After the original post sent by “DrSalmonLazarus” (see my response to that original article here), he posted some other articles to many e-mail lists and to me personally also. I shall now respond to those articles in the same form as earlier to give a defense of the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15)
A Bible Topic “Church of Christ” Members Try To Avoid (proven!)
Many “New Testament” churches teach that God’s Law is “done away,” “nailed to the cross” or otherwise for all practical purposes, ignored. Many churches teach that the Apostle Paul confirmed the putting away of the Law.
Nevertheless, all of The Ten Commandments can be found in the New Testament in both the Gospels and in the writings of Paul. The charts below compares the Law of God in the Old and New Testaments. Before comparing these charts, let’s compare Paul and Jesus. Below we have reproduced Romans 13:9-10 and Matthew 19:18-19.
Matthew 19:16-19 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but God.
As we begin, we must first note a major difference in perspective between this person and myself: he approaches the New Testament as a form of continuation of the Old, while I believe that the New is an abrogation of the Old while maintaining by necessity many of the laws as governed under the Old Law.
In the previous response, I quoted and discussed Ephesians 2:11-18, Colossians 2:14-16, and Hebrews 7:12-14 regarding the relationship of the Old with the New. It is profitable to again do this:
Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and he came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh: for through him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.
Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day.
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests.
We see in these verses a clear demonstration that Jesus did abolish the Law through Hid death and thereby instituted a new law to govern His people. There is no Scripture in the New Testament that in any from states that Christians are obligated to observe the Law of Moses; in fact, many times the authors condemn such practices, as with
Paul in Galatians 5:1-4 and Galatians 5:11-14:
For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumbling-block of the cross been done away. I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision. For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
And this last portion of Galatians 5:14 shall bring us to the question raised: if Christ did abrogate the Law of Moses, why do we have laws in the New Testament with the same language as that of the Old? For us to understand, let us use an example of the world: the creation of the United States of America. When the U.S. broke away from Britain and then began establishing new laws for the nation, many were similar if not exactly the same as in Britain (prohibitions of murder, stealing, etc.). Many changes were also enacted, however, to prevent the abuses that were perceived in the British system of government. Now, if someone were indicted for stealing in the U.S., is he going to be prosecuted because of the law that governed Britain or the law that governs the U.S.? The basis of authority in matters of legislation is the governing body that established the legislation– not the precedents of that legislation.
Let us now return to the Biblical text. The authority of the commandments given in the New Testament is not based on Moses but on the ones giving the legislation– and all such legislation ultimately is derived from Christ Himself, who has been given all authority (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, when Jesus and Paul both state that a Christian ought to “honor his mother and father,” or “love God,” or whatever, it is done on the authority of Jesus Christ, not on the basis of the authority given to Moses. For this, let us consider Hebrews 2:2-4:
For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.
The “word spoken through angels” is the Law of Moses, and the superiority of the covenant with Christ is emphasized here. Christ has more authority since He is the Son, not just a minister over the things of the Master. Therefore, the faithful Christian will look to the words of the New Testament, not the Old, for his source of truth in doctrine. This is confirmed by Paul in Galatians 3:19-26:
What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one; but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law. But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now faith that is come, we are no longer under a tutor. For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.
I will also further note that in neither passage that the person quoted do we find a reference to the Sabbath, and his proposition that the Jewish Sabbath is spoken of by way of commandment in the New Testament we shall demonstrate as false below.
The person continued: [The following appears to be some form of chart that was lost in translation, erl]
The Law Of God
Old Testament The Law Of God
Deuteronomy 5:6-21 I [am] the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
ONE: Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
ONE: Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
TWO: Thou shalt not make thee [any] graven image, or any likeness of any thing that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
TWO: 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
NOTE: Verses in Blue are verses written AFTER Christ’s death. AFTER the ‘nailing of the law to the cross’ [again lost in translation, erl].
THREE: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
THREE: 1 Timothy 6:1 … that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
As to the truth of all of these verses, we have no disagreement; however, I will say again that our perspective is vastly different. I do not find Paul or John teaching the Law of Moses after the cross as much as I find Paul and John teaching commandments that are perhaps similar to those given under the Law of Moses but instituted, enforced
and authorized by Jesus Christ.
The person continued:
FOUR: Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thymanservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine [censored], nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
FOUR: Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 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.
Hebrews 4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his.
Here there is much room for disagreement. The New Testament citations given above either (a) do not prove the need for the Christian to observe the Sabbath or (b) are completely misinterpreted.
Matthew 24:20 is the prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple there. Let us read the entire context, Matthew 24:15-21:
When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand), then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains: let him that is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house: and let him that is in
the field not return back to take his cloak. But woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath: for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be.
We see that in verse 16 that Jesus is speaking to those that “are in Judea,” the significant majority of them being Jews. There is also reference to the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, again a prophecy of Jerusalem and the Jews inhabiting it. Therefore, we may see that this passage is directed at the Jews of Jerusalem, and not the New Testament
Mark 2:27-28 gives us a statement of fact: since Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of man, He is the Lord of the Sabbath. This means that He certainly has the authority to teach that God did not make man for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man, and that good may be done to others on the Sabbath (cf. earlier in Mark 2). This is in no way a
command for the New Testament Christian to observe the Sabbath.
Now we come to Hebrews 4:1-11, which have been completely turned around from their original meaning and intent by this person. Hebrews 4:1-11 actually demonstrates that the Sabbath of the Jews is not the sabbath rest waiting for Christians. Let us see this passage:
Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard. For we who have believed
do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he hath said somewhere of the seventh day on this wise, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works; and in this place again, They shall not enter into my rest.
