Author: Fred Pruitt
In the beginning when God was creating, He caused the land to appear, separating it from the waters; commanded light and darkness to begin, calling it day and night, commanding the sun to shine by day and the moon by night; created animals and all creeping things with fish in the sea. Lastly, He created man, giving him dominion over all other earthly creation as he was created in the image of God. Then it is written that He rested, it being the seventh day, and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, setting it apart as a rest day.
In the twentieth chapter of Exodus we find Moses giving the law to the children of Israel whom God had delivered from Egyptian bondage, (which bondage and deliverance is a type of men today, who were the servants of sin, but are delivered from their sins through faith and belief in the accomplished and completed work of Christ on Calvary’s cross).
In the law that God gave to the children of Israel (literal seed) through Moses, we find the commandment, “Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy,” saying that they should work six days and keep the seventh day holy, doing no work. This was a commandment to the literal seed. They were also commanded, “Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not commit adultery,” etc. Under the law they were condemned when the act was committed, but Jesus speaking of His deliverance for man said, “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matt. 5:28.
In this we see that Christ “fulfills the law” giving us grace and strength not only to abstain from committing the act, but also giving us power to resist and refrain from thinking and considering to do wrong. It is not necessary for one living under grace to take a club and kill a man to be a murderer, for he that hath hatred in his heart is a murderer already. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” I John 3:15. It is also so with the other commandments, since Jesus came and died that we might have spiritual life. He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them by giving us the real for the type or “shadow of things to come.” Col. 2:17. This includes the law of literal sabbath keeping. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” For he that has entered into His rest (the rest that Christ gives, Matt. 11:28), he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
When Jesus was here on earth the Pharisees, or law-keepers, were very prone to find fault with Christ for breaking the sabbath, and finally He just told them plainly that, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” Mark 2:27. Men of today are so under bondage to the law that they are strict about keeping the sabbath, and act as though man was made for the sabbath; but it is not so, because the sabbath was made for man. It acts like a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:24) to bring us to the continued rest that we enjoy by faith in Christ. This is soul rest that only the “rest giver” which is Christ can give, and therefore He, (Christ) “the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Mark 2:28. We who are saved by grace through faith, (Eph. 2:8) become great sabbath keepers, because of this continual sabbath of rest in our souls. We do not pollute the sabbath (this rest) by struggling to keep the law given the literal seed, but just rest and abide in Him, letting Him govern, guide, and lead, and with Paul we can say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” We can let God work through us both to will and do of His good pleasure, thanking God that we are “not of the bond woman, but of the free.” Gal. 4:31.
As the sabbath was made for man and had served its place as a “schoolmaster,” we find that immediately after Christ was slain (the Lamb of God) and was risen again, the disciples that knew Him as the Son of God began to meet together on the “first day of the week.” John 20:19. Jesus appeared with them and said, “Peace be unto you,” showing His approval upon the meeting.
We have it recorded in the twenty-sixth verse that after eight days they met again and Jesus stood in the midst of them and approved of this “first day of the week” meeting by saying, “Peace be unto you,” and also made a believer out of Thomas. It seems good to us to meet together on the first day of the week in honor of the resurrection of Christ who has delivered us from the law of sin and death, and has become our righteousness and the governor of His people and is also “Lord of the sabbath.”
The early Church practiced meeting together on the first day of the week in honor of the Lord’s resurrection; “And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” (Acts 20:7.) Paul exhorts His disciples or the Church to lay by in store on the first day of the week, as that would be when they met together. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” I Cor. 16:2
The Revelator was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10), and God wonderfully honored him by giving him the book of Revelations. It is good for us to cease from our manual labors and other duties of earthly cares, and meet together on the Lord’s day in honor of His resurrection, giving ourselves over to fasting, praying, reading of His Word, singing and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord, that our souls may be strengthened and built up in the Lord together as an “habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:22.
The fact is that the law and the sacrifices that went with it were types and shadows of the good things that were to come to those that believe in the atoning blood of Christ as a sacrifice for their sins. Therefore Jesus could truly say to the lawyer that asked Him about the “great commandment”: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” The second commandment is this: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” He further said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” When the heart of man is filled with His love by being born of the Spirit of life on the “fleshly tables of the heart,” he is then in a condition to bear fruit unto God without the law of carnal commandments.
In the seventh chapter of Romans we find Paul taking the law to which literal Israel was married, and the law of grace to which spiritual Israel is married, and comparing them as two husbands (read first, second and third verses), telling them that we are now, since Christ has come, dead to the law (the first husband) by the body of Christ: that we should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead (what for) that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Rom. 8:4. “So we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter,” and to us who are saved by grace through faith the law for literal Israel has become a dead husband, and we are married to Christ who governs, leads, and guides and is also Lord of the sabbath which is fulfilled in Him.
In the fourth chapter of Galatians beginning at the twenty-first verse, we have a splendid allegory concerning the two covenants. The law covenant which gendereth to bondage was represented by Agar. The New Testament covenant was represented by Jerusalem which is above, means freedom. Read in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews beginning at the twenty-second verse to the end of the chapter. May the Lord give thee understanding.