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

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nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The same could be said as to "why would we pick out the command to not sow two kinds of seed, or wear mixed fabrics, and abrogate that?" The scripture does not clearly state that as ceremonial.
You need to understand the distinction between moral, ceremonial, and positive law.

What then would you say of our Scriptural, God-given right to own slaves?
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.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Kodos,

Thank you. That is the best reasoning I've read thus far. I'll have to consider and think through it.
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.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
BDB,
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).
 

Tyrese

Puritan Board Sophomore
First, a quick proof of the moral nature of the 4th Commandment:
If a company or a government mandated that its people were mandated to work 7 days a week - I do think that people (in their outrage!) would realize the moral nature of this commandment. Most especially Church Officers, as suddenly its leaders would be very concerned about their ability to draw worshipers to church. ;)

That said, there are a lot of different aspects of this that are being discussed here. I will merely chime in regarding the ceremonial vs. moral nature of the 4th Commandment. Dabney has a very convincing proof on the difference between ceremonial laws and the moral nature of the Sabbath.

"There is another convincing proof that the Sabbath never was a merely Levitical institution, which is found in the fact that in the very law of the Decalogue God commands its observance equally by Jews and Gentiles: "In it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates." This stranger was the foreigner residing in the land of Israel. To see the convincing force of this fact the reader must contrast the jealous care with which the "stranger," the pagan foreigner sojourning in Jewry, was excluded from all share in the Levitical worship. No foreigner could partake of the passover; it was sacrilege. It was at the peril of his life that he presumed to enter the inner courtyard of the temple, where the bloody sacrifice was offered. Now, when this foreigner is required to keep the Sabbath along with the families of Israel, does not this prove that rest to be no ceremonial, no type like the passover and the altar, but a universal moral institution designed for all nations and times?
In addition, you see its observance in Exodus 16:23 before the giving of the Law (in tangible form) on Sinai. You see how the Lord God set apart one day in seven at Creation. You see, our Lord Jesus Christ being proclaimed, "Lord of the Sabbath". If Paul had meant to rescind the keeping of one day in seven as set apart to the Lord, I would argue that we would have as many epistles dedicated to this new doctrine as you would have had with other aspects of the ceremonial system that are being discussed in the NT Epistles for instance regarding circumcision. This is why the Reformed have stressed continuity rather than discontinuity between the Testaments. They are not two separate books, but one Bible and one People of God. As others mentioned, it has become popular as of late to treat them as two different religions thanks to the recent rise of Dispensationalists and New Covenant Theology folks. But we want to see that we share the same faith as our fathers in the Old Testament.


In addition, by spiritualizing the 4th Commandment as "rest in Christ", I would argue that you argue too much for men as "spirits" and not also "bodies". Physical rest is also a component of the 4th Commandment, as is the Spiritual Nature. To force people to work 7 days a week if this is now moral in the New Covenant, is less gracious than the Old. You also pit man's spirit against his body. It is in no way, compassionate.

:agree:
 

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. :)
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
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
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)

Etc.
 

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.
 
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