COVFEFE AND SABBATH

 

By Cherie Skrivan

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”—John 8:31-32

Covfefe. It is a strange word that is a conundrum at best. In an early morning tweet that ended in the gibberish of “covfefe”, the President of the United States hours later deletes the tweet but asks us to believe the intentionality of it as well as the legitimacy of the word, “covfefe”.

“Who can figure out the true meaning of covfefe?” He asks in a follow-up to his blunder.

The meaning cuts to the heart of the issue, doesn’t it? What does this strange, new word mean? Who can figure it out? Who knows?

We’re living in bizarre times. Covfefe only reinforces this obvious fact. Who are we to believe? What are we to believe? The President leads us to believe covfefe is a new and verifiable word with important meaning. Politics is the new version of Fictionary, or Balderdash. And now, wrong is right and right is wrong. Upside down is rightside up, and rightside up is upside down. Everything has become twisted. Lies have become truth, and truth is sold and retold as lies—or fake news.

While these tactics are not really new—especially in politics—to my dismay, they have become mainstream in a whole other way. Truth is not sacred anymore. We hear words and phrases repeated again and again—daily, hourly: “fake news”, “lies”. It’s numbing if not brainwashing. Crazy-making to say the least.

I watch what is happening in my world, with my leadership, in my news, and I’m not surprised—and yet I am shocked. How did we get here? What does this confusion mean for us, for my future and my kids’ futures?

And then I remember. All this confusion of meaning and twisting of vocabulary harkens back to my own journey from lies to truth. I realize that I had been brainwashed by familiar phrases like, “happy Sabbath”,  “six days we have for work and play, the seventh is for Jesus”, “Sabbath is the seal of God”, and “grace is a license to live sloppy.” For a time, a very long time, I believed these phrases. Hook. Line. And sinker.

Sabbatismos

Until I didn’t. One day someone asked me to wrestle with Hebrews 4:9-11 which describes a different kind of Sabbath rest in the new Covenant, a “Sabbatismos” daily rest, 24/7, that we enter by faith in Christ.

I didn’t “get” or “see” a new definition of Sabbath quickly. It took me months, 11 months to be exact, to touch, feel, examine, pray over, and consider what these sacred words meant outside of the context of the words and definitions I had been taught my entire life.

Then I realized that if I truly trusted God and took His word at face value, reading these words right in Scripture in the context God gave them, letting Truth illuminate truth, what remains in the New Covenant is a rest we enter “Today”—every day. When we believe, we enter Christ’s rest (the rest He entered after He finished the work on the cross and salvation was accomplished in and only through Him). It is this kind of daily rest in Christ that the author of Hebrews urges us to enter. “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:11, emphasis mine).

Christ alone is the author and essence of truth. He is our true North, and everything centers on Him. Truth will set us free, not bind us up or leave us scratching our heads pondering legitimacy or intent.

Sabbath—what does it mean to you? And more importantly, which Sabbath are you diligent to seek, understand, and enter—a weekly Sabbath (Sabbaton), or a daily Sabbath (Sabbatismos)? One is at odds with the other; one is an act of disobedience and a sign of unbelief in the New Covenant.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.—Heb. 4:9-11 NASB

 

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Cherie Skrivan

Cherie Skrivan

Cherie Skrivan was born and raised in the Seventh-day Adventist church and school system. She spent nearly 10 years working for the SDA church in publishing and communications. In 2005, Cherie's life was changed forever as she was born into a new life with Christ. By the grace of God she exchanged her knowledge of Christ for a relationship with Christ alone as her Savior. Today she is happily married to Jim and is a stay-at-home mom to their three kids —Kai, Mila and Marika. They live in Omaha, NE where they are members of Christ Community Church. Cherie is passionate about encouraging and helping people grow their faith and relationship in Christ and enjoys helping teach a discipleship class at their church.
Cherie Skrivan

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5 comments

  1. Two thoughts, Cherie. What makes your daily resting in Christ a “sabbath” rest?

    You might be interested to see how sabbatismos was used in the Greek-speaking world:

    Plutarch, De Superstitione 3.10 [c. 100 AD] “O that our Greeks should found such barbarous rites, as tumbling in mire, rolling themselves in dunghills, keeping of Sabbaths [sabbatismous] monstrous prostrations, long and obstinate sittings in a place, and vile and abject adorations . . .”

    Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 23.15 [c. 130 AD] “Do you see that the elements are not idle, and keep no Sabbaths? Remain as you were born. For if there was no need of circumcision before Abraham, or of the observance of Sabbaths [sabbatismou], of feasts and sacrifices, before Moses; no more need is there of them now . . .”

