"SABBATH" AND LAW v "CIRCUMCISION" AND GRACE

 

  1.  "Sabbath" signifies "rest".  God's  spirit, through  the angels,     established

        the present habitable during  six literal days.  Genesis 1,  Psalm 33v6; 103

        v20-22. God,  in the angels, "rested..on  the seventh day"-     Genesis 2v1,2.

 

   2.  Under the  law  of  Moses,  the  nation  of  Israel  was  forbidden  to do any

        work on  the seventh  or  sabbath day.  Instead,  it  was  to  be a  day which

        was consecrated  to the Lord,  Numbers 15v32-36,  Deuteronomy 5v12-15.

 

   3.  In the Bible, TWO COVENANTS are revealed.  The FIRST, or Mosaic

        covenant,  was made with a nation, Israel.  The  SECOND,  or     Abraha-

        mic   covenant,   was  made  with  a  man,  Abraham,  and     subsequently

        "confirmed"  (established,  made sure)  by  Jesus Christ- Galatians 3v8,

        16,17, Romans 15v8.  Because THIS covenant,  founded upon the prom-

        ises of God, SUPERSEDED the Mosaic, it was called the "new"   coven-

        ant",  which  has  replaced  the  "old",  being  a "better covenant,   which

        was established upon better promises", Hebrews 8v6-13.

 

 

        The Mosaic covenant was "ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator"

        and "it was added because of transgressions" to convict Israelites of sin -

        see Galatians 3v19 and page 1. It was ratified at Sinai by "the blood of

        the covenant", which blood was from animal sacrifices - Exodus 24v1-8.

        Note "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take

        away sins" - Hebrews 10v4 - and the continual offerings proved it - v1-3.

 

        However, the Abrahamic covenant relied not upon a mediator, but upon

        God Himself. This is clear from Galatians 3v20, which reads, omitting

        the words in italics (not in the original text) - "Now a mediator is not of

        one, but God is one" - i.e. the source of oneness in Christ, which is the

        very foundation of the new covenant - see here.  The new covenant was

        ratified, not with the blood of animals, "but with the precious blood of

        Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" - 1st Peter 1v19.

        "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified"

        - Heb.10v14 - Jesus said  "For this is my blood of the new covenant,

        which is shed for many for the remission of sins" - Matthew 26v28.   

 

        And whereas under the law of Moses "they truly were many priests,

        because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death", Jesus

        Christ "is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,

        seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them...made an high priest

        for ever after the order of Melchisedec" - Hebrews 7v23,25; 6v20.       

 

   4.  Any attempt  to  dissociate  the  ten commandments from  the Mosaic or

        "old" covenant is firmly  rebutted by the Bible.  The ten commandments

        are termed "the tables of the covenant", Hebrews 9v4. See also Exodus

        34v28,  Deuteronomy 4v13;5v1-21.  The  "ministration of death,     written

        and engraven in stones..was..done away"- 2nd Corinthians 3v7.

 

    5. The contention that only the "ceremonial" parts of the Mosaic law were

        done away with is thus denied by the Bible.  The terms  "law of Moses"

        and "law of the Lord",  sometimes claimed to refer to the "ceremonial"

        and  "moral" aspects  respectively,  are  used  INTERCHANGEABLY,

        and  carry  the  same  meaning-   2nd Chronicles 31v3,  Numbers 31v21,

        Joshua 23v6-8, Luke 2v22-24,Malachi 4v4,etc. The ONE law of Moses,

        & all its parts, has been removed, and is not binding on believers     today.

 

    6. When did the sabbath law begin? Some propound the theory that  a   law

        was given shortly after Creation, in Eden.  However, we search  in   vain

        for such a law. It is true that the seventh day was "sanctified",   Genesis

        2v3,  and  this  was  recorded  in  connection with rest from  the work of

        Creation, v2. This idea  is  taken  up  later at the giving of  the  sabbath

        law  to Israel,  Exodus 20v8-11,  and related to  the  rest  from     bondage

        provided by God for His people.  Deuteronomy 5v12-15- "And      remem-

        ber that thou wast  a  servant  in the land of Egypt,  and that the LORD

        thy God  brought thee out thence  through a mighty hand and a   stretch-

        ed out arm:   THEREFORE  the  LORD  thy  God  commanded thee     to

        keep the sabbath day".  It  is  evident that here was  a  NEW   COMM-

        ANDMENT, instituted to memorialize God's redemptive power.

 

        Through lack of faith,  the  nation  did not attain to that ultimate "rest"

        which God had in view,  Hebrews 4v1-11,  but believers today look for-

        ward to that "rest", v9.  The fact that  Israel had  no knowledge of any

        sabbath law prior to its enactment by Moses is endorsed by Nehemiah

        9v13,14-  "Thou.. MADEST KNOWN unto them thy holy sabbath..BY

        THE  HAND OF  MOSES THY SERVANT". Indeed,  Moses and      the

        people needed instruction as to how the sabbath should be kept,    Exod-

        us 16v22-31, Numbers 15v32-36. The sabbath became "a sign between

        me (God) and the children of Israel", Exodus 31v17.

