Is there more to keeping the Sabbath than meets the eye?
A pilot’s view from a jet cockpit is quite unique. He sits at the leading edge of the plane with a largely unobstructed view. The takeoff sequence propels the plane briefly through a dense inner-city environment. At the destination, the plane sinks into a similarly highly populated core while on approach to touchdown. During such times it is interesting to observe the aircraft’s shadow racing across skyscrapers, warehouses and freeways filled with vehicles. The shadow has the same form, direction and speed of the real aircraft that casts it, yet it causes no damage to anyone or anything because it’s just a shadow, not the actual airplane.
The Sabbath is such a shadow. “Let no man…judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17, King James Version).
Paul referred in part to the Sabbath as “a shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:17). Every shadow is an accurate, partial representation of the source from which it is cast. The Sabbath’s shadow is cast directly by the Lord of the Sabbath and involves His law, His Church, His second coming, and His Kingdom. Consequently, our response to the Sabbath shows our respect, or disrespect, for all that it represents (Exodus 31:13-17). How you and I feel about the Shadow reflects how we feel about its Lord, His laws, His Church and His Kingdom.
How do you feel about the Sabbath, its Lord, His Kingdom, and His laws? Rather than it being merely a forecast of Christ ruling people in the future, the Sabbath is a special link that you have to those things right now. Keeping the Sabbath speaks volumes about how you feel about the Source of the Sabbath and about the Kingdom of Heaven. Consequently, God is offended by those who feel restricted by it and say, “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat?” (Amos 8:5).
God wants children who embrace Him and His way of life, as represented by each Sabbath. “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD…” (Isaiah 58:13-14).
The bottom line is this: If you honor the Shadow, you honor its Source. If you delight in the Shadow, you delight in its Source (Isaiah 58:14). If you remember to keep the Sabbath holy, you remember its holy Source (Exodus 20:10). Conversely, if you casually ignore the Shadow, you casually ignore its Source. If you disrespect the Shadow, you disrespect its Source. God responds in kind to our reverence of Him and His Kingdom: “For those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Samuel 2:30).
The Sabbath is a powerful sign between God and His people (Ezekiel 20:12). Never will their relationship be severed, as the Sabbath will always remain a holy day for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).
The larger question is, “What am I showing God in how I respond to the Shadow of heavenly things that He’s casting?” With the coming of each Sabbath, consider your association with it. God certainly does. Do you truly love Him and His way of life? The Sabbath is a shadow of Him and His godly way of life for all mankind. How you observe each Sabbath is a sign of how you relate to Him. How you regard the Shadow is how you regard its Source, as the two are inexorably entwined.
For more information on the Sabbath, request the booklet Sunset to Sunset: God's Sabbath Rest .