“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27-28.
The question has been asked, some folks say that the Sabbath is for the Jewish people and some say that Jesus is our rest, what is your (my) opinion?
I will attempt to give more than my opinion on this by bringing in a number of Scriptures for you to consider. In the end though it may still be a bit confusing; first though, a flat footed statement, both the idea that the Sabbath is for the Jews and that Jesus is our rest are correct.
It should also be added that Jesus’ statement in our opening verse sums things up pretty well.
For the Israelites it was Law to keep the Sabbath in no uncertain terms by the fourth commandment.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.
In time they profaned the Sabbath both by ignoring it at times and finally by loading a day of rest down with petty rules until it was a bloated monstrosity.
“In those days [approximately 445-425 B.C.] I saw in Judah some people treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions. Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 13:15-16.
If you compare the above with the fourth commandment you will see that these folks were breaking every point of the commandment. While there was a period of revival during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah the Jews soon began to worship God in a dead, legalistic way until Malachi recorded God’s complaints against them in the last book of our Old Testament around 400 B.C.
Then 400 hundred years of silence from God, many of those years were horrific and catastrophic for Israel, finally ending in Roman rule by the time Jesus the Christ came to His own. With the final rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah:
“But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’” John 19:15.
God rejected them and turned to the Gentiles. Many people have accepted the error that God has completely rejected the Jews and has given their place to the Christian church; Scripture, our final authority, refutes this thinking very clearly.
“But Isaiah is very bold and says: ‘I was found by those [Gentiles] who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.’ But to Israel he says: ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’” Romans 10:20-21.
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” Romans 11:1-2a.
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness [complete number] of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’ Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all [Jews and Gentiles] to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all [Jews and Gentiles].” Romans 11:25-32
The above Scriptures tell us that God foreknew the entire history of the Israelites from beginning to end, yet He still elected them for His purpose and His glory, and they are beloved for the sake of their fathers.
Their place in God’s timeline has been stopped for a while, but God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable and when the last Gentile is added to the church, the Israelites will awaken to the gospel of Jesus Christ their Messiah and will carry God’s word forward into the whole world.
Is the Sabbath still for the Jews; technically no.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile], there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28.
“…where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11.
The Jew who accepts Christ as his savior is no longer under law but under grace and as such is not a Jew but rather a part of the body of Christ just as every other race is.
Should the Jew of today keep the Sabbath? In my personal opinion, yes, but for an odd reason; the Jew that is truly attempting to please God should keep the Sabbath, study Moses’ Law as it is given in the Pentateuch, study the entire Old Testament, and pray that God would open the Scriptures to them.
The wise Jew will turn away from the study of the Talmud with its 613 laws which do nothing but confuse and entangle them in meaningless rules and regulations which are not in the spirit of the Law of Moses as it is given in the final authority on God, the Scriptures.
The reason I recommend this is simple, the Old Testament gives a graphic description of the Messiah and before they finish the book of Isaiah they will have run right smack dab into the face of Jesus (see Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
Finally, an interesting thought, during the millennium the temple will be rebuilt, and it will be massive. The description of the millennial temple and the various ordinances for sacrifices and temple service by Israelites are described beginning in Ezekiel chapter 40 on through the end of the book. The reason this is mentioned is that the Sabbath is evidently reinstituted for the millennium.
“Thus says the Lord God: ‘The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened.’” Ezekiel 46:1.
“The burnt offering that the prince offers to the Lord on the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish…” Ezekiel 46:4.
“Now when the prince makes a voluntary burnt offering or voluntary peace offering to the Lord, the gate that faces toward the east shall then be opened for him; and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings as he did on the Sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and after he goes out the gate shall be shut.” Ezekiel 46:12.
Is Jesus our rest?
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them [Israelites in the wilderness]; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest,”’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; and again in this place: ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:1-10.
God has given the Christian a rest in Jesus, all those who have accepted Him as their savior, both Jew and Gentile. We could stop there and say that Jesus is our rest, because we are saved from the wrath of God which will fall upon those who reject Christ.
There is rest in eternal security, the knowledge that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, past, present, and future; you cannot lose your salvation.
And there is rest in the fact that we can come to Jesus and let our requests be known to Him, casting all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. But that is not what this passage in Hebrews is saying.
The children of Israel who died in the wilderness as they wandered through it for forty years were not necessarily unbelievers; in fact most of them were probably quite godly. The thing that kept them from entering the land that God had promised them was unbelief.
They did not believe the promises of God, and when spies who were sent into the land to see what they were up against came back and gave a bad report about giants and fierce men in the land the people became fearful and refused to enter as God told them to do.
As a result God said, “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’” but their children did.
This lesson is for the Christian too; we can read all the promises of God and believe them, we can pray for impossible things and have them come about. We can live a life continually seeing the blessings and the many times He has protected us. But can we enter His rest?
For example: I have seen many wonderful prayers answered in my life and in the lives of my family and friends. There is no question that God can do the impossible, still I have not entered His rest.
As the election of November 2016 approached I started to stress over the possibility that a loss would spell the end of this country as we know it, even the loss of religious freedom was and still is possible.
It was only after I saw the impossible results of that election in spite of widespread election fraud that I began to relax and to thank God.
God’s rest is the absolute knowledge that whatever happens He is in control and whether it is elections or fierce giants we are to place ourselves in His hands and allow Him to act without our hand wringing histrionics.
If you can do this, you can be in the eye of the storm and know that you will remain in the calm all the while the storm rages around you until it finally dies down.
This does not rule out praying fervently during some crisis or for your family, nor does it mean that one does not have to actively look for a job when unemployed.
It does mean that all your cares are to be taken to God in prayer, sometimes more than once or many times, but you are to leave them there knowing that God will take care of them in His own way. This is what I call being on cruise control, living in God’s rest.
Many of us can remember when we were children and the plumbing broke, that did not bother us, dad would fix it. If the car would not start, that did not bother us, dad would fix it. If we needed new shoes, that did not bother us, dad would get them for us.
Our Father in heaven is capable of doing the same things; in fact dad may have relied on Him to help fix the plumbing, start the car, and get our new shoes. Why ruin a good setup?
So, yes, Jesus is our rest, but we do not truly enter into all that means until we completely, as little children, put our trust in His ability to care for us.
“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…” Colossians 2:6.
Before we leave this subject it is important to cover a few more details. While Christians do not meet on the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, they still keep a day of rest on the first day of the week, Sunday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus on the first day of the week.
“Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Acts 20:7.
“On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2.
As Jesus is quoted in the beginning of this study, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27. The word Sabbath is the Hebrew word Shabbath which means “day of rest”, this is taken from the word Shabath which means “He rested” the word used in Genesis 2.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested [Shabath] on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Genesis 2:2.
The truth of the Sabbath and of Sunday is revealed, God has always meant for us to have a Sabbath’s day rest not just so we can rest from the week’s labors, but also to guarantee a timeout from the things of the world that occupy, and perhaps even dominate our minds during the week to consider Him for a day and to worship.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:1-3.
Sabbath – Seventh Day taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 11-5-14, updated on 11-28-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.