We believe that God, through Moses, gave the people of Israel various statutes concerning the sacrificial system and ceremonies of the temple service. They illustrated the redemptive work of Christ and were a shadow and symbol of things to come. The validity of the ceremonial law ceased when on the cross Jesus cried, “It is finished.” Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:17.

“As Jesus died on Calvary, He cried, ‘It is finished,’ and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom.

“The rending of the veil of the temple showed that the Jewish sacrifices and ordinances would no longer be received. The great Sacrifice had been offered and had been accepted,.” -Early Writings, pp. 253, 259, 260.

The Ceremonial or Shadow Sabbaths

We believe that the ceremonial sabbaths, of which Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16, 17 and Galatians 4:10, were only a shadow of the sacrifice of Christ and redemption. Thus, they must not be confused with the weekly Sabbath, which was given to mankind as a rest day. It is the Lord’s day, which was instituted at creation. Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Leviticus 23:3; Isaiah 58:13; Mark 2:27, 28.

The ceremonial law included the following shadow sabbaths:

  • Feast of Unleavened Bread: The passover preceded the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The fifteenth and twenty-first days of the first month of the Jewish year were celebrated as sabbaths with all servile work set aside. Leviticus 23:5-8.
  • Pentecost or Feast of Weeks: The fiftieth day, counted from the sixteenth day of the first month, was celebrated as a sabbath. Leviticus 23:15, 16, 21; Exodus 34:22.
  • Feast of Trumpets: The first day of the seventh month, the day of the blowing of trumpets, was held in preparation for the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23:24, 25.
  • Day of Atonement: The tenth day of the seventh month, known as the Day of Atonement, was designated as a most sacred sabbath. It was the climax in the series of ceremonial sabbaths. Leviticus 23:27, 28, 31, 32.
  • Feast of Tabernacles: The fifteenth and twenty-second days of the seventh month were joyfully celebrated as sabbaths of the feast of tabernacles. Leviticus 23:34-36, 39, 40.

If Jesus had abolished the weekly Sabbath and instituted Sunday by His death, then a specific command to that effect would have to be found in the Bible. Neither Jesus nor the apostles reported such a change. Just the opposite is proven by the following texts: Matthew 5:17, 18; 24:20; Acts 13:13, 14, 42-44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:2-4, 11.