THE JEWISH SABBATH.
Because seven was so intimately connected with all God's works and plans, and because he intended all his works to culminate in perfection, therefore, when he selected Israel as a typical people, he gave them several Sabbaths or rests which shadowed certain blessings of rest in future, and as was His method, he used seven to represent that coming perfection of rest.
Hence, we find in their Law, a number of Sabbaths. The seventh day and its cycle of seven times seven days or forty-nine days, reached and pointed to the fiftieth or Jubilee day, the day of Pentecost. So they had year Sabbaths; every seventh year was a Sabbath year to the land, during which it rested. The cycle of the year Sabbaths was seven times seven or forty-nine years, reaching and pointing to the fiftieth or Jubilee year. Thus we see the Sabbaths and their cycles to have been--
The 7th day; 7 x 7 = 49 bringing the 50th or Jubilee day--Pentecost.
The 7th year; 7 x 7 = 49 bringing the 50th or Jubilee year.
Now, these things they did, in a shadowy or typical sense and did not discern the meaning of the types. But as the Apostles declare, these things were done and written before for our (the gospel church's) edification; that we might understand and locate the real Sabbaths by examining the types. Types are not to last forever, but must cease when the antitype has come.
Now, our claim is, that all these typical Law Sabbaths ceased, at or before the death of Jesus, who made an end of the Law which commanded the types. None of these types were commanded before the giving of the Law to Israel at Sinai (Deut. 5:3-23) and they were all done away when Jesus "made an end of the Law, nailing it to his cross." (Col. 2:14)
The year Sabbaths as types ceased first; they ceased at the Babylonian captivity, and there the great cycle of fifty times fifty years commenced, which reached to the anti-typical or real Jubilee time, the Millennial age--"Times of restitution of all things." This cycle carried us 1874 years into the Christian era, and showed us when the work of restitution was due to begin--beginning by breaking in pieces and removing the rubbish of error and bad government, preparing for the blessings of all the families of the earth.
The typical day Sabbaths, did not pass away for long years afterward; [R315 : page 3] it was part of the Law when Jesus was in the flesh, and every feature of the Law was duly kept by him. It then must have been a one part of the Law, which ended at the Cross. Now, if the type ended there, the anti-type must have come, and if we can find an anti-type in place of the type, we shall have conclusive proof of the end of the type to support Paul's statement, that "Christ made an end of the Law."
Let us look for the anti-type: Israel was commanded to count from the morrow after the (Passover) Sabbath. There we begin to count the cycle of seven times seven days which would bring us to the real Sabbath (rest) typified by their day Sabbaths. You know how Jesus rose from death on the morning after the Passover Sabbath, and counting fifty days it brings us to Pentecost day. Jesus was with the disciples forty of these days, and then as he had commanded, they waited for the blessing of Pentecost, viz: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit--that sealing of the Spirit, or witness of the acceptance by the Father, gave the rest (Sabbath) of faith.
There then, the disciples entered [R315 : page 4] into a rest of faith, of which the seventh day was but an imperfect type-- a rest not of one day in the week, but of all days. As Jews they had scrupulously observed the seventh day as a rest day; no work, of any sort must be done in it. Yet they were in a condition of unrest, for though they kept this one feature of the Law, many others they could not keep and Jesus had said that the failure in keeping one point constituted the person a breaker of the Law, and consequently none of them ever kept the Law, but Jesus only. So they were in a condition of unrest actually and hence Jesus addressed himself to all such, saying "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden (trying to do a thing impossible to you, as members of a fallen race, viz: to keep the perfect Law of God)--I will give you rest." (Sabbath means rest. (Matt. 11:28.) While with them, Jesus did not give them the rest, but, he like them, observed the type as was necessary until it was "finished" on the cross. And after his resurrection he did not give them the promised rest, but told them to tarry until they should receive the Comforter--the evidence of their acceptance as Sons of Jehovah. When thus sealed by the Spirit, it was the evidence of the truth of all Jesus promised, the witness of their adoption to the divine family.
