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Christians And The Sabbath - Part 3

God vowed to establish a new covenant that would be different from the one provided to Israel when they left Egypt. 

Jeremiah 31:31-32 -- Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that 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 bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD..."

sabbath-image


Please read Part One and Part Two to understand the background of this topic.

 A NEW COVENANT

When that new covenant was provided, laws were changed.

Hebrews 7:12 -- For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

However, the ten commandments were included in the ancient law, which was given to Israel when it was freed from Egyptian slavery. As a result, the Ten Commandments were fulfilled in Christ when the Old Covenant was superseded by the New Covenant.

THE LAW IS DEAD TO ME

The apostle Paul stated in Romans seven that the believer is "dead to the law through the body of Christ." He went on to say that a child of God is "discharged from the law."

Romans 7:4 -- Why, my brothers, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God.

Romans 7:6 -- But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

So, what precisely was the "law" in question? Is it only a "ceremonial" law? No, since Paul later quotes from the writing of Moses, 

Romans 7:7 -- What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet.

Exodus 20:17 -- You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor's.

Clearly, the law from which the Christian is "dead," that is separated and discharged, includes the Ten Commandments. The believer is not required to observe the Sabbath.

In fact, shortly after declaring that the law had been "nailed to the cross," Paul stated that no one could "judge," that is condemn a believer for failing to observe feast days, Sabbaths, and so on. That remark could not have been uttered if the Sabbath rule was still in effect.

DIDN'T GOD REST ON THE SABBATH?

Here are the verses on which this question is based.

Genesis 2:2-3 -- And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Thus, in the Genesis account, Moses writes that God rested that is stopped from his creation work on the seventh day in relation to the earth's first week. Furthermore, the seventh day is believed to have been blessed and sanctified (hallowed; made holy) by the Lord in remembrance of the resting from His work.

However, the passage does not indicate when the sabbath was "hallowed," and reading such into the holy record, particularly in light of evidence to the contrary, is a misapplication of scripture.

Many people believe that the sabbath became a "holy day" for all of humanity on the seventh day of Earth's history. However, this is by no means a conclusion. Please consider the following.

DAY OF RELIGIOUS DEVOTION

There is no evidence that anybody observed the Sabbath as a day of religious devotion during the first few thousand years of human history, as required by the Mosaic system. There is not a single verse in Genesis that indicates any of the patriarchs (Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) keeping the Sabbath, whether as a holy day or not.

According to further scriptural material, the "holy day" sabbath was revealed at Sinai as mentioned earlier. It would not have been necessary for the Lord to "make known" to them what their forefathers had been doing for generations and were therefore well-known to the Hebrew people.

PREAMBLE

In other places, 'Jehovah our God established a covenant with us at Horeb," Moses wrote. Jehovah established this covenant with us, not with our ancestors, but with all of us who are living today." This is the divine "preamble" to the Deuteronomy -- Ten Commandments.

Is this to say that murder, theft, and other crimes were never prohibited prior to the application of Moses' law? Not at all, since there is sufficient evidence from the Patriarchal era that murder, for example, was wrong.

MORAL CONCEPT 

Cain's murder of Abel is evidence of this. This was a moral concept that was inherent in the very essence of man. However, as previously stated, there is no evidence that the sabbath was observed prior to Israel's observance of the holy day in the Sinai desert.

Genesis 9:6 -- Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

The "sabbath" enforced in Exodus was a preparatory test before the real revelation from Sinai. It was designated as a "proof" test to prepare people for the future adoption of the Sabbath law.

Exodus 16:4 -- Then said the LORD to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

SABBATH - A SIGN

The observance of the Sabbath was a unique "sign" between Jehovah and Israel.

Ezekiel 20:10-12 -- "So I drove them out of Egypt and drove them into the wilderness.” And I showed them my laws and regulations, which if a man follows, he will live in them. Furthermore, I gave them my sabbaths as a sign between us, so that they would know that I am Jehovah who sanctifies them."

If other nations had been observing the sabbath for generations, the sabbath could hardly have been a unique "sign" between the Lord and Israel.

In reality, Moses authored the Genesis narrative after the Sabbath law was established. When he recounted the story of God's rest on the seventh day, he merely added the subsequent information about its sanctification for the Hebrew people. This displays a frequent figure of speech known as prolepsis, which is the merging of two occurrences separated by time owing to their thematic connection.

Sabbath keepers attempting to make the case for modern-day Sabbath-keeping have no evidence to back up their claim that this holy day was sanctified as a mandate for the whole human family from the time of creation forward.

We love even those who are sabbath keepers and yet we want them to know the truth from God's word and come out of erroneous doctrines.

Blessings,

Godwin.



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