Observations on life; particularly spiritual

What about keeping the Sabbath day?

torn curtain 1Someone has commented on keeping the Sabbath day. The comment is given below in italics and my reply in normal type. Here is a link to the post commented on: “I went to a church service that was held on Saturday instead of Sunday and was told that was when we should worship God. What does the Bible say about this topic?

The temple and the Mosaic covenant

The tabernacle/temple together with the offerings and priesthood were an essential part of God’s Mosaic covenant with the Israelites (see Exodus – Deuteronomy). At that time God lived on earth in a building and people could only approach Him via an offering made by a priest. God left the first temple because of their gross sinfulness (Ezek. 8-10). This temple was subsequently destroyed by the Babylonians when the Israelites were driven from their homeland. But a new one was built after the Jewish exile in Babylon (Ezra 3-6). And after this fell into disrepair, a new one was built by King Herod.

Why was the inner curtain of Herod’s temple torn in two when Jesus died (Mt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38; Lk. 23:45)? This would have shocked the Jews – their most holy place was no longer hidden by the curtain. They would have repaired or replaced the curtain as soon as possible. The writer of Hebrews says that the curtain was a symbol of Christ’s body (Heb. 10:19-20). Because of Christ’s death and because of His High Priestly role, we can “enter the most Holy Place”. We can approach God without the need of a human priest. Soon after this on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to live in God’s people. So God left the temple and His presence on earth was taken by the Holy Spirit. This temple was subsequently destroyed in AD 70 when the Romans invaded Jerusalem. The torn curtain, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the fact that the temple has not been rebuilt for a period of over 1,900 years indicates a significant change in God’s relationship with mankind.

Consequently, I have divided the comments according to whether they related to Scriptures dealing with events before or after the day of Pentecost.

Summary

The commentator advocates keeping the Sabbath today as it was kept when Jesus was on earth about 2,000 years ago.

But the Sabbath day is a sign of the Mosaic covenant given to the Israelites about 3,450 years ago (Ex. 31:13-17). They were to keep it until it was fulfilled when Jesus died. Jesus was a Jew who kept the Mosaic law (which included animal sacrifices, male circumcision and keeping the Sabbath) and taught Jews who were living under the Mosaic law. This period under the law of Moses covers Exodus to John (inclusive) in the Bible.

After the day of Pentecost, there was a new way to approach God. This doesn’t involve Jewish laws like male circumcision (or animal sacrifices and keeping the Sabbath) because Paul wrote against this in Galatians. However, 9 of the ten commandments are repeated in this section of the Bible. But the 4th commandment to keep the Sabbath is not repeated. This significant fact is ignored by those that want to impose Sabbath keeping today.

Unfortunately the commentator doesn’t seem to recognise that the Greek word for “law” (nomos) has several meanings, including God’s teaching for the church in the New Testament. Instead he seems to assume it always means the Torah or God’s teaching in the Pentateuch. Also, he fails to use the context when interpreting a passage from the Bible. This context should be deduced from the surrounding Scriptures and not imposed by the reader by selecting verses elsewhere in Scripture (i.e. “cherry picking”).

Overall, the comment seems to be an example of eisegesis (an interpretation that is imposed on the biblical text by the reader – it comes from the reader’s preconceived ideas) rather than exegesis (an interpretation that is obtained/derived from the biblical text).

APPENDIX
The time period before the day of Pentecost

This time period is addressed in the biblical books before the book of Acts when the Israelites and Jews were God’s people on earth, they were required to follow the Mosaic law and offer sacrifices at the temple. As Jesus was a Jew, He followed these laws.

When I read and research what Jesus states in Matthew 5 & 7 about “the law” (Torah/God’s teaching), and how the Roman Constantine and others have changed what Jesus wanted, it encourages the pursuit of opening the eyes of the church to the blessing of obedience. Obedience as Jesus lived and acted at the time. Though at times I feel a bit like Micaiah in 1 Kings 22.

Is Matthew 7 a typographic error as I can’t see the Mosaic law mentioned there? This comment includes aspects before (Jesus) and after (the church) the day of Pentecost and applies them as though there was no change between them!

