Seventh day Sabbath

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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Since the Jews counted days from evening to evening instead of from morning to morning, "the first day of the week" in Acts 20:8 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 could be equivalent to our "Saturday night" instead of our "Sunday morning." In Revelation 1:10, I always interpreted "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day" to mean "I was spiritually at the day of the Lord." Even if "the Lord's day" refers to a day of worship, it could just as easily refer to the Sabbath as it could to Sunday. The New Testament never explicitly says that the Sabbath was transferred to Sunday. Ellen White insisted that the Roman Empire changed the Sabbath to Sunday, but modern Seventh Day Adventists believe the change happened much earlier, around the second century.

I personally worship on Sunday, but I do so primarily on the basis of church tradition and Colossians 2:16-17 -- "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a feast day or of a new moon or of a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is Christ's."

Practice what you please; promote what your confession teaches, or else keep your private differences private, as you agreed to do when your membership was approved.

Here's what your profile states: "I... embrace wholeheartedly the London Baptist Confession."

Here's what the LBC states:
LBC ch.22 Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

Paragraph 7. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he has particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him,28 which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's Day:29 and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

Our confessional commitments set the boundaries for our discussions on the board. You can have an exception to these man-made documents, and be a welcome member of the Board; and apparently you do on this subject, despite your wholehearted embrace of the LBC theology. But a defense of your exception is not part of the purposes of the Board.

Thank you.
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
One of the things that the SDA church runs with is that regardless of Christ's appearing on the 1st day of the week or His resurrection, there is no express command that changes the day or makes an explicit correlation between these events and the change of the day. Admittedly, it seems that the correlations that we make are in part based in assumption (that Christ's appearing indicates a change of day), practice (Acts. 20, 1 Cor. 16) and history (early/apocryphal writings, etc.). Honestly, though I agree with the day change, I get a little uneasy to think of it as sinful since there is no express commandment and the NT's somewhat silent approach to the issue. However, I am more than likely missing something due to the many reformers who felt clearer about it than I do...

I grew up Seventh Day Adventist, but left while still young (maybe 12 or 13). Yet what I do remember, at least the SDA churches we attended, was their heavy emphasis on reading from the OT. The food laws and Sabbath being preached over and over again. Daniel and his insistence of eating the clean foods was a favorite. I had not realized until I was older that the NT is explicit about the change of the food laws (in which now we may eat what was once considered unclean). We, as a family, the observance of the Sabbath as soon as the sun went down on Friday until the sun went down on Saturday. We followed the food laws of the OT.

Why had I not seen the NT view, i.e. food laws passing away, Sabbath moved to Sunday, etc.... I had wondered. One passage in scripture that revealed much of my heart and just not seeing it was 2 Corinthians 3:13-16, especially v. 15, "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail (curtain) is upon their heart." I just could not see it. All of those OT laws had meaning to point to Christ, but when Christ came and those OT laws are still held to, there is a real blinding to who Christ is. I am not necessarily saying a full blinding (or not seeing) of Christ, but a partial to say the least, v. 16, "Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away." So true! For this was the solution for me, which all will find a convergence here, the solution was hearing the gospel over and over again, as in 2 Peter in which the gospel in chapter one is to be recalled over and over in order to nourish our soul and our body on the last day.

What I am saying is the focus on the change of day is good. Go through the scriptures on that topic, but only Christ by the work of the Spirit and His written Word in hearing the gospel preached will an effectual change occur in which such topics, i.e. food laws, and Sabbath change, be not such an impediment (stumbling block). If there church is anything like the SDA churches I grew up in, then to wrestle head on these topics, i.e. Sabbath change, may not effect a change in which the SDA will be nurtured by the fuller revelation of Christ. Show the fuller revelation of Christ and the SDA will be shown the bigger picture.

I say all of this because SDA's tend to think the bible boils down to the food laws and Sabbath. They know about Christ and hear about Him, but not as much as the food laws and SDAs. Even if as much or more than a little are they preached Christ, their emphasis on the food laws and Sabbath observance becomes almost THE teaching or THE message. They become what it means to be a Christian that to rid them would be in essence for an SDA to be not a Christian. It is their identity. The name of the denomination says it all.

The NT passages on the food laws no longer in effect really tore away for me the steadfastness of the SDA teaching. Once I saw those NT passages it opened up a whole new world for me and shook the foundation of the SDA teachings. My identity was shaken, but shaken by God. The bigger picture opening really put a dent in my openness to hear more about possible changes from the OT to the NT. Though admittedly the Sabbath took longer.

