Small Details May Say A Lot (the True Sabbath Rest)

Like I said in my previous blog post, the theme of the Sabbath is the centerpiece of John 5. Ten times Sabbath was mentioned in John’s Gospel, four times in John 5. It should not be a surprise now that we know that the story of John 5 occurred during the Jewish Fall Harvest Festival – the Feast of Booths – ’cause the essence of the said feast is the Sabbath Rest.

The prophet Daniel was led into exile as a youth (Daniel 1:3-6). The said exile was the fulfillment of God’s pronounced judgment against the Judah, the Southern Kingdom, the last remaining territory of the former monarchy of David and Solomon. See Jeremiah 25:3-14

For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all His servants the prophets, saying, “Turn now, every one of you, from his evil ways and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.” Yet you have not listened to Me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations, I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of the mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the milestones and the light of the lamp. The whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after the seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. I will bring upon the land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.

Fast forward to Daniel’s time, he was now perhaps in his eighties, for it had been seventy years since he was exiled to Babylon. See Daniel 9:1-2:

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of Chaldeans – in the first year of his reign, I Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Daniel, now that the Seventy Years Babylonian Captivity had come to passed – the judgment pronounced by God against Judah through his prophet Jeremiah – so he pleaded the LORD for mercy and restoration. The LORD’s answer to Daniel’s prayer and petition may be seen in Daniel 9:24-27. We will only focus on the summary of God’s answer in Daniel 9:24:

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Daniel clearly was told of the final judgment “to finish transgression, to put an end to sin”; the atonement “to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness; and finally, the dwelling presence of God, the tabernacle (booths) “to anoint a most holy place”. Incidentally, the theme of Daniel 9:24 were all elements of John 5.

John 5:30, spoke of Judgment – Feast of Trumpet.

I can do nothing of My own. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him [God the Father] who sent Me.

Next, John 5:21, spoke of Resurrection – Feast of Atonement.

For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will.

Finally, John 5:24, spoke of Eternal Life – Feast of Booths.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Now back to Daniel. He lived during the occupation of the first Gentile kingdom (Babylon) until the second, Mede and Persia, which he understood was to happen when he was asked to tell and interpret the dream of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2). The confirmation of God’s pronouncement that four Gentile kingdoms would rule over Israel before the appearance of the Son of Man, the Anointed One of God, the deliverer of Israel may be seen in Daniel 7. Be assured also that the fulfillment of God’s Messianic Kingdom would occur within the reign of the fourth Gentile kingdom (Daniel 2:40-45). The identity of the three Gentile kingdoms were all named – the first, Babylon (Daniel 2:37-38); the second, Mede and Persia and third, Greece (Daniel 8:20-21); only the four kingdom was left unnamed, but a clue was given. See Daniel 7:7

a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke into pieces and stamped what was left with its feat. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

About 600 years later, the identity of the fourth kingdom was finally revealed by the apostle John. See Revelation 13:1 and 17:7-11.

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. (Revelation 13:1)

But the angel said to me [John], “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the books of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and it to come. This calls for a mind of wisdom: the seven heads are the seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also the seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eight but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction.” (Revelation 17:7-11)

It should be noted that in the Greek, the seven mountains could also be translated as “seven hills,” and there is only one city at the time of the apostle, perhaps even now, that was known to sit on seven hills – that is, Rome. The seven kings, five of whom have fallen refers to the Roman emperors, beginning with (1) Julius Caesar, (2) Augustus Caesar, (3) Tiberius Caesar, (4) Caligula Caesar, (5) Claudius Caesar; “one is,” refers to Nero Caesar – the emperor reigning at the time of Peter, John and Paul.

Now, let us see Revelation 1:9-10.

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

According to the King James Concordance, eleven times “trumpet” was mentioned in the entire New Testament Bible. Six of them in the Book of Revelation; including Revelation 1:10. The Fall Harvest Festival of Leviticus 23, begins with the Feast of Trumpet, then Feast of Atonement and finally, Feast of Booths.