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some should enter thereinto, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience, he again defineth a certain day, To-day, saying in David so long a time afterward (even as hath been said before), To-day if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts.
For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of
Let us note some things about this passage:
- In verse 1, the Hebrew author derives a conclusion from what he has said before in Hebrews 3:16-19:
For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses? And with whom was he displeased forty years? was it not with them that sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were disobedient? And we see that they
were not able to enter in because of unbelief.
These are clearly the Israelites of the covenant with Moses, specifically those who were in the wilderness. The conclusion of this matter? That we should fear lest we do not enter the promised rest. Is this a current rest? Is it a rest practiced by Jews or anyone? How can it be if it is a promised rest?
- In verses 4-6, the Hebrew author makes a comparison between verses, one stating that there will be a rest, the other stating that they would not enter a rest. Verse 6 establishes that the first group of people (necessarily the Jews) did not enter into this rest.
- In verses 8-10, the Hebrew author states quite clearly that Joshua did not provide the Israelites with the true rest of God, since another day was later spoken of. The conclusion? A rest “remains” for the people of God. The Greek word implies a forsaking: hence, “There is left as forsaken a sabbath rest for the people of God.” How can this
“sabbath rest” be in any way the same rest as the Jewish Sabbath?
- Finally, we again see in verse 11 an indication that Christians are currently not participating in that rest: “Let us give diligence to enter into that rest.” If the rest of the Jewish Sabbath were specified, why would we need to give diligence to enter into it? We do not have to “work” for Saturday to arrive, do we? And if the rest is habitual, occurring every seventh day, why are there indications from the text that the sabbath rest under discussion is permanent?
We therefore see that the Sabbath rest of the people of God discussed by the Hebrew author is by no means the Jewish seventh day but is in fact the Heavenly rest promised to all those who faithfully obey Jesus Christ. (Revelation 14:13). This passage actually proves the exact opposite of what this person intends it to prove: it teaches us plainly that the Jewish Sabbath is not for the Christian, for the true Sabbath rest– Heaven– is waiting for the Christian when he has ceased in his labors for God and is called home.
Therefore, we may see that the New Testament does not affirm that Christians are to observe the Jewish Sabbath day, but, in fact, teaches that such Sabbaths are not the true Sabbath of God, and that for us, the people of God, our Sabbath rest of Heaven awaits.
The person continued:
FIVE: Honor thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
FIVE: Matthew 19:19 Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
SIX: Thou shalt not kill.
SIX: Romans 13:9 Thou shalt not kill
SEVEN: Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
SEVEN: Romans 13:9 … Thou shalt not commit adultery.
EIGHT: Neither shalt thou steal.
EIGHT: Romans 13:9 … Thou shalt not steal.
NINE: Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
NINE: Romans 13:9 … Thou shalt not bear false witness.
TEN: Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his [censored], or any [thing] that [is] thy neighbor’s. These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a
great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
TEN: Romans 13:9 … Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Again, there is no dispute about the truth of these passages, but I say again that the New Testament passages are based not upon the authority of Moses but the authority of Jesus Christ.
It is interesting to note Exodus 20:1-2:
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
According to all knowledge I have, I am not a Jew and God never led my fathers out of Egypt. How, then, can this law be bound upon me? Remember Acts 15:4-5?
And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church and the apostles and the elders, and they rehearsed all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.
Remember the decision of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and the elders in Jerusalem in Acts 15:24-29?
Forasmuch as we have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment; it seemed good unto us, having come to one accord, to choose out men and send them unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well.
Notice two things:
- Those who preached the need for the Law of Moses did so without any commandment and by doing so “subverted souls.” If you preach to me the need for the Law of Moses, do you not also subvert my soul?
- The burden of the Law of Moses was not added to the Gentiles. How, then, can you say that the Law of Moses is to be bound on Christians today?
Therefore I, along with the Holy Spirit, the Apostles, and countless witnesses to the Gospel of Christ, assert that there is no need to burden Christians with the Law of Moses, and that whatever laws and commandments given to Christians are derived from the authority of Christ, not Moses. I would also warn you as Paul warned the Galatians
who would bind the Law of Moses on Christians in Galatians 1:6-9:
I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema [accursed, erl]. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema [accursed, erl].
The person continued:
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Question 24: If a Clergyman tries to persuade you that “the Law is done away in Jesus” or says something like, “well that’s Old Testament, that’s done away,” then he trying, either knowingly or unknowingly, to get you to receive The Mark of The Beast. Agree or disagree, to reject God’s Law is to accept The Mark of The Beast.
Concerning Romans 3:31, the question must be asked: what law do we establish? Romans 3:27-31:
Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay: but by a law of faith. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also: if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid: nay, we establish the law.
Answer: Paul speaks not of the Law of Moses, but the law of faith, as seen in Romans 3:27.
Concerning Revelation 22:14, there is some discrepancy among the versions, with the ASV rendering having more textual authority:
Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Yet even if we accept the KJV rendering, whose commandments are under discussion– those of Moses or those of Christ? Assuredly those of Christ (Revelation 1:1, 22:16). Let us remember the message of Hebrews 3:1-6:
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house. For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honor than the house.
For every house is builded by some one; but he that built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.
The Law of Christ is superior to the Law of Moses. I suppose that if the beast were active today, I would agree that those who do not teach the Law of Christ but the Law of Moses would receive his mark.
