Seventh Day Adventists will fight tooth and nail for the belief that God never changed the Sabbath. Well, they are wrong. God did change the Sabbath, and for this reason, we are not to celebrate our rest on Saturday. Now, before you "Sunday Sabbath" fans start to high-five each other, let me also make it clear - God did indeed change the Sabbath. But He did not change it to Sunday. For this reason, we are not to celebrate our rest on Sunday either!
No more do we need to bicker about what day the Sabbath is, because it isn't a day at all! Dear Reader, isn't that exciting?!How can this be? Well, we often only consider this question in terms of two choices: Saturday or Sunday. But I believe there is a third option, one that we almost never even consider, because we are too busy focusing on the wrong thing. You see, I believe God changed the Sabbath from a day to a Person. That's right: God changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Jesus Christ. Consider this:
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, emphasis mine).
All of the Old Testament rituals and laws were a shadow of things to come! In this manner, the calendar sabbath was just a sign which points to the real Sabbath - Christ. He is our rest, not from our 9-5 jobs and our household chores, but from our toil to release the burden of sin.
Now, if we go with the idea that God did change the Sabbath, not from Saturday to Sunday, but from Saturday to Jesus, then is it still possible to break the Commandment which says we must honor the Sabbath and keep it holy? Absolutely! It's not that the 4th Commandment goes away, rather, it has merely been fulfilled. Jesus said He didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In this sense, we break the Sabbath whenever we dishonor Christ. Anyone who fails to keep the Sabbath holy is violating a command to honor Jesus:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29, emphasis mine).
Jesus is inviting us to take rest in Him. People who do not honor the new Sabbath - people who insist on working, working, working their way into heaven instead of entering into His rest - will find on Judgment Day the wrath of God kindled against them, no matter what day of the week they choose to "rest" or go to church. No more do we need to bicker about what day the Sabbath is, because it isn't a day at all! It's not about a day of the week. It's all about the Lord. Dear Reader, isn't that exciting?!
So why then do we meet on Sunday as a church? We meet on the first day of the week to celebrate His resurrection. It's not really a Sabbath at all, but a celebration! Sunday is a weekly reminder of the glorious day that He rose from the grave and conquered death. Our sins have been washed away. No more will we have to toil in an effort to keep the law, an impossible task! No, because He is risen, we can have rest in Him. This is why Sunday is referred to as "The Lord's Day" in Scripture.
This is good news for all who put their faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. It is also good news for those of us who still wish to honor God by keeping the Commandments, not in an effort to earn salvation, but as a means of repentance and an expression of gratitude to God for what He has done for us. We don't have to worry that we are displeasing God if we are called into work on a Sunday, because if we should work on Sunday, we are not breaking the Sabbath. But if we should attempt work our way to heaven, we are breaking the Sabbath:
And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:23)
As stated above, in God's kingdom, things aren't always what they seem! May you find your rest in Him this Holiest of Lord's Days: Resurrection Sunday.