Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sabbath: More Important than Adventists Even Know

Holy Saturday, the Final Sabbath: An Anti-type of the Death of Christ

Christians have been commemorating the last Sabbath since the beginning. Only, instead of observing the Jewish weekly Sabbath as a command, Holy Saturday is a yearly Christian tradition to remember Christ in the tomb during the passion week, the day before Christians celebrate the resurrection. It is said that St. Peter, prince of the Apostles, gave the first Holy Saturday sermon and we still have copies of that sermon passed down to our time. Some of this ancient sermon is recorded here:

"What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”

The last Sabbath Christ spent in the tomb. His body rested in death. And its importance is vastly more than a day. This Sabbath, the Sabbath of salvation, was prophesied all the way back at creation. 

The meaning of Sabbath slowly unfolded through time as recorded in scripture. Let's return to the Creation story and the first day of rest.

Genesis: The Seventh Day

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Gen. 2: 1-3

God rested on the seventh day. Our Creator needs no rest, for He is spirit. His rest, in fact, was not for Himself but to show us that one day He would rest again. His first rest pointed to another rest in the future. 

This seventh day of creation week was unlike any of the other days, for the scripture records each day with a evening and a morning. The first six days had an opening and a closing. Each day began with the light dimming (evening) and ended with the light dawning (morning). 

Only with a cycle of both darkness and light was there a complete day. With the evening and the morning, it was finished. But, in the creation account, the seventh day had no external boundaries. It had no beginning and end like the other days. The seventh day rest day was not finished. That was for a very important purpose. To find the purpose of the open-ended seventh day of creation we need to know what a seven day cycle meant.

The Seven Day Cycle

Sevens in scripture point to cycles of completion. The seventh in all cycles signals the end, the finish of whatever was taking place. Whether it was a week, a time period for healing or taking a vow, often the Bible speaks of a seven day cycle. When the ceremonial cycle of seven was finished,
 another cycle began. 

So in creation, God began a cycle of seven days that didn’t quite end. The seventh day did not complete the cycle of both evening and morning. 

The creation week ended... but not quite, for the seventh day rest began but never ended. In a sense we can say the seventh day began with the evening but there was no record of the cycle being completed. As if God was saying, “The morning has not yet come.” The cycle of God’s physical creation ended, the heavens and earth were done... yet, the rest He began was not finished. 

There was something more....

God rested the seventh day, a rest that was not yet completed... 

Then this rest began to unfold in Israel's history.

Introduction of the Sabbath Rest

In Exodus 16, the newly freed people of God were tested in the wilderness to see if they would obey God. The test was the manna. One day a week, at the end of a cycle of seven, manna would cease falling from the heavens. The bread of angels would rest. On this day of Sabbath rest or “ceasing” Israel was not to work nor to even go outside (Ex. 16:29), as if Sabbath was kind of a rest of death. In fact, Israel was commanded not even to light a light! They were to stay inside their tents as if they were in a tomb.

Then more rules were added:
No gathering, no working.
Stay inside.
Slaves rest.

Animals rest.
All Israel was commanded to cease.

Almost as if Israel was playing out a part of death by this Sabbath rest.

This rest was a sign for Israel, it pointed back to the seventh day of creation. That same seventh day that wasn’t quite finished. That day of evening and yet no morning, when God rested. 

Israel was given a test of resting, almost as if the test was joining God in His resting of creation. A rest that seemed like a death. No light. Stay in tent. No work. Total rest, like death.

In fact, if you did not cease from all work and stay inside your tent and complete the command of a seventh-day rest, God commanded your own physical death. (Ex. 35:3)

The end of this cycle of sevens was holy. To profane the sign of God’s rest at creation, meant physical death. As Israel wandered in the wilderness awaiting the promised land, Sabbath was not a day to go out at look at nature. It was not a day to enjoy. It was a solemn rest, just as if it were a preparation for Israel’s death. 

So to recap: Sabbath (rest/ceasing) ends a seven day cycle of completion before a new cycle begins. This rest of God did not end at Creation. Something wasn't complete. And a similar rest, given to Israel, remembered the open-ended rest of creation and also resembled death. Could these Sabbaths be a Old Testament antitype of Christ's death?

