The Gospel Sabbath
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
All those legal, ceremonial sabbaths of the Old Testament, all those sabbaths required by the law of God in the days of carnal, ceremonial worship, were designed to portray the glorious gospel rest found in Christ and the rest of heaven that shall follow, the sabbath into which Christ has entered and that into which all God’s elect enter when as they trust him. Ours is a sabbath without end.
The Weekly Sabbath
In the Old Testament, the Jews were required to keep a weekly sabbath day (Saturday), as a typical picture of the believer’s rest of faith in Christ (Exodus 31:13).
As the Lord God ceased from his works, when he had finished his work of creation, so the Jews were to cease from their works on the seventh day of every week. So, too, we have ceased from our works, when we trust Christ.
That is what the law of the seventh day sabbath portrayed: – Rest in Christ!
The Seven Year Sabbath
God also required Israel to keep a seven year sabbath, during which the ground rested from its slavery, curse, and toil, portraying that rest which shall soon come to God’s creation and his people (Exodus 23:9-11; Romans 8:20-21).
It is called “the year of release” because the bondmen were set free every seventh year (Deuteronomy 15:9; Deuteronomy 31:10).
The seven year sabbath of the law pictured the new creation.
When Christ comes again, he will deliver God’s creation from all the evil affects of sin, all the curse brought upon it by sin.
The Jubilee Sabbath
Then, the law required a seventh seven year sabbath. Every forty-nine years the whole land celebrated a year of jubilee (Exodus 25:8-55). During that time all debts were discharged, all mortgages were canceled, all bondmen were set free, and all that had been lost was restored.
This year of jubilee is called “the year of liberty” (Ezekiel 46:17). This Jubilee is that which Christ has both finished and entered into as our Savior, and that which is proclaimed in the gospel (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-21).
The gospel of Christ proclaims liberty to sinners, perfect, complete, absolute, everlasting liberty!
In heavenly glory, God’s elect shall forever enjoy total liberty from all sin and from all the evil consequences of sin (Revelation 21:3-5; Revelation 22:3-6).
This is the Gospel Jubilee!
By D. Fortner