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Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Blue Tick, Nov 1, 2006.
Westminster Larger Catechism:
Westminster Confession of Faith:
1. I don't see a civil benefit in mandating a virtual curfew on pagans one day out of the week.
2. Only a regenerate heart can show them they fall short of righteousness.
3. They have the law written on their conscience.
Islamic law is indeed far from the kingdom of God and I submit the following very respectfully:
To abstain from lunch at restaurants on Sunday seems extreme to me.
Dining out on the Lord's Day involves the question of tempting the brethren to violate the 4th commandment. That Muslim women are completely covered involves the question of tempting the faithful to violate the 7th commandment. How are these solutions very different?
Thomas Case, Of Sabbath Sanctification:
Wilhelmus a Brakel, The Christian's Reasonable Service, Vol. III, p. 142:
Exodus 16 (which precedes the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20):
Thank you Matthew and especially Andrew,
The Exodus 16 passage is very interesting. Thanks for the good homework assignment!
This post certainly clarifies the issue precisely.
If we posit that the Sabbath , as a creation ordinance, is part of the moral law, that does not preclude any change in its administration. This is obvious, in that the seventh day was specifically set apart at creation, but that the first day is set apart since the resurrection of Christ.
The further question to me is whether such passages as Isaiah 58:13 still represent a proper administration, or proper observance of the command.
Out of all the reformed literature I have read thus far, the Heidelberg catechism seems to best reflect the spirit and texts of the NT on this issue.
This construct seems to take into account the NT data on the Lord's Day, without importing the OT aspects of observing the law that might be characterized as typological, or ceremonial. It allows us the read Romans 14 and Colossians 2 as written, without imposing extra assumptions into those passages.
Most importantly however, the HC points us to the eternal sabbath, which we do indeed begin to enjoy now.
Isn't our greatest rest, our rest in Christ? isn't our most difficult labor, the labor of ceasing from our own works? Don't we all struggle so much with self righteousness, or fear our own lack of compliance with God's law? The Rest we have in Christ answers both needs. No other thing will.
I still need to think, pray, and read more, but the conviction is growing on me that when one faithfully attends worship, contributes to the needs of the poor on a regular basis,etc., and strives to remain in and enjoy his rest in Christ, that person can be said to be a "Sabbath keeper" in the NT age.
BTW, I am glad that the RPCNA membership vows include a promise to observe the Lord's Day, not the Sabbath.
I have appreciated the manner in which this discussion has progressed!
Well done to all.
I'm only going to add a couple of short thoughts. I don't care to get into the blatant antinomian leanings of a few posters here right now. All they need to do is wrestle with what Andrew so helpfully posted (but they won't). Read my longer piece at APM.
Romans 14 has nothing to do with the question. That surrounds ceremonial aspects, not the moral law. Its absurd to think (yes, pause - ABSURD) that God would allow wicked sinful men to "choose the manner in which they get to approach Him." Let's not turn Romans 14 on its head and eisogete what should be exegeted. That won't fly. Its not "Hey, you choose your day and I'll choose mind" as if God would ALLOW that.
Second, being "free from the law" also has nothing to do with the questions at hand. Christ redeems us to lead us BACK to the law to keep it, not for justification but for sanctification. I always HATE when people say "Don't be a legalist". Ahhhh, DUH. A legalist is one who works for salvation. Rather, we should be OBDEIENT to God's desires for our sanctification, which always has, and never not has, including keeping the law. (It DOES have more than one function.)
The moral law is a reflection of God. One keeps the moral law, they will be LIKE God. One rejects the moral law, one rejects or dissolves the importance of the attributes of God. One rejects the moral law, they reject the attributes of God.
There are only 3 positions.
1) Sabbatarianism as outlined in the WCF.
2) Calvin's view where he spiritualized the 4th commandment and wanted everyone in church everyday (nobody will do that).
To go back to the question at hand -
NO Jewish man would every think it was OK to eat out on the Sabbath unless they were blatantly sinning.
Think about that long and hard.
Again NO JEW would think to desecrate the Sabbath that way unless they wanted to be stoned to death.
Numbers 15:33-36 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp." 36 So, as the LORD commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.
Capital punishment was never linked to the ceremonial law. It is always linked to a disruption, a rejection, of the attributes of God IN the moral Law.
Second, the Jew would desecrate it if they wanted to see people beaten to death.
Nehemiah 13:21 Then I warned them, and said to them, "Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!" From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath.
