Monday, July 12, 2010

New Creation Observation of the Sabbath

(Desiring God Ministries: Tyler Kenney)

In Miscellanies 28 Jonathan Edwards expresses his thoughts on how bygone commands to observe the Sabbath now apply to the church (some paragraphing added):

[Israel's] seventh day was the day wherein they were brought out of Egypt. Our seventh day, or first day—it's no matter by what name we call it—is the day that Christ brought us out of Egypt, out of bondage to sin and Satan; of which deliverance theirs was but a faint representation. . . .

'Tis true the sabbath day used to be kept in remembrance of the creation of the world, but the first creation is spoiled; we have ruined it, and have reason to lament that ever we were created, except we are created again.

We are truly to keep the sabbath in commemoration of the creation, but it is of the new creation. We are truly to keep the sabbath on the day wherein God rested from the creation of the heavens and the earth, but we are to do it in the day wherein God created the new heavens and the new earth, by which name God calls the restoration by Christ (Isaiah 65:17-18; Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 66:22).

God told us that when that was done we should no longer commemorate the first creation, but the second. Isaiah 65:17, "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind." But if we set apart one day in seven for this very end, to remember them and call them to mind, this is beside the revealed will of God.


These thoughts sound similar to those shared by John Piper in his sermon, "Is There a 'Lord's Day'?" Commenting on Jesus' words in John 5:17—"My Father is working until now, and I am working"—he says,

What does this mean? I think it means this: When Adam fell into sin, God got up from his Sabbath rest after creation, and started to work again—not this time on creation, but on redemption—toward a new creation. A new humanity. “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” You do not understand what I am doing. I and my Father are creating a new world, a new humanity, and when we are finished, we will celebrate with a new Sabbath.

And that work of redemption and new creation was finished decisively on the cross. And three days later Jesus rose from the dead to celebrate the victory he had won and the new creation he had decisively obtained and inaugurated. Now he could take his seat with his Father on the throne of the universe and enter his Sabbath rest.

This is why the early church took the first day of the week as its day of worship and turned away from the seventh day. The seventh day marked the victory of the first creation. The first day marked the victory of the new creation with the resurrection of Christ.


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