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Compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, July 23, 2012
Scripture is from New King James Version unless otherwise noted
1. OBJECTION: The Sabbath was just for Israel.
It was introduced at Mt. Sinai as a memorial of their rescue from Egypt.
ANSWER: The rest of the 7th day, was NOT “introduced” at Mt Sinai. It was “sanctified” (set apart) as “holy” (belonging to the LORD) at the end of creation week. It was “blessed”.
There is no record that God ever chose another day, or blessed another day, or sanctified another day.
Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.” (NRS)
At Mount Sinai, the LORD invited the descendants of Jacob (along with a mixed multitude of other former slaves) into a covenant with Him. Under the terms of this covenant, Yahweh was to be worshiped exclusively. The Law of Yahweh included the Sabbath of the 7th Day.
Psalm 105:43-45 says that God brought Israel out of Egypt so that they “could keep His statutes.” They could not keep the Sabbath in Egypt, because they were forced to work every day. The Sabbath command forbids “work” on the 7th day.
Nehemiah 9:13-14 “You made known to them Your holy Sabbath.”
Ezekiel 20:5 states that God made Himself “known” to the descendants of Jacob in the land of Egypt. Are we to conclude from this verse that God Himself was not known to anyone before that time. Of course not! The same applies to the Sabbath. It was not “known” to the descendants of Israel (after years of slavery), but it did exist, and it was blessed.
Deuteronomy 5:15 “And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” (KJV)
The LORD delivered you from slavery. You belong to Him - by covenant. Therefore He has the right to expect you to keep His Law.
Leviticus 19:35-37 “I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe all my statutes and all my judgments, and do them:”
Leviticus 11:45 “I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Does the command to be holy have meaning only in context of deliverance from Egypt? Jesus said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
The LORD taught Israel His ways, and in so doing commanded them to rest on His Holy Day. “His ways” were the same from the beginning. The day was blessed from the beginning (Gen 2:2). This fact was restated in the 4th commandment (Exo. 20:11). There is no text stating that the blessing had been removed between creation week, and the Sinai desert.
Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man” (#444 - anthropos - meaning “mankind”). He did NOT say the Sabbath was made for Israelites, or for Jews (Mark 2:27). It was created for the specific benefit of mankind.
The Israelites knew about the Sabbath, BEFORE they reached Mt. Sinai! Before they reached Mt. Sinai, God gave them manna from heaven (Exo. 16). He commanded them NOT to gather this food on the Sabbath. He gave them a double portion on the 6th day which did not spoil over the 7th - Sabbath Day. When some of the people disobeyed the command and went out to gather the manna on the Sabbath day, the LORD said through Moses, ‘How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?” (Exo. 16:27-30).
The “stranger” [non-Israelite] was included in the fourth commandment, not just the Israelite (Exodus 20:10). A blessing was promised for “the son of the stranger” who “keeps the Sabbath” (Isaiah 56:1-8).
Personally, I claim that promise and that blessing.
Continued next page
2. OBJECTION: The Sabbath was commanded as THE SIGN of the Sinai Covenant. Now that the Sinai Covenant has been rendered “obsolete” by the death of Christ (Heb. 8:13), we no longer need to observe the sign of that covenant.
Physical rest on the 7th Day - the “sign” of the Sinai Covenant, has been replaced by “rest” from “works of the Law” just as physical circumcision -“the sign” of the covenant with Abraham and his descendants, has been replaced (or fulfilled) by the “seal” of the Spirit - circumcision of the heart (Gal. 5:1-6; Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11).
Exodus 31:13 [Spoken to Israel] “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Ezekiel 20:20 “Hallow My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.”
ANSWER: Yes. The Sabbath was an outward “sign” that Israel was living within the Covenant established at Sinai. When they failed to rest on the 7th Day, it was as if they said to God, “We don’t want you as our God any longer.”
But what about the “New Covenant”? Most Christians readily agree that they are “New Covenant Christians”. Do they know what the New Covenant says? Do they know where it is found. Usually not.
The promise of the “New Covenant” is that the Law will be written on the heart by the LORD Himself (Ezekiel 36:27, Hebrews 8:10, Jeremiah 31:31). It was written on stone, but it will be written on the heart. Far from going away - the Law will be internalized. And His Law includes His Sabbath.
Ezekiel 36:27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
The in-filling of the Spirit is the sign or seal of the New Covenant. If the Spirit is poured out within us, then we will “keep” His statutes, one of which is the Sabbath?
How do I know that the Sabbath will be written on our hearts? Because it’s right there - in the new earth.
Isaiah 66:22-23 “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.
“All flesh” - not all Jews.
ANSWER: Yes. The Sinai Covenant was rendered “obsolete” by the death of “the husband” of Israel - the One that Israel “married” at Mount Sinai.
See the study, “Two Covenants”.
A “new” covenant allowed for a change. Yes. But what was changed? The entire Law of God - from creation? No! Paul repeats nine of the ten commandments in his letters - almost word for word.
See the study, “The Ten Commandments - in the New Testament”
Only one thing is changed, under the New Covenant. That one thing is spelled out in the Letter to the Hebrews. It does not say the entire Law was abolished. It says the Law was changed.
Hebrews 7:12 “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.”
