The Sabbath

by Terry Wane Benton

The Sabbath day was for Israel to have a day of rest. Paul, by the Spirit, said that sabbaths, among many other things, were a “shadow” of the good things to come (Colossians 2:13-16). Since the shadows lead up to the substance that cast the shadow (Jesus), the substance takes preeminence. The shadow absorbs into the substance.

The food laws of the Old Testament were also for the Israelites, and after the substance (Jesus) fulfilled the shadows, the shadows were no longer employed as binding law. Paul, by the Spirit, said, "let no one judge you in regard to foods…..and sabbaths.” Since we have Jesus, we have our clean food and our rest. It is spiritual food, and it is spiritual rest in Him. The earthly food was a shadow of the spiritual food. The earthly Sabbaths were shadows of the spiritual rest we have in Christ. It is not a single day like the Jews had a single day, the seventh day (our Saturday), but our rest is always in Christ.

Sunday is not a new Sabbath. It is a day Christians come together (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1-2), but it is not “the Christian Sabbath”. Otherwise, people could judge us regarding this new Sabbath. Paul said not to let anyone judge you regarding Sabbaths. Now, we may be judged for forsaking the assembling on the first day of the week (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 20:7), but not regarding sabbaths. You see, Sunday is not just a new Sabbath. Our Sabbath rest is always in Christ. Sunday is just the day we meet. Jesus was raised on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1), the Spirit came upon the apostles on Pentecost (Acts 2), which fell on the first day of the week (Leviticus 23), the Lord’s church was started on the first day of the week, and so the disciples of Jesus met on the first day of the week by Spirit approved precedent for all time to come.

If you want to think of “the Christian Sabbath,” you don’t think of a physical rest but a spiritual rest that you always have in Christ. Our rest is from the struggles against sin. In Jesus, we confess our sins and rest assured that they are forgiven (I John 1:7-2:2). Our conscience finds rest for our souls. Our hearts have rest. Rest assured that Jesus is our pure food, the bread of life. We can eat pork now because it is no longer a binding law that you can’t eat pork. That was a shadow law for Israel, pointing to Christ as the pure food for the soul. Likewise, no one can judge us regarding sabbaths (Read Colossians 2:13-16). Jesus is the Sabbath rest for our souls. The substance is greater than the shadow. The shadow is absorbed in the substance. Jesus is our Sabbath at all times.

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