As Micaiah was an Old Testament prophet, he would have advocated keeping the Mosaic law which includes animal sacrifices at the temple; male circumcision and keeping the Sabbath. He was the only faithful prophet at the time in the kingdom of Israel. As this writer advocates keeping one of the distinctive Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish parts of the Mosaic law (keeping the Sabbath), this feeling would be appropriate before the day of Pentecost. But it is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches after the day of Pentecost.

By the way, my interpretation is based on the biblical text, not on allegations about how the Roman Constantine and others have changed what Jesus wanted. I don’t think they changed the biblical text. Where is the evidence of that?

Romans 7:25 is well aligned with what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20 – Do not think that I came to do away with, or to bring an incorrect interpretation to, the Torah (the law) or the Prophets: I did not come to do away with but to bring spiritual abundance, for the Torah (teaching) to be obeyed as it should be and God’s promises to receive fulfillment. For truly I say to you: until the sky and the Earth would pass away, not one yod or one vav could ever pass away from the the law (Torah/Teaching), until everything would come to pass. Therefore, whoever would break one of the least of these commandments, and would teach people this way, will be called the least in the kingdom of the Heavens but whoever would do the commandments and would teach them, will be called great in the Kingdom of the Heavens.

Romans 7:25 is considered in the next section. By the way, the Scripture passages quoted above and below seem to come from the Power New Testament or the One New Man Bible by William Morford.

Some would say fulfill means to destroy/do away with but Jesus directly says he hasn’t come to “do away with” in the same sentence. Further it seems “fulfill” is derived from the Aramaic D’MALA, Hebrew Greek PLEROMA which mean to fill full, accomplish, carry out, or to bring to realization, to perform or do, as in a person’s duty; or to obey or follow the Commandments. Apparently the MALEY is found 240 times in the Tanak; examples would include Gen 1:22 fill (MALEY) the waters in the seas Gen 1:28 replenish(MALEY) the earth Gen 29:27Fulfill(MALEY) her week Ex 28:2 I have filled (MALEY) with the Spirit Isaiah 42:21 YHWH is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify Torah and make it honorable. Jesus did magnify the law (God’s Teaching/Torah) in many places throughout the writings of his disciples.
Then Jesus goes on in Matthew 7:21-23 to say: Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord! will enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, but the one who does the will of My Father, the One in the heavens. Many will say to Me in that Day, Lord. Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name? And we cast out demons in Your name, and we did many miracles in Your name? And then I will declare to them that I never knew you: you working without Torah (Teaching, working in lawlessness, you who practice lawlessness) must continually depart from Me.
Jesus clearly states we must do the will of his Father verse 21, then verse 23 He states many different ways across the various Bible versions, no matter which version though they all say the same thing and point to the Teachings YHWH provided and that they (the teachings) will be used as a separator which aligns with us needing to live a Set Apart life keeping commandments, clearly pointing to our relationship with God.
In Matthew 23:1-4 Jesus then spoke with the crowds and with his disciples. And he said to them, “the scribes and the Pharisees sit on the throne of Moses. Therefore everything that they say to you that you should keep and do. But not according to their deeds, for they talk, but do not.
So Jesus is saying to keep doing everything spoken while the Pharisees are on the seat of Moses as when on the seat they can only read from the scripture (what Constantine and crew labeled the Old Testament). Certainly the Pharisees didn’t like this as they preferred adding to and taking away from God’s teaching in an effort to inflate themselves.
Another great example of this is when in Mark 7 Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for adding to God’s teaching a list of other requirements people must follow. Jesus goes on to teach that there is nothing on the outside of a man which can defile him; this just preached a few weeks ago at WMB. Interestingly, in the Arimaic and early Greek manuscripts the parenthetical comment “in so doing Jesus declared all foods clean” is no where to be found. He would have been breaking one of His Father’s commands thereby not doing the will of His Father.
Jesus in Mark 10:1-9 upholds and even quizzes the Pharisees on the Law (Torah/Teaching). Then in Mark 10:17 a certain man comes up asking Jesus how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus asks him if he knows the Commandments like they are the baseline for entry which aligns with what he said in Matthew 7:21.

Jesus was a Jew who kept the Mosaic law (which included animal sacrifices, male circumcision and keeping the Sabbath) and taught Jews who were living under the Mosaic law.

