I have heard it said there is no need to observe a Christian day of worship because “Christ is our Sabbath.” Ray Steadman in his commentary on Hebrews seems to say this. Ray does an excellent job of showing that when we take the yoke of Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30) we cease from our heavy labors and find rest in Jesus. I believe Ray is correct in this, and that, as he also says, we must be diligent to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:11).
Ray however seems to deny the validity of a “Sabbath” day for the Christian when he says concerning Sunday, “It is not a day of rest or restricted activity and it is not designed as such. It is the first day of the week; to Christians, the Lord’s day.” To say there is no longer a day that should be considered the Christian Sabbath is to set aside one of the Ten Commandments. This, we cannot do. In fact, the Fourth Commandment says that we should rest on a day because God rested. “In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth and rested on the seventh.” God invented a seven day week rather than a six day week. The seventh day was given as a day for rest in which God the Creator is worshiped.
Indeed, Jesus fulfilled all the festivals and Sabbaths of Israel, all the sacrificial requirements and rituals. Jesus is our Passover, Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb, Jesus is the one who sanctifies those who cast their lives upon Him and trust Him for salvation. The Bible never suggests that the coming of Christ set aside any one of the Ten Commandments.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the First Commandment, to worship the LORD, Jehovah only.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Second Commandment, to make no idols, to worship no image.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Third Commandment, to not take the LORD’S name in vain.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Fourth Commandment, to keep the Sabbath day holy, though some deny this.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Fifth Commandment, to honor father and mother.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Sixth Commandment, to not murder.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Seventh Commandment, to not commit adultery.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Eighth Commandment, to not steal.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Ninth Commandment, to not bare false witness against one’s neighbor.
- Never is it suggested that Christ has fulfilled or set aside the Tenth Commandment, to not covet.
Those who advocate that the Fourth Commandment is no longer binding say that Christ fulfilled the commandment, and has Himself become our Sabbath. Ray Steadman did a good job showing that Jesus is our rest. Yet I am certain we can not lay aside one of the Ten Commandments without reaping the consequences Jesus speaks of in Matthew 5:19. If Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath in the sense that the Fourth Commandment is no longer binding, perhaps He fulfilled another of the Commandments or all the Ten Commandments so that we do not need to obey any of therm. James says the commandments are a unity, and when someone breaks one he breaks them all (James 2:10-11). This being true, could any one of the commandments be thrown out? Impossible!
Then what does Paul mean in Colossians 2:16-17? “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.” (NKJV) The context along with the similar passage in Ephesians 2:14-16 show that Paul is talking about the festival, ritual or ceremonial, and of sacrificial ordinances all of which were a picture, a “shadow” of things to come. All of these Christ fulfilled, for they were temporary, given only for a time to the Jews until Christ came as the substance of what those things only represented and foreshadowed. All of these have been taken away and no longer apply in any measure. But the Ten Commandments are not the same as these. The Ten Commandments are God’s moral law and are unchanging. The Ten Commandments are not “a shadow of things to come,” but are representative of the very nature of God’s righteousness, and of His righteous requirements for man.
The Sabbath has not been done away. However, the Sabbath has been changed to the first day of the week when Christ rose from the dead on that day. On the next Sunday Christ again appeared to His apostles, and we see the Church in Acts and in Corinthians meeting on Sunday. We also have early church history that tells of Christians, from earliest times, from the first century meeting on Sunday. Ray Steadman in the commentary mentioned above agrees that Christians met from early times on Sunday.