Richard Gaffin on the relationship between the first day Sabbath and biblical eschatology 

Richard Gaffin, in the last footnote of his article “A Sabbath Rest Still Awaits the People of God” (in Pressing Toward the Mark, edited by Charles Dennison and Rochard Gamble), beautifully expresses the significance of the change of the Sabbath day from the seventh day of the week to the first day:

…the shift of the weekly Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day reflects the present eschatological situation of the church – the change to the first day is an index of eschatology already realized, of the eschatological new-creation rest inaugurated by Christ, especially by his resurrection; the continuation of a weekly rest-day is a sign of eschatology still future, a pointer to the eschatological rest to come at Christ’s return. (page 51n37)

We begin our week with rest, rather than ending it with rest, for rather than anticipating the rest Christ was to bring his people (as the Old Covenant saints did), we already experience it now and work forward from and out of that rest. We continue to observe the 4th commandment by keeping a weekly day of rest, because the eternal rest of Hebrews 4 is not yet ours. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus – and until then, let us delight in our Sabbath days spent in close fellowship with Him!


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