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Sabbath

What is the relationship of the Christian to the Sabbath? Did Emperor Constantine and the Pope change the Sabbath to Sunday. These and other questions call for Plain Talk about the Sabbath.

Where is the command to keep the Sabbath found?

The command to keep the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments and is found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 where the Ten Commandments are listed.

What is the relationship of the Ten Commandments to the covenant God made with the nation of Israel at Horeb?

The Ten Commandments are the crown jewel of that covenant, which is often referred to as the "old" covenant. They are such a prominent part of the covenant that they are often called the covenant. Exodus 34: 28; Deuteronomy 9: 9

To whom was the commandment to keep the Sabbath given?

The commandment was given to the nation of Israel. Please notice that the commandment, which is part of the old covenant, was given only to the nation of Israel. "The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today." When the Sabbath commandment is given the admonition is made, "and you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt." This excludes everyone except the nation of Israel.  Deuteronomy 5: 3, 14-15

How was the nation of Israel to keep the Sabbath?

They were to do no work upon the Sabbath. Deuteronomy 5: 12-15

When was the Sabbath first given?

The Sabbath was first given in the wilderness as the nation of Israel was moving toward Horeb. The first record is found in Exodus 16; four chapter later it is incorporated into the covenant given at Horeb.

What does the Sabbath commemorate?

The Sabbath commemorates the original creation by God and the deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egypt by God. Exodus 20: 11; Deuteronomy 5: 15

What is the relationship of the command to keep the Sabbath to the law?

Paul said, "for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’." Obviously the Ten Commandments are part of the Law. Some of the other references that demonstrate the same truth are cited. Romans 7: 7; 13: 8-10; Mark 7: 10; John 7: 17;  James 2: 9-11

What is the "Law"?

The "Law" is the law given by God through Moses at Horeb. It is called, "the Law of the Lord," "the Law of Moses" and "the book of the Law," but most often simply the "law". Luke 2: 23-24;  2 Chronicles 31: 3; Ezra 3: 2; Daniel 9: 13; Joshua 23: 6; Deuteronomy 31: 26

Are there a "ceremonial law" and a "moral law"?

Obviously some of the laws are ceremonial in nature and others are moral. But the attempt to make the "Law of the Lord" a moral law and "the Law of Moses" a ceremonial law fails when the Scriptures are examined. This is a fiction created to preserve the Ten Commandments. Notice that in Luke 2: 23-24, the Law of the Lord is a ceremonial law related to animal sacrifice.

What is the greatest commandment in the law?

Surprisingly, according to Jesus, the great command, is the command to love, not the Ten Commandments. All commandments, including the ten, are summed up in this commandment.  Matthew 22: 37-40; Romans 13: 8-10

What law existed before the Law of Moses was given and also applied to the other nations?

The Scriptures are not emphatic but my opinion is the law that states "we should love one another." The Scriptures indicate Cain violated this law. 1 John3: 11-12; Matthew 7: 12

Are Christians obligated to keep the Sabbath?

The Sabbath pertains to the ten commands, the Law, and the old covenant, the covenant God made with the nation of Israel at Horeb. Christians relate to God under the new covenant. There is no command to keep the Sabbath, Saturday, Sunday, the Lord’s day or any other day as far as I know. Hebrews 7: 8-12

But did not the early Christians keep the Sabbath?

Yes, some of the Jewish Christians did keep the Sabbath; they also circumcised their male babies and observed the temple rites of the Jews, but they were not justified thereby. One of the earliest problems in the church was the attempt of some of the Jewish Christians to force their scruples concerning the law upon the Gentile converts. Galatians 5: 3-6; 2:12; Romans 14: 5-6,  Acts 21: 21-26

Wasn’t the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday by the Emperor Constantine and the Pope?

It is of little consequence what they did or didn’t do as neither is authorized to legislate for God.

But don’t Christians keep Sunday?

Most Christians meet together to worship on Sunday, the Lord’s day. At Jerusalem they apparently met on a daily basis. There are indications in the Scripture and from history that the earl church met on Sunday, the first day of the week. It is a mistake to believe they "kept" Sunday. There was no prohibition on work or travel on Sunday. I no more "keep" Sunday because I meet with the church on that day than I "keep" Wednesday because I meet with the church on that day. 1 Corinthians 16: 2, Acts 20: 7; Revelation 1: 10

Why do you meet to worship on Sunday?

The Lord was raised from the dead on the first day of the week, Sunday. Just as the Sabbath pointed to the old creation and the freedom from slavery in Egypt, Sunday points to the new creation and a freedom from the slavery of sin. Matthew 28: 1; 2 Corinthians 5: 17;  John 8: 32-38; Galatians 5: 1

Why don’t you keep the Sabbath?

The Sabbath was a mere shadow of that which is to come in Christ; the substance belongs to Christ. The certificate of debt which consists of various laws and decrees which worked against us and were hostile to us were taken away by Christ, having nailed it to the cross. Paul said he was afraid of those who observe days (Sabbath ?), months, seasons and years. Colossians 2: 14-17

But are we not under the ten commandments?

No, we are not. When we read 2 Corinthians 3, we find that the letters engraved on stone the ten commandments) are called ministry of death, because the letter kills but the Spirit gives life. It is called the ministry of condemnation and is contrasted with the ministry of the Spirit. We are under the ministry of the Spirit. The ministry of death and condemnation (the ten commandments is fading away. Paul makes the same point in Romans when he says, "and this commandment (‘you shall not covet’, one of the ten commandments), which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me." If you try to keep the ten commandments, you will die! There is no other possibility.

But are we not under law?

Yes and no! We are not under the Law of Moses, because it is a law of "works," but we are under the law of Christ because it is a law of faith. Paul tells that "you are not under law, but under grace. John states, "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." The Law was changed to one that would be compatible with grace.  Romans 6: 14; Romans 3: 27; 1 Corinthians 9: 20-21; John 1: 17; Hebrews 7: 12

But surely we are in a covenant relationship with God?

Yes we are, but not the old covenant given to the nation of Israel at Horeb. God has made a new covenant not like the old one. The first is obsolete and is growing old and is ready to disappear.  Hebrews 8: 7-13

If we are not under the Ten Commandments, where are the restraints against murder, lying, adultery, etc.?

We are under law to Christ. This is the perfect law, the law of liberty, the royal law; you shall love your neighbors as yourself.

 

My friends the Sabbath is gone and so are the law, the Ten Commandments and the old covenant. Keeping the Sabbath in order to be just before God is a great mistake because if we do so we are severed from Christ and have fallen from grace. Keeping the Sabbath is a great mistake because if we keep one part of the law we are obligated to keep all. Keeping the Sabbath is a great mistake because we are choosing the shadow over the substance and truth that is in Christ.

For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; and again in this passage, "They shall not enter my rest." Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience. He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as He said before, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4: 3-11

Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my load is light. Matthew 12: 28-30

The Sabbath is but the shadow of the rest that is in Christ.

 

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Last Update   09/26/12