Col 2.16-17 says that the Sabbath (the seventh day) is a picture of things to come and that we are not to be judged by others for observing it. Each item in the verse needs to be studied on how they picture Messiah. We are going to look at one of them, the Sabbath.
The Torah teaches that all things were given to Israel to show what God was like (Deut 4; Deut 7). Leviticus 23.1-3 says that the Sabbath was a “mikrah” (rehearsal) and a “moed” (appointment) and we will see why. The Sabbath was instituted in Gen 2.1 and it was “kodesh” meaning holy or set apart. It is the memorial of creation. It reveals the reason why God is worshipped, he is the creator and we are his creation. But, in many circles there is a misunderstanding of the Sabbath.
There is a general feeling of condemnation for it. Before you even begin to talk about it you hear “it’s not for us” or “it has nothing to do with us” but it does. Satan has planted lies to hide God’s truth since creation. The Sabbath was not just for the Jewish people, either. In Exo 16.23-30, the people had not yet come to Sinai and we know many nations had joined Israel when they left Egypt, but they were already observing the Sabbath. It says that the people rested in v 30. Were they tired? No, they were observing the Torah as directed.
In Isa 56.1-8 it talks about how blessed a person would be when observing the Sabbath and that a “foreigner” (gentile) who keeps the Sabbath will also be blessed because they “choose what pleases me.” They will bring their offerings to the Temple which will be for all nations. In Isa 66.23 it says that on the New Moon and Sabbath all mankind will come and worship the Lord.
Today, when you say Sabbath to a Gentile his face tightens and he frowns, instead of thinking that it is a day that pleases the Lord (Isa 56.4). The Sabbath is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom. In Psa 90.4, the Rabbis saw the 7000 years by comparing the creation week in Gen 1. The last day, or Sabbath, was called the “Day of the Lord” or “My holy day” (Isa 58.13). It was a day of rest, following the Lords example, and Heb 3.7 to Heb 4.11 explains this rest. There are three types of rest. There is the rest we have in Messiah, then the weekly Sabbath is a rest but the Day of the Lord (Messianic Kingdom) is also a rest.
Sabbath not only had spiritual implications but physical as well. Sleep is a picture of death and when we awake it is a type of resurrection because the body recovers. The weekly Sabbath is looked forward to just like we should look forward to the Messianic Kingdom. The Day of the Lord is spoken about hundreds of times in the Scriptures. It is a major theme and that’s why God was angry when it was profaned.
The Sabbath was welcomed by reading Psa 95 through 99; Psa 29 and Psa 92. The Sabbath is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom and during that time the Coronation of the King will occur and there will be the wedding of believers, along with the judgment. The day starts in darkness (sunset) and the Messianic Kingdom will also start out in darkness (Birth-pains; Time of Jacob’s Trouble).
The Temple had special services on the Sabbath. Yeshua was a Sabbath observer and he never told anyone to stop. Paul observed it and told others to follow his example because he followed Messiah (1 Cor 11.1-2). Sunday is not the Sabbath or Lord’s day, it never was.That is a tradition of men and it started officially around 325 AD. The problem is when you depart from God’s pictures and blueprints for your own you will have misunderstandings about the Messianic Kingdom and prophecy. Confusion and perversion robs people of the truth.
For example, in Rev 1.10 it says that John was “in the Spirit (under the control and purpose of) on the Lord’s day.” Some commentators say this was Sunday, but it wasn’t. It was the Sabbath day, the Day of the Lord, when he receives a revelation about “the Lord’s Day!” It is a synonym for the Sabbath (Isa 58.113).
Another misunderstanding comes from Acts 20.7-8. Jewish and non-Jewish believers are gathered together “on one of the Sabbaths” (v 7). I have heard this verse used to “prove” that they met on Sunday, but it was actually a Sabbath. Paul preached Saturday night and left Sunday morning. Now, Jewish and non-Jewish believers attended synagogues in the first century. There was a service called “Havdalah” that was done at home at the end of the Sabbath. Havdalah had a special candle called “a torch” (lapidot). The torch was a picture of Messiah. Deborah’s husband was called “Lapidot” (Judges 4.4).
