Matt 28:1 A Glorious Sabbath 4/19/2009 ßà
#1. A New Series of Sabbaths (Matt 28:1)
#2. A Glorious Sabbath (2Cor 3:7-15)
#3. When Were We Saved? (Eph 2:3-5, John 3:3, Tit 3:4-6)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 28:1 (2X). In our study of the Gospel of Matthew we have arrived at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But before we leave this topic I would like to spend a few more words on the precise wording that God chose to describe the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have already seen that many things have absolutely changed after the death of Christ. And today we want to discuss one more important change that was caused by the death of Christ. We shall first read this account of the resurrection in the Gospel of Matthew:
Mt 28:1-10 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
It is clear that the resurrection occurred on Sunday morning. All the Scriptures agree that Christ rose from the grave on Sunday morning, and that the previous day was a Saturday Sabbath. For example, we read in Luke 23:56-24:1, “And (the women) returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” They rested on the Sabbath day, and then God specifically mentioned, “according to the commandment”, by which we understand that this refers specifically to the Seventh Day Sabbath. Also we read in Mark 16:1, “And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” By which we also understand that the previous day was a Saturday Sabbath. Even the Lord Jesus Christ rested on the Sabbath, His body rested perfectly in the grave on the Sabbath, for His body did not undergo corruption. This was a perfect Sabbath rest, for Jesus as well as for the disciples and the women who followed Him. Moreover, when we read in the Bible about “the preparation day”, or “the day of preparation”, it refers to the day before the Sabbath when people prepared for the absolute rest they were going to have on the next day. For example, they prepared the foods that they were going to eat on the Sabbath, like our mothers used to do a century ago. We read about the day of preparation in Matt 27:62, “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,” by which we understand that the Lord Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation, which is Friday. The Bible confirms the same fact in Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, and John 19:14. Moreover, we read in John 19:31 something more about this particular Sabbath, which was called a “High Day”.
Joh 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
This particular Sabbath was called a High Day because the Sabbath and the Passover fell on the same day, and thus it was a special holy day. I am emphasizing this point, because there are people who claim that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Wednesday. But first, let us look at a new revelation which was revealed in Matt 28:1. We read here in Matt 28:1 about:
#1. A New Series of Sabbaths (Matt 28:1)
Mt 28:1 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first (day) of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
This is not an accurate translation. These days we can check up on the translators, even when we do not know any Greek or Hebrew, for we now have at our disposal a Hebrew or Greek Interlinear, where the Hebrew or Greek words have been translated word by word, and now we have at our disposal a Strong’s Concordance, or even better a Young’s Concordance. Also, today we have Bible software which can give us even more information than the Interlinear or Concordance can provide. From our Bible software we can conclude that the King James Bible is by far a more accurate translation than any of the other newer translations, for the King James Bible is by design a word by word translation, whereas the other Bibles are not. But here and there the translation of the KJV could be improved, for it is only a product of man’s hands, and thus it should not be expected to be perfect. Only the original Hebrew and Greek texts can be called the inspired Word of God. And here, in Matt 28:1, the translators really messed it up. To begin with, the concept of a seven day “week” does not exist in the Greek. The Egyptians had a ten day period, and the Romans had an eight day period, but neither period is called “week”. The seven day week is of particular Semitic origin, and was not introduced into the Roman Empire until the beginning of the expansion of the Christian religion in the Roman Empire. And so, what we find in Matt 28:1 reads in the Greek text literally as follows:
Mt 28:1 At the end of the Sabbaths (Plural), as it began to dawn toward the first (day) of the Sabbaths (Plural), came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