The PRIESTHOOD is changed under the New Covenant! Jesus Christ has become our High Priest in the Heavenly Temple. We seek forgiveness through Him - not through Levite priests at the Temple in Jerusalem.
If you “change” the priesthood, then the system of animal sacrifices becomes “obsolete”. The Law of Sinai said that every sacrifice must be taken to an Aaronic priest (Deut. 12:11). If you “change” to the heavenly priesthood, there is no (heaven sanctioned) priest on earth to receive an animal sacrifice.
See the study “The End of Sacrifices”.
Physical circumcision was also a type of blood “sacrifice” which was not required of Gentile converts.
Our High Priest in “heaven itself” will circumcise the heart and the flesh. He will circumcise our flesh when we are “changed in a moment” (I Cor. 15:52-53) - when our mortal flesh is replaced by the new immortal “spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:44).
ANSWER: The “ark of the covenant” was the gold box containing the tables of stone, on which were written the Ten Commandments. The Book of Revelation is written as a “Covenant Lawsuit”. Seven angels are sent to destroy those who have forsaken the commandments of God. Of the faithful remnant the “third angel” says, “Here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Right down at the end of this age, the Ten Commandments are still God’s standard.
Revelation 11:19 “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
3. OBJECTION: Doesn’t the New Covenant replace the Old Covenant?
Hebrews 10:9 “He takes away the first that He may establish the second.”
ANSWER: Read the words in context. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews is speaking of the sacrificial system. They ONLY thing specifically “changed” under the New Covenant is “the priesthood” from the order of Aaron at the earthly Temple, to the “order of Melchizedek” at “the true tabernacle which is Heaven itself” (Heb. 7:12). No mention is made of a day of worship, or any other of the 10 Covenant Commandments.
“The offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” has replaced the “sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin” (v. 8-10). The ministry of Christ our high priest in Heaven has replaced the Aaronic priesthood at the earthly Temple.
4. OBJECTION: “I will cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, her sabbaths, and her solemn feasts” (Hosea 2:11).
ANSWER: This passage is talking about the false “sabbaths” and “feast days” that King Jeroboam set up, when he led the 10 Northern Tribes in a rebellion against the rule of Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) at Jerusalem. It is not talking about the “sabbath” of the 4th Commandment. It is not talking about the feast days which the LORD appointed for Israel.
Jeroboam, the first king of the 10 Northern tribes had instituted recurring annual festivals, on days other than those appointed by God. He did not want the people to return to Jerusalem. He set up two centers of worship in the North - one at Bethel and the other at Dan. THESE are the “feast days” which the Lord would cause “to cease” - NOT the Lords appointed festivals (1Kings 12:26-33). The prophecy was fulfilled when the Ten Tribes were taken captive by Assyria and scattered to the winds.
It is most interesting that Sunday was set up by men as the day for Christian worship. It was not commanded by God. “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7).
5. OBJECTION: Didn’t Jesus change the Sabbath to Sunday?
ANSWER: There is no record of His doing so.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not.”
1 Chronicles 17:27 “For You have blessed O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever.”
Remember that people are blessed upon condition of obedience, but the Sabbath was blessed unconditionally. God did not say, “If it works out, then we’ll keep it.”
6. OBJECTION: Jesus broke the 4th commandment when He healed on the Sabbath, and when His disciples harvested grain on the Sabbath. He was preparing His followers for a change.
ANSWER: Jesus said, “I have kept my Father's commandments” (John 15:10). If Jesus had truly broken any one of the commandments, then He would have been a sinner, and could not have become God’s perfect Lamb.
Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Your will, O my God: and Your law is within My heart.”
John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.”
ANSWER: There was complete agreement between Jesus and the Pharisees concerning which day was the Sabbath. The disagreement concerned the “lawful” manner of observance. Let’s look at the seven miracles which Jesus performed on the Sabbath day.
FIRST SABBATH MIRACLE: At “a feast of the Jews,” by the pool of Bethesda, Jesus saw a man with “infirmity thirty eight years.” Jesus said to him, “rise, take up your pallet and walk” (John 5:1-10). They “sought to kill” Jesus “because He had done these things on the Sabbath” (v. 16). “But Jesus answered them, . . . “the Son can do nothing of Himself, [by His own authority] but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
Essentially Jesus told them that He was doing His Father’s will, therefore what He did WAS lawful. The Jews “sought all the more to kill Him” because He “said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” The Jews understood Him quite clearly!
A few months after the healing of John 5, Jesus returned to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10, 14). While teaching in the Temple He had a discussion with the Jews concerning His healing on the Sabbath (John 7:23). “If you circumcise a male on the Sabbath, (because he is 8 days old on a Sabbath day), so that the law of Moses will not be broken, why are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?”
Again - the disagreement concerns what is lawful, NOT which day is the Sabbath. Conclusion: Healing is lawful to perform on the Sabbath.
SECOND SABBATH MIRACLE: Teaching on the Sabbath in a synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus cast out a demon from a man (Mark 1:21-27).
THIRD SABBATH MIRACLE: Jesus healed the mother of Simon Peter of fever (Mark 1:29-31) on the same Sabbath as the deliverance of the demon possessed man.
