The Sabbath Issue

Chapter 9: The Typology of the Sabbath. - Part 2

 

Thus in Christ, every barrier has been removed and the way has been made (opened) for us to enter into God’s Rest. Just as in the Type, once Israel had been redeemed (in the Exodus) and had a Covenant that provided covering for sin, she could start to keep the Sabbath (entering into God’s 7th Day Creation-Rest) and enter her Promised Land, so now through our Redemption and New Covenant in Christ (which removes our sin), by faith we can enter into our Salvation-Rest, which is the fulfilment of both Types, given to Israel for our instruction: (1) keeping the Sabbath day and (2) possessing the Land).

Hebrews 4:6-8: “Since therefore it remains that some must enter it (God’s Rest), and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain (future) DAY, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them REST, then He would not afterward have spoken of another DAY.” Here he proves that Psalm 95 was using the Promised Land Rest as a Type of our Salvation-Rest in the New Covenant. It was written long after Israel had possessed the Land, and yet it still speaks of the necessity for God’s people to enter His Rest. Therefore there 
must be another Rest for the people of God, of which the Promised Land was just a Type: “if Joshua had given them REST, then He would not afterward have spoken of another DAY.” Joshua led 

them into the Promised Land of Rest, but there would be another Joshua (‘the Greater than Joshua’), who would His people into the ultimate Salvation-Rest of God. His Name is ‘Jesus’ - which actually is the same name as ‘Joshua’ (meaning: ‘the Lord, our Saviour and Salvation’)! Whereas Joshua led Israel into all that was available under the Old Covenant, our Jesus now leads us into all that’s available in the New Covenant, through His finished work.

Psalm 95 prophesied the coming of a future DAY, belonging to a future (new) Covenant, when God will again invite His people to enter His Rest (Promised Land) that He has provided for them. This day has now come in Christ, for through the Cross, He has paid the full price for our Salvation, declaring: “It is finished (the price is paid in full).” It is a perfect, finished work, and so in His resurrection He entered into His Rest, sitting down at the right hand of God (having completed His work of Salvation for us): “when He (Christ) had by Himself purged our sins (on the Cross), SAT DOWN at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).
Having done the work and paid the price, He then freely gave all these blessings, inviting us to enter in and partake of them by faith. 

So now, in Christ and His New Covenant, He has FREELY GIVEN us ALL things to possess: “we have been BLESSED with EVERY spiritual BLESSING” (Ephesians 1:3), “His Divine 

Power has GIVEN to us ALL THINGS that pertain to life and godliness” and we have “been given exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through these you may be PARTAKERS of the Divine nature” (2Peter 1:3,4), “for ALL the promises of God in Him are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’” (2Corinthians 1:20), for: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely GIVE US ALL THINGS?” (Romans 8:32). These are:“the things that have been FREELY GIVEN to us by God” (1Corinthians 2:12).

As our Representative, He received all the blessings of the New Covenant on our behalf, and so they are now located in Him (for us).
He has laid (prepared) the table for us, and invites us to come to Him and to eat and drink freely, in fulfilment of Psalm 95:7b,8: “TODAY, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (but believe and enter His Rest, where every blessing awaits you).”
Hebrews 4:6-8 establishes that the ‘Today’ of Psalm 95 spoke prophetically of the coming Day of the New Covenant, when the invitation will go out to all God’s people to enter into His Rest. This Rest is not a physical land, but a spiritual land of all the blessings belonging to our Salvation in Christ. By faith (believing 
His promises), we are to enter His place of Rest (where all is accomplished and the blessings are available as a free-gift) and 

possess our promised blessings. Thus Hebrews 4 (on the basis of 
Psalm 95) uses the concept of the Promised Land of Rest, as a Type of our present Salvation-Rest in Christ. Since now, ‘Today’ is every day, the invitation is open to us to enter in at any time to receive His grace: “Now is the acceptable day of Salvation” (2Corinthians 6:2). The blessings are paid for and freely available at all times, but we must believe this Gospel (Good-News) and enter in by faith and partake of His grace. We are warned against hardening our hearts in unbelief and so failing to enter into His Rest.

