Good News of Leviticus 23 – Sabbath

Lev 23:3 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.

Sabbath Established
Gen 2:2-3 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. The weekly cessation from toil and get together was appointed from Friday evening at dusk until Saturday evening at dusk. Saturday, remember, actually starts at dusk on Friday. The instructions for Sabbath in Lev 23:3 weren’t new to the Jews, but it was now codified.

Sabbath’s Practical Application
Mk 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Through time many people have made observance of the Sabbath a legality. In the New Testament, only a little is written about what Jesus had to say on the subject of the Sabbath. In most such references Jesus says it is okay to do good on the Sabbath, he is Lord of the Sabbath, and this gem Mark recorded explaining the most basic truth about the Sabbath. God rested to set the example for us. We need time to rest, unwind, and enjoy the company of friends and family.

Sabbath & Sunday
Dan 7:25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. Since the early Papacy the day of rest has been moved for most Gentile believers to Sunday (known as the “Lord’s Day”) instead of Saturday (Sabbath). Regardless of the “legalisms” man needs to rest now and then. A time will come for a more perfect rest. Seven is a biblical number indicating completion, perfection, and fulfillment.

Ro 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. Sabbath, no matter how you keep it, is a reminder of God’s grace, love, and the certainty of the fulfillment of His promises.

No Condemnation
Ro 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus [Some manuscripts add who walk not according to the flesh (but according to the Spirit)]. I don’t believe anyone is condemned for uncircumcision, nor for eating pork, nor failing to observe the feasts of Lev 23, nor for observing Sunday or Tuesday or Friday instead of Saturday as their day off. Conviction is a deeply personal experience.

God’s plan for us is good. Sabbath reminds us of God’s example to take time from our toil to enjoy and bless each other. Its okay to do good things, even when we’re resting from the daily grind. It also forecasts the fulfillments of God’s ultimate plan, reaching completion with joy and the ultimate holy convocation.

The Good News of Sabbath
Mt 11:28-30 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.” Only in Jesus Christ can we find completeness, fulfillment, and the refreshment needed to withstand the trials of this world so that in the end we remain standing in victory. The battles of life are so much easier to endure when you know you’re on the winning team and eternal life awaits.

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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4 Responses to Good News of Leviticus 23 – Sabbath

  1. Bernie says:

    I like the presentation and the conclusions Lance. I find this post very encouraging!!! Thanks – Bernie

  2. Todd Beal says:

    Lance, I’m glad I withheld my comments until this post. I concur with Bernie, excellent indeed, the whole way through.

    You know, I just thought of something. God mandated a Sabbath year for the Israelites every seventh year. During this year they were to let the ground rest from the growing/harvesting crop cycle. Now, it’s interesting that this law was given for the ground only so that the soil could replenish and remain rich in nutrients. It had nothing to do with Salvation proper, except that disobeying the law was sinful. So, since the Sabbath was made for man, as it was also mandated for the ground (your mention of Mark 2:27 got me to thinking), Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law through his death on the cross would not change the fact that physical creation needs rest. He gives us spiritual rest by residing in our heart, which also removes a tremendous amount of physical tension, but that doesn’t mean (as you said) that we no longer need physical rest. That’s great. Now I have some new evidence for continuing my study of the Sabbath.

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