Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Hemmingsen on the Sabbath and Christian Festivals (4)

In today’s post, consisting of theses 9-11, Hemmingsen defines what it means to “sanctify” something and then applies that definition to the Old Testament observance of the Sabbath.

He then goes on to note a rupture between the Old Testament observance of the Sabbath and the way in which the Sabbath commandment applies to Christians. Note that he considers the particular day on which the Sabbath was observed as a “circumstance” of the commandment, rather than intrinsic to it. That is, the celebration of the Sabbath on the seventh day specifically was temporary, not a matter of eternal divine law. 

Its circumstantial nature was connected, first, to its typological significance–that is, it foreshadowed Christ’s rest in the grave on the seventh day–and, second, as a way to testify to Christian liberty after the revelation of the truth in, or as, Christ.

Assertions concerning the Jewish Sabbath and the Festivals of Christians (Continued)

  1. “To sanctify” in general1 is to separate something from common and profane use, to preserve it pure, and to appoint and apply it to divine worship and sacred use.
  2. Hence “to sanctify the Sabbath” is to separate the day we call the Sabbath from common and profane use, and, by preserving it pure and undefiled, to appropriate it for sacred use, that is, for religious devotion, or the works by which God is immediately worshiped. 
  3. This Jewish Sabbath has been abrogated as far as it concerns the circumstance of a certain day, and that for two reasons: the first of them is that it was a type of Christ’s rest in the tomb. Consequently, the shadow ought to have ceased when the truth had been manifested. The second is that this abrogation is a testimony of the freedom of believers from the yoke of the Mosaic law.2
  1. Or “as it pertains to genus.”
  2. The translation is my own.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.