Why? Because the SDA has a hermeneutic similar to the London Baptist Confession. The "good and necessary consequence" clause in the Westminster Confession of Faith is a hermeneutic that SDAs are missing. They do want to see the explicit command for the change. I think this is due to an emphasis on OT readings in which God in the OT is more explicit in revealing commands. But even in the OT there is a systematic approach we may take in order to derive meaning using overarching passages to develop more of what does God reveal pertaining to this or that. The strict literal verbal hermeneutic of the SDA craves this explicit commanding from God. But what God does at times is not explicitly speak it. At times God reveals by vision or by historical events. Of course the historical events are revealed in the scriptures as words, but the events themselves are a revelation from God. So the historical events of Christ coming to His disciples after His resurrection on the first day is truly a revelation, because Christ is always to be worshipped and when He appeared those days the proper manner for the disciples would have been to worship Him (and it just so happens it was on that day hence the worshipping of Him on the first day). When Paul preached on the first day in Acts 20:7 it is obvious they are worshipping and it is the first day. I still had trouble with that passage because I would think they preached everyday didn't they? No they did not. Yes they went around spreading the gospel everyday, Paul was in the streets in Athens, but it was not everyday that they preached in a worship setting as Acts 20 clearly is. Because it is written as a historical event and does not read like an OT list of commands this may be why it is difficult.

They only way to really open an SDAs soul to the bigger revelation of Christ is not to get bogged down on these topics. It is to actively talk about other things specifically about Christ (the gospel narratives or the gospel outline in Romans, etc...). The only way to get to the bigger revelation is to go there. At least this is what happened to me and helped. I remember thinking 'all wisdom and knowledge is in Christ' and really taking that to heart and knowing if I keep hearing about Christ then that is how I will really know some of these other truths that God has revealed. It starts and ends with Christ. It actually was hard at first because I kept wanting to go back to these topics, i.e. food laws, Sabbath, and have them all worked out and settled in my mind. I wanted to read more passages or literature about them. Yet when I kept, by God, going to other topics and the bigger revelation of Christ in which all wisdom and knowledge rests, then God worked in me a more understanding disposition. That vail that covers the heart truly is there as God has revealed in the Corinthian passage I quoted above. SDAs really focus so much on those topics my opinion is to get them away from thinking about them so much and take a look at other revelations by God to develop a bigger picture as to who He is. As I said SDAs get so bogged down on these topics that they become their identity, so, let them see the bigger identity of a Christian in the most comfortable, peaceful, non-threatening way which is take a look at Christ Jesus and the other things about Him and His ways.

At least that was my limited experience in being an SDA and what helped me later.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
For example, there were (I believe) three morning and three evening sacrifices that were to be offered on the Sabbath. That was obviously done away with. If this is a proper distinction, could this be some of what Col. 2:16 is referring to?
I think what you've put your finger upon is some of what Col.2:16 is referring to. "Some" being the helpful qualifier there.

In one of your previous posts, you explained your interpretation of the three calendric categories Paul uses, that they seem to progress from annual observances, to a monthly mark, to a weekly. It is my desire hopefully to assist you in seeing that view puts a needless constraint on Paul's meaning, as if confined to or primarily referencing those frequency-categories.

In the first place, do not let the word order determine the scope of the term "Sabbaths." If after due consideration it should appear that "Sabbaths" means only the weekly Sabbath, fine; let us stick to that. But we know from the outset 1) Paul is concerned over the improper binding of the Colossians' consciences, and that 2) by influences including Judaic ones; therefore 3) he would hardly be limiting his thinking to the imposition of food laws and the Jewish calendar. But as his conflicts elsewhere against the Judaizers prove 4) he was comprehensively against bringing Gentiles under the law, or putting Jews back under an unbearable yoke once they had begun to enjoy their liberty.

So, the comprehensive outlook on the law should guide us most in interpreting the term "Sabbaths," before list-order. And as I showed above, the term encompasses more than the weekly 7th-day observance; but goes even further to touch on supra-annual observances, 7yr. cycles; and we can't possibly ignore both the 50yr. Jubilee cycles (decades long)--to which we can also add God's massive 70yr. "REST" (2Chr.36:21) which he imposed according as the law itself had warned (Lev.26:34).