Incidentally, the “Lord’s Day,” of Revelation 1:10, which the Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries said was “from, G2962; belonging to the Lord”, could not be referring to a Sunday, as traditionally suggested, but the Sabbath. See Genesis 2:2-3.

And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.

Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrews Definition defined “holy” as to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate. Therefore, the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, was sanctified, consecrated and set part for the LORD God; hence, the Lord’s Day or a “day belonging to the Lord”.

See also Exodus 20:8-10, of the Ten Commandments:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God … For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

The Lord’s Day cannot be a Sunday, which traditionally was concocted from the phrase “first day of the week” found in every gospel narrative concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

See first, John 19:42 to 20:1.

So because of the Jewish Day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

What is the Day of Preparation? See John 19:31.

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jew asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.

Every Passover and Unleavened Bread Festival, there would be two Sabbaths in the week; a regular Sabbath [the seventh day of the week; Saturday to us] and the High or Special Sabbath, which could be any day of the week as long as it is the fifteenth of Nisan. Leviticus 23:7 said “On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work [Sabbath rest].” The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the beginning of the Passover-week-festival, the fifteenth of Nisan.

The Passover event in Exodus occurred “between the two evenings” (Exodus 12:6-8, translated “twilight”), beginning on the fourteenth of Nisan, which was the Preparation for the Passover. The Jewish day begins at sunset, and ends before sunset (6pm to before 6pm); unlike ours which is 12 midnight to before 12 midnight. Hence, Exodus 12:39 said,

At midnight [Hebrew “middle of two night” H2677 & H3915] the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt …

Jesus, then, was crucified on the day of Preparation (John 19:14). He was buried before sundown, the beginning of the High Sabbath, 15th of Nisan (John 19:30,42). Now, in John 20:1, “first day of the week” in the Greek actually means on “one Sabbath or first Sabbath” – meaning, first Sabbath after the High Sabbath. Yes, “Sabbath (G4521, from Hebrew H7676) but was somehow translated “week” by the English translation of the Bible.

See again John 19:42 to 20:1

So because the Jewish Day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. Now on the [One] first [Sabbath] day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

Interlinear Bible for John 20:1,

<1161> The first <3391> day of the week <4521> cometh <2064> (5736) Mary <3137> Magdalene <3094> early <4404>, when it was <5607> (5752) yet <2089> dark <4653>, unto <1519> the sepulchre <3419>, and <2532> seeth <991> (5719) the stone <3037> taken away <142> (5772) from <1537> the sepulchre <3419>.

A check on an interlinear Bible said “The first” G3391, irregular feminine of G1520, which Thayer’s Greek Definition defined to mean “one”. Next, “day of the week” G4521, defined by Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries as “Of Hebrew origin” [H7676] – the Sabbath.

Now, see also Mark 15:42,47 to 16:1-2.

And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation [14th of Nisan], that is, the day before the Sabbath [15th of Nisan] … Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus saw where He was laid. When the Sabbath [High] was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first [One, G1520] day of the week [Sabbath, G4521], when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.

See also Luke 23:56 to 24:1.

Then they returned and prepared the spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath [High] they rested according to the commandment. But on the first [One, G1520] day of the week [Sabbath, G4521], at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.”

Lastly, Matthew 28:1

Now after the Sabbath [High], toward the dawn of the first [One, G1520] day of the week [Sabbath, G4521], Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Now Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5:7 declared Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb that has been sacrificed. Then, in 1 Corinthians 15:23, Christ was the firstfruits, speaking of His resurrection. Therefore, another proof that Jesus could not have resurrected on a Sunday, as traditional taught and believed, rather on a Sabbath, fulfilling the Feast of Firstfruits of Leviticus 23, which occurred on a Sabbath, following the High Sabbath.

See Leviticus 23:10-11,15-16 from the NASB translation, a literal word-for-word translation.

Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath

To count seven complete sabbaths, then the beginning of the count must also be on a Sabbath; thereby, the day after the High Sabbath refers to the regular weekly Sabbath. Clearly then, Jesus resurrected back to life on a Sabbath, not Sunday; let me say it again, fulfilling therefore the Feast of Firstfruits.

Let me repeat it again, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 5:7 declared Jesus Christ, as the Passover Lamb, that has been sacrificed. Then, in 1 Corinthians 15:23, Christ was the firstfruits, speaking of His resurrection. Therefore, once more, another proof that Jesus could not have resurrected on a Sunday, as traditional taught and believed, rather on a Sabbath, fulfilling the Feast of Firstfruits of Leviticus 23:10-11, which occur always on a Sabbath following the High Sabbath.

It all make sense then that it was on a Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, that John heard a loud voice like a trumpet, for the events narrated throughout the Book of Revelation spoke of the Last Day, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Fall Harvest Festivals of Leviticus 23.

Revelation 14:6-7,13

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water … And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. ‘Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!'”

By the way, “a loud voice” in Revelation 1:10 was said to be “like a trumpet,” so similarly “a loud voice” in Revelation 14:7 must also be “like a trumpet,” which declared the arrival of the time of God’s judgment. Following the sound of the trumpet, a voice from heaven then declared “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Blessed indeed, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

The significance of Revelation 14:13 may be seen through the words of Hebrews 4:9-10.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

Perhaps that was why Jesus would heal even on a Sabbath, indicating therefore, that He was working – first to make Himself known and believe by people (John 6:29) and second, to fulfill the true Sabbath Rest (Revelation 14:13; Hebrews 4:9-10), which would be a reality only after God rested on His work (Hebrews 4:9-10). So the apostle’s narrative on John 5:16-17 makes real sense now.

And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

It should be worth mentioning then, that on top of the Seven Jewish Feasts of Leviticus 23 was the command to observed the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3), since that was the essence of all the festivities of Israel, the fulfillment or the renewal of Genesis 2:2-3.

See Leviticus 23:3.

Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.

Next, Genesis 2:2-3.

And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.

A small detail indeed reveals a lot. We must seek to know the true teachings of the Scripture. Traditions have blinded us from understanding the true essence of the Sabbath, which speaks of the salvation plan of God. Not until God have rested from His work, His creation would never experience and understand the true Sabbath Rest of God. See Revelation 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling place [tabernacle] of God is with man, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

The doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus and His fulfillment of the Final Harvest Feast, the Fall Festivals, need not be slice into actual detailed events ’cause Paul said

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raise imperishable, and we will be changedBut when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52,56)

Truly, a little deflection from the truth can indeed lead to a devastating false assumption. The Roman Empire, the fourth Gentile kingdom reigning over Israel, ceased to exist for more than a millennia now. So what does that tell us? Be reminded that God showed Daniel that the Messianic reign of Jesus Christ would occur within the time of the fourth Gentile kingdom, Rome. The Bible never spoke of a revived Roman Empire. Don’t you think we ought to take seriously our study of the Bible?

P.S. I have always wanted to understand the doctrine of the last things, eschatology. It was quite important and personal to me, for I wanted to be assured of what happened after death. That was the question that bothered me while I was at the wake of my only son. It’s been twenty years now. Glory be to God that finally I now comprehend Scripture, and the Lord Jesus Christ has graciously provided me understanding concerning the said doctrine.

The Lord graciously guided me and my family to know Jesus Christ, and it all began at the wake of my son, who, by the way, posthumously witnessed about God’s goodness through a penholder he had given me months before he went to be with the Lord. Perhaps that would be told at another blog posting.

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Published by Eric

I am a pastor. In the course of leading Bible studies, I have noticed inconsistencies in the traditional Christian beliefs and teachings. So now I am on a journey of in-depth study of the Scripture. By the grace of God, having been liberated by the truths of the Word of God, now I am doing the ministry independently, teaching the Word of God.

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