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Celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week was a sign of the Old Covenant that God made with the Jews.  The Sabbath honored God as the Creator.  It was very good.  However, the fullness of its importance was not to be realized until the coming of Christ and the New Covenant.  The Sabbath of the Old Covenant pointed toward a greater reality beyond itself, a new and better Sabbath that honors God not just as Creator, but also as Redeemer and Sanctifier as God remakes us into His adopted children.   Since Christians are under the New Covenant we have a new seventh day which is the eighth day, or first day of the week and every seven days after that.  Just as the Old Covenant prefigured the New Covenant, celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day prefigures and points us toward the celebrating our community worship and the renewing of the consecrating of ourselves to God in Christ who was  "raised for our justification" [ Romans 4:25]  on the first day of the week in the New Covenant.  And so for Christians the Lord's Day, the First Day of the week, and every seven days after that became the new day for community worship and the breaking of the bread.  This change, which is God's will, took place while Jesus’ faithful apostles were still alive.

Luke 24:1,32-35
1  But on the first day of the week .. .
32 They [the disciples] said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he [Jesus] talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"    .. . ..
35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


Jesus is God.  Accordingly, He has full authority to interpret His own law, and to change it.
Jesus offended the Pharisees of his day by working on the Sabbath and performing miracles.  It was on the Sabbath that He healed a man’s withered hand in Matthew 12:9-14.  Also on the Sabbath, He healed a woman who had curvature of the spine, Luke 13:10-17.  And in John 9:1-33, He heals a man born blind on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees also complained that Jesus let His disciples work on the Sabbath in Matthew 12: 1-8.  Jesus replied Matthew 12:8  "…For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath."  Instead of the Pharisee’s strict literal interpretation of the command "You shall do no work," Jesus provides us with a deeper understanding of Sabbath.  The Sabbath is not an end in itself.  Mark 2:27  "And he said to them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath;’ "


God commanded man to rest on every seventh day not because God got tired and  He needed it, but because man needed it.  God was giving us an example to follow.   Man was made on the sixth day with the other animals.  We work as do the animals of the field (e.g. oxen.)   We have dominion over the earth as other animal have dominion in their areas, for example lions and tigers in the jungle, bears in the woods and arctic, and alligators in the swamp, etc.  However,  unlike the other animals, even though we are made on the sixth day we are made for the seventh day.  We are made in the image of God.

God blesses and sanctifies or hallows, that is, He sets apart the seventh day, to reveal man’s ultimate destiny.  The Sabbath signifies two things:  One, unlike the other animals we will not find our fulfillment and happiness in just working for our food and our other bodily needs because we have a spiritual as well as physical nature.  Second, the purpose of man’s creation is to be in a covenant relationship with God and only in Him will we find true rest for our souls and lasting happiness.  We are made to love and worship God and to be united with Him in His Covenant.  By establishing the Old Covenant God entered into a relationship with man and He blessed him with the privilege to worship his Creator.

Because of Original Sin man has a tendency to wonder away from God.  Perhaps this is why God commanded the Jews to "remember" the sign of  the Old Covenant in order to help them regain their focus.   "It (the sabbath) is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money."   CCC  # 2172   -  The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Sabbathing on the seventh day is a sign of the glory of the Old Covenant.  However, it only prefigured the glory of the New Covenant.  Our destiny is to worship God in heaven.

2 Corinthians 3:5-10    "…our competence is from God,  who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.   Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness, fading as this was,  will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor?   For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor.   Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it."   RSV     The Sabbath ceremonial law was carved in stone, but it has been replaced with the greater glory that comes to us in the New Covenant.

     "The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation.  The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of  creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first  creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation."   CCC  # 349.

    If we only follow our animalistic instincts we will not find lasting peace and true joy.  We are set apart from the other animals.  The Sabbath indicated man’s need to worship God.  In order to find true happiness in our lives we must become united to the One in who’s image we are made.

However, we are only able to reach our full destiny and become His children and worship God as we should by entering into the New Covenant, but this is only made possible by receiving the grace that was won for us by Jesus Christ.  The Sabbath of the Old Covenant only prefigured the new seventh day set apart by Christ in the New Covenant, the first day of the week.  Jesus set apart the first day of the week by manifesting His power and glory with His resurrection.  Since the Sabbath pointed to our need to worship God and to be united with Him in Covenant it has given way to our new seventh day of the New Covenant since only the New Covenant enables us to worship God as He desires and to be united with Him in heaven.
    Only by His power and grace are we enabled to worship God as we should.  John 4:23-24  "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.   God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."  RSV   God desires that we worship Him with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is only made possible by the New Covenant.  (Cf. Jn 16: 7)  And Jesus desires that we worship Him in His Church that He founded  (Cf. Mat. 16: 13-19.)  and to which He sent the Holy Spirit,  And of this Church it is called in 1 Timothy 3:15    "…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth."  RSV  Under the New Covenant the Church received the Holy Spirit on the first day of the week on Pentecost Sunday so that they could worship God as they should.  Romans 8:26  "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words."   RSV
Because He is our older Brother His resurrection on the first day of the week  points to our own resurrection when He will raise us up after our death so that we will be able to enter heaven, our eternal rest, so that we may worship God forever.  So, the first day of the week is set apart as we look to that heavenly rest that is only made possible by the New Covenant.  Acts 4:10-12   "…the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth… And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."  In order to enter heaven we must receive the grace that was won for us by Jesus Christ and thereby become justified.  What Jesus did for us on the first day of the week cannot be over stated.  It was on that day that He was "raised for our justification" Romans 4:25.


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