FOURTH SABBATH MIRACLE: At a synagogue, there was a man present with a “withered hand.” There were “spies” present, who “watched Him closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath.” Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful, on the Sabbath, to do good or to do evil - to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-11; Matt 12:10-14). “What man is there among you,” Jesus continued, “who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man then a sheep?
Conclusion: It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Jesus healed the man. The Jews then “plotted how they might destroy Him.” Strange reaction to seeing someone healed.
FIFTH SABBATH MIRACLE: On the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus saw a man “blind from birth.” He “made clay” from dirt and His own spit, which He put on the mans eyes, then told him to go “wash in the poor of Siloam” (John 9:6-7, 14). The man was healed. The Jews response was to put the man “out of the synagogue.”
SIXTH SABBATH MIRACLE: Jesus healed a “woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years and was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up.” The ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, and Jesus called him a hypocrite - “Does not each one of you loose his ox or his ass from the stall,” He said, “and lead it away to water it” on the Sabbath? “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:10-17).
SEVENTH SABBATH MIRACLE: At the house of “one of the rulers of the Pharisees” just before going up to Jerusalem for the last time, there was a man there with “dropsy” (a condition involving generalized swelling or edema). “Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees,” “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” “But they kept silent.” Jesus healed the man. Again, he told them that they treated their animals better than human beings. (v.5).
CONCLUSION: Works of healing were, and are, lawful on the Sabbath day.
ANSWER: “The GRAIN FIELD” episode (Matthew chapter 12 and Mark chapter 2:23-28)
Jesus disciples were hungry. It was the Sabbath. They were passing through a field of grain. They plucked the ripened heads, rolled them between their hands, and ate the loosened grains. The Pharisees accused them of harvesting grain - doing “what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!” Notice they did not accuse them of stealing. Taking grain for immediate personal consumption was lawful, so long as one did not take away any for later. Preparation of meals was lawful, so long as they did not gather wood, or build a fire.
Jesus defended His disciples using Scripture. When David and his men were hungry, fleeing from crazy King Saul, they ate of the consecrated shewbread of the Sanctuary. This bread was only to be eaten by the priests (Lev. 24:5-9; Ex 29:31-34; I Sam 21:1-6). David and his men incurred no guilt because Abithar, the High Priest, gave them the bread (Matthew 12:10-12, John 5:2-18). The disciples incurred no guilt because Jesus gave them the grains.
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the Temple” (Matt. 12:6), and “The Son of Man is LORD even of the Sabbath day” (Matt 12:8, Mark 2:28).
Jesus - as “LORD of the Sabbath” defines what is, and what is not, lawful to do on His day. By claiming to be “LORD of the Sabbath day”, Jesus declared himself the Creator. This truth is repeated many times in the New Testament writings (1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:1-2, 8, 10; John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:12-16). The Pharisees understood Him clearly, and they “sought to destroy Him” - accusing Jesus of blasphemy.
Ministers today, who do God's work on the Sabbath are blameless (1 Cor. 10:1-4, Neh. 9:9-14). Medical personnel who work to save lives on the Sabbath, pharmacies who dispense emergency medicine, law enforcement officers, prison guards, and many other necessary service providers are within the Law. But the farmer who wishes to harvest because the crop is ripe today or the weather is threatening is not within the Law. “On the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earring time and in harvest time thou shalt rest” (Exo. 34:21).
The religious leaders before and during Christ's day had added dozens of rules for keeping the Sabbath, until the day had lost all of it's original meaning. In fact it was a lot of work just keeping all of the Sabbath regulations. There was no time to think about God, for thinking about whether one might be breaking some rule. Christ cleared away these “traditions of men”.
7. OBJECTION: Isn’t Sunday the “Lord’s Day” of Revelation 1:10?
ANSWER: John wrote that he was “in the spirit on the Lord's day” (Revelation l:10).
When John mentions Sunday in his gospel, written 64 years after the cross, he calls it simply “the first day of the week” (John 20:1). If Sunday had truly become the new Sabbath, would he not have mentioned it in some special way?
Jesus called himself “LORD of the Sabbath day” (Mark 2:28). So “the Lord’s day” is the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment, and John was in the Spirit on the Sabbath.
The LORD called the Sabbath “My holy day” (Isaiah 58:13) - NOT Sunday.
8. OBJECTION: Shouldn’t we keep Sunday in honor of Christ’s resurrection?
ANSWER: There is no command to do so.
There is no law against honoring the LORD on Sunday, or on any other day of the week, but there IS a law against working on the Sabbath.
9. OBJECTION: Didn’t the risen Christ always appear to His disciples on a Sunday?
ANSWER: Christ appeared to His disciples over a period of forty days after His resurrection. Only five of these recorded appearances give a clue as to the day.
On the day of His resurrection: To Mary Magdalene, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to eleven disciples in the upper room. (The eleven disciples were not holding a religious meeting. They were hiding in terror of the Jews.)
Jesus met the women who had come to the tomb. He instructed them to “tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me” (Matt. 28:10). Eleven of the disciples “went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him...” (Matthew 28:16-17). The day of this meeting is not given.
Eight days later, because Thomas was finally with them (John 20:26). No day is given.
While the disciples were out fishing (John 21). No day is given, but it is doubtful the disciples (devout Jews) would have been working on the Sabbath.
