What does the Sabbath Really Mean?

By Pastor Jess Foglesong

Later this year, my wife and I are taking a few days off. We are taking a trip on baord a ship -- with family -- out of San Francisco, and lazily making our way down the California and Baja/Mexican coast. We have been looking forward to this for months.

It is very important to take the time to just get away, and enjoy God’s glorious creations; no matter where you live. Put it on your schedule to take a week or two each year to pause and reflect. And the best way is to step away from the everyday hustle and bustle. Even if it is just a drive somewhere for an overnight stay, or better yet -- longer. It does the human soul good! It refreshes and restores the mind -- and perhaps the body as well.

Symbolically, the Sabbath is a time to rest; a time to reflect; and a time of peace. God created the heavens and earth in 6 days, but on the 7th day He rested. He -- as part of His true character -- has placed into His standing Law: a day of rest called: The Sabbath. It is written in the Ten Commandments (4th Commandment): "Remember the Sabbath Day, Keep it Holy."

But what does the Sabbath really mean?

Because God announces that it is a "holy" day … then what He really means is that it is holy because He is holy; and if He is holy, then wouldn’t the Sabbath really describe Himself? Isn’t God saying that we should all put our trust “in” Him; that we should “rest” in Him?

Now we are understanding the character of God much better.  He is really saying: Let Me do the Work, then let’s all celebrate what I have done … rest “in Me.” Therefore, let’s leave all of our works behind, and let us be in peace within the Father; with God. Let’s honor God for His grace, for His provision, attentiveness, for His love and for His willingness to save us from certain death; and for bringing us home to Him.

Now isn’t that something?

There was a time when it was part of the Hebrew Law (and of course it still is, to Orthodox Jews), but since the onset of the Christ, Jesus … The Cross and Resurrection, the Sabbath since has taken on a new meaning: The Christ is the Sabbath! We are to put all of our trust and rest in our Sacrificial Lamb; our redeemer and representative. He becomes the Sabbath; and within His “rest” … we are accepted as Free People (Born Again) of the New Kingdom of God.

It is truly a remarkable concept: we were lost; then we were redeemed (by His works);and now we can “rest” in His Sabbath; in His abode. Wow!!

Actually, the Sabbath comes in many different forms, as illustrations: When each of us go to sleep at night: that is the Sabbath. When winter comes and the trees and plants lose their leaves and become bare and dormant: that is the Sabbath. When animals hibernate in the winter: that is the Sabbath … and when we finally take a break and go on a vacation: that certainly is the Sabbath! All are illustrations of God’s Rest, and part of His Character.  And He wants all of us to remember His rest (His Sabbath); for us to honor Him by taking time for ourselves in that "rest."   

And so as I mentioned, off we go on a vacation; and we will treat ourselves in many days of rest and recuperation -- symbolically, we will let ourselves go, knowing and understanding that we (who believe in Him) have placed our entire soul and self within His hands and total care; and knowing that the Father and the Son are our -- Sabbath.

This … gives us total pleasure and complete rest and satisfaction.