For those stuck on the "What should I do on the Sabbath with vendors..." question which was what this was about in the first place - Nehemiah would have (this is a literal translation) - "stretch out my hand and rip out your stregnth". Some Hebraisms here mean the phallus. So use your imagination as to what Nehemiah would do to those who "Open Shop For Christians" on the Lord's Day.
Isaiah really summarizes this well:
Isaiah 58:13-14 13 " If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your 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, 14 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."
I can't see how any Christian would miss what the Sabbath meant to a Jew unless they just didn't read the OT. But then there we have dispensationalism creeping in. Joe Israelites would never eat out, pick up sticks, buy ware or goods, or anything that was not directly in his control (including things of pleasure) on that day. It was not a day for "him" perse, but for God, which wound up being for him since he would be blessed by God for not doing his own pleasure, but God's.
Now we have Jesus, talking about the Sabbath, that it continues. The SABBATH DOES NOT END. Or, Jesus is a liar.
Matthew 24:20 20 "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
This would have been 40 years, even a WHOLE generation after Christ's ascension. Jesus Christ did not believe that the Sabbath ended.
How then does it fit for us and become the Lord's Day?
The people of God have a rest. They have always had a rest. And there is an eternal rest which we look forward to. This rest is the rest of Jesus Christ. It is accomplished by His sacrifice and His work of perfect obedience of the Law of God – the whole Law. In Hebrews 4:1-10 the text states the following, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” We ought to first take notice of the movement of the “persons.” The writer of the epistles moves from “we” to “He.” Those who believe do enter into the rest of Christ. This rest is exemplified by the resting of God on the seventh day. The pattern for the rest we enter into is the pattern of the rest from which God had entered into His rest on the seventh day. Then the writer compares God’s rest to Christ’s rest. Creation is compared to redemption; and redemption is the new creation of the Gospel era. Christ rests from His work as God did from His. Jesus rests from the humiliation He had upon the earth, and the obedience which surrounds it even to the death of the cross. The word for Jesus’ rest is katapausis, which means “rest” or to “cease”. This is significant in the light of verse 9 and 10. In verse 10 the same word is used to refer to God’s rest. So we see that Jesus’ rest and God’s rest are paralleled. God rested after creating, so in the same way, Jesus rests after redeeming. In conclusion of this idea, the writer explains that there remains a rest for the people of God since Jesus has entered into His rest, and the Old Testament Israelites of old failed to enter that rest in any complete manner. As a result of Jesus’ work, and the entering into His own rest at the right hand of the Father through the completion of His work, there is still a rest for the people of God. This verse (v. 9) is very important since it is a sentence which exemplifies the “now and not yet” idea which the Bible so frequently entails. The word for “rest” here is sabbatismos, It is not katapausis. The shift in words is intentional and quite critical. The people of God still have a “sabbatismos” or “sabbath.” They do not simply await the eternal rest in Christ which will one day be known in full, but they currently have a rest in Christ called the “sabbath.” This current Sabbath in Christ has not ceased. For how can the moral Law cease to be binding upon every conscience? Jesus has redeemed these people and they enter into a rest now with a desire to see the full rest in Him at the consummation of the age. The use of the words and the point of the words are intentional. The writer is demonstrating the binding effect of the Sabbath, which had been given at as a creation ordinance, now fulfilled in Christ, but not fully realized. Thus, the people of God still have a rest here on earth, the Sabbath, while they eager wait for their rest in eternity. This is the “now and not yet” paradigm which the New Testament frequently demonstrates on a number of different theological topics. But I believe the exegetical point is clear.
If the writer did not want to bind the consciences of all believers with a Sabbath rest, then he would have never used the analogous parallels which point backward to the day of rest which had begun at Creation. The creation ordinance is typified in the mentioning of David, and ultimately of the actual rest of Jehovah after creating the world and everything in it. He would have never have introduced the word “sabbatismos” if he has a different design than that of establishing the Christian Sabbath. And it would be foolish to think that the privilege of the Old Testament sabbath has been lost to the New Testament believers in Christ. Rather, now it has been fulfilled and made more glorious and powerful since it points to the eternal rest in Christ. Every Sabbath day which the Christian partakes in is a pointer to the eternal rest they shall ultimately have at the consummation of the world. John Owen, then, in the section dealing with verses 1-11, says this, “The whole church, all the duties, worship, and privileges of it, are founded in the person, authority, and actions of Jesus Christ. The first day of the week, the day of the resurrection of Christ, when he rested from his works, is appointed and determined for a day of rest or Sabbath unto the church, to be constantly observed in the room of the seventh day, appointed and observed from the foundation of the world and under the Old Testament.” I concur.
