7 responses to “Hebrews 4:1-16 The Sabbath Rest For God’s people”
Hebrews 4 actually denies the idea that the 7th day Sabbath was an Old Covenant type/shadow for the Sabbath in Christ realised by the New Covenant. By definition, a type and its antitype cannot exist at the same point in time. Once the antitype arrives, the type ceases to have significance and is set aside so that the antitype can be focused on. Observe carefully what Hebrews 4 says. It says that the rest was available to people in the Old Covenant but was not entered into because of unbelief. However, the 7th day Sabbath was also a reality during the Old Covenant. Thus, the 7th day Sabbath cannot be a type of the New Covenant rest in Christ because they both existed at the same time historically.Loading…
Thank you for sharing your opinion friend but it is formed on a fallacy. You seem to be saying that the Sabbath was a tangible Old Covenant reality, although its keepers failed to enter God’s rest out of unbelief. Admittedly, the Sabbath was a tangible reality for Jews during the ministry of Jesus Christ, as were the sacrifices and the temple. Now, would you claim that the sacrifices (types), which co-existed for roughly four decades with Jesus and the early Christian church, were not a type of New Testament realities? Doesn’t Adventism (perhaps your are not one) claim that the Hebrew tabernacle and temple were types of a co-existing heavenly reality? If one believes that, one certainly can’t say that a type and its antitype can’t possibly co-exist in time.
But there are deeper problems in your point. I fail to see any proof in the New Testament that the Sabbath was ever binding for non-Jews, specifically for Christians of Gentile descent, particularly for those living outside Israel. According to Talmudic teachings, a non-Jew couldn’t legally keep the Sabbath, even if he wanted, unless he became circumcised to begin with. Christians of Gentile descent were never required to be circumcised, which means they could never keep the Sabbath. It was never binding for them, so that Old Testament institution was a fitting type of a larger New Testament antitype of our rest in Christ. One must also read Col 2:16-17 where it clearly states that the sabbath was a shadow of things to come. The reality is Christ. The Sabbath ritual and all the other festivals were fulfilled in Christ.
Sabbath is a weekly feast (Lev. 23) found in the Law of Moses/Law of God. Jews views it as the only ritual law in the Ten. It is a ritual law with many other ceremonial laws that Jesus fulfilled. There is no requirement to observe the ritual except within the Law of Moses. But Christians are no longer under the Law of Moses, but the Law of Christ!
Thanks John for your response.
Yes, I am saying that the rest described in Hebrews 4 was a tangible Old Covenant reality which seems to have been rejected by the majority in that time. That is why Hebrews 4:2 says that “we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, *just as they did*; but the message they heard was of no value to them, *because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed*”
Lets break down the typology of the ceremonial system and how it related to New Testament Christianity. Of course, history tells us that the temple services still existed after Jesus’ sacrifice as the antitypical lamb and after his ascension and inauguration as our antitypical high priest. However, the point is that the bible teaches these earthly services only continued because those who ran them failed to see that Jesus’ ministry was a better ministry (according to Hebrews 8) which had actually replaced the earthly system. In fact, there are at least two occasions where the bible tells us that Jesus made the earthly sacrifices obsolete. The first is Hebrews 8:13 – “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete” – and the second is Daniel 9:27 – “In the midst of the week He (Jesus) will put an end to sacrifice and offering.” The reality is that it didn’t matter that the temple services happened until the destruction of the temple in 70 AD because what really mattered was Jesus as our sacrifice and as our High Priest applying the benefits of that sacrifice in Heaven. So no, Adventism does not teach that the Hebrew tabernacle and Heavenly tabernacle co-existed in function.
Let’s stay focused on Hebrews 4 here (I’m sure you have other articles where we can discuss Colossians 2 and various other New Testament perspectives). Again, the 7th day Sabbath cannot be an old covenant type of our rest in Christ because both were available to old covenant believers (cf. Heb. 4:2). Thus, both are applicable for new covenant believers too.Loading…
Harrison, I do not see weight in your type vs antitype arguement. Take Jesus the ‘lamb slain from the foundation of the world’. This is the reality from the foundation of the world, and everyone in the OC was going to be saved based on this reality, whether they understood fully or not. John understood Jesus was the reality before the cross. So, during the OC time, the shadow or types also existed in the form of animal sacrifices together with reality. Similarly, God’s rest was available from foundation of the world, whether everyone understood it or not, and so did the Sabbath which we are told is a shadow in Col 2, but the reality is Christ. So, without trying to fit your theology into a framework you have created, you need to ask, does God require Sabbath observance in the New Covenant for Christians. As a former Adventist myself, I believed it was so once. But I do not believe as the Scriptures tells me no such thing. Adventism has a very interesting way of studying and teaching Scriptures, jumping from text to text, and missing the context that is in between. If only Adventist would read the Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, and compare scripture with scripture.
