to Sabbath keepers: can you study the Bible on Sunday?

Discussion in 'Controversial Topics' started by BDB, Feb 1, 2014.

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  1. nicnap

    nicnap Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    You need to understand the distinction between moral, ceremonial, and positive law.

    Perhaps instead of reading slavery in the Bible anachronistically, you should actually do a study of what the Bible deems as slavery. The Bible condemns chattel slavery and man stealing. What slavery you see in Scripture is not as you are trying to push it to be.
  2. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    That is very gracious of you to state, brother. Thank you for your kind words.

    I do think that perhaps we've gotten so used to what life has been like under the influence of God's Law brought by way of the preaching of the gospel, enforced by men who were Sabbatarians (look at the history of America and Sabbath Laws) carried unconsciously forward for a time by it being in harmony with the law in the hearts of those made in God's Image (mangled as it may be!) that we forget sometimes that we live in a "work week" that has been heavily influenced and informed by the 4th Commandment. Strip away the 4th Commandment and you will once again see us in the pitiful state of being in Egypt, where God has to forcibly liberate His People so that they may be able to come worship Him, as they were unable to do so as they were busy working 7 days a week as slaves.

    Be jealous for the 4th Commandment, as if the Church cedes it to the Enemy, the Enemy will own all of your time - and the lie whispered into our ears is that it is "our time", a lie used to draw us away from God, and to make us slaves.
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    One way to understand this is, first, in understanding the different kinds of law- moral, civil and ceremonial.

    There was both civil law (for Israel, the unique Old Testament theocracy) and ceremonial law (laws that prefigured Christ and His sacrifice) connected with the Old Testament Sabbath. E.g. Numbers 28 details some of the ceremonies and sacrifices that were done on the Sabbath day or on certain Sabbath days.

    The civil law expired with the nation of Israel in 70 AD, the ceremonial law purposes were fulfilled in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Yet, God's people in the Old Testament had to do them. They were a standard of righteousness for them.

    Not now, because the unique nation to which they applied has expired, 'a church under age' as the WCF says, and Christ has now lived a perfect life and completed perfect sacrifice upon the cross.

    None of that changes the underlying commands of Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5 (where the Ten commandments are given, then restated, respectively).

    So, the Old Testament sabbath DID look different in some respects than the New Testament one, "The Christian Sabbath," the Lord's Day, does.

    Even Mr. Calvin got that slightly confused (though he argued the same practical keeping of the Sabbath as the WCF later summarizes the doctrine of Scripture to be).

    But while the Christian sabbath looks different without the Old Testament ordinances attached to it, It still remains a day to cease from work and entertainment in order to worship God, all the Day.
    (That's why our Lord, far from abrogating the sabbath in Mark 2:27, says the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Here, He implicitly affirms its continuation).
  4. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

  5. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree with you here but John Owens interpretation depends a lot on what translation your using.
  6. BDB

    BDB Puritan Board Freshman

    My question, then, if you do concede that the moral particular of the Sabbath remains while some of Old Testament particulars have faded, is, how do we distinguish what still applies? This is why it is so surprising to me that people think nothing of the fact that the New Testament offers no teaching in the way of the Sabbath, and who so hastily assert that only dispensationalist fools would think things changed between the Old and New testaments.

    Are farmers required to let their fields lie fallow every 7th year? Are you allowed to turn up the heat in your house (kindle no fire.) Can you microwave food, but not cook it? (kindle no fire.) And so on. What of the Jubilee?Presumably, you cannot go to a restaurant on the Sabbath as it forces other people to work, nor can you fill up your car with gas for that same reason. So, some people may travel 150 miles on the sabbath, and others 450, and so on. If you forget to fill up on Saturday, do you sin by skipping church on Sunday, or sin by "shopping on the Sabbath," i.e. filling up on fuel?

    The discussions I have seen on this board of what one may or may not do on the Sabbath seem to be more work than in the first place.

    But, if you question these things as to the apparent lack of Sabbath direction to believers today, it is echoed back immediately that God owes no clarification or reiteration of His laws. Granted. Given, however, that he vastly and extensively expounded every other Moral law in the New Testament, and spoke nothing directly of the Sabbath, I wonder where Sabbatarians derive their justification for what they may and may not do? Particularly because they themselves confess that the ceremonial and civil law of Israel is abrogated.... which was related to a great portion of instructions on the Sabbaths anyway.

    Just a few extra thoughts.

    P.s., if I am studying Greek for Godly purposes, but am yet in the phase where the study of it is yet a labor of language rather than an enjoyment of the Scriptures-- given that it is aimed for Godly purposes but also considering that it requires great effort-- would I be most obligated to put it down and read in English on the Sabbath?

    And so on, and so forth. And no, I am not being facetious. :)
  7. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    No teaching? Really? I would re-think this statement, Ben.

    What about, for example:

    1. Jesus teaches that he is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8)
    2. Jesus teaches how merciful and necessary acts are lawful on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-13)
    3. More teaching by Jesus on lawful acts for the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-26)
    4. Jesus teaches why the Sabbath was made (Mark 2:27-28)
    5. Jesus commands a man to take up his bed and walk, an act considered to be unlawful by the Jews (John 5:10-11)
    6. The Sabbath practices of Paul described (Acts 17:2, 18:4)

  8. BDB

    BDB Puritan Board Freshman

    I am pretty sure you know, and knew, what I meant: practical applications of daily life in the light of Sabbath commandments in the form of New Testament epistles directed to the believers in local churches.

    Paul went in on Saturdays, obviously, since the Jews were there. So Acts is out.

    Edit: So it is lawful to eat bread from the Temple on the sabbath. It is lawful to heal (which we cannot do) and to do good on the sabbath (to what extent, we do not know, as the NT doesn't instruct us. What if your elderly parents need help cleaning their yard, and you are called to honor them? But you believe the OT still prohibits you from picking up sticks, and so you must decline. Or what if someone hungry comes to your door and asks for food? You cannot kindle a fire with which to cook them any food, according to the OT sabbath laws.) So it is lawful to carry your bed if you have been healed, and so on. This is all quite good to know-- thank you for setting me straight.

    Really, these scriptures do not establish what a Christian may and may not do on the Sabbath. Half of them do only show the Lord's sovereignty over, and the Jews' misapplication, of the Old Testament sabbath laws, rather than direction to believers.
  9. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

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