Remember the Sabbath Day (Ex.20-8)

The above title is a fragment of what was spoken by the Lord to Moses and later written among the ten commandments. According to the book of Hebrews, they along with other matters of the Old Covenant are “. . . obsolete.” “Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb.8:13) The service of God under that covenant has these various descriptions: copy, shadow, and symbolic (figure – KJV). A good summary statement is found in Hebrews 8:5; “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” A pattern is that which traces a reality. The trace of keeping the Sabbath holy points to a great reality; God’s rest. It’s a word that means “repose.” The New Covenant is all about receiving that rest. This is the Sabbath God wants us to remember. There are two parts of the one rest. The first part has to do with what we can have here and now. The other is in the world to come. Jesus promised to those who are heavy laden; “ I will give you rest.” “Rest” carries the idea of being refreshed. The true “repose” of God begins with being refreshed because the burden of sin is lifted. The redemption of a broken life is peace indeed. The effect of salvation is harmonious with God’s state of being. We are given a piece of His life. It has the potential to abide from here into the eternal presence of the Lord. This rest is not the salve of just doing our part while waiting for something better. That is what the Old Covenant was for the faithful. Through the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the rest is deep and true, a significant source for the fruit of joy in the Holy Spirit. And yet, this taste of the world to come is not fixed.

While blessed with rest we are subject to trials. The very idea of trial points to the need for proof. The question remains whether or not we will be faithful. Therefore, any rest or comfort we might enjoy can be annulled through neglecting God. I think this is the major difference between our lives here and the world to come. Here we must prove ourselves faithful. There, God will glorify those who are proven. Thus the admonition in Hebrews; “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”

The fourth chapter of Hebrews teaches of our need go forward and prepare ourselves to completely enter God’s rest, His eternal repose. The Sabbath command has this foundation; “. . . And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.”(Gen.2:2 / Ex.20:11 / Heb.4:4) The idea moves forward to this reward being yet in front of us. “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9) And, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”(Heb.4:11) It is striking that work is the condition for enjoying God’s rest. Even God worked and rested. I like how the King James translators used the word “labour.” It underscores what it is to be diligent. Diligence is not achieved in a lounge chair with lemonade.

In Christ we have no observance of Saturday or Sunday as the Sabbath Day. The true Sabbath is in Him. It begins with our salvation and is brought to its fulfillment when He will say; “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . .” “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Col.2:16-17)