The word “day” was an insertion by the translators, indicated by the word written in italics. The word “week” did not exist at all. Instead we find twice the same plural word Sabbaths, which is the Greek word “sabbaton”. What does this mean? We know that it was Sunday morning. The Saturday Sabbath had just passed. But why was this particular Saturday Sabbath indicated by the plural word for Sabbaths? And now Sunday began to dawn. But why is this particular Sunday called the first of the Sabbaths, plural? Why are both the Saturday Sabbath and the following Sunday indicated by the plural word for Sabbaths? Is it not to indicate that a series of Sabbaths has come to an end, and that a new series of Sabbaths was beginning? And that is indeed so. We cannot reason this conclusion away by claiming that the word “sabbaton” means week, for the word “sabbaton” has sometimes been translated as a singular Sabbath, meaning the Saturday Sabbath. The plural Greek word has been translated into a singular English word. That in itself is an indication that the translations have not been as faithful as they could be. But when we hold on to the literal meaning of the word “sabbaton”, meaning Sabbaths, plural, then we can make some sense out of the verses where we find this word. And indeed, the meaning is that a series of Sabbaths has come to an end, and that a new series of Sabbaths was beginning. The series of Saturday Sabbaths has come to an end, and a new series of Sunday Sabbaths has come in its place. This means, without a doubt, that the Saturday Sabbath as a special day of worship has been replaced by the Sunday Sabbath as a special day of worship. We have already seen that the Passover was changed to the Lord’s Supper; and circumcision as the sign of the covenant has been changed to Water Baptism as the sign of the covenant; and the descendants of Jacob are no longer called Jews but they are now called “the synagogue of Satan”; and instead those who have been saved by grace are called Jews and children of Abraham; and Jerusalem there east of the Mediterranean is no longer called the city of God, but the city of God is now called “New Jerusalem” which is in heaven; and the nation of Israel is no longer the favorite nation of God, but Christ is called Israel, and all those who are in Christ are called the Israel of God, and so on. All these changes are in the Bible, if we only are willing to see them. But the apostate church will not see these changes. Let us now address the apostate church:
Please put a sticker in Matt 28, and please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 22:18 (2X). You can easily find this for it is on the last page of your Bibles. God gave us the transition from the OT economy to the NT economy of the Gospel to let us see and judge when churches have gone apostate. It is very important for us to know when churches have gone apostate, for then we will know which churches to avoid when we are looking for a church. God gave us in Rev 22:18-19 the sharp edge of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Sword of the Word of God. We read in Rev 22:18-19,
Re 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
God says here, without a doubt, that if anyone claims to have another message from God, which was given after the day that God gave this revelation to John and to the churches, that this person is lying, for God is finished giving Divine revelations to mankind, and God will subject this person to the plagues which are written in this Book, the Bible. One of those plagues is written in Rev 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever.” Likewise, God will subject anyone to those same plagues who take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, the Bible, who dare to take away any word or sentence from the Bible, for that is just as bad as adding to the Bible.
Now, there are many churches today which have moved their worship day from Sunday to Saturday. This was not an existing heresy until about 150 years ago when Ellen G. White received a dream where she saw a table of the Ten Commandments with a halo around the fourth commandment. She accepted this as a message from God that the church should be worshipping on Saturday, rather than Sunday. From that day forward the church where she was a prominent member, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, began to worship on Saturday, and since then many churches have followed their lead. But how should we analyze this movement? We should plainly recognize that these churches are following the lead of Ellen G. White, who claimed to have received a message from God. But that is impossible, for God has ceased from giving Divine messages since He dictated the last page of the Bible to John in Rev 22:18. And thus, the message that Ellen G. White has received in a dream was not from God, but from the Devil, and those who think they are worshipping God on Saturday are in actuality worshipping Satan. Today there are many churches which have jumped on the bandwagon, for the people in their congregations prefer to come to church on Saturday, rather than on Sunday. But God has commanded us to come to church on Sunday, for this is God’s holy day. But lies die hard.
