The Grace Behind the Weekly Sabbath
COVENANT OF GRACE (III)
Sabbath observance is also a covenantal expression not only for the nation of Israel but for all nations. According to an interesting passage from the prophet Isaiah (Isa 56:1-7), the messianic ring of this passage is obvious: “My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed,” anticipating an influx of Gentiles into the congregation of the LORD, until God’s house becomes “a house of prayer for all nations.”
The unmistakable message is that during this new covenantal period, the Sabbath will be a visible expression of the covenantal relationship: “Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant.”
Here the Sabbath is not “an Old Testament thing,” but it is for the covenant people of the Messiah, the New Testament Christians in Christ who hail from all nations.
Notice also that the Sabbath is linked to moral behavior and not ceremonial conduct as evidenced by verse two (“who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil”). So while the ceremonial law is abolished in Christ, the Sabbath, as part of the moral code, remains.
The apostle John caught a glimpse of the eschatological church, and there was the ark of the covenant, the wooden chest housing the moral code, including the Sabbath commandment, written by the very finger of God (Rev 11:19).8
It is comforting to know that covering the ark is the mercy seat, the throne of grace, now sprinkled with the blood of the new covenant (Heb 12:24), toward which we can freely approach and receive mercy in time of need (Heb 4:16).
[To be continue]..