Sabbath to Sunday Apologetic by R.Clanton
and not the Jewish Sabbath
By Robert Clanton ---- RWClanton1@cs.com]
Why? Because Sabbath keeping of Gentile nations or Christians is not taught in scripture.
The Sabbath before Moses
Genesis 2:1 displays God as having rested on the seventh day. The Adventist and Armstrong splinter groups, usually named "_?_Church of God" use this scripture to say that the commandment to keep the Sabbath was given on the day God rested and that God also kept the Sabbath. Gen.2:1 does say that God rested. From reading the gospels, we learn from Christ, that God never quit working (John 5:17) Jesus Christ specifically says concerning the Sabbath day, " 17But Jesus answered them, My Father WORKS hitherto, and I WORK. But he only ceases to create. Which is to say that was the last day of creation of earthly thing.
What Gen.2:1 does not say is also important. God had created Adam and Eve on the sixth day. Yet, the scripture excludes them from being included in any Seventh day rest. The word Sabbath, the Hebrew word "Shabbat" is not used until Exodus 16. How do we explain that the fact that God rested and Adam and Eve are not included in the rest? Moses wrote the book of Genesis. It is also Moses, to whom the Sabbath is first shown. Moses, to whom the Sabbath was first revealed, writes the creation account and uses a literary prolepsis in Genesis to describe the blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day. In other words, because it was revealed to him for the Jews (Exodus 31:12-19, Ezek 20, Neh.9:13-14). Moses writes it into the creation story because it was entirely unknown before then.
It is interesting that in the very same chapter of Genesis as the blessing of the seventh day is recorded by Moses, that he would use another literary prolepsis. In Gen.2:12, Moses writes of the land of Cush (Ethopia, KJV) while Cush is not born until 1600 years later. As in Gen.2, there is not any land named after Ham's son "Cush" until sixteen hundred years or more later, so in Gen.2, there is the seventh day but not commanded until Exodus 16. However, there is a very significant reason the Seventh day rest, Sabbath sign and commandment is connected to the covenant with Israel. The rest at the end of the first creation will be only a shadow of the finished work of Christ in the new creation at first advent. That will be explained further in the apologetic for the Lord's Day.
It should be noted that Gen.2:1 contains neither a command for anyone to keep the Sabbath nor an example of anyone keeping the Sabbath. Even God, only ceased to create but continued to work. (John5:17). Jesus Christ specifically says concerning the Sabbath day, (vs 17) " But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." God only ceased from his creative work on earth, He didn't cease from all work.
From Genesis two, we pass through time. The righteous among the earth are recorded, Abel, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Melchezedec, the High Priest, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and their families but none of them are ever demonstrated to keep the Sabbath. While Moses is careful to record, the animal sacrifices, and other seeming insignificant events, He completely avoids any reference to Sabbath keeping before Moses in Exodus 16.
The Commandments of God to Noah and All Mankind
Let's visit with Noah and his family for a moment, because something very significant occurs with Noah, which involves the rest of humanity from that time forward. Noah, scripturally speaking is the only family on earth to survive the flood. From him, all the families of the earth are descendants. The Noachian Flood only left one family one earth. God and Noah make a covenant after the flood. God gives Noah laws to keep in return a promise to never destroy the earth again by flood. These laws are significant because they are the foundation of all righteous societies of all nations from that time forward.
The covenant with Noah is lacuna in the understanding of the bible for the Sabbatarians. It is treated as if it doesn't exist and has no part of Gentile life and conduct.
Gen.9:1-10. The covenant of God with Noah is with him and his descendants (seed) after him (verse 9). Since, all mankind is in one fashion or another a descendant of the seed of Noah, all of mankind is obligated to keep the laws of Noah. When one makes a covenant relationship with the one true God, it automatically excludes any other relationship with any other idol or God. God does not enter a covenant relationship with someone who has other gods. He only covenants with those that worship him. The covenant requires Noah not to worship any of the other falsely named gods be definition of the word, covenant with God. The first commandment is to worship God, the Father and Creator of all humanity.
By nature of covenant with God and Father of humanity, Noah understood the commandment to honor earthly fathers as parents, which was passed down from Adam and Eve.
The other laws listed are to be fruitful and multiply 9:1. Contained within the commandment are the laws governing marriage and restriction against immorality. The apostles refer to this law in Acts 15:20 as the Greek word "pornea" for fornication, but actually means all sexual conduct, adultery, fornication or other sexual sins. The second commandment is to avoid sexual misconduct. Inherent in this commandment is also the forbidding of coveting your neighbor's wife.
The third commandment is contains a positive and a negative. Verses three and four, allow the all the nations including Noah's to eat "every moving thing" for food but they are not allowed to partake of the blood of the animal. Since, most of the Armstrong and Adventist followers keep the Jewish meat restrictions, this commandment clearly spells out that the children of Noah are not to be commanded to keep from unclean meats, that is enjoined to the Israelites in a later covenant.
The Gentiles are free to eat all animals. 1Tim.4:4 Paul repeats that every creature is good for food and nothing to be refused because it is sanctified by the word of God (Gen.9:3 sanctifies all meats as good for food) and prayer. However, man is not to eat the blood of the animal. This commandment is again repeated in Acts 15:29 from blood and strangled. Meaning improperly drained meats containing blood (Gen.9:4). 1
The fourth commandment is the commandment not to murder. Gen.9:5 "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man." This is also repeated in the commandments of God given in Acts 15:19, for the Gentiles to keep, as "to abstain from blood".
The fifth commandment is the command to set up righteous courts that will execute the judgment of God on the wicked. Verse 6 "Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." God has never intended for man to take the laws into his own hands and punish the wicked. God had commanded Noah that a court of righteousness would be set up to punish the wicked.
The commandments against the taking of life and sexual sin contain and implicit law against taking what is not yours. Thus the commandment of thou shalt not steal and covet is contained within the commandments of Noah.
