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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fractured Word: Part III

"Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy." Exodus 20:8

Kids are taught the 10 Commandments very early in Sunday School. They are also taught that of the 10, this is the only one that no longer applies. How can some of the law apply and some of it not? I was taught that it is because Yeshua did not list the Sabbath when he recounted the commandments in the New Testament. One example of the 'partial retelling' is when the young man asked Yeshua how to inherit eternal life. (Note that he did not say “Say the sinner’s prayer, be baptized, and you’ll be free from the law”. Yeshua instructed him to keep the commandments. If he were about to abolish the law, would it be fair to send someone away with the instruction to keep the commandments? But that’s another topic)

“Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:19-22

Yeshua did not say to keep the Sabbath here. Yet he also did not tell the man to have no other gods, to not use the name of the Lord in vain, or to not have any graven images. The law can be divided into two themes (as Yeshua did himself in Matthew 22) that of serving God and of serving man. If we love the Lord first and our neighbor second, the whole law is fulfilled because every one of the laws either instruct us in our relationship with the Father, or with our neighbor. Yeshua knew this man’s heart and that his problems stemmed from a lack of love for others. He reminded him of the commandments regarding his brother because while he was not outwardly breaking them, he was inwardly sinning by refusing to love and care for his brother, which was the point of the law. This is not a very good argument for abolishing the Sabbath.

Perhaps that is not the example you would use. Let’s look at Mark 2:27-28…

“And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

If we back up a few verses, we see the Pharisees accusing Yeshua of breaking the law by eating grain plucked in a field on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees were trying to trap him, but they were doing it with traditions and not the law. If He truly were breaking the law, they would have had reason to arrest him. They followed him around looking for a reason and could find none. He was not breaking the law, but only traditions, which were made by man and therefore not holy, not binding, and not really common sense.

What he says is that the Sabbath was created to give us rest, not to make us fretful over what we are allowed and not allowed to do according to the rules of others. He does NOT say that we no longer need a Sabbath or that he (the one who authored the law from the beginning) is now abolishing the Sabbath. If Yeshua was himself breaking the Sabbath, He was not without sin and we are doomed because his sacrifice would count for nothing unless he was sinless. It is not the actual law that is in question here, but again the layer of traditions added to the law that made it a burden. He is not declaring that as Lord of the Sabbath he has the right to break it. He is saying that as Lord of the Sabbath he knows what the Sabbath is and is not. It makes no sense to tell the author of something what his own words mean.

I cannot find a single verse that back up the idea that the Sabbath has been done away with. Some believe, however, that rather than being abolished it has been moved to Sunday. The reasoning being that is that Yeshua was raised from the grave on Sunday, and that the apostles met together on Sunday, so obviously Sunday is now the Lord’s day. Let’s look at the resurrection first…

“And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 23:56-24:3

There are two important things to consider about this passage. One is that they arrived early on Sunday and did not find his body. It does not say he was raised on Sunday. It says they rested on the Sabbath as per the commandments, and went early on the first day of the week and found him gone. Secondly, even if he were raised on the first day of the week, it doesn’t say therefore we now celebrate the Lord’s Sabbath on the first day of the week instead of the last. It makes no sense to rest on the first day of the week when we have yet to do the week’s work that would require rest. Yah did not rest on the first day of creation and then work the rest of the week. He created everything in 6 days, then rested from his work on the seventh day (his number of perfection). He did this before there was sin, so resting on the seventh day was not a result of sin.

Maybe it isn’t because he was raised on the first day of the week (since the Word does not say that) but rather the meeting together of the apostles on the first day of the week that tells us we ought to change the Sabbath. After all, many Christians refuse to shop or dine out on Sunday because they are requiring others to work on the Lord’s Day. Let’s look at those verses:

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and smith unto them, Peace be unto you. John 20:19”

Well, this verse certainly doesn’t support the theory that we observe a Sunday Sabbath as demonstrated by the apostles because they were hiding from the Jews and did not even know that Yeshua was resurrected yet! They weren’t meeting together on the new holy day, they were in hiding, unsure of what to do next since their teacher was gone.