Ascension day - forty days after the resurrection - if His resurrection took place on a Sunday, then 40 days later would have been a Thursday (Acts 1:3,9).
10. OBJECTION: We celebrate Easter Sunday in honor of Christ’s resurrection.
Doesn’t that make Sunday a special day?
ANSWER: We celebrate Passover to commemorate the Lord’s death, and we celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits in honor of His resurrection.
ANSWER: Easter Sunday actually came about because of Roman persecution. It was substituted for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which the Emperor Constantine had forbidden for Christians.
“Many thousands” of Jews “believed” (Acts 21:20) and accepted Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. This did not mean that they expected to break away from their Jewish faith, from the Sabbath, or from any of the other commandments. They were not joining a new religion. They simply viewed themselves as “believing Jews.”
Gentile converts on the other hand, began to commemorate the Passover with bread and wine, rather than with a sacrificial lamb, as initiated by Christ at His last Passover meal. In fact there was much debate among early Christians regarding the proper observance - how long to fast, whether to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the evening which began the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or the morning of the First Fruits celebration.
The actual introduction of Easter-Sunday appears to have occurred in Palestine after Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) ruthlessly crushed the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136). He built a new Roman city, Aelia Capitolina on the ruins of Jerusalem.
Hadrian introduced the most repressive laws, prohibiting the practice of Judaism in general and the observance of Jewish festivals in particular. The decree not only stated “that they might not keep the Sabbath,” but also “that they should profane the Sabbath,” and “that they should desecrate the Sabbath.” (See The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol II, p.509; Vol. X, p.604.)
Jews and Jewish-Christians were expelled from the city. The sacred Torah Scroll was ceremoniously burned on the Temple Mount. He renamed the province Syria Palaestina (after the Philistines) which is why it was called “the land of Palestine” until the nation of Israel was established in 1948.
As a result of Hadrian’s expulsion of the Jews, the positions left vacant by Jewish-Christian elders and leaders were filled by non-Jews. The ethnic cleansing, and persecution of anyone and anything Jewish influenced the new predominately non-Jewish church hierarchy to change the date of Passover from Nisan 14 to the following Sunday in order to show separation from the Jews and thus, to avoid persecution.
Over the years a whole body of anti-Semitic literature was produced by leading church “Fathers” who defamed the Jews as a people and emptied their religious beliefs and practices of all value. Two major casualties of the anti-Jewish campaign were the Sabbath and the Passover. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and the Passover was changed to Easter-Sunday.
Roman Catholic tradition credits Pius I, bishop of Rome (AD 117-138) with the institution of holding the Lord’s Supper on Sunday to end the yearly Pascha (Holy Week), and with weekly Sunday observance - replacing the Sabbath.
Finally, in A.D.325 at the Council of Nicea, the Emperor Constantine (who claimed conversion to Christianity) settled the issue. He wrote, “Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd:” He decreed that the resurrection would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring (that is, the Sunday after the Passover). To ensure that Easter-Sunday would never be celebrated at the same time as the Jewish Festival, the council decreed that if the 14th of Nisan fell on a Friday, then Easter was to be celebrated on Sunday, nine days later.”
The new date “just happened” to fall on the Festival of Isthar (Easter) - Goddess of Fertility. (You wondered where the bunnies and the eggs came from. Now you know.)
11. OBJECTION: Doesn’t Pentecost always fall on a Sunday?
ANSWER: It depends on whether you were a Pharisee or a Sadducee. Pentecost always falls 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits. In the time of Christ there was a controversy regarding the correct day for the offering of the “Firstfruits,” but in the year Christ died Pharisees and Sadducees were in agreement. (See the study, “Three Days and Three Nights”.) Because the “Firstfruits” were offered on a Sunday in that year, Pentacost also fell on a Sunday in that year.
I personally agree with the Sadducees. I believe that Pentecost should be celebrated on the 50th day from the day after the first 7th Day Sabbath which follows Passover. So yes - it always falls on a Sunday.
12. OBJECTION: Isn’t Sunday always special when it is mentioned in the New Testament? Couldn’t it be inferred that Sunday was the special day for the apostles after the resurrection?
ANSWER: In the Bible, it is called simply “the first day of the week”. To use the name “Sunday” or “Day of the Sun” would be pagan.
The Greeks named the days of the week after the sun, the moon and the five known planets, which were in turn named after their gods.The Romans substituted their equivalent gods for the Greek gods, Mars, Mercury, Jove (Jupiter), Venus, and Saturn. The Germanic peoples generally substituted roughly similar gods for the Roman gods, Tiu (Twia), Woden, Thor, Freya (Fria), but did not substitute Saturn.
ANSWER: The first day of the week is mentioned eight times in the New Testament:
Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:l-2,9; Luke 24:l; John 20:1: All are accounts of the resurrection. These disciples wrote their gospels many years after Christ's death, yet every one of them refers to Sunday as simply “the first day of the week” - nothing more - nothing special.
John 20:19: The disciples were hiding in the upper room behind closed doors in terror of the Jews.
