All through the Old Testament Scriptures, every type, symbol, shadow, ceremony, and mystery (secret) ordained by God under the Old Covenant pointed forward to the New Covenant Of Sovereign Grace through Jesus Christ - The Messiah and Saviour - Who was the ultimate fulfillment of all His Prophecies when He came to this earth (4 BC), lived among men, was crucified (AD 30), buried, rose Himself and others as the first-fruits of His Salvation, appeared to many for 40 days, ascended to Heaven taking resurrected saints with Him, returned to raise the rest of the dead and rapture the living saints to their eternal home (AD 66), and administered judgment and retribution upon His enemies with His saints present to judge them in AD 66-70 - and is now sitting at the Right Hand of God as our Advocate thus Fulfilling His Total Redemption for those who believe in Him and His Covenant Of Sovereign Grace! See Isaiah 53; Mark 4:10-11; Ephesians 3:1-11.
Under the Old Covenant, instructions were given to the Israelites (Jewish Nation) to keep holy (refraining from work) the seventh day sabbath as a reminder of God as their Creator (Exodus 16:23; 20:8-11); but Jesus Christ became their "New Creation Redeemer" to be the Messiah to the "new covenant conversion" - and now to each of us - generation after generation! See 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The seventh day sabbath was only one of many sabbaths (festivals) they were to observe as part of their ceremonial laws. The other festivals were: Passover: One Day, Lev. 23:5. Festival Of Unleavened Bread: Seven Days, Lev. 23:6-8. Festival Of First Fruits: One Day, Lev. 23:9-14. Festival of Pentecost: One Day, Lev. 23:15-22. Festival Of Trumpets: One Day, Lev. 23:23-25. Day Of Atonement: One Day, Lev. 23:26-32. Festival Of Tabernacles: Seven Days, Lev. 23:33-43. During the time Jesus Christ was upon earth, He observed all of the Jewish ceremonial laws (Luke 2:27, 42) and sabbath festivals, including the seventh day sabbath which He had commanded the Israelites, through Moses at Mt. Sinai, to observe (Luke 4:16); as Christ had not yet fulfilled their meaning until He was offered as the Sacrifice for all humankind. At the time Jesus Christ died on the cross, all ceremonial laws, sabbath festivals, and the Ten Commandments were all fulfilled and finished; not missing His Marked Manifestation of even the jot and tittle of 613 laws. Thus, He was Grace to all Believers ever since. [Note: Hebrew language has jots and tittles to emphasize meanings to words.]
New Covenant Of Grace Replaced Old Covenant Of Works
"When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether. Now even the first covenant had its own rules and regulations for divine worship, and it had a sanctuary [but one] of this world. For a tabernacle (tent) was erected, in the outer division or compartment of which were the lampstand and the table with [its loaves of] the showbread set forth. [This portion] is called the Holy Place. But [inside] beyond the second curtain or veil, [there stood another] tabernacle [division] known as the Holy of Holies. It had the golden altar of incense and the ark (chest) of the covenant, covered over with wrought gold. This [ark] contained a golden jar which held the manna and the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the [two stone] slabs of the covenant [bearing the Ten Commandments]. [Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance - since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement. For where there is a [last] will and testament involved, the death of the one who made it must be established, for a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death, since it has no force or legal power as long as the one who made it is alive." Hebrews 8:13 - 9:17 (Amp.).
Thus when Christ died on the cross, He annulled the First Covenant of ceremonies and laws (self-righteous works) and totally and consistently instituted His New Covenant of Grace; so by receiving and believing in Christ, sinners can be made free from the penalty of transgressing the law which is impossible for humankind to adhere to. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17.
The Apostle Paul wrote: "Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive. Now if the dispensation of death engraved in letters on stone [the ministration of the law], was inaugurated with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its brilliance, [a glory] that was to fade and pass away, why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory? For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]! Indeed, in view of this fact, what once had splendor [the glory of the Law in the face of Moses] has come to have no splendor at all, because of the overwhelming glory that exceeds and excels it [the glory of the Gospel in the face of Jesus Christ]. For if that which was but passing and fading away came with splendor; how much more must that which remains and is permanent abide in glory and splendor! Since we have such [glorious] hope (such joyful and confident expectation), we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly." 2 Corinthians 3:5-12 (Amp.).
