Israel's Saturday Sabbath-Keeping
And The Christian Sabbath-Rest
Keeping the Saturday Sabbath was part of the Law of Moses. It was a day of rest for the people of Israel; a day in which they worshipped God and did no work. In Col. 2:13-17, we are told that the written regulations of the Law were nailed to the cross and therefore we are not to let anyone judge us regarding food, drink, festivals, Sabbaths etc as they were mere shadows of what was to come – Jesus is now the reality. He is the real thing, not just a shadow so, in Christ, a person is free from the Laws relating to food, drink, feasts, Sabbath-keeping etc.
The following passage in Hebrews tells us that today the people of God (Christians) have their Sabbath-rest in Jesus. Heb. 3:7-19 and Heb. 4:1-13 tell us that God did not allow the Jews to enter Canaan, the earthly land of rest, because of unbelief (Heb. 3:16-19). Heb. 4:6-7 tell how people can enter God’s rest today if they hear His voice (through the gospel) and do not harden their hearts. Heb. 4:9-10 calls this rest “a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” and says that “anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work.” To be saved today, we do not have to do the works of the Law, such as Sabbath-keeping, we simply have to believe in Jesus. In John 6:28-29 the Jews asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” and Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Through Jesus, the works of the Law of Moses have been set aside.
Jesus tells us about the Sabbath-rest in Matt. 11:28-30 where He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The rest that we find in Jesus is not an earthly one like the Saturday Sabbath but a spiritual rest through believing in Him. He becomes our eternal Sabbath-rest because He takes our burden of sin and releases us from all the works we may have been doing to please God.
So, today the people of God have a Sabbath-rest in Jesus and those who enter that rest can rest from their own work. We do not have to keep the Saturday Sabbath. All we have to do to be right with God is believe in Jesus, as He said in John 6:28-29. Saturday Sabbath-keeping was just a shadow of the reality of the eternal Sabbath-rest found in Jesus.
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