Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: The Path Of Walking In Fellowship With God (Leviticus 11-27)
M. God's Prophetic Assemblies Of Christ's Redemption
1. The Sabbatical Assembly: Foretelling The Rest Offered By Christ's Redemption
(Leviticus 23:1-3; Exodus 19:9-11; Hebrews 4:3-10)
  1. Introduction
    1. For our Christian faith to be verified as true, it must be grounded in Old Testament prophecy.
    2. The festive assemblies in Leviticus 23 are invaluable in this regards, and we will view each assembly in the chapter in depths as each prefigures an actual element or event regarding Christ's redemption:
  2. The Sabbatical Assembly: Foretelling The Rest Offered By Christ's Redemption, Lev. 23:1-3 et al.
    1. God called Moses to make note of the feasts of assembly for the nation Israel, Leviticus 23:1-2.
    2. The first of the festive assemblies, unlike the other six which occur annually, was to be observed weekly, 23:3a. This meeting thus set the tone for all of the other feasts, and we will note this later in our lesson!
    3. This unique, weekly assembly came every seventh day, and was to include a rest from servile work, 3b.
    4. Thus, the weekly sabbath prefigured and predicted the REST that Christ's whole redemptive work aimed to produce for man from his futile self-help works to gain and keep a right relationship with God:
      1. The weekly sabbath was first instituted with God's unneeded REST from creation, Exodus 20:9-11:
        1. When God first instituted the weekly sabbath rest, He informed Moses that it followed the practice of God's resting on the seventh day after His six days of creating the universe, Exodus 20:9-11.
        2. If we turn to Genesis 2:1-3, we note that divine "rest" was not due to God's being tired: God had made the universe by merely speaking words (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14-15, 20-21, 24, 26-27). Genesis 2:7 and 2:19 tells us God formed man, the land animals and birds from the ground, but this was hardly tiring work for the God Who never slumbers nor sleeps, Ps. 121:4.
      2. Since the rest was unnecessary for GOD, God meant this sabbatical rest to picture the spiritual "rest" He foresaw MAN needed from MAN'S own futile efforts to gain and sustain rapport with Himself:
        1. The writer of Hebrews noted the sabbatical rest God began on the seventh day after His six days of creative work pictured a future rest for God's people, Hebrews 4:4 with 4:9.
        2. Later, people of Israel in the wilderness failed to enter that rest for faithlessly doubting God's will or provisions to get them from Egypt through the wilderness to Canaan, Hebrews 3:17-19; 4:5-6.
        3. Yet, once the people entered Canaan and acquired the land, they still failed to rest from their own works and to enter the spiritual rest God initially prefigured in the seventh day after creation, Hebrews 4:7-8: the people of Israel faithlessly failed to enter that rest even though they were in the land, and Psalm 95:7 repeated the call for the people of God to rest from their faithless works.
      3. Accordingly, the "rest" prefigured by God just after creation was a rest from man's own efforts to find peace and fulfillment from the problem of sin God foresaw man would have, Hebrews 4:9-10.
      4. Thus, the redemption of Jesus Christ paved the way for man to gain rapport with God by ceasing from his own efforts and resting in the finished work of Christ's redemption as follows:
        1. Ceasing from our own efforts for salvation, we believe alone in Christ for salvation, Eph. 2:8-9.
        2. Then, ceasing from the efforts of the sin nature, we live by faith in God's word and power of the Holy Spirit for practical victory over sin, Heb. 4:11-12; Rom. 8:3-4.
Lesson: God foresaw the defeat of the human race by SIN, and of man's futile efforts to try getting himself out of his defeat to regain rapport with God. Hence, God predicted from the CREATION of the WORLD the "REST" to be found from our own works -- the "rest" predicted in the sabbath day rest.

Application: (1) To GAIN peace and righteousness so as to relate with God, we CEASE from our OWN efforts and BELIEVE in Christ for salvation, Eph. 2:8-9. (2) To SUSTAIN peace and righteousness in relation with God as BELIEVERS, we AVOID self-help legalism and TRUST Scripture and God's Holy Spirit, Heb. 4:11-12; Rom. 8:3-4. (3) As this "sabbath rest" was the EARLIEST and "tone-setter" for all of the other redemption predicting feasts, our need to "rest" in Christ for salvation and living is a most necessary lesson we have to learn, cf. Hebrews 12:1 with Hebrews 11!