Ancient Paths - Sabbath Day Study

Like the other Hebrew festivals, the Sabbath is also identified by the Lord as a Biblical festival.  As a matter of fact the Sabbath is first on the list...Leviticus 23:3!  What separates the Sabbath from other Biblical festivals is that it is the only festival that is contained in the 10 Commandments spoken and written by God Himself. It is identified as the Sabbath of the Lord.

The Sabbath points backward to creation and is a memorial of the 7 day prophetic pattern established by the Lord from the very beginning. It is itself a witness to the world of the Lord's eternal plan for the ages. Like a permanent landmark in time that week after week, year after year displays God's eternal stamp upon creation and upon our lives (when we observe it) - it is a weekly proclammation of our belief and trust in Him. This is an important understanding that will be discussed further in our study.

Excerpt from Hebraic Heritage site (Sabbath article):

The Sabbath is a picture given to us by God which is a shadow of things to come (Colossians 2:16-17). The Sabbath is a picture of a future time. This future time is the 1,000 year millennial reign of Yeshua/Jesus (Revelation 20:4,6 -- in part). The Sabbath is the 7th day (Genesis 2:1-3) and this will correspond to the 7th day, the last 1,000 years of time. The fullness is all eternity. The Sabbath is a foretaste of the world to come, known in Hebrew as the "Olam Haba" which means the world to come (Hebrews 6:5).

The Sabbath, according to Jewish tradition is also a picture of "the Bride".

Today in Jewish Orthodox settings as the last verse of the song is sung, the congregation will turn away from the ark housing the Torah and bow before the synagogue entrance as if the bride of Shabbat were about to enter.

As believers, the idea of Sabbath as a pure Bride finds a home in our hearts in the end of the verse in Leviticus 23:3, it is for a Sabbath to the Lord. We hold close and yet see beyond the Orthodox view of Sabbath being the bride, as we embrace the New Covenant idea that we have become that pure Bride by Yeshua’s blood. Therefore, we greet the Sabbath prepared to steal away with our beloved Bridegroom for the space of 24 hours.

The powerful draw of the prosaic and temporal is set aside, enabling us to peer into the eternal portals of heaven by honoring this commandment. Shabbat is a weekly honeymoon with the Bridegroom, Who is our Creator and Maker, and it is glimpse of what it will be like forever to be with the Lord.

Rather than becoming paralyzed with rules, the Sabbath should evoke great joy and expectation, as a bride would have on her wedding day. As Messiah’s Bride, we find a picture of being presented to God in righteousness as a one without spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:27). We separate the time of Shabbat to be alone with our Bridegroom in delightful exclusivity.

Scripture is replete with many beautiful pictures of the Bride and Bridegroom captivated by each other in romance. Song of Songs, beginning to end, describes in detail the intimate relationship between the Bride and Bridegroom. Song of Songs 8:5 speaks of the Bride coming up from the wilderness leaning on her Beloved.

Genesis 2:3 ... God blessed the 7th day (the Sabbath) and sanctified (#6942) it.

 A term for marriage in Hebrew is "Kiddushin," which is derived from the Hebrew word for Holy (#6944) which is "Kodesh." Kodesh (#6944) comes from #6942 which is "Kadash," which means "to be made Holy."

Since the believer's are the bride of Yeshua/Jesus (Revelation 21:9, 19:7-9), the Sabbath will teach about our relationship to God and our marriage to Yeshua/Jesus, our bridegroom. The marriage will take place during the time of the Sabbath (marriage is linked with Sabbath) which will be during the 1,000 year millennium.

In Jewish tradition, the Sabbath is welcomed by the woman (a picture of the believers) lighting two candles. These two candles are called the two witnesses.  

My Comment:  could it be that this is a picture of the bride (believers) who is given the honor of initiating entering into the Sabbath rest with the heavenly Bridegroom as a part of remembering her betrothal commitment and the coming celestial wedding and 1000 year period of peace and rest to come.

Two candles will be lit during every Jewish wedding. Every Jewish wedding will have two witnesses. One is called the friend of the bride, the other the friend of the bridegroom.

The two candles will also represent the Word of God. One candle will represent the Torah (the law or instruction) and the other candle will represent the prophets. Both the law and the prophets will be witnesses that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah of God (Luke 24:27, 44-48).

Therefore, during the time of the Sabbath (the 1,000 year millennium), the two witnesses will appear (Zechariah 4:1-4, 11-14, Revelation 11:3-6).

