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Sabbath days

December 1, 2006

The completion of the work of Jesus Christ has many implications. One of those is the setting aside of the Sabbath days of feasts and festivals in the Old Testament. We read about this in Colossians,

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, ESV)

The phrase in the ESV, “or a Sabbath”, is plural in the Greek, “or Sabbath days”. These Sabbath days of feasts and festivals were shadows of the reality in Christ.

Now, God’s inspired word is quite enough to believe anything He wrote there. And, it is fulfilling and a source of great joy to find out how deeply these writings go. God has been writing about the fulfillment of the New Covenant throughout the Bible.

As I was reading through Ezekiel a few days ago God blessed me with the remembrance of several passages, including the one from Colossians above. One was Jeremiah 31:33-34 (ESV) where a result of the New Covenant is that “all know [the LORD]”. In the new covenant we know the Lord. Another passage I remembered, but had to look up, was 1 Corinthians 1:30 (ESV). There we learn much about who Christ is to us, including that He is our sanctification.

These passages serve as a special insight into the Sabbath days because of the following two verses from Ezekiel:

Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. (Ezekiel 20:12, ESV)

and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God. (Ezekiel 20:20, ESV)

Two purposes of the Sabbath are knowing the Lord and knowing the Lord is our sanctification. These two are completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ. So Paul’s words in Colossians have all that much more depth because we see some of the aspects of how Jesus Christ fulfilled the Sabbath days – by allowing us to know the Lord and by becoming our sanctification.

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