Acts 20:7-8: The Sabbath begins at sunset of Friday, and ends at sundown of Saturday (Mark l:21,32; Leviticus 23:32). The meeting here described took place on Saturday night. (See New English Bible.) It was most likely the traditional weekly “Havdalah,” a service to bid farewell to the Sabbath. Paul left the next morning and spent most of Sunday walking through swampy country from Troas to Assos where he was to catch a ship. “Breaking bread” was done “daily” (Acts 2:46) and was not necessarily associated with an assembly for worship.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2: “Lay by in store” does not mean, “put in the collection plate at the church.” It means to set aside at home. Some of the modern translations render it this way. It means that the first act of business in the new week should be to separate a portion for God's service. After God's tithe and offerings are separated then we may continue with our regular business. Money was never handled on the Sabbath.
In the eight passages which mention the first day of the week there is:
no command to keep it;
no record of its being appointed as a sabbath;
no record of any blessing being placed upon it;
no record of its being made holy;
no record of any sacredness being attached to it;
no promise of a blessing for its observance;
no threat of punishment for its nonobservance.
It is not once given any sacred title.
There is no record that Christ kept Sunday or commanded it to be kept.
There is no record that the apostles kept Sunday or commanded it to be kept.
13. OBJECTION: The Jerusalem Council did not mention Sabbath keeping as a requirement for Gentile believers.
Acts 15:19-20, 28-29 “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
ANSWER: Stealing, murder, disrespect for parents, bearing false witness, and taking God’s name in vain, were not mentioned either! This doesn’t mean those things are acceptable behavior for believers.
The Jerusalem council listed those things which would prevent Gentiles from worship with the people of God. Idol worship, sexual rituals, blood sacrifices which included the drinking of blood - all these were common to pagan worship. If a Gentile would give up these practices, then he could come to any synagogue to learn about the true God - and His law.
The appeal is made to Moses (meaning the first five books of the Bible) who is read in the synagogue every Sabbath. It is assumed that the Gentile believers will be in attendance every Sabbath, to hear such reading. Along with the history of God’s people, they will learn about the 10 Commandments, the prophetic festivals, the health laws, and all the other things relevant to their new relationship with the true God.
Peter admonished the Jerusalem council not to put a “yoke on the neck” of the Gentile converts “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10). If the “yoke” refers to the 10 Commandments, then we must say that God put a yoke upon the necks of His own people which they were “not able to bear” - thus making Him unjust.
(Please see the study: “A Yoke of Bondage”.)
14. OBJECTION: I’m a New Covenant Christian (Luke 22:20, I Cor. 11:25).
The Old Covenant is now “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13).
ANSWER: Most folks who tell me they are “New Covenant” Christians, don’t know what the New Covenant says.
Ezekiel 36:24-27 “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Hebrews 8:10).
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying,`Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The LAW which was written on stones, will be written on the hearts of God’s redeemed people. His law includes His Sabbath.
When Jesus said “this is the new covenant in my blood,” He meant that His death would bring about the deliverance of His people, their return to the land, and the everlasting covenant of peace whereby Jesus Christ will write His law on our hearts (Luke 22:20).
The “New Covenant” will be fully realized with “the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” AFTER the LORD has brought them back into their “own land.” This is the context!
The New Covenant is made with the “whole house of Israel” which will include believing - “grafted in”- Gentiles. (Please see the study: “Who are Israel”.)
15. OBJECTION: The calendar has been changed so many times that it is impossible to tell which day is the 7th-Day of the Bible.
ANSWER: Modern astronomers will tell you very quickly that no time has been lost in the last 3000 years. The manna fell for forty years. It fell on the six days of the week and did not fall on the Sabbath, thus reestablishing the weekly cycle from creation (Exo. 16). There was no question in Christ's mind as to which day was the seventh.
Do you seriously believe that devout Jews have lost track of which day is the Sabbath?
One calendar change which is frequently questioned was the Gregorian Calendar, accepted in l752. It skipped 11 days, from Sept 2 thru Sept 14, but it did not break the order of the days. Sept 2 was a Wed. and Sept 14 a Thursday.
16. OBJECTION: How can we know the “seventh day” of Genesis 2:2-3 was actually 24 hours? Peter said that one day with the LORD is as a thousand years (2Peter 3:8).
ANSWER: Within one 24 hr period, there is only 1 morning, and 1 evening. This is what we see repeated after each of the first six days. Why would we conclude that the 7th day was somehow different from the first six days?
Genesis 1:5 “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (NRS)
ANSWER: The Hebrew word “yowm” (Strong’s #03117) is translated as “day” in Genesis Chapters one and two. The same word “yowm” is also used throughout Exodus 20:8-11, in the commandment to work six days and rest on the 7th day. Would Israel have understood this commandment to mean that they were to work for 6000 years, before they could rest for 1000 years? No. The word “yowm” is the same in Exodus Chapter 16, speaking of the command to gather the manna on each of the six working days. And this was before Mount Sinai.
Exodus 16:26 “Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.” (NIV)
ANSWER: “With the LORD one day is like a thousand years.” Peter says the LORD is longsuffering. The LORD wants to have us with Himself so badly, that waiting one day “is like” waiting a thousand years.
I do believe that prophecy sometimes uses 1 day to mean 1000 years. The coming millennium of a thousand years for instance, will be the 7th “day” of earth’s history. And it will be a Sabbath (the word means rest) for the earth. Adam died within one “day” of eating fruit from the forbidden tree (Gen. 2:17, Gen. 5:3).