It is claimed that in the Arimaic and early Greek manuscripts the parenthetical comment “in so doing Jesus declared all foods clean” is no where to be found. This phrase is Mark 7:19b, which in Greek is “katharizon panta ta bromata”, whose Strongs numbers are “2511, 3956, 3588, 1033” (biblehub.com). Modern Bible translations are based on an eclectic Greek text that is derived from a study of all the ancient manuscripts available to textural scholars. The earliest manuscripts are given precedence over more recent ones in this process. Biblegateway contains the text of at least 40 Bibles in the English language. As all of these translations (including the Complete Jewish Bible) include this statement, the above claim is discredited. Furthermore, the text is consistent with the subsequent message to Peter after he was told to eat impure or unclean animals, “Do not call impure anything impure that God has made clean (Acts 10:15NIV). Can anyone provide one scholarly source to support the allegation that Mark 7:19b was not in the original source text?

Jesus and his apostles observed Sabbath as YHWH commanded, it seems they did less reaping and more eating some food provided by GOD for nourishment. Jesus breaking any of the commandments would mean he sinned. Jesus seemed less ok with the way the Religious of the day had been adding to and taking away GOD’s instructions.

Jesus was a Jew who kept the Mosaic law (which included animal sacrifices, male circumcision and keeping the Sabbath) and taught Jews who were living under the Mosaic law.

When God says Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy it seems as straight forward as the other 9. Isaiah 56:2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it, who keeps from violating the Sabbath and keeps his hand from doing anything bad.
:6 Also the sons of the stranger who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from violating the Sabbath and takes hold of My covenant;

The Sabbath is mentioned in these verses because it is a sign of the Mosaic covenant (Ex. 31:13-17; Is. 56:4). It is different to the other 9 of the ten commandments because it is not included in the Bible after the day of Pentecost as a command, whereas the other 9 are repeated.

In John 14:9-15 Jesus says, Whoever sees me sees the Father, and how do you say, ‘Show us the Father? Don’t you believe that I am in my Father and my Father is in me? These words that I speak, I do not speak of myself but He who dwells in me, my Father does their works. Believe that I am in my Father and my Father is in me; otherwise believe even because of the works. Amen, amen I say to you that whoever believes in me, these works that I do, he will do also, and more than these he will do because I go to the Father. And what ever you ask in my name, I will do for you that the Father might be glorified by His Son. And if you will ask of me , in my name, I will do it! If you love me, keep my Commandments.
:20,21 In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you. He who has my Commandments with him and keeps them, he is who loves me and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. And I will love him and reveal myself to him.
:23 He who loves me keeps my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and we will make a dwelling with him. But he who does not love me will not keep my word and this word that you hear is not mine; rather; it is of the Father who sent me.
:27 ….for my Father is greater than I ….
:31 But the world may know that I love my Father, and as my Father has commanded me I do likewise
John 15:1,2 I am the Vine of Truth and my Father is the Cultivator. Every branch that is on me that does not give fruit, He takes it away. And that which bears fruit He prunes it that it may produce more fruit.
:5-8 I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, this man will produce plentiful fruit because without me you are not able to do anything. Now unless a man abide in me he is cast aside like a branch that is withered and they pluck it and place it into the fire that it may burn. Now if you abide in me and my words abide in you, anything that you desire to ask will be given to you. In this the Father is glorified that you bear abundant fruit and that you be my disciples.
:10 If you keep my Commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I kept the Commandments of my Father and I abide in His love
Jesus kept his fathers commandments as his early followers did. Just as Jesus spoke in Matt 12:25, Luke 11:17 Of a house not able to be divided, God and Jesus, YHWH and YHWH is Salvation can not be divided and be one.
John 17:17 Father sanctify them by your Truth, for Your Word is Truth.

Jesus was a Jew who kept the Mosaic law (which included animal sacrifices, male circumcision and keeping the Sabbath) and taught Jews who were living under the Mosaic law.

The time period after the day of Pentecost

This time period is addressed in the biblical books from Acts to Revelation. Because there is no Jewish temple (with altars for sacrifices) or priesthood, today it is impossible to practice the Mosaic covenant as it was followed in the Old Testament.