 

    7. Some  were  EXEMPT from the sabbath law.  These  were  the  priests,

        who,  according  to Jesus  "profane(d) the sabbath"  and  were "blame-

        less", Matthew 12v5. Their work was doubled on that day, Numbers 28

        v1-10.  The whole life  of the priesthood  was a continuous dedication to

        the service of God, and therefore no ceremonial rest on one day in sev-

        en was appropriate. The spirit of Isaiah 58v13 was to be theirs   EVERY

        DAY, Psalm 1v1,2. Believers are called to be "a royal priesthood",    1st

        Peter 2v9.  For believers to keep a literal one-day-in-seven observance

        would  be  ineffectual  and  not  according to  the function of priests. Sa-

        bbath-keeping  for  justification  is prohibited for believers- see item 11.

         

    8. Jesus testified  that  when  "circumcision",which was "of   the fathers",

        clashed on  a child's eighth day with  the seventh day sabbath,  circum-

        cision  TOOK  THE  PRECEDENCE,  "that  the  law of Moses should

        not be broken", John 7v22,23.  Therefore,  if  the  sabbath is still bind-

        ing today,  so too should be circumcision!  But this is not contended for

        by sabbatarians.The inescapable fact is that the law itself BORE WIT-

        NESS TO  A SUPERIOR COVENANT-see item 3, i.e. that made     with

        Abraham.  Circumcision had been instituted  as  "a  token (sign) of the

        covenant", Genesis 17v11, which God made with him and all believers.

 

     9. Circumcision,  being  the  "token"  (sign)  of  a  "better covenant", also

        pointed  forward  to    A  MORE   PERFECT  TIME  TO  COME. Peter

        tells us  that  "one day is with the Lord  as a thousand years",    2nd Pet-

        er 3v8.  Based upon  this  principle,  the  seventh  day  sabbath  pointed

        forward  to  the  7th  period  of  1000 years from the Creation, when the

        faithful &  the earth will find rest-  Rev. 20v4-6, Heb. 4v11, Zech. 1v11.

        This period of time,  though  blessed,  is  transitional.  Sin  is restrained

        during  the  righteous  rule  of  Christ  and  His saints.   But  then,  after

        this time is expired,  sinful flesh  will  be  permitted  one  last attempt to

        oppose  the Divine rule.  This  is  totally  crushed,  and  then  there  is a

        resurrection  to  judge  those  who  have lived during the Kingdom Age.

 

        When  this is done,  "death  and  hell (i.e. the grave)" are  finally eradi-

        cated  from  the  earth- Revelation 20. All  "enemies" of Christ, includ-

        ing  "death",  will  have been "destroyed",  1st  Corinthians  15v24-26.

                                   Circumcision  on the 8th day signified 

                           (1) the cutting off of the flesh & (2) faith in God

        See  Colossians 2v11-13,    where Paul  draws the analogy with baptism

        -link to 'baptism'  or go via 'Index'  for more  on  that  vitally  important

        subject).  And so  at  the time when sinful flesh  will be no more,  "there

        shall be  no more curse"- Revelation 22v3.."and there shall be no more

        death,  neither  sorrow,  nor  crying,  neither  shall  there  be  any  more

        pain:  for  the  former things have passed away"- Revelation 21v4. This

        is  perfection,  to  which  the  eighth  day pointed,  when Paul writes that

        "God   (shall be)  all  in  all"- 1st  Corinthians 15v28. We summarise that

        the  seventh  day  points  to  completion,  the  eighth day  to  perfection-

                                            link to 'signs' - the 7th & 8th.       

 

   10.It  is  often  overlooked that the seventh day was not  the only day   upon

        which  a  "sabbath" was observed. Sometimes, especially  in connection

        with  the  important  feasts,   an   EIGHTH   DAY  "sabbath"  was    also

        commanded.    The  feast  of  tabernacles,  which  pointed  to  the   great

        harvest  of  ingathering  of redeemed ones to be revealed at the beginn-

        ing  of   the  eighth  period   (see item 9),   provided  specifically  for   "a

        sabbath..ON  THE  FIRST  DAY..AND ON THE  EIGHTH DAY"- Le-

        viticus 23v33-39.  It is  therefore  highly  significant  that  the nations of

        the earth will be commanded  "to keep the feast of tabernacles" - Zech-

        ariah 14v16.  Because  the  harvests  of  the  earth  will  be  at  different

        times of the year,     it is evident that  the feast  will be  a  continuous one.

        Jesus chose "the last day, that great day of the feast" -  i.e."the feast of

        tabernacles" John 7v37,2 -    to deliver His prophecy re the future giving

        of the spirit, v37-39 - link to 'spirit' - page 1 for more on this subject.