As with circumcision (in for an penny, in for a pound), so also with the calendar and all the rest of the law: To assume its burden at one point is to become debtor to the whole law, Gal.5:3. That is the framework in which Paul's mind operates.


****************************

Now, please don't think this next part is pedantic. I'm going to point out something about the word-order, a "minor" point that I think has "major" significance.

Consider the OT background once more--all of my references included at least all three of Paul's "categories," and we can include your reference of Ezk.46:1-12 for completeness (I tried to find as many of the background references as I could, and I set aside a handful that only used two categories; so I daresay we have a pretty good list, nothing truly relevant left off).

What we find is that those instances when categorical progression is significant, the list-order is the reverse of Paul's. That is to say, for example if the wider subject is sacrifices, the progression moves from daily, to monthly, to annual. From the more ordinary to the more extraordinary. We should rightly conclude that "Sabbaths" in those instances have a primary reference to the 7th-day.

What about when the order is reversed in the OT, the precise ordering which Paul brings into his letter?

Here are the two references I found, in prophetic sequence:
Hos.2:11 "And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts."
Ezk.45:17 "It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel.​

The comprehensive nature of the description should be obvious in both instances; both are seeking to describe the totality of the Israelite ceremonial life. The order has been reversed; and it is not hard for me, personally, to interpret the intent of the reversal and concluding with "Sabbaths" (which isn't actually the final, cumulative expression) as that which both is the "least" reference (lowest, descending); as well as instantly "huge" (fullest, all encompassing) when a moment's reflection on the term itself sees it thrown over its whole range of application.


Hopefully, you can see that I'm not "dismissing" Paul's word-order one bit. I'm being "persnickety" about his word order. I'm claiming that it is significant that he (and Holy Spirit) chose the "comprehensive" word order used least often in the OT. Paul did not follow the sequence found in the Law in more than one place (Ex.23, Num.28, Lev.23), nor the progressive sequence used several times elsewhere that, while comprehensive in scope, puts greater emphasis on the 7th-day character of the OT weekly Sabbath. No, he used the exact expression that Hosea and Ezekiel used to summarize a whole system of cyclical, ceremonial celebrations. One that "culminates" in Sabbathing.


Anyway, I hope this is helpful. (Regardless, I don't think your friend is likely to be persuaded by any of our exegetical prowess.)
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Nicholas,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience in the SDA Church. Thank you, also, for your advice in speaking with people from that church. Your perspective gives me insights that I didn't have prior to reading that.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Bruce,

Thanks for your help! Your comments were especially helpful in considering Colossians 2:16. I like "persnickety," as long as it is shorter than John Owen. ;)

Honestly, I'm not looking for a great argument so that I can convince my friend. I really like to try to understand something and be confident in my understanding before entering the conversation with somebody that I know strongly disagrees with my own practice. If anything, it helps me to know what perspective he is coming from and how to direct him to another place that might be more helpful. Like Nicholas was saying, they need to be pointed to Christ as the fulfillment of the law rather than looking to the law itself.

Thanks for your time and helping me understand this important issue.
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
Like Nicholas was saying, they need to be pointed to Christ as the fulfillment of the law rather than looking to the law itself.


It is good that you do try to understand the nuances of the scriptures especially if an SDA or anybody for that matter is more sophisticated in their understanding. In the case of an SDA especially if they are more sophisticated in their denominations specialization.

I think you may understand this already so I am writing this maybe for my own clarification's sake. You definitely understand that the SDAs, from my experience, do heavily teach the law, especially the food laws and Sabbath. And so they do (as we all do) need to be not heavily taught the law itself, but about Christ. I say this with a slight of hand. It is good to point out the fulfillment of the law by Christ, but to narrowly discuss with an SDA in how Christ has fulfilled the law strictly pertaining to the food laws and Sabbath change may be putting those topics on the table for discussion too much again. I think you know that, so, this is where I am writing for my own clarifications sake.

