PART VI – TRANSITIONAL ASPECTS OF THE LAMP-STAND MODEL
SUBPART F – MESSIAH-BODY; Day of Atonement unto Tabernacles
Article 3 – THE SABBATH DAY OF GOD
In the writings of Isaiah there is a prophetic-reference to the Sabbath which seems to provide a place of reflection upon what is intended and truly symbolized in the Sabbath Day. Isaiah declares:
How blessed is the man who does this, & the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, & keeps his hand from doing any evil. Is. 56:2
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 6 days shalt thou labor, & do all they work: But the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor any cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in 6 days the Lord made heaven & earth, the sea, & all that in them is, & rested the 7th day; Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, & hallowed it. Ex. 20:8-11
Question: What is the “Sabbath Day”? Is it the seventh-day of the week that God is concerned with? Is the prophecy advising us that we not work on a Saturday or a Sunday?
The dedication to the principle of a seventh day of non-activity did not seem to favor the Pharisees during the earthly-visitation of Christ. He called them “hypocrites” for readily dispensing with their principles when they conflicted with necessity:
The Lord then answered him, and said, “Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? Luke 13:15
In light of the ancient Judaistic stumbling over this principle of the Sabbath, we should consider whether the law given at Sinai was particularly-concerned with a literal observance, or whether the Law had a more substantial meaning behind the ordinance. We are to look for our guidance in the apostolic teachings. If we do, we find we have clear teaching from the apostles:
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Col. 2:16-17
Why are we told by the apostle to let no one act as our judge with respect to “food or drink”? The answer to this question is because “food and drink” are not substantive-issues in respect to the kingdom of God. For recall something else Paul wrote:
“. . . for the kingdom of God is not meat & drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 14:17
We are also told by Paul to let no one be our judge concerning the keeping of special days, including Sabbath-keeping. Why might this be? The answer is the same, ie. because “days and seasons,” as well are not substantive issues in respect to the kingdom of God. Paul writes elsewhere:
One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. Rom. 14:5
For Paul tells us where the substance does truly reside; the substance resides in Christ. For the work of God is not what we “eat or drink,” and neither is the work of God our observance of any ordinance. Rather, the work of God is very simple and basic; it is faith in Christ Jesus and that alone. Our thoughts, our words, and our deeds that have origin in a true heart’s faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ are those works of faith we are called unto. Anything beyond this is non-essential – even destructive. For in other things men do have natural tendency to misplace their confidence.
A simple proof we can apply is this; Will ‘eating or drinking’ lead one any closer to the knowledge of God? If the answer is “no,” then it deserves no central place in our gospel. Likewise; Will ‘observing this-day-or-that-day’ bring us any deeper into the knowledge of God? If not, then we mix the essential with the non-essential the wheat, with the chaff. We sew a garment of mixed fabric and plow with ox and donkey; all those allusions used by Moses as signifying that which is contrary to the simplicity of faith in Christ:
Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee. Lev 19:19
As the apostle Paul asks; “Doth God take care of oxen?” And, as Paul suggests, if we see these allusions of Scripture as a guide for ranching or farming, we sorely mis-perceive. The Bible is about nothing else than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From that simplicity, we should take care not to be distracted. We should not allow a legalistic perspective to detract from the real work of God, which is faith in the person of Jesus Christ. To state this in affirmative; how are we led into the knowledge of God? “Faith in Christ!” Keep this thought.
We have addressed what the Sabbath is not, but we have not answered the question of; What is this mystical “Sabbath Day”? What is the “substance” of the Sabbath? Paul tells us that Christ is the “substance” of these things, of which the Sabbath is but a shadow (ie. a “symbol”). Therefore the prophetic Sabbath Day is . . . . Jesus Christ.
But isn’t the Sabbath a “day?” How can it be both a day, and yet have as its substance, Christ? The answer is that the Sabbath is the “Day of Christ”. And what is the “Day of Christ?” The day Jesus is sanctified as both Lord and Christ in our heart. This is the “Day of Salvation.” And when is the day of salvation? “Today!”
If the Spirit of God has called us forward for the purposes of redemption, then; “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” Therefore the apostles teach us that “today is the day” and they exhort “do not harden your hearts” so as to miss the movement of His Spirit upon your heart!
Again, He limits a certain day, saying in David, “To day, after so long a time; as it is said, ‘To day if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. Heb. 4:7
For if we will “hear His voice” and “harden not our hearts”, we become proper vessels for the life and work of His Spirit!
Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Prov. 1:23
And this must happen first in the house of Israel, meaning, the Church, before it can be realized for those outside of Christ that have not yet known the things of God’s Spirit! Therefore, once Israel has heard the voice of God, returned to Him at His reproof, and has experienced anew the work of the Holy Spirit, only then, at this time, even “today” God says; “I will pour out My Spirit”.
Now recall the words of the prophecy are for those; “who keep from profaning the Sabbath.” Therefore, whether today is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a Monday, how do we keep from “profaning” this “Day of Salvation?”
Recall that the commandment given on Mt.Horeb concerning the Sabbath presented the Sabbath as a contrast:
Six days shalt thou labor, and do all they work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: Ex. 20:9-10
So then, what concept is provided in contrast to the Sabbath? We have “six days – your work”, “one day – My Rest”. Our own efforts under Law were characterized by what major flaw? “Sin.” For Paul says; “I would not have come to know sin, except through the Law.” The difference in the seventh day, is that we are made complete, and our sin put away through the means of faith.
How then, do we keep from “profaning the Sabbath?” The only way, is to “awaken” to faith in Jesus Christ, for this is the “work of God”. Therefore Paul says:
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God. I Cor. 15:34
Now recall that thought you were asked earlier to hold; “How are we led into a knowledge of God?” We awaken to “faith in Christ,” Who is even, the “Sabbath Day,” and we “sin not.” And here is a secret! – By keeping the Sabbath holy, we shall learn deeper things about the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” In so doing, we shall enter into the knowledge of God. Therefore:
And also I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Ez. 20:12
What were these “Sabbaths” that God gave His people as a “sign” between Him and them? Again, this is the “Day of the Lord,” ie. times of “awakening to faith in Christ,” a concept which has as its earthly manifestation that we “sin not.” Through belief in Christ is the power over sin and death; sins borne upon the tree upon which Jesus was lifted.
The night before Jesus went to the cross He said that this very thing would be the work of the Spirit, ie. to convict the world; “concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” Therefore “sin” has a source; an origin; a root. That root, is unbelief.
In considering the blessings that are promised for those that take hold of God’s covenant, Isaiah states one characteristic as being that they keep their “hand from doing any evil.” This calls to mind the fifteenth Psalm, which expands quite wonderfully for us on this point.
Those that dwell in Mount Zion, “dwell” by virtue of the sanctification of Christ. For consider who it is that “dwells in Mount Zion:”
Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, & worketh righteousness, & speaketh truth in his heart. He that backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; But he honors them that fear the Lord. He that swears to his own hurt & changes not. Het that puts not out his money to usury, nor takes reward against the innocent. He that does these things shall never be moved. Ps. 15
Those that dwell in Mount Zion are those that keep the sanctification of Christ by abiding in Him. These are the ones that keep His commandments and are given His Spirit to walk in!
If we observe this or that day while “backbiting with our tongue”, we are not Sabbath-keepers. We are self-deceivers. The true Sabbath-keeper is he that refrains from evil out of the consciousness of God brought through faith in Jesus Christ.