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#3. THE SPIRITUAL FULFILMENT OF THE SABBATH DAY COMMANDMENT

Greek Word Study on 4521 σάββατον sabbaton Sabbath.
Hebrew Word Study on 7676 שַׁבָּת shabbat Sabbath.
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Introduction 3

This is a bible study explaining what to do and what not to do on the Sabbath day and how to fulfil these commands in a spiritual sense. It is very important, because many Christians today have rejected much of the law of God completely. They have misunderstood the teaching of the apostle Paul on this subject, and in some cases they have even elevated what they think he meant above the words of Jesus. However, in order to rightly understand the truth, we must harmonize various scriptures in the word of God, and study together those which seem to contradict each other. By then meditating on them (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3), and seeking God to obtain the correct understanding (Matthew 7:7-8; James 1:5), the real truth can be revealed to us by his Spirit (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12). So before we go into this section, let us lay a foundation on how we, as Gentiles, should now understand the law, and in particular the Sabbath, so that we can see more clearly how it applies to us today. There are some points we need to consider.

(1) The priesthood and the law have changed

The Levitical priesthood under the law was physical, but this was only temporary, and was a figure, or shadow, of the heavenly one.

(Hebrews 9:8-10) "The Holy Spirit signifying this, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him who did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and various washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

(Hebrews 10:1) "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make those who come to it perfect."

The true spiritual priesthood was the one promised to Jesus, after the order of Melchisedec:

(Hebrews 7:11-17) "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertains to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the likeness of Melchisedec there arises another priest,
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17 For he testifies, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

(Hebrews 6:20) "even Jesus, made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

As the true high priest, Jesus offered himself as a once and for all sacrifice for sins, and cleansed the heavenly sanctuary with his own blood:

(Hebrews 9:11-12) "But Christ having become a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

(Hebrews 9:22-26) "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the completion of the ages has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

So Jesus is now "a great high priest" (Hebrews 4:14), and we are a "holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5). The whole of the Levitical priesthood, and all of its ordinances, including the animal sacrifices that were made (See #4.25), are now no longer required for forgiveness of sins, and are now meant to be understood only in a spiritual sense. For example, as a "holy priesthood", we are now meant to make spiritual sacrifices to God (See #3.25 Note). Those functions of the priest, such as teaching (Exodus 24:12; Leviticus 10:11; Nehemiah 8:8), have now been transferred to teachers that God has set in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28). In this case the spiritual understanding of the law has superseded the natural one.

(2) God's commandments are now written on our heart, rather than being engraved on tablets of stone

The scripture speaks of, "The ministry of death, written and engraved in stones," (2 Corinthians 3:7), being done away with (2 Corinthians 3:11), but "the ministry of the spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:8), "written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in fleshy tablets of the heart." (2 Corinthians 3:3), remains (2 Corinthians 3:11). This writing of God's laws in our heart is a part of the New Covenant (See #1.5), and enables us, through the Holy Spirit, to understand the spiritual significance of them, and keep them. It applies to Gentiles as well as Jews, because "the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things," (Romans 15:27), and "the law is spiritual," (Romans 7:14).

(3) It is Lawful to do Good on the Sabbath Day

Jesus once asked a question, "Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?" (Mark 3:4). This came about because people were watching to see if Jesus would heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day, so that they could accuse him (Mark 3:1-2). Jesus established a principle, by healing the man, that "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day." (Matthew 12:12).
In this case healing the man was an act of love, an act of faith, and an act of mercy, and so Jesus was operating according to the higher requirements of the law.

Therefore, when we analyze this next section, these above points need to be kept in mind.

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