The person continued:
If God Almighty could have ever changed his Holy Law, don’t you think the All-Wise God would have done it surely to save himself from the agony & humiliation of the cruelest torture in the history of man? http://www.frugalsites.net/jesus/
The Jesus Vacation Plan is very simple. You get 52 days out of the off for keeping the holy Sabbath Day. Grace does not give us the freedom to break the Law of God. Grace gives us the liberty to do better. Grace gives us a second chance to make a wiser and more intelligent choice. Grace gives us the opportunity to what is right. The Sabbath Rest is grace to the human race.
The person’s logic is demonstrating him to be not thinking Scripturally but dogmatically. The Hebrew author gives us plenty of reasons why Jesus had to die:
And what we say is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, who hath been made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: for it is witnessed of him, Thou art a priest for ever After the order of Melchizedek. For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God. And inasmuch as it is not without the taking of an oath (for they indeed have been made priests without an oath; but he with an oath by him that saith of him, The Lord sware and will not repent himself, Thou art a priest for ever); by so much also hath Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore, (Hebrews 7:15-28).
Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is necessary that this high priest also have somewhat to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are those who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve that which is a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses is warned of God when he is about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a ministry the more excellent, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a second, (Hebrews 8:1-7).
Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services; but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offereth for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holy place hath not yet been made manifest, while the first tabernacle is yet standing; which is a figure for the time present; according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect, being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation. But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it. For a testament is of force where there hath been death: for it doth never avail while he that made it liveth. Wherefore even the first covenant hath not been dedicated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses unto all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded to you-ward. Moreover the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry he sprinkled in like manner with the blood. And according to the law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission. It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ entered not into a holy place made with hands, like in pattern to the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place year by year with blood not his own; else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation, (Hebrews 9:6-28).
These verses clearly show that Christ needed to die to be the true High Priest of our confession, and that for His covenant to be in force, His blood needed to be shed. He enters the priesthood of Melchizedek, and with this change of priesthood there is by necessity a change of law (Hebrews 7:12).
There is still no New Testament authority for the observance of the Sabbath of the Jews.
The person continued:
100 FACTS ON THE SABBATH QUESTION
Why keep the Sabbath day?
What is the object of the Sabbath?
When was it made, who made it, and for whom? Which day is the true Sabbath? Many keep the first day of the week, or Sunday. What Bible authority have they for this? Some keep the seventh day, or Saturday. What Scripture have they for that?
Here are the facts about both days, as plainly stated in the word of God.
Sixty Bible Facts Concerning the Seventh Day
1. After working the first six days of the week in creating this earth, the great God rested on the seventh day. Genesis 2:1-3.
2. This stamped that day as God’s rest day, or Sabbath day, as Sabbath day means rest day. To illustrate: When a person is born on a certain day, that day becomes his birthday. So when God rested upon the seventh day, that day became His rest, or Sabbath day.
3. Therefore the seventh day must always be God’s Sabbath day. Can you change your birthday from the day on which you were born to one in which you were not born? No. Neither can you change God’s rest day to a day on which He did not rest. Hence the seventh day is still God’s Sabbath day.
4. The Creator blessed the seventh day. Genesis 2:3.
5. He sanctified the seventh day. Exodus 20:11.
6. He made it the Sabbath day in the garden of Eden. Genesis 2:1-3.
7. It was made before the fall; hence it is not a type, for types were not introduced till after the fall.
We have already seen the Hebrew author’s perspective on the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3 in Hebrews 4:1-11, where the author clearly demonstrates that the rest awaits for the Christian and is in no way the Sabbath rest of the Jews.
It should also be noted that there is no commandment for man to rest on the Sabbath day until the Law of Moses and Exodus 16. There is no indication of the sanctification of the Sabbath day until Exodus 20. How, then, can it be bound upon all people at all times?
The person continued:
8. Jesus says it was made for man (Mark 2:27); that is, for the race, as the word man is here unlimited, hence, for the Gentile as well as for the Jews.
9. It is a memorial of creation. Exodus 20:11; 31:17. Every time we rest upon the seventh day, as God did at creation, we commemorate the grand event.
10. It was given to Adam, the head of the human race. Mark 2:27; Genesis 2:1-3.
11. Hence through him, as our representative, to all nations. Acts 17:26.
12. It is not a Jewish institution, for it was made 2,300 years before ever there was a Jew.
All of these “facts” are based on the presupposition that the Sabbath was designed for all men and that Adam actually observed it.
Regarding the Greek word anthropos: it is the “universal” term for man, but one cannot derive the conclusion that it refers to both Jew and Gentile in some universal sense; it merely is the generic term for “mankind.” Matthew is called an anthropos in Matthew 9:9, and the occurrences of the phrase “Son of man” in the Gospels uses anthropos. The term is used 560 times in the New Testament, referring to individuals and groups of individuals, to individuals and groups of the Jews and also to individuals and groups of Gentiles and the collective populace of Jews and Gentiles. Since the term is so general and so widely used, it is simply impossible to declare Jesus’ language in Mark 2:27 as referring to all people at all times.
This conclusion having been reached, we can see that the rest of the suppositions are groundless– there is no evidence of Adam observing the Sabbath, and thus we cannot conclude that we must observe it. It also cannot be demonstrated by the Scriptures that the Sabbath was observed before God instituted it for the Israelites in Exodus 20, and it would therefore still fall under the Law of Moses alone.