Hebrews 4:9,10: “There remains therefore a (SABBATH) REST for the people of God. For he who has entered His REST, has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” 

He now comes to his conclusion, which we have already anticipated. He has shown that Psalm 95 spoke of a future day when God would invite His people to enter His Rest. This was not the Rest that He gave to Israel under the Old-Covenant (the Sabbath Day and Promised Land), which they had already received, but a new and greater spiritual Salvation-Rest that would be made available through the New-Covenant in the Messiah (of which the Old-Testament Rests were but Types and Shadows). He is saying that even after these Old-Testament Rests, prophecy pointed to the fact that there still remained another Rest for the people of God, 

which was their ultimate fulfilment, and this Rest is now available in Christ for us to enter into. Since the word used for REST here, specifically refers to the Sabbath-Day REST, he is saying that our Salvation-Rest in Christ is the fulfilment of the Sabbath-Day Rest. That is, the Old Testament Sabbath Rest is a Type and Shadow of our Salvation Rest in Christ. Just as Israel (by virtue of their Redemption and Covenant with God that covered their sins) could enter into God’s Creation-Rest on the 7th day, by ceasing from their works as God did from His, so we (through the New Covenant) can enter into God’s Salvation-Rest in Christ, by ceasing from (trusting in) our works. As Israel ceased from all her labours and trusted (rested) in God’s finished work as Creator and Provider on the Sabbath day, so we are to cease from trusting our works, and trust instead in the finished work of Christ on the Cross for the fullness of our Salvation, and enter into His Resurrection-Rest. 

However, we do not enter into this rest on just one day in seven (as in the Type), but every day, that is on any day that is called: “Today”, for the grace of God in Christ is freely available on all days equally, and the invitation is open to us at all times: “Today, is the day of salvation.” Any teaching on the Sabbath that says there are special (Saturday) Sabbath blessings or angels or double portions contradicts the teaching of the New Testament. If certain 

blessings were only available on the Sabbath, then God would be witholding some blessings on the other days! In the New Covenant, there are no special days to access the grace of God. Every day is equal in Christ as far as our Salvation is concerned, and that is why Sabbath Observance is not commanded. We primarily fulfil the Sabbath now by entering into His Rest and abiding in it every day, by ceasing from our own works and trusting in the grace of God in Christ. Thus Hebrews 4:9 is saying that the Sabbath-Day Rest is now fulfilled in our Salvation-Rest in Christ. There is no command here for believers to continue to literally keep the Sabbath Day, after the manner of the Type, now that it has been fulfilled in Christ.

As with all ceremonial Typology, the New Testament teaches that once it has been fulfilled in Christ, it is no longer to be observed (as Law), otherwise we get caught up with the Shadow (rules) rather than the Substance in Christ, and this is counterproductive as the only purpose of the Shadow is to point us to the Substance.

You can only deduce that Hebrews 4:9 is a command to keep the Sabbath after the manner of Moses, by ripping it out of context, which undeniably is about applying the Sabbath as Type of our Salvation-Rest. He has made the case that both the Sabbath Rest and the Land Rest is typology for our Salvation-Rest in Christ, and as a Type, it is part of the Ceremonial Law that has been fulfilled 

and therefore has passed away in Christ. Hebrews 4:9 says that God has fulfilled the picture of the Sabbath Rest, by providing a Grace (Salvation)-Rest in Christ, that is continually available for the people of God to enter into and abide in by faith: “There REMAINS therefore a (Sabbath) REST for the people of God.”

Hebrews 4:11,12: “Let us therefore be diligent (in the Word, v12) 
to enter that REST, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword...” 
Clearly he is talking about us being diligent in God’s Word (promises), so that we can enter into that Salvation-Rest (typified by the Sabbath). He is not urging diligence in Sabbath-keeping! 


