Sabbath: Celebrating Our Rest in Christ

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-sabbathDo we still follow the Sabbath being that it’s one of the Ten Commandment?

I don’t think so in terms of the day of worship. We have ultimately our rest in Jesus Christ, who liberates us from sin and death. Sabbath is a celebration of the rest we have through Christ. God provides an emphasis for the symbol of the Sabbath with the culmination in our Lord Jesus Christ

In the Bible where it says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” and “you shall not do any work” (Exod. 20:8), * that’s done away with just like that?

It’s not done away with; rather, it’s fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why we worship on the first day of the week in remembrance of the resurrection. The early Christian church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, so within weeks you had thousands of Jews who willingly gave up a theological tradition that they had given them their national identity. God provided the early church with a new pattern of worship because of Christ resurrection on the first day of the week as well as the Holy Spirit’s descent on Pentecost Sunday.

The Scriptures provides us with the reasons behind the symbol of the Sabbath. If you look at Genesis the Sabbath was a celebration of God’s work in creation (Gen. 2:1-2), after the exodus, the Sabbath was expanded to a celebration of God’s deliverance from oppression in Egypt (Deut. 5:15). As a result of the resurrection, we have now our Sabbath rest in Jesus Christ (Heb. 3-4). For the emerging Christian church the most dangerous snare was a failure to recognize Jesus was the substance that fulfilled the symbol of the Sabbath (Col 2:16-17). That’s the one thing that’s nonnegotiable.

It’s really not the day that is important; rather, it’s what you’re recognizing as important on that day. The Sabbath was shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, says Paul in Colossians is found in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:17).

I was thinking that we should still celebrate the Sabbath on the seventh-day to rest?

And you’re still doing that. We are working six days and resting one day, but the day is related to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the Law. According to the Mosaic Law, anyone who did any work on the Sabbath would have to be put to death (Exod. 31:14, 15; 35:2). We don’t adhere to that either. The Apostle Paul explains, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13).

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further related study, please access the following:

President Bartlet’s Fallacious Diatribe (Hank Hanegraaff)

Cherry-Picking the Commandments (Scott Klusendorf)

Should We Keep the Sabbath? (James A. Borland)

Sabbath Keeping and the New Covenant (Steve Bright)

Perspectives on the Sabbath: Four Views (edited by Christopher John Donato)

* All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984).

Blog adapted from “Should we still observe the Sabbath Day?

Journal Topics

Seventh-day Adventists and the Sabbath

Think you’re ready to engage Seventh-day Adventists on the question of Sabbath observance? Be careful you don’t step into a minefield.

Before arguing about the Sabbath, Evangelicals should first clarify the nature of the Mosaic Law and its relationship to Christians today. At issue are fundamental questions about the scope of the law, its purpose in the new covenant, and whether we can distinguish between those aspects that are morally binding (eternal) and those that are not. Adventists have persuasive answers to these questions. Indeed, my own thesis is that evangelicals who contend for the continuity of the Mosaic Law in whole or in part and, at the same time, argue for the discontinuity of the Sabbath command, lack biblical support and face an almost intractable consistency problem. Conversely, evangelicals who argue for discontinuity—namely, that within the context of salvation history, the entire Mosaic Law is fulfilled in Christ and thus has no direct claim on the believer—provide a biblically sound foundation for addressing the Sabbath question.

If the Mosaic Law remains binding for New Testament believers, what pressing question must evangelicals face head-on? What view of the Mosaic Law gives evangelicals the best foundation for addressing the Sabbath question? Why?

Scott Klusendorf is president of Life Training Institute and holds an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University. His feature article in which this post is based appears in the Volume 34, No. 2 issue of the Christian Research Journal (a 6-issue subscription is $39.50). Or give a gift subscription.