The Sabbath Death

All those endless cycle of sevens for the people of God which ended in a ceasing, a night without end, a rest that never seemed to complete itself. These cycles started over again each week, each seven years, and each seven/sevens of years (the Jubilee). There was never an eighth day. 

The eighth day in scripture means a new beginning. The eighth day was also a prophecy of the first day of a new heaven and a new earth. An eighth day would mean the end of the old cycle and a new would begin. 

Okay, think about this: since Israel was given all these cycles of sevens ending with a Sabbath rest, could they not have some ceremonial significance that pointed to Christ? After all, many of the ceremonies, like the Passover, the sin offerings, the Exodus that were indeed Messianic prophecies. 

Could not this cycle of seven, ending in a Sabbath rest (that resembled death) point as a sign to the Savior and the rest He was bringing? 

Many would agree it was. However now add to that sign of Messianic rest with the creation open-ended seventh day.

God’s rest at creation began but was not finished until He would rest in the tomb. The first seventh day rest would culminate in the last seventh-day rest on that Great and Holy Saturday when Christ would enter the tomb. As an ancient writer (perhaps even St. Peter himself) spoke about this Great and Holy Sabbath:

“Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps...Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep.... He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son. The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross.  ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: 

Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise. ‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you. 
‘But arise, let us go hence.’ “ (From ancient homily, “For Holy Saturday: The Lord’s Descent into Hell,”

Holy Saturday Proclaimed, “It Is Finished!”

God’s rest at creation began but was not finished until He had conquered both Heaven and Hell, both the seen and the unseen, the physical creation and the spiritual creation. With the Sabbath rest of Holy Saturday, God’s rest was finally complete. It was finished. All those Sabbaths Israel was figuratively in the tomb with Christ, pointed to the ultimate fulfillment of the end of the cycle of sin. The end of the seven of sin, the seventh day was finally over. Now with the dawn of the eighth day, the evening of the seventh day was finished! The morning and the true light had come in Jesus. Our Messiah. Our Christ. Our Savior.

Sabbath was to proclaim (as a sign) what God was going doing for us through His rest--begun at creation. He was going to suffer the depths of the underworld, the tomb, the dark rest of no light, just as the sabbaths commanded for Israel.

Now a new heaven and a new earth has come. The cycle of sin is over and the Sabbath of death has been fulfilled. We continue to remember the Sabbath, that great commandment of God for the Jews, only we do it now through the lens of the New Covenant. We now commemorate Holy Saturday once a year (as a Christian tradition) as it takes us to the completion of the seven-day cycle of creation.

And now we remember that then, as Holy Saturday’s tomb trembled the rest of death is over. The curse is lifted and sin has been conquered. 

We are now living a new cycle and its day of commemoration isn’t the tomb, but the SUN RISE!! THE MORNING HAS COME! With Christ’s resurrection, the cycle of creation was completed and now a new kind of rest was brought in. No longer a physical rest, but a rest in the completion of Christ’s salvation.   

The Sabbath was Israel's sign that the Messiah would fulfill the law and the prophets by His death and entombment and finish the long cycle of unaccomplished rest. They entered the prophecy of the tomb by ceasing their labor each Sabbath. 

Christ was bringing in the New Covenant rest that was to be found in Him. "Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." And Christ entered the tomb and the final Sabbath was finished.

Morning has broken and we are living in a new day and a new creation. A day of life. A cycle of morning and the Son that will never end. 


Arik said...

The Sabbath was not "to show that one day He would rest again." What you miss in the Creation account that when God "rested" on the Seventh Day, we see all the splendor of His majestic power and sovereignty being pushed to the side, and God entering the realm of time. He is a God who cares about His creatures, He did not just create this world and leave it.

The Sabbath is a relational marker, as one author put it "the God who rests in the face of creation does not dominate the world on this day; He 'feels' the world; He allows himself to be affected, to be touched by each of His creatures. He adopts the community of creation as His own milieu." Another author-" the reason why He refrains from further activity on the Seventh Day is that He has found the object of His love and has no need for any further works."

