23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the hewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Let us begin by looking at the Sabbath in the old testament. It was more than just a special day. It also pointed forward to a future rest, the rest of redemption yet to come. The Sabbath was also a reminder not only of rest after six days of creation, but also the fact that God had delivered His people from Egypt. In Exodus 20:8-11 God told His people to keep the Sabbath because He rested. You will notice NO work of any kind was to be done, not even preparing of meals. This was given to the children of Israel before they entered the promise land.
In Deuteronomy 5:15 we see a change added. In verse 15 the Sabbath now becomes a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt. You will remember while they were in Egypt; God came and slew all the first born of Egypt. Only those who had the blood on the door post would be spared the loss of the first born. This was the foretelling of the deliverance God would provide when the sacrificial Lamb’s (Jesus Christ) blood would purchase (redeem) us to Him. Hebrews 10:1-10 explains this very well. The blood sacrifices under the Law could not redeem. They could not make one perfect. They were a reminder man’s sinfulness and man’s inability to save himself. God prepare a body (Jesus’) to be the once for all sacrifice. The laws and the sacrifices under the law were replaced by the perfect sin offering.
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Isaiah 53:4-5; 11-12 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
We see even in the Old Testament the promise of the once for all redeemer ould come. In Romans 8:3-4 we see:
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
While the Children of Israel were in captivity, the “promised” land was enjoying 70 years of rest (Sabbaths).
II Chronicles 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
When the children of Israel took Jericho, they marched around the city for 7 days, once each day the first six but seven times on day 7. What a picture of them entering the promise land, their land of rest, after 70 years of captivity and 40 years of aimlessly wondering about in the wilderness. The old covenant (testament) was all about looking forward to the coming promised redeemer,
John 4:25-26 – The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. Jesus was the promise that was to come.
Jesus fulfilled the Law on the cross, once and for all paying the price for all sin. He declared redemption work finished. John 19:30 –“…It is finished…” We now see the finished product. Our redemption has been secured by the resurrection. The resurrection is as vital to mankind as the creation was. In the beginning God is paramount to everything else. This new “rest” redemption preceded even creation.
I Peter 1:18-20. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
This plan, the prefect plan, was put in place “before” the foundation of this world was laid. God knew the law would not suffice. He knew a perfect plan had to be instituted.
After the resurrection we see a change from the believers, followers of Jesus. They begin meeting on the first day of the week. Jesus met with them as well on the first day of the week as they gathered. We no longer see them gathering on the seventh day, but on the first. Let us examine the evidence.
- The resurrection was on the first day of the week –
- Jesus appeared to others on the first day of the week.
John 20:20, Luke 24:13
3 Jesus met on the first day of the week with the disciples as they were gathered together.
- The Holy Spirit was given 50 days after the Sabbath of the
Jewish Passover. That would be on the first day of the week. Again, the followers of Jesus were together on the first day of
- In Acts 20:7 the believers were together in worship on the first day of the week, not the seventh, but on the first. Paul preached to them This was the day, after the resurrection, that the church came together.
- In I Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul encourages them to bring their offerings on the first day of the week. Throughout church history this has been the scriptural habit of believers. The churches in the New Testament gathered on the first day of the week.
- They came together on the Lord’s day. The apostle John was banished to the Island of Patmos. He may have been the
only one of the original 12 who was still alive. In Revelation 1:10 we see Him in the spirit on the Lord’s day. He referred to the day as THE Lord’s day. It was a particular day. He did not say the Sabbath day, but the Lord’s day. It was the day that Christ defeated death. He had conquered the last enemy of sin, death.
It was on the first day of the week that Jesus defeated all the enemies, even death. That is “THE LORD’S DAY.” Christians began to gather on the first day even during the life of the apostles. We celebrate His resurrection as well as the coming of His Holy Spirit at Pentecost to indwell all believers. The command to honor God one day in seven is still in practice. It is clear that the New Testament church gathered not on the seventh day, but on the first day. Note again, Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. It is clear when they came together. It was the first day of the week. Since the earliest mention of the church, Sunday, the first day, has been the day they came together.
Let us conclude by the following passages of scripture. The law was imperfect in that it could not save. God fulfilled the old with a new and better covenant.
Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ being come an 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. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Christ became the mediator through death of the new covenant.
Hebrews 8:6-7 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
A new covenant had to be given because the old could not save, it could only show one’s sinfulness.
Galatians 3:16-24 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Even Abraham could not be saved by keeping the Law. We clearly see the Law cannot save. It can only point one to the promise of Christ, the redeemer of the world. Praise be to God for His unbelievable grace and mercy.