Enough on this for now...just remember God's plan and main purpose for the ages is all about a Bride.  As such, all that He has given to us in the Old and New Testaments speaks in some way about the Bride...now let's get in to the meat of the lesson:

Sabbath Day observance versus Sunday church observance:

Intro

Personal testimony – after months of prayer, Biblical study and reading different internet articles regarding the Sabbath (7th day observance) versus Sunday (1st day of the week) I’ve come to the conclusion this is another example of “man” creating a non-Biblical, pagan-based tradition for political and personal gain.  It is also a prime example of how satan has been able to use lies and deceit to influence mankind to corrupt Biblical standards, eternal laws and seasons to keep us from knowing and practicing the truth.

There are many wonderful articles about the Sabbath that provide ample evidence for 7th day versus 1st day observance.  I'd like to thank www.eliyah.com for many of the scripture references and historical information provided in this article.

In my own study I’ve noted what I would consider some keys to help us understand and rightly divide the scriptures pertaining to the Sabbath versus Sunday observance.

1) First we need to take a close look at the origin of the 7th day Sabbath in the Bible, we also need to take a brief look at scriptures that refer to the 1st day of the week (supposed references to Sunday worship), and then take a detailed look at the history of where Sunday observance actually came from.  Most Bible scholars and secular researchers as well will tell you if you want to find out where a tradition or practice in modern society comes from you need to trace its history back to its roots (origin).  You need to look at the circumstances that led to its development, the motivating factors behind its introduction, and those involved with its implementation.  The Bible says in Matthew 7:17-18:  a good tree produces good fruit, and a corrupt tree produces corrupt fruit…likewise, a good tree cannot bear corrupt fruit nor can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.  Such is the case when looking at the origins of Sunday observance...if the root is found to be bad, then the fruit of the same tree cannot be holy!

2) A second key to understanding the Sabbath in the New Covenant is very simply understanding the difference between the Laws written on stone by the finger of God (10 Commandments) and the Law of Moses (written by his hand).

3) A third key and common mistake that many Bible scholars/students seem to be making in their approach to the Sabbath question is that they tend to ignore what Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) said in regards to the Sabbath and just go directly to the epistles, specifically Col 2, Romans 14, Gal 3 etc for their interpretation.  It seems more appropriate in our study of this subject that we begin with the gospels and find out what Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) said about the Sabbath…what His attitude was toward it.  The main consideration here being that if Yeshua Himself did not change the day, or declare that He was the fulfillment of the Sabbath or even abolish the Sabbath, then certainly the Apostles did not have the authority to change, declare it fulfilled by Jesus or abolish it! The fact is the scriptures that are normally used to support the abolishment (or adjustment) of the Sabbath do not specifically say anything of the kind...but rather this is just another example of man's traditions and preconceived notions getting in the way of sound scriptural analysis and interpretation. 

4) Another important point to consider is that if the Sabbath were abolished or changed why don’t we hear anything from the Jews regarding this issue?  There was much controversy about the topic of circumcision (see Acts 15) but we see nothing from the Jews about the Sabbath Day issue. Sometimes the absence of something in scripture speaks just as loud as a commandment to do something.

5) Lastly, we need to take a closer look at the book of Acts which contains the history of the early church to see what it says about the 7th day Sabbath.

When you mention the Sabbath Day to most Christian believers, they immediately will say something like:  “that’s the Old Testament”, or that’s only for the Jews, or we no longer need to obey the Old Testament law because we’re under grace now…or maybe something like - Jesus has fulfilled the Sabbath and He is our rest now…or lastly in the New Testament we should recognize and worship the Lord every day.  But the fact is, many of these precious folks already set one day aside each week for worship and other spiritual activities…it’s called Sunday school or Sunday worship.  They wouldn’t think of missing a service for anything less than an emergency or because they are out of town.  Why?

When asked about their practice of going to church on Sunday, most would explain - to hear God’s Word and worship the Lord, or they may feel it’s the main way they can support their community and other members etc.   Other believers who have knowledge of scripture might say because Jesus was resurrected on Sunday or because the disciples got together to break bread on the first day of the week (Sunday).  Though these are all honorable, personal and seemingly Biblically based, in reality they are just a few of the common misconceptions concerning why most Christians go to church on “Sunday”.  The truth is, though most believers can quickly tell why “they” go to church on Sunday, they really don’t know why most church services take place on Sunday to begin with.  So where did the tradition of going to church or attending mass on Sunday come from?…and why do many businesses and shops still close their doors on Sunday? We’ll look at this subject in detail, but first let’s look at the 7th day Sabbath observance as it’s contained in the scripture:

What is the Sabbath Day?...and where did it come from?

The Sabbath day according to the Bible is the 7th day of the week which God our creator sanctified or set apart back in Genesis 2:2-3 which says:

31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made

An astute Bible student will recognize that this Genesis account of 6 days of work and the 7th day for rest is an important pattern that has been establish by God.  And because He is the same, yesterday and forever, this pattern will not change…it is an established part of God’s plan for all eternity.

We see the 7th day again taking a critical role in the scriptures when He gave the nation of Israel the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:8-11 which says:  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Leviticus 23:1-3 says:   And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.

‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.

Exodus 31:12-14 says:

12 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘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. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you.

These are a few Old Testament scriptures that provide a foundation for Sabbath observance.  Again, most Christian believers would say that based on these scriptures, only the children of Israel were required to obey the Sabbath.

One major problem with this point of view is:  the Sabbath law is the 4th Commandment in God’s 10 Commandments which were written in stone by the Lord Himself.  It is the foundation of all subsequent laws, statutes and commandments. It was kept in the Ark of the Covenant under the mercy-seat…not in a pouch on the outside the Ark like the law of Moses.   So the question that begs to be asked is – if God included Sabbath observance in the 10 Commandments written in stone, then how can human beings choose to only observe 9 of the 10 and discard the 4th commandment?  If all the other laws are timeless and still applicable then why has Sabbath observance been discarded?  If the Lord didn’t do it Himself….then who did?

There are a number of reasons given based on various scriptures primarily in the New Testament.

Is Sunday observance in the Bible?

As we said, many have said that they believe that we should be keeping the Sabbath on the first day of the week (Sunday). Others say that we should keep every day as a Sabbath. What does the word of God (Elohim) have to say about these things? Let’s examine the first statement concerning the first day of the week being the Sabbath. There are only eight passages in scripture that speak of the first day of the week. They are often used to "prove" a change of the Sabbath to Sunday so let’s look at all eight to see whether any of them prescribes, allows or supports changing the Sabbath to the first day of the week. Matt 28:1 (NKJV) Now after the Sabbath, as the first [day] of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

The two Marys waited until the ending of the Sabbath--as the first day of the week began to dawn--before they went to Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)'s sepulcher. Being Sabbath observers, it is reasonable that they would wait until the ending of the Sabbath and the beginning of the first day of the week before venturing out. This scripture says nothing of changing the Sabbath.

Mark 16:1 (NKJV) Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary [the] [mother] of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first [day] of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

As Matthew 28:1 shows, the two women observed the Sabbath before venturing out on their mission to anoint the body of our Savior. They had the spices already purchased before the Sabbath. Now it was a regular work day for them and not a new day of worship, as some claim.

Mark 16:9 (KJV) Now when [Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)] was risen early the first [day] of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Just because Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) appeared to Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week, it does not mean that He changed the Sabbath to Sunday. There is no statement here even hinting that.

Luke 24:1 (NKJV) Now on the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain [other] [women] with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Master Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua).

Clearly, Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) was already risen and gone before sunrise, which raises the question as to why there are Easter sunrise services? But again, nothing is said about resting or changing the Sabbath to Sunday.

John 20:1 (NKJV) Now on the first [day] of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw [that] the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

John's account coincides with the others and still there is no mention of changing the Sabbath to a different day.

John 20:19 (NKJV) Then, the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace [be] with you."

Some claim that this was a 'secret' meeting to change the Sabbath to Sunday. But the passage says Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) came and stood among them. He had died, was buried and had risen. The disciples, now locked in a room, were hiding from the Jews now that the Messiah had died. Suddenly, Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) stood in their midst. This would have been the perfect time to set them straight and now tell them that there had been a change in the Sabbath to the first day of the week. But there is no mention of anything of this sort. A week later, when Thomas had doubts about Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua), the Saviour returned, but said nothing about worshipping on the first day of the week.

Acts 20:7 (NKJV) Now on the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

This is probably the scripture most quoted by those who believe that the Sabbath day was changed. Following Sabbath services, they had gathered in the evening (Saturday night). Paul was an esteemed visitor. Undoubtedly everyone wanted to talk with him after the Sabbath. They probably had many questions to ask him. This was not a Sunday worship service, but an after dinner talk lasting until midnight. Again, there is no mention of a change in the Sabbath.

1Cor 16:1 (NKJV) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

This had nothing to do with bringing an offering to any meeting or worship service. It was a time consuming gathering of foodstuffs and clothing for the needy which the Corinthians were to do for transporting to Jerusalem. Now notice: Paul is not telling the people to "rest and worship---but to WORK by preparing the collections.  Again nothing is said about changing the Sabbath Day to Sunday or first day of the week.

Thanks to www.eliyah.com for above scriptural references and commentary.

Key - we need to take a close look at the history of Sunday observance.  Most Bible scholars and secular researchers as well will tell you if you want to find out where a tradition or practice in modern society comes from you need to trace its history back to its roots (origin).  You need to look at the circumstances that led to its development, the motivating factors behind its introduction, and those involved with its implementation.  The Bible says in Matthew 7:17-18:  a good tree produces good fruit, and a corrupt tree produces corrupt fruit…likewise, a good tree cannot bear corrupt fruit nor can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.

So where did Sunday worship come from to begin with…let’s look at some historical references and information regarding both Sabbath observance and the origin of Sunday observance?