In the Abrahamic Covenant, it was a torch that passed through the pieces in Gen 15.7 while Abram slept. It is also a picture of the power of God, the fire on Sinai. Also, a spice box is passed around symbolizing the sweetness of God, and resting in him. A cup of wine is passed around also. At the end, the torch (Messiah) is extinguished (dies) in the wine (blood; covenant) and it overflows (John 19.34). That’s what Paul was doing in Acts 20.7-8.
Now, eschatologically speaking, what will happen during the Messianic Kingdom, or Day of the Lord. First, you will have a resurrection. It is called the First Resurrection (Rev 20.6); the resurrection to life (John 5.29); the resurrection of the just (Luke 14.14) a better resurrection (Heb 11.35). The first resurrection is described in 1 Cor 15.20-23 and Rev 20.5-6).
The first resurrection includes those after Yeshua arose (Matt 27.51-53); raptured believers (1 Thes 4.16-17); the two witnesses (Rev 11.12); the martyrs of the Birth-pains (Rev 20.4) and the “old testament” saints (Dan 12.1-2). Only the righteous will enter the Sabbath day rest of the Messianic Kingdom. The blind, sick and lame will be healed (Isa 35.5-6). Those who survived the Tribulation will go into the Kingdom with mortal bodies and will procreate (Isa 65.23). They will live long, free from illness (Isa 35.24;65.20).
Those born in the Kingdom will have a sin nature and need salvation (Isa 65.20). Messiah will rule with a rod of iron (Rev 2.27) and the unsaved will not show rebellion (Rev 12.5; 19.15). Satan will be bound (Rev 20.1-3) and will loosed at the end of the Messianic Kingdom and the unsaved will go into rebellion and destroyed (Rev 20.8-9), Those not a part of the first resurrection and called the “rest of the dead (Rev 20.5). They will be judged after the Sabbath Day of the Lord at the Great White Throne (Rev 20.11) and sent to the Lake of Fire (20.14).
Secondly ,there will also be a restoration of the land with topographical changes and transformed life. Jerusalem will be the capitol, with a river that flows from there to the desert (Isa 35.6). The climate will produce an abundance of food (Deut 30.9; Isa 30.24-24; Amos 9.13). The animal kingdom will be changed (Isa 11.6-9). The curse is lifted and creation will be changed (Rom 8.19-22), except for the serpent (Isa 65.2-5).
Third, the Lord will reign in Zion (Psa 2.6) and seated on David’s throne (2 Sam 7.16 ;Isa 9.6; Luke 1.32-33). His reign is global (Psa 2.8) with absolute authority and power (Rev 12.5; 19.15). He will show mercy to the righteous (Isa 54.7-10). He will rule in truth (Isa 25. 1) and King David will be his co-regent (Hos 3.5; Jer 30.9; Ezek 34.23; 37.24). Lastly, the religion of the land will be the Torah (Isa 2.2-3) and there will be a Temple (Ezek 40-48) in a 34 square mile area set apart for it (Ezek 48.20) and there are Scriptures that indicate that it may not be in Jerusalem (Ezek 37.26-27; Ezek 45.1-8; Ezek 48).
Worship will be reestablished on the festivals with animal sacrifices in the new Temple (Ezek 45; Ezek 46). Priests and Levites will be used in the Temple (Ezek 44.8-31) with the sons of Zadok serving (Ezek 40.46; 43.19; 44.15; 48.11). Believers will reign with the Lord among the nations (Rev 2.26-27).
Some will have more authority than others (Luke 19.17-19). The Talmidim (12 apostles) will rule over the 12 tribes (Matt 19.28; Luke 22.28-30). The Jewish people will be called the “ministers of God” (Isa 61.6). The Gentiles will keep the Feast of Sukkot (Zech 14.16). Prayers will be answered immediately, if not before you even ask (Isa 65.24). So, as you can see the Sabbath that we should be observing is a great picture of what is “to come” (Col 2.16) and that is why we are not to let anyone judge us about it. The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day and the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.