Lord's Day = The Sabbath??

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Sonoftheday

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have been intensely studying the Sabbath/Lord's day over the past couple of months because I knew I would be teaching over it as I took a group through systematic theology. Something that I have rather strange is that there are people who deny the Lord's day being a christian sabbath, but they teach the same things should be done and avoided as many of those who call it a sabbath. Why is this, is there difference of understanding between what the word sabbath means, or is there an actual difference in their teaching. This seems more common among those who hold the view of the Heidelberg catechism than the Westminster Catechism. One person will represent the argument only exactly the same as represented in the HC and will say that the Lord's Day is not the sabbath, where another will represent the same and say it is.

The only reason I can think of for them not calling it a sabbath is they do not want tie the Old Testament ceremonies that were performed on the Sabbath to the Lord's Day.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I think most people have a lesser or stronger dispensational view of the Scriptures and don't see the Sabbath for what it was even when it was attended with all the rituals and ceremonies. They tend to forget that Abraham and his seed have always been saved by grace and that David could cry out how he loved the Law of God. This wasn't a love that was borne out of his ability to keep it perfectly either.

Another argument against it is that people see in the term a strict reference to it only being the seventh day of the week but my understanding of the Scriptures is that the institution is for one day in seven (6 days you shall labor and the 7th belongs to the Lord). If you don't see the Scriptures as a unit then it's easy to forget that even this institution pointed forward to a time when Christ would be working on the Sabbath while He was still in the grave and rose again on the Lord's Day where we now gather one day in seven to worship God on the Christian Sabbath.

Some other resources:

Naphtali Press » The Fourth Commandment
The Christian Sabbath: Examined, Proved, Applied
The Christian Sabbath by R.L. Dabney
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Jesus is "Lord of the Sabbath." Therefore, he is the one (and only) who has the right to dictate its observance. The Sabbath has always, and continues to be the day God takes for himself, commands his worship, and grants us the privilege to come and receive his blessing, rest from our labors. It was made "for man," that is for us who seek his face.

Starting on the day he rose, GOD the Son began to meet with his people on the first day of the week, and then exactly one week later, then (so we read) on Ascension Day, and we have no reason to doubt the intervening first days as well. Clearly the apostles understood that GOD was coming to meet with the gathered church on the first day. And he came and poured out his Spirit upon them on Pentecost (another first-day gathering), and so we find first-day gatherings noted in Acts (20:7), or noted by Paul in his epistle (1 Cor 16:2).

God calls the meeting. It's Jesus' gathering, the LORD'S Day. It isn't our meeting, and Jesus shows up when WE call it. No, we are the attenders, the invitees. It really is no more complicated than that.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
God calls the meeting. It's Jesus' gathering, the LORD'S Day. It isn't our meeting, and Jesus shows up when WE call it. No, we are the attenders, the invitees. It really is no more complicated than that.

Excellent point!
 

Sonoftheday

Puritan Board Sophomore
Bruce, I agree totally. But why do some people who hold this same view as you(and I) say it is wrong to call it a sabbath, or Christian Sabbath?
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
even if one doesn't believe in the sabbath (which one should) tits practicality and its benefits are amazing.

Come Saturday I would shut off the television and all house work at 6 pm. The most I do is surf on the puritanboard and get updates on news and weather. The music that I listen is all religious and my focus is God. As a result I actually feel myself and become human again. The quietness in the house is amazing, and an aura of peace just takes over.

I would highly recommend the Sabbath to even unbelievers. Its amazing the benefits that one gets when they shut out the busy bodyness of worldly chores, entertainment, feasting, media etc. We as Americans are over stimulated and need to go on a fast.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Perhaps they're influenced by anti-sabbatarians. I know of people who basically say the Pharisees were all right and correct in their treatment of the OT Sabbath, and Jesus wasn't correcting their errors, but abolishing the Sabbath as an institution. So, for these people, Jesus is no longer "Lord of the Sabbath", because there is no Sabbath for him to be Lord of. Of course, I think that is utterly impoverishing.

That was not the view of the framers of the WCF. They (rightly) call the first-day observance the "Christian Sabbath." And so it is. To "sabbath" is to rest. From that term came the number 7 from the number/name of the day, so I believe, and not vice versa. People didn't say "I need to seven," from which they came up with a concept of rest. Rather, the number seven came to be called because of the rest associated with the seventh day.

The fourth commandment is MORAL. As with the other nine. This has been the position of the Reformed church. It is a rest-day, a creation ordinance, and above it a redemption ordinance.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Perhaps they're influenced by anti-sabbatarians. I know of people who basically say the Pharisees were all right and correct in their treatment of the OT Sabbath, and Jesus wasn't correcting their errors, but abolishing the Sabbath as an institution. So, for these people, Jesus is no longer "Lord of the Sabbath", because there is no Sabbath for him to be Lord of. Of course, I think that is utterly impoverishing.

That was not the view of the framers of the WCF. They (rightly) call the first-day observance the "Christian Sabbath." And so it is. To "sabbath" is to rest. From that term came the number 7 from the number/name of the day, so I believe, and not vice versa. People didn't say "I need to seven," from which they came up with a concept of rest. Rather, the number seven came to be called because of the rest associated with the seventh day.

The fourth commandment is MORAL. As with the other nine. This has been the position of the Reformed church. It is a rest-day, a creation ordinance, and above it a redemption ordinance.
Exactly. The above view that the Pharisees were essentially correct in their Sabbath understanding is dispensational. I'm amazed at the number of people that call themselves Reformed that think that Jesus was actually making new Laws or changing the Law on the Sermon on the Mount. He was not, He was explaining it and putting down the false teaching of the Rabbis who had said many incorrect things about the nature of the Law - including the Sabbath.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Heb 4:9 " So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,"

In Ex 20, God commands the people to keep the Sabbath (they already knew the ordinance) because of creation. In Dt 5, they are commanded to keep the Sabbath because they have been redeemed.

Joshua didn't finalize Israel's rest by bringing them into the land, Heb. 4:8. Jesus has gone ahead of us into the Land. It's still waiting there for us. We go there by faith every NT Sabbath. So , because we enjoy it in Christ, and in prospect of our full salvation, one remains for us here.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
What do some of you make of Don Carson's extensive exegetical study on the question in the book he edited, "From Sabbath to Lord's Day." I used to have it but am unable to find it now. Any Reformed critiques?
 
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