The person continued:
13. The Bible never calls it the Jewish Sabbath but always “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Men should be cautious how they stigmatize God’s holy rest day.
14. Evident reference is made to the Sabbath all through that patriarchal age. Genesis 2:1-3; 8:10, 12; 29:27, 28, ect.
15. It was a part of God’s law before Sinai. Exodus 16:4, 27-29.
Let us examine Genesis 8:10, 12 and Genesis 29:27-28:
And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark…And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she returned not again unto him any more.
Fulfil the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. And he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife.
We see here that the period of a week is given as references, yet none of these “weeks” are stated as based upon a Sabbath day. They could just as easily be a Sunday or a Friday for all we know. How can this be evidence for the Sabbath before Moses?
Even if the Sabbath was bound upon the Israelites before the giving of the law on Sinai, how does this prove that the Sabbath was bound upon anyone before Moses? It cannot!
The person continued:
16. Then God placed it in the heart of His moral law. Exodus 20:1-17. Why did He place it there if it was not like the other nine precepts, which all admit to be immutable?
17. The seventh-day Sabbath was commanded by the voice of the living God. Deuteronomy 4:12, 13.
18. Then He wrote the commandment with His own finger. Exodus 31:18.
19. He engraved it in the enduring stone, indicating its imperishable nature. Deuteronomy 5:22.
20. It was sacredly preserved in the ark in the holy of holies. Deuteronomy 10:1-5.
21. God forbade work upon the Sabbath, even in the most hurrying times. Exodus 34:21.
22. God destroyed the Israelites in the wilderness because they profaned the Sabbath. Ezekiel 12:12, 13.
23. It is the sign of the true God, by which we are to know Him from false gods. Ezekiel 20: 20.
24. God promised that Jerusalem would stand forever if the Jews would keep the Sabbath. Jeremiah 17:24, 25.
25. He sent them into the Babylonish captivity for breaking it. Nehemiah 13:18.
26. He destroyed Jerusalem for its violation. Jeremiah 17:27.
Concerning the placement of the Sabbath law in Exodus 20, it should be noted that the first four commandments pertain to responsibilities toward God while the last six pertain to responsibilities toward one’s fellow man. I will also note that the other nine commandments are not deemed immutable because of their use in Exodus 20, but because there is precedent for all of them long before Moses and are affirmed also in the New Testament.
Concerning the imperishability of the engravement: where is the Ark of the Covenant today? Is it not significant that nothing is heard of it after the Babylonian captivity? How, then, can it be so deemed imperishable? Also, since the Temple and the whole Jewish establishment of sacrifice was destroyed in 70 CE, ought that also provide for us a sign regarding the will of God?
The person continued:
27. God has pronounced a special blessing on all the Gentiles who keep it. Isaiah 56: 6, 7.
28. This is in the prophecy which refers wholly to the Christian dispensation. See Isaiah 56.
29. God has promised to bless every man who keeps the Sabbath. Isaiah 56:2.
30. The Lord requires us to call it “honorable,” Isaiah 58:13. Beware, ye who take delight in calling it the “old Jewish Sabbath,” “a yoke of bondage,” ect.
31. After the holy Sabbath has been trodden down for “many generation,” it is to be restored in the last days. Isaiah 58:12, 13.
32. All the holy prophets kept the seventh day.
33. When the Son of God came, He kept the seventh day all His life. Luke 4:16; John 15:10. Thus He followed His Father’s example at creation. Shall we not be safe in following the example of both the Father and the Son?
Regarding Isaiah 56: the passage speaks of blessings to be given to those who follow God’s Sabbath at the time of the prophet. Where is the indication that God is speaking to anyone but the Jews of the time of Isaiah? The “fact” is given that it refers to the “Christian dispensation,” but where is the evidence for this?
We must then ask regarding Isaiah 58, “to whom is God speaking?” The answer is provided in Isaiah 58:1-2:
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and declare unto my people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways: as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God, they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near unto God.
Therefore, when we read Isaiah 58:12-13,
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, and the holy of Jehovah honorable; and shalt honor it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.
we see clearly that the Jews are to deem the Sabbath honorable and to keep it, and no such commandment is here given to the Gentiles, nor is any reference being made to the “end times.” Note the beginning of verse 12, that God speaks to those that “shall be of thee;” how can these be the Gentiles when the “sons of Jacob” are under discussion?
If this is the case, how, then, is it binding upon us to treat the Sabbath as “holy” in some way? If, in the New Testament, the Hebrew author speaks of a better Sabbath rest that waits for the people of God, where is the problem of distinguishing between this Sabbath and the “old” and “Jewish” Sabbath? And where is the condemnation for calling it a burden when Paul says as much in Galatians 5:1?
For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.
And regarding the example of the prophets and Jesus regarding the Sabbath, let us remember that they all were circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21), yet Paul to the Christians says the following in Galatians 5:2-4:
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.
We must therefore recognize those things that Jesus did according to the Law of Moses and remember that He by His death abrogated that Law and find New Testament authority for the practices we perform.
The person continued:
34. The seventh day is the Lord’s day. See Revelation 1:10; Mark 2:28; Isaiah 58:13; Exodus 20:10.
35. Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28); that is, to love and protect it, as the husband is the lord of the wife, to love and cherish her. 1 Peter 3:6.
