The Sabbath/Lord's Day as a Sign

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Puritan Board Doctor
"You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, 'Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord , sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord . Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'" (Ex 31:13 -17, ESV)

"Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. " (Ezekiel 20:12, ESV)

"I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God." (Ezek 20:19-20,ESV)

In what sense was the Sabbath a sign, and in comparison to the other commandments?

In what sense is the Christian Sabbath/Lord's Day a sign, if at all?


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
It was a sign, in that it pointed to the realities that are above and future. Signs point.

It was a sign pointing to the God who sanctifies his people, in that HE hallowed the first thing, a day, and that day was made for man (as Jesus said) to commune with God.

It pointed to the rest above, the rest in God, the rest that not even the Promised Land could provide, but was itself a sign.

It still points to that rest, which is why Heb.4 explicitly states: "There remains a sabbath-keeping for the people of God." It is our foretaste of heaven; it is for us that we may know the Lord who sanctifies us.


Puritan Board Freshman
I say 'Amen' to the above explanation.

I greatly appreciate and recommend Joseph Pipa's "The Lord's Day" where he explains this in great detail.

He mentions that the sign points in two directions (as it did with Israel) but the meaning of the sign has changed. For the church it points backwards and reminds us that as we rest in Him, all our sins are forgiven. It also points forward and reminds us of the return of Christ and our perfect and eternal rest.
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