This same rest or Sabbath is the privilege of every true child of God ever since, "We that believe do enter into rest." (Heb. 4:3.)
But no one can enter into a full rest of faith, who does not realize Christ as the end of the Law to every one who believeth. (Rom. 10:4.) To all such, love is the fulfilling of the law. Love to God will produce a spirit of obedience, so that we will do so as far as able, those things which are well pleasing in his sight; even so far as the crucifixion of the flesh with its affections and desires. Thus, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." (Rom. 13:10.) Thus "The righteousness (or spirit) of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit."
We may rest if we require it, on the seventh or first or any other day and be blameless; but if we observe any of these days in an attempt to keep the law given to Israel (Gal. 5:4) but never given to the Gentiles nor to Christians, and fulfilled and ended in the person of Jesus, even so far as it applied to Israel--has failed to fully appreciate the value of Christ's finished work, and failed to appreciate his standing as a son, not under the written law which was given to the house of servants.
Such as are seeking to commend themselves to God by works of the Law, are not resting but working, for as Paul says--"He that is entered into rest has ceased from his own works as God did (rest) from his." (Heb. 4:10.) God rested from his works and committed it all to the Son, and we, if we would rest, must cease from our works--cease from the law and accept of its legal fulfilment as being accomplished once for all in our representative, Jesus.
When we realize that even were we Israelites, we are no longer condemned, but justified by that Law, Jesus having ransomed all who were under it; and, that as new creatures in Christ, we are under only the "Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus," viz: Love. Now we rest well pleased to have it so; and to enjoy this real antitypical rest (Sabbath) which Christ gives to the house of sons, rather than the type of it given to the house of servants. Thus, by letting Christ do it, we rest from our own works as God did from his. [As shown in last issue, God rests since his creation of man and "has committed all judgment (ruling and administration of earth) unto the son." "The Father worketh hitherto, and (now) I work," said Jesus.]
There remaineth a rest [Sabbath] for the people of God--when we enter fully into all the blessings promised; but let us not only look forward to it, with joy, but endeavor to use and enjoy the earnest of our inheritance; the sample of our coming rest which is now our privilege. "Come unto me and I will give you rest." "They that believe do enter into rest."
We are glad that by common consent some one day in the week is generally observed as a day for rest from worldly toil. The day generally observed--the first day of the week--we regard as especially fitting and appropriate, because on the first day of the week, Jesus, our Lord, arose from death--and on the first day came the Holy Spirit upon the church in the upper room (Pentecost). Concerning the name of this day, whether it be called "Sunday," "The first-day," "The Sabbath day," or "The Lord's day," we care little. At most they are only names, though our preference would rather incline to the latter. Our objection to calling it a Sabbath or rest day being, first, that to the fleshly Israel, God called the seventh day the Sabbath, and there is a liability to confusion of thoughts, and a mistaking of the servants' law for the liberty or privilege of the Sons of God. Secondly, with most of christians, the first day of the week is the one on which they work the most and hardest, and consequently it could not appropriately be termed a rest or Sabbath.
We much regret, that even among thinking christians, the "Lord's day" and its privileges are so little understood and appreciated. To most of them, its observance is but the keeping of the fourth command of the Law though they well know that the Law reads "The seventh day is the Sabbath," and that the day they observe is the first. For the ignorance and superstition and legal dread of the Lord's day, the clergy is largely to blame. Many of them doubtless fear that if recognized as a privilege, and not as a law, it would be violated. But the fear of man always gets us into a snare of the devil, and so this fear has borne much poisonous fruit in the church, for it has helped to put christians under the Law of Moses, instead of under that of Christ-- "Love," and thus has deprived many of entering into rest. It would be far better that christians should be resting fully in Christ and free from the Law--standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free (Gal. 5:1.) both on this and other subjects, though the preaching of the truth on the subject had left the world at liberty to disregard the "Lord's day." This age we must remember is especially designed for the preparation of the body or Bride of Christ, that when they are united or made one with him, now in the end of this age, the world may believe during the incoming age.