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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

It prevented the Israelites from wearing out themselves and their dependents by incessant toil; and revived in them a weekly remembrance of the law and promises of God.

It was, however, only "a shadow of things to come," the substance of which is found in the things which pertain to the Anointed One of God.

It was a part of "the rudiments of the world" inscribed on "the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us," and which the Lord Jesus "took out of the way, nailing it to his cross".

When he lay entombed he rested from his labours, abiding in his place all the seventh day.

Having ended his work, he arose on the eighth day, "and was refreshed".

The shadowy sabbath disappeared before the brightness of the rising of the sun of righteousness; who, having become the accursed of the law.

delivered his brethren from its sentence upon all.

The ordinances of the law of Moses are styled by Paul "the rudiments," or "elements of the world," which, in Galatians, he also terms "weak and beggarly elements, whereunto they desired again to be in bondage".

They evinced this desire by "observing days, and months, and times, and years"; not being satisfied with the things of Christ, but seeking to combine the Mosaic institutions with the gospel.

This was Judaizing, and the first step to that awful apostasy by which the world has been cursed for so many ages.

When the Mosaic constitution, as "the representation of the knowledge and the truth," had "waxed old" by the manifestation of the substance to a sufficient extent to nullify it, it "vanished away" by being "cast down to the ground" by the Roman power, and with it the law of the seventh day.

Even before its abolition, Paul expressed his fear of the Galatians, "lest he should have bestowed labour upon them in vain," seeing that they were becoming zealous of the ordinances of the law.

They seemed not to understand that the Mosaic economy was only a temporary constitution of things, "added because of transgressions, till the seed should come"; that when he came, "he redeemed them from the curse of the law, being made a curse for them"; and that therefore they had nothing to fear, nor to hope for from keeping, or transgressing its methods.

They had got it into their heads that "except they were circumcised and kept the law of Moses," as well as believed and obeyed the gospel of the kingdom, they could not be saved.

Therefore they "desired to be under the law," and began to busy themselves about "keeping the sabbath," and doing other works which Moses had enjoined upon Israel.

Paul was very much distressed at this, and describes himself as "travailing in birth again until Christ be formed in them".

They had been delivered from "the yoke of bondage," by putting on Christ; but by seeking to renew their connexion with Moses' law, they were selling their birth-right for a mess of pottage.

"I say unto you," saith Paul, "that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace".

A partial observance of the law can do no one any good.

If he kept the sabbath in the most approved manner, but neglected the sacrifices, or ate swine's flesh, he was as accursed as a thief or a robber; for to one under the law it saith, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them"; hence even the sinless Jesus was cursed by it, because he was crucified; for it is written, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree".

What hope then is there for Jew or Gentile of escaping the curse of the law, seeing that from the very nature of things connected with the present state of Jerusalem it is impossible to observe it, save in the few particulars of "meat and drink, or in respect of the sabbath" partially, etc. The observance of the seventh day was regulated by the Mosaic law, and the penalties due to its "desecration," or "profanation," are pronounced by it alone; but it is dear that the law being taken out of the way, or abolished, by Jesus, who nailed it to his cross, there remain no more retributions for the non-observance of its appointments; and therefore there is no transgression in working or pleasure-taking, or in speaking one's own words on the seventh day.