When do you observe the Sabbath, on Saturday or Sunday? That is a question I've seen from multiple people on Face Book, and other websites. That question somewhat jars me, because I keep the Sabbath, but I don't keep it on Saturday, or Sunday (nor Friday night) - yet I am a Sabbath keeper.
All of the Ten Commandments are reiterated in the New Testament, but it's not the letter of these Ten that are given, but the spirit of the law. For example, on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says how we know it's wrong to commit adultery, but He takes it further, and says it is wrong to even look at someone with lust in your heart, else you are committing adultery in your heart.
The Old Covenant was the law written on stone. The New Covenant is the spirit of the law, written on Christians' hearts. If you take the time, you can find each of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament, and you can see how they are to be kept in spirit.
2 Corinthians chapter three tells us how the Ten Commandments are "abolished," and that we are no longer under the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law.
Through Hebrews, we see how Jesus fulfills more than just the sacrificial laws of Torah. We see He is also our High Priest, and more. Further, a study of the feasts shows us how Jesus fulfills each and every single one of them.
Let's go back to Hebrews. This is where we learn about the spirit of the Sabbath:
"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Therefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus [this is the Greek form of Joshua, not Jesus the Messiah] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." -Hebrews 3:8-4:11
First, we are told not to harden our hearts, like the Israelites did in the wilderness. This is referring to when the twelve representatives from each of the twelve tribes of Israel were sent to look through the Promised Land. Ten out of the twelve said that they shouldn't try to take the land, because there were giants in the land. Two men, Joshua and Caleb, said they should go in and take the Promised Land. It seems almost everyone there did not trust or believe God, when He promised them the land, and that He would go before them. God said they could have the land, but they did not enter that land, because of their unbelief. Therefore, the Israelites wandered for a total of 40 years in the wilderness, before they came into the Promised Land. As a side note, they never took all of the Promised Land. Even today, much of the Promised Land is not yet in the hands of Israel, but it will be.
Not only did the unbelieving Israelites not enter the Promised Land after the twelve spies checked out the area, but God also swore that they (those who didn't believe God) would not enter into His rest. They kept the Sabbath, but they were not in God's rest.
The above then gives a warning to us, as a lesson from the Israelite wanderings. It says "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." This infers that if we walk in unbelief, we are not in God's rest, either.
We are told that saved Christians are "partakers of Christ," IF we "hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." We are not to harden our hearts, as in the provocation - referring to the Israelites' first refusing the Promised Land.
The above is clear - "And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?"
It is abundantly clear that only those who believe God can enter into His rest. We enter God's rest via believing and receiving the Gospel - "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest." The Gospel was preached to those in the Old Testament, but they were looking forward to the Gospel happening, and we under the New Covenant are looking back at it having already happened. The Israelites did animal sacrifices in looking forward to Messiah's sacrifice once and for all. Now that Christ has been sacrificed to pay for our sins, animal sacrifices are no longer needed. Christ fulfilled that.
Now, we have used Scriptures to clearly establish that we enter into God's rest via acceptance of, belief in, and the following of the Gospel.
Only one question remains - what is God's rest?
Take another look at Hebrews 3:8-4:11, because it tells us. "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest."
When we have entered into belief, via becoming born again under the Gospel of Christ, we have entered God's rest, and we are keeping the Sabbath. Jesus is our Sabbath rest.
If you wanted to dig deeper, you could certainly look at the Greek, and something interesting would catch your eye...
If you look at the Greek words for "rest" in Hebrews chapter four, you'll notice that every instance (except for two) is either the Greek word 'katapausis,' which means "a putting to rest," or 'katapauō,' which means "the granting of rest."
Now, where the Greek word for rest differs, is in verses 9 and 10, which say:
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
The first 'rest' above, is from the Greek 'sabbatismos,' which means "keeping sabbath." The second 'rest' in the above, comes from the Greek 'autos,' which the meaning thereof must be derived from context. In this case, "autos" points us back to 'sabbatismos.'
Therefore, one could help clarify their study of this chapter, by replacing 'rest' in the above two verses with 'sabbath,' in which it would then say:
"There remaineth therefore a sabbath to the people of God. For he that is entered into his sabbath, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
We enter the sabbath rest via faith in Christ - being born again.
"For he that is entered into his [God's] rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest"
Jesus said He is Lord of the Sabbath:
"Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." -Mark 2:28
Jesus is God, yes, but He is the second person of the Trinity - JESUS said He is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus also said:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matthew 11:28-29
In the above, rest simply means the cessation of work. Certainly a Christian doesn't stop working when they get saved, but their souls find rest - "and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
If you are born again, do you remember the weight lifted off of you? Don't you feel the relief, knowing God has your back, and that He is in control? I have entered the fulfillment of the Sabbath rest, and so has every saved Christian. Praise God.
Let's Break it Down
1) God rested on the seventh day - the earth was created in six days, and He hallowed and rested on the seventh one.
2) One of the Ten Commandments said that the Israelites were to rest on the seventh day each week.
3) Jesus came to this earth, died to pay for our sins, and rose again three days later. During His earthly ministry, He told us that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, and the we enter into rest through Him.
4) Part of Hebrews chapters three and four teach us that we fulfill the sabbath rest via saving belief in Christ.
5) Christians keep the Sabbath by keeping the Gospel. (see our Hebrews text)
6) The Sabbath will be further fulfilled when the millennium of peace is ushered in after Christ's second coming. (Rev. 20)
7) After the millennium of peace, Satan and many of the dupid (dupid = duped, stupid ones, my term - "dupid") will try to war against God, and lose. Satan will be imprisoned forever, there will be a new heaven and new earth, and New Jerusalem will come down from the sky onto earth. This will be the final completion of the Sabbath rest. (Rev. 21)