a. Didn't Jesus say that "until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law"?; b. Isn't the seal of God, mentioned in the book of Revelation, the Sabbath?; c. Isn't there a text in Isaiah proclaiming that Sabbath will be kept in heaven?; d. Didn't Jesus say that we should pray that we will not have to flee on the Sabbath day?
Let us look at Matt 5:17-18 a little bit closer: "Do not think that I have
come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to
fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the
smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from
the Law until everything is accomplished."
First of all, Jesus is talking about "the Law" and "the Prophets". This was the way people of His day refers to the their Bible, which we now refer to as the "Old Testament"! The "law" contains all of God's commandments. Jesus clearly says that He did not come to abolish the Old Testament nor its laws, but to fulfill them. What does "fulfill" mean? Let us look to the Bible for clarification.
Matt 1:22-23 "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-which means, "God with us.""
Matt 2:14-15 "So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 1where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son.""
Matt 8:17 "This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.""
John 19:28-29 "Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty.""
"Fulfilled" clearly means completed. The shadow has met its reality. It has been accomplished.
In this context we can better understand Matt 5:18-19: "Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." God's law was not abolished. It was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The shadow found its reality!
In this context, we can also understand Matt 5:19 "Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
This text is followed by verse 20: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." In other words, no one can enter the kingdom of heaven, for: Rom 3:23 ". . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" All have transgressed God's laws! We are all sinners! None of us is righteous! Is there any hope for us?
Yes in the fulfillment of Jesus on the cross, Rom 3:24-25 "and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
(Please see chapter 8 for more details.)
The seal from God appears twice in the book of Revelation:
Rev 7:2-4 "Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.""
Rev 9:4 "They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads."
Nowhere is it written in the book of Revelation that the seal of God is the Sabbath. For that matter, nowhere is it written in the whole Bible that the seal of God is the Sabbath. We can use human arguments to argue what the seal of God could be, but I trust God's Word on that. God's Word is the ultimate authority for any arguments! Let's look at how the Bible defines the Seal of God:
Eph 1:13-14 "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory."
Eph 4:30 "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
2 Cor 1:21-22 "He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." NIV
Rom 8:16 "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."
The New Testament clearly indicates that the seal of God is not the Sabbath, but God's Holy Spirit!
Do you ever wonder whether or not you are going to Heaven, my friend? Why don't you invite God's Holy Spirit in your life? He will guarantee your inheritance and seal you with God's seal. Only Him can give you that assurance. No matter how hard you try to keep the Sabbath day of rest, you will never experience that guarantee of your certain salvation. I know what I am talking about. I kept the Sabbath from the time I was 16 years old until recently. Never once, until now, that is, was I able to proclaim with certainty that I am saved! Only God's Holy Spirit gave me that assurance, thanks to the Jesus' sacrifice for me 2000 years ago!
The text can be found in Isa 66:22-24 "As the new heavens and the new earth
that I make will endure before me," declares the LORD, "so will your name and
descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to
another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD. "And they
will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me;
their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be
loathsome to all mankind."
First of all, this text not only talks about Sabbaths, but also of New Moons. If we want to keep the Sabbath, based on this text, we also need to keep the monthly New Moons. Isn't Isaiah talking about continual worship here?
Secondly heaven isn't that attractive with all those "dead bodies of those who rebelled against" God!
Thirdly read a little bit more into the context of this event and you will find: Isa 65:20: "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed."
I thought that in heaven there would be no more death! The book of Revelation guarantees this: Rev 21:4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Isaiah 65-66 is not talking about the same heaven as the book of Revelation! It is quite clear from the context that it does not refer to heaven at all!
No other texts can be found in the Bible mentioning Sabbaths in heaven! Why not? Because Jesus is our ultimate Sabbath! Having Him in our heart guarantees a perpetual rest of our soul. Weren't we taught never to base our theology on one Bible text?
This text is found in Matt 24:20 "Pray that your flight will not take place
in winter or on the Sabbath."
First of all was it a sin to flee on the Sabbath day? Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that it was a sin. The Israelites were supposed not to work on that day. (Ex 20:10 "On it you shall not do any work…") Fleeing is not considered working, is it?
This text must have a different meaning, don't you think. Jesus was predicting the fall of Jerusalem. Matt 24:1-2 "Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."" This prophecy was literally fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and its temple.
Jesus instructs His disciples to be ready to escape from Jerusalem at the first opportunity. But why couldn't His disciples flee from Jerusalem on Sabbath? The answer can be found in Neh 13:19 "When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day."
Nehemiah instituted some regulations about the business that was being conducted on the Sabbath day. The surrounding gentiles were bringing their wares to sell in Jerusalem on Sabbath. Nehemiah made sure that this would not be possible any longer when the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. These regulations were still in effect in Jesus' days. No disciple could flee on Sabbath, because the gates of Jerusalem were closed on that day. No one could get in, and no one could get out.
Click here to go to: Chapter 10: Historical texts of Christians meeting together.