If the context for reading the Word of God is” the Lord doesn’t change” (Malichi 3:6) and “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and it seems Jesus wanted us to take it as a child (Mark 10:15) . Then the following may be cause for seeking to further understand God’s heart and guidance for the church.

The context of a verse or passage should be deduced from the surrounding Scriptures and not imposed by the reader by selecting verses elsewhere in Scripture (i.e. “cherry picking”).

Yes, through Jesus Christ (Y’shua – YHWH Saves) we are all saved which is fantastic! Once saved, we are to turn from our lawlessness (non Torah living) and live righteously guided by the spirit because Torah/God’s Teaching (the law) is written in our heart (Hebrews 10:16-17).

The New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek word for Jesus is Iesous (Strongs # 2424) Christos (#5547). The Geek word for the law is nomos (#3551). According to Thyer’s Greek Lexion in Scripture it can mean:
• Any law whatsoever, including things prescribed by God (Heb. 8:10; 10:16).
• The Mosaic law (or Torah, Pentateuch)
• The Old Testament (by metonymy)
• Christian commands, teaching and principles as taught in the New Testament.
Unfortunately the commentator doesn’t seem to recognise these different meanings of nomos in the New Testament. Instead they seem to assume it always means Torah/God’s teaching, that is God’s teaching in the Pentateuch. This means they are not including God’s teaching in the New Testament.

The New Testament doesn’t teach us to follow Old Testament Jewish laws like male circumcision (or animal sacrifices and keeping the Sabbath) because Paul wrote against this in Galatians.

Hebrews 10:16-17 is a quotation from Jeremiah 31:33-34, which is about the new covenant which God will have with the Jews, it is not about the old one in the Pentateuch. Christians also share in the benefits of the new covenant. We are under a different covenant and no longer under the Old Testament law (We haven’t been given those commands to follow). Thyer’s Greek Lexion says that the law in this passage is “Any law whatsoever, including things prescribed by God”, not the Pentateuch. Therefore it is also wrong to say that “lawlessness” is “non Torah living”.

Paul himself says in Romans 7:25 Now, therefore, in my conscience, I am a servant of the Torah of Elohim; but in my flesh, I am a servant of the instruction of sin. This is well aligned with what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-20.

Romans 7:25bNIV says “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin”. This concludes the passage Romans 7:14-25 on the conflict between the two natures – the old sinful nature and the new divine nature. It is a summary of v.14-25.

In Acts 10 Peter’s Vision, God had to lower the sheet of animals 3 times, and anyone of those times Peter could have taken from it a Clean animal, but he chose not to because of the Pharasitical teaching that said if Clean comes in contact with unclean it is then to be considered Common (Unclean) this was another one of the traditions of man which God sent Jesus to do away with as it wasn’t one of God’s teachings.

This explanation misses the context and the main application of Acts 10:9-23. The context is that Peter (a Jew) was about to receive an invitation to visit Cornelius (a Gentile) (Acts 10:1-8). So it concerns Jews and Gentiles, not the traditions of Pharisees. Usually Jews would not accept such invitations because it was against their law (Jn. 4:9; 18:28; Acts 10:28). Before the day of Pentecost, the Jews were God’s special people and the Gentiles were separated from Him. They were not to mix together. Peter realized that this barrier was about to be broken and both Jews and Gentiles could be part of the people of God after the day of Pentecost (the church) (Acts 10:34-35). Then the Holy Spirit indwelt the believing Gentiles in the same way He indwelt believing Jews on the day of Pentecost (Acts 10: 44-48). There is no mention of these Gentiles needing to obey the Mosaic law in order to be accepted by God.

Paul says in Romans 2:13 For not the hearers of Torah (God’s Teaching) are righteous before God; but the doers of the Law (Torah/God’s Teaching) are being made righteous. Romans 2:23 And you who glory in Torah, don’t you, by acting contrary to Torah, insult Elohim himself? For the name of Elohim as it is written is reviled among the Gentiles on your account. Romans 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law by faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish Torah (Teaching).

