Hebrews 4 – what is the Christian Sabbath?

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Heb 4:1-11

(Heb 4:1) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
(Heb 4:2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
(Heb 4:3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
(Heb 4:4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
(Heb 4:5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
(Heb 4:6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
(Heb 4:7) Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
(Heb 4:8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
(Heb 4:9) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
(Heb 4:10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
(Heb 4:11) Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews goes through a list of OLD Covenant signs and compares them to the NEW Covenant reality. If Hebrews is to be consistent in its treatment of these Old Covenant signs, the Sabbath must be treated the same was as circumcision, lambicide, and priests.

Adventists claim that the Sabbath is different in this case, that it continues for Christians today, based on Heb 4:9.

Only by obliterating context can that assertion be made. Go back and read this section quoted above. Then go and read the ENTIRE book, without selective quoting, and see if you come up with the idea that the Sabbath is the single exception to the Old Covenant symbols that are abolished, in spite of the fact that the book treats it in exactly the same way as those that are abolished. It compares the Old Covenant lamb sacrifice with Jesus’ death … the former no longer applicable to Christians. It compares the Levitical priesthood with the priesthood of Christ … the former being no longer relevant to Christians. It compares the Sabbath to our rest in Christ … and, with no evidence whatsoever, Adventists claim that this is the single exception within this book, when the book itself treats it exactly the same as the rest? Sorry, but people who take the Bible for what it says, and not what they want it to say, won’t fall for that.

This text is proof once again that destroys the Sabbatarian point of view. In verse 4, Paul (the author was probably/possibly Paul, and many believe him to be Paul, so we will call him Paul) treats the Sabbath with such nonchalance it is highly doubtful that he had any respect for it any longer – he says in a blasé fashion, “somewhere” as if the actual commandment which EVERYONE should have been able to reference in Exodus or Deuteronomy was quite irrelevant. Every observant Jew, anyone who knew the Bible at all, would know exactly where the Sabbath was given, where the 10 Commandments were! Why is Paul implying here that this is NOT important? Such a casual remark about the Sabbath hardly fits in with the rest of the claims Adventists are making about Heb 4:1-11.

Paul goes on to state that God set aside ANOTHER DAY – “TODAY”. That is what it says in the literal Greek. If we read the ACTUAL words of Heb 4:1-11, it becomes clear that the Sabbath was for the Jews – quantity time, one seventh – but TODAY – all the time, continuously, quality time – is for the Christian.

Heb 4:10 is clearly talking of ETERNAL rest which we find with Christ. Where Hebrews DOES mention a DAY, it is in 4:4 and 4:7 … these are contrasted as being the Sabbath given to Israel, and the “today” given to those who, after Christ’s atonement, accept the Gospel message. We therefore no longer keep the Sabbath, we find our rest TODAY – and the text quoted by the author of Hebrews, Ps 95:7-8, supports our view fully – this is a continuous call to eternal rest, not a weekly reminder of a shadow for which we have already seen the reality.

The Sabbath is not a commandment we have to obey. Circumcision is also not a commandment we have to obey. Sacrificing lambs is also not a commandment we have to obey. God gave all these commandments, but the New Testament shows us (Acts 15, Gal 5:2, Col 2:14-17, Hebrews) that these things – Sabbath, circumcision, lamb sacrifice, etc., are all fulfilled in Christ. They have – as you said – been made FULL in Christ, so we no longer perform empty lamb sacrifices, we no longer perform useless acts of circumcision, we no longer keep worthless Sabbaths. Christ is our Lamb, Christ is our Sabbath, and we are baptised into Christ instead circumcised.

The Sabbath, like the lamb sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood, is abolished … and that is exactly what the entire book of Hebrews is about. ALL these things are abolished and replaced with something better … the lamb with the eucharist, the Levitical priesthood with Christ’s mediatorship, and the Sabbath with a more perfect rest – eternal rest. So, to Christians the Sabbath has as much relevance as the Levites and lamb killing do.

Hebrews ABOLISHES the Sabbath!!! It tells us that while God gave OUR ANCESTOR the 7th day, he gives US another day – TODAY.

One reply I got to this from an Adventist reads as follows:

Jesus did not, but “if” he did, “then would he not afterward have spoken of another day?” If He did, where? Why wasn’t Paul aware of it?

Paul is NOT asking, “then would he not have spoken of another day?” … the Adventist has adding a question mark to what the Bible has as a STATEMENT. Go back and look in the Bible … it is NOT a question. Then go and look in MODERN English Bibles, and any other language you understand … it is not a question there. Hebrews is saying that if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day … this shows that since Joshua did NOT give them true and final rest, God DID indeed speak of another day. Don’t let Adventists change the meaning of the Bible … accept it as it is.

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