Memphis Belle

"Which Covenant Are We In?

New CovenantRomans 3:27 What ABout the Law?

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Mark 2:23-27; 3:1-5.


"One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain-fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick  some heads of grain.  The Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?'  He answered, 'Have you never read of what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?  In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat.  And he also gave some to his companions.'  Then he said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.'" (Mark 2:23-27.)

        Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.  Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.  Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone.'  Then he asked them, 'Which is lawful on the Sabbath, to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?'  But they remained silent.  He looked around at them in anger and, and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.'  He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus" (Mark 3:1-5).

        In Exodus 20:8-11 God instituted the Sabbath into the old covenant he was establishing with the Israelites through Moses.  As earlier chapters in Exodus show, the Sabbath was in existence long before the old covenant and was being re-introduced to the Israelites well before they came to Mount Sinai (Exodus 16).  This is a sticking point between old covenant or Torah observant Christians and new covenant Christians, the former saying that if the Sabbath was in existence before the establishment of the old covenant, it couldn't be abolished when the old covenant ceased to be.  Sunday-observing Christians believe the new covenant replaces and negates the whole Torah law, from Genesis through Deuteronomy from a legal standpoint.  But wait and see what happened with the Sabbath (and consequently the Holy Day requirements).  They weren't done away with as so many sincere but misinformed Christians supposed.  Something far more interesting happened to the Sabbath/Holy Day commands.  But first let's understand the intent of the Sabbath command.  To do this, let's read it.  Exodus 20:8-11. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day." 

God instituted the Sabbath.  The heart of the Sabbath was to rest and seek God.  The doctor's of the law, the Pharisees went banana's detailing just what work was.  24 chapters were written in the Jewish Talmud defining what was work.  They went to such an extreme in interpreting the Sabbath command that they made the Sabbath itself a "works" trip.  The Holy Days listed in Leviticus 23 and the Sabbath were shadows for the works of the Holy Spirit in us.  The physical Sabbath pictured the spiritual rest we now have in Christ--through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit--and it pictures the coming future rest all of mankind will have in God's kingdom when Jesus returns.

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Let's look at what Paul says about this Sabbath rest we have in Christ.  Hebrews 4:1-11. "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.  For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did, but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.  Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, 'So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'  And yet his work has been finished since creation of the world.  For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: 'And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.'  And again in the passage above he says, 'They shall never enter my rest.'  It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.  Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.'  For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.  There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience."  True Christians often cease from their own "works", pursuits that others in the world work for, and pursue Godly pursuits.  This verse has special meaning to the Christian, where all things become new, a new walk and way of life that brings peace of mind, joy, inner peace, love.

The kingdom of God is here within us right now.  Jesus in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit quiets our souls.  The kingdom in its fullness will arrive when Jesus returns.  Zephaniah 3:16-17. "On that day they will say to Jerusalem, 'Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.  The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."  What quiets us but the love of God in us by His Spirit.  Isn't this true?  The Pharisees were misrepresenting God and what he required of them through the commandments. 

Isaiah 11:10. "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious." 


Some Christians chose to look at it this way.  The Sabbath command under the new covenant has been TRANSFORMED.  By the rest we have in Jesus Christ dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit we are in the Sabbath rest Paul spoke of in Hebrews chapter four 365 days of the year.  The literal physical observance of the Sabbath was only a picture, a shadow, of the spiritual "Sabbath rest" we have in Christ.

The rejection of the Holy Spirit amounts to breaking the new covenant Sabbath command, because we cease to rest in Christ without God's Holy Spirit in us.  In Old Testament Israel Sabbath breaking was punishable by physical death.  Paul warns us that rejection of the Holy Spirit results in spiritual death.  You can see here that the old covenant Sabbath command is a shadow of the new, a type, a picture of the reality we have dwelling within us.  The shadow was physical and temporary, the spiritual is eternal and will not fade away.  Colossians 2:16-17. "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however is found in Christ."  How much clearer can you get? 