God at times commanded specific laws to certain people and nations. God commanded Noah to build an ark, Abraham to leave the country. Jews to observe weekly, monthly, yearly Sabbaths, get circumcised among MANY other things. There are principles behind these laws that are applicable to us, but not all is required of Christians. Instruction, and commands, rebukes for Christians are founded in the teachings of Jesus, and the apostles. Jesus nor apostles command anyone to observe the sabbath, nor condemn anyone for not observing it. The covenant in which the Sabbath was part of is now obsolete (Heb 9:1-4). The sabbath is presented as a ritual, ceremonial law, that can be broken without sin, and as a shadow (see sabbath is a ritual article) in the teachings of the apostles and Jesus. Jews (literal Israel) understood and still teach that Sabbath is a ritual law (check Jewish talmud, encyclopedia etc.). If we are spiritual Israel, then Sabbath is a still a ritual law just as the Bible teaches, and just as literal Israel understood it, and we know that Christ has taken away the shadow (the entire system of the Old covenant by the way), as a New Covenant has been set in place.
Take a read of the studies of Hebrews from chapter 1 that I have posted. See what you think.
John, it is great to explore Biblical types and antitypes with you.
You can’t possibly be saying that Jesus was actually slain at the foundation of the world. Maybe the plan was put in place at that time. Maybe God knew at that time who would actually be the individual beneficiaries of Jesus’ sacrificial atonement (Ephesians 1:3-5). But Jesus was not slain at that time. We have historical data for Jesus’ death, it did not happen at the foundation of the world. What this means is that while everyone in the Old Testament would be saved by Jesus applying his blood for them in the Heavenly Sanctuary, there wasn’t actually any blood for Him to apply until after his death, resurrection and inauguration as our High Priest. This is why Hebrews 8:6 says that “now He has obtained a more excellent ministry.” When did Jesus “obtain” His High Priestly Ministry? It was “now” according to the author of Hebrews, not at the foundation of the world. There is no overlap between type and antitype here.
I read your study of Hebrews 8:1-13 with interest to see how you would interpret verse 6. It turns out you agree entirely with what I’m saying. Here’s what you wrote:
“But now (Here’s the contrast) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry (So something has changed.) by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
This whole idea of mediation has always been the problem. All the way back to Genesis chapter three, the question has been, “How does a holy God have a relationship with sinful men and women?” The whole idea of the old covenant system—the law, the tabernacle, the temple, the priestly system, the sacrificial system—all of that was meant to be a type or a shadow of this layer of mediation. How do sinful men and women have a relationship with a holy God? Answer is, “They had to go through this level of mediation somehow to make it possible.”
Now it’s important to understand that that could not save them. The Scriptures are very clear that people in the old covenant could be saved, but it wasn’t on the basis of that religious activity, but on the basis of their belief, by faith, that God made a promise that one day He would send a Savior who would die for their sins. In essence, people in the old covenant were saved by faith—kind of on credit—looking forward to the belief that one day God would keep that promise.
It would be right to say that if Jesus had never come, none of those people could have been saved. It was all on credit, hanging on their belief that one day the Savior would come. So their entering into the system was basically an act of faith, that this middle layer of mediation is somehow a shadow or a picture of God’s ultimate fulfillment of the promise. That’s what he’s talking about in verse six, that there is now a better covenant that is built on better promises, and we learned in the previous chapter that includes a better hope.”
This establishes that:
1. The Old Covenant ceremonial system was a type of Jesus’ sacrificial death and High Priestly Ministry.
2. According to Hebrews, Jesus’ sacrifical death and High Priestly ministry did not actually begin to function until well after the Old Covenant ceremonial system was established
3. Jesus’ sacrificial death and High Priestly ministry has made the Old Covenant ceremonial system obsolete.
4. Thus, your assertion that “during the OC time, the shadow or types also existed in the form of animal sacrifices together with reality” does not fit the biblical data.
5. Thus, the seventh day Sabbath cannot be a type of this Sabbath in Christ that you have written about.
May God bless your studies abundantly.Loading…
My friend, not just myself, but SDA’s themselves will disagree with your point about realities not existing at the same time as shadows.
1) The throne of God in the heaven itself was the reality existing while the early template gave a shadow of God’s presence. So according to you, it must be that God’s throne did not exist in reality while the shadow was on earth.
2) The entire Law was a shadow ( you assume only the ceremonial law was), but the text doesn’t say that. The entire law of the Old Testament written on Book and Stone was a shadow, but what God intended was the law to be written on heart in reality which Israel as nation did not experience, but individuals did experience.
3) Abraham and his seed were to be circumcised from birth. But Abraham was circumcised in the heart before receiving this shadow.
4) Eating bread and wine is but a mere representation of the life of Christ in the soul. (John 6:53-55) The communion service therefore is not a reality, but a type of reality, a shadow.
5) Baptism into water is not a reality. It is only a symbol of that reality, it is a type, a shadow.
6) The blood of bulls and goats could never purge the conscience of sin. (Heb 10:4). Therefore Abel had to have had the reality of the blood of Christ in order to be made righteous. (Heb 11:4). The reality though future for them and past for us was as good for them as it is for us (Rev 13:8).
7) Sabbath is a shadow, Christ is the reality (Col. 2). You say ceremonial laws are done away, so was the weekly Sabbath a shadow, so it is done away.
8) There is no requirement to observe the Sabbath for Christians just like there is no requirement to observe Circumcision.
My friend you shadow, reality theory do not add up
Thanks for reading my posts.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understood your thesis in this blog post to be that the 7th-day Sabbath was an old-covenant type of the new-covenant spiritual rest that is found in Christ. Is that accurate?Loading…