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Sat June 13 Q 168  Christ the End of the Sabbath
168. Does He thus forbid us all work one day a week?
This commandment has a particular reason, for the observance of rest is part of the ceremonies of the ancient Law, which was abolished at the coming of Jesus Christ.


The Fourth Commandment, seemingly, is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated in the New Testament (cf. Mt. 5:21; 15:4; 19:18; Mk. 10:19; Rom. 7:7; 13:9; Eph 6:2; Ja. 2:11). It may be that I Tim. 1:3-10 is an application of the Ten Commandments for contemporary “lawbreakers.” If so, the Fourth Commandment would be behind the words of the application, “for the unholy and profane” (1:9).  Otherwise, it is goes unmentioned.

One longstanding view on why it is unmentioned is that Christ fulfilled the Sabbath regulations. It must be asked, however, in what sense Christ fulfilled the Sabbath, and how it differs from his fulfillment of other commandments if in fact the other commandments are repeated in the New Testament but also fulfilled in Christ. For certainly Christ came to fulfill the Law, and in his active obedience he fulfilled all things perfectly (cf. Mt. 5:17; Jn 19:20).

The Sabbath was about giving the land rest, as well as people and beasts, for the length of Israel’s relationship with her King. It was the sign of the Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 31:13, 16-17). Keeping the Sabbath signaled that the member of Israel intended to keep the law, in a relationship with the Lord. It was also the sign of a lasting covenant. That covenant was broken and replaced with the New Covenant. It remains for Israel to be judged under the Law and receive the land according to the stipulations of the law (Josh 23:4-5, 12-13; Jdg 1:19, 21, 27-35, Ezek 47:13-48:35). Yet the Sabbath promises are given to Israel in Christ through the New Covenant, which he mediates and offers to the believers and brothers who share in his inheritance (Hebrews 7-9).

The Sabbath is not repeated in the New Testament because we find rest not in the Law of works, but the grace of law of Christ. Christ fulfilled and abolished the Sabbath in his death and resurrection, so that we await a lasting Sabbath Rest upon his return.