Looking at these three verses:
• Rom. 2:13 “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous”. The overall context is the sins of the self-righteous moralist (Rom. 2:1-16). As none of the Jews always obeyed Mosaic law in Old Testament times, it showed they were sinners. Likewise, none of us always obey God’s commands for the church, which shows that we are also sinners. Verses 14-15 is a parenthesis and then God’s judgement of these sins is described in v.16.
• Rom. 2:23 “You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law”. The overall context is the sins of the Jews (Rom. 2:17 – 3:8). This is written to Jews trying to keep the Mosaic law. One of their sins is hypocrisy – sometimes they boast about the law and other times they break the law.
• Rom. 3:31 “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law”. The overall context is the gospel, which is how sinners are saved (Rom. 3:21-31). The previous verse states that both Jews and Gentiles can be saved by faith in Christ’s sacrificial death. Under the Mosaic law, the punishment for sin was death. The gospel shows how Christ died for our sins. In this respect He obeyed the law. Because no one can always obey them, laws (Mosaic or for the church) show we are all sinners. So through the gospel, the demands of the law have been upheld. But the Mosaic law is not a model for us to follow today.

Romans 5:19-20 For as, on account of the disobedience of one man many became sinners, so also, on account of the obedience of one, many become righteous. And the entrance given to the Law (Torah/God’s Teaching) was that sin might increase: and where sin increased, there grace abounded.
Romans 7:12 As a result, Torah (The Law) is Set Apart; and the Commandment is Set Apart, and righteous and good. Did that which is good, therefore, become death to me? May it never be! :14 For we know that the Law (Torah) is of the Spirit; but I am carnal, and sold to sin. :15 For what I am doing, I do not know: and what I would, I do not perform; but what I hate, that I do. :16 And if I do what I would not, I testify of Torah, that it is right.
Romans 7:21-22 I find therefore a Torah coinciding with my conscience which agrees to my doing good, whereas evil is near to me. For I rejoice in the Law (Torah) of Elohim.
Paul rejoices in God’s Teaching (Torah, Law)
Romans 7:25 I thank Elohim by means of our Master Y’shua the Mashiyach I will be rescued. No, therefore, in my conscience, I am a servant of the Law (Torah) of Elohim; but in my flesh, I am a servant of the instruction of sin.
Paul’s words don’t seem to communicate a doing away with God’s Teaching.

Romans 5:19-20 says “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more”. Romans 5:12-19 contrasts Adam and Jesus Christ. We all inherit sinfulness from Adam’s disobedience, but we can be forgiven and accepted by God though faith in Christ’s obedience (v .19). Then the purpose of the law is given – it showed the Jews that they were sinners (v.20).

Romans 7:12-16 says “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

Romans 7:7-13 shows that before Paul was saved, the Mosaic law revealed his sin. Because he was a Jew, he tried to always follow the Mosaic law. But this is impossible for sinful humanity. Verse 12 says that “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good”. The reason for this is that the Mosaic law was God’s idea. It showed the Jews their sinfulness (Rom. 3:20b). When something is prohibited our sinful nature entices us to cross the boundary. The law achieved this purpose in Jews such as Paul. It should do the same today if any tried to always obey it. God’s commands for today (see Acts – Revelation) should also achieve the same purpose.

Romans 7:14-25 deals with the conflict between the two natures – the old sinful nature and the new divine nature. Verse 14 says that the law is spiritual. The reason for this is that the Mosaic law was God’s idea, and was not of human origin. In verse 16 Paul says that “the law is good”. He acknowledges that it came from God and it revealed his sinfulness.

Romans 7:21-22 says “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law”. The first “law” in this passage means “principle”. In verse 22 Paul says “I delight in God’s law”, which is consistent with his previous statements about the law. What has changed since then? We now have the New Testament, which contains the body of truth taught to the early church.

Romans 7:25bNIV says “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin”. This concludes the passage Romans 7:14-25 on the conflict between the two natures – the old sinful nature and the new divine nature. It is a summary of v.14-25.

