Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Sign of the Sabbath

The Ten Commandments are patterned after ancient treaty patterns, where a Great King makes a treaty with a vassal king.  In the pattern, the Great King begins by exalting his greatness and telling of all he has done for the vassal.  In the Ten Commandments, which are a miniature treaty or covenant, this is done rather briefly:
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."
These benefits/salvation then lead to a section of stipulations or obligations, things like:
You shall have no other gods before me.You shall not make for yourself a carved image . . .You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain . . .
In the midst of the covenant document, the Great King would stamp his likeness into the document.  So how will God, who is invisible and spirit, stamp his likeness and image on to the Ten Commandments?

The answer is the Sabbath.  In the Sabbath, human beings who are the icons and visible images of the invisible Lord, imitate his work and rest.

Thus, the Sabbath is unique among the Ten Commandments because it is a sign, just as Exodus 31 teaches, that points to a high reality.  Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Sabbath and ushered in the eternal Sabbath through his salvific work and rest, and we too keep the Sabbath when we trust and abide in the rest Jesus has given us through his perfect life, death and resurrection.

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