17. OBJECTION: Our church has the Holy Spirit, and I have the Spirit to guide me.
The Spirit would not lead me in error.
ANSWER: The Holy Spirit will not teach anything contrary to the Word of God.
1John 4:1 “Believe not every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
2 Corinthians 11:14 “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
John 17:17 “Thy word is truth.”
Psalm 119:142 “Thy Law is truth.”
John 14:26 “He [the Spirit] shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Jesus said, “If you would enter into life, keep the Commandments” (Matt. 19:17).
18. OBJECTION: So long as I keep 9 of the Commandments - isn’t that good enough?
ANSWER: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
This is about ATTITUDE. If we know that God has commanded rest on “His day”, but we resistant to it, whether because of fear (of rejection by others) or because of inconvenience within our present culture, are we not resisting God? This is the spirit of rebellion. God cannot take this spirit into His kingdom.
19. OBJECTION: Hebrews Chapter Four presents the Sabbath as a symbol of the “rest” that we enter by faith, when we “cease from” our “works” to rest in the perfect work of Christ.
If the Sabbath was symbolic of something which we may all realize in Christ, why do we still need the symbol?
ANSWER: Yes - the Sabbath is a symbol of God’s promised rest.
Why do we still need the symbol? One might just as well ask why we need The Lord’s Supper, or baptism, or the marriage ceremony. What’s wrong with symbols?
We keep “Mother’s Day” to honor our mothers. We send “birthday” cards. We celebrate our wedding anniversary. I can think of many more. They are days to “remember”. And our Creator said, “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).
Yes - the Sabbath is a symbol of God’s promised rest. It is also the sign of His right - as our Creator - to appoint a special time for spiritual things.
We celebrate His promise of rest in a land free from the presence and power of sin.
We celebrate His promise of rest from our own sinful nature, our tendency to sin. From this we have not yet been delivered. We must wait for new bodies, and for Christ to write His law on our hearts (the New Covenant promise).
We celebrate His promise of rest for the earth, and for all of God’s creation.
We celebrate His promise of rest from our own pathetic efforts to be justified with God thru perfect obedience to the law. This “rest” we can experience - now. The writer pleads with the Hebrews of his day, to accept the invitation to “enter His rest.” “Be diligent to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:11).
“There remains therefore a rest (Sabbath) for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).
- Paul and The Sabbath -
20. OBJECTION: There is NO PROOF that the Apostle Paul kept the 7th Day Sabbath after his conversion to Christ.
ANSWER: In Antioch Paul worshiped in the synagogue, on the Sabbath (Acts 13:14-16). When the Jews had left the synagogue, the Gentiles begged Paul to preach to them “the next Sabbath” (13:44). He didn't tell them to meet him on Sunday. And almost the whole city came to hear him.
In Philippi, where there was no synagogue, Paul went out by the river “where prayer was customarily made.” He went there to worship on the Sabbath (Acts 16:13).
In Thessalonica “Paul, as his custom was, went in (to the synagogue) to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the scriptures” (Acts 17:2).
At Corinth he “reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath” (Acts 18:4,11).
Some say that Paul “went into the synagogue” on the Sabbath to find Jews, to whom he would first present the gospel (Acts 13:46). We agree. But we never find Paul preaching on Sunday morning, to Gentiles. We find no passage where Paul expressly states that He now rested on Sunday, and we find no passage where Paul states that working on the Sabbath is now acceptable or lawful.
21. OBJECTION: The Apostle Paul wrote:
Romans 7:6 “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (NIV).
ANSWER: The penalty (the curse) for breaking covenant - was death. Through Christ - we are judged as having “died” in the eyes of the Law. The “death penalty” has thus been paid in full, and we are “set free” from that penalty.
We are also “set free” from law-keeping as a means to earn salvation.
When Paul speaks of law-keeping as a means to salvation, his answer is always and emphatically - No! We are saved by grace - through faith (Eph. 2:8). On the other hand, when Paul speaks of the Law as the standard of moral behavior for believers, he always upholds the Law. His words concerning the Law change with the context. This is the key to understanding the often confusing and seemingly contradictory words of Paul concerning “the Law”.
Paul called the Sinai Covenant, a “ministry of death chiseled in letters on stone tablets” (2Cor. 3:7). Why would he describe the Ten Commandments in this way? Because the Law cannot save. The Law can only instruct and condemn. Praise God, we have more than the Law. We have the Lamb of God, whose death has become ours. And we have the Spirit poured out, through which Christ will write His Law on our hearts. Only by this means, are we enabled to live in harmony with God’s Law. Our part is to believe Him.
22. OBJECTION: Didn’t Paul describe Sabbath keeping as “turning again to weak and beggarly elements” ?
Galatians 4:9,10 “But how after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
ANSWER: The recipients of Paul’s letter had come to believe in Jesus as Messiah. But then they had been taken in by “the circumcision” - the party of converted Pharisees.
The message of the “Judeizers” was that converted Gentiles must become Jews, in order to be right with God (Acts 15:1). Those who believed their message, had themselves circumcised, and began observing all of the Hebrew festivals in the “old” way, with the offering of animal sacrifices at Jerusalem, in order to be saved. (Please see the study: “Circumcision - Under the New Covenant”.)
