God’s True Sabbath Within Christ (part one)
One of the most difficult Biblical misunderstandings that I have had as a new born Christian was grasping a correct understanding of the Sabbath.I would just look at a Roman calendar and sure enough, just as our leaders of our denomination said, the seventh day Sabbath did fall on the seventh day of the week, a Saturday. The Jews understood to honor Saturday from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, our denomination did likewise. This wasn’t tricky at all. While I was a babe in Christ, I continued this practice for several years. There are countless number of books on the subject which teach and explain which day is God’s true Sabbath. I have found, as they say, that there are only two choices, as the Jews believe,on a Saturday, or as other Christians practice on a Sunday. This is not easy to see for a novice. If the spiritual endowed leaders of a church or organization teach the Sabbath correctly who are we to believe or have a say in what is taught?
Of course, that kind of thinking is the reason why we have so many different churches or organizations believing all sorts of practices. One cannot look at the situation and differences in these institutions without realizing that there is gross error being taught. Who is able to sort it out?
A key to understanding is that the error is not the fault of the scriptures but is the fault of the teachers. We read of two instances of the learned being criticle of the unlearned.
John 7:15, and the Jews marveled saying, “how knoweth this man letters having never learned?”
That statement was made by the religious leaders when Jesus taught at the Feast of Tabernacles, the so called learned were critical not only of Christ but of His disciples also.
Acts 4:13, Now when they had saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
The problem that the early church had is the same problem as today. Bible teachers are taught what to think in the great learning institutions and pass the teaching on to the lay members of the church.
The subject of this article is God’s Sabbath. If we are to learn what the Sabbath is all about, we need to go all the way back to the beginning and the purpose and meaning of God’s first created Sabbath.
The First Sabbath
Most people like to think that the scriptures containing the Sabbath was first introduced in the book of the Exodus chapter twenty but it is not. We can read of the Sabbath coming into existence in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 2:2, And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had made. 3, And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all the work which God created and made.
Where was man when God rested on the seventh day? Since man was created on the sixth day, Genesis 1:26-27, man had to come into the seventh day and rest with Him. In this rest, God provided them with food, Genesis 1:29-30. All man had to do was to rest and eat what God had provided. Man didn’t have to do anything but eat and rest. Man wasn’t required to keep any laws because no laws were given and no work was provided for man to accomplish because God had provided everything for man’s enjoyment. This is the first Sabbath recorded for us.
Sin and Independence Are Exposed in Man
The seventh day rest having ended, God resumed His creating. Following the seventh day, would bring in the eighth day or a new first day. This eighth day or new first day is a new week and refers to a new beginning. This was the time God breathed His Life into Adam and he become a living soul, Genesis 2:7. God’s children were created outwardly in Genesis 1 and now they were to be filled inwardly. He placed Adam before the Tree of Life to take it as his life giving food. This tree represented Jesus Christ as the life giving Spirit, 1 st Corinthians 15:45, which when depended upon, imbued man with the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22. Man was created outwardly in the physical realm in the first week of creation and now God wanted to fill the new man Adam inwardly with His very life. Adam and his wife Eve rejected the Tree of Life and took instead the Tree of Good and Evil. This 2nd tree was a mixture and could never be pure. Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life was closed to man. This action by Adam and Eve exposed their sin of disobedience and dependence on God. The serpentine nature of Satan had poisoned their flesh, now whoever was born of the progeny of Adam, were subject to the death penalty, Genesis 2:17. This rebellion also brought in a curse on the land. Genesis 3:17. Verse 21 says that God made coats of skins to clothe them. This pictures the first blood sacrifice covering which would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.
In God’s mercy, He provided Adam and Eve with a promise of redemption through a seed, Genesis 3:15, which would be planted in Genesis but would not be seen of men for four thousand years. The seed would be born of a virgin named Mary and called the last Adam and savior of all the world.
God’s Feast Days
The true Sabbath question is still unanswered directly with any satisfaction. The Sabbath is the fourth among the ten commandments in Exodus 20. We also find the Sabbath mentioned In Leviticus 23. In Leviticus it is referred to as a feast. Which is it , a law or a feast?
Exodus 5:1, And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, “Let My people go that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness”.
The first purpose stated by God was for His children to hold a feast unto Him.
Exodus 4:23, and I say unto thee, ‘ let My son go, that He may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold i will slay thy son, even thou first born’.
God’s second purpose was for God’s people were to serve him. Exodus 7:16; 8:1,20; 9:1,13; 10:3,7,8,11.
The word serve has the same meaning as the word till which we read of in Genesis 2:5. The word serve is # 5647 in the Hebrew dictionary and means to labor for another. This was Adam’s purpose tn Genesis 2. He was a living soul and God placed him before the Tree of Life to be filled with the life of Christ. The Tree of Life represents Christ.
Because Adam refused to obey God, he was put out of the Garden, and the Tree of Life was closed. Who was left to till the ground? No one. The people cried out to God under the bondage of the Egyptians. They couldn’t help but be a curse to themselves as well as the Egyptians for the seventh day Sabbath had evaded them. The results are stated in Hosea 4.
Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
The seventh day Sabbath had to Give Way to an Eight Day And New Beginning
Matthew 28:1 tells us, in the end of the Sabbath, Mark 16:1 says when the Sabbath was passed, Luke 23:56 says the woman prepared spices and ointment for His body for burial, and John 19:41 says, in the place where they crucified Him, there was a garden. All four of the Gospels state on the first day of the week the women were looking for Him This was the eighth day of the week, a Sunday. This was a resurrection and a new beginning for all men.
The first Adam sinned in a garden and now the last Adam, Jesus, because of his death, would be raised in Resurrection. Jesus did what Adam failed to do. He was that Tree of Life. Outwardly, He was in the image of God, and inwardly He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
The first thing Jesus did after His resurrection was to go to His disciples and breathe the Holy Spirit into them, John 20:22. This is the purpose for all men as well as women. God wanted, from the very beginning, to beget children, not only outwardly in His image, but filled inwardly with His life.
When Jesus was on the cross, He uttered the words “it is finished”, John 19:30. Jesus’s death ended everything of the old creation, including the 7th day Sabbath. All those who are in Christ,1st Corinthians 1:30, are of a new creation and a new beginning. As we nourish on Christ as our food, we rest, not one day in the week but 24/7. Christ is our true Sabbath.