From the time of Noah to Abraham, God was known as the God of Noah. These laws were preserved and handed down without written code from Noah. They are the laws of Noah, not only for Noah but all his "seed after him". (9:8). Moses records this covenant because it is a major event in the history of man. The sign of the covenant is also left for the witness, which is the rainbow (9:13-17), which calls to mind that all men are required to live after these laws. In 2Peter 2:5 Noah is called a preacher of Righteousness.
These same laws are found in the Law of Moses because Jews are descendants of Noah as much as Gentiles are. They are universal laws for everyone. But, while these are found in the law of Moses, all the laws of Moses are not in this covenant, only a few are contained here. Israel is given far more laws, than the Gentiles to keep. While all Jews are Noahites, the vast majority of Noahites are not Jews.
Conspicuously missing is the covenant laws of Noah is Sabbath commandment. Nearly all of the Ten Commandments are incorporated into the covenant with Noah. Moses, who received the law from God, does not include the Sabbath commandment because it had not been given until Exodus 16. Before that time, the Sabbath was unknown to man.
It was to be a special commandment and sign between God and the children of Israel. (Exodus 31:12-19).
Abraham keeps the charge, statutes and laws Gen.26: 5 (likely 10,000 yrs later, ch 10+11)
From Noah to Abraham, the laws of Noah are commanded and are to be kept for the righteous on earth. Abraham is a descendant from righteous Noah and must keep the laws of the covenant of Noah if he is to be a true worshiper of God. The scripture always underscores the manner of worship of God. From the pages of Genesis we learn that righteous Abel freely offered sacrifices to God. It is not limited to a certain day. Noah freely offered sacrifices as well as Genesis 8:20 illustrates. What is important is to show that had the Sabbath been kept as a commandment, Moses would have duly noted it because of its importance. Armstrongite's use Gen.26: 5 to says that Abraham didn't keep the laws of Noah but the laws of Moses. It's a true twist of scripture. The Passover, Pentecost, and other Levitical feasts are yet 500 years away from even being given and Sabbatarians are claiming Abraham kept these commanded Feasts of Israel (Lev.23: 1ff). No such thing is even implied in Genesis 26:5. The laws of the Sabbaths and Feasts of Israel are centuries away from being introduced to mankind. What the Sabbatarians are trying to claim is that Abraham is under the laws of Moses! Moses wasn't even born for centuries later. The Adventist and Armstrong followers are claiming that Abraham is under the covenant at Mount Sinai for Israel. Moses who is writing these things gives not one example of Abraham keeping any of the Feasts of Israel or the Sabbath day.
Abraham kept the laws of Noah because he was under the laws of Noah not under the Law of Moses. Abraham followed the charges and commandments given to him by God, both to leave his country, to offer his son, to keep the covenant of circumcision of the flesh, which is added later and to all the things commanded, of him from God. But, the laws of Moses and the covenant at Mount Sinai are centuries away.
From Adam to Moses there is not a single example of anyone keeping the Jewish Sabbath. Of all the righteous, none are shown to observe the Sabbath. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the father of the children of Israel are not ever commanded to observe the Sabbath. Joseph becomes a ruler in Egypt over all the kingdom of Egypt as noted in Gen.41: 43. The families of Israel are free to worship and righteous Joseph is ruler of over Egypt. He does not command either Israel or Egypt to keep the Sabbath.
Did God Hold back knowledge of the Sabbath?
God retained the Sabbath commandment for the Israelites and for their covenant at Mount Siani, so that they would be a special people. The answer is yes, He held back any revelation of the blessing of the seventh day until Moses. Sabbatarians find that difficult to believe, it shouldn't be so. God held back the revelation of Jesus Christ for nearly thousand more years than He did any Sabbath commandment.
Exodus and "Remember the Sabbath day"
The Adventist and Armstrong disciples claim that the commandment to "Remember the Sabbath day" in Exodus 20 means that Israel had forgotten the Sabbath. "They lost the Sabbath day" is the claim. As I've shown above Joseph was ruler over Egypt and as such no example of Israel nor any others keeping the Sabbath exists. During the hundreds of years Israel was in slavery, they never "lost" the Sabbath day. The claim has no substance to support it. It is to claim that not a single Israelite could count to seven and pass it down to his children. We all know Jews are a lot sharper than they are being given credit.
How then are we to explain "Remember the Sabbath day" from Exodus 20? Exodus 16 gives the first revelation of the Sabbath. It is very clear the Israelites have no idea when the Sabbath is, so God gives them twice the manna on the sixth day because they are to rest the seventh. We find that some of the Israelites went out to labor and to pick up manna on the seventh day forgetting to rest from labor or ignoring the Sabbath commandment given to them. Weeks later at Mount Sinai, God reminds Israel not to rebel and forget the Sabbath to keep it holy.
From Moses to Christ, "the Prophets"
From Moses, the prophet until Christ and beyond the Sabbaths are not commanded to any other nations. Israel goes into captivity for their disobedience regarding the Sabbaths but none of the other nations are ever commanded to observe the Sabbath. Only, those Gentiles who were joined to Israel by circumcision of the flesh and a vow to keep the whole law were required to keep the Sabbath.
Exodus 20:10 says the stranger within thy gates is to keep the Sabbath. Yes, but it clear that from the covenant of circumcision with Abraham, that every stranger who lived with Abraham and his family had to be circumcised of the flesh Gen.17:9-13. Abraham doesn't only circumcise his own family but all of those who labored for Abraham.
When the Sabbatarians confronted with the fact that no other nation was ever commanded to keep the Sabbath or condemned for not keeping the Sabbath they run to the few scripture which speak of individual Gentiles invited, not commanded to keep the Sabbath covenant. Had the Gentiles been commanded it, they would have been rebuked for not keeping and commanded to observe it as they had been commanded. But instead they are only individually invited, but they must be circumcised first and then keeps the whole law, not just the Sabbath.
Isa.56: The "strangers and eunuchs" were not excluded from the Old Covenant. They were included by the act of physical circumcision and by that act they became part of the "Children of Israel" (Exodus 12:47-49) and "took hold of the "covenant" Isa.56: 4. That is the old covenant. Isaiah 56 contains and invitation, not a commandment for the Gentiles living among the Israelites to become circumcised of the flesh and to "take hold" of the old covenant, of which the Sabbath day was the sign (Exodus 31:12-19). The very first thing any Gentile must do to "take hold of the covenant" is to be circumcised of the flesh. Then vow to keep the whole law.