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore no condemnation to them who in Jesus walk not after the flesh. For the Torah of the Spirit of Life, which is in Jesus, has emancipated you from the instruction of sin and death. Therefore, as Torah was impotent through the weakness of the flesh, Elohim sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin; that He might, in His flesh, condemn sin; So that the righteousness of the Law (Torah) might be fulfilled in us, since it is not in the flesh that we walk, but in the Spirit. For they who are in the flesh recall to mind the things of the flesh: and they who are of the Spirit do recall to the mind the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4 says “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

This passage shows that the requirements of the Mosaic law are met in a Spirit-controlled life. The Mosaic law brings condemnation and death because it reveals, stimulates and condemns sin (v.1). But Christians “are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). Paul uses the word “law” (“nomou”, Strongs #3551) in several ways. In verse 2 it means “controlling power”, where the power of the Holy Spirit to give spiritual life is contrasted with the power of our sinful nature. Because Christ’s death was an offering for our sinfulness (v.3), we are “set free” from being controlled by the sinful nature. As we turn over the control of our lives to the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to love God and to love our neighbor, which are the most important requirements of the Mosaic law (Mt. 22:34-40; Mk. 12:28-31; Lk. 10:25-28).

In every book that Constantine published to form the NT it says to keep the commandments. Who are we to choose 1 over the other?

The book of Galatians was written to counter the claims of those who were telling the male Christian believers that they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to be saved. They mixed Judaism and Christianity. Romans says that Christians are “not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14NIV) because they have “died to the law” – like sin, it has no more hold on them (Rom. 6:2; 7:4). As death breaks a marriage relationship, the death of the believer with Christ frees us from the law (Rom. 7:1-6). The law doesn’t apply to a dead person! This passage was written to Jewish believers – they “know the law” (Rom. 7:1). It concludes with “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, not in the old way of the written code” (Rom. 7:6). If Jewish believers are released from the Mosaic law (which includes animal sacrifices, male circumcision and keeping the Sabbath), then Gentile believers shouldn’t place themselves under this old covenant. Paul also said that the gospel has superseded the law – it lasts while the law was transitory and it brings righteousness while the law brings death (2 Cor. 3:7-11). If anyone finds biblical verses written to the church verses that differ from these, I suggest they are being taken out of context.

The only role of the Mosaic law today is to convict us of our sinfulness (Rom. 7:7-13). Paul was a Jew who used to follow the law. Because he couldn’t keep the law it showed his sinfulness. Here’s how it works for a Gentile. In the Old Testament we see that the Israelites failed to keep God’s law. They were sinners who were separated from a sinless God. Because of this they were under God’s judgement and this was carried out when they were banished from their homeland. God’s requirements for today are given in the letters to the church in the New Testament. As the Israelites failed to meet God’s standards for them, we also fail to meet God’s standards for us. So the Old Testament reminds us that we are also sinners separated from a sinless God and under God’s judgment.

Also, what has changed since then? We now have the New Testament, which contains the body of truth taught to the early church. Due to the progressive revelation of truth with time through the Bible, the commands that should concern us are in Acts – Revelation, not the Pentateuch.

Revelation 22:18 I am testifying to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy in this scroll: if someone would add to these things, God will add to him the plagues that have been written in this scroll, and if someone would cancel from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will cancel his part in the tree of life and the holy city, of those things that have been written in this scroll( Deut 4:2, 13:1)
It seems grace and the law (God’s Teaching) are directly connected and in fact inter play to bring us into the Kingdom of Heaven; righteousness, peace and joy.
Saved by the blood of Jesus (Grace we do not deserve), we Repent = turn from sin hopefully 180 degrees and run in the direction of righteousness, growing toward a righteous life with the Spirit of Truth guiding us using God’s Guide/Teaching/Manual. Why wouldn’t God have the best manual for life?

The warning in Revelation 22:18 applies to the book of Revelation. The warning in Deuteronomy 4:2 applies to the commands in the Pentateuch. They are both warnings about not changing the message. But the messages are different and are written to different people (Israelites and Christians). So the messages in the Pentateuch and Revelation aren’t “directly connected” to “inter play to bring us into the Kingdom of Heaven”.

In view of the progressive nature of Biblical revelation “God’s Guide/Teaching/Manual” for Christians today are the letters written to churches in the New Testament. The rest of the Bible must be interpreted in view of the changes when the old covenant was replaced with the new covenant.

