Seventh-Day Adventists/The People of God and the Sabbath
I agree with you that the 7th day Sabbath was given to Israel as a sign between them and God. We Christians are now the people of God replacing Israel. That is why we should keep the Sabbath like the Old Covenant people of God did.
Dear Brother Marv:
The Sabbath was part of the Old Covenant Law given to physical Israel. As you note the Sabbath was the special sign for physical Israel.
"The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever..." (Exodus 31:16-17 NIV).
It was also a shadow or type of salvation by faith alone apart from any works of man. The Sabbath required Israel to trust Israel in God for 24 hours once per week. They had to rest in faith that God would provide all that they needed. The heart of the Sabbath command is to rest from all work. The heart of the gospel is to rest from the work of trying to save oneself. The classic text for salvation by faith alone is Ephesians 2:8-9.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (ESV).
It is by God's Divine plan that the Old Covenant Sabbath so clearly depicts this primary gospel concept of salvation by faith alone. In Deuteronomy 5:15 we read of one reason to observe the Sabbath.
"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day" (NIV).
God brought Israel out of bondage to Egypt and God brought Christians out of bondage to sin. The Old Covenant people of God rested in the type or shadow. The New Covenant people of God rest in the fulfillment or substance.
"Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath dayŚ things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ" (Colossians 2:16-17 NASB).
Paul's teaching on the Sabbath was derived from Jesus' bold claim that he gave the true rest for our souls a rest that the 7th day Sabbath could only point towards.
'Come to me, all 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 ESV).
Jesus' and Paul's point is that we must cease from putting confidence in the flesh (cf. Philippians 3:3). Old Covenant Sabbath keepers and many Sabbath keepers of today put confidence in their Sabbath keeping even to the point of boasting in it.
God ceased from His labors of creating (cf. Genesis 2:2-3). If we are to enter into His rest we must cease from our labors to save ourselves. The 7th day Sabbath was only a shadow of this rest. We Christians do not live in the shadows.
Thank you for sharing your comment.
Have a safe and happy Summer,