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- Jesus Is Our Sabbath Rest

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Matt. 12:1-8 (Jesus says he is greater than the temple. What does this mean?

It Is Finished

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Gen. 2:1-3 (When we understand OT typology that points to Christ, we see in the creation itself the shadow in God finishing his work of creation on the 6th day and then resting on the 7th day. So was there a fulfillment or reality the shadow points to in the NT?)

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 (Jesus died on the 6th day and finished his work of redemption. Then Jesus rests in the grave on the 7th day. The Israelites rested from their physical work to commemorate creation. The church has spiritual rest in Jesus by faith in his finished work on the cross. No longer do we labor and work to be righteous by the works of the law. When Jesus said “It is finished,” he fulfilled the type/shadow of God finishing his work at creation. In this fulfillment we no longer rest physically on a day, but we rest spiritually in a person by faith, who is Christ.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28 (It is also important to note that God did not need to rest physically on the 7th day of creation as God does not need physical rest. So what was the point of God resting physically if he does not need physical rest? We only have the answer when we understand that the type/shadow of that physical rest was necessary so that it could be fulfilled by Christ, in whom the shadow pointed to.)

Sabbath Rest Remains

Hebrews 3 and 4 gives a very important, yet hard to understand, passage that explains how the Sabbath command remains for the people of God. But it explains the fulfillment of the physical Sabbath as being spiritual rest by faith in Christ.

...who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses...Heb. 3:2-3
(We see here a direct comparison between Jesus and Moses. Why is Moses being compared to Jesus? It is because Moses was a type, or a foreshadowing, of what Jesus was to accomplish. And this leads us into chapter 4, where the physical Sabbath of Moses was a foreshadowing of the spiritual Sabbath by faith in Christ.)

As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Heb. 3:15-19 (The Israelites, even though they kept the Sabbath day, did not enter his rest. Why? Because of their “unbelief,” or lack of faith. This is important because we will see that it is by faith in Jesus that we enter his spiritual rest in which we cease from our works of the ceremonial laws that formerly sanctified us. The rest the Israelites did not enter was the promise land and they died in the wilderness. The promise land was a type, or foreshadowing, of the promised Messiah. We wonder in the wilderness of sin, until we have faith and become identified in Christ and his finished work. We enter into the true Sabbath rest, which is Jesus, spiritually by faith in Christ.)

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. (The promise of entering his rest still stands because the promise land, which is long gone, was never the true rest the Sabbath pointed to.)

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. (The good news to the Israelites was the promise land, and the good news to us is the promised Messiah. Both promises had to be received by faith, or you do not enter that rest.)

For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Who does it say enters that rest? It is “we who have believed.” Those that believe, or have faith, in Christ enter into the true Sabbath rest which is in Jesus. This is the gospel. This is why the Sabbath is a salvation issue when you understand it correctly. This is why God was so serious about the Sabbath day. Look what it points to and then you understand.)

For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Again there remains for some to enter the Sabbath rest even though the promised land is long gone, so it is pointing to the promised Messiah. Why did God AGAIN appoint a certain day? And this certain day is when? It is “TODAY.” We are today to turn to Jesus in faith and believe on him and cease from our works toward salvation because it is only found in Christ. This is the gospel!)

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. (Joshua is who led the Israelites into the promised land. But they did not receive God’s true rest in the promised land because it points to the true rest in the promised Messiah. And it says God spoke of another day. Why is God speaking of another day if the physical Sabbath has already been appointed to a specific day? It is because we are dealing with types and anti types. We are dealing with foreshadowing toward the true spiritual reality of faith in Christ.)

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. (The Sabbath was not done away with. There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. The 4th commandment still stands. But just as the priesthood wasn’t done away, but instead Jesus is now our eternal high priest; and just as the sacrifices weren’t done away, but instead Jesus is now our once and for all sacrifice; just the same the Sabbath is not done away, but fulfilled in Christ. God rested by ceasing from his work of creation. We rest as God did by ceasing from our works of the ceremonial law for favor with God. It all points to Christ.)

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. Heb. 4:1-11 (How do we enter that rest? By doing the opposite of disobedience and unbelief. We are to believe on and have faith in Jesus to enter the true spiritual rest found in Christ’s finished work of salvation.)

Sanctified And Holy In Christ