Reformed Covenanter blog posts on the Sabbath

This week's post comes once again from J. G. Vos's exposition of the Larger Catechism; with the focus being on the change to the Sabbath to the first day of the week owing to Christ's resurrection:

... 9. Why was the Old Testament Sabbath the seventh day of the week? The Old Testament Sabbath was the seventh (last) day of the week because of God’s example and ordinance at the time of the creation (Gen. 2:1-3). Apart from providing an appointed day for rest and worship, the Sabbath served as a reminder of God’s work of creation. This truth of creation, of course, implies that all things, including human beings, are absolutely dependent on God for their very existence. It also implies that human beings are morally responsible to God for their lives. Thus the weekly Sabbath, commemorating the creation, was calculated to serve as a continually repeated reminder of man’s dependence on God and his moral accountability to God - which is to say that the Sabbath was calculated to serve as a constant reminder of the very foundations of religion and morality.

10. Why is the Christian Sabbath on the first day of the week? The Christian Sabbath, or the Lord’s Day is on the first day of the week in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Thus it may he said that the Old Testament Sabbath commemorated God’s original creation, while the Christian Sabbath in addition calls attention to God’s new creation, his great work of redemption in Jesus Christ.

11. Who changed the day of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week? Our Lord Jesus Christ, by the accomplishment of his great redemptive work, brought about the close of the Old Testament dispensation and the opening of the New Testament dispensation of the covenant of grace. The change from the seventh to the first day of the week is a part of this change of dispensation. It has been observed that our Saviour was crucified on the sixth day of the week, and buried on the evening of the sixth day, and remained in the tomb the whole of the seventh day, and arose from the dead on the first day of the week. Thus Christ buried the Old Testament seventh day Sabbath in the tomb with himself; and left it there, and when he arose he brought with him the New Testament Sabbath, which is to he observed on the first day of the week. ...

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Today's post is from John Holmes Agnew:

There is in Isaiah 58:13, a passage which embraces in a few words, a summary exposition of that part of the law, which requires abstinence from the ordinary employments of the week. It consists in “not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.” Six days are ours in distinction from the seventh, which God calls his own, because on those days we are permitted to give our attention to what is necessary for our temporal well-being and comfort. Our “own ways,” therefore, are not those which are at all times sinful, but those lawful ways which we pursue by God’s authority six days of the week. These are to be suspended on the Sabbath, that we may devote ourselves to those ways which are God’s distinctively from our own.

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This week's extract comes from Dudley Fenner:

Now followeth that duty which one day in seven must be given unto the Lord, in the sanctification of his Sabbath. Remember, So he seemeth to speak, because when as this commandment was before given, they had neglected the same. The Sabbath day to sanctify, that is, to separate it from a common use, and dedicate it to a peculiar and holy use unto the Lord. So the gold, the vessels, &c. were said to be holy and dedicated for the holy use of the Temple, and might not be given or put to any other use: To sanctify a Sabbath therefore, is to call our selves, not from our own sinful ways, which we must do every day, but from out honest and lawful callings, that giving our selves to godly and Christianly exercises of our faith, we may be strengthened in the ways of God, and so in thought, word, and deed consecrate a glorious Sabbath unto the Lord.

Therefore it is called the Sabbath of God, Exod. 20. 10. and Levi. 23. 3. He calleth it a holy convocation, that is, dedicated to holy meetings. So Esai 58. 13. Hereby is confuted their opinion that take it a Sabbath kept, if their rest from their labours, so in the mean time they labour in plays, dancings, vain songs and interludes, &c. as though the Lord had called us from our profitable labour commanded, to displease him in these vanities. Again others also who if they be better then the former, abstaining from those things, have notwithstanding their heads, hearts, and mouths, so full of worldly things, as they do not indeed perform the truth of the Sabbath, when as it should be kept as the rest of the Law, not only in action, but also in the thoughts of the heart and words of the mouth. Esa. 58. Amos. 8. 5.

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