After going to great lengths to make Isaiah 56:6 speak of the New Testament, they failed to read the very next verse which shows that the I Isaiah is plainly speaking of the old covenant. "7Even 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.
Lev.24: 6-8 ties Aaron and his sons and the "burnt offerings and sacrifices" which are made every Sabbath to the everlasting covenant". Any person remotely familiar with the Epistle of Hebrews knows that that is entirely of the Old Covenant.
Sabbartarians teach that uncircumcised Gentiles are commanded to keep the Sabbath in this chapter. Are they? No
There is no command in Isa.56 for the whole world to keep the Sabbath, as there isn't in the entire bible. Isa.56 is speaking to those gentiles who have already been circumcised in the flesh and commanded the whole law not just the weekly Sabbath. Notice verse 3:3Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath (all ready) 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. 4For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant.
Every slave in Israel was required to be circumcised as a part of the covenant with Abraham in Gen.17. Abraham circumcises all of his slaves as required by the covenant of circumcision. Gen.17: 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. Isa.56 has nothing to do with the uncircumcised gentiles being commanded to keep the Sabbath.
Isa.58: is also used to claim that the Sabbath is binding on Gentiles. I'm not sure for what reason, because the chapter is addressed to showing the sins of the "house of Jacob" (verse 1) their sins. The chapter begins with the House of Jacob and ends with the house of Jacob.
Isa.66:22For 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. 23And 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. The reason for keeping the Sabbath goes something like this: You see, in the new heavens and the new earth all flesh are going to come and keep the Sabbath, that proves the Sabbath is not "done away" and should be kept today. Typical of them to apply only one half the scripture they conveniently leave out that what is says for the Sabbath it also says for the new moon, and not only that it places the new moon ahead of the Sabbath day. Look at it closely again. 23And 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. Isaiah knows you cannot separate the Sabbath from the Law of Moses and exclude the new moon. If the Sabbath Keepers are going to observe the Sabbath because it is in the "New heavens and New Earth, then according to their reasoning they should be keeping the New Moon also.
2Chronicles 23:30 shows that the New Moons, sacrifices and Sabbaths are inseparable. 30And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even; 31and to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the lord in the Sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD." All of these commanded to Israel and not Gentiles.
The usage of the term "from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another is a Hebrew expression for the continual worship, not only on the Sabbath or the New Moon but all the days in between. And this is what Isaiah meant. A similar expression is used regarding the Gentiles worship in Mal.1:11 "11For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts." It doesn't mean only at the rising and setting of the sun but a continual worship from morning till night, every day.
There are hosts of scripture, which show that God did not require worship on the Sabbath by the Gentiles. Jonah preached to Nineveh and does not command them the Sabbath, the reason is obvious. They are not Israel and have no covenant with God concerning the Sabbath.
When the King of Babylon converts to the God of Israel, in Dan.3: they do not preach Sabbaths to the gentiles. Dan.3: 28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
The Prophet Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar to repent, and gives him this advice in Dan.4:27 "Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity." Or as the NRSV has it, "27 Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged." Daniel doesn't command him or his nation to be circumcised and keep the whole Law of Moses
In Dan.6: 25then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; peace be multiplied unto you. 26I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the god of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27he delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28so this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Darius makes no commands of Sabbaths on the empire! Daniel is said to "prosper" and he makes no Sabbaths binding upon this gentile kingdom.
The facts are that, neither not a single one of the prophets from Moses to Christ command the gentiles to keep the Sabbath nor do they condemn them for not observing the Sabbath. The other nations beyond Israel are condemned for not observing the laws of Noah, idolatry, pornea.etc but not breaking the Sabbath.
The Jews, who received the law have always understood that the righteous uncircumcised Gentiles among the nations were never required to observe the Sabbath nor could they be commanded to keep the Sabbath until they were circumcised of the flesh.
In the book, "Everyman's Talumud, The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages" by Rabbi Abraham Cohen, page 65 we read this concerning the Gentile whom is about to receive circumcision. "He is told, "you must know that before taking this step (circumcision) you partook of forbidden fat and profaned the Sabbath without incurring punishment; but henceforward if you do these things dire penalties will befall you.". [Schoken Books, New York, 1949]
The Rabbi clearly demonstrates that only the circumcised of flesh were commanded to observe the meat restrictions and Sabbath days. Before circumcision, these righteous Gentiles were free to break the Sabbath and eat anything within the laws of Noah, but after circumcision they were commanded to keep all the Sabbaths and laws of Moses.
"To the Gentiles who were not prepared to enter the fold of the Judaism, a moral code, known as the seven commandments of the Sons of Noah, was offered. It consisted of the precepts: "The practice of equity, prohibitions against blaspheming the Name, idolatry, immorality, bloodshed, robbery and devouring a limb torn from a live animal" (Sanh.56a). By righteous conduct, based upon these fundamental laws they would earn the divine approval." Ibid
The claim is made that these are not founded upon biblical teaching but Jewish tradition. However, that is false because I have shown that all of these commandments are part of the laws of Noah. And they are repeated in Acts 15:18-20, and Acts 21:21 as the only things "necessary" for the gentiles to keep when the Apostles condemned the teaching of the Sect of Pharisees for desiring to force circumcision and the commandment to observe the law of Moses upon the Gentiles (Acts 15:5). James repeats the laws of the covenant with Noah, as he has learned them from Rabbinical teaching in unison with the scripture from the Rabbinical school of Hillel and taught every Sabbath in the Synagogues.
