonial and moral is unscriptural. A typical
institution but beneficial when used right to work hard for God (cp. Isaiah
58:6) and as Jesus said compassion can be shown even if it means working
hard - e.g. pull an animal out of a pit.