The Mosaic Covenant, the Israeli “Sabbath Laws”, and the New Covenant in Messiah, Yeshua
This question comes up quite a bit lately –> Are we, as Gentile, Christians supposed to keep the Sabbath?
The simple answer, the Biblical Answer (which a few folks might disagree with right now) is that
The Sabbath – was for Israel – Only – and Only Under the Mosaic Law of God for Israel:
(Yahweh said through Moses) – “Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be PUT TO DEATH. (16) Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. (17) It is a SIGN between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”
It is very clear from this passage, that “keeping the Sabbath” was for Israel, while under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant of Israel. Also, notice, that during that time period, if an Israeli did NOT keep the Sabbath, they were to be KILLED. So, if you want to keep the Sabbath, per the LAW of God, the Law of Moses – if you missed it, or did not keep it correctly – you will be KILLED. Is this what folks mean when they say that Christians MUST KEEP the SABBATH? There are no modifications to this in the New Covenant, such as – In the New Covenant, when you Keep the Sabbath, it is slightly different or very different – but … and so on … etc. Nope. Nothing like that in the New Testament documents by Jesus Christ nor His Apostles, etc.
Just Give Me The FACTS:
The first mention of the word “Sabbath” as a reference to the 7th Day of the week – is only in the context of God’s Creation week as seen in Genesis 1:1 – 2:3. After that we do not see the word “Sabbath” mentioned in reference to the 7th day of the week until the book of Exodus. There are no mentions of this in reference to Adam or his descendants, prior to the Global Flood, in which God command those people to “keep the Sabbath day”, etc. There are no mentions of “keeping the Sabbath day” to anyone after the Global Flood (Genesis 6 thru 50) for Noah, his sons, any of the 70 nations (Genesis 10), the people after the tower of Babel incident, Abram / Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or his children. Thus, when we read all of those 1000’s of years that are encapsulated within Genesis, it is not recorded, anywhere that God mentions or commands any humans to “keep the Sabbath”.
When Paul reiterates (re-lists) the various Commandments of God (referencing the 10 Commandment) with his letters (epistles/books) the he wrote, he never mentions Sabbath Laws or “you must keep the Sabbath”, etc.
When Jesus mentions the 10 Commandments to the Rich Young Ruler, Jesus, Himself, does not ask him, “have you kept all of the Sabbath Laws?”, etc.
There is a reason for this –> we who are in Christ (in Jesus Christ, in Messiah Yeshua – Born Again) are already “keeping the Sabbath” because we have entered into His REST which He fulfilled for us.
Hebrews 4:8-10 -> “For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. (9) There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. (10) For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:10 nails it –> it references God’s Rest on the 7th day (see Genesis 2:1-3) which Christ fulfilled when He sat down at the Right hand of God in Heaven after His Ascension, etc (His Redemptive Work is Finished – His Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Resurrection, AND Ascension to the Right Hand of God – Seated as King of His Kingdom).
Thus, if we are saved, born again in Christ, in the New Covenant, we’ve already, do already, and every day, and every week, fulfill the Sabbath Laws, because we are in Christ. Christ fulfilled all the Law of Moses for us, all of it.
Since, we are in Christ, we have fulfilled it. Now, we are in the New Covenant, the Kingdom of God in Christ (in Messiah), so we are in new regime of laws (Hebrews 7:12) with a new High Priest, Christ Jesus (Messiah Yeshua).
Thus, everything that was tied to the Aaronic/Levitical Priesthood and/or the Tabernacle/Temple (sacrifices, rituals, offerings, etc.) have been all fulfilled in the Messiah of Israel, Jesus (Yeshua), the Savior of the World.
Remember, for the weekly Sabbath, and all of the Feasts/Feast Days (Mo’edim) of Leviticus 23 – all of them had some sort of Tabernacle/Temple offering, sacrifice, ritual tied to them in which the sons of Aaron (the Levitical Priesthood) had to perform, etc. for the people of Israel, etc. Since, the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Levitical Priesthood disbanded (no tabernacle or temple to officiate over) – all that was in that system is disbanded, etc. This includes that which relates to the Sabbath Laws, Tithing, etc.
Within the New Covenant in the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of the World (i.e. Jesus Christ / Jesus of Nazareth) there are no ties to the Tabernacle/Temple/Levitical Priesthood system of the Old Covenant (the Mosaic Covenant).
Jeremiah 31:31-33 – says this precisely – that the New Covenant would NOT BE LIKE the Old Mosaic Covenant (tied to the Exodus out of Egypt – the Mosaic Covenant).
Hebrew 7:12 states this as well –> The New Covenant would be “new laws” because there is a New Priesthood (Jesus is our New and Forever High Priest) – not according to the Aaronic Priesthood, but according to Melchizedek (eternal Kingly Priesthood – King & Priest together in one office).
Thus, there is NO command or “binding” for the New Covenant, Born Again, Believer, Disciple of Jesus Christ (Yeshua h’Mashiach) to “keep the Sabbath” or for that matter any other “thing” that is tied to the Levitical Priesthood and/or the Tabernacle/Temple system of the Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant of Israel). We are in the NEW COVENANT!!!
You may ask, what about when Jesus said that … about Tithes, etc. or the Sabbath was made for man … etc?
Let’s understand the context of the Time Period in which Jesus lived, spoke, preached, and taught. It was during the time in Israel, in which the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant was in full force, enforced by God. The Aaronic Priesthood existed, and so did the Temple. Thus, when Yeshua (Jesus) taught about things that related to the Mosaic Law, He was correct, in context, for the people of Israel while in their own land, etc. during that time period.
But, for us, who are in the New Covenant, in which Jesus prophesied about, prepared folks for (i.e. the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, etc.) we are in that now. Since the day of Pentecost (ref. Acts 2) – from that moment onward, we are in the New Covenant, and the Old Covenant is NO LONGER IN OPERATION. Hebrews 8:13 says –> In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
We look back, in the Holy Bible, into the Old Testament Documents with the Light and Lens of the New Covenant Fulfilled in Christ. We read, study, know, familiarize ourselves with the Old Covenant in order to see the New Covenant within it and as its fulfillment.
The Regime and Force of the Old Testament (Old Covenant, the Mosaic, Israeli Covenant) is no longer in operation, nor is it “on hold” awaiting to be re-started, again.
We are in the New Covenant – the Time Period in which the Gospel will be proclaimed and churches planted in the midst of every people, nation, tongue, and tribe all over the world, until Christ comes back (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8).
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- Biblical Christianity vs. Traditional Christianity (4 part series)
- Galatians: The Gospel As It Should Be (God’s remedy for the Hebrew Roots Movement Legalism)
- How are We to Follow Jesus, Together, as a Local Church Family?
- Myth Busters – Uncovering False Beliefs Some Christians Believe
- The 7 Feasts of Israel – The Appointed Times of God
- Are Jews and Gentiles Saved in the Same Way?
- Transitioning from the Mosaic to the New Covenant
- Paul – Jerusalem & the Bondage of Judaism
- How Can We Know if “Something” is Christian or Not?