Sabbath: A Shadow Of Things To Come

[As a brief recap, we’ve been putting ourselves in the steps of the early Israelites… joining them on their first journey from the Red Sea miracle up to the Sinai Mountain peak. The events in Exodus form a thematic narrative which informs us in a unique way about the nature of Shavuot—not as a single day on the calendar, but as an entire 50 day, seven Sabbath experience.  We are supposed to renew our minds each season during Pesach and Matzah. The Israelites are doing that same thing for the first time—learning the basics about who Yah is, and what each can expect from the other in this growing and deepening relationship.] 

Here, on Day #12, we are still camped in the Wilderness of Sin (pronounced ‘seen’, and not related at all to “sin” as in wrong-doing).  For the past 4 days, we’ve been talking about the introduction to a new concept for the newly freed Israelite slaves–the Seventh Day Sabbath. If you are just joining now, it would be helpful to read those articles to catch up.  We’ve got 38 more days still ahead…it’s not too late to come on The Way to Shavuot!

The experiences of believers who first begin to keep Sabbath are often very similar. There is profound adjustment to many aspects of our lives, but what is often the most surprising is the resistance we face from pastors, loved-ones, and even spouses.  It should be predictable that a Holy day designed to set us apart from others would cause such divisions—and Messiah warned us about that. 

Messiah said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”  (Luke 12:51-53)

This unpopular quote doesn’t show up on holiday cards, nor Hobby Lobby decorative frames, but the nature of being set apart for Yah needs to be embraced, and the potential costs anticipated.  The fear of what others will think is certainly the biggest road-block to those who hear the calling of Yah to keep His Sabbath. 

There is zero evidence of a single verse in scripture that would imply the simple 1,2,3,4,5,6, Sabbath count would ever be changed, or Sabbath’s value would ever be diminished—especially by the very Messiah who died to show us The Way and accordingly has called us to live like he lived. 

I love how Paul warns about the same struggle for believers who are beginning to make these bold decisions. Colossians 2:16–19, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.” 

In other words: 

Don’t let anyone else’s false beliefs (whether they are inspired by pagan traditions, lawless visions, or simply their own pride and lack of Bible study) steal the blessing of keeping the Sabbath or The Feasts from you. Hold tight to Messiah, and walk how he walked, and you will see the spiritual growth you should expect.  

Shabbat and the Feasts are shadows (“mere” shadows compared to Messiah himself) but those shadows begin in Genesis and extend through his SECOND coming, and even through His Millennial Reign.

In mainstream Christian thought, the shadow is cast backwards by the cross–but Shabbat isn’t simply remembering; as Paul just said, Shabbat is also a shadow of what is to come.  Why would we even consider ceasing to honor a prophetic sign of what is still yet to come? 

Because we failed to heed Paul’s warning in Colossians 2, that’s why. 

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about importance of that future Shabbat, often referred to in prophecy as “That Day”. 

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