“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2

If we read this verse in context, Paul is instructing each man to set aside money (not collect it, which would give an implied meaning of their meeting together) on the first day of the week so that when he arrived there would not be need to come together and take up a collection. The idea of the collection plate is very new, as the example of the widow and her mite shows. Monies collected for the temple were not collected on a specific day, and they were placed in a box so that no one could know what another gave. That’s why the rich man had to make a big deal about his giving, because if he dropped it in the box, nobody would know it was his or how much he had given. So saying this verse supports a Sunday Sabbath because they were taking a collection is using the new to explain the old- it doesn't make sense.

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. Acts 20:7”

This verse says they met together to break bread and Paul preached to them. It does not say they were worshipping or that it was the Lord’s Day or the New Sabbath (though note that in the verse before it they were still observing the feast of unleavened bread!) but simply that they met together and he used the opportunity to teach them. Maybe we are supposed to just read between the lines that the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday since they new believers did not worship on the Saturday Sabbath. Or did they?

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” Acts 13:42

“And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Acts 13:44

“And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:4

Perhaps, though, they were simply observing the Sabbath in order to reach the Jews (and, oddly enough, the Greeks as well) and once the church was established the new Sabbath was to take effect. Why, then, isn’t it any of Paul’s letters to the churches that the Sabbath was changed? They did not have copies of the New Testament because there was no such thing at the time, so they would not have been able to read between the lines that the Sabbath was now Sunday. And what about the future? Do we have any information about the Sabbath in the End Times or in Eternity?

From the book of Isaiah, regarding things to come on the great and terrible day of the Lord when his kingdom will be established forever in the New Jerusalem:

“Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Isaiah 56:1-7

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13-14

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” Isaiah 66:22-24


Berean Wife said...


Exodus 31:16-17 “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”

Ezekiel 20:12-13 (KJV)
12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.

The Sabbath had become an idol of the Jews. They were constantly accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath.

You are correct that contrary to popular opinion Sunday is not the new Sabbath. There is nothing in Scripture to say that. However, the early Christians did meet together often on the First Day in Commemoration of the Resurrection of the Lord, partaking of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance. The early Christians also worshiped and gathered together daily not just on one day of the week.

Acts 2:46-47 (KJV)
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The Sabbath is still the Sabbath, or Saturday, a particular day of the week in Israel which some Jews still treat as special but many do not. When the NT refers to the Sabbath (Shabbat) they may be referring to a day of the week, a full week, or to special holy days.


Berean Wife said...


Scripture is plain that if you obey any portion of the Law of Moses you must then obey the Law in full. But the New Testament Church did not follow the Law of Moses they followed the Apostles Doctrine and the Law of Christ.

Acts 2:41-42 (KJV)
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Galatians 6:2 (KJV) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Observance of days was made optional according to conscious.

Romans 14:5-6 (KJV)
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV)
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
And they were told to not return to being bound by the observing of days after knowing God.

Galatians 4:9-10 (KJV)
9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

We are to observe the Spirit of the Law and not the Letter. The Spirit gives life but the Letter kills.

2 Corinthians 3:3-9 (KJV)
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

We have a much more glorious Law written on our hearts by God Himself, not tablets of stone.

Berean Wife

motherofmany said...

Berean Wife,

I appreciate the time and effort you have put into studying this matter thoroughly. I will not address each of your points here as many of them are in subsequent posts in this series.

What is the doctrine of the apostles? They were bringing the good news of the resurrection of the Messiah, which could finally forgive sins. The blood of lamb and goats could not wash away sins, but now the once-for-all sacrifice of Yeshua did just that.

Yet their good news was not in conflict to the Law of Moses. The epistles are full of references back to the OT when instruction in righteousness is given, and Paul tells Timothy that the scriptures were sufficient to all manner of holy living. The scriptures at the time were the OT books, as the NT was not complied and much of it was still being written.

The Sabbath had become an idol to the Pharisees, not the Jews. Jesus, his disciples and apostles were law-abiding Jews yet they did not take the view of the legalists in their observance of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for our benefit, not us being made to serve the Sabbath. All of the Jews I know from Israel do keep the Sabbath, and in fact you will find the streets deserted on High Sabbaths at the beginning and end of Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur.

