REST FOR YOUR SOULS
Attempting to refute error with error is not a good idea. For instance, it’s not a good idea to attempt to refute legalistic Sabbath keeping by attempting to refute the Sabbath. The Sabbath according to the scriptures is not the problem; it’s the wrong ideas of people who don’t understand what they are talking about that’s the problem.
I have heard the stories of men who have lost their jobs because they refuse to work on the Sabbath and others who can’t find a job because they refuse to work on the Sabbath. This has caused much grief to their families and put some of them in real financial straits.
Is this really what God intends? Is this God’s intended result for those who keep the Sabbath? Is it right in the eyes of God for a man to neglect His family in order to keep the Sabbath?
If those who claim to be Torah Observant would actually and prayerfully read the dialogue between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day, they would discover that Jesus does not support their interpretation of the Sabbath.
It is right and godly to do that which is good on the Sabbath and providing for your family qualifies as doing right and good.
On the other hand, it is wrong to attack the Sabbath itself by attempting to refute it simply because some have abused it. You cannot refute the Sabbath because there is absolutely no scriptural grounds for refuting the Sabbath.
Now, read carefully, and don’t misunderstand what I just said. You may refute the legalistic interpretation of the Sabbath as Jesus did but you can’t refute the Sabbath with scripture. The Sabbath was ordained by God in Genesis 2:2-3 and it is a part of the Biblical narrative. It’s how the Sabbath is understood or misunderstood that needs to be addressed. When the Sabbath becomes about pleasing a “rules driven God” rather than about a beautiful and personal relationship with God in Christ, then people go into error.
The first ever Sabbath in scripture is recorded in Genesis 2:2-3. God rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. This was God’s Sabbath and it was a DAY which God sanctified. Exodus 20:10-11 and Exodus 31:16-17 tells us that God later commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath because He had rested on the Seventh day.
From Adam until Moses, there is no recorded Sabbath command for man. The only Sabbath is the one mentioned in Genesis 2:2-3, the seventh day in which God rested from His work.
In Deuteronomy 5:14-15 the Bible gives us more insight into the reason that God commanded Israel to observe the Sabbath. God gave this command because the children of Israel had been slaves to the Egyptians. Israel was not only to have a day of rest but their servants were to rest also. We ought to see the heart of God in this. God delivered Israel and gave them a day of rest, something they did not have as slaves in Egypt.
God’s intended purpose was rest and that is the concept that we need to latch on to. If we’ll hear the scriptures with our hearts we will understand that God is in favor of our rest and we’ll understand the heart of God in Christ with regards to the giving of the Sabbath. Instead of being bound by the letter of the Law we need to hear what Spirit is saying in view of the person of Jesus Christ.
The Psalmist said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but MY EARS you have OPENED — burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; YOUR LAW is within my heart.”
Sacrifices and offerings were an actual requirement according to the letter of the law. Yet the Psalmist says “sacrifice and offering you did not desire” because the Lord had opend his ears and consequently he understood that this is not what God truely wanted. The writer of Hebrews quotes these verses in reference to Jesus.
In like manner, God’s desired purpose concerning the Sabbath is not a legalistic observance of a holy day. Instead, it’s intended purpose is rest for our souls and that rest can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
If a person keeps the “technical Sabbath” after the letter of the Law yet his soul finds no rest because of worries and cares, has he really kept the Sabbath? And if true rest can only be found in Jesus then can true rest be found but observing the “technical Sabbath?”
Again, you cannot refute the truth of the Sabbath with Scripture because scripture never refutes it. You can refute interpretations of the Sabbath observance and what it means within the context of New Testament doctrine but scripture does not turn us against it.
There is a beautiful truth within the Sabbath and that truth is discovered in the person of Jesus Christ. When understood in view of *the rest* which we have in Jesus Christ the purpose for the Sabbath within the Biblical narrative becomes a very liberating. In addition, we ought to learn from the scriptures as well that observing the ““technical Sabbath” has never been able to bring God’s people into the rest that God has for them.
The writer of Hebrews addresses this issue telling us that God rested on the seventh day form all His works and as pointed out earlier the reason that God commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath was because He had rested on the Sabbath day.
The command which God gave to Israel to keep the Sabbath is uniquely tied to the promised inheritance of the land of Israel. Inheritance and rest go hand in hand and both are to be obtained through faith. In Hebrews 3 and 4 the writer of Hebrews speaks of the first generation of Israelites who failed to enter the Promised Land as failing to enter into “God’s rest.”
Hebrews 3:7-11 says the following:
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into MY REST).
Notice that the writer of Hebrews refers to the first generation of Israelites not entering the promises land as falling short of God’s rest.
When Hebrews 3 – 4 is read in its entirety, we see that the first generation of Israelites did not enter in the Promised Land (God’s rest) because of their unbelief. The writer of Hebrews says this as an exhortation to us with regards to faith. In chapter 4 he speaks of God resting from all of His works on the Sabbath day within the context of exhorting us to labor to enter into THAT REST. We are to labor to enter into GOD’S REST for us and THAT REST is in the finished work of God in Christ Jesus.
For us who are under the new and better Covenant, keeping the Sabbath is all about finding true rest for our souls by completely trusting in Jesus Christ!
“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. For unto us was THE GOSPEL preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For WE WHICH HAVE BELIEVED DO ENTER INTO REST, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into MY REST: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did REST the seventh day FROM ALL HIS WORKS. And in this place again, If they shall enter into MY REST. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of UNBELIEF : Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Joshua had given them REST, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore A REST to the people of God. For he that is entered into HIS REST, he also hath CEASED FROM HIS OWN WORKS, AS GOD DID FROM HIS. Let us labour therefore to enter into THAT REST, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (capps for emphasis only)
As previously stated, “There is a beautiful truth within the Sabbath throughout the narrative of scripture and that truth is discovered in the person of Jesus Christ. When understood in view of *the rest* which we have in Jesus Christ the purpose for the Sabbath within the Biblical narrative becomes a very liberating truth.”
Paul tells us that the feasts and the Sabbaths were a shadow of good things to come and those good things are found in Jesus. It think it would beneficial of us to teach the good things in Jesus of which the Sabbaths foreshadowed rather than fighting against the Sabbath itself simply because some have abused the truth.
Scripture does not refute or support refuting the Sabbath as some attempt to do. Scripture supports refuting the legalistic and religious abuse of the Sabbath as Jesus did. Jesus did not refute the Sabbath but brought to full light what the intended purpose for the Sabbath was all about and that purpose was rest for the soul and THAT REST can only be found In the person of Jesus Christ.