36. He vindicated the Sabbath as a merciful institution designed for man’s good. Mark 2:23-28.
37. Instead of abolishing the Sabbath, He carefully taught how it should be observed. Matthew 12:1-13.
38. He taught His disciples that they should do nothing upon the Sabbath day but what was “lawful.” Matthew 12:12.
39. He instructed His apostles that the Sabbath should be prayerfully regarded 40 years after His resurrection. Matthew 24:20.
40. The pious women who had been with Jesus carefully kept the seventh day after His death. Luke 23:56.
We must first ask concerning the Sabbath being the “Lord’s Day:” how is it referred to as thus in the New Testament? Merely because Jesus is called the Lord of the Sabbath in Mark 2, that makes the Sabbath His day? Perhaps the Lord’s Day is the day of His resurrection– the first day of the week– in Revelation 1:10. What evidence would you provide against this possibility?
The concept of Jesus being “Lord” (Greek kurios) of the Sabbath in and of itself provides no such implications about the lordship. It is impossible without any from of contextual indication to assert that His lordship represents a “loving and caring” relationship. It could just as easily be one of authority alone– and if He is Lord of the Sabbath, He can certainly abrogate the Sabbath, no?
Regarding the teachings of Jesus concerning the Sabbath to His disciples: the teachings were not indications of continual observance of the Sabbath after the death of Jesus, but the attempt of Jesus to retrieve the true meaning of the Sabbath from the legalistic hands of the Pharisees. Until the church was fully established on the day of Pentecost the Sabbath was still binding upon the Jews. Further, calling the teachings of Matthew 24:20 concerning the Sabbath as to be “prayerfully regarded 40 years after His resurrection” is a major over-interpretation of the actual words of Jesus in Matthew 24, as we have discussed previously.
The person continued:
41. Thirty years after Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit expressly calls it “the Sabbath day.” Acts 13:14.
42. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, called it “the Sabbath day” in A.D. 45. Acts 13:27. Did not Paul know? Or shall we believe modern teachers, who affirm that it ceased to be the Sabbath at the resurrection of Christ?
43. Luke, the inspired Christian historian, writing as late as A.D. 62, calls it “the Sabbath day.” Acts 13:44.
44. The Gentile converts called it the Sabbath. Acts 13:42.
45. In the great Christian council, A.D. 52, in the presence of the apostles and thousands of disciples, James calls it the “Sabbath day.” Acts 15:21.
It is absolutely true that the New Testament records instances of the use of the term “Sabbath” in reference to the seventh day. We know, however, from Acts 15 that the Sabbath was not one of the burdens the Jewish Christians felt compelled to lay upon the Gentiles.
Since the Word is not contradictory, we must see if the term could be used in a difference sense, and there certainly is: merely calling a day the “Sabbath” does not give any indication that the persons involved were actually observing it. It can be compared to December 25: I call it “Christmas,” although I do not religiously observe Christmas. I know of practicing Muslims and Hindus who call that day Christmas and they certainly do not observe it religiously! If the Jews are used to calling the seventh day the “sabbath day,” would that change upon conversion? Probably not– and the Gentiles that would be around them could very easily pick up the same language. Mere use of the term does not prove that it was actually observed: all that can be proven is that the day was still called the Sabbath day.
The person continued:
46. It was customary to hold prayer meetings upon that day. Acts 16:13.
47. Paul read the scriptures in public meetings on that day. Acts 17:2,3.
48. It was his custom to preach upon that day. Acts 17:2.
49. The book of Acts alone gives a record of his holding eighty-four meetings upon that day. See Acts 13:4, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4, 11.
50. There was never any dispute between the Christians and the Jews about the Sabbath day. This is proof that the Christians still observed the same day that Jews did.
Let us read Acts 16:13-14:
And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were come together. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul.
This custom of praying was the custom of some of the Jewish women of Philippi before the arrival of Paul and the message of the Gospel of Christ! This is a purely Jewish custom! Paul, as he did in Acts 17 and in all the other examples this person has provided, used the Sabbath day as a convenient opportunity to preach the message of Jesus to the assembled Jews! As we have seen before, Paul’s teaching and preaching to the Jews in the synagogue makes him no more an observer of the Sabbath than his speech on Mars Hill in Acts 17 makes him a philosopher! It was a place and time where the message of Christ could be preached, and no indication is ever given in any example in Acts that Paul was actually observing the Sabbath.
Concerning the supposed lack of disputation about the Sabbath, I again will quote Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:14-17:
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind.
Having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s.
Here we have two references to days being observed in the Jewish tradition and Paul comments on them and how some form of disputation had arisen concerning them. So much for that “fact.”
The person continued:
51. In all their accusations against Paul, they never charged him with disregarding the Sabbath day. Why did they not if he did not keep it?
52. Paul himself expressly declared that he had kept the law. “Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.” Acts 25:8. How could this be true if he had not kept the Sabbath?
53. The Sabbath is mentioned in the New testament 59 times, and is always with respect, bearing the same title it had in the Old Testament, “the Sabbath day.”
54. Not a word is said anywhere in the New testament about the Sabbath’s being abolished, done away, changed, or anything of the kind.
55. God had never given permission to any man to work upon it. Reader, by what authority do you use the seventh day for common labor?
56. No Christian of the New testament, either before or after the resurrection, ever did ordinary work upon the seventh day. Find one case of that kind, and we will yield the question. Why should modern Christians do differently from Bible Christians?
