Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily ye shall keep my sabbaths: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Jehovah who sanctifieth you.Exodus 31:13(ASV)
At the beginning of creation God rested on the 7th day and He set it aside as a day of rest. But man sinned, and Jesus told us that: My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. By God’s grace both Father and Son are working in the lives of men and women to bring them into a right relationship with God – through faith in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, on Calvary’s cross – for the sins of mankind.
But God used the example of His seventh day of rest as a distinctive sign between Himself and the nation of Israel. He had chosen Israel out of all the nations of the world to be His special witnesses, to tell the pagan nations of His promise of Salvation. God told Moses to speak to the people of Israel and to use the Sabbath Day as an exclusive sign and special witness between Him and then – for He is the Lord Who sanctifies them. The Sabbath day was to remain as the single most important witness throughout their generations, as a reminder to Israel that they had a special relationship with God – for He is Jehovah Meccadeshem – the LORD Who Sanctifies.
At the beginning of their nationhood God gave Israel the Sabbath as a special sign between Himself and them. It was a sign pointing back to that first sanctified day of rest, before man fell and sin entered the world, but it was also a sign that pointed forward to a future rest. Israel’s Sabbath was to remind them of a future, sanctified day of the rest that God promised, when the Messiah would set up His eternal kingdom. But although that day will be translated into the Millennial rule of Christ and the eternal ages to come… as with all God’s signs to Israel, the true meaning of God’s rest was to be personified in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Israel’s Sabbath rest, just like their Law, their Tabernacle, their Priesthood and their Sacrifices was to be a sign that pointed to Jesus. He will not only rule as King of kings and Lord of Lords, but He was to be Rest for the soul. Rest is only found in HIM for He is our living Rest. The Sabbath was to be the special sign that set Israel apart from the nations; a sign that they were a sanctified people – a sign that was endorsed by God Himself Who thundered: I AM Jehovah Meccadeshem – the Lord Who Sanctifies you. A sanctified vessel is set apart from all other vessels for a special purpose, and the sanctified nation of Israel was also different and distinct from all other peoples of the world.
Israel’s Sabbaths and Israel’s Feasts, Israel’s Oracles and Israel’s Scriptures all point to Israel’s coming Messiah and all find their full and final fulfilment in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But because they rejected their Messiah at His first coming, Israel had to be set aside for a season, so that God could call out a people for His name, from among the Gentiles, who would become His sanctified people – for a season, to tell the world of God’s goodness and grace.
For a season Israel has been set aside and the Church has been called to be God’s witnesses to the world and so we discover that it was the Lord Jesus, Who prayed for us, when He said, for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. It is JESUS Who was and is and is to be the ultimate Sabbath Rest for the people of God.
Praise God that our Sabbath Rest is found in Jesus and not in the keeping of the Law. Praise God that the day is coming when Israel will recognise the Lord Jesus as their own Sabbath Rest. Praise God that Jesus is both Sanctified and our Sanctifier. Praise God that Jesus is both Son of God and Son of Man to Whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given and Who is the only One Who can truly say, I AM Jehovah Meccadeshem – the Lord Who Sanctifies you.
Dear heavenly Father, thank You that You are the one that has sanctified me and set me apart as a special vessel of Yours. Thank You that I was called, chosen sanctified and glorified from before the foundation of the world. Your wisdom is unsurpassed and the picture of the Lord Jesus as my beautiful Sabbath rest rejoices my heart. Bless Your people Israel and bring them at last into their promised rest, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN