As regard the Shabbat, I at this moment want to say two things. One: In all the epistles of Paul to the Gentile based churches with all his many instructions spelled out by him to the Gentile believers he never stressed the absolute need for them in Rome, Philippi or other places to keep the Shabbat.
Two: the opposite, the only time he mentions the Shabbat, is in his epistle to the Colossians 2:16-17:
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
In his epistle to the Romans he further explains:
“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks,” Romans 14:5-6.
However there may come a time when all Israel will be spiritually restored and we will see happen what many of us – also you – have prayed for: the restitution of all things when the people of Israel will be grafted back as a nation in their own tree into which we as gentile believers, through the mercy of God, have been grafted into that tree.
THEN and maybe only THEN in honor of the restitution of all things – we as gentile believers will keep the Shabbat with restored Israel.
In relation to all this the observance of the Shabbat may be most sensitive. First of all because it is listed as one of the 10 Commandments and also because in relation to at least end time Israel it is required to be kept by those gentiles or strangers who have joined themselves to the Lord and Israel even as Ruth of old did and are being admonished by the Lord to keep the Shabbat.
Here is the passage:
“Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord Speak, saying, “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”; nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants – everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant – even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him,” Isaiah 56:3-8.
So the day may soon come when in honor to the coming back of the Jews on their own olive tree where we already now find ourselves grafted in as believers from the nations we will together with Israel keep the Shabbat as the day of the Lord.
~ Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director
International Christian Zionist Center
Newsletter of December 3, 2015.
Republished with the kind permission of Author Jan Willem van der Hoeven, Director of International Christian Zionist Center.
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