I’ve written previously that the long middle section of Deuteronomy serves as an inspired commentary on the ten commandments. If we examine the fourth-commandment section, Deuteronomy 14:21b-16:17, three themes emerge concerning the application of Sabbath-keeping: tithing, rest-giving, and feast-keeping.
We have already concluded that tithing has significant implications for feasting: tithing is linked to Abraham and Melchizedek’s covenant meal of bread and wine; the purpose of tithing is to bring food to God’s house; and in this very section of Deuteronomy feasting is commanded as part of bringing in the tithe.
In the case of the rest-giving of every seventh Sabbath year, there is again an aspect of feasting. The indentured servant set free was to be provided not just with necessary provisions, but with the means of feasting, in light of how God provides for us: “You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As Yahweh your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.” (Deut. 15:14)
Finally, Moses’s application of the Sabbath commandment culminates in the celebration of the three great annual feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Booths. These were the three feasts at which Israel was commanded to visit the tabernacle and temple (Deut. 16:16), and here again we have an expression of tithe or tribute given to God (vv. 16b-17).
In the new covenant in Jesus, there is no longer a physical, earthly temple at which we worship. Instead of three great annual worship events, God’s people come to visit him in the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12) week to week as we worship. It is clear throughout the New Testament that the weekly appointed worship of the church is far more the heir of the old covenant’s temple worship than it is of the old covenant’s synagogue meetings. Thus, it is quite proper for us to speak of a weekly feast, because we worship at the very house of God—indeed, we are the house of God—week to week rather than three times a year.
Thus, weekly communion (and weekly tribute-bringing): following the inspired application of Moses, feasting on every appointed day of the Lord is how we are privileged to obey the fourth commandment in the new covenant.