57. There is no record that God has ever removed His blessing or sanctification from the seventh day.
Concerning the example of Paul there is much to say. The material present in Acts 21 appears to give indication that for some time God did not condemn Jewish Christians if they zealously held to the Law of Moses. This was by no means a continual allowance nor did this extend to the Gentiles, as is noted specifically in Acts 21:20-21, 25:
“And they, when they heard it, glorified God; and they said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of them that have believed; and they are all zealous for the law: and they have been informed concerning thee, that thou teachest all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs…But as touching the Gentiles that have believed, we wrote, giving judgment that they should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from fornication.”
For a time, therefore, the Jewish Christians were allowed to continue to observe the Law of Moses, including the Sabbath, without condemnation. This concession manifestly ended in 70 CE with the complete destruction of the Jewish sacrificial system that prevented anyone from truly observing the Law of Moses and never extended to the compulsion of the Gentiles to observe any part of the Law, including the Sabbath.
When this is understood, the language, attitude, and actions of the Jewish Christians makes more sense. How this person or anyone else can take this information and then attempt to bind Jewish institutions upon those of the Gentiles is beyond me.
Regarding Acts 25:7-8:
And when he was come, the Jews that had come down from Jerusalem stood round about him, bringing against him many and grievous charges which they could not prove; while Paul said in his defense, Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I sinned at all.
Is there any indication from this passage that Paul must have observed the Sabbath? Or is he merely defending himself against the false charges of the Jews, which began in Acts 21:27-29:
And when the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place; and moreover he brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath defiled this holy place. For they had before seen with him in the city Trophimus the Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.
Finally, regarding the supposed “silence” of the New Testament about the abrogation of the Sabbath: (a) we see in Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16-17 that no man is to judge another regarding the observance (and the lack thereof) of the Sabbath day, (b) the Hebrew author speaks of a better Sabbath rest for the people of God and that the rest Joshua gave to the Israelites was not that rest, and, most importantly, (c) Paul speaks of the abrogation of the Law– and therefore every principle of the Law– in Ephesians 2:11-18, and the Hebrew author speaks of the transition of laws in Hebrews 7:12-14. Such evidence is more than sufficient to show that the Sabbath observance on the seventh day is not for Christians today– and this answers any petition for lack of evidence about the removal of the Sabbath. Saturday is just another day for the Christian and no reason has been given in the New Testament to observe it.
The person continued:
58. As the Sabbath was kept in Eden before the fall, so it will be observed eternally in the new earth after the restitution. Isaiah 66:22, 23.
59. The seventh-day Sabbath was an important part of the law of God, as it came from His own mouth, and was written by His own finger upon stone at Sinai. See Exodus 20. When Jesus began His work, He expressly declared that He had not come to destroy the law. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.” Matthew 5:17.
60. Jesus severely condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites for pretending to love God, while at the same time they made void one of the Ten Commandments by their tradition. The keeping of Sunday is only a tradition of men.
We have now presented 60 plain Bible facts concerning the Seventh day. What will you do with them?
It is interesting that this person would claim again that the Sabbath was observed by Adam and Eve since there is no such evidence for this! We’re still waiting for it.
Let us read Isaiah 66:21-23:
And of them also will I take for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD. 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.
Does this show that after the Judgment we shall observe the Sabbath? Verse 21 demonstrates amply that this cannot be so. We read the following in Hebrews 7:9-14:
And, so to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receiveth tithes, hath paid tithes; for he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him. Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it hath the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests.
If the priesthood of Aaron has been superseded by the priesthood of Melchizedek through Christ, why would God be making priests of Levites in the “end times?” Or perhaps is Isaiah speaking about the restoration of the Jews to the Land of Israel after the exile in Isaiah 66?
We have spoken previously concerning Matthew 5:17; His death caused the fulfillment of the Law, and it was then taken out of the way.
Regarding the first day of the week, we shall have more to say on this day later, but we do have the witness of Acts 20:7:
And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight.
We rightly should condemn all those who would bind the traditions of men upon the people of God, and those people are not the ones who worship God on the first day of the week. Those who do so do it with the blessing of God by the example of the Apsotles, while those who would observe the Sabbath day are condemned as those holding to an antiquated and burdening law.
We have examined the supposed facts about the Sabbath, and have exposed them as being misleading or often downright false. None of these supposed facts that would prove the binding of the observance of the Sabbath day upon Christians have stood up to critical examination and the whole message of the Scriptures. The “facts” are by no means plain and many are downright false. What will you do with people who cannot even handle the Word of God accurately, but must resort to half-truths, misinterpretations, and who must completely ignore a vast quantity of Scriptures which plainly condemn the keeping of the Jewish law and the binding of the Law of Moses in any form upon the Gentiles?
The person continued:
Forty Bible Facts Concerning the First Day of the Week
1. The very first thing recorded in the Bible is work done on Sunday, the first day of the week. Genesis 1:1-5. This was done by the Creator Himself. If God made the earth on Sunday, can it be wicked for us to work on Sunday?
2. God commands men to work upon the first day of the week. Exodus 20:8-11. Is it wrong to obey God?
3. None of the patriarchs ever kept it.
4. None of the holy prophets ever kept it.
5. By the express command of God, His holy people used the first day of the week as a common working day for 4,000 years, at least.
6. God Himself calls it a “working” day. Ezekiel 46:1.
7. God did not rest upon it.
8. He never blessed it.
We see with these first questions a complete non sequitur. If the first day of the week is the day upon which Christians meet, then how can we say it is binding upon anyone before the Christians? If it is a day authorized by Christ by the authority given to Him in 30 CE (Matthew 28:18), why would it be something bound upon persons before 30 CE?