"The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews; therefore the Christians for a long time together, did keep their conventions on the Sabbath, in which some portion of the Law were read: and this continued till the time of the Laodicean council." The Whole Works of Jeremey Taylor, Vol. IX, p416 (R. Heber's Edition, Vol.XII, p.416)

"The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of Saturday, or the seventh day. It is plain that all the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival. Athanasius likewise tells us that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship [Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)], the [Master] of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same." Antiquities of the Christian Church, Vol. II, Book XX, chap. 3, Sec. 1, 66.1137, 1138

"Ambrose, the celebrated bishop of Milan, said that when he was in Milan he observed Saturday, but when in Rome observed Sunday. This gave rise to the proverb 'When you are in Rome, do as Rome does,' " Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath, 1613

Constantine later enforced keeping a Sabbath on the first day of the week. In honor to the sun?

Constantine was, like Aurelian and Diocletian before him, a worshiper of the sun. He was also the first Emperor to profess belief in Christianity. Historians debate whether or not his conversion was genuine, since he maintained his pagan superstitions throughout much of his reign.

It seems that Constantine’s personal religion was a mixture of Mithraic sun worship and Christianity. According to his Christian biographer, Eusebius, he taught all his armies to zealously honor the Lord’s day—Sunday—referring to it as “the day of light and of the sun.” This was distinctly pagan terminology.

For Christians today it may seem ironic that the first Sunday law—the famous Edict of Constantine—uses the language of sun worshipers rather than Christian expressions. The first day of the week is exalted as “the venerable day of the sun.” There is no mention of Christ or of celebrating His resurrection. That first Sunday law had no Christian flavor whatsoever.

The text of Constantine's Sunday Law of 321 A.D. is:

"One the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for gain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost."

Later, those who observed the Sabbath were persecuted and killed by the Catholic church:

When the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier arrived in India he immediately requested to the pope to set up the Inquisition there.

"The Jewish wickedness" of which Xavier complained was evidently the Sabbath-keeping among those native Christians as we shall see in our next quotation. When one of these Sabbath-keeping Christians was taken by the Inquisition he was accused of having *Judaized*; which means having conformed to the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law; such as not eating pork, hare, fish without scales, of having attended the solemnization of the Sabbath." Account of the Inquisition at Goa, Dellon, p.56. London, 1815

"Of an hundred persons condemned to be burnt as Jews, there are scarcely four who profess that faith at their death; the rest exclaiming and protesting to their last gasp that they are Christians, and have been so during their whole lives." Ibid p.64

Today, some of the leading Baptists even have admitted that the Sunday Sabbath isn't in the scriptures:

"There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not on Sunday...It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week....where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament. Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of a sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!" Dr. Edward Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual

Roman Catholic: No such law in the bible "Nowhere in the bible do we find that [Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)] or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of [God (Elohim)] given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is, the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today, most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman] church outside the bible." Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947

Question: "Have you not any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?" Answer: "Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the
seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority" Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd ed. p. 174

Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined the Sunday as the day of worship in the NEW LAW, that he himself has explicitly substituted Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory is entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply gave His church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as holy days. The church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days." John Laux A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools and Academies 1936, vol. 1 p. 51

Anglican/Episcopal: The Catholics changed it "We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church" Bishop Seymour Why We Keep Sunday

Lutheran: They err in teaching Sunday Sabbath But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel.....These churches err in their teaching, for scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect" John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday, pp.15, 16

"We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish Sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day too possession of the church. We have seen that the Christian of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated
both." The Sunday Problem, a study book by the Lutheran Church (1923) p.36

"They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, as having been changed into the L-rd's Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten commandments!" Augsburg Confession of Faith, art. 28;written by Melanchthon and approved by Martin Luther, 1530; as published in The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Henry Jacobs, editor (1911), p.63

Presbyterian: Sunday kept the Gentiles happy "Sunday being the first day of which the Gentiles solemnly adored that planet and called it Sunday, partly from its influence on that day especially, and partly in respect to its divine body (as they conceived it) the Christians thought fit to keep the same day and the same name of it, that they might not appear carelessly peevish, and by that means hinder the conversion of the Gentiles, and bring a greater prejudice that might be otherwise taken against the gospel" T.M. Morer, Dialogues on the L-rd's Day

Moody Bible Institute: "Sabbath was before Sinai" "The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This Fourth Commandment begins with the word 'remember,' showing that the Sabbath had already existed when [God (Elohim)] wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with when they admit that the other nine are still binding? D.L. Moody, Weighed and Wanting, p.47

Methodist: Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) did not abolish the moral law, the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He [Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)] did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which can never be
broken...Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other." John Wesley
, Sermons on Several Occasions, Vol.1, No. 25

"Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the new testament as to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, but there is no passage telling Christians to keep that day or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day." Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate July 2, 1942 pg.