Please turn in your Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 20:7 (2X). In the past 150 years the apostate church has been active in spreading lies about their supposedly righteous act of worshipping on Saturday. For example, they claim that it was not God, but it was Emperor Constantine who changed Saturday worship to Sunday worship. This is plain nonsense, for we read in Acts 20:7,
Ac 20:7 ¶ And upon the first day of the week (sabbaton, plural) when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
In other words, Paul preached on Sunday until midnight, and then he left Monday morning. The practice of worshipping on Sunday, rather than Saturday was well established in the churches that were evangelized by Paul. Secondly, we read in 1Cor 16:2 about the practice of holding collections for poor saints on Sunday, presumably during the worship service. We read in 1Cor 16:2,
1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week (sabbaton, plural) let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
In other words, let all the money that You intend to give to the poor saints in Jerusalem be already gathered during the worship services on Sundays, so that there would not be any more collections when I come to visit you. Another lie that has been spread is that the Lord Jesus has been crucified in AD 30 rather than in AD 33. The purpose of this lie is that the Passover in AD 30 fell on Wednesday. And thus, by claiming that Christ was crucified on Wednesday, and adding three days and three nights, it means that Christ was raised from the dead on Saturday, and thus they have all the ammunition to worship Christ on Saturday. But this does not at all agree with the 490 years that we should find from Dan 9:24-27 from the going forth of the command unto Messiah the Prince. The year AD 33 fits perfectly, but AD 30 does not fit this prophecy. When we add up all the lies that have been concocted over the years to justify Saturday worship, we find that all those lies do not have any witnesses. But the Bible supports Sunday as the day of worship. We have God as our witness. And God declared in Matt 28:1, and in Mark 16:2, and in Luke 24:1, and in John 20:1, that a new series of Sabbaths was beginning when the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.
#2. A Glorious Sabbath (2Cor 3:7-15)
There are many things I could quote about the OT Saturday Sabbath and likewise I could bring up many things about the NT Sunday Sabbath. But one thing we need to remember, and that is: The NT economy of the Gospel is far more glorious than the OT economy of the Gospel, because the latest revelation carries the greater weight. Please turn to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 2Cor 3:7 (2X). The Sunday Sabbath is far more glorious than the Saturday Sabbath, because the Saturday Sabbath has its origins in the law, especially the ceremonial law, whereas the Sunday Sabbath has its origins in the death of Christ and in the resurrection of Christ and in salvation by grace and not by the law. We have here a passage where a comparison between the law and grace is made. We read in 2Cor 3:7-15,
2Co 3:7-15 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
In other words, the ministration of the Spirit is far more glorious than the ministration of the law. Let us remember that coming to church on Sunday is going to a spiritual banquet. We are not hindered by trying to obey the law, but we rejoice in doing those things that are pleasing in the sight of God. This is the character of a true child of God. This is the essence of having been saved.
#3. When Were We Saved? (Eph 2:3-5, John 3:3, Tit 3:4-6)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:3 (2X). God tells us in Eph chapter 1 that the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. This was the first time reference. Furthermore, we read in the Bible that we were in Christ when He was crucified. We were crucified with Christ and in Christ. We died with Christ and in Christ. We were buried with Christ and in Christ. We have been raised with Christ and in Christ. This was the second time reference in AD 33. But when in the 20th century we were born into this world we were as wicked as anyone else. Our sins were not erased, and our sinfulness was such an abomination to God that He said in Eph 2:3,
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
We were under the wrath of God, even as others who never become saved. Let those words sink deeply in our minds: Even as others. There was absolutely no difference between the wickedness of those whom God never intended to save, and those whom God has chosen from before the foundation of the world, and for whom Christ has died. And note very well that if Christ has suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for His elect, then He paid completely for all their sins. And yet, when we came into the world 1900 years later, all our sins and all our sinfulness were still cleaving to us like grim death, and absolutely nothing in our entire being was there to indicate that we were going to be rescued from Hell. And indeed, with only two of the three mandatory acts of God in place we were still not saved, and we were still on the way to Hell. How can we explain this? What was the third act of God that was still missing? The third act of God was the work of God the Holy Spirit. The first act of God was the selection by God the Father. The second act of God was the payment for our sins by God the Son who became united with the man Christ Jesus in the Incarnation. Since man sinned, it was man who must pay the payment for sin; but without the incarnation by God the Son even a perfectly sinless man would have been consumed in the process of paying for our sins. The third act of God was the act of regenerating our soul by God the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It means that this third act of God is absolutely necessary to see the kingdom of God. And so, at what point in history is a man called “saved”? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to Titus, Tit 3:4 (2X). We have here one out of many proof texts about the moment of our salvation. Just like in Eph 2:3 God tells us here also in Tit 3:3 of the nine sins that were controlling us before we were saved. We read that we were in the past foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. Then we read in:
Tit 3:4-6 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Did you see that in verse 5? “He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” We see from this verse that the work of the Holy Spirit was, “the washing of regeneration and renewing”, which refers to the washing of sins from our soul, and the renewing refers to giving spiritual life to our dead soul, and making it a soul that desires to serve God instead of Satan. It is only then that we are saved. It is only then that the third act of God has completed all the requirements that God must fulfil in order that we can become saved. You see, the salvation of man is a far more intense and laborious act for God than the creation of this universe and al that is therein. When God created this universe He just spoke, and all material things and energy came into being. But when God wanted to save mankind He had to send God the Son and He had to give His only begotten Son, the man Christ Jesus, and offer Him up for the sins of al those whom He intended to save. That reflects an enormous amount of effort on the part of God. But let us now take a good look at this passage, Tit 3:4-6. When we read in verse 4 of “the kindness and love of God our Savior”, we are reminded that He is not the Savior of everyone in the whole world, for many there are who will have nothing to do with such a Savior, but He is only our Savior. And thus this verse tells us of the limited atonement, or the particular atonement, of Christ. But this understanding and this frame of mind has been given to us by God the Holy Spirit at the time of our regeneration. When we read in verse 5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done” we are reminded that in our total depravity we wanted nothing of Christ; in fact we were the enemies of Christ. When we read in verse 5, “according to his mercy he saved us,” we are reminded that He did not save everyone in the world, but He saved only US, which again points to the limited atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what was still required to save us? It was required that the Holy Spirit would apply the payment that Christ made to our souls, thereby washing our souls completely from our sins. And it was required that the Holy Spirit would change our inner nature, our souls, so that we would be new creatures who would no longer live for gratifying the flesh, but would live for serving God, for if we love God, then we also would want to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. This reflects the irresistible grace by which God the Holy Spirit transforms us from sinners to saints. We are changed from walking after the flesh to walking after the Spirit.
What we have learned from Tit 3:4-6 has puzzled many people to no end. Many people believed that we were saved from the foundation of the world, and that the death of Christ and the actions of God the Holy Spirit were only rubber stamps of what had been already fixed. But that is not so, for we read in 1Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” And thus, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ is the central theme of the Gospel. His crucifixion should not be belittled as a rubber stamp, but it should be elevated as a glorious thing that God has done for our benefit. His crucifixion in AD 33 is effective toward saints who lived and died thousands of years before, and therefore the expression in Rev 13:8, “the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world” expresses this retroactive effect of the cross of Christ. But in the same sense the cross of Christ reaches forward for hundreds of years. Christ suffered and died for our sins even though we did not exist yet, and our souls did not exist yet, and all our sins were still future sins to be committed by people who would still be created as enemies of God. But in what way then were we in Christ from before the foundation of the world? Please turn to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 10:20 (2X). Before the foundation of the world there was only God in three persons, and there was nothing else. Our souls did not exist at that time. Even outer space did not exist, for outer space only comes to existence when matter is created. How then can God say that He placed us in Christ before the foundation of the world? We receive the solution of this puzzle when we read in Luke 10:20,
Luk 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Rejoice not that you have the power to cast out devils, rejoice not that you have power to heal the sick, but rejoice in a far greater blessing than this, which is that your names are written in heaven. Where are our names written in heaven? Is there a book containing all our names? No. Our names were written in the same place where they were for the past eons of time: They were written in the mind of God. When God says that He has placed our names in Christ before the foundation of the world, it means that He has written our names in the mind of God the Son. It was in this sense that we were in Christ when He was crucified. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:4 (2X). Now we can better understand when God writes about our representatives, Adam and Christ. Adam was our representative in the flesh. We were in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all his posterity has sinned. It is not that our souls were in Adam, for our souls did not exist yet. But our names were in Adam when he sinned, and that is why he is our representative in the flesh. If we were chosen and placed in Christ, then Christ is our representative in the Spirit. It is not that our souls were in Christ, but our names were in God the Son from before the foundation of the world. Then we read in Eph 2:4-5,
Eph 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
In other words, even though we were dead in trespasses and sins, and even though we did not exist yet, our names were written in Christ when He rose from the grave, and God committed Himself to send His Holy Spirit to regenerate our soul. And then this last act of God must be considered His wonderful act of love whereby He saved us. And we cannot be considered saved until this last act of God has taken place. Praise God for His glorious salvation plan, for His wisdom is unsearchable.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.