Other comments

Interesting is the fact that in more than 120 countries to this day they still use Sabbath as the name for Saturday. Also, GOD seems to spend the most time on commandment (Statement) 4 (Deut 20:8) and says “Remember” like he thought we may forget. Seems like we did. These Commandments etched in stone by the finger of God and man thinks he can change them. Why change only the 4th? Keeping the Sabbath is suppose to be a sign between us and GOD.

I couldn’t verify the first statement using a Google search. All I found was that in Islamic countries Saturday is called Sabt. Can anyone provide one country where “Sabbath” is officially used to describe a day of the week?

The ten commandments were part of a covenant with the Israelites; they weren’t given to us or for us today. The 4th commandment wasn’t changed, it just became obsolete after Jesus had fulfilled the Mosaic law.

The earliest post apostolic writers did begin to add and take away from God’s Guidelines for Life. This is no different than the Pharisees of Jesus day adding to and taking away from the Word of God. Including switching the day of the week. When God says Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy it seems as straight forward as the other.

When the Pharisees made traditions about keeping the law, these were written in separate documents – the Scriptures were not changed. Likewise, any interpretation of the New Testament was written in separate documents, the Scriptures were not changed. Can anyone provide one scholarly source to support the allegation they were changed?

The Pharisees didn’t change the day of the week when the met together, it was the Christians who made the change after the day of Pentecost.

God’s instruction about the Sabbath in the ten commandments was given to the Israelites about 3,450 years ago. It wasn’t given to us or for us today.

Written, October 2014

Also see: What does the New Testament say about the Sabbath?
I went to a church service that was held on Saturday instead of Sunday and was told that was when we should worship God. What does the Bible say about this topic?
I’ve been told that Christians should keep the ten commandments as they were God’s law and not the law of Moses. Is this true? 
The Sabbath day difference between Jesus and Paul

Why the new covenant is better
Is insistence on Sabbath-keeping legalism?

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4 responses

  1. Wow! That is a lot of information. Thank you for giving us all something to consider! I have chosen to believe that God created the Sabbath for us to #1 Remember that He is Holy by setting aside worship and reflection and #2 have a time of rest and refreshment at his feet. The point is that the focus is our relationship with God and what benefits and enhances that, not a legalistic idea that must be upheld for…what reason? In the freedom of Christ, the Sabbath will look different to each individual.

    October 31, 2014 at 3:58 am

  2. richard

    Paul continued keeping the Sabbath years after Yahushua’s death. Then there is 2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. All simply means “ALL” not just the New Testament scripture but the old as well.

    December 20, 2014 at 11:20 am

    • Thanks for the comment Richard. I will reply to each part separately.

      Yes, until his conversion to Christianity in about AD 36, as a faithful Jew Paul would have kept the Sabbath (Acts 9:1-18). He was “extremely zealous” in following the Jewish religious traditions (Gal. 1:14). After this the Jews wanted to kill him because he taught that Jesus was their Messiah (Acts 9:22-24). So although he was still Jewish, he no longer kept all the Jewish religious customs.

      In Paul’s letters, there is no indication that he kept the Jewish Sabbath. He only mentions the word once in all his writings. This is in a sentence that says Christians are not required to keep the annual (Jewish festivals), monthly (New moons) or weekly (Sabbaths) religious ordinances of the Jews (1 Chron. 23:31; Col. 2:16). Therefore, Paul teaches that a Christian cannot be justly condemned by others for not keeping the Sabbath.

      As he was Jewish, Paul preached the gospel to Jews during his missionary journeys. In Pisidian Antioch, he preached in the Jewish synagogue for two Sabbaths until he was expelled from the region by the Jewish leaders (Acts 13:14-52). In Philippi, on the Sabbath he sought out the local Jews who met outside the city gate and preached to them (Acts 16:12-15). In Thessalonica, he preached in the Jewish synagogue for three Sabbaths until he had to leave the city because some Jews caused a riot (Acts 17:1-10). In Corinth, he preached in the Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath until the Jews opposed him and became abusive (Acts 18:1-7). Paul also preached in the Jewish synagogue at Iconium (Acts 14:1-6), Berea (Acts 17:10), Athens (Acts 17:16-18) and Ephesus (Acts 18:19-21; 19:8-9). It is clear from all these passages that he went to the synagogue in order to preach about Jesus, and not to keep a Jewish religious practice.