The Feast of Tabernacles
Zechariah 14:17-21 has been used by the Armstrong followers as proof, God requires all mankind to observe the Jewish Holy Days because in their mind, Zechariah 14, shows that God is going to force the entire world to come to Jerusalem and spend eight days worshiping in the temple and offering animal sacrifices. The Jews have always understood these scriptures to have been fulfilled in the second building of the temple by Joshua and Zerubbabel. The Gentiles from around the known world came and worshiped during the Feast of Tabernacles, on the last day of the feast, at the Temple in Jerusalem. It wasn't because they were under the Law of Moses but because they had heard that God was with the Jews. "During the periods when the Jewish people lived in the Holy Land, their responsibility for teaching the Gentiles the Seven Commandments was generally fulfilled. During the 410 years of the First Temple stood and the 420 yeas of the Second Temple, the Gentiles who wanted to dwell in the land of Israel had to agree to fulfill the Noahide Laws and had the right to enter the Holy Temple to offer sacrifices to God (Zech.14:17-18)" [The Path of the Righteous Gentile, page 16, Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky, Targum Press, Inc., Southfield, MI] This is also confirmed by the book of The Works of Josephus in Wars Book II, Chapter 17, paragraphs 3 and 4 who describes the racist "impiety" those Jews who attempted to stop these Ben Noachians from offering sacrifices at the temple which the Levites always offered as acceptable offerings to God..
Beyond that, these verses from 17-21 of Zechariah describes worship only in Jerusalem animal sacrifices. In these days following the coming of the Messiah, the true worshippers shall worship God in spirit and in truth, and neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, Jn. 4:21. One place is as acceptable to God as another (I will that men pray every where); and one vessel shall be as acceptable as another and no animal sacrifices are necessary because the Lord has taken them away. The Epistle to the Hebrews chapter 10 says,"7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second" . The Gentiles no longer must go to Jerusalem to worship God at the Temple or to offer animal sacrifice at the Temple because we now worship Christ not in the temple or at Jerusalem but in truth and in spirit and any place on earth is equal to Jerusalem.
The Amrstrongites go off to Florida, and Oklahoma or all over God's earth thinking that God is in Florida but not in Texas or Dustin and not in Jacksonville or Tampa. They are all busy driving across the country, trying to find where some self-proclaimed prophet or man of God declares God has shown him where God has placed His name. All of these self-proclaimed prophets and Amstrongites Churches can't sit in the same church together but they all claim to know where God has placed "His name" in conflict with others.
The true worshippers worship God in spirit and in truth, and neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, Jn. 4:21.
The true worshipers of Christ do not need to drive across the country hoping to find God's presence when they get there. Neither will they ever go the earthly Jerusalem, For the Holy Spirit says speaking of Christ, the fulfillment of Zech.14: "22 But YOU ARE COME unto mount Sion, and unto the CITY OF THE LIVING GOD, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24And to Jesus the mediator of the New covenant, "
The scripture is fulfilled which is written in Mal.1:11 "11For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the nations; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts",
Meanwhile, some cults have their members busy DRIVING across the U.S. to Dustin, Florida, Waggoner, Oklahoma or wherever their imaginations think that God has "placed his name". If God doesn't desire or need to be worshiped in Jerusalem for the feast of tabernacles, He sure doesn't need you to go to Dustin, Florida.
From Christ and the Apostles
It is well established in the book of Josephus, as noted above and from Jewish history that thousands of uncircumcised Gentiles known as "God Fearers" (Acts 10:22, 13:26) worshiped in Jerusalem, lived among the Jews and were accepted by God as well as their offerings without keeping the Jewish Sabbaths or Holydays. Because those things were only commanded to be kept by the Gentile when he by circumcision of the flesh vowed to keep the "whole law" or Torah, not parts or pieces of his choice. Paul says in Gal.5:3 " . 3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law." Josephus writes speaking of the laws given to the Gentiles in the law of Noah, "I require you to abstain from shedding the blood of men, and to keep yourselves pure from murder, to punish those that commit any such thing. I permit you to make use of all the other living creatures at your pleasure, and as your appetites, lead you: for I have made you lords of them all, both of those that walk n the land, and those that swim in the waters, and of those that fly in the regions of the air on high excepting their blood, for therein is the life." Antiquities of the Jews 1.3.8
As from Genesis to Malachi so from Matthew through Revelation, not a single uncircumcised Gentile is commanded to observe the Jewish Sabbath. The Sabbath command is not repeated in the New Testament.
Since, most are very familiar with the New Testament, I only want to cover the scriptures used by the Armstrong's and Adventist to trouble the faith of so many Christians. The major scripture, which is used is only a half a verse and repeated so often they have no idea what the other half of the verse says or what it means. This is Mark 2:27. They way the read is "the Sabbath is made for man". By this, they conclude that Christ meant that every human (mankind) being on earth must keep the Jewish Sabbath or else, he is doing the same thing as murder or adultery. However, the whole verse reads, "27And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:" .
The context of this verse is 2:23-28. Christ and His disciples are picking and thrashing grain in their hands because they are hungry. When the Jews see them they exclaim they are doing what is "not lawful" on the Sabbath day. Christ, then justifies his doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath by showing that the David and his friends were hungry did what was not lawful when he and his followers were hungry and ate the bread of Presence, when they were hungry. Christ defending His disciples does not deny He and they are doing what is unlawful, He simply justifies it from scripture. Then proclaims Himself to be Lord even of the Sabbath day. In another twist, the Sabbatarians use this to say that Christ is Lord of the Sabbath day and imply that He is not Lord of the Lord's Day (Sunday). The context is very certain, Christ is saying He is Lord over the Sabbath day, not the Sabbath day over him. When Christ said, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:, He was teaching that man's needs are greater than the Sabbath, not the Sabbath greater than man. Or in similar way, The Sabbath is made for the benefit of man, not man for the benefit of the Sabbath. Therefore, Christ and his disciples were perfectly fit to break the Sabbath to accommodate the satisfaction of hunger. The discussion of the Sabbath in Mk.2:23-28, has nothing to do with whether uncircumcised Gentiles, Christian or not have to keep the Sabbath day. Of course, Jesus is Lord over all things, every day of the week, month, and year.
Mt.5:17-20. Christ "not one jot or tittle shall pass away from the law and the prophets till all is fulfilled" .
