The center-column strength of the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple was the Sabbath.
On the Sabbath, all activities were forbidden except those associated with the worship of Jehovah and rest for the souls and bodies of people. The Sabbath principle held the Old Covenant together. The Law extended the Sabbath beyond the seventh day of worship and rest into annual festivals celebrating the agricultural seasons of the year—the production of food and wealth was halted for times of worship and rest. Every seven years the land was granted the blessings of rest and twice each century all the people were to be granted Sabbath rest and a new start in the Year of Jubilee.
When the Sabbath in all its phases was honored, God’s blessing rained on the Holy Nation; His covenantal power secured their borders and His holy presence dwelt at the center of their hearts, their homes, the politics, and their peace.
When the Sabbath was violated, God lifted His covenantal blessings and enemies raided and ruined the cities and towns. Natural disasters fell unchecked upon the just and the unjust.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law and declared Himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath.
As was done at creation when a tireless God rested from all His labors on the seventh day, Jesus waited until the eighth day to rise from death. As the church grew and Gentiles from all nations were firmly grafted into the True Vine, the Old Covenant Sabbath and the New Covenant Lord’s Day became one—the accepted time for corporate worship. It made sense to add a vibrant celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus on the First Day of the Week to the traditional rest and worship on the Sabbath. For the early church Sunday was just another work day in most of the cultures where they lived and witnessed. Their Lord’s Day Worship would often take place before dawn on Sunday.
In Western culture the concept of the weekend is much like the center-column of Old Testament Life—our lives are organized around the work week and the weekend. The difference, and it is a huge difference, is one of ownership—we feel as if we own Sunday—it is our day, not the Lord’s Day.
It is not our day—the Lord’s Day is His Holy Day.
It is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant Sabbath of rest and worship combined with a celebration of New Creation on Sunday—the eighth day, the day of the absolute Victory of Christ.
So believers all over the world gather on Sunday to Celebrate Jesus, to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and then go home to rest before Him in faith and peace.
Then it is Monday again and we keep a little of the Sabbath in our hearts all week.
Exodus 20:8-11 NIV
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth… but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
…the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.
Acts 20:7 NIV
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people…
from The Book of Common Prayer
O God, You make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of Your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of You, that the week to come may be spent in Your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
O Worship the King
Words: Robert Grant; Music Johann Haydn
1. O worship the King, all glorious above,
And gratefully sing His wonderful love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girder with praise.
2. O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space!
His chariots of wrath the deep thunder clouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
3. Thy bountiful care what tongues can recite?
It breaths in the air, it shines in the light,
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
4. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail:
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved