Towards Our Sabbath Rest

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Series: The next realm is beckoning!

Sunday am 18 January 2015 – Kobus Swart

(John 8:32); Gen. 2:1-3; Num. 33; Matt. 1:17; Dan. 9:24; (John 2:19); (Mark 14:58);
Lev. 25:1-4, 11-12; Mark 1:15; Heb. 3:12-15; Heb. 4:1-16; (John 3:12-13)

Truth itself will not set you free. Jesus said you will know the truth (ie. by revelation) and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Let’s look at the deeper meaning and importance of the ”seventh day”.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done and he rested on the seventh day from all His work which he and done, Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God has created and made (Gen. 2:1-3) When the Scripture says God rested on the seventh day it does not say God took a little 24-hour break. Nowhere in the Bible can we even say the first six days were six 24-hour days. Now the seventh day is very special as it opens up a realm. God sanctified it and He rested in it from all His work which He had done. I must remind you, before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, heaven and earth were not separated; they were not two different spheres. Heaven and earth were not separate from each other. In fact earth’s tiny clock, as we know it, was not ticking yet in the Garden of Eden. We do not know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before they disobeyed God. Our thinking has been affected by being trapped in this time-space bubble.

In the Garden of Eden there was no sin; there was no sickness. There was nothing like that in the Garden of Eden before the serpent deceived Eve and Adam. In fact creation itself was God’s temple. It was only after the fall that we read that men began to call upon the Name of the Lord (Gen. 4:26). In the Garden of Eden they had intimate fellowship with Him on a daily basis. God initiated it by coming in the cool of the day and fellowshipping with Adam and Eve. Religion has trained us to call upon a distant Lord and look into the “empty skies” (See Acts 1:11.Msg).

The sabbath on the Jewish calendar is a Saturday, and that became in fact a 24-hour day. On that day you had to rest. What people fail to see is that following the fall of man, the sabbath day remained a prophetic sign of something bigger – the ultimate Sabbath.

As history unfolded later in Israel’s journey, the Tabernacle, especially the holy of holies, became the place in people’s minds where heaven and earth met. When the fall of man took place, something happened in terms of the integration of heaven and earth. It was then happening only in holy places like the tent of meeting and in the holy of holies in the tabernacle of Moses. That is where heaven and earth became one. That is where only the high priest could go once a year. Later on it became the temple. The temple of Solomon stands out in this regard. God is not limited to any building no matter how nice or elaborate or fancy. God is in His people. In the New Testament when Jesus came in the incarnation, when the word became flesh, when God came to tabernacle with man in the person of Jesus, everything changed. Religion always tries to sustain previous orders and fail to see when God moves on. They build big structures to glorify the past while God has moved on.

The number 42 (=6 times 7) has a very specific significance in the Bible. In the beginning God blessed the seventh (not a 24-hour) day. He sanctified it and rested in it. In Numbers 33 it talks about the Israelites’ 41 different encampments as they moved through the wilderness. They had their 42nd encampment on the other side of the Jordan in the land of promise. Before they went through the Jordan, the younger generation had to be circumcised. I see that as a much needed Scripture to understand; circumcision of the mind. The church over the years had so many encampments in the wilderness and they failed to move on to the land of promise which is a type of the Kingdom of God. So we, the redeemed community, must move forward towards the great Sabbath experience and what that means and will mean to us. Miraculous provision ceased immediately, (that is one thing the church will battle with!). Now they are in the land of promise God said Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses (Josh. 1:3). What God is looking for is participators not spectators. It is part of the new mind-set that we must embrace. The Christian community to a large extent likes to look and be spectators waiting for something to fall from heaven. God is sovereign, but there is a corporate picture here we have to see. A whole generation died in the wilderness. They all failed to see it except for two men – Joshua and Caleb. God needed two spiritual fathers from the previous generation to lead the new generation into the land of promise. The reason for that was the young generation needed the experience and wisdom of grace that had come through the wilderness journey and survived that complaining and murmuring spirit. The land of promise is not just a nice little place that you inherit. They had to remove the squatters and the giants that were there illegally.

Let us look at the number 42 in another Scripture, So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations (Matt. 1:17). The Christ generation became the 42nd generation, also called a generation of Christ. What does that mean? It means that when the Messiah came He concluded 6 x 7. He ushered in 7 x 7. It ushered in the unfolding of a whole new season. If we cannot see this we are going to be stuck with an old wilderness mind-set and it is going to hold us back and slow us down.

Jesus appears on the beginning of the Sabbath-of-Sabbaths moment. Daniel saw it this way: Seventy weeks (symbolic of 70 x 7 years = 490 years) have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and [d]prophecy and to anoint the most holy place (Dan. 9:24). Who are they talking about here? The Messiah; Jesus the Son of God. It is a historical fact and proven that the 490 years started with the construction and the rebuilding of the temple under Cyrus (remember Zerubbabel?) and ended with the destruction of the old temple (John 2:19; Mark 14:58). The religious world worshipped the place and Jesus said, “Break it down and in three days I will rebuild it”. They were angry with Him (Mark 14:58). What was He referring to? He was the real temple; we His body become the corporate temple.

There is another angle from which to see it. The year of Jubilee is explained in Lev. 25:1-4. Every seventh year there was to be no labour, the land was to rest. God is bringing a principle: You shall have the fiftieth year ( 7 times 7 ended, and the next year was the 50th) as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field (Lev. 25:11-12). The year of Jubilee was a year of release and freedom. This is the time when all the sevenths and all the Sabbaths rushed together declaring to us that our debts have been cancelled; we have been set free. Jesus was the celebrating, walking Sabbath!

What should be our greatest concern now?

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,”

(Hebrews 3:12-13). Christians have learned to postpone things. We are living in the NOW. We are living in the TODAY. Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard (Heb. 4:1-2). Do we believe the word of the finished works of Christ, do we believe He has done it all? So the only labour that should be our challenge is to enter that rest.

The seeds have fallen in fertile soil this morning. Now let us encourage one another daily, cut unbelief out of your life, out of your vocabulary. God is saying, “Again I am giving you the promise of a rest; today when you hear His voice”. The universe is God’s tabernacle but God decided to personalise it. God came in the person of His son and tabernacled with man. Then Jesus made it very clear when He saw that physical structure of the temple, He said “Break it down and in three days I will rebuild it”. What He was saying was, He is finished with structures in Israel and anywhere. It is the holy nation that will become His walking tabernacle in the earth.

Would you like to be part of that?