Exodus says that God established the Sabbath as a sign between himself and the offspring of Israel forever; it is perpetual (not ending). As we will discuss in the next post, we have been grafted in to Israel. We are part of the promise by adoption, which makes us adopted Israelites. The Sabbath, the feasts, and the law apply to us because we are now part of the olive tree.

The Galatians were being led astray by the Gnostics, who were maki9ng up their own religion made from Judaism, paganism, and Christianity. They were trying to lay the whole law (translated as traditions and practices) on the new believers because they had been told they were now grafted Jews. That’s why the example used is circumcision, one of the only two parts of the law to be fulfilled and no longer practiced on a daily basis. When he speaks to them of not letting any man judge them in Sabbaths or New Moon festivals, he is saying that they need only obey what the scriptures say and not what these heretics were teaching.

Yeshua said himself that anyone who did not follow the least of the commandments and taught others to do so would see his reward in heaven diminished. Following the law is not what saves us, it is our works that will be tested by fire on the Day of Judgment. Those who have not followed the law and taught others not to follow the law will not be damned based on that, but they will not receive the rewards they expected because they turned away form the righteousness that even Jesus lived and preached and relied instead on their own doctrines.

It was not the law that was nailed to the cross- it was the list of our sins (ordinances) that was nailed to the cross. The same way Jesus had the sign nailed to his cross, because criminals were executed in that way. Our list of sins were nailed to the cross with him, nit the law. He said himself he did not come to abolish the law. The letter of the law kills because we are guilty. If the law is gone, we are not guilty of anything because there is no sin without the law.

Berean Wife said...

Galatians 3:1-29 (KJV)
1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Paul is accusing the Galatians of adding the works of the Law to their faith. (v. 2,3)

The Holy Spirit ministers to us by faith, not by the works of the Law. (v. 5)

If you are under the works of the Law you are cursed. (v. 10)

The Law of Moses that was 430 years after Abraham cannot break the Promises made to Abraham. (v 17-18)

What is the purpose of the Law? For sin until the Seed comes and the promise is received.

Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

That is the end of the Law of Moses! We are only under the Law of Christ now.

We are no longer under a schoolmaster, we are heirs to the promise to Abraham, if we have faith. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. No need for the fencing and boundaries of the Law of Moses.

Just as I don’t treat my adult son the same as I treat my five year old. The Law was for the Israel as babes but we have attained our full measure (maturity, perfection).

Hebrews 7:19 (KJV) For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Don’t have room to answer every question, but did you read returning to the Law is Spiritual Adultery?

Berean Wife

laurie said...

Here is an interesting historical sidenote on the Sabbath.... Our family has been wrestling over these issues for a few years, trying to understand the entire Word of God on this subject so we don't stand before Him ashamed....

Anyway, while I won't add to the theological discussion, I will add a bit of historical perspective. We have been studying American History this year and a theme that pops up over and over again in EVERY book we read from the Pilgims to the Pioneers is that Sabbath observance was a given, and usually mandated by both social pressure and civil laws. Now, they did observe Sunday as the Sabbath, and I think we all agree that was not the correct day, BUT I think He is gracious and honors our heart intentions of obedience even if we do it completly wrong - in this case the wrong day. I have wondered when this view of no longer observing the Sabbath became common place. I'm guessing around the early 1900's as we changed to a manufactoring society.... Anyway, as I've wrestled these issues you ladies are discussing I have been told "We are NT beleivers, our Sabbath rest is in Jesus himself' Obviously believers up through the Pioneers did not beleive that. Just an observation from our history readings. : )

motherofmany said...


That is a very good point from history. This winter we read through the Little House books. In them, the family observes a Saturday night to Sunday Night Sabbath (not Sunday midniught to Monday midnight as is currently used) and Pa tells the girls how much harder it was when his father was a boy, for they were not allowed to even hitch up the team to go to church, or to talk or smile.

We also watched the movie of Jonny Tremain about the start of the Revolutionary War, and in it he is trying to finsih his work on the Sabbath and has to watch out for authorities. It used to be a crime to work on the Sabbath (whichever day they observed) and people were prosecuted for it.

laurie said...

Yep, Johnny Tremain was a read aloud for us this winter and one of the many books I was referring to! I need to look for the movie, the boys LOVED the book!