The Sabbath is an affirmation of His presence, "His ceasing from working in order to enjoy the company of the person God has created, suggesting that the Seventh Day speaks as much about the value of human beings to God as of God's valuation of human life."

The Sabbath is a day of blessing, "The solemn words that confer a unique status on the Seventh Day in Genesis 'contain the idea that of selection and distinction." "The day on which God refrains from creative activity is pronounced blessed," concurring, however, that the blessing on the Seventh day makes it a blessing to those who come under its sphere of influence."

The Sabbath is a sign of revelation, "The first Seventh Day must be seen as an expression of God's view and decision, irrespective of any human response. The Sabbath is not an institution which exists or ceases to exist with its observance by man; the divine rest is a fact as much as the divine work, and so the sanctity of the day is a fact whether man secures the benefit or not."

Quotes taken from the book 'The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day' by Sigve Tonstad.

Arik said...

"Could not this cycle of seven, ending in a Sabbath rest (that resembled death) point as a sign to the Savior and the rest He was bringing?"

The Sabbath Rest did not point as a sign to the Savior the rest that He was bringing, but rather it resembles or is a sign (symbol) of the rest He had already brought. The same rest He had created at Creation. Listen to Hebrews 4 "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear any of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed the Gospel was preached to us AS WELL AS THEM, but the Word which they heard did not profit them not being mixed with faith in those that heard it." (6)....and Those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience."

Further down the author links this rest which we can enter with the Seventh day at creation;(4) "....And God rested on the Seventh day from all His works." (10) "For he who has entered His rest has himself ceased from his works as God did from His."

The Sabbath did not for-shadow the death of Jesus, for the author of Hebrews makes no assertion, He specifically links the rest that remains with the rest God created at creation. I think what you miss is that this rest that remains for us to enter is the exact same rest that God invited Israel to enter into. After all the Gospel was preached to them as well as us.

The invitation still remains when Jesus says "Come unto Me and I will give you rest." Jesus gives rest, He Himself is not the rest. This is the Gospel! Sabbath keeping is a symbol of the rest God offers, but it is not Sabbath keeping that brings rest. It is the miracle and power of the Gospel that brings rest.

Teresa Beem said...

You are creating an either/or situation. Sabbath can be both--both a sign of His Creatorship as well as a pre-figuring of His death and sleep in the tomb. It is both.

Arik said...

Actually I am not creating anything, but rather what is revealed in Scripture. The Sabbath simply does not pre figure His death and sleep in the tomb, your insistence that it does is based solely on idealism. Nothing in Scripture explicitly or implicitly even suggests to your idea.

You mention Exodus 16:29 in support of your idealism that the Sabbath is a kind of death. But if you would bother to read the story correctly you would see that the command to stay inside was only in response to Israel's disobedience in following His instruction of the collection of manna.

Again in Exodus 35 is found more instruction about how to keep the Sabbath Day Holy, the instruction not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath is not to symbolize death, but simply because kindling a fire was considerable labor, and there was no need of fire except for cooking purposes. It was not essential in the warm climate.

What you fail to see is God slowly and patiently bringing His people back into a covenant relationship with Himself. The Sabbath is a symbol of entering into His rest, the same exact rest He created on the Seventh day. How utterly futile that you will seek to enter into his rest on a day He did not bless or sanctify nor command anyone to keep Holy. The invitation is for His Day, the true Lord's Day, not man's day of idealism, philosophy and vain deceit.

Teresa Beem said...

The Hebrew epistemology encourages layering in God's Word, many different symbolisms can be and should be found in revelation. So, again, I think we both can be right on suggesting symbols for Sabbath. You may not see the "death" symbols in the Sabbath but the restrictions suggest it. --Stay inside your tents, no work, no lighting of fire, no preparing meals. Even the word Sabbath means "ceasing" and rest is clearly a euphemism in the New Testament for death.

Arik said...

You can call it "layering in God's word" all you want, but your readers should understand that we are not to add to Scripture meanings that simply are not there. Scripture is not to be clay molded into whatever our imagination can dream up.