        Because of unbelief the Israelites that were with Moses never got into their rest in the Promised Land of Israel.  But even the Israelites (everyone 20 years old and under with Joshua and Caleb) that did make it into the Promised Land did not experience a perfect rest.  The Sabbath rest talked about in Hebrews 4 that we experience in Jesus Christ is something they never experienced.  As we just read in Colossians 2:16-17, the literal Sabbath (and also the Holy Day commands) were given as shadows of the great things we would experience in Jesus Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  In Deuteronomy we find a description of not dwelling in God's Sabbath rest talked of by Paul in Hebrews 4.  In Deuteronomy 28:65 God is describing the frame of mind the Israelites would have as he scattered them all over the world for disobeying him.  It perfectly expresses the frame of mind of people without Jesus Christ dwelling in them.  They are without rest and peace of mind.  Deuteronomy 28:65. "Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot.  There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.  You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.  In the morning you will say, 'If only it were evening!' and in the evening, 'If only it were morning!'--because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see."  With the world around us the way it is, without Jesus in us, haven't many of us experienced this attitude of mind?  Hasn't this be been our mindset?  But this doesn't have to be, with Jesus in us there is "that peace that passeth all understanding," even in the midst of heavy trial. 

        In Deuteronomy 23 we also see that the Law of God allowed you to pluck the standing grain by hand to satisfy your immediate hunger.  The disciples weren't wrong in what they did, but the Pharisaic interpretation of the law was running against a higher law of mercy God had given.  There was no mercy in their extra Sabbath restrictions.  Look at the next few verses.

        Mark 3:1-5. "Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.  Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched  him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.  Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone.'  Then Jesus asked them, 'Which is lawful on the Sabbath, to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?'  But they remained silent. 

        He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.'  He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.  Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus."

        The heart of Jesus is to heal and meet our needs.  This rest that comes from Jesus brings spiritual rest and healing.  Jesus Christ was and is the spiritual fulfillment of the Sabbath in us--for we rest in Christ.  He says, 'Cast all your cares on me and I will give you rest.'  In verse 5 we see that Jesus was first angry and then grieved by the hardness of their hearts.  Man's traditions are blind to the wounds of others.  The needs of man go beyond the importance of the ordinances man tacks onto the law.  The ordinances that the Pharisees laid on people added burdens on them, whereas the ordinances of God tended to unburden people. Jeremiah 17:5-8 shows we enter Christ's rest through faith.  Let's read it and see what it says.  "This is what the Lord says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." 


Dichotomy Explained?


Taking all the spiritual “evidence” of the Holy Spirit indwelling some Sunday-keepers and Sunday-keeping groups, let’s look at this from the point of view of the spiritual application of the Sabbath command.  The minute God calls a person into the Body of Christ through the evangelism of a Sunday-keeper and/or group, and he puts his Holy Spirit into that person, that person via the indwelling Holy Spirit is now instantly in God’s Sabbath-rest 24/7, the symbolic spiritual application of the Sabbath (which by far is the more important aspect of the command than the letter of the Law in this case).  I mean, really folks, if rejecting the Holy Spirit brings eternal death, the second death, as Paul explained in Hebrews 10:26-31 (especially verse 29), and breaking the Sabbath in the Old Testament only brought physical death, which is more important, the spiritual application of God’s Sabbath rest within us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the physical observation of the day?  In all honesty, I have seen and proven for myself that the Ten Commandment laws of God have not been abrogated.  So, should a Sunday-observing person realize that the literal 10 Commandments have not be abrogated (including the Sabbath command), he or she is then responsible for observing the physical Sabbath (in the letter).  Obviously, if a Holy Spirit indwelt person does not come to realize the physical Sabbath command has not be abrogated or transferred to Sunday, God (by direct observation of the Holy Spirit within Sunday-keepers) has not required them to keep the Sabbath in the letter of the law.  I honestly can’t see any other explanation that fits my observations within both groups of believers, Sunday and Sabbath observing, and I have spent a good number of years attending within both groups (25 within one, 10 within the other). 


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