Thanks to www.eliyah.com for the above historical information.

Key - understanding the difference between the 10 commandments and the law of Moses.

The following is an excerpt from a recent study that compares the Law of Moses and the Law of God (10 commandments).  I believe this will help us understand what our relationship to the Law of God (which includes the Sabbath) in the NT Assembly .

“The major point of difference between the Law of God and the Law of Moses, though, lies in the way they were recorded and preserved.  We have already cited Moses’ statement that God “wrote them (the Ten Commandments) upon two tables of stone” (Deuteronomy 4:13). Compare that with Exodus 31:18, “two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”

 “No one can confuse this writing with the way the mosaic law was produced. “And Moses wrote this law ... And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book(scroll), until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee” (Deuteronomy 31:9, 24-26). This book of statutes and judgments which Moses wrote in a book was placed in a pocket on the side of the ark. In contrast, the law written by God on tables of stone was placed inside the ark of the covenant. “And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee” (Exodus 25:16).”

 “At this point we can note several distinctions in the two laws. They had different writers, were written on different material, were placed in different locations and had totally different content.”

THE CEREMONIAL LAW IS AGAINST US

“Now let’s take a closer look at the ceremonial ordinances that Moses wrote in the book (scroll). They were to repose in the “side of the ark ... for a witness against thee.” It is interesting to note that the curses and judgments of this law spelled out penalties for transgression which were totally missing from the Ten Commandments. For this reason, the ceremonial law (or maybe more precisely the Mosaic law) was considered to be a law which was “against” them.  Even in the New Testament we read the same descriptive language in reference to that law. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:14).”

Personal comments:  these differences made clear in the Old Testament (OT) are vital to our New Testament (NT) understanding.  Mainly because the OT contains the types and shadows that are meant to help us understand the deeper concepts revealed in the NT.  Just the fact the 10 commandments (moral law) were both written in stone by the Lord Himself and then stored in a separate location from the Law of Moses tells us there was a difference made between the two from the very beginning!  The 10 were preserved in the Ark of the Covenant under the mercy seat where the presence of God dwelt, the other outside the Ark in a pocket.  In the NT when Jesus (Yeshua) was asked what one must do to inherit eternal life He responded with commandments that were contained in the moral law of 10 commandments – see Luke 18:20 ad Mark 10:19.  He also said the first of all the commandments is to love God with all our hearts mind, soul and strength and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29).  These two in a sense summarize what is contained in the 10 and re-emphasize the requirement to “love” both God and men.    In other words, Yeshua was letting us know that they are still to be obeyed in the NT…not just according to the letter but according to the Law of Love…from the heart.  Conversely, in Galatians 3, Paul explains the "Law of Moses" was only a temporary solution until the promised seed would come. So again the difference being that one set is still relevant in the NT, the other set no longer necessary since Yeshua (the promised seed) had come. 

Lastly, many scholars try to make the point that the Sabbath commandment (4th commandment) is no longer relevant to the NT church.  There are two main problems with this viewpoint – 1) all 10 commandments were written on stone and all 10 were contained in the Ark.  If the 4th commandment was meant to be separated out in the NT we would see the type and shadow of this in the OT.  In other words, there would be something in the OT that showed the 4th commandment being removed from the tablets under the mercy seat and placed in the same location (in a pocket on the side of the Ark) as the Law of Moses…this of course never happened.

Key - before going to the epistles, we need to look at what Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) in the gospels said about the Sabbath…what was His attitude toward it….did He change it from the 7th day to the 1st day?...did He abolish it, if so where in the scriptures did He do that?

Let’s now take a look at what Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) says about the Sabbath and what He did in association with it?

Many say that Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) defended Himself and His disciples for breaking the Sabbath. Think about this for a moment...If Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) broke the Sabbath then He did not keep the 4th commandment! Certainly our perfect Messiah kept the Sabbath and kept it perfectly. The issue was in how the Sabbath was to be kept. The scribes and Pharisees had added over one thousand laws to Sabbath observance such as not carrying your bed or healing on the Sabbath.

John 5:8 (NKJV) Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed , and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry [your] bed ." 11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, `Take up your bed and walk.' " 12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, `Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) had withdrawn, a multitude being in [that] place. 14 Afterward Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." 15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) who had made him well. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua), and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."

Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) did not break the Sabbath according to God (Elohim)'s commandment and neither did the man who was healed. But the Jews of that day had added these ideas of not healing, not carrying your bed and over a thousand other commandments of men that were added to God (Elohim)'s commandment for the Sabbath. Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) emphasized that working for His purpose is never breaking the Sabbath. The Levites "broke" the Sabbath by sacrificing animals. Also circumcising a child on the Sabbath would have been forbidden if you could never work for His purpose.

