Seventh-Day Adventists/Jesus our sabbath-rest
Thanks for the work you are doing, it's very valueble to those who love the truth. I know that the Sabbath is not for christians however I am still searching for more biblical support that Jesus is the New Covenant sabbath.
I know the word "sabbatismos" means a continual "celebrating of the sabbath" as a result of believing in Christ. However Matt got me somewhat confused when he said the following:
"Many use Matthew 11:28-30 as Biblical proof that Christ is now our “Sabbath”. The Greek word used for “rest” here does not have anything to do with the literal seventh day of the week Sabbath. It is the word “anapau” which has to do with a literal rest from labor. So this verse is more correctly interpreted as basically that Christ wants us to enter a relationship with Him so that he can take away our daily stresses. A Christian does not need to toil and worry about our daily bread, bills, etc. (So by this we can see that Christs life was not the anti-type for this law)"
Another statement from Matt that got me confused is the following:
"One more thing to consider is Isaiah 66:23 which tells us that we will have a Sabbath after the judgment. This tells us that we will have a Sabbath even when we are in Heaven, and when we live back here on earth after Christ has re-created it for us."
I know the sabbath in Genesis 2 was a prolepsis, however even some evangelicals seem to suggest that there will be ritual laws in the milennium. This all is very confusing to me and I would really appreciate it if you'd shed some light on this matter,
Dear Brother Roger:
Brother Matt’s conclusion is not completely wrong; however, it certainly is besides the main point of the passage. Jesus did not utter those words and Matthew include them in his Gospel to offer Christians a stress-free life.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV).
How one could read that passage and believe that it means that Jesus wants to give Christians a stress-free life is beyond me. The clear meaning of the text is that Jesus is the better Sabbath rest for his people. The rest that he provides is rest for our souls (v. 29). Jesus came to save souls. Stress can certainly be reduced by coming to Jesus; however, that is not the primary meaning of the text.
“Come to me” our Lord requests. The first step in coming to Jesus is to repent. That is the context in which this passage is found. In verses 20-24 Jesus relates the supreme importance of coming to him in repentance.
“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you” (vs. 20-22 NKJV).
Note that Jesus is speaking of “the day of judgment” not of having a stress-free earthly life. In v. 24 the theme of judgment is repeated. “But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (NKJV). Jesus gives those that repent and come to him complete rest (v. 28).
Sin is a great burden to bear on one’s conscience. Coming to Jesus removes the guilt of sin. We still suffer in this life, but we know that the suffering pales in comparison to the glory that awaits us. Paul explains this beautifully. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18 NASB).
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB).
Jesus wants all who come to him in repentance to have spiritual rest for their souls in him our true Sabbath rest. The 7th day Sabbath of the Israelites was only a shadow of the true rest found only in Christ. “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV). Jesus as the true fulfillment of the Sabbath is what Hebrews 4 is explaining.
“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (vs. 9-11 NASB).
For anyone who has felt the heavy burden of guilt which no amount of good works could ever erase the invitation of Jesus to come to him to obtain rest for our souls are the most beautiful words to our ears. We know those words mean eternal peace in the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God—Jesus.
One final note: realize that Matthrew 11:28-30 is immediately followed by Sabbath controversies between Jesus and the Pharisees. Any first century Jew would certainly not miss that Jesus tells people to come to him for rest and then the Sabbath is discussed. They would know that, at least for Matthew, Jesus is the true Sabbath rest for Christians.
Isaiah 66:22-23 does not indicate that New Covenant Christians will be keeping the Old Covenant 7th day Sabbath. Isaiah is an Old Covenant prophet describing things in Old Covenant terms that he and his immediate audience would easily understand. Thus he writes that in the New World the bondage of the past in Babylon will be forgotten. They will be full of joy. Babies will not die shortly after birth. Righteous adults will live long lives. They will no longer be slaves so that they will build homes and farm for themselves not harsh Babylonian masters. Their God will never abandon them as it seemed He did during the Babylonian Captivity. A great peace will envelop the people, and even the animals will live in peace with one another. Their God will be worshipped in Jerusalem by all people. This prophecy is not to be taken literally. Note that it is in earthly terms-Old Covenant terms. If we take this prophecy as literal we are presented with several problems concerning its vision of the New World.
1) Women will continue to have babies (65:20, 23; cf. Matthew 22:30).
2) The righteous will still die (65:20; cf. Revelation 21:4).
3) The Levitical priesthood will be resurrected (66:21; cf. Hebrews 7:11-28; 8:13; 10:9-12).
4) New moons and Sabbaths will be celebrated (66:23; cf. Galatians 4:8-11; Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 8:13; 10:9).
5) Corpses will decorate Isaiah’s New World (66:24).
Now let’s look at v. 23. “From one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.” Firstly, even if we are to celebrate new moons and Sabbaths in the New World, it does not follow that we must celebrate them now. Secondly, if we are to literally keep the 7th day Sabbath, then to be honest we must also keep new moon feasts. Thirdly, this verse does not say that we will be keeping new moon feasts or Sabbath days. “From one new moon to another…” is a way of saying “continually”. This language points to a continual event not a periodic one. Let me give an example to illustrate this. If I said, “From one Saturday to another I wait for my favorite TV show.” Would that mean that I only waited on Saturday? Or would it mean that I waited continually all week long? Isaiah is saying that we will be worshipping the Lord continually not just on one day a week (see Revelation 4:6-11). Is this not what God wants? Doesn’t He want us to be with Him always?
Another Scripture that uses very similar language is Malachi 1:11. This passage sheds great light on the meaning of “from one Sabbath to another”. We read, “For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations…” (NASB). Does God mean that His name shall be great only when the sun is rising and then again later when it is setting? Of course not, this is a silly understanding of the passage and it is just as silly to interpret Isaiah 66:23 in a like manner. Both passages are obviously speaking of continual worship. The SDA has conveniently overlooked this passage while speaking of letting Scripture interpret Scripture.
Supporting my belief in continual worship is the Book of Revelation. We must recall that under the Old Covenant Isaiah did not have the full revelation. This would only become available with the coming of Christ (see Hebrews 1:1-2). In Revelation we are given a vision of the New Heavens and the New Earth, but in a much fuller form than Isaiah was given. In this revelation we hear nothing about new moon feasts or of Sabbath-keeping in the New World (see ch.21). In this vision we are to be continually with our God. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God’”.
The plain truth is that the SDA church is simply misusing a passage in a vain attempt to support their false belief. As already shown they completely ignore all the things that Isaiah speaks of as being in the New World. Then they grasp at straws when Isaiah uses the word “Sabbath”. Then they, despite a complete lack of evidence, say that we must all keep the Sabbath day. Although Isaiah never explicitly says that all people must keep the Sabbath in the New World, the SDA says that he implies it. We do have a prophet that does explicitly say that all people must keep a Jewish feast day in the New World, but it is not the prophet Isaiah and it is not the Sabbath.
After God brings Jerusalem to victory over the nations the prophet Zechariah says, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths”
(Zechariah 14:16 NASB). Unlike the passage in Isaiah, Zechariah explicitly states that all peoples will be required to celebrate the feast of Booths also called Tabernacles. He further states that if they do not they will be punished by God with plagues (v. 18). “This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the feast of Booths” (v. 19 NASB). Of course the SDA ignores this explicit passage because it does not mention the Sabbath day. So we see that it is only an out-of- context reading that can produce a Sabbath-keeping passage out of Isaiah 66:23.
I hope that I was able to clear up your confusion. If I can be of further help just let me know.