To even narrowly discuss how Christ has fulfilled the law and change the Sabbath by His works may threaten their identity as a Christian too much and cause a hardening of the heart. So not to strictly provide scripture proofs that counter SDA peculiarities, but also, to not do this as well in relation to Christ's fulfillment. Broadly speaking, to begin with the SDA is not seeing and hearing how those NT passages apply to the abolishment of the food laws and the change of Sabbath day. The only way to further sanctify their understanding is to take a look at Christ Jesus in other ways from the scriptures that do not directly bring up those specific topics. To do so will continue their learning and response of faith in Christ though in ways as to who He is and what He does aside from the SDA peculiarities. Therefore they will be effectually worked upon by God in a maturing manner. To bring up the SDA denominational specializations in order to counter their identity may hardened their hearts and thus God may not work in their lives except by His rod (fatherly disciple). To bring up other things about Christ may open their hearts and if the experience becomes anything like it was for me, such a person will crave to know God deeply because they will begin to realize just how much they do not know Him and how little He is in their life. Their narrow take on God, i.e. in having to do with food laws and the Sabbath, will be broadened and God is broad indeed. So there may be a tremendous amount about God that they simply were never introduced to.

To talk about Christ fulfilling the law in general might work well without bringing up those certain SDA peculiarities. At least for now especially if the person is already not responding well to the abolishment of the food laws or Sabbath change of day. Covenant theology may work well. The general structure of the covenant of grace and covenant of works. The detail of the gospel message of Christ's Righteousness and thus God's justifying of His people, our response in accepting the Righteousness of Christ and God's justification of us by faith (a faith given by God), and the understanding of sanctification. Or even NT church activities in the book of Acts. Plenty else to discuss as I am sure you well know. There is such a heavy emphasis of the law, as you pointed out, that the significance of God's redemptive works may not be 'hitting home' or reaching deep in the heart to an SDA for they are not spending that much time on other parts of God's revelation.

Eventually the light of Christ may shine in your friend's life bright enough that those passages about the food laws or Sabbath change will be seen for the importance that they are, but without a way to nurture a person's sanctification then God's written Word will be dimly seen if seen at all. So that way to nurture a person's sanctification in the case of an SDA, as I have written above, would be to discuss other things in the scriptures so that God by the means of His written Word may work on the person by these other revelations of Himself in His written Word. These other scriptural revelations may illicit a faithful response by the SDA. Their faithful exercise in God through these other revelations of Himself in His written Word will only strengthen a persons faith. The weaker commitments that an SDA has with God may eventually be overcome, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." (Ro. 1:17a) A strengthening of faith by these other parts of God's revelation (Holy Scriptures) will for a believer exercise their faith in general, so, those weakened commitments to God may no longer remain weak for their faith in general was strengthened. They may eventually come to more clearly see and hear what they once could not.

I know I may have wrote quite a bit even in this second post on something you grasped to begin with already, but by God what you are trying to do for this friend strikes close to my heart due to my past. God be with you. Hope God uses you as a means to further your friend's relationship with our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lord Bless
 

Captain Picard

Puritan Board Freshman
I understand there is a Covenant argument to me made here, in that the Sabbath commandment predates the Sinaitic Covenant (and depending on interpretation, possibly back to the Covenant of Works in the resting of God in creation), but would you say that Scripture totally precludes Paul in Romans 14:5-6, from making all days observable as a "type of Sabbath"? This is not necessarily my position, but I've heard this case advanced before.
Paul
The question of substance is whether Paul means by "Sabbath" in that sentence anything in particular relating to the Sabbath of the 4th (moral) commandment.

The word "Sabbath" is applied in the OT, in particular applied respecting the (whole) Law, to more than merely the 7th-day Sabbath. It was applied to the day of Atonement, always the tenth day of the seventh month, and applied to the seventh year in the Sabbatical cycle. From the description of the restrictions applied to the Day of Atonement (see Lev.23:27-32), when we note that other days contained similar restrictions on work (e.g. the day of Pentecost), it is clear that "Sabbath" is a term that takes on a broad description, with special application to the ceremonial rests ordained in the Law of Moses.

In Col.2:16, does Paul mean "Sabbaths" in a broad or a narrow sense? In a ceremonial or a moral sense? When we observe the use of the whole phrase, "...with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath," as it is found elsewhere in the OT (1Chr.23:31; 2Chr.2:4; 8:13; 31:3; Hos.2:11; Ezk.45:17; Neh.10:33), it is presented as a catch-all phrase for the totality of the ceremonial life of the holy nation.

I judge Paul, in the context, to be occupied wholly with delivering the Christian church in Colosse (and everywhere else) from the burden of Israelite ceremonies, including all such ceremonies as were tied to the old 7th-day Sabbath, and all other calendar restrictions and duties that went by the name of "Sabbath." But this deliverance has no impact upon the moral obligation of the 4th commandment. The moral obligations are as old as Gen.2:3, thousands of years older than Moses and his law. They are as fundamental as prohibitions on murder, which were certainly in force before Gen.4:8.