    Epiphanius, Panarion [“Medicine Chest”] Haereses 30.2.2 [c. 375] “For often in every Sect, when I reached the point, I have explained in connection with Sabbath keeping [sabbatismou], circumcision and the rest, how the Lord has granted us something more perfect.”

    Martyrdom of Peter and Paul, chap. 1 [c. 258] “And when thou seest Peter, contend against his teaching, because be has destroyed all the bulwarks of our law; for he has prevented the keeping of Sabbaths [sabbatismos] and new moons, and the holidays appointed by the law. And Paul, answering, said to them: That I am a true Jew, by this you can prove; because also you have been able to keep the Sabbath, and to observe the true circumcision; for assuredly on the day of the Sabbath God rested from all His works. We have fathers, and patriarchs, and the law. What, then, does Peter preach in the kingdom of the Gentiles? But if he shall wish to bring in any new teaching, without any tumult, and envy, and trouble, send him word, that we may see, and in your presence I shall convict him. But if his teaching be true, supported by the book and testimony of the Hebrews, it becomes all of us to submit to him.

    Apostolic Constitutions 2.36.2 “Thou shalt observe the Sabbath [sabbatismos], on account of Him who ceased from His work of creation, but ceased not from His work of providence: it is a rest for meditation of the law, not for idleness of the hands.”

  2. Kevin,

    The fact that you have to ask the first question, “What makes your daily resting in Christ a Sabbath rest?” tells me that you are not adequately familiar with the argument that the author of Hebrews is making in chapters 3 & 4. I’ve written a brief study of these chapters here:

    http://lifeassuranceministries.org/studies/covenants/covenants12.html

    In a nutshell, we enter into the true sabbath-like rest of God, of which the weekly Sabbath day was only a shadow, through faith in Christ. We enter that rest TODAY, not Saturday, not Sunday, not Monday, TODAY. The Sabbath day was only a shadow, but the reality is found in Christ. See also my study on Colossians chapter 2:

    http://lifeassuranceministries.org/studies/covenants/covenants11.html

    Finally, you have cut and paste a whole bunch of quotes that make no discernible coherent point and certainly don’t in any way disprove Cherie’s thesis. Rather than go through each quote exhaustively, let me just deal with the last as representative of the whole.

    You seem to be trying to make some point about greek usage of sabbatismos, a word that appears to have been coined by the author of Hebrews specifically for its use in chapter 4. You then cite the apostolic consititutions which were not Greek manuscripts, but Latin. So already it is difficult to follow your point. What’s more, in an attempt to make some as of yet unascertained point, you resort to quoting from manuscripts that are considered to be heretical by many. The best manuscripts of the apostolic constitutions contain Arian views (denying the eternal full divinity of the Son). While some of this heretical material was later censured, that doesn’t change the fact that these manuscripts are not suitable documents to use as lenses to interpret the Bible.

    We need to let the Bible say what the Bible says, and Hebrews 3 & 4 is pretty clear about the Sabbath-like rest that can only be found in Christ. It’s not a day, it’s a person.

  3. I think one additional comment on proper biblical exegesis might be warranted. A biblical passage (like Hebrews 3 & 4) must be interpreted within it’s own context with the intent of getting the authors original meaning out of the text. So in this case, we also have to understand the author’s coining of the term sabbatismos in the context of the passage and seek the author’s intent in that passage.

    By contrast, in the case of the apostolic constitutions, you are attempting to read some foreign meaning back into the Bible (eisegesis). The meaning you are trying to read into the Bible comes from heretical Latin writers from Syria who wrote some 300+ years after the author of Hebrews. This is not an appropriate way to gain biblical understanding, but it is the way we all learned to dismiss biblical passages that contradicted SDA teachings.

  4. Hi Kevin, thanks for reading my blog. You asked, “What makes your daily resting in Christ a “sabbath” rest?”

    First I want to address Sabbatismos in Heb. 4:9. Strong’s Greek Concordance tells us Sabbatismos is a Sabbath rest, and a derivative of Sabbaton (the weekly, 7th-day rest or Jewish Sabbath). Most Bible translations translate Sabbatismos, as a Sabbath rest, yet it is not a weekly rest. It is distinctly different. The Author’s use and context is most important and it is clear that they are describing a promise of rest that remains in the New Covenant (since the Old Covenant was now obsolete and repealed in its entirety, Heb. 8:13). We know the author is addressing primarily Jewish converts to the Christian faith who are tempted to return to the Old Covenant laws which required a variety of sabbath rests. So in this context they are describing a new or different kind of “sabbath” rest in the New Covenant.

