Saturday, December 28, 2013


The Jewish rituals were exciting, yet mysterious and serious...deathly serious. God set them in motion at that time so that the world would look at the Jews, see their holiness and know that God lived among them. Everything from what type of cloth and what color the priests wore, to the washing, to the spoken liturgy, to the Sabbaths both weekly and annual were instigated that God could remain with them--a taste of the Immanuel, “God with us” that would be fully come in the future Messiah. The rituals themselves were holy, Messianic prophecies. The Jews were a living prophecy and their rituals, an anticipatory drama daily performed in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Old Covenant was the road map to the New. It was a sign to point to who Christ would be.
Jesus fulfilled the purpose of all the Jewish Temple rituals and regulations. He became our passover Lamb, our sacrifice, our high priest. Because of Christ the old law was absorbed into the new. The new fulfilled the old. All the old laws and rituals were shadows of the more perfect that were to come in the New Covenant with a new priesthood and a new law. Let’s look at how the inspired writer of Hebrews put it: 
Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek..? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.....For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as it was not without an much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.[Jewish laws] serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises...For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, "Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I willeffect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt...When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. 
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance...For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things...He takes away the first in order to establish the second. (Excerpts of Hebrews 7-10)

The sacrifices and laws and Sabbaths of the Old Covenant point to Christ and His New Covenant. But let us focus on the Sabbath and its fulfillment in Christ and why Sunday is part of this fulfillment.

Many Christians misunderstand how the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday complement each other. The Jewish Sabbath is completed in and made perfect in Sunday, not because Christians have a new Sabbath, but because Christ became our eternal rest, our eternal “Sabbath.” Sunday is holy, not because it is a Sabbath, but because it is part of the new covenant plan of Salvation! Yes Sunday! 

From the very beginning, Sunday was part of the gospel mystery because God chose the first day of Creation week to announce, “let there be light” and God chose the first day of a new world of grace to announce the light of the gospel--Christ Himself who is the truth and the light.

This atoning for our sins was fulfilled when Christ ascended to heaven to offer His blood to the Father on Sunday.  The Resurrection Sunday wasn’t an accident, Christ didn’t overlook it and then regret rising on Sunday because so many of His followers made that a false day of worship. No, Sunday was planned from the beginning. It fit into the Messianic prophecy. 

But how did the Old Testament Jewish sacrifices and the Sabbaths point to Sunday as part of the Passion and Crucifixion week of Christ? We need to look closely at the rite of the sacrifice itself. We will examine how t
hree actions (common to all Jewish bloody sacrifices) correlated to the Cross: 

  • The bringing forward of the victim:
    (Ex. 29: 42; Lev. 1: 5; 3:1; 4: 6) There was a procession of the animal and the sacrificer to the altar. Then a confession of sins (Lev. 16: 21; 5: 5; Nu. 5: 5) which, according to Rabbinic tradition, was verbal (Otho, "Lex rabbin," 552). 1

    The Cross: Friday. The Via Dolorosa is where Christ carried the cross through the streets to the hill of Golgotha. There they placed above his head a description of his crimes. (John 19:   Mark 15: 26)
So by this, Christ was fulfilling the procession of being the sacrifice and the public confession of the "sin" of being the Messiah and Savior.
  • The slaying: to be performed by the sacrificer himself (Lev. 1: 3.) That the act of slaying or the destruction of the victim was not the chief element, is evident from the precept that the sacrificers themselves, who were not priests, had to care for the slaying.2

    The Cross: Friday and Saturday. Jesus freely lay down His life for us. He was the sacrificer and the priest both. (John 10: 15, 17.)
But the sacrifice was not yet complete. 
  • The sprinkling of the blood and acceptance by God: The real sacrificial function began with the sprinkling of blood by the priest, which, according to the Law, pertained to him alone (Lev. 1: 5; 3:2; 4:5; 2 Chr. 29: 23). If a layman undertook the blood-sprinkling, the sacrifice was invalid (cf. Mischna Sebachim, II, 1). The oblation of the blood on the altar by the priest thus formed the real essence of the bloody sacrifice.3
Jewish tradition also expressly designated the priestly sprinkling of the blood on the altar as "the root and principle of the sacrifice". The explanation is given in Lev. 17:10.: "...the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul." Here the blood of the victim is declared in the clearest terms to be the means of propitiation, and the propitiation itself is associated with the application of the blood on the altar.4 
The Cross: Sunday. Christ presented His sacrifice to the Father at His resurrection on Sunday finishing the Atonement. 
Is it possible that Jesus is giving us a clue as to when He applied His blood when He spoke to Mary?

Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' " John 20:16-17
We can be certain that Christ applied the blood of His sacrifice on Sunday because He told Mary He had not yet ascended to the Father to whom the blood must be offered. Yet later that day, in the evening, He went to His disciples, evidently having returned. From then on people touched Him.

We also have another possible clue as to the day the blood was presented to the Father. In Revelation 1: 10 we read that on the “Lord’s Day” St. John went into vision and saw:

...a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders... And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.... In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! 

Christ chose to atone for the sins of all men on Sunday by presenting the Father with His precious blood. 

  • Christ chose Thursday to instigate the Lord’s Supper and the New Covenant. 
  • Christ chose Friday to sacrifice Himself just as the Passover Lamb was being slaughtered in the nearby Temple of Jerusalem. And the Old Covenant was finished. Done. Completed. Sin and death were conquered. 
  • then Christ chose to rest on SabbathGod’s Sabbath was given to the Jews to point to the final Sabbath of Christ! 

It was the final Sabbath when, in His rest, Christ descended to the dark place of rest for all generations up until that point and released His people from sleep. The Sabbath now was Christ. He is the true rest.
  • Then Christ chose Sunday.
A new day dawned. A new light--the sun of
righteousness! (Malachi 4:2; Wisdom 5: 6) A new heaven and a new earth. Prophesied in the Old Testament, not as a replacement for the seventh day of the week, but as the new first/eighth day symbol. (See: Ex. 12: 16; 22:30; 40:2, 17, Lev. 9:1; 12:3; 14;10,23; 15:14, 29; 22:27; 23: 7, 35, 36, 39-40, Num.6:10; 28: 1829:35, I Kings 12:32, 2 Chr. 2: 9; 29:17, Neh. 8:18, Ezek. 43:27; 45:18, Luke 1:59; 2:21, Phil. 3:5)

The sacredness and holiness of Sabbath was never transferred to Sunday. Saturday Sabbath didn’t become Sunday Sabbath anymore than a lamb became Christ. Sabbath was a rest from labor in preparation for the eternal rest in the Messiah. Sabbath was our prophetic clue to what the New Covenant would be like.

Sunday was also planned from the beginning.

It was on Sunday that Christ chose to rise from the dead (Matt. 28:1), ascend to His father, consecrate His disciples. On that Sunday, He revealed Himself at the breaking of the bread (Luke 24: 31), breathed on His Apostles and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20: 19-21). A week later on Sunday, Christ came to doubting Thomas and showed him the wounds in His side. On pentecost Sunday the Holy Spirit was given at the birth of the church. 

Fundamentalists will claim, "Since Paul said there are no more holy days, Sunday cannot be holy.” But Gal. 4: 10, Rom. 14:5 and Col. 2: 16 do not prevent observing Sunday as a holy day, it just says we are not to return to Judaism and let others judge us on our holy days. We are at liberty to observe or not observe. 

Adventists will claim, "Since there is no specific prooftext that records God making Sunday holy, I won't ever believe it. Au contraire. Even if not explicitly recorded, it is most definitely implied. 

[Some of what Christians believe do not have an explicit prooftext in the Bible: The Trinity, the full divinity of Christ. Not all was explicitly revealed in the Old Testament about the Messiah. Jesus never calls the New Testament "holy." Only the Old Testament is called sacred and holy and yet the vast majority of Christians agree that the New Testament is holy.]

Yet, please Adventists do not misunderstand me. Sunday is not a New Covenant Sabbath as the 7th-day is the Old Covenant Sabbath. But worshipping on Sunday as a holy day can deduced several ways:

We can deduce that Sunday is holy because Christians are holy. (I Cor. 3:17, I Cor. 7: 14; Eph. 1:4, Col. 1: 26; 3:12, I Thess. 4:8, Heb. 3: 1, I Peter 2:5, Rev. 20:6). We are the church and the holy temple (Eph. 2: 21; 5: 27) and when we worship, where we worship it is holy. Because everything we do should be holy, even our kisses!(I Cor. 16: 20; 2 Cor. 13: 12). In a sense, since the Apostles met daily (Acts 2:46), each day in the New Covenant is holy--including Sunday. But Sunday was special (Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:2). 

But there is a much greater reason to celebrate Sunday as a holy day:

The church has placed emphasis on Sunday because Christ placed an emphasis on SundaySunday was chosen by God Himself to birth a New Covenant. It is the birthday of our righteousness by faith. It is a very holy day, for on it Christ broke the bonds of death and sin. Sunday was the day the blood was offered to the Father--the end of the Atonement ritual. Sunday is the first day of our adoption as children of God. 

Sunday is all over the Old Testament hiding mysteriously awaiting to be revealed at the resurrection. 
(All footnotes from Catholic Encyclopedia, “Sacrifice.”)