The following is an excerpt from the book “The Sabbath Breaker” by D. Thomas Lancaster:

Yeshua’s “conflict with the Pharisees over the particulars of how one ought to observe the Sabbath proves that the Sabbath was an important institution to Him, one which He did not lightly dismiss or teach His disciples to disregard.  Rather He was concerned that the Sabbath be kept accordingly in the spirit which God gave it.”

Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)'s custom was to go the synagogue every Sabbath.

Luke 4:16 (NKJV) So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

It was a normal thing in those days. The idea of not keeping the Sabbath did not exist among the Jews of that day. The leaders of the day emphasized the outward appearance of serving God (Elohim), but neglected important matters such as justice, mercy and faith.

Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) is the founder of our faith. His teachings and example is in full harmony with God’s (God (Elohim)'s) will for our lives and is our highest authority. Did Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) abolish or change the Sabbath as a day for rest and worship?

Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) declared Himself as "Master or LORD of the Sabbath".  No scripture said that He had or would change the Sabbath, even after His death.  

Neither did Jesus declare Himself to be the fulfillment of the Sabbath or the Sabbath rest foreshadowed in the Old Testament.  Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) kept the commandments and came to set us an example. (John 8:55, 1Peter 2:21-22). In fact, Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) expects His followers in these last days to be praying about the Sabbath and keeping it:

Matt 24:20 (NKJV) And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

A common form of reasoning against Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)'s example of keeping the Sabbath is that He only 'went along' with Sabbath observance so that the law would be fulfilled and because He was a Jew. But was the Sabbath made for all mankind or for Jews only? What did Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) teach?

Mark 2:27 (NKJV) And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

Notice that Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) never said "The Sabbath was made for Jews, not Jews for the Sabbath," He plainly said the Sabbath was made for all mankind. When God (Elohim) rested on the 7th day as an example for us, a Jew did not even exist. Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) plainly knew the Scriptures when He said that the Sabbath was made for man.

Thank you again to www.Eliyah.com for the above scripture references and commentary etc.

To summarize our Lord’s attitude toward Sabbath observance it seems clear that He did not remove Sabbath observance, but rather He clarified the original intent behind its establishment and showed where religious leaders and interpreters of the Law had gotten off track in regards to Sabbath requirements.  They had made it a burden (thru legalism) for people when it was really met to be a blessing.  Just like Jesus expanded on and clarified other 10 Commandment laws, like the laws prohibiting adultery and murder, He provided similar clarification for the Sabbath Day commandment.  To say that He was only speaking to the Jews in reference to the 4th Commandment but spoke to both Jew and Gentile in regards to the other 9 commandments has no foundation in scripture.  (All the gospels were directed to the Jews first but are now applicable to all believers). When He spoke of the Sabbath He never said or gave the impression it was for the Jews only any more than when He talked about the other commandments...again note what He said in Mark 2:27 "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath".  This one statement basically sums up Jesus' attitude toward the Sabbath.   Jesus' main point in the scriptures above (as He was confronted by the religious leaders) was that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath, to serve God and others and to provide if necessary for one's survival needs...in other words to do "spiritual" business on the Sabbath.   He still went to the Synagogue and He didn't do regular work on the Sabbath (it was a day of rest or cessation from regular work)...this was how the Lord Himself honored the Sabbath in its most basic form…it was a day to be set aside for the Lord and His purposes. 

Do we not do basically the same thing on Sunday??...we're fooling ourselves if we answer no.  Just like Yeshua’s (Jesus) enlightened, New Covenant view of adultery and murder etc...which included the sins of the heart not just the act itself...His perfect understanding of the intent of Sabbath realigned it with God's original intent. 

For example, if someone today breaks the law prohibiting adultery or the law requiring honoring father and mother they may not be immediately judged...but will be judged accordingly by YHWH (God)  (if not repented of) when they stand before Him.  Additionally, each person now has to gauge how far they can go before they actually cross the line and commit sin in these areas based on what Jesus’ taught about adultery and murder in the New Testament.   So it is with the Sabbath commandment, every person has to gauge what would be acceptable to do and not do on the Sabbath Day in light of what Jesus taught about the Sabbath in the New Testament.  Under the law or Old Covenant, the adulterer was swiftly judged, so was the murderer and rebellious child…the Sabbath breaker was also judged immediately based on the Law's requirements.  The point is most people today that argue against the Sabbath commandment sarcastically point out some of the Old Testament laws regarding Sabbath- keeping to justify their position and totally ignore the revelatory teaching Jesus provided regarding the Sabbath.  The truth is, Jesus moved the observance of Sabbath out of the hands of the legalists and put it into the realm of mercy, grace and Love...but never and nowhere did He abolish the 4th Commandment!   Note:  just like when the Jews brought the adulteress to Him who by the law should have been stoned, but instead Jesus said:  let him that is without sin cast the first stone…and then let her go. He didn’t remove the Law prohibiting adultery…He transformed it so it would fit into the law of love and forgiveness.

