The Sabbath: A Shadow

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The Sabbath

A Shadow

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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 Colossians 2:16-17 [16] Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: [17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
American King James Version×
, King James Version).

Paul referred in part to the Sabbath as “a shadow of things to come” (Colossians 2:17 Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
American King James Version×
). 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 Exodus 31:13-17 [13] Speak you also to the children of Israel, saying, Truly my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the LORD that does sanctify you. [14] You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. [15] Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. [16] Why the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. [17] It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
American King James Version×
). 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 Amos 8:5Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
American King James Version×
).

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 Isaiah 58:13-14 [13] 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 of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: [14] Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
American King James Version×
).

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 Isaiah 58:14Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
American King James Version×
). If you remember to keep the Sabbath holy, you remember its holy Source (Exodus 20:10 Exodus 20:10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
American King James Version×
). 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 1 Samuel 2:30Why the LORD God of Israel said, I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD said, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
American King James Version×
).

The Sabbath is a powerful sign between God and His people (Ezekiel 20:12 Ezekiel 20:12Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
American King James Version×
). Never will their relationship be severed, as the Sabbath will always remain a holy day for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
American King James Version×
).

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.

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