In short, Paul does not say, "Let no one pass judgment on you in moral questions." Nothing could be plainer--that simple, moral Sabbath observance predates the giving of the Law with all its ceremonies, Ex.20ff--than the Israelites' practice in regard to the manna, Ex.16.

Hope this is helpful.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
James,
I'm uncertain what is the nature of your question. Are you asking whether no argument can be mounted out of Rom.14:5-6 and Col.2:16 in support of an anti-Sabbatarian, or 4th Commandment eliminative, position? Those arguments are quite common. I don't think they manage very well against a robust and full-Scripture defense of the moral requirements of the 4C.

Are you asking a different sort of question, namely if Rom.14:5-6 (stand alone argument) makes or allows for an everyday or 7-days-a-week Sabbath? I honestly don't think that idea is anywhere near what Paul is addressing in that passage. "Esteems all days alike," is set in distinction from an occasional recognition of particular days which for Jews had been woven into the warp of their social order.

I'm sure Paul would recognize the principle that if everything is (or is labeled) some particular thing, then nothing is that something in particular. If there is no special "remembrance," then whatever I choose to do at any given time--as long as it isn't violating my conscience--is by this rule granted the sanction of Sabbath-observance. So the making of all days into THE Sabbath of moral requirement is equivalent to abolishing the Sabbath.

Because I think Scripture does establish the continuing validity of the moral essentials of the 4C, I feel comfortable saying that there is nothing in Rom.14:5-6 or anywhere else in Scripture supporting the notion: the Christian life is just sailing along every day in a perpetual type of Sabbath moment. It is "overrealized eschatology" to fail in remembrance of the richer experience of rest that awaits us, that Christ has already begun for us, which we may enter into by faith. We actually receive a better foretaste of it in answering his summons to his promised blessings on his Day than our six-days-a-week engagements are sufficient for. "There remains a Sabbathing for the people of God," Heb.4:9.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
I am sorry for entering this discussion late. I am not trying to change the discussion. I just thought I would help with some reference material here. Here is a post I put together concerning Reformed Baptists and the Sabbath. I think you all will be edified by it. Dr. Richard Barcellos is the main author. It is well done using both the Old Testament and New Testament. It also discusses the Hebrews and Colossians passages you guys are citing. It also defends the position that the Sabbath is a continued moral obligation and that the change from Saturday to Sunday is valid and even seen in both the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures.

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.c...he-sabbath-concerning-colossians-and-hebrews/


I am posting it here for an examination of Colossians 2:16 and the triad phrase that is used in this passage along next to the Old Testament passage in Hosea 2:11.
(Col 2:16) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
(Hos 2:11) I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.

A lot of Baptist and non-sabbattarians like to quote Colossians 2:16 as a passage that declares we need not keep a weekly Sabbath day to the Lord. Richard Barcellos is the author. Please forgive my inept mistakes in copying it from a pdf to here.

1. The Old Testament prophesies the abrogation and cessation of the Sabbath under the New Covenant.

The OT clearly prophesies the abrogation and cessation of ancient Israel‘s Sabbaths. It does so in Hos. 2:11, which says, ―I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her New Moons, her Sabbaths–all her appointed feasts.” We will make several observations that bear this out. First, Hosea‘s prophecy is dealing with the days of the New Covenant. The phrase ―in that day” (vv. 16, 18, 21) is used prophetically of New Covenant days in Is. 22:20. Revelation 3:7 quotes Is. 22:22 and applies it to Christ. The prophecy in Is. 22:20 mentions the Lord‘s servant, who is Christ. Isaiah 22:20-22 says:

Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.

Click on the link above to read the rest of the article.
 

Captain Picard

Puritan Board Freshman
James,
I'm uncertain what is the nature of your question. Are you asking whether no argument can be mounted out of Rom.14:5-6 and Col.2:16 in support of an anti-Sabbatarian, or 4th Commandment eliminative, position? Those arguments are quite common. I don't think they manage very well against a robust and full-Scripture defense of the moral requirements of the 4C.

Are you asking a different sort of question, namely if Rom.14:5-6 (stand alone argument) makes or allows for an everyday or 7-days-a-week Sabbath? I honestly don't think that idea is anywhere near what Paul is addressing in that passage. "Esteems all days alike," is set in distinction from an occasional recognition of particular days which for Jews had been woven into the warp of their social order.

