Are You a Good Person?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Remember the Sabbath

The next law is going to cause a stir. God says "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11)

First let me say I am not trying to cause division, nor am I trying to be legalistic. I am simply trying to state and teach what God says, even if that means saying some things that are a little uncomfortable to me.

I was basically born and raised in a Christian church, a Christian family, went to a Christian college and began a Christian family of my own. In all that time I have heard people defend Sunday worship in favor of Sabbath worship quote from Romans 14:5, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." If they would go on they would see that those esteeming one day above the others were the Jews who persisted in lifting up Sabbath worship, and that those who did not accept this law of Sabbath worship did so only because everyday was as a Sabbath. There is no mention of worship on Sunday replacing worship on the Sabbath.

Some historical/Biblical references to Sabbath worship show us that Jesus worshiped on the Sabbath, as did His disciples. Paul also worshiped on the Sabbath. Look through the Book of Acts and you will see that "the day of worship" was the Sabbath. We get confused because we have been taught confusion. God is not the author of confusion. Did the first church meet throughout the week? Yes they did. In fact we are told in Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

The Sabbath is mentioned not only in the Law of God, but in the prophets, and the New Testament writers as something that will be observed in the end times. Jesus also spoke of the holiness of the Sabbath, saying, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:" (Matthew 24:20) He also defended the Sabbath when others accused Him of breaking it.

What is the Sabbath? Many Christians will say it is Sunday. They will usually be quick to say that the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday, but the Christian Sabbath is Sunday, the "Day of the Lord", celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Now I'm all FOR celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Without it there could be no real salvation, no true gospel message. Yet, GOD defines the Sabbath this way, "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God:" and the reason God gives us for doing so is this, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

The Sabbath worship is intended to help refocus our minds on the Lord, to remember that He alone is Creator. Jesus says that He is Lord of the Sabbath. God says that He set aside the sabbath and "hallowed it", that is God made it holy. When we do not keep the Sabbath we are not following the example given to us by Jesus, we are not allowing God's blessings to fall upon us because we have created our own sabbath, which is at odds with the one God, through Jesus, created and made holy. If you wish to use the argument that all days are holy, do you work on these other days? We are not to work on the Sabbath for it is holy.

I will openly admit to weekly breaking this commandment. Even if I went not to work on the Sabbath, I find that I do not know how to keep it holy. Nor do I know how to keep any day holy. Perhaps that is the whole point. Keeping the Sabbath keeps us on track with God. He makes holy those who receive His holiness.


David said...

Actually there are a couple of other points from scripture:
Acts 20:7
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
(Some feel this teaching on Sunday and the breaking of bread indicated that the Sabbath changed.

1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
(Some believe this first day for the collection of the offering also indicated a change)

In terms of early church writings - Ignatious and others, it was fairly clear that the early church - at least the Greek side - celebrated it on Sunday "the Lord's day". Eusibius explains why also in his history.

I'm almost convinced that the Judean Christians continued to celebrate both the Sabbath and "the Lord's Day." That could mean that the Sabbath is still the 7th day but the Lord's day is Sunday - the first day.

David said...

David, I appreciate your comments, and want to make it very clear that I came to the understanding of a true Sabbath worship after many years of wrestling with God's Word. Even now I truly don't observe it like the Torah commands. Jesus said, "The time is coming and now is, that true worshiper will worship in spirit and in truth." Having said that, we must realize that the Sabbath day is mentioned by Jesus, as well as the Old and New Testament writers as something God expects of His children in end time prophecy. Read those last words over carefully. If the church has changed the date of the Sabbath, God is going to change it back to reflect His will. This is what I believe with all my heart. It may not happen until the great revival breaks out in Israel, mainly because we don't know how to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy". As to Sunday being the sabbath, it isn't, but even if it is most churchgoers are still not keeping that day holy. Most are just putting in their "hour a week" with God. For many it's a time of showing others how spiritual we are. Because of this we dishonor God, who gave us the Sabbath to both honor Him and to be a rest for us.

David said...

Well, I wouldn't go so far as personally saying one way or the other. It is pretty clear from the apostolic period (like by the beginning of the first century) that they were worshiping on the first day of the week. The Orthodox/Catholic position is that the Lord changed it - and the apostolic/early church fathers say it in as much. These were the disciples of the original 12 - and it is hard to believe that they could have gotten it wrong. Then there is the point of Jesus when he told Peter (and the church) that what they bind on earth would be bound in heaven, and what they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven. So, given that the change occurred almost immediately, and the notion of Church authority (something we protestants have problems with), one could make a case for the switch - the ultimate sabbath rest - the reign of the risen Lord, having begun on the first day. Food for thought, because I actually think about this stuff.

David said...

David to David. This is going to get confusing for some people. David Brollier, me, does not hold to the remarks made by my dear friend. Jesus kept the Sabbath. He did not change it. Jesus kept the feast days as well. What we call the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist) is actually the Passover Seder meal. The disciples, Paul included, kept the Sabbath. Check out the book of Acts, especially Acts 17:2, not to mention all the discussions he had with the Jews seem to have taken place on the Sabbath in the synagogue. Worship was 24/7, but there still is a day of rest. God says it's the Sabbath, the "seventh" day of the week, not the first. While all our life should be dedicated to the ministry, service and worship of God in one form or another, the day of Rest is to be the Sabbath. Sorry to sound so adamant about this. I was like you, pointing to differences, to the fact that we are told that there will be those who esteem one day higher than another and those who esteem all days as holy to the Lord. I went through all of this. I had the head knowledge to prove YOUR point, but I didn't have the Scripture to back it up. God began and is still moving in my heart. The Sabbath is special. You can be sure of that. Find out why and then rest in it. For the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. - David Brollier

David said...

Remember (and any Greek Orthodox guy will tell you this) that the Bible wasn't finalized until the 300s, and it was the Council at Nicea that decided what books were genuinely inspired and included in the Bible. So, they will say the Church Fathers gave us the Bible - and yet these Church fathers also believed that the Sabbath had changed to Sunday - the Lord's day. They obviously would have known what they were doing, no? Food for thought.

David said...

From David Brollier (the confusion between these David's needs to be avoided)

One pastor put things into perspective and I appreciated it. The Sabbath we are to keep holy unto the Lord, and this is Saturday. Sunday, however is the Lord's day, and unlike the Sabbath is a time of coming together for fellowship and to praise the Lord who has risen. Sunday is not the new Sabbath. It never was, but is another day in which we are given the opportunity to praise God. Each day is like that, but Sunday more so because it symbolizes the resurrection of our Lord, therefore it is called the Lord's Day.

David Brollier

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David said...

I'd like to add one thing, and make it very clear, I am not creating doctrine here. I firmly believe that what I've have written is what God has taught, but at the same time I realize that many of us need to come to this on their own, as the Holy Spirit leads them. Some are unable to handle this, others refuse it altogether. I don't think this is something to fight about and create division. That is NOT the reason I wrote this article. The reason I wrote this article was so Christians might see that there is something special, something marvelous, about God's Law, and prepare them for what I believe will happen one day when all God's people will worship when He moves on people's hearts. This will be only a small part of a coming great revival. Like I said, I'm not making doctrine here, just stating my beliefs and opinions. I realize it sounds like I'm being dogmatic, but when challenged with the same things I've wrestled with I just wanted people to see that those arguments, at least in my mind, no longer are valid. I hope you will accept my apology if I made this sound like if you don't do this you aren't Christian. I never meant for it to sound like that, but I guess it did.