There is no problem with obeying God and recognizing that the Law of Moses has been done away (Ephesians 2:11-18), and is therefore no longer profitable for doctrine (Galatians 3:20-25).
We must also ask who binds it as a day of rest? This perhaps is a concept that many in denominations believe, but I have not heard such doctrines among members of churches of Christ. Here we have an example about how this person is either ignorant concerning what we believe or is not concerned enough to direct his materials specifically at us.
I would also contend that God did bless the first day of the week on which Paul, Luke, and the other disciples assembled in Troas in Acts 20:10-12:
And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Make ye no ado; for his life is in him. And when he was gone up, and had broken the bread, and eaten, and had talked with them a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the lad alive, and were not a little comforted.
God blessed these disciples with the life of Eutychus– why would this occur if the disciples were meeting on an unauthorized day?
The person continued:
9. Christ did not rest upon it.
10. Jesus was a carpenter (Mark 6:3) and worked at His trade until He was 30 years old. He kept the Sabbath and worked six days in the week, as all admit. Hence He did many a hard day’s work on Sunday.
11. The apostles worked upon it during the same time.
12. The apostles never rested upon it.
13. Christ never blessed it.
14. It has never been blessed by any divine authority.
15. It has never been sanctified.
16. No law was ever given to enforce the keeping of it; hence it is no transgression to work upon it. “For where no law is, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:15; (1 John 3:4).
17. The New Testament nowhere forbids work to be done on it.
We see again that our friend here has not understood that the observance of the Sabbath would not have been done away with until Pentecost in Acts 2 anyway, and that any attempt to turn Sunday into the “Christian Sabbath” is merely a non sequitur that does not even deal with the issue. We have also seen that the divine authority did bless the assembling of the disciples in Acts 20 on the first day of the week.
Now, regarding commandment for assembling on the first day of the week: we do have Hebrews 10:25:
Not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.
Here there is a command to not forsake the assembling with the saints, and we have the Apostolic example of Paul assembling with saints in Acts 20:7. This is sufficient evidence for the New Testament Christian to assemble on the first day of the week, and that to intentionally forsake such assembling runs afoul of the command in Hebrews 10:25.
The person continued:
18. No penalty is provided for its violation.
19. No blessing is promised for its observance.
20. No regulation is given as to how it ought to be observed. Would this be so if the Lord wished us to keep it?
21. It is never called the Christian Sabbath.
22. It is never called the Sabbath day at all.
23. It is never called the Lord’s day.
24. It is never called even a rest day.
25. No sacred title whatever is applied to it. Then why should we call it holy?
We may see in the above questions how our friend must be very confused– he is really trying hard to find some form of “Sabbath” in the assembling of the saints in the New Testament. There is no such thing! There is nothing to “observe” besides the Lord’s Supper, nor is there a command to “rest.” The Hebrew writer has made it manifestly evident that our rest is not on earth but awaits in Heaven. There are not regulations concerning it for we have liberty in this arena as long as we perform the practices He desires for us to perform.
It is called the Lord’s day in Revelation 1:10, and he has not proved anything to the contrary:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
This person could perhaps find the New Testament truth about the first day of the week if he would stop trying to find the Sabbath rest there (Hebrews 4:1-11)!
The person continued:
26. It is simple called “first day of the week.”
27. Jesus never mentioned it in any way–never took its name upon His lips as far as the record shows.
28. The word Sunday never occurs in the Bible at all.
29. Neither God, Christ, nor inspired men, ever said one word in favor of Sunday as a holy day.
30. The first day of the week is mentioned only eight times in all the New Testament. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2.
31. Six of these texts refer to the same first day of the week.
32. Paul directed the saints to look over their secular affairs on that day. 1 Corinthians 16:2.
We see here that this person must really stretch to try to justify his position against the first day of the week. The word Sunday, as with Saturday, are terms used long after the Scriptures were written; what we call the day is of no concern since even this person will not attempt to discredit the fact that “the first day of the week” is “Sunday.” This person is also still searching for his “Sunday Sabbath,” and we must still ask him why this must be so?
“Secular work” in 1 Corinthians 16:2? Hardly! Let us read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4:
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. And when I arrive, whomsoever ye shall approve, them will I send with letters to carry your bounty unto Jerusalem: and if it be meet for me to go also, they shall go with me.
What do we see here?
- Paul speaks to them concerning the collection for the saints– how is this “secular?”
- The collection is to be made on the first day of the week so that no further collections need to be made when Paul arrives in Corinth.
We see here that we actually have evidence demonstrating the use of the first day of the week by Christians as a day of assembly! If they were so used to gathering on the Sabbath, why not make the collection on the Sabbath? This passage is heavily inconsistent with the message this person would like to provide!
The person continued:
33. In all the New Testament we have a record of only one religious meeting held upon that day. Acts 20:5-12.
34. There is not an intimation that they ever held a meeting on it before or after that.
35. It was not their custom to meet on that day.
36. There was no requirement to break bread on that day.
37. We have an account of only one instance in which it was done. Acts 20:7.
38. That was done in the night–after midnight. Verses 7-11. Jesus celebrated it on Thursday evening, (Luke 22), and the disciples sometimes did it every day. Acts 2:42-46.
39. The Bible nowhere says that the first day of the week commemorates the resurrection of Christ. This is a tradition of men, which makes void the law of God. Matthew 15:1-9. Baptism commemorates the burial and resurrection of Jesus. Romans 6:3-5.