Hebrews 4:14: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens (and has entered into His Rest), Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our Confession.” As Joshua led Israel into God’s Rest, so Jesus leads us into His Rest. We need to look to Him and see Him. He has already gone ahead, purchased and taken possession of all our blessings, and is ready to freely distribute (release) them to us whenever we come to Him to receive by faith (enter into His Rest). After being diligent in the Word to know and receive the promise by faith (thus entering into Rest in that area), we then need to abide in that place of Faith-Rest, 
and the key to that is to hold fast our Confession of the promise.


Hebrews 4:16 gives the final call to respond to God’s Invitation: “Let us therefore come boldly (with confidence) to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In view of the fact that there is an abiding invitation to come anytime to God in faith and enter into His place of Grace-Rest (where every promise is fulfilled and every blessing freely given) and receive whatever we need, let us come to God with confident faith (based on this general invitation and the specific promise in which we are trusting) and obtain (believe we receive) it!

Thus Hebrews 3:7-4:13 teaches that the Sabbath Rest is a Type of our Salvation Rest in Christ that is now fulfilled and has therefore passed away along with all the other typological ceremonies of the Law of Moses. This agrees with the main argument throughout Hebrews which was written for the purpose of warning Jewish believers NOT to go back to observing the old Shadow Ceremonies (Types) since they are now fulfilled and have passed away in Christ. These included the Promised Land and the Temple Worship (both of which Israel was about to lose for a long period of time anyway), as well as the Sabbaths. He tells them to leave the Shadows in order to receive and enter more fully into the Substance. He is generally talking about partaking of the Substance 

(Christ), entering into the spiritual realities that are revealed by Shadows, rather than observing the Shadows themselves. Therefore this Section of Hebrews, which applies Sabbath typology to teach us about entering into the fullness of our Salvation in Christ, fits in perfectly as an important part of the overall argument. It would be strange indeed, in this context, if he was promoting Sabbath-Observance in this passage, as some try to make him do.

Later in Hebrews, when he instructs believers to regularly meet together in Church, he says we must do it, but he does not say when: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Hebrews 10:25). If there was a Sabbath Law, this would have been a good time to mention it. As it is, there is no hint that it must be on a Saturday or Sunday, for all days are equal for the Church in Christ under the New Covenant.

The Sabbath is a ceremonial Type that finds its fulfilment in Christ. 

*The fulfilment in Christ will be manifested in 3 different Stages. 

1. In the present time God has provided a Salvation-Rest (a Promised Land of blessings) for us to enter into in this life. To do this, we stop trying to save ourselves by our works (repentance from dead works), and instead trust in Christ alone and His finished work, for our salvation and blessing. Jesus spoke of this Salvation-Rest in 

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labour (trusting in 
our own works for Salvation) and are heavy laden (under the Law and its condemnation), and I will give you (My) REST (if we come to Jesus and simply trust Him for Salvation, He will give it to us, and He will take off from our shoulders the old yoke of bondage). Take My (new) Yoke (the Holy-Spirit) upon you and learn from Me (the Law of Christ), for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find REST for your souls. For My Yoke (the Spirit) is easy and My burden (the Commandment) is light (the Holy-Spirit helps us fulfil the new Law of Christ from within).” In the next verses (Matthew 12:1-13), He reveals the nature of the Sabbath as Ceremonial Law, as if to confirm that part of the heavy yoke of the Law that He promises to remove from us is legalistic Sabbath-Keeping. As we lay aside our own works (law-keeping), not trusting in them, but in Christ alone for our salvation, forgiveness and life, we enter into His rest, finding rest for our souls.

