Church of God, Carmichael, CA

Shadows of Good Things

Or the Gospel in Type

Russell R. Byrum, 1922

[Original Page Numbers]


CHAPTER VI

THE SACRED SEASONS

(Leviticus 23; Numbers 28, 29)

  Thus, there was a constant shifting of the beginning of the year, which makes confusion for us in determining the date in our year for these feasts. The Israelites had the civil year, beginning near the time of the fall equinox, and which was common in the Eastern nations of the time. And they also had the sacred year, instituted by Moses, which was peculiar to themselves and which began six months prior to the civil year, about the time of the spring equinox. This sacred year calendar is the one that determined the time of the feasts. It properly began with the first new moon before the first full moon after the twenty first of March. But the Israelites, not having the latter date established, began it, ordinarily, with the moon following the twelfth. If, however, it was seen that on the sixteenth of the moon following Adar, the twelfth, the barley would not yet be ripe, the intercalary month, Veadar, was inserted as a thirteenth moon. But two intercalary years were not allowed in succession. The Jewish month and date of each feast we will give in connection with its discussion.

The Sabbath
(Lev. 13 :1-3)

  In the text referred to above God himself names the Sabbath first in his enumeration of the feasts of the Lord. It was most frequently observed, and more often enjoined than any of the other sacred seasons. Yet we are compelled to differ with those who hold that this primacy of the Sabbath among the feasts was because it was pre-Mosaic in its origin and observance. It is true that in Leviticus 23 it is not first mentioned, but as much may be said of the Passover, the observance of which was prior to the exodus and before any observance of the Sabbath by men. Not one text in all the Bible enjoins the observance of the Sabbath upon any man before the exodus, nor since Pentecost. Its first recorded observance was at the time of the giving of the manna. (Exod. 16 :23). Objection is sometimes made to this position on the ground of Gen. 2:3, but it is well to remember in reading that text that it was written, not at creation, but by Moses after [104] the Sabbath was commanded to Israel at Sinai. When God wanted to set apart a day each week for himself, he chose the seventh, "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Observe that the sanctifying of the day was subsequent to the resting—"he had rested." God's resting was at creation; the setting apart of the day for men's observance was at least twenty-five hundred years after man's creation—after the exodus. This is positively stated in Neh. 9 :13, 14 and Deut. 5: 2, 3, 12.

  Its purpose was for a memorial or a sign (Exod. 31.17) of their deliverance from Egypt and that they were the special people of God (Deut. 5:15; Ezek. 20:12). It was observed in commemoration of the beginning of their nation at the exodus, as Americans observe the fourth of July for a similar purpose. It was a weekly reminder of their peculiar relation to Jehovah. When the father failed to go to the field to work on the Sabbath he answered his little son's inquiry of, "Why?" with the explanation that it was in commemoration of God's mighty deliverance of their fathers from Egypt. Thus it always had great value as a memorial besides the physical benefit that can not but result from that wise practice of resting from toil on one day of each seven.

  It was observed by a complete cessation from work (Exod. 20:10; 35:2; Lev. 23:3). The law was very strict in its requirement of Sabbath observance. No fire was to be kindled and no cooking done. This could easily be observed in Palestine, where fire is not needed for heating purposes. The violation of the Sabbath was punishable by death. But the Sabbath was not merely negative, it was also positive. It was not to be spent listless idleness. It was set apart for a holy convocation or assembly, doubtless for the reading of the law and worship. We are not told exactly what was the nature of these holy convocations prior to the Babylonish captivity, but we know after that and in New Testament times the [105] Jews met for worship on the Sabbath, and our blessed Lord himself read the law and taught in the synagogues. The object, then, of the Old Testament Sabbath was (1) for a memorial, (2) for needed physical rest, (3) for divine worship, (4) for a type of good things now the heritage of Christians.

  The Antitypical Sabbath.—That the Sabbath was a type, one of the shadows of good things, is clear from various New Testament texts. "Let no man therefore judge you . . . in respect'. . . of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Col. 2 :16, 17). It was a type or shadow of a body or substance which we obtain in Christ. The main idea of the Sabbath was physical rest. That physical rest therefore must have been typical of some higher rest to be found by the Christian. The strict observance of the Sabbath which God required of the Jew, like the requirement of strict adherence to the divine pattern for the tabernacle, was because it was to typify a perfect soulrest of the Christian.

  Centuries before Moses, the patriarch Jacob predicted Christ's coming under the name "Shiloh," or Rest giver. (Gen. 49 :10). Jesus himself said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28). He is the rest giver, and the rest he gives from the burden and bondage of sin is the Christian's Sabbath foreshadowed by that ancient Mosaic rest day. It was predicted that "his rest shall be glorious," and, thank God, it is so. That this is the true Sabbath keeping is argued by the inspired writer to the Hebrews (chap. 4:3 11). He who ceases from his own works to obtain righteousness and trusts in the mercy of God for pardon of sin has entered the true Sabbath. The Sabbath, like the other ceremonial requirements of the law of Moses, is abolished (Col. 2:14 17; Heb. 8:6 13), but the blessed soul rest it prefigured remains for the people of God. [106]

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Justification, Sanctification, Unity
Carmichael, California USA

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