SHADOW TO SUBSTANCE

                        FROM MOSAIC TO THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION                            

As they first existed, religion and God had but few and simple forms. The Sabbath in Eden must have been a kind of "Love Feast" between God and His two sinless worshipers. Afterward it took on sacrifice with confession and prayer, as the offering of sinners to a withdrawn offended Maker. Later, it gathered into itself a fuller and more richly significant ceremonial, as the specially enjoined worship of a chosen and peculiar people. Eventually it became the day of the Lord of the whole earth, full of the memories of all His works in creation, in redemption, and in grace, hallowed to the honor of His name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God's token to man that He fills all time with items for a future reckoning.

The peculiarities of the Mosaic dispensation which preceded Christianity were such as the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Aaronic High-Priesthood, the Annual Atonement, the various offerings and oblations, the show bread, ceremonial purifications, special penalties by which certain laws were enforced, and the burdens of Jewish tradition. These were parts of a temporary ritual, mere "shadows of good things to come", (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16,17; Heb. 7:26-28) which vanished when the substance came in their place. But the Sabbath, like marriage, elements of moral law, the covenant of grace, "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38 KJV), the principle of a ministry, and such like, were permanencies of religion before Moses was born.

At the beginning of the Christian dispensation, the whole relationship between God and man underwent a revolution. The Mediator was changed: Moses to Christ. The law was changed: the Levitical for the Evangelical. The High-Priesthood was changed: that of Aaron for that of Jesus. The promises were changed: those which looked primarily to temporal blessings for those which looked directly to the eternal. The worship was changed: the stately splendid rites of the Temple for the simple spiritual forms of the Church. The Sacraments were changed: the Passover for the Lords Supper and the bloody seal of circumcision for the bloodless laver of baptism. The whole dispensation was changed: that of law and works for that of "GRACE AND TRUTH".

With all these changes, then, isn't it wonderful that the day of worship was changed? Why was the divine rest originally fixed on the SEVENTH DAY of the week? It was because on that day God rested from His work of creation. But on that seventh day the crucified body of Jesus lay in the tomb, and His disciples who later formed the NEW CHURCH, now uttered their low, sad wail of fasting and mourning. At that moment it was totally unfit for a day of celebration.

On the next day, however – the glad FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, Jesus rose by divine power, from the dead, and reactivated His wailing disciples to joy and gladness. From that moment the FIRST DAY became the only fit day of the week for a celebration. Also, later on the FIRST DAY of the week, the disciples were gathered in a closed room, Jesus showed up in their midst and announced “PEACE IS WITH YOU”. (John 20:19 NKJV)

Still weeks later, the disciples were gathered together on the FIRST DAY of the week, (see Lev. 23:15,16) the Day of Pentecost. Here Jesus delivered the promised Comforter. (Acts 2:1-6) Thus Jesus hallowed the FIRST DAY of the week as a divine day of rest throughout the evangelic age. Thus what He gave, in and through His inspiring example, His apostles kept and perpetuated, in and through the example of their inspired practice.

 During the ministry of Paul, the disciples, following the now clearly indicated will of their Master, - "NOW ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, WHEN THE DISCIPLES CAME TOGETHER TO BREAK BREAD . . . “ (Acts 20:7 NKJV)

No precept or command was ever given for the abolition of any special days or practices under the post Christian eras such as the Passover, circumcision, Feast of Weeks, etc. The New Testament teaches by three means: command, apostolic example and necessary inference. There is no command to meet on the FIRST DAY of the week - just examples of the apostles and disciples. There is no command for no circumcision, rather teaching circumcision of the heart, such as Colossians 2:8-11. Those early converts to Christianity were slow to give up their old rituals, feasts and observances. However, divine wisdom via the Holy Spirit permitted the gospel to sweep over nations of Jews and gentiles; till finally the mighty judgments of God came over unbelieving nations. The beloved city was swept over by the Roman Empire, A.D. 70, destroying the temple. There was no need for words beyond Jesus' teachings to enact change for the old to the new, such as the Passover giving way to the Lord's Supper. The change came about by Divine Action via the moving of the Holy Spirit. He who instituted and He who changed were one and the same. 

     Just A Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don.  

                    

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Created March 23, 2019 

© 2009-2020 by Donald R. "Don" Brown, of Farmington, MO - U.S.A

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Each devotional was written by Parson Don Brown, and inspired under God's Direction

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