40. Finally, the New testament is totally silent with regard to any change of the Sabbath day or sacredness for the first day.
I do not find it surprising that this person waits to speak concerning Acts 20 until the end since it represents a major stumbling-block to his position. Let us first say that 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 also demonstrates a religious meeting on the first day of the week, and then let us see Acts 20:6-7:
And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days, where we tarried seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and prolonged his speech until midnight.
Let us now examine the facts about this passage:
- First of all, Luke mentions the “days of unleavened bread,” or the Passover. Shall we conclude that the Apostles observed the Passover? After all, if every instance of the term “Sabbath” requires its observance, the same rule must be applied to the Passover.
- Paul and his entourage traveled for five days and then stayed in Troas seven, with the first day of the week being the last day. When we do the math, we recognize that Paul entered Troas on a Monday, and therefore must have been traveling on the Sabbath day before that. If he truly followed the Sabbath, would he have made such a journey?
- Paul stayed seven days, which would have included the Sabbath, yet the disciples met on which day? The first day of the week! If it was the tradition of the Christians to meet on the Sabbath and not the first day of the week, why would Paul have not taken the opportunity presented to him in Troas to meet on the Sabbath day? He was in haste to make it to Jerusalem by Pentecost (Acts 20:16); every day would be precious to him.
The only conclusion we can draw from this great cloud of facts surrounding this assembly is that Paul tarried in Troas so that he could assemble with the brethren on the first day of the week. He considered this necessary despite his pressing schedule; if Paul was a true Sabbath-keeper it would have been much more convenient to observe the Sabbath yet he assembled with the disciples on the first day of the week.
While there may not be a specific commandment to break bread on the first day of the week, Paul did say that we proclaim the Lord’s death when it is done (1 Corinthians 11:25-27). If you are to consider this gathering improper, then you condemn Paul of the body and blood of the Lord, as noted in 1 Corinthians 11:27. I would not be so willing to put forth such a charge.
Concerning the time of eating: Luke uses the first person plural pronoun in verse 7 (we came together to break bread), but the only person in verse 11 who eats after midnight is Paul. Since “breaking bread” can refer either to the Lord’s Supper or to a common meal, propriety in interpretation compels us to say that the Lord’s Supper was taken on Sunday evening while Paul ate a meal after midnight. And the “breaking bread” in Acts 2:46 is the partaking of common meals, as is extremely evident in the next clause: “they took their meals…”
We must end as we have begun by stressing that silence cannot bail out the Sabbath keeper in regards to the New Testament, for the silence of the Scriptures is a stunning criticism against his position. We have obvious and evident proof in Ephesians 2:11-18, Colossians 2:14-16, and Hebrews 7:12-14 concerning the abrogation of the Law of Moses and all of its principles and replaced with the law of Christ.
The person concluded:
So after reviewing these 100 plain Bible facts upon this question, showing conclusively that the seventh day of the week, or Saturday, is the Sabbath of the Lord in both the Old and New testaments, what should be our response to this fourth commandment of God?
For he spake in a certain place on the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works….There remaineth therefore a rest (Sabbath) to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the save example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:4, 9-11.
“And hereby we do know that we know him (God), if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him….By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 2:3-5, 5:2-3.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city (of God). For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Revelation 22:14.
“Let us here the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
We see that this person concludes under the exact same false premises that he has used throughout the discussion. He has no recognition of the change of covenant between Moses and Christ and constantly perverts the clear teachings of Hebrews 4, where God affirms that there is a Sabbath rest waiting for the people of Gods– and it is not the seventh day. It is Heaven, for it is a promise that is not yet fulfilled.
We most certainly must follow the commandments of God– but it is critical to determine where we shall find these commandments. Shall we find them in a law that kills? Are they to be found in a yoke of bondage? Or are they to be found by the glorious sacrifice of our Lord and His commandments, in force since the establishment of His Kingdom in Acts 2?
What shall we say then? Did Jesus die to keep a Law that could never save but was ready to condemn? By no means! He died to set us free, not to enslave us anew. We are not to be taken prisoner by Jewish customs– how anyone could ignore these constant warnings in Galatians 5:1-4 and Colossians 2:14-17 is beyond me. How can anyone neglect the great charge to the Gentiles in Acts 15, and who can help but notice the lack of a command for the Sabbath? And, perhaps most importantly, how can anyone in reading the New Testament neglect the evident truth that the only assembling of Christians that we see documented on a specific day is not on the Sabbath but on the first day of the week!
This is the end of the matter: the Sabbath day is not a Christian custom. It was solely a Jewish custom. No Christian was to judge another Christians on the basis of lack of observance of the Sabbath. No Jewish Christian was ever given the right to bind it upon a Gentile Christian, for such would lead to a yoke of bondage Christ never intended for any of His followers, especially the Gentiles! We must recognize the obvious change of covenant and the requisite change of law. The Jew may have been one by circumcision, but the Christian is one through baptism. The Jew attempted atonement of sin by the slaughter of bulls and goats, yet the Christian’s appeal is the blood of Christ. Likewise, the Jew may be bound to observe the Sabbath day, but the Christian assembles on the first day of the week to encourage and edify his fellow Christians, always looking forward to the true Sabbath rest waiting for him in Heaven.
For More Information
For more information on Seventh-Day Adventism and its beliefs, please click here; for more on the differences between the Law of Moses and the guidelines for Christians in the New Testament, please click here. Thank you!