Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we pointed out that in the economy of His salvation God has enlivened us, has nailed the law to the cross, and has stripped off the rulers and authorities. According to Paul’s word in 2:14, the handwriting in ordinances, which was against us and contrary to us, has been taken out of the way. For a certain period of time, the law was in the way. Although God made use of the law, it was rather difficult for Him to move on to carry out His economy with the law in the way. Hence, when Christ was crucified, God came in to take the law out of the way by nailing it to the cross.
I hope that many Seventh-Day Adventists, who insist on the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, will come to see the difference between God’s economy and the keeping of the Sabbath. According to the Old Testament, the Sabbath was a token of God’s creation. After laboring for six days, God rested on the seventh day, which became the Sabbath. Hence, the seventh day became a testimony of the old creation. It testified that creation came from God’s hand. As part of the old creation, man is obligated to keep the seventh day. However, the new creation came into existence on the first day of the week, on the day the Lord Jesus was resurrected from among the dead. Through Christ’s resurrection, the new creation, including the church constituted of the regenerated believers in Christ, was produced. Therefore, as the seventh day was a token of the old creation, the eighth day, the first day of the week, is a token of the new creation. For this reason, nowhere in the New Testament are we told that Christians met together to worship on the seventh day. But at least two verses indicate that the saints met on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7 says that on “the first day of the week...the disciples came together to break bread.” This indicates that during the time of the Apostle Paul the saints gathered to remember the Lord on the first day of the week. This shows that this day is a memorial of God’s new creation. Because as believers we are in the new creation, we no longer are obligated to observe the seventh day. Instead, we come together on the first day of the week to remember the Lord Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul says, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” This verse also strongly confirms the fact that the early Christians met on the first day of the week, not on the seventh day. Because they came together on this day, that was the best time to gather together their offerings to the Lord.
Some Seventh-Day Adventists point out that it was Paul’s practice to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Yes, this was Paul’s practice, but his purpose was not to keep the Sabbath or to worship God. It was to take advantage of the opportunity to preach the gospel to the Jews.
Another indication of the importance of the first day of the week in the New Testament is found in Revelation 1:10. Here the Apostle John tells us that he was “in spirit on the Lord’s day.” The Lord’s Day is the first day of the week, the day the Lord was resurrected. As we have pointed out, the early church met on this day. On the Lord’s Day, a testimony of God’s new creation, John was in spirit to see visions related to God’s economy.
Even the types in Leviticus 23 show the importance of the first day of the week. The children of Israel were to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest to the priest to be waved before the Lord (vv. 10-11). We are told specifically that “on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” The “morrow after the sabbath” is, of course, the eighth day, or, the first day of the week. Furthermore, Leviticus 23:16 speaks of “the morrow after the seventh sabbath.” This day was the day of Pentecost, which was also on the first day of the week. These verses are a further indication of the place of the eighth day in God’s economy.
We have seen that in God’s economy the seventh day is a memorial of the old creation, whereas the eighth day is a memorial of the new creation. Because the Jews are still in God’s old creation, they continue to keep the seventh day. But because we, the church, are in the new creation and no longer in the old creation, we are not required to keep the seventh day. Instead, we gather together on the first day of the week, the day which marks a new beginning in resurrection. Hence, those believers in Christ who advocate the observance of a seventh-day Sabbath are short of the proper knowledge of the Bible. For believers in Christ, the memorial day should no longer be the Sabbath; it should be the first day of the week, the day the Lord Jesus was resurrected from among the dead. Through His resurrection on the first day of the week, we were regenerated (1 Pet. 1:3). Now we are no longer in the old creation, but in the new creation.
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