“Tell me,” Paul wrote, “you who desire to be under the law [to be justified by the sacrifices prescribed in the Law]” (Gal. 4:21). Knowing Paul’s target audience, we can assume that the “days, and months, and seasons, and years” refer to the prophetic “Feasts of the LORD” commanded in Leviticus chapters 23 and 25, and Numbers chapters 28 and 29.
Sacrifices were required for every appointed Feast day (1Chron 23:31), on the Sabbath, the New Moon. Every Israelite male was required to appear before the LORD in Jerusalem for the appointed Feasts - three times in the year (Deut. 16:16). And physical circumcision was required before a male could observe the Passover (Exo. 12:48) or even enter the Temple court.
Paul was adamant that we are saved by faith in Christ - not by “works of the law” [the old sacrificial remedy]. Keeping the Jewish festivals in order to be saved would be no better than observing pagan astral festivals in order to live forever. Both involved a type of salvation by works, and so Paul termed it a return to “weak and beggarly elements.”
NOTE: Paul himself stayed away from Jerusalem for some 14 years. He finally returned there, and even presented animal sacrifices. He wrote,“to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law” (1Cor. 9:20 NKJ). Paul did not regard himself as “under the law”. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18 NKJ). Paul certainly regarded himself as “led by the Spirit”.
ANSWER: The “weak and beggarly elements” were the animal sacrifices, and the Levitical Aaronic priesthood. They were “weak” because they could not “make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience” (Heb. 9:9). Christ was the perfect sacrifice. He is now our High Priest – and He CAN make us perfect in heart and conscience, through His indwelling spirit (Hebrews 9:14).
ANSWER: “You observe days, and weeks, and seasons, and years” (Galatians 4:10). The word translated as “observe” is the Greek word “paratereo” (#3906). This word is translated “watch” in four other New Testament passages, the meaning being to watch someone closely to catch him in a transgression, or to capture him.
The Pharisees “watched” Jesus to catch Him in some trespass (Mar. 3:2, Luke 6:7, Luke 14:1, Luke 20:20). The men who had vowed to kill Paul “lay in wait” (Acts 9:24). In every passage sited, it’s the same Greek word.
In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew/Aramaic to Greek, the word is used to describe how the advisors and governors of King Darias “watched” Daniel to catch him praying to his God, so they could throw him to the lions (Dan. 6:10). Other uses of the word in the Hebrew (zamam - #2161) convey negative intent. In Psalm 37:12, the wicked “plot” and in Psalm 31:13, “They scheme to take away my life.”
Our conclusion is that to “observe” the “days, months, seasons, and years” is to keep them legalistically, in great detail. This we agree, is not the New Testament way. We do not require physical circumcision. We do not sacrifice animals. We do not travel to Jerusalem for the festival days in order to sacrifice. We do not “observe” the Sabbath. Instead we simply rest.
There is nothing to be accomplished by travel to Jerusalem for the Feasts, until our LORD returns and has restored the City. There is no Temple. The LORD is not there.
(See the study: “Another Temple”.)
While we agree that the Sabbath was called a “Feast of the LORD” (Lev. 23:1-3) we also see several differences which set the weekly Sabbath apart.
First: The 7th-Day was declared “holy” from the end of creation week. Not so the Feasts. The command to keep the 7th-Day holy was spoken audibly from the mountain top, and was written on the stones. The Feast commands were NOT.
Second: The Feasts were not kept during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. They were to be celebrated “when you come into the land.” The Sabbath was kept during the forty years in the wilderness and was continued in “the land”.
Third: The LORD said, “These are the feasts of the LORD ... besides the Sabbaths of the LORD” (Lev. 23:37-38). Here clearly, the prophetic Feasts were in addition to, or “besides” the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment.
23. OBJECTION: The law of commandments contained in ordinances was nailed to the cross.
Ephesians 2:14 “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one [that is Jew and Gentile], and has broken down the middle wall of division between us [between Jew and Gentile], having abolished in His flesh the enmity [the hatred between Jew and Gentile], that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two [Jew and Gentile], thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both [Jew and Gentile] to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
ANSWER: Paul is speaking about the separation of Jews from Gentiles.
Continued next page:
Acts 10:28 [Peter speaking] “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation.”
NOTE: Now, in Christ, they were to “call no man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28). They were to “teach all nations” and baptize in the name of Jesus.
The ordinance dictating the separation of Jews from Gentiles, based upon physical circumcision, was abolished. Paul said, “if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?” (Romans 2:26). Paul is not doing away with the Ten Commandments. He is speaking of those things that separate Jew from Gentile - namely - physical circumcision.
Today we still have the ordinance, “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2Corinthans 6:14), but that is a different matter.
24. OBJECTION: No one is to judge another regarding a Sabbath.
Colossians 2:16-17 “And you [Gentiles], being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross . . . Therefore let no one judge you in food or drink [grain offerings or drink offerings], or regarding a festival or a new moon, or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (See also Hebrews 9:10.)
ANSWER: I’m going to quote a portion of this passage from several different translations.
