Scripturally Based Answers For life's Questions
A commonly asked question among believers is, “What is the purpose of the Sabbath and are we to keep it?” There is a very special teaching in God’s word concerning the Sabbath. Let us consider some of the relating truths about the Sabbath, and then we will determine some conclusions regarding whether or not we are to keep it.
Holy means perfect in design, shape, and purpose and has never been defiled. To keep it holy simply means not to defile it. How does one defile the Sabbath? By doing work therein and by not observing it. It requires full attention but no work. God would have people stoned for just picking up sticks to make a fire on that day. It is a very serious matter.
A shadow is a reflection of an object. A shadow describes the substance. A shadow of a person is also shaped like a person. A shadow follows the object. When the person casting the shadow moves, the shadow follows. But a shadow has no power. The Sabbath is a shadow of Jesus Christ. It described Him, showed His movements and workings, it even showed His coming, but it was never Him. A shadow locates the light. When one sees a shadow of something and turns to look at the object that is casting it, one can see the light. That was the purpose of the Sabbath, to cause people to turn to the light and see God and what He was doing to bring redemption to mankind. To trust in a shadow is useless, for it has no power to save or deliver a person from sin or anything else.
Nine of the ten commandments recorded in Click-Exodus chapter 20 are reemphasized in the New Testament, but the keeping of the Sabbath is not. Why? Because it is fulfilled in the work, sacrifice and person of Jesus Christ. When you read through the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—pay attention to this. When Jesus healed people and did miracles, it was mostly on the Sabbath. He allowed His disciples to pick corn and eat it on the Sabbath. All these things were strictly forbidden. What was Jesus telling us? We are no longer supposed to trust in a day and in observing it, but in a person. Not in a shadow, but in the substance that was casting the shadow. He is the fulfillment of the old-covenant Sabbath.
It says that God worked for six days and then rested, but not because He was tired; He was just establishing a principle. It was for us, not for Him. In the Scriptures, the number “six” is a symbol of mankind, and “seven” is a symbol of perfection and completeness. The Sabbath, the seventh day, is a day that requires full attention but no work, which is a picture of our salvation in Jesus Christ. We must stop trying to merit salvation through our own works, and look solely and completely to God for receiving salvation. We must see what He did for us and then place our trust and faith in Him and rest in Him. In principle, it is still good to take a day of rest every week, but we must see what God is telling us through the teaching of the Sabbath. The rest for our souls is in Him, not in a day or in a shadow. Keeping a day a week holy does not save any soul. If that was the case, Jesus would not have had to come and pay the sin debt with His life. Jesus is the true Sabbath; He is the rest for our souls.
Jesus said, Click-Matthew 11:28-30
God’s laws and commands were never designed for, never able or supposed to save people from their sin; they were just to demonstrate the truths concerning our sin and need for salvation. The day of the Sabbath is the old covenant, and it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
If you feel that setting a day aside every week to rest and focus on the Lord helps you to be a better Christian, God is good with that. But if you think that observing the Sabbath will make you a Christian, then you are opposing what God teaches about the Sabbath. It is a shadow of Jesus Christ, and we must look to Him for our hope.
It is holy.
It is a shadow of things to come.