Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Sabbath As Sign And Symbol: Ezekiel & Hebrews

In the book of Ezekiel, Chapter 20, God is making a list of the things He has done for Israel. Ezekiel is writing the words that God is giving him and they go on, verse after verse, after verse.
The one that caught our attention (while reading, Desire of Ages, was verse 12 which reads; "Moreover, I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I [am] the Lord who sanctifies them." Perhaps the most important words in the verse are these, "My Sabbaths, sign, sanctifies" which seem to capture the essence of what God is telling the Jews (and telling us) about who He is and what He has done, and is doing, for us.
Searching out the meaning of these words in Strong's Concordance I find that "Sabbaths" refers to [Strong H7272] the following,
1) Sabbath
a) sabbath
b) day of atonement
c) sabbath year
d) week
e) produce (in sabbath year)
The word "sign" [Strong #H226] is rendered,
1) sign, signal
a) a distinguishing mark
b) banner
c) remembrance
d) miraculous sign
e) omen
f) warning
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof
The word, "sanctifies" [Strong #H6942] is rendered,
1) to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate
a) (Qal)
1) to be set apart, be consecrated
2) to be hallowed
3) consecrated, tabooed
b) (Niphal)
1) to show oneself sacred or majestic
2) to be honoured, be treated as sacred
3) to be holy
c) (Piel)
1) to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate
2) to observe as holy, keep sacred
3) to honour as sacred, hallow
4) to consecrate
d) (Pual)
1) to be consecrated
2) consecrated, dedicated
e) (Hiphil)
1) to set apart, devote, consecrate
2) to regard or treat as sacred or hallow
3) to consecrate
f) (Hithpael)
1) to keep oneself apart or separate
2) to cause Himself to be hallowed (of God)
3) to be observed as holy
4) to consecrate oneself
God, through His prophet Ezekiel and thence His servant, the theologian, Strong, leaves no room for misunderstanding the Word.
When writing to Timothy, Paul said; "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and for instruction in righteousness." [II Timothy 3:16] When Paul penned these words there was no New Testament. He was writing about the Old Testament which, of course, the only "Bible" available for the first twenty years the church per se existed. The first book written was probably I Thessalonians and the last books were those of John; including the Book of John, his three letters, and The Revelation. John wrote near the end of the first century.
The second powerful text on the Sabbath comes from Hebrews 4:9 and 10. It reads; "There remains therefore a rest (Greek, Sabbatismos) [Strong #G4520] {1) a keeping sabbath
2) the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by the true worshippers of God and true Christians}for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest (Greek, katapausis) [Strong #G2663]has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His."
"Sabbatismos "speaks for itself. "Katapausis" is rendered: 1) a putting to rest
a) calming of the winds
2) a resting place
a) metaph. the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells, and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended.
In conclusion, I will say that these texts and the shades of meanings in their interpretations from Hebrew and Greek, firmly establish the Holy Sabbath day, the one created by Jesus Christ the Creator [Colossians 1:15-17], and that keeping the Sabbath is a sign of our sanctification and of righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.
Think on these things.
God Bless. e.c.

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