2. Another stage of the fulfilment in Christ of the Sabbath-Rest is our future eternal Heavenly Rest. 

3. Another stage of the fulfilment in Christ of the Sabbath-Rest is the Messianic Kingdom or Millennial-Rest, when the earth will enter into Rest (this is the Sabbath Day of history). Based on the typological key, that: “one Day with the Lord is as a 1000 years” 

(Psalm 90:4, 2Peter 3:8), the Creation week is a Type or Blueprint for all time. The 7 days represent the 7 DAYS or 7000 years of history, from Adam to the end. These are made up of 6 days during which God worked, followed by the 7th day of rest. This symbolises 6 DAYS (6000 years) of God working towards establishing His Kingdom of peace upon the earth, followed by the 7th DAY (the final 1000 years, the Millenium), when Christ will reign upon the earth, and the earth will finally enter into its rest. Christ died for us at the end of the first 4 DAYS from Adam, and will return after another 2 DAYS (2000 years), at the end of the 6th DAY (6000 years) from Adam. This Typology predicts that He will then reign for 1 DAY, the Sabbath DAY, the DAY of the Lord, which is perfefectly confirmed six times in Revelation 20:1-7.

The Sabbath in the Messianic Kingdom
We have pointed out that all Ceremonial Types (including the Sabbath) are fulfilled in Christ, and so have now passed away under the New Covenant (as we are no longer under the Law of Moses). However in the Church-Age, we do have two Ceremonies (Baptism and Communion), but these function as Covenant Memorials (of Christ’s Death and Resurrection, commemorating the events that initiated this Age and which represented major fulfilments of Typology), but they do not function as Types (of future things). 

Now the Messianic Age, as a new dispensation, will also have its own Ceremonial Memorials, that will commemorate the events that initiated the Age and those aspects of typological fulfilment in Christ, that will come into manifestation in that Age. In particular, the Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ, and as we have seen the Messianic Age is also a major fulfilment of the Sabbath-Rest. For this reason, both the Sabbath and the Feast of Tabernacles will be observed in the Millenium.

As well as being under the New Covenant (which will govern the spiritual life of all believers, Jew and Gentile), Israel will also again come under a National Theocratic Covenant that will include the Sabbath and a Ceremonial Sacrificial system (see Ezekiel 40-47, especially 44:24, 45:17, 46:1, 46:3, 46:4, 46:12), but it will not be the Mosaic Covenant reinstituted, as there are many differences. 

The Gentile Nations will also be under Theocratic Rule, for Christ, as the King of kings will rule from Zion with a rod of iron, and His Law will go out Zion (Isaiah 4:2). This Theocratic Law will include enforced keeping of the Feast of Tabernacles by all nations (Zechariah 14:16-19), which celebrates the King’s Birthday (John 1:14) and His Second Coming in glory initiating the Millenium. Keeping the Feast of Tabernacles will be the ordained way for the nations to honour the King and show submission to His Kingdom.

This Theocratic Law will also include a Sabbath Law, according to
Isaiah 66:23“from one New Moon to another, and from one 
Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me” says the Lord.” The basis for this Millennial Sabbath Observance is to celebrate the fact that the earth has now entered its DAY (of 1000 years) of REST under the rule of Messiah. Therefore, keeping the Sabbath will be the Sign of the Theocratic Covenant (like it was the Sign of the Mosaic Covenant), whereby people will show their acceptance of the Covenant and submission to the King’s authority (but not to show submission to the Law of Moses which has ended). 

Since the earth will have entered its 7th DAY (of Sabbath Rest) through Christ, it will be appropriate for that to be acknowledged and celebrated by a weekly ceremonial act of rememberance, just as we regularly remember the New Covenant through Communion, and just as the nations will keep the Feast of Tabernacles to commemorate its fulfilment by Christ in His Millennial Kingdom.

The Sabbath in Eternity
The Scriptures that deal with eternity (Revelation 21,22) contain no mention of the Sabbath, and there is no reason to suppose that the Sabbath will be observed, unless you hold it to be eternal Law, which we have disproved. In fact, now that perfection has come, there is no need or place for Ceremonial Observances (Shadows).

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