Now notice the words, "17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
First and primarily, it should be noted, that none of the law and the prophets do not command any other nation besides the circumcised Jews to worship on the Sabbaths, Holy Days. At times, the Old Testament invites Gentiles to become circumcised and keep the whole law, but never commands them, like it does the Jews. The law and the prophets condemn Israel for their lack of Sabbath observance but not once any Gentile nations. Only the Gentiles living among the Israelites are required to keep the Sabbath. However, never does the scripture show that when Israelites or Jews lived among the Gentiles that the Gentiles were required to keep the Sabbath. They certainly were not.
Notice the words, "one jot or one tittle shall in now wise pass from the law, till ALL be fulfilled" . Here we find huge contradictions in Adventist and CoG's (Armstrong followers nearly always name themselves Church of God) theology. Because they will all tell you that "sacrifices are done away" , which are a lot more than a "jot or tittle" they are whole paragraphs! Ask them about the unclean washings and unclean laws regarding touching unclean things and they will tell you "they are done away" When they are hugely more than "jot or titles" but whole chapters of the law and prophets! You can go on and ask them about , the Levitical priesthood, the Sabbatical years laws, and others and they will all say they are "done away in Christ" when the scripture they love to quote says, "not one jot or tittle" would pass from the law until all is fulfilled". It is clear it all has been fulfilled, because even to them major portions of the law are done away.
Luke 16: 16 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." The law and the prophets for Israel were not remain the focus of preaching any longer, than John. Beyond that time the gospel of the kingdom of God was to preached. The law and the prophets witness to Christ and the kingdom of God as the fulfillment of all that was taught in by the law and the prophets.
Mt.4: " 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"
They will gladly admit that the Priesthood of the Old Covenant, the temple, the altar, the holy of Holies, laws of uncleanness, the sacrifices, the Sabbatical years law, and a host of others are "done away" in Christ when the very verse they quotes says not one jot or tittle will pass until all passes away. When the jot or tittle passes so does the rest of it.
In truth, the law and the prophets all pointed to Christ and Christ fulfilled the all the law of unclean meats and Sabbaths and Holy Days as Paul said in Col.2:16-17, they were "shadows" of the reality of Christ. The very fact that Paul calls them "Shadows" of the reality of Christ is a plain demonstration that they have been fulfilled. Exactly, in the same manner as the sacrifices were "shadows" Heb.10:1 "1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." Indeed, Luke records the words of Christ, Luke 16:"16The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached.."
The customs of Jesus and Moses
The Sabbatarians will often use the fact that Jesus, a Jew, walked in the customs of Moses, and therefore, everyone else must do so. That to them is "following Christ" . That is not a problem until the call of Cornelius, the first uncircumcised Gentile in Acts 10. As stated before, the uncircumcised Gentiles had no obligation to keep the Sabbaths or Holydays or other Laws of Moses except the common seven laws of Noah and Moses.
Cornelius is a Gentile Centurian Soldier, which no man could be and keep the Sabbath. He was however, a righteous man, keeping the laws of Noah and giving much alms to the people of Israel. Acts 10:2-4. "If a Noahite who follows the Seven Universal Laws gives charity, the Israelites accept it form him and give it to the poor of Israel, since through the merit of giving charity to the poor among the Jewish people one is given life by God and saved from death" [The Path of the Righteous Gentile, pg. 44, paragraph 19.]. Such was the teachings of the day. (Daniel 4:27 )
Cornelius and his whole household are saved. From that time to Acts 15, no one had commanded these uncircumcised Gentiles to be circumcised or to keep the law of Moses because they were known to keep the commandments and laws of Noah. In Acts 15:5 A Sect of Pharisees which professed Christ wanted to command the Gentiles to keep the law of Moses (verse 5), but first it was necessary to circumcised them according to the covenant. These Pharisees wanted the Gentiles "to walk after the customs of Moses" (Acts 20:21-26, ) that is to do the same things as the Sabbatarian preach, that they do. The Sect of Pharisees wanted to change the gospel, from Christ and Grace, to Christ and the law of Moses. No doubt they used the same arguments as the Sabbatarians: "Christ kept the law of Moses and the customs of Moses, so must we" . Christ was a Jew, not a Gentile. Christ didn't require men to live as the Jews according to the customs of Moses. Nevertheless, these Pharisees are determined to preach Moses. As your read the story, Peter is absolutely opposed verse 6-11. Paul and Barnabas are opposed verse 12 and James and all the elders are opposed. James from his tradition and being the brother of Christ, only commands the "necessary things" which had always been taught by the Jews, the laws of the covenant of Noah.
In the book, "Jewish Literacy, The Most Important Thinks to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History" by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Chapter 278, "rightous non-jews/hasidei ummot ha-olam" the Rabbi begins the first line of the chapter in this manner: "Judaism has never taught that one has to be Jewish in order to be saved." The third paragraph on the same page we read, " Whereas Jews are considered bound by the 613 Laws of the Torah, Judaism demands from non-Jews fulfillment only of the Seven Noahide Laws, modeled on the quintessentially ethical non-Jew Noah (see Noah and the Seven Noahide Laws)". Later in the chapter on the same page 537 he remarks, "To this day, it is not uncommon to hear traditional Jews refer to a non-Jewish friend of the Jews as "one of the hasidei ummot ha-olam literally "one of the righteous among the nations of the world". [Jewish Literacy" by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York] Cornelius was practicing the faith of the covenant with God through Noah and God's laws as the righteous among nations
The whole context of Acts 15 is very opposed to the Gentiles being forced to keep the Jewish Sabbaths, Holydays and other Jewish laws. So, by word and written decree (Acts 15:22-30 they are freed the Gentiles from any such thing and are commanded only to keep the laws of Noah. Verse 24 gives the reason why they are writing the decree, because in every city there are those who are preaching Moses in the Synagogue. Note who it is that they are preaching. It is Moses, not Christ. The Sect of Pharisees of professed believers started preaching Moses and that the Gentiles should walk in the customs of Moses, but the Apostles will have no such thing commanded. The laws of Noah were good enough for thousands upon thousands of Gentiles in every generation from Adam 'til Christ, it would be good enough for the Christian Gentiles also.
