Ceremonial laws were given to Old Testament Israel as a system of types and shadows pointing to New Testament fulfillment (Acts 10; Heb. 10:1–10). Judicial laws supported the theocracy of the Old Testament that expired with the Israelite state (Ex. 21:1–23:19). Moral laws were rooted in creation, summarized in the Ten Commandments, and continue as an expression of gratitude for God’s people (Jas. 1:25; 2:8; 1 Jn. 2:3).
The following is taken from the introduction to Entering God’s Rest by Ken Golden, a thorough-yet-accessible discussion of the Sabbath and its relevence for us today. You can purchase the book here (also available as an eBook and on Amazon Kindle).
We live in a busy world. Our families face round-the-clock commitments and the daily rat race can leave us gasping for breath. All too often there’s no rest for the weary.
Why is this so? Many things fill up our schedules and compete for our attention. Chief among them is our daily work. And that’s by design, because God created work. He gave Adam the responsibility of working in the garden (Gen. 2:15). In man’s original state, work was a blessing.
But man didn’t remain in his original state. He fell into a condition of sin and misery (WSC 17). This turned the blessing of work into the curse of toil. The lesser creation would bristle under man’s dominion; crops would come by the sweat of his brow (Gen. 3:19). Beaten down by the common curse, Lamech named his son Noah, a name that means rest. He believed Noah would live up to his name and bring relief from “the painful toil of our hands” (Gen. 5:29). Noah did bring temporary relief—in the form of a flood—but toil remained the order of the day. Many centuries later, the sage Qoheleth would describe work as endless and repetitive toil (Eccl. 1:2–4).