Romans 14, Colossians 2, Hebrews 4 and other scriptures

Many reference Colossians 2:16, or Romans 14, or Hebrews 4…for the most part Paul’s epistles to provide the basis for no longer observing the Sabbath…but this contradicts what Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) said and did in regards to the Sabbath (as well as Paul for that matter)…and we know that could never happen.  So what does this mean?  It means that our traditional/popular interpretations of these scriptures are not necessarily valid and should be reexamined in light of Jesus’ attitude toward the Sabbath as demonstrated in the gospels.

The fact is, when we rightly divide what the NT scriptures say about the Sabbath we must agree that if Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) never abolished or change the commandment, then Paul or any other disciple certainly didn’t have the authority to remove or change the commandment.  Now that we understand what Jesus’ attitude toward the Sabbath was, then we can better understand what Paul was really trying to say in those scriptures mentioned above (Romans 14, Colossians 2:14-16, Hebrews 4 and others….because He certainly would not have contradicted the Lord’s teaching on this subject.

Romans 14 – never refers specifically to the Sabbath Day of the Lord…it is mainly concerned with eating or not eating, observing a fast day or not observing a fast day etc.

Colossians 2  -  is talking about ceremonially aspects of the Sabbath and/or the annual Sabbaths (Sabbaths other than the Lord’s Sabbath) since verse 14 specifically refers to the handwriting or ordinances that was against us which was Moses’ law (not the 10 commandments, which are eternal) which contains both ceremonial requirements and judgments. Paul is not saying the festivals etc don’t have any value (they are shadows that teach us about the Lord) but that they are not as important to believers as the reality of Messiah.  Even so, the seasons of God are still very much in affect as well as His commandments which Jesus (Yeshua) said could be summed up in the two commands of love God and love your neighbor as yourself – all the law and prophets hinge on these.  See below link for an depth look at 2 Colossians 2:16

http://www.colossians-2-16.com/

Hebrews 4 – talks about a rest to come and the Rest we can find in the Lord thru the Holy Ghost etc…but does not negate Sabbath observance namely because as we’ve already seen, Jesus (Yeshua) was not the fulfillment of the Sabbath but rather the Lord of the Sabbath.

Today we should not obey the Sabbath commandment legalistically or for fear of punishment, but rather out of Love for God. (You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!)   The seventh day cycle is a weekly season or pattern established back in Genesis which can never be altered or changed.  Every Sabbath is an invitation for us set aside customary work and worldly pursuits to renew and revive our relationship with Him.  Spend time in study, in fellowship, in service, prayer and rest from our usual pursuits.  This doesn’t mean we don’t do these things at other times, but most other days are filled with a variety of other things.

Sunday (or first day) observers who are quick to judge or dismiss Sabbath (or 7th day) observance really need to consider more closely what they’re saying.  Because in reality, one of the only differences between Sunday and Saturday (Sabbath or 7th day) observance is the day of the week.  This should again cause us to ask the question why and when did the original 7th Day Sabbath get moved to the 1st Day.

Key - If the Sabbath were abolished or changed why don’t we hear anything from the Jews regarding this issue?  There was much controversy about the topic of circumcision (see Acts 15) which was a part of the law of Moses and ceremonial in nature but we see nothing from the Jews about the Sabbath Day issue. Sometimes the absence of something in scripture speaks just as loud as a commandment to do something:

In the book of Acts, once Gentile believers started to come in to the church, certain factions of Jewish believers made a huge fuss saying the Gentile believers needed to be circumcised in their flesh which was of course required under the Law for both Jews and Gentile proselytes.  But the Apostles all agreed that the Gentiles who believed should not be required to be circumcised: 

Acts 15:6-11 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ[a] we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Here is the point, if many of the Jewish believers were upset about something that was ceremonial in nature from the law of Moses (carried outside the Ark in a pouch) how would those same Jewish brethren reacted if there had been even a hint that the Sabbath requirement (the 4th Commandment of the 10 written by the finger of God Himself, kept within the Ark of the covenant) was removed or abolished for New Testament believers?  I think you’d have to agree there would have been an even greater uproar from these same Jews and probably most of the Jewish converts.  The fact that nothing was ever mentioned should speak volumes to us…this alone should be more than enough evidence to convince us of the continuation of the Sabbath in the New Testament.

Someone might also say that Sabbath keeping was part of the ceremonial law that included sacrifices, etc and therefore is no longer required.  Yes, sacrifices were accomplished on the Sabbath, and also for sin offerings and many other things ... we know the ceremonial aspects of the law are no longer binding (see Acts 15) because of Jesus' death on the cross (Colossians 2:14) and the fact that there is no Temple in Jerusalem at this time.  However, this does not negate the requirement to follow Jesus' New Testament example of obeying the 4th Commandment by observing the Sabbath just as He did!