      Paul described a Christian who considers one day (like the Sabbath) more sacred than another, a weak Christian (Rom. 14:1 – 15:7). If they don’t force their opinion on this day on others, it is viewed as being a debateable matter and they are to be tolerated by stronger Christians. Weak Christians are not to judge other believers who have a different opinion on this topic (Rom. 14:10).

      But when Jewish Christians attempted to introduce Jewish religious practices into Christian churches in Galatia, Paul called it heresy (Galatians). This included observing special days such as the Sabbath (Gal. 4:10). These false teachers insisted that Christians needed to keep the Law of Moses in order to be saved. They mixed Christianity and Judaism. Paul said that before the coming of the Christian faith the Jews lived under the law, but since Christ came God’s people are no longer under the Law of Moses (Gal. 3:23-25). Also, we can’t be selective, if one such law is valid today, then so are the rest (Gal. 5:3). So, if you insist on keeping the Sabbath, you should keep all the other laws in the Pentateuch.

      The Sabbath observance was given the nation of Israel about 1445 BC, but we live in a different era to them. Since that time, Jesus came and died for our sins, the New Testament has been written and the gospel has gone out to all nations across the world. We aren’t God’s nation living in the Promised Land. Today, God’s people are those who have confessed their sins and chosen to follow Jesus Christ. They comprise the global church.

      December 21, 2014 at 6:01 am

  3. Yes, 2 Timothy 3:16 certainly applies to the Old Testament as it was written by Paul before the books of John, 1-3 John and Revelation were written. This verse says that understanding and obeying (or applying) the Bible helps us to live in a godly way – “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17NIV).

    The steps involved in understanding and applying a passage in the Bible are as follows:
    • What was the meaning when it was written?
    • What were the original principles behind this meaning?
    • What has changed since then?
    • What are the equivalent universal principles for us today?
    • What are the applications of these universal principles for us today?

    Let’s apply this to the command given to the Israelites to rest on the Sabbath day (Ex. 31:12-17; 35:1-3). What did it mean when it was written? After six days of work each week, there was to be a day of physical rest from work and of refreshment (Ex. 23:12). It was to be a holy day when a “sacred assembly” was held in Jerusalem (Ex. 16:23; Lev. 23:3; Joel 1:14). Psalm 92 may have been one of the songs they sang together on the Sabbath day. Anyone who worked on the Sabbath was to be put to death. They were not to even light a fire in their home or collect food or cook food on the Sabbath. The prohibition on work also applied to their servants (or slaves) and to their domestic animals and to foreigners in their towns (Ex. 20:10; Dt. 5:14). Two additional lambs were to be sacrificed as a burnt offering on the Sabbath day (Num. 28:9-10).

    What were the original principles behind the Sabbath day? It was a day of physical rest for people and their animals. The Sabbath day was also a sign of the Mosaic covenant given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai about 3,450 years ago and of the fact that they were God’s special holy people (Ex. 31:13-17). It also reminded them of God’s work of creation of the universe and His redemption of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (Ex. 20:8-11; Dt. 5:12-15). God rested after His work of creation and the Israelites “rested” in Canaan after they were relieved of their slavery.

    What has changed since then? Since that time Jesus came and died for our sins. The old Jewish religious system has been superseded by the unique priesthood of Christ. We now live under His new covenant, not the old one.

    What are the equivalent universal principles for us today? There is no equivalent literal day of physical rest and spiritual refreshment mentioned for Christians in the letters to the early church, although they called the first day of the week “the Lord’s day” (Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10). The cup in the Lord’s Supper is the symbol of the new covenant (Lk. 22:20) and mutual love is the sign of a Christian, as one God’s holy people today (Jn. 13:35). Also, the day of rest after creation and the “rest” in Canaan after the exodus are now symbols of the Christians’ future rest in heaven (Heb. 4:1-11).

    What are the applications of these universal principles for us today? If possible, Christians should follow the model of the early believers and gather together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:6-7). And when they participate in the Lord’s Supper they should recall their new covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are also commanded to “love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11). As citizens of heaven, they don’t have an earthly “rest” but can anticipate a heavenly “rest” (Phil. 3:20).

    December 24, 2014 at 4:40 am

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