Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

The sabbath restored in Christ

When the Lord God had made all things he rested on the seventh day, and since man was made in the image of God and was adorned with the image of God, man was right and good, and without any sin.  If man had remained in this state, he would have rested with God.  But because man so soon transgressed God’s word, he at the same time was overtaken with unrest in body and soul.  Hence God commanded him to rest on the seventh day.  Man could not, however, return to his first or Edenic rest in body and soul, yet this rest day was to man a figure that a rest of both body and soul was awaiting mankind (Hebrews 4:4, 11).

But this sabbath or rest day for the soul had to be fulfilled by Jesus; and afterward also for the glorified body, when all things shall be fulfilled and restored.

Jesus went forth from the Father and came into the world, into the flesh, that he might by his flesh take away the enmity — the sin of the transgression of the law — and by his blood redeem man from the sin of Adam which had brought so much unrest to body and soul that man could not obtain rest (1 John 4:2; Ephesians 5:16).  He came and by the gospel proclaimed the peace of the kingdom of God; and by his suffering and death and resurrection, and by his gospel, rest was found for the soul (Matthew 11:29), and was obtained by coming to Jesus.   Jesus offered up sin, the enemy of the soul, by the sacrifice of his own body on the tree (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 2:24).  In Jesus there is rest for the soul, the spiritual eternal sabbath that has no end; in Jesus this sabbath must be obtained.

By faith we receive Jesus, and by faith in Jesus we must make an end of the service of sin, our own sinful works, turn away from them and by faith in Jesus do the works meet for repentance; then the believer enters into the rest of the soul, the spiritual sabbath of the soul in Jesus, which Jesus has wrought in his own body on the tree.  Then the believer is in the day of salvation and the day of light (2 Corinthians 6:2; John 5:12; 11:9).  This is then the spiritual sabbath day for the soul of the believers, in which they shall rest and hallow in both soul and body from the works of sin.  This sabbath shall be hallowed by the praise of God in his word, by a holy life in the wedding garment of the Spirit (Revelation 19:7, 8; Jeremiah 17:21).  Then shall the believers not carry any burden of sin through the gates of Jerusalem, nor out of their houses on the holy sabbath.

The keeping of the sabbath by the believers in Israel consists in rest from the works of sin; and even if the believer through weakness or ignorance does a work of sin then comes in his sorrow and calls upon God through Christ, Jesus is the propitiation for sin (1 John 2:12).

The true believers shall hallow the fulfilled sabbath of the Lord and not knowingly or wilfully sin against the command of the Lord, either in the inward or the outward man.  The believers must strive to live holy in body and soul, that body and soul may obtain the future sabbath restored by Christ in the everlasting kingdom.  Consider well therefore the fulfillment of the sabbath by Christ and keep it as far as lies in your power.

[Excerpted from Restitution, written by Henry Funck, the first Mennonite bishop in North America.  Henry Funck died in 1760 and the book was first published in 1763 by his children.]

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