The Sabbath And Its Relation To Christ And The Church In The New Covenant -- By: Tony Costa

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 20:1 (Spring 2016)
Article: The Sabbath And Its Relation To Christ And The Church In The New Covenant
Author: Tony Costa

The Sabbath And Its Relation To Christ And The Church In The New Covenant

Tony Costa

Tony Costa teaches apologetics at the Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and also serves as adjunct professor with Heritage College and Seminary, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, and Providence Theological Seminary in Franklin, Tennessee. He earned his Ph.D. in theology and New Testament studies from Radboud University in the Netherlands. He also holds a B.A. and M.A. in religious, biblical, and philosophical studies from the University of Toronto.


In this article I will examine the subject of the Sabbath or Sabbath day and its relation to Christ and the Church in the new covenant. There has been much debate about Sabbatarianism in the history of the Church. Is the Sabbath still relevant for today? Should the Sabbath be observed by Christians? Which day is the Sabbath? Is it Saturday, the seventh day of the week, or Sunday, the first day of the week, or is it one day in seven that one arbitrarily chooses to rest on? Has the Sabbath been changed from Saturday (the seventh day), to Sunday (the first day of the week) in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus? The subject of the Sabbath has also been a dividing line between Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology.1 There has been some misunderstanding on this subject in both camps and it is the intent of this paper to offer up a solution to this question by examining the Sabbath from a Christocentric, as well as a Christotelic perspective. I will do so in three

steps: (1) describe my hermeneutical approach to the subject; (2) discuss the Sabbath in the OT; and (3) discuss how the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ by specifically focusing on four key biblical texts which are important to the discussion, namely, Matthew 11:28-30; 12:1-14; John 5:1-18, and Hebrews 3:7-4:11, before I draw my observations to an overall conclusion.

Hermeneutical And Exegetical Approach

We are constrained by the NT texts to observe that all things contained in the OT including the Sabbath, have their focal point and ultimate fulfillment in Christ. Jesus, the Master Exegete of Scripture (John 1:18),2 after his resurrection, on the walk to Emmaus with the two disciples declared: “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that ever...

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