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1. Introduction

The purpose of the original Sabbath in the natural was physical REST from hard work. The Sabbath rest is not about any particular day as the law, including the Sabbath, has been nailed to the cross.
So it is mainly rest in the spiritual because Jesus has done all the hard work for us.

Therefore the sabbath rest is simply FAITH. It is faith that Jesus has COMPLETED all the work necessary for us to come right into the throne room of God without having to obey any requirements of the law written down in the Old Covenant. And it is also the rest of faith to see the miraculous at work as part of normal Christian life.
So we can now say that the sabbath rest is simply belief in that which Jesus has done, is enough!

2. Jesus Completed the Work

A. We Saw in The Law No Longer Applies,  that the Law is Dead

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:14

B. Satan was Cast out of Heaven.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

Revelation 12:7-8

C. Principalities and Powers Fall

When Jesus nailed the law to the cross, all the principalities and powers that the law had empowered fell.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2:15

When the law was nailed to the cross, the devil, and all his principalities and powers, were kicked out of heaven and fell to earth. So now one of Satan’s schemes is to persuade you to follow the law and its feasts. And in so doing, it will empower the principalities and powers again.

3. Feasts and Sabbaths: A Shadow of Things to Come in Christ

A. The Greek word: are, can correctly be translated were:

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Colossians 2:16

g1510. εἰμί eimi; — am, have been, x it is I, was.

Therefore it should read:

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which were a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Colossians 2:16

B. Let No One Judge You.

This statement relates to the time when Colossians was written. Because at that time the church was working its way through the transition of Judaism to Christianity and the leaders were asking questions like ‘should we be circumcised?’. And therefore it was necessary to maintain unity. It was more important to maintain unity instead of ‘being right’. While the church walked through the issues dividing them, they were told not to judge people when they thought differently from themselves. It is the same now.

C. Liberty In Jesus

There are still people who have not realised the liberty that there is in Jesus. They think that they must observe Saturday as the Sabbath. Although this is not theologically correct, we need to extend grace to people who do not think the same as us.

D. The Substance is in Christ.

Now let’s look at how the New King James translates Colossians 2:16:

which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Colossians 2:16

The words IS OF cannot be found in the Greek.  So it would be written:

which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance: Christ.

Colossians 2:16

Now let’s look at the word substance:

sōma; from 4982; the body (as a sound whole), used in a very wide application, literally or figuratively: — bodily, body,

So we can now say:

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
which were a shadow of things to come, but these things are found bodily in Christ.

Colossians 2:16

E. In terms of the Sabbath, This is How and Why Jesus said “I Came to Fulfil the Law”:

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Matthew 5:17

4. We are Not to Observe Sabbaths or Feasts

A. So You desire Again to be in Bondage?

Paul teaches us that we go back into bondage when we observe days, feasts, jubilee years:

But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
You observe days and months and seasons and years.
I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Galatians 4:9

Elsewhere referring to those who wanted to try and keep a different element of the law – circumcision, Paul had this to say:

Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Galatians 5:11-12 NIV

B. When We Do These Things We Come Under a Spirit of Bondage!

And we as sons and daughters of God are not meant to be under this bondage!

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

5. Sabbath Rest Teaching By Jesus

A. Jesus Did Not Obey the Jewish Laws Pertaining to the Sabbath

Still entrenched in their belief that obeying the law was the only way to please God, the Jewish leaders kept all the Sabbath laws. After all it was one of the 10 Commandments!
Therefore Jesus challenged them on the fact that they can never enter into the sabbath rest whilst trying to fulfil it through obeying the law.

Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.
And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2:23-24

In this scripture, Jesus was doing the work of the ministry on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders had made so many by-laws pertaining to the sabbath that made it impossible to enjoy the day of rest.

B. Jesus Healed on the Sabbath

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue.
And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him.
Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?
Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.

Matthew 12:9-13

C. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath both as the Son of God AND as the Son of Man

Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

Mark 2:28

D. It is for Man’s Benefit that God Made the Sabbath

Jesus was able to fulfil the Sabbath rest once he had nailed the law with all its requirements to the cross, and risen from the dead.
It was always God’s intention to have sons and daughters who would be holy and blameless in His sight.
God’s desire for us as sons and daughters, is to be able to REST in His Presence.
Therefore the sabbath rest is meant to be for our benefit!

And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2:27

It is not to be an unbreakable law, that is why Jesus as the son of man was able to break it.

E. Jesus loosed us from the Sabbath

Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

John 5:18

The word Broke here in Greek is:

λύω lyō; a primary verb; to “loosen” (literally or figuratively): — break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un-)loose, melt, put off.

It is the same as is used to loosen a sandal. Jesus has simply loosed us from the Sabbath requirements.

Some have mistakenly interpret this as Jesus did not therefore break the Sabbath. However this word is even more powerful than broke or break. This word λύω lyō is also used by Jesus when He said this:

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

John 2:19

Firstly, Jesus did not say that He would destroy the temple. He was saying that they would destroy the temple, which is exactly what happened. The Jews started a war with the Romans, so the Romans came in and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD70.

Jesus released (loosed) the temple when the law was nailed to the cross. It self-destructed because it was no longer the heart of God:

“He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol…

Isaiah 66:3

You are loosed from the Sabbath of the law into Sabbath rest.

6. ‘Natural’ Purpose of the Sabbath Rest

A. Physical and Emotional REST!

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Genesis 2:2

B. Rest – Blessed and Sanctified.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Genesis 2:3

C. Like the Blessing of Abraham Still Applies to us Today, So Does the Blessing of the Sabbath Rest.

And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

Galatians 3:17

Both the Abrahamic Covenant, and the Sabbath rest were founded before the law came into being. Therefore the learning to rest naturally still applies.

Now let’s look at the spiritual application:

7. Sabbath Rest Fulfilment in Christ

A. Faith is Rest

People many times make things a lot more complex than they are. 
Principalities and powers will try to make it more difficult than it is

to please God


For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,'”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”;

Hebrews 4:3-4

Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”

Hebrews 10:38

B. Remember that even God’s Six Days of Creation Were Not Hard Work

Jesus, the Word, just spoke it into being. Note the lack of work in the word LET. Let is a passive word.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Genesis 1:3

C. Faith is the Work

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

John 6:29

8. Summary of Sabbath Rest

  • Physical rest is blessed and sanctified
  • Sabbath is part of the law and therefore was nailed to the cross
  • We are loosed from the Sabbath.
  • Jesus disobeyed the Sabbath in the eyes of the religious leaders
  • Sabbath was made for man
  • The Sabbath was not fulfilled until Jesus came
  • Sabbath rest is the rest of faith

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/Dr Neville van Eerten 2021