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Lord of the Sabbath

14 May

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. I believe that’s rather definitive: the author states quite clearly, in no uncertain terms, that there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God… But, how does this solution fit into the context of the surrounding verses?

For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:4-7)

We see here that some people apparently failed to enter God’s rest, “because of disobedience.” How hard can not doing any work one day out of the week really be? It seems like such a simple thing. Perhaps the author means they didn’t “enter” the rest because of their disobedience, in the sense that they simply didn’t stop working on the Sabbath. i.e. Perhaps the author simply means they disobeyed God’s command. Yet, context tells us that the author is speaking about the Israelites (we see this in verse 3, where the author quotes Psalm 95:11, which in its own context we see is in reference the Israelites.), a people who kept the Sabbath day holy all the time. How could it be that they didn’t “enter into” this rest?

Because the Sabbath rest the author is talking about, isn’t the Sabbath of old. Rather, we see (In Matthew 12:8) that Jesus is the “Lord of the Sabbath”. Jesus Himself is our Sabbath rest. Paul confirms this for us:

14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:14-17)

The Sabbath finds its fulfillment in Christ. He is the one that gives us rest now: We no longer have to stop all work on the Sabbath, or else risk God’s wrath. Rather, now we have to accept Jesus as our savior, or face Hell.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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