The Sabbath – A Discussion of Christians and Law

One place to visit when searching for Christian interactions with the law is Hebrews, Hebrews 8:6-7 . “But now [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”

So the law is part of a bigger concept called the covenant. The covenant involves promises from God, and reciprocal action from men, as well as the will of God for man (law). The author of Hebrews here shows that the old covenant must give way to the new, for the new is better. He even says in verse 13: “In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

From here he goes into a discussion of the sanctuary and the sacrifices. Earlier he had talked of the priesthood. In place of all of these Old Covenant ways, he demands that Christ is better. Christ has fulfilled all.

Now when speaking of “fulfillment”, there is something that Jesus said that lights the way here:

Matthew 5:17-18. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all be fulfilled.”

a. Note the time frame for fulfillment . We have until the new heaven and new earth before everything written in the Old Covenant is fulfilled.

b. Note that Jesus includes the writings of the Prophets in this broad sweep.

c. It remains for us to examine the various portions of the writings given before Christ to determine what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled. None of it is to be written off as meaningless or even forgotten. Some of it is fulfilled in the Man Christ Jesus. Some of it is being fulfilled in Spirit-filled believers today. Some of it will be fulfilled in our future.

The book of Hebrews lets us know that animal sacrifices, the Aaronic priesthood to make those sacrifices, the sanctuary with its furniture, and all such connected items are gone, fulfilled in what Jesus did. That is not to say that natural Israel will not try to resurrect them in order to reclaim their Jewishness in the last days, but from God’s perspective they are not any longer of service, because every piece of that program is fulfilled in the death and High-priestly ministry of Jesus Christ.

The prophets’ vision of a world-wide reign of a son of David is yet in our future. It is not being fulfilled now! It will all come to pass, but those who try to “spiritualize” the Hebrew prophetic texts with their fanciful and oh! so bad interpretations are doing no one a service. What is written is written. It shall come to pass. It is a constant thrill to dig into these prophecies and see what lies ahead for the House of Israel, which House is also the property of called Gentiles.

Priesthood past, Kingdom prophecies future. Is there anything “present”? Oh yes! God said He would write His law on the hearts of His people. His law still exists! Not only Jesus mentions this principle of fulfillment, but Brother Paul also. Is it conceivable that a desire to set aside the seventh day of every week, as all the saints of Scripture did, could also come from the Spirit of God and counteract the edicts of the Roman institution?

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