In Proposition 143, George Peters states:
“The early church doctrine of the Kingdom is supported by “the Rest,” or keeping of the Sabbath, mentioned by Paul.”
The Sabbath is on my list of topics to do an in-depth study on sometime in the near future. There is much to be discussed on the Sabbath and I humbly submit all the “noise” if you will surrounding the Sabbath, misses the simplicity and importance of the issue as a whole. While that is a subject for another time, I bring it up to as Peters notes in his Proposition, the earch church understanding and position on the Kingdom finds support in the biblical message fo the Sabbath, in particular as expressed in the writings of Paul. Some often approach Paul as the NT writer who wrote on how we have been freed from the law of which the Sabbath is part. Perhaps that understanding is part of the overall unfortunate “noise” and misunderstanding of the Sabbath. I tend to think it is for reasons Peters elaborates upon in the below observation, at least in part.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 143 is the following:
“There is something remarkable in the contrasts presented by this Sabbatism. Man, when created, immediately entered upon the Sabbath, so when re-created (the resurrection being such) he again enters upone one, for the Sabbath is a following after a creation, and it is but reasonable to support that the Mill. age, preceded as it is by an astounding exertion of creative energy and power, should be a glorious Sabbatism. God, instituting the Sabbath, assigning the reason of resting or ceasing from creation, refers us (as Lewis, Six Days of Creation) to “a greater Calendar” in which a special Day of the Lord is thus expressed, and as sons of His (made such in realization, as David’s Son was, by the power of the resurrection), we enter into the same kind of a rest after a baptism of creative power is experienced, thus in actual experience constantly representing in a lesser state or condition that occupied by God Himself. For being incorruptible, immortal, fashioned after Christ, etc., there is no more creative power to be exerted to bring us to the desiny intended. Creation ceases: a Sabbath folloes – a Sabbath, however, in which works of Providence (“He hath worked hitherto and yet worketh”), works of mercy, love, etc., are still continued. With the Sabbath begins man’s inheritance; with it begins his divine calling to bless God; with it begins the dominion over the earth: it is fitting that another Sabbath should re-introduce the inheritance which he lost, the divine calling which he prostituted, and the dominion which he forfeited. Hence as Adam in company with Eve went forth into the Sabbath to participate in the rest and enjoyment of God, so the Second Adam accompanied by His “Helpmeet” go forth upon their inheritance, calling, and dominion, in the glory of a Sabbath, which the Spirit of God, which knoweth all things, eulogizes in the most exalted terms.”
It is a new year and with a new year comes the reinvigoration of yearly Bible reading plans. If one starts in Genesis, which I assume most do in such reading plans, they will read about God resting on the seventh day of creation, blessing that day and most notably, setting it apart as qodesh (holy). This means God treated this day as something special, something different and unique than all the other days of the week. His creative efforts had ceased and the pinnacle of His creative efforts, man, entered life I belief observing this Sabbath day, provided they made it a full week without sinning. Regardless, the establishment of the Sabbath as a day of rest had been made by the Creator.
We have the Sabbath at the beginning, we have the Sabbath reminded at Mt. Sinai, and we have the Sabbath again at the end of the book. Some try and spiritualize the Sabbath saying Jesus is our Sabbath rest. While true, this overlooks the physical reality of this day of rest and remembrance established at Creation. This is not a Mosaic ordinance. While it was reiterated at Mt. Sinai, it was established way back at the beginning by God as an appointed time for His people. He expects His people to remember the Sabbath. Some also treat the Sabbath as merely a shadow of something that has either already come and thus the Sabbath is no longer needed in practice, or again that is can be spiritualized rather than a physical observance. Such a position seems to ignore the continued importance of the Sabbath from the front of Scripture to the end.
I appreciate Peters treatment and discussion of the Sabbath in this observation. We should continue to observe this shadow. Why do I call it a shadow in the current state? I call it that because it is a shadow of an even great experience yet to come. We look forward to a return to that which was lost in the Garden. There will be a time when God’s people will celebrate the Sabbath into all eternity with great joy in the prescence of our Creator and as the Helpmeet of the bridegroom. Peters paints a beautiful picture of the original creation and the re-creation at the end of this current age and expresses with great clarity how the Sabbath plays into the doctrine of the Kingdom. May we remember the Sabbath as we look forward to the return of the bridegroom and eternity remembering this set apart day. If we are claiming to want to do what the early church did, then remembering the sevent day as the Sabbath is one plact to start.