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Christ and the Sabbath (part 5) July 20, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Uncategorized.

This is the fourth post in a series. If you want to catch up check out previous post on past Sunday’s…if you haven’t read them, you should check it out before reading this one. These posts are in reference to the passage in Leviticus 23:3.  I am taking them from an article written by Ken Puls over at Founders Ministries.

In light of Christ’s fulfillment of the Sabbath and the presence of this commandment here in this passage, is the Sabbath part of the Old Covenant that has “grown old and vanished away” (Hebrews 8:13)?

To this I would answer, “No.” This is part of God’s moral law that He established at creation and intended for all mankind—not just for Israel under the Old Covenant. The Sabbath is a gift of God made for man. Jesus said in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made [or more literally “created”] for man and not man for the Sabbath. God intended it for our good and His glory. It is not just for Jews, not just for believers in Christ, but it is a command to which all people will be held accountable.

As a part of God’s moral law, it has its foundation at creation, not at Mount Sinai. God told His people on Mount Sinai to remember the Sabbath Day, not establish it. We see the Sabbath in Genesis 2 as God rested on the seventh day. In Exodus 16, where the children of Israel were told to gather manna in the wilderness, we see them working 6 days and observing the Sabbath before they arrived at Mount Sinai to receive the law.

We see the Sabbath displayed at creation and throughout human history because it is rooted in the character and nature of God revealed in His Word. God rested on the 7th day. He did not rest because He was tired. He did not rest because His energy was depleted and He needed to regain His strength. He did not rest because He became distracted or unclear and needed to refocus and get reorganized. God rested because it was His nature to do so. It was His nature to stop, reflect, enjoy and delight in the work of His hands—to manage time in a way that most perfectly revealed and celebrated His glory.

Notice that this is not just a theological principle of rest. It is a practice of rest as well. God took time to rest. The Almighty Creator of heaven and earth put rest in His schedule. He took time to delight in the act of creating for 6 days and on the seventh day he took time to cease and reflect. It was His nature to do so. And as His image-bearers, this moral practice of work and rest should be reflected in our lives as well.

• We need to rest, not just because we get tired and need refreshed (although for us—we need refreshment).

• We need to rest, not just because we get distracted and need to refocus (although for us—we need refocusing).

• We need to rest, not just because we are forgetful and need to remember (although for us—we need to be reminded).

• We need rest primarily because God made us to reflect His own glory and we need time to stop, reflect, enjoy and delight in the works of His hand.

And this is even more true for the Christian who has seen God’s work not only in creation and the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage in the Old Testament, but also in the glorious work of redemption in Christ in the New Testament.



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