Colossians 2:14 “having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (NIV)
Colossians 2:14 “erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands” (NRS)
Colossians 2:14 “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us”
At a Roman crucifixion, a plaque was nailed above the head of the accused. It listed the charges against the one to be executed. By ancient law, a king could die for his people. Jesus - as our King, paid the penalty for our sins against God’s Law.
(Please see the studies: “The Curse of the Law” and “A Debt Paid”.)
ANSWER: Now to the second key phrase in the passage.
Colossians 2:16-17 “Therefore let no one judge you in food or drink [grain offerings or drink offerings], or regarding a festival or a new moon, or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
Animal sacrifices were required for each of the Feasts, at the New Moon, and for the weekly Sabbath. A grain offering, and a drink offering (“meat” or “drink”) was added to each sacrifice along with a pinch of salt.
Converts to Christ regarded these sacrifices as “obsolete” now that the “one true offering” had been made. They would commemorate the Feasts of the LORD in a new way. Paul was telling the Colossians, “don’t let anyone judge you” for this.
Paul could be understood to say “let no one judge you regarding” [whether or not you keep] “a festival, a new moon, or sabbaths.” On the other hand, he could be understood to say “let no one judge you regarding” [the WAY in which you keep] “a festival . . . or sabbaths.”
Special offerings of animal sacrifices were commanded for each of the Feast days, for the new moons, and for the seventh-day Sabbath. The new Gentile believers would not be keeping these days in the old way. The Gentile converts partook of bread and wine at Passover, rather than of a sacrificial lamb. They did not bring animals for sacrifice on any festival day. They may not have appeared at the Temple in Jerusalem, for the Feasts, believing that Christ now ministered in heaven (the true Tabernacle not made with hands). Physical circumcision was not required for Gentile converts - but was an absolute requirement for inclusion in the Passover under the First Covenant. And no uncircumcised male could enter the Temple court to offer sacrifice.
Paul definitely taught that physical circumcision - at least for Gentile converts - was not necessary, in order to be saved. (See the study “Circumcision - Under the New Covenant”.)
25. OBJECTION: Why doesn’t Paul state specifically that the 7th Day is the Sabbath?
In fact, doesn’t Paul say that every man should be persuaded in his own mind?
Romans 14:5 “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.”
ANSWER: Please read the context. In the chapter sited, Paul is writing about “foods offered to idols” and about days for fasting. He is not writing about the 7th-Day Sabbath. Devout Jews held to the custom of fasting twice a week. New believers were commanded to abstain from any food which had been presented as an offering to an idol. Paul may have made reference to either of these practices. He said that an idol had no power to change the food, therefore believers should have no fear of eating foods offered to idols, except when it might “cause a brother to stumble.”
In the same text, he mentions eating and not eating, along with observing and not observing certain days. The days observed, appear to be those days upon which devout Jews fasted.
The context does not mention the 7th day Sabbath (Romans 14:1-7). Paul appears to have kept the 7th day Sabbath, and there are passages which suggest that he also kept the Feasts but in a new Christian way (1Corinthians 16:8, Acts 20:6, Acts 20:16). See 1Corinthians 5:7-8 where Paul instructs the church regarding the keeping of the Passover.
ANSWER: The Jews were ready to kill Paul because he declared specifically that physical circumcision was not necessary for Gentile converts (Galatians 5:6-15). If Paul had declared that the Sabbath was changed or done away with, would not some account of the furor that would have caused be found in the account of his ministry. The Jews considered Sabbath observance at least as important as circumcision, yet great text is given to the account of the debate over circumcision and nothing is said about a change of the Sabbath. Paul said, “I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19). Nothing was left out.
ANSWER: It is true that Paul said “Let every man be convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5), but isn't this the ideal we preach today. Each person must study and decide for himself the truth of the Gospel of Christ. No observance, whether prayer or fasting or giving offerings, or Sabbath keeping is valid if the person does not understand the reason for what he is doing. This statement reflects the change in Paul after the Damascus road. He no longer forced his beliefs on anyone. Even if he knew he was right he said “do not judge your brother.” How different from the Saul who dragged “followers of the way” to Jerusalem in chains.
HOW TO KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY
The Sabbath begins at sunset of the sixth day (Friday). Leviticus 23:32
The Sabbath is over at sundown of the 7th day (Saturday) Mark 16:1,2
Refrain from work. Even in harvest time and planting time, refrain from work [ministers and
necessary service providers excepted]. Exodus 20:8011 & Exodus 34:21
Refrain from doing your own pleasure - secular entertainment, or activities which would call the
mind away from spiritual things. On the Sabbath we renew our relationship with our God, and we fellowship with other believers. Isaiah 58:13
Refrain from buying and selling on the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13:15-21
Worship with others - where possible. Luke 4:16
Share with others a knowledge of God. Luke 4:31
Enjoy Christian fellowship. Luke 14:l
Do works of mercy, relieving pain and suffering. Matthew 12:9-14
Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken it.”
Isaiah 66:22-23 “‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make
shall remain before Me,’ says the LORD,
‘So shall your descendants and your name remain.
And it shall come to pass
that from one New Moon to another,
and from one Sabbath to another,
all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the LORD.”
We pray this study will prove a blessing.
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