    I note:
    1. Israel was not allowed to enter God’s provision of rest (Canaan—peace and prosperity) because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
    1. In the New Covenant there is a promise and provision of rest for those who believe (Heb. 4:1-3)
    2. We enter that rest by believing (Heb. 4:2-3)
    3. We enter that rest “Today”/every day (Heb. 4:7)
    4. God rested after He finished the work of creation; Christ rested after He finished the work of salvation (Heb. 4:3-7; 9-11).
    5. Today, believers rest in the finished work Christ completed at the cross (Heb. 4:10)
    6. We are urged (“be diligent”) in the New Covenant to enter “that” daily rest provisioned by God to us through faith in Christ. To not enter “that” rest by faith is a sign of unbelief in the New Covenant (Heb. 4:11)

    So to recap Hebrews 4, Israel was disobedient because they did not enter God’s provision of rest by faith; as a result they were refused entry into the Promised Land because of their unbelief. In the New Covenant God’s provision of rest is provided by Christ through His finished work of salvation accomplished at the cross. We enter His rest “Today” (every day) by believing in His finished works. The author urges us to be diligent to enter Christ’s rest by faith. To not do so is a sign of unbelief in the New Covenant.

    The application for us is if we add anything to His finished work of salvation and do not enter His rest (seated position at the right hand of the Father, Heb.10:11-12) by faith, then that is an act of disobedience. Such an action would be motivated by unbelief. Thus the author’s urgency (“be diligent”). To any one caught up in the discipline or ritual of Sabbath keeping it is important to wrestle with this Heb 4 passage; which is also why Paul asks us each to be fully convinced in why we are setting one day apart or keeping every day alike (Rom 14:5). This Sabbatismos daily rest is different than Sabbaton, the weekly Sabbath Israel was commanded to keep and it has eternal consequence.

    Now to the heart of your question—how does this daily rest apply in my life? As a Seventh-day Adventist I was taught that salvation was something I had to attain and maintain through my own works of obedience (including keeping the 10 commandments, but most importantly keeping the seventh-day Sabbath) and therefore, it was something I could lose at any time due to unbelief and/or disobedience. Today I rest in the security of my salvation knowing it is not dependent on me or a work that I attain or maintain. It is a free gift from God to me through His Son, Jesus Christ. I attained the gift of salvation when I believed in and received Christ alone for eternal life and was born again of God’s Spirit (see John 1:12-13; John 3:1-8).

    From that moment on I was sealed by the Holy Spirit and set apart for eternity as a child of God (Eph. 1:13-14). God wants me and every believer to KNOW, without doubt or uncertainty, that we have eternal life through believing in the only means of salvation—Christ alone (John 20:31; 1 John 5:13). Once I received salvation nothing I thought or did could cost me my salvation because it was and is anchored in Christ’s perfect and finished works, His substitute righteousness credited to me. This does not inspire me to live a sloppy, sinful life. But rather resting daily in the finished work of Christ and being secure every day in my eternal life through Christ has been the most freeing, loving and incredible gift anyone has ever given me and it inspires me to live differently, to live a life devoted to Him! That security and peace of mind frees me to live a life of full surrender which is the deepest act of spiritual worship I can give back to God for the new life He has given me. Giving my life over to Him 24/7 is the ultimate sacrifice He asks from me (although it is not a requirement to obtain or maintain my salvation), and is of greater significance than giving Him 1 day a week. Living a daily life of full surrender to Him, I am learning what it means to not conform to this world but rather be transformed by Him (Rom. 12:1-2). It is a slow process for sure, but I know, without a doubt, one day He will complete me (Phil. 1:6).

    The physical rest I sought in a 1/7 day rest cycle doesn’t come close to the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional rest Jesus provides to me and invites me to enter 24/7. Now, today, every day, I am in awe of this greater provision of rest in the New Covenant and am diligent to seek Him for my daily sustenance of rest. When I abide in the Vine the Spirit bears fruit in and through me—including the fruit of righteous obedience. It’s not at all about me and my works. My very best works are like filthy rags to a Holy God. It’s all about Him and the His righteous and good works. When the Father looks down at me all He sees is the righteousness of His Son covering me and He is well pleased! This is not only true of me but anyone who believes and receives salvation and rests in the finished works of Christ alone.

    I like what Chris said above. A Sabbatismos rest is not about a day, it is about resting in the person of Christ (Please read Col. 2:16-17).

    Yikes….I think this is longer than my blog itself! It’s my best shot at answering your question. Blessings!

    1. Cherie thanks for your blog and your comment- two for the price of one. Especially the comment. That was such a great explanation, inescapable logic. And thanks Chris for your posts and blogs as well. You all make plain the truth so that people must choose to be faithful to this woman false prophet or to the living word of God.

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