"For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death." Romans 8:2 (Amp.). The Apostle goes on to say: "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Philippians 3:9.
Another Day Given Under The New Covenant
There is disagreement among some Christian affiliations as to which "day" should be observed as "holy" - the first or the seventh day of the week! Some Christians still keep all the Jewish sabbath festivals! Those who observe the first day of the week, do so in respect of Christ's Resurrection; and still others worship at times of their own convenience! Those who observe the seventh day sabbath, do so because Genesis 2:2 says: "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."
However, we do not read in Scripture where God commanded the first man and woman (Adam/Eve), to observe any particular day as "holy". The two commands God gave Adam and Eve were: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Genesis 1:28. The second command was that they not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
The first time observance of the seventh day sabbath appears in Scripture was when God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone and gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai as He was leading the Israelites (Jewish Nation) out of Egyptian Bondage. The Ten Commandments were given to reveal sin and confirm that they were not able to obey them, even though the Israelites said, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." Exodus 19:8.
Speaking of their failure to obey, the writer of Hebrews says: "Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers tried [My patience] and tested [My forbearance] and found I stood their test, and they saw My works for forty years. and so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them. Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest." Hebrews 3:7-11 (Amp.).
"God's Rest has several meanings in Scripture: (1) the seventh day of creation and the weekly Sabbath commemorating it (Gen 2:2; Heb 4:4-9); (2) the Promised Land of Canaan (Deut 12:8-12); Psalm 95); (3) peace with God now because of our relationship with Christ through faith (Matt 12:28; Heb 4:1, 3, 8-11); and (4) our future eternal life with Christ (Heb 4:8-11). All of these meanings were probably familiar to the Jewish Christian readers of Hebrews." - Life Application Bible, p. 2160.
Jesus Christ Is Lord Of The Sabbath
Jesus is greater than time. He is Lord of it. "About that time, Jesus was walking through some fields of grain on a Sabbath day. His followers were with him, and they were hungry. So they began to pick the grain and eat it. The Pharisees saw this, and they said to Jesus, 'Look! Your followers are doing something that is against the Jewish law to do on the Sabbath day.' Jesus answered, 'Have you not read what David did when he and the people with him were hungry? David went into God's house. He and those with him ate the bread that was made holy for God. It was against the law for them to eat that bread. Only the priests were allowed to eat it. And have you not read in the law of Moses that on every Sabbath day the priests in the Temple break this law about the Sabbath day? But the priests are not wrong for doing that. I tell you that there is something here that is greater than the Temple. The Scripture says, I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices. You don't really know what those words mean. If you understood them, you would not judge those who have done nothing wrong. The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath day.' " Matthew 12:1-8 (EB).
Q. Does Scripture teach that a certain time is holy for one to worship God?
A. "I will praise the lord at all times. His praise is always on my lips. My whole being praises the lord. The poor will hear and be glad. Tell the greatness of the Lord with me. Let us praise his name together." Psalm 34:1 (EB).
Christ Is Now The Sabbath Rest Of The New Covenant
"For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy. And also the Holy Spirit adds His testimony to us [in confirmation of this]. For having said, This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding), He then goes on to say, And their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more." Hebrews 10:14-17 (Amp.). "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today [Christ's reign in each Believer's heart]; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." Hebrews 3:12-19.
Thoughts To Ponder
Is the New Covenant fulfilled NOW by diligently working six of the seven days a week; or attempting a fateful obedience??
The real meaning for Believers to believe [rely on] is the whole Canon from Genesis to Revelation for their salvational qualifications within and throughout the unlimited Sovereign Grace and transparency of Christ Jesus!
"Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus 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." Hebrews 4:7-11.
It is interesting to note that a direct walking route from Egypt to Canaan only takes 11 days today! Yes, Jesus is the Quickening Spirit. The ancient Nation of Israel - by unbelief - made for themselves a strong delusion - wwhich many unbelievers still do today by not accepting Christ's fulfillment of the law (including the Ten Commandments) of sin and death!
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Quotation Credits: (1) Life Application Bible Notes Used By Permission. Life Application Study Bible 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189. All rights reserved. Life Application is a registered trademark of Tyndale Publishers, Inc. (2) Scripture quotations taken from AMPLIFIED BIBLE (Amp.) Copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org).
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