How would you show people they are not required to keep the OT Sabbath practice today?
Keeping the Saturday Sabbath was a sign of the Mosaic Covenant between God and Jews only (Exodus 31:13-17, Deut. 5:12-15). God says multiple times that Sabbath-keeping is a sign between Him and Israel, and that the Sabbath is to be kept throughout their generations forever. Notice the particularity in these passages. This is for Israel. God’s stated purpose was for Israel to remember their bondage and His deliverance. This practice looked back as a constant reminder of God’s deliverance from bondage, and forward to that ultimate form of rest promised.
Even in the NT when Paul discussed the issue of Sabbath-keeping, he never commands Christians to keep the Sabbath, which we would expect if it was necessary (Rom. 14:5-6; Col. 2:16). He even says that it is the weaker brother that wants to keep observing days instead of understanding the reality of the OT fulfillment is all we need. Further, instead of Saturday, in Scripture Christians met on the first day of the week to worship, which was Sunday (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2; Jn. 20:19; Col. 2:16-23; Heb. 4:1-11).
Sabbath anticipated our redeemed rest in God. Salvation is the full expression! People take a day off, but they don’t have rest. Why? Because rest is not a day at the end of the week. That day was only a reminder, a pointer! So the “weekend” was to be a constant reminder pointing to the eternal “end” or purpose God had for us. A sign can point us to a destination, but the sign is not the destination. Sabbath as a “sign” pointed to the rest in the Holy Ghost where we are realigned in relationship!
Ps. 95:11 is repeated in Hebrews, which says NT folk must make sure we enter that rest. The “rest” we now have is the new life lived outside the dominion of sin by being filled with the Holy Ghost! That’s why Jesus said in Matt. 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Here rest is the same Greek word the rabbis used to characterize Sabbath. Matt. 12:8 demonstrates Jesus is the “Lord of the Sabbath.” That means He rules and can give rest. Heb. 4:9-10 shows we can cease from sin and self. Even Isa. 28:11-12 prophecies of this rest coming by the Holy Ghost. So, while the NT is clear that no Christian needs to practice the OT notion of Sabbath (Col. 2:16-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-10), everyone needs the fullest expression. If you want rest, you must come to Him! Acts 2:38 still brings rest. You can have “righteousness, peace, and joy…” How? In the Holy Ghost!
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