To the Saints in Christ,
This is a frequent question that comes up in Christian dialogues: Did God change the Sabbath? Perhaps we should be asking if God changed the covenant! And yes, He did! God made it much easier for us, for the Son of God paid the price!
HEB 9:15 And for this reason He [Yeshua the Messiah] is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
JER 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
For people under the New Covenant, God will not remember our sin! Glory! No one, no human with a sin nature inherited from Adam, can keep the whole law that Moses gave the Israelites, 613 of them! But no one can keep the Catholic law, the Buddhist law, nor the Islamic law either. Without Christ, we are all doomed! Thank God for the Messiah! He is the WAY!
The Hebrew word (G7676) for “sabbath” is “shabbat”. These words are based on Shin-Beit-Tav and it means to “to cease, to end, to rest.”
Actually, for Christians, we should have entered that rest. We should have entered the seventh day.
HEB 4:3a “For we who have believed do enter that rest…”
When I was delivered, I was “downloaded” this revelation: I knew that I would go to heaven on Christ’s merit’s alone so that I didn’t need to do any religiousity but believe (trust) in Yeshua the Messiah!
But we live in a very “religious” world! Some people are always trying to get you under condemnation! (Condemnation is different from Spirit-led conviction.) I’ve come under critical condemnation various times since I’ve been saved. And the LORD has delivered me from this. This is why this Scripture continues… “let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” (HEB 4:3b) We come short if we are not acting by faith! Sometimes, we Christians, all fall short of perfect faith in God’s Word. That is not to say we fall short of the redeeming power of Our Savior, but we fall short of faith in other areas of God’s Word.
ROM 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. He thus condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteous standard of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:2 is what I confessed at my baptism after I was delivered. I am free from “the law of sin and death”! Christians should live by the Spirit.
The Book of Galatians
The Book of Galatians addresses this same topic. Substitute “keeping the Sabbath” for “circumcision”. It is the same principle.
GAL 5:3 NIV Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
Do you want to keep the whole law? There are a list of 39 activities that according to Jewish custom, one cannot do on the Sabbath. So do you do these also? When we were in Haifa, on my first trip to Israel, the hotel people were quite upset with us because we mistakenly asked for the check at the restaurant. That was a no-no! If I had been aware, I would have honored their traditions, but at that point, we were totally clueless.
GAL 5:4 NIV You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
If one is “trying to be justified by the law”, and hypothetically speaking, one could effectively “fall away from grace”! However, if one becomes circumcised after one is also born-again, one will not lose his salvation. Yet this lesson is very important for the doctrine of being spiritually saved through faith by the grace of God! One is still God’s child! That fact does not change.
GAL 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
This letter from St. Paul is addressed to Christians who were straying from the gospel of grace. This letter’s purpose is to show the error of not trusting wholly in the sacrifice of Yeshua, but adding works to it!
GAL 1:6 NKJV I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
There was one way OUT of the garden of Eden (to eat from the forbidden tree) and there is only ONE WAY INTO the Kingdom of God. That WAY is to put one’s trust in the name of Yeshua!
GAL 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
GAL 3:2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
This is the work of God – being “born again” by the Spirit. No works are necessary to have this spiritual rebirth. When we receive the Spirit, we are motivated to do the works for God is love.
GAL 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
A RESTFUL PEOPLE
Let’s go back to “Shabbat” which means “rest”.
HEB 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
It’s a different kind of “rest” than not doing chores on the Sabbath. The “works” that this verse is referring to is works to receive favor from God. All the churches of Revelation had “works” but “without faith it is impossible to please” God. (HEB 11:6) Faith in Yeshua is what is necessary to be “born again”. The “rest” that Christians have is peace with God. We no longer need to be seeking if we are right with God for the blood of Christ atones for us, covers us, and through faith in Yeshua, we are God’s children. That bond can never be broken, if we are born-again of the Spirit!
2COR 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
SEVENTH DAY PEOPLE
HEB 4:4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”
“Born-again” Christians are seventh day people though they may do service on a different day. We are seventh day people because we have entered that rest. We should live our lives in that rest of the seventh day. Seven is the number of completion and perfection.
COL 2:10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
COL 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
ROMANS 14:5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
God knew the future. Constantine the Great would change the day of rest to Sunday. He did it for maybe the wrong reasons, to idolize the sun or Baal, the false god. Constantine is not the hero as most Christians were led to believe, due to the syncretic Roman Catholic Church. He was NOT the first person to legalize Christianity. Under him, much of the Church became a mixture of paganism with Christianity.
Yet, all these saints who boldly stood against the Roman Church, had the first day of the week as their day of rest. Maybe God didn’t want everybody to be condemned so the Spirit put Colossians 2 and Romans 14 in there! But there are more reasons!
NOT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
This is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is NOT repeated in the New Testament! However, the Scripture admonishes to keep fellowship with one another!
Hebrews 10:25 CEV Some people have given up the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.
THE NEW BEGINNING
Many have a question as to whether the LORD was resurrected on the Sabbath or resurrected on Sunday. However, this is what the Scripture says:
ACTS 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
The disciples would spiritually “break bread”* on “the first day of the week” which is would in our culture be Sunday, in honor of the LORD’s resurrection. (The Jews call “Sunday”, “Yom rishon”, or “first day”. Maybe I’ll start calling it the “first day”, too!)
JOHN 20:1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb..
JOHN 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
This Scripture speaks of the “LORD’s Day”.
REV 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,
There is a difference between the Sabbath and the LORD’s Day. The Sabbath honors God’s creation. The LORD’s Day honors the LORD’s resurrection and our eventual resurrection as the Sons of God. We have so much more to look forward to!
ROM 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (into a spiritual body like Christ’s after He resurrected!)
Christ, the firstfruits, was resurrected on the first day of the week. The first day is when this current creation began. We are also new creations in Christ Jesus! We have a new beginning! And, represented by the Feast of Tabernacles, there will be a new heaven and a new earth and a New Jerusalem and that will begin on the first day of that new creation! The people of God will forever rest. Rest in peace. Rest in the shalom of your spiritual and heavenly Father! Glory be to God!
And you can enter that rest now through faith in Yeshua the Messiah!
- NOTE: True Christians are those that are born-again of the Spirit.