Your quotes of Exodus were a response to disobedience, you know disobedience that led to Israel not entering into God's rest (cf Hebrews 4). Why are you hell bent on following in Israel's same mistake? Worse yet why have you made it your mission to deceive others in your apostasy?

The rest that God offers is not a "euphemism for death in the NT." The rest that God offers is the rest of Grace, the opposite of death! It is the new life in Christ that brings rest to the soul. This is what is symbolized in the Seventh Day Sabbath. This is the invitation that still remains for us to enter into, the rest of God created (not died, not death) at Creation!

Teresa Beem said...


The rest I am speaking of is sleep. Christ uses the word sleep to show that death isn't annihilation, but a kind of rest. That is the connection. Sleep= Sabbath/ceasing/rest=death. They are similar and can have a metaphorical tie together.

The rest of Grace can absolutely be shown to be a type of death as we die to ourselves so that we may receive eternal life through God's death. The Final Sabbath when Christ entered the tomb was a salvific Sabbath. It was a rest from the works of the law which were finished and an entrance of a new Covenant Sabbath that means a spiritual rest in Christ. Christ becoming our Sabbath rest.

Arik said...

I am sorry Teresa but now you are really reaching here. The author of Hebrews speaking explicitly about entering into His rest, in no way refers to it as sleep, or death. In fact this would have been the perfect opportunity for the author to make the claim that "Christ became our Sabbath rest." Indeed he is very clear that we are to enter into the same exact rest offered to Israel, the invitation is still good "Today." He is very specific in linking entering into His rest AT CREATION and not the Cross, and not the tomb of Jesus.

Like I said the Sabbath is a symbol of entering into His rest, anyone can say they have entered it, but those that who will not fall into the same example of disobedience and unbelief and choose to be obedient to God will ever enter into His rest. The Council of Trent was correct in one thing regarding the 4th commandment, it is different from the other 9. What they missed is it is a test of loyalty, Yes God could have rested another day, yes He could have easily blessed and sanctified any other day, but He didn't! Who will shun the world and Greek philosophers and vain deceit and pick up their cross and follow Him? Who will understand that to follow Christ is to be obedient to Him? This has always been the way under every single covenant found in Scripture. The Gospel is the same.

Funny that the only way you can think of to substantiate this claim of yours is to allegorize and metaphor the Scriptures, could this be why Jesus declared that the Greeks do not understand? Seeing how you are carrying on their same tradition? Teresa, stop crying out Lord, Lord when your heart is far from Him.

Arik said...

"What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”-The Lord's Decent Into Hell.

1 Peter 3-
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. (NASB)

Hebrews 9:27 : And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment, and Ecclesiastes 9:5: For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Theses passages make it clear that after death there is no second chance. Also Genesis 6:5 tells us: And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. If mankind would not listen to the preaching of Noah aided by the Holy Spirit what makes anyone think that they would listen to Jesus?
Lets examine the passages to see what the meaning is.
1 Peter 3:18-For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. (NASB)
If we compare this verse with 1 Corinthians15:42-44: So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body (NASB). We can easily gather that 1 Peter 3:18 is saying that Jesus as a human being was put to death and raised (quickened) in the spirit, that is with a new spiritual body. Not subject to mortality, and weakness. V. 18 is speaking about the physical death and resurrection of Jesus.
1 Peter 3:19:in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, (NASB)
Does this verse say that Jesus was dead when he preached to the spirits in prison? According to what we just studied the answer is no! V.18 tells us He was put to death in the flesh but raised in the spirit. V.19 is a continuationof v. 18 saying that it is in this condition (in His new spiritual body) Jesus preached to the spirits in prison. So his preaching took place after His resurrection.
Where did Jesus go to preach?

Arik said...