I'm sure Paul would recognize the principle that if everything is (or is labeled) some particular thing, then nothing is that something in particular. If there is no special "remembrance," then whatever I choose to do at any given time--as long as it isn't violating my conscience--is by this rule granted the sanction of Sabbath-observance. So the making of all days into THE Sabbath of moral requirement is equivalent to abolishing the Sabbath.

Because I think Scripture does establish the continuing validity of the moral essentials of the 4C, I feel comfortable saying that there is nothing in Rom.14:5-6 or anywhere else in Scripture supporting the notion: the Christian life is just sailing along every day in a perpetual type of Sabbath moment. It is "overrealized eschatology" to fail in remembrance of the richer experience of rest that awaits us, that Christ has already begun for us, which we may enter into by faith. We actually receive a better foretaste of it in answering his summons to his promised blessings on his Day than our six-days-a-week engagements are sufficient for. "There remains a Sabbathing for the people of God," Heb.4:9.

If we're going to translate the moral force of the 4C into the Christian life without retaining the many ceremonial or civil expressions of it that are seemingly abrogated in Jesus' treatment of the Sabbath in the gospels or Paul's saying that we are not to be judged by a festival or a new moon or a sabbath, what passages do you think communicate the proper observance of that moral force? E.G.,

1) Let no one judge us by a festival a new moon or a Sabbath, and

2) the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath, and therefore healings, picking grain, what have you are done on Sabbaths by Christ and the apostles, but

3) moral force of the Sabbath still applies, therefore

what does our observance of that look like? I ask because evangelicalism has a very common practice now of "I work less and go to Church on Sunday" and that's "the Sabbath observance" but it seems difficult to me to parse out the more rigorous alternative.

EDIT: thanks Randy, going to look at that material.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think the commandment itself (Ex.20, Dt.5) is of sufficient moral weight. In it, we are commanded to remember it to keep it holy.

Sanctifying the day (which one is communicated positively by God himself) means setting it apart from the others. Whatever else it may be, it is different; it is specially appropriate for worship, and it appears that God has ordained it consistently to that end. Is.58:13-14, found in the restorative prophecies which are culminated in the Messianic age, tell of the blessings of leaving off our purposes on the Sabbath to favor God's exclusively.

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Lk.6:5), and John identifies a particular day as his Lord's Day, Rev.1:10. Seems correlative, and seems consistent with God's desire to meet with his people on his schedule. It is his full day, not what least little bit we can spare for him out of our busy weekend and our priorities.

Jesus (ignoring their made-up legalisms) refutes the Pharisees' errors as to what HE could permit his disciples to do by an appeal to a similar allowance given to David (still Saul's servant) by the priest on a Sabbath. The principle is: there is no proper honor given to a command of God, if its "letter" is used to prevent or constrain a nobler holy duty. There is no "what have you" casting aside of interest in a proper Sabbathing by Jesus clearing away of Pharisaic fences.

Heb.4, besides the reminder in v9 that the privilege of Sabbath-keeping remains with us, teaches its doctrine out of Ps.95, a song for and descriptive of public worship. Compare to Ps.92, "A Song for the Sabbath day."


I would at least be more pleased if religious people would acknowledge the justice of the Fourth commandment. In my experience, it is rare to see much concern for it outside congregations with a serious commitment to their Christian heritage. I don't see much half-hearted commitment; I see none at all. For most folks today church-going is a habit, and one they could keep up, improve, or drop, depending on their mood.

If people would once more admit the moral duty, they could thence be called to a more diligent and deliberate devotion in it.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Not to derail the thread, but I had a related question:

Recently I heard someone use the phrase "Jesus is our Sabbath rest", to support the idea that there was no longer a ceasing from our daily activities or labors. Does anyone know where this idea comes from? Hebrews 4?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Not to derail the thread, but I had a related question:

Recently I heard someone use the phrase "Jesus is our Sabbath rest", to support the idea that there was no longer a ceasing from our daily activities or labors. Does anyone know where this idea comes from? Hebrews 4?

Heidelberg:
103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?

In the first place, God wills that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained, 1 and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend church 2 to learn the Word of God, 3 to use the holy sacraments, 4 to call publicly upon the Lord, 5 and to give Christian alms. 6 In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by His Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting Sabbath. 7

Yes, Jesus is our Sabbath rest, but it is shame when He becomes the excuse for ignoring the commandment.
 
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