Attempts are made by the Sabbatarians to totally break the context of Acts 15:24 and to make it say that these Gentiles would later learn the law from the Synagogue where Moses is preached. In a twist, they turn the entire discussion in Acts 15 in favor of keeping and preaching the law instead its obvious statements in opposition to it from Peter, Paul, James, the decree itself and Judas and Silas who were prophets which confirmed the "same things by mouth" 15:27 .
To demonstrate that nothing whatsoever had changed, more than a decade later in Acts 21: Paul had come to Jerusalem and they had heard from other Jews, that Paul was not only teaching the Gentiles not to circumcise their children or to walk after the customs of Moses, but also the Jews. James asks Paul to clear himself of the charges by performing the ceremonial rites of uncleanness and once again confirms that nothing had changed in the ten years or more, saying to confirm that "thou thyself (Paul) also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication." Acts 21:25.
There are several passages in Acts used against the Churches by saying that in Acts 13:14, 42, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4, that Paul and the church, were keeping the Sabbath. That is not true, because these scriptures are not Paul worshiping with Christians, they are Jews and Gentiles who are not Christians at all. Paul is preaching so they might become Christians. One observation needs to be made about the differences between Paul and the Sabbatarians who use these scriptures to teach Sabbath keeping. In all my fifty three years of life, I have never heard of any Adventist or Armstrong follower, doing as Paul. It's never been heard that any Adventist or Armstrongite went into a "Synagogue of the Jews" on the Sabbath day and preached Christ. It is true that Acts 21:20 shows that there numerous Christian Jews but they are Jews who are "zealous of the law" and they all agree that the Gentiles are not to "walk in the customs of Moses" verse 21-25.
Mt.24:20 "20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:"
This scripture for the Sabbatarian because truly convincing. Surely, this means that all the nations in the world are to keep the Sabbath according to them. Again, the context utterly refutes their theology. Christ is warning of the coming destruction of Jerusalem when the "abomination of desolation" in verses 15-20. Christ says to those living in Judaea, to flee into the mountains. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed as prophesied and the surrounding Judaea, will suffer also because that is where the Jews lived. Christ said, "Woe unto them that give suck or have children in those days" and to pray that you are not fleeing in winter or on the Sabbath.
The Sabbatarians think this scripture proves that all nations are to keep the Sabbath. Now look at the context. Is Christ against fleeing in the winter? Is there a law forbidding fleeing in the winter. Does this mean, that Christians in all nations are all keeping a religious practice of not running during winter? How silly. Christ said, "wow unto them that give suck or have children in that day" Does this mean we are to interpret this as God has a law forbidding breast feeding or having children? Of course not! Why did he say these things? Because in Judaea, the destruction is coming in 70 A.D. and those that must flee, if its winter it is going to make it more difficult to flee. If they have children, it's going to make it more difficult and they may not escape in time. (Ref: Luke 23:28-30). If it is the Sabbath, it is going to make it more difficult on them because, the strict Jewish Sabbath keepers are going to attack those that break the Sabbath in Judah for running on the Sabbath! Christ is not commanding anyone to keep the Sabbath, rather He is saying, if you are running on the Sabbath day, you are going to be persecuted because the strict Jewish will not understand it is time to flee, and they will persecute you for keeping the Sabbath day! Quite the opposite of what the Adventist and Armstrongs say this scripture means.
Further, the context shows it was "Judaea" that Christ is speaking of not China, Japan, India, South Africa, or the North American continent. How foolish of to use this scripture to even remotely think it "proves Sabbath keeping" . But it is typical of their theology and misuse of scripture. Luke 23:56 "And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. "
Here we find "the women" who are Jews followers of Christ keeping the Sabbath after his death. This is again supposed to prove that Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Africans, Mexicans, Spaniards, and the rest of mankind is supposed to keep the Sabbath day because these Jewish women kept it immediately after Christ's death. Throughout the book of Acts, we find "thousands of Jews (Christians) who are zealous for the law" while at the same time, these same thousands of Jewish Christians, and the Apostles are all firmly commanded not to preach circumcision and the "customs of Moses" as binding on non-Jews! (Acts 21:25, 15:19-16:4). And this is confirmed by written decree from the Apostles and Elders of Jerusalem, in Acts 16:4. The Sabbatarians constantly take the things the Jewish Christians do and then say the rest of humanity has become Jewish and do them also. When nothing of the sort is taught.
Christians in true worship
Two points here. 1) The uncircumcised Gentiles were never commanded to keep the Sabbaths or Jewish Holy days, either Old Testament or New Testament. 2) All people everywhere, Jewish and Gentile alike are and were free to celebrate the Lord's Day in honor of the resurrection of Christ.
In Acts 20:7 we find the church, the disciples coming together to break bread and to hear the preaching of Paul. There is something often overlooked which needs our attention to demonstrate that the Church did not meet on the Sabbath day. Paul is Troas 7 days in verse 6. The day before the church gathers to worship was the Sabbath day and it passes by, without any record of a Sabbath meeting. No meeting, no fellowship, no worship, no breaking of bread, no preaching on the Sabbath. It is only "upon the first day of the week" that the disciples gather to break bread. The conspicuous absence of any Sabbath gathering confirms that the Gentiles nor the church worshiped together on the Sabbath but "upon the first day of the week.
(1 Cor 5:7 KJV) "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:"
(1 Cor 5:8 KJV) "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Paul doesn't say "keep the feast of Passover" . It was unlawful for any male who was uncircumcised in FLESH to keep the Jewish Feast of the Passover. Exodus 12 "48And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
The Apostle Paul spiritualizes the Lord's Supper as "Christ our Passover IS sacrificed for us. The Feast is to be kept in a spiritual manner, not by putting out leavened BREAD, as the Israelites but by putting away malice and wickedness! Paul doesn't say: "Go home and clean out your leavened bread but put away malice and wickedness.
"Upon every first day of the week" 1Cor16:1-2, the disciples came together to "break bread" , the bread of the Eucharist (1Cor.10:15-22) as the body and blood of Christ in sacrifice upon the ALTAR of the "table of the Lord" (Mal.1:7&12) .
