Sunday, January 06, 2008
By Ramone - November 28, 2007
When I was a Sabbatarian (someone who believed the Sabbath day must be kept) I somehow knew that there was no instruction in the New Testament for Christians to keep the Sabbath. I knew it was missing. When I ran across the word "Sabbath" in Hebrews 4, I finally saw "Sabbath" mentioned, but it was different and not good evidence for keeping Sabbath. It talked about God setting aside a day to enter His rest, and that day is "Today".
Yet when I was a Seventh-day Adventist missionary in '99-'00, I remember talking with my mission director about how Sabbath is in the New Testament contrary to what everyone said -- I said, "It's in Hebrews 4!" And he nodded in approval. I knew it didn't say what I wanted it to say, but I held it up as proof of our position.
Now, years later, I am no longer a Sabbatarian and have left Seventh-day Adventism. I learned that the Sabbath day was a shadow of the fulfilled rest that we have in Jesus Christ -- He is our rest! The Sabbath day was a type, a shadow like the sacrifices and other feast days. The true rest was to be found in Him who said,
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light."I realized that Hebrews 4 talked about a BIGGER REST, something much larger than a "day", for it says --
"Now we who have believed enter that rest"We enter it by belief! By belief in the Son, Jesus Christ our God who has become "rest" for us. He is our rest from striving, our rest from works, our rest from trying to keep the law, our rest from sins, our rest from worrying about sinning. He is our eternal security, He Himself is our inheritance, and He is eternal life!
When thinking back on the conversation I had with my former director years ago, I realized that we saw only what we wanted to see. We wanted to see the Sabbath DAY, not the fulfilled Sabbath-rest, Jesus Christ. We cupped our hands around the rest of the passage, around the context, around what Scripture actually said. And we made it say what we wanted it to say. God has provided rest for us great and huge like a sunny blue day, but we wanted to be in the shadows! Even then I had the sense that there was something bigger the passage was talking about, something bigger going on, but I was trained to stay in the shadow and I could not fathom the great hugeness of the Light. I couldn't imagine something BIGGER. I couldn't imagine a BIGGER REST than the Sabbath day!
My eyes were blinded by the shadow, by the letter of the law (the ministry of death & condemnation), by the veil of Moses that Paul spoke about in 2nd Corinthians 3. But God is brighter and stronger! He has brought me out into the Light, and I can see clearly now -- and I don't have to be afraid of reading the context of Scripture and allowing it to say what it says! I don't have to cup my hands over it or ignore parts. Even if they're difficult and challenge what I think, I can trust Him to work it out -- because His Light is BIGGER! My own fleshy attempt to hold onto my idea will only be shadow and darkness. The pages of Scripture "light up" in the Light! In a word, I can rest now! I don't have to strive to "make it work"! He does it, and I rest in Him, in His finished work, in His explanation, and in His being GOD. I don't have to figure Him out. He is GOD. He will reveal Himself as He always has and always does.
I can only thank God for this, and I pray that He brings my friends, family, and former director out into the Light, into His freedom, and into His rest!
I inked this picture the night before we left to visit the States. I would love to do a better version of it someday if only the time comes up and the Spirit's urging. (^_^)