There are many Christians who claim that the observance of the Sabbath (the day of rest) is still a duty and requirement today because it is part of the Ten Commandments. Christians who believe this claim either Saturday (the original Hebrew observance) or Sunday for their day of Sabbath. However, a larger question than what day needs to be answered and that is whether the keeping of the Sabbath still applies.
The Bible teaches in the Book of Exodus 31:17 that the Sabbath was strictly a sign for the Jews, not for everyone. Although the command to observe the Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments, it is the only part of the Ten Commandments that is ceremonial in nature. All of the ceremonial laws and types were fulfilled by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
The Apostle Paul in the New Testament says that all of the various Sabbath observances have been done away with and that every day of the week may be treated as the same (Colossians 2: 16-18;Romans 14: 5-6).
And Hebrews 4:1-11 teaches that the Sabbath Day was actually a figure of spiritual rest in Christ.
But, doesn't Scripture teach that the Sabbath is to be observed "forever". The word "forever" in Scripture simply means the entire length or duration of something. If that something is eternal then the word "forever" must mean eternity, but if that something is temporal then the word "forever" simply means the entire length or time of that temporal period. For example, in Exodus 21:6 we read that certain persons were to be servants forever. Obviously, that does not mean for eternity.
The Sabbath as the the day of rest in the Old Testament had an overall spiritual meaning above and beyond its immediate meaning. The immediate meaning of the Sabbath was to provide God's people a rest from a week of work and toil and to commemorate the fact that God ceased (rested) from His work of creation on the seventh day.
However, the Sabbath spiritually symbolized an even greater meaning - that the greatest work of God, the work of salvation, has been once and for all completed through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
The Apostle in the Book of Hebrews says we have a Sabbath still to keep. What He means is that we have yet to experience the full effects of that eternal rest Christ won for us on Calvary.
On the Cross Christ paid the full penalty for our sins through His suffering and death. His entire sinless life on earth was His meritorious work of keeping the law faultlessly and perfectly on our behalf. He faithfully took the punishment from God the Father that we deserve for our sins on the Cross. His resurrection sealed and guaranteed all that He did on our behalf.
Now, it does not matter whether Saturday or Sunday or any day. All that matters is Christ. Let us not, therefore, bind a commandment and observance on others that the New Testament teaches has been fulfilled and done away with through the Cross of Christ.
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Contact the AuthorBabu G. Ranganathan
Religion and Science
Babu G. Ranganathan's web site
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