If the Sabbatarians ever got the message of "putting away malice and wickedness" instead of focusing on the opposite of the Apostle Paul "leavened bread" what a difference it would make for them. Instead the Armstrongites focus on the Jewish Feast instead of the Christian meaning Paul gives it.
Thus, the Armstrongites make an outward show of Jewishness but forget to do as Paul commanded to put away MALICE and wickedness.
As Paul wrote in his Epistle in Romans 2: "28For he is NOT a Jew, which is one OUTWARDLY; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. "
Unfortunately, the Armstrongites and Adventist have appear to have chosen the praise of MEN rather than the PRAISE OF GOD. And that is why they choose outward Jewishness over Christianity.
Does "Commandments" always mean "10 Commandments" ?
The other scriptures often used are quoted where "commandments" are used. Such as "he that loves me, keeps my commandments" . In every case from the Gospel of John to the Epistles of John, it's not speaking of 10 commandments, but the commandments either to love one another or to believe in Christ, cf John.14:15, 21, 15:10, 1John 2:3, 4, 3:22,24, 5:2-3. The words, "ten commandments" do not occur in the New Testament. In other place of scripture Paul might say, "circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. The word "ten" again does not occur. Paul means the commandments which pertinent to the Christians from the church and God. The commandments to love one another, to walk uprightly and to obey the laws of Noah.
There are several times in the New Testament where Gentiles are told to "Keep the commandments of God" from scripture, They should be always taken in context. When it is used for Christian Gentiles it means the commandments of the laws of Noah given in Acts 15, or the commandments to live a godly life. It never means that you must "walk after the customs of Moses" Acts 15:5ff and 21:25. When Christ was asked what commandments a man must keep to enter into live, He quotes the commandments of Noah which are contained in the Decalogue.
The Sabbatismos Rest of Heb.4:9
In the early part of this paper, I addressed that the significance of the first creation Sabbath is tied to the Covenant with the Children of Israel in Exodus 20 and Deut. 5.
The Epistle of Hebrews goes through an allegorical explanation. It compares the rest of God in the Genesis account, with the rest of those whom believe in Christ, Heb 3-4. We (believers in Christ ) do enter rest (Heb.4;3) but Israel was not allowed to enter into rest because of unbelief. The writer of Hebrews is warning the Jews to whom he writes, that just as Israel, kept the Sabbath day but still was not able to enter into God's Rest, so if they do not believe, they will still be unable to enter into God's Rest which those whom believe enter into. The Jews knew that the weekly Jewish Sabbath was only a temporary rest because the scriptures always promised a true rest in the future. The Sabbath day reminded Israel, that the Sabbath itself is not the true rest. The Sabbath was not the redemptive rest which they all waited. That would only come in Christ.
It is only when the believer comes to Christ that he enters rest from his labors. Christ said to the Jewish people keeping the Sabbath day, Mt.11:28 "come to me, all you that labor and I will give your rest. " The labors of the law of Moses became a bondage, where everything one did was restrained by a law, eating, drinking, touching, resting, working..etc. Peter says it is a bondage "we neither or fathers were able to bear" in Acts15:10. Christ promised them rest. The Gospel of John begins like the book of Genesis in John 1. It puts great emphasis on the Light of the world, Christ. Comparing to the Genesis account it is clear that Genesis was actually written with Christ in mind. It's upon the first day of the week that God separates the darkness from the light. The Jews had always known, believed and taught that the world had fallen into darkness by the sin of Adam and Eve before the first rest in Gen.2:1. That is why they are excluded from the Genesis account of entering God's rest. But now a new creation had begun with the coming of Christ.
Hebrews 3 and 4 make a parallel between the creation work of God in the first creation account in Genesis and that new creation work completed in Christ. Christ completed work of the new creation was the day he was raised for our justification, "upon the first day of the week" . When Christ's works were finished on earth ,Christ ascended to the Father and ceased from his work which he had done.. It was a blessed day, set apart from the foundation of the world for our redemption. The Epistle of Hebrews find the redemptive rest which was pictured by the weekly Sabbath fulfilled in Christ. Hebrews uses the word, "Today" to mean the fulfillment of all that was pictured by the weekly rest of the Jews. When one references the scripture from the Old Testament the words, "Today" are always used in a redemptive manner and the redemptive rest that the temporary weekly Sabbath foretold. That day which all the creative and redemptive work was completed is on the Lord's day, "upon the first day of the week" . Today, that redemptive rest is available. Today, if you will harden not your hearts. The final scriptures to declare that Jesus himself had spoken of "another day" than the rest Israel had. Heb.4:8 says this, "8For if Jesus had given them (Israel) rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. The word "Sabbatismos" from the word, 'Sabbatism" is never used for the weekly Sabbath but used for the feasts rejoicing.
Later the writer of Hebrews sees that the Old Covenant of which the Sabbath was the sign has waxed old and already had begin to vanish (Heb.8:13), the NRSV says "obsolete". The rest in Christ's redemptive work is fulfilled when we rest like him from our own works, the day He rested, "upon the first day of the week" . The "Today" that Jesus spoke of as "another day" from that of the Jews. Which the Jews observed for more centuries and still did not enter his rest because of unbelief. Heb.4: closes the subject with these words, "9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
The Sabbatarians will claim that verse 9 says "there remains a keeping of the Sabbath day for the people of God" and that means everyone has to keep the Sabbath. That argument misses the point because the Jews, had kept the Sabbath day and were not able to enter God's rest. Jesus was speaking of "another day" as His Rest, called the Lord's Day when man would truly enter Rest through Christ and his redemptive work. The Epistle of Hebrews, often speaks of God's Rest in the Genesis account but like Genesis avoids any record of Sabbath keeping in the creation account by Adam and Eve or anyone else until Israel.
Not only is this "another day" a day of rejoicing but it is also, the Lord's Rest! Ps.132 says, " 7We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool. 8Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. 9Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy."