 

        And  so  the "sabbath" on the "first" and the "eighth" days will also be

        continuous.  Reference  therefore   to   sabbath  observance  during  the

        Kingdom Age  as  in  Isaiah 66v23  is  not  to the seventh day, but to  the

        eighth day. This is put  beyond dispute in Ezekiel 43v18-27,  concerning

        "the ordinances of the altar". Note verse 27-"And when these days are

        expired, it shall be, that  UPON  THE  EIGHTH  DAY, AND  SO FOR-

        WARD,  the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar,   and

        your peace offerings;  and  I  will  accept  you, saith  the Lord GOD". If

        there is any doubt  that  this  refers  to  the future age,  it is dispelled by

        considering verses 1-12.  The nations  (including Israel)  and all peoples

        of the earth,   will  thus  be  taught   to look to the time  BEYOND  THE

        KINGDOM   AGE  (the  seventh period)  to    THE  EIGHTH PERIOD,

        for their redemption. The 8th day sabbath will then be fulfilled.

                             link to 'feasts' and 'the Lord's day'-8th Vision

 

   11.The Mosaic seventh day sabbath,  like other parts of the law of Moses,

        has a spiritual counterpart today.  It involves a "rest"  EVERY DAY of

        the week  "from (our) own works" - this  becomes  an earnest of the   fu-

        ture "rest" which  "remaineth..to the people of God", Hebrews   4v8-11.

        1stPeter4v1,2-"he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin".

        Jesus Christ  offers  us  this  "rest" when we "take (His) yoke upon us,

        Matthew 11v28-30.   This  is  through  belief and baptism upon the basis,

        NOT  OF THE MOSAIC, BUT  OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT,

        Galatians 3v8,16,26-29.  In  this  blessed  position,  believers should not

        again be brought under "the  weak  and  beggarly elements" of the law-

        Galatians 4v9-11.   "Christ  is  the  END  OF  THE  LAW FOR RIGHT-

        EOUSNESS  TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH"- Romans 10v4     cp

        Acts 15v1-35.Colossians 2v16,17 specifically FORBIDS the observance

        of the Mosaic seventh day sabbath  as a means of religious justification.

 

        The Revised version renders  "an holyday"  as  "a feast day",  and this

        refers to  the sabbaths etc.  which were associated  with the various ann-

        ual feasts.  On  the  other  hand,  the  term  "the sabbath days" refers to

        the weekly seventh day sabbaths.This is evident by reference to the Old

        Testament, where  the same distinction is made.  See 1st Chronicles 23v

        31, 2nd Chronicles 2v4; 8v13; 31v3, Nehemiah 10v33, Hosea 2v11.

 

   12.What  day  then  should  believers  meet  to keep the memorial feast as

        commanded  by  Jesus  Christ?  See Matthew  26v26-29,  Mark 14v22-

        25,  Luke 22v19,20.  Cp  also  the  Apostle  Paul's  endorsement  in  1st

        Corinthians 11v1,2,23-32.  There  is  no  commandment  as  such  as  to

        the  actual  day,  however  it  is  noteworthy that the early disciples met

        together  "on  the  first  day of the week", 1st Corinthians 16v2; 11v20,

        Acts 20v7, Hebrews 10v25.  We  should  be  "followers"  of  this exam-

        ple, and we should  "keep the ordinances" as  "delivered"-1st Corinth-

        ians 11v1,2,23.  The  first  day  of the week was the day on which   Jesus

        rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples-

                             Matthew 28, Mark16, Luke 24, John 20.

 

        This  is  equivalent  to  the  eighth  day  of  circumcision,   the   "token"

        of  the  Abrahamic  covenant.   See  items  3  and  8 for this   connection.

        It is interesting to note that  on  the  seventh  day sabbath the      disciples

        preached the risen Christ to the Jews. Cp Acts 13v14-47 etc. It was     not

        used  to remember Christ,  which was done on the first day of the week.

        Should it be impossible  to  meet  on  the first day of the week, it is app-

        ropriate  that  "as  often  as  (believers)  eat  this  bread, and drink     this

        cup, (they) do  shew  the Lord's death  till he come", 1st Corinth.11v26.

        It is  appropriate also to have  extra meetings  at any suitable time      and

        day with sick members or members in isolation etc.

      

        IN  SUMMARY-  Jesus Christ,  having observed  the law perfectly (in-

        cluding the seventh day sabbath),   "hath  redeemed  us  from the curse

        of  the  law,  being  made  a  curse  for  us"-   Galatians 3v13. This curse

        which came upon an innocent man  because  "cursed  is  every one that

        hangeth on a tree",  Galatians 3v13,  was  no  doubt included in the   law

        as  a  means  of its own removal when a   righteous man was affected by

        it.  This  is  similar  to  the witness of the law to "a  better covenant" by

        the precedence of circumcision over the sabbath- see  item  8.    Besides

        freeing those who were "in bondage" to the law, Galatians 4v3, 9;     5v1-

        the Lord  has  also  made  the  way open for believers to  "be delivered

        from  the  bondage  of   corruption",  Romans  8v21  cp  Hebrews 2v15.

        This He has done by His sacrifice for sin. Link to 'promises', 'sacrifice'.

                             return to p.1   go to promises

              go to sacrifice   go to 'the Lord's day'       

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