If you need to read something BEFORE answering so that your conversation here is intelligibly spoken (some), then try these:
Sin, The Law and the Glory of the Gospel, by Joseph Bellamy
The Lord's Day, by Joseph Pipa
The Ten Commandments, by Thomas Watson
Theses Sabbaticae, by Thomas Shepherd
A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel, by John Calqhoun
Call the Sabbath a Delight, by Walter Chantry
Celebrating the Sabbath, by Bruce Ray
The Lord's Day, by Daniel WilsonThe Grace of Law, by Ernest Kevan
The Law of God, by William Plumer
The Worship of the English Puritans, by Horton Davies
The Worship of the American Puritans, by Horton Davies
Calvin and the Sabbath, by Richard Gaffin
Hebrews, Volume 2, The Name, Original, Nature, Use, and Continuance of a Day of Sacred Rest, [Pages 265-460], By John Owen
Discussions, Volume 1, [Pages 496-550], by R. L. Dabney
Systematic Theology, by [Pages 351-357; 366-397], by R. L. Dabney
The Works of Jonathan Edwards Volume 2, 3 Sermons on the Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath, [Pages 93-103] by Jonathan Edwards
The Marrow of Theology, [Pages 112, 283-284, 291-295, 298] by William Ames
The Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume 1 [Pages 205-225] and Volume 3, [Pages 34-35; 43, 49, 72-73, 75-76, 101, 108], by John Murray
Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume 2, [Pages 1-37; 77-100] by Francis Turretin
Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volume 2, [Book 2.8.29ff], by John Calvin
Systematic Theology Volume 3, [Pages 257-275; 321-340], by Charles Hodge
The Works of Richard Baxter, Volume 3, [879-926], by Richard Baxter
The Works of Ezekiel Hopkins, Volume 3 [Pages 236-267; 364-387], by Ezekiel Hopkins
Paul, An Outline of His Theology, [Pages 99-100; 106-107; 130-158; by Herman Ridderbos
The Sabbath Defended, James Milligan
Promotional blurb. Actually, Calvin is way more a Sabbatarian than people generally give him credit. A very interesting article that advances the literature I think on this topic will appear in the 2007 issue of The Confessional Presbyterian: John Calvin, the Nascent Sabbatarian: A Reconsideration of Calvin’s View of Two Key Sabbath-Issues, By Stewart E. Lauer
Folks...for what it is worth, I am just asking questions at this point. I don't know enough to take a firm decision. I pray that I will be able to do so as God allows me to process His word. I do appreciate the input.
Sir, I must object to your tone.
While I read some of the works you listed, I suggest you read some basic books on logical argumentation. Your unsupported assertions and name calling do not carry much weight.
Thanks, I guess I have to go out and do that. I'll bring the Puritans along too, and Turretin, and Edwards, and .....
I just came across this reply and had to comment...
I am a sabbatarian but it amazes me how inconsistent people can be. I know bretheren who are Theonomic Reconstructionists who have no qualms about skipping out on scheduled church services on the Lord's Day to go shopping and, on the other hand, I know other bretheren who are not theologically sabbatarain but would not ever miss a scheduled Lord's Day service of the church (especially to go shopping).
So, while I would not see eye to eye with Blueridge Reformer's theological articulation of the sabbath, in the heart of the matter, I think we would both be singing the same tune
I am a sabbatarian but I have to question the relevance of your post. In the past 3 or 4 posts you made you have had some slam against theonomists? May I ask why? Do you have some axe to grind?
Anyway, Joe Morecraft and Nigel Lee are theonomists and sabbatarians.
I have no axe to grind. My point is, if one is a professed Theonomist (because of the positions high view of the law) I would think his standards of Sabbath observance to be quite high. I am sure there are many Theonomists who honor Christ greatly on the Sabbath.
In the context of my post here...we can all be theological power brains but if it doesn't come out in the way we live what good is it. A guy says he is not a sabbatarrian but he wishes we had the blue laws back; my point, whether he has the theology or not, he has the heart of it.
Finally, for the record, I only made one post here dealing with Theonomy. I would not call myself a Theonomist, but there are many who would drop that label on me. I am beginning to think it would probably be best to just drop the 'T' word from my vocabulary all together. I use the 'T' word much and people on both sides of that issue think I have an axe to grind with them.
you have a private message.