Key - look at the book of Acts, which contains the history of the early church (both Jew and Gentile), to see what it says about activities on the Sabbath and what did the Apostles do in conjunction with the Sabbath?:

Acts 13:42 (NKJV) So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.

Now here is a perfect situation for Paul to tell these Gentiles "Hey just come back tomorrow, we keep the Sabbath on the first day now!" But we don't see this written anywhere in scripture.

Acts 13:43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God (Elohim) Acts 13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God (Elohim).

So here is the fifth time that the disciples attended a Sabbath  service on the day that God (Elohim) sanctified at creation. Again, the seventh day is called "the Sabbath" in this passage.

Here is another example in Acts 16...

Acts 16:11 (NKJV) Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next [day] came to Neapolis, Acts 16:12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. Acts 16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the
riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met [there].

It was the custom of the Jews of that day for the rabbi to shut down the synagogue if there were not at least 10 men that would show up for the Sabbath meeting. This could very well be why there were women meeting by the riverside for prayer. Nevertheless, we see that the disciples sought a place to meet for the Sabbath and they did. Again, the seventh day is called "the Sabbath Day" in this passage.

Acts 18:1 (NKJV) After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. Acts 18:2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. Acts 18:3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.
Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

So we see that he worked on the other days as a tentmaker...but on the Sabbath He was not. And here again we see that both Jews and Greeks are in the synagogue and on the Sabbath. Paul also is among them attending the Sabbath services. The interesting thing about this verse is that instead of the scripture saying that they attended only one or three Sabbath services, it says that he was there every Sabbath persuading both Jews and Greeks. Again, the seventh day is called "the Sabbath" in this passage.

Now if Paul was in Corinth and was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath, if we could find out how long he stayed in Corinth then we would know how many Sabbaths he actually attended. Let's look further...

Acts 18:5 (NKJV) When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews [that] Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) [is] the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook [his] garments and said to them, "Your blood [be] upon your [own] heads; I [am] clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain [man] named
Justus, [one] who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Master with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. 9 Now the Master spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 "for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city." 11 And he continued [there] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

A year and six months! Finally the ruler of the synagogue was converted to Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) and Paul was there a year and six months! So the scripture says that Paul was there every Sabbath and that he was there for a year and six months. If we counted this by our present calendar that would give us 52 Sabbaths in a year…all on the 7th day

How how many times do we see them meeting together on the first day? Some would cite one example in Acts 20. Let's examine the text...

Acts 20:6 (NKJV) But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Acts 20:7 Now on the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

Here we see an example of the disciples gathering together on the first day of the week. There is no mention of a Sabbath being observed in this verse. Nowhere is this day called "The Sabbath". In fact, we know that Paul was ready to depart the next day. According to verse 7, Paul spoke to them a message because for this very reason.

Now some would say that coming together to 'break bread' constitutes a meeting that includes the observance of partaking in Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)'s body. But this is not true...consider this verse:

Acts 2:44 (NKJV) Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God (Elohim) and having favor with all the people. And God (Elohim) added to the assembly daily those who were being saved.

According to this scripture, breaking bread was not an uncommon thing to do on a daily basis. It was one of the customs in those days to eat their 'daily bread'. Even in Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua)'s prayer He said "Give us this day our daily bread".

So we cannot confirm that this scripture in Acts 20 is a Sabbath day observance. Some will hang onto this one verse so that they don't have to forsake tradition and keep the true Sabbath. You can search the scriptures from Genesis to Revelations and you will not find a single verse that says His Sabbath was changed to a different day. There is not a single verse that tells us that the Ten Commandments are not to be kept. And there is not a single verse that prophesied either of these two events occurring! In fact, the scriptures declare the seventh day to be the Sabbath in the Law, in the words of the prophets, in the writings about Jesus (Yeshua, Yehoshua) and in the acts of the apostles as well as in the scriptures that speak of God (Elohim)'s kingdom. 

Thanks again to www.eliyah.com for the above scriptural references and commentary.

Conclusion:  There has been a consistent progression away from the original plan and design of our Creator from the time of the Apostles (and before) until today.  One of the greatest triumphs of the devil was the changing of the Sabbath Day from the 7th day to the 1st day of the week.  Constantine and the rising Catholic church in the 4th century A.D. played a huge role in passing laws and providing the authority for such a change to God’s plan.  Since then, most Christian denominations have fallen in line with this unbiblical and unholy tradition. Both scripture and history support the fact that the Sabbath was still alive and well during the Apostolic age and for a period of time after that.  God help us recognize this deception and reclaim the “Ancient Paths” of our Biblical forefathers!

 

 

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