To answer that it is necessary to look at the word went (v.19) it is from the Greek word poreuomai which can be used to explain went in a horizontal, up or down direction. In this verse alone it does not indicate what direction Jesus went, so it can not be assumed He went down. In fact the context of the passages we are studying suggests He went up. Notice v. 21 and 22:… “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone(poreuomai) into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him“. (NASB) The only direction suggested is that Jesus went is up.
Who are the spirits in prison?
In the OT and The NT many times spirits are referred to as angels, either good or evil here are just a few examples:
Passage Hebrews 1:14:“Are they not all ministering spirits [good angels], sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (NASB)
2 Chronicles 18:18-22:“Micaiah said, Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left. The LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit [evil angel] came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' And the LORD said to him, 'How?' He said, 'I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and prevail also. Go and do so.' Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of these your prophets, for the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you."(NASB)
Acts 19:15:“And the evil spirit [angel] answered and said to them, I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”(NASB)
Luke 10:20:"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits [evil angels] are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”(NASB)
Are evil spirits spoken of as being in prison? Lets compare some other texts.
Jude 1:6:“And angels [evil] who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode [heaven], He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (NASB)
2 Peter 2:4-5:“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [Gr. tartaroo from tartaros a place of incarceration] and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (NASB)

Arik said...

It should be easy now to conclude that: Jesus dies and was resurrected. He goes up to Heaven and as He is ascending He is making a proclamation to the evil angels (spirits) who are in prison (bondage) of His victory over them.
Lets notice the last texts
1 Peter 3:21-22:
“…through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”
What does it mean “been subjected to Him?” Lets put it this way: By his sin, Adam forfeited his right to rule this earth to Satan. Adam and the human race became the slave or prisoner of Satan (see Romans 6:16). Jesus by His death and Resurrection made the angels, and authorities, and powers subject to Him! Jesus is proclaiming His victory over these evil powers. Jesus spoke of this in His Ministry:
Matthew 12:28-29:
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” (NASB)

John 12:30-31:
“Jesus answered and said, This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.”(NASB)

Paul wrote also in:
Romans 8:38-39:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB)

Teresa Beem said...

II am unable to see where we would be disagreeing in these texts. All Christians believe that "death" is a sleep of the body and everyone but SDAs believe the Spirit is alive. These texts back up exactly what Christians believe about death and what Christ did in the grave.

Arik said...

No Christian that I know believes that death is synonymous with Sabbath keeping. Besides, appealing to a majority of beliefs commonly held by Christians is in no way a test of Truth.

Christ in the grave was in the grave, He did not descend into hell and "free the prisoner Adam and his fellow prisoner Eve from their pains."

Christ nor the Apostles in no way spoke about Christ being the final Sabbath. The rest that Christ invites us to enter is the same rest He brought to Israel, "....and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience." It is symbolized by us also resting (ceasing) from our work every Sabbath, as the author of Hebrews points out "and God rested on the Seventh day from all His works." and again "For he who has entered into His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from his."

No matter how you want to allegorize and use metaphors you can not argue or dismiss the plain saying of Scripture. A Sabbath rest remains, it is the outer sign of entering into His rest! "If you love me, keep my commandments." Obedience is loyalty.

Anonymous said...

Why do SDA hold "communion" services every 13th Saturday?

Anonymous said...


Name one SDA who has been arrested and/or persecuted for their faith? (i.e. arrested for worship on saturdays)

And I think what TB might be trying to convey is that all other religion's are dead from the neck up.

Anonymous said...

The Seventh Day Sabbath is for YOUR OWN GOOD. God put us into a 7-day "biorhythm" cycle, and Satan knows that if he can get you out of that cycle you will be mentally weaker (like not sleeping for four or five nights), where your mind is not functioning logically, and a mentally weaker person is easier to deceive, with illogical thinking.

Teresa Beem said...

I would agree with that in principle Anonymous. I think in practical terms we need periodic times of rest. That is why Christians would see the one in seven principle of the Ten Commandments a good foundation for a weekly rest, but it is one in seven and we are no longer bound to the Jewish Sabbath in the broader sense. Just as not committing adultery and not worshipping idols and eating certain meat has practical implications, and those are good, these things also have even greater spiritual applications and that is what the sabbath was for. Ultimately the sabbath was for the spiritual truths of Christ's atonement for our sins and the rest we can have in Him and His final sabbath.