The last scripture to be addressed is 1Cor.16:1-2. Paul had instructed the churches in Galatia, where the Judaizers had taught circumcision and the law of Moses to the Gentiles, and the Cornith to lay aside money "upon every the first day of the week". The fact that those Judaizers were present at Galatia demonstrates that these Gentile Christians were not observing the law of Moses and worshiping upon the first day of the week.
Because some versions of the manuscripts have a hint that the it may mean to lay in store in a home, the Sabbatarians take this to the farthest extent to mean that on Sunday, they were to collect what was saved from their pay and keep it at home. There is no record of any one getting paid weekly at the time 1Corinthians was written. The meaning is certain, that at various times when they people were paid for their labors, they were to lay it aside by them at the church upon the first day of the week.
To answer them, Paul wishes for them to gather the collection upon the first day of the week, so that he does have to go gathering himself when he gets to Corinth. Had they all still had their money stored at their own home, he would have gained nothing by his own order to them. The same chapter in verse 19 illustrates that the church met in a house, "19The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. " .
Paul refers to "the church in thy house" (Philem. 2), "the church that is in their house" (Rom. 16:5), and "the church which is in his house" (Col. 4:15).
It becomes very clear that if the collection is to be stored in the house, it means the house of the church, where they gathered "upon every first day of the week" . The purpose the gathering of the collection together is specifically for this reason, " that there be no gatherings when I come." The collection would be all gathered in one place of the church, so that Paul doesn't have to do any gathering for him. If the church was supposed to keeping the Sabbath, why didn't gather it then? Which makes my point, i.e. they were worshiping "upon every first day of the week" and gathering the collection at the same time. This tradition has been followed by many denominations, unto this very day. When we see the brethren depositing the food and offerings for the poor or needy "upon every first day of the week" we are actually performing a church tradition established by Paul two thousand years ago.
From both the Old and New Testaments, we find that none of the other nations are commanded to be circumcised and "walk after the customs of Moses" . They were obligated to obey the laws of the covenant with Noah because they are Gentiles, not Jews. When the practice of the worshiping, praying and breaking bread was instituted, it was implemented as a day of worship together for the Christians in honor of the Rest in Christ, which He blessed all mankind and fulfilled on the day Christ rested from his redemptive works on earth.
Why Worship on The Lord's Day?
Jeremiah the fourth chapter tells us how the earth was plunged back into darkness and being void and without form again after the sin of Adam and Eve. Jer.4: 22 For my people [the Jews to whom he gave the Sabbath] is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. In Christ, Paul writes, " 2Cor.5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.". And Isa.65, Isaiah warns us that when the new creation comes the old should not be remembered or called to mind anymore as he says, Isaiah 65: "17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Therefore, we should observe the new day when Christ finished his redemptive work on earth and rested in the heavens.
When the Israelites were given the Sabbath as a day of rest, it also entered the hearts of the Gentiles to have rest from their labors as well. In the fullness of time, God gave the Gentiles rest not only physical rest from labors but spiritual rest. There doesn't appear to have been an outright command to cease from labor at the being though some did. Because the Sabbath and Lord's day was made for man and not man for the Sabbath and the Lord's day, the burden of taking a day from their labors of so many gentile slaves that first believed during the early centuries would have cause needless punishment upon the Christians. But at the proper time, the Lord and the church desired that all man Christians should be free to worship without penalty. And the kings of the earth heard the word of the Lord and submitted, as the scripture says, "10Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. "
The failure of the Sabbatarians to follow the chronology of covenants and apply them in the proper manner and time, has lead them into this error. In the process to justify their beliefs, they condemned the other churches in sometimes mean-spirited speech, referring to other Christian churches them as the whore of Babylon and their children. The uncircumcised Gentiles were never commanded to keep the Sabbaths or Jewish Holy days, either Old Testament or New Testament. All people everywhere, Jew and Gentile alike are and were free and admonished to celebrate the Lord's Day in honor of the resurrection of Christ as commanded and prophesied in Ps.118:19-24. The Lord's Day spoken of in Ps.118:19-24 is the day Christ was resurrected and was prophesied to be a day of rejoicing, for us to "be glad in it" because the stone which the builders rejected become "the chief corner stone" (Eph.2:20, 1Peter 2:7, Mt.21:42, 12:10, Acts 4:11) .
The truths of transition Sabbath to Sunday
The truths of the matter are these:
1) None of the Old Testament Prophets commanded Gentile nations to keep the Sabbath, Holy days or meat restrictions.
2) A Gentile was only commanded to observe these laws when after he had been circumcised of the flesh and had taken the vow to keep all laws of Moses. The Jewish Christians continued to observe the Jewish Law and also celebrated the Lord's Day and the Lord's Supper, "upon the first day of the week" . But, they were commanded not to "trouble" or "subvert" the faith of the uncircumcised Gentiles with circumcision or the law of Moses.
3) When the Sect of Pharisees attempted to enforce circumcision and the law of Moses (Acts15:5) upon the Gentile believers, the unanimous consent of the Apostles and Elders is absolutely, No. This is further detailed by written decree of the Apostles (Acts 16:4) handed to the Churches.
4) The communion of the saints upon the first day of the week originated in the celebration of Christ's resurrection and becoming the chief cornerstone, which the builder's rejected, Ps.118. They celebrated the Lord's Supper together, where they became "witnesses" to the resurrection of Christ
5) In time, the celebration "upon the first day of the week" was made a rest for the Gentile Christians as Sabbath was for the Jews. It had nothing to do with paganism but everything to do with being witnesses to the resurrection of Christ upon the Lord's own day of his resurrection.
1 The Armstrong and Adventist claim that the fact Noah was commanded to put clean and unclean animals into the ark proves that meat restrictions were already in place. However, as we will see in the future references, the unclean animals were only forbidden as sacrifices and not as food. When the Gentiles worshiped in the Temple, they were only allowed to offer clean animals as a sacrifice to God but were always free to eat unclean animals as a way of life. Ref: Path of the Righteous Gentile, Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky, page 123, Targum Press, Inc. Southfield, Mich 48034. See Dissertation 1 "Disproving Meat Restrictions for Gentiles"
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