The Sabbath

DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT EITHER ADVISE OR COMMAND CHRISTIANS TO OBSERVE ANY PARTICULAR DAY OF THE WEEK AS A SABBATH?

Dean Flanders says NO.
Captain Martin says YES.

Dean Flanders says that these six Scripture passages prove that Christians are neither advised nor commanded to observe any particular day of the week as a “Sabbath”. (Comments against this view supplied by Captain Martin)

1. “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” Luke 16:16

COMMENTARY BY MARTIN:
Here Mr. Flanders does what so many people do when trying to prove a point. They us a text, out of context, to prove it. Luke 16:16 is used to prove that the law and the prophets were until John, and then no more. Yet, verse 17 makes it clear this is not what is being said in Verse 17 says, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” As of our day, heaven and earth have not passed away, and subsequent to that, not one tittle of the law has failed. By his use of verse 16, Mr. Flanders claims “the law” in its entirety. Yet, in other parts of his challenge he specifically states nine of the ten remain. Which is it, Mr. Flanders, was the law until John, or not? He disproves his own use of this text in this context.

2. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” Galatians 4:9-11

COMMENTARY BY MARTIN:
Mr. Flanders gives us a text, and we are to take at face value that the Apostle is telling us we are not to return to the law, or to the Sabbath. Is this what the Apostle is saying here? Let us let the Apostle speak for himself on this matter. He wrote: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid, yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31. In Romans 6:14-15, Paul makes the point that we are not to sin because we are saved by grace. In Romans 3:31 he makes it clear that faith, like grace, does not make void the law. In the verses given by Mr. Flanders, Paul is warning believers against returning to the ceremonial law and its practices, all of which pointed to the Cross. Once Jesus died as our sacrifice on the cross, these practices no longer had any purpose. And any Christian who did not understand this concerned Paul. His stand that the law was not made void proves it was not the Ten Commandment law Paul was speaking of in Galatians 4:9-11.

3. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” Romans 14:4-6

COMMENTARY BY MARTIN:
Again, Mr. Flanders confuses Paul dealing with an issue of the Ceremonial Law, and makes it into an issue of God’s Eternal Ten Commandment Law. Is Paul telling people they need not keep a specific Sabbath day, as Mr. Flanders would debate? If we believe what Mr. Flanders would have us to believe, we must accept that the Apostles did not obey the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught, in Matthew 19:16-17. “And behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Are you, Mr. Flanders, suggesting the Apostles taught we need not keep the commandments as Jesus taught we should?

4. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17

COMMENTARY BY MARTIN:
Here we have a clear indicator of which law is being spoken of. “Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is Christ.” The Ceremonial laws are the law which pointed to the coming of Jesus Christ to be our sacrificial lamb. This is not referring to the Ten Commandment law, but to the feast days, ceremonial sabbaths, and sacrifices.

5. “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” Hebrews 7:12

COMMENTARY BY MARTIN:
Again, Mr. Flanders makes the mistake a third time. He confuses the changes in the Ceremonial law for changes in God’s Eternal Ten Commandment Law. He would have us believe that when the sacrifices, feast days, and ceremonial sabbaths came to and end, that God just threw out the fourth commandment for good measure as well. Yet, the Psalmist made it clear God’s Law is eternal. Psalm 111:7-8.

6. “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” John 5:16-19

COMMENTARY BY MARTIN:
Mr. Flanders here debates that the only person who ever lived a sinless life, sinned by breaking the fourth commandment. Or, that the law was no longer in effect, and therefore could not be broken. Which position is it you take, Mr. Flanders? We know the Ten Commandments were still in effect because Jesus said to keep them. (Matthew 19:16-17.) We know Jesus never broke a single commandment because the Bible teaches sin is transgression of the law. (I John 3:4.) We know Paul taught the law was still in effect because he said so in Romans 7:7. And we know it was the Ten Commandment law he was talking about because he used one of the Ten Commandments as his example, “Thou shalt not covet.” He also makes a similar point in Romans 3:20. Jesus did not break the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments. He violated one or more of the burdensome rules added by man, rules God never stipulated in the fourth commandment. No, Mr. Flanders, Jesus is not a common sinner. And the Ten Commandment law is not done away with.

 

Captain Martin says that these six Scripture quotations prove that Christians are advised and/or commanded to observe a Saturday Sabbath. (Comments against this view supplied by Dean.)

1. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11

COMMENTARY BY DEAN:
But since there is no record of any Sabbath regulations being commanded or observed from Adam to Moses, it is necessary to presume that this must not have been a perpetual ordinance for the human race.

Surely, if the prohibition against “work” on the 7th day of the week had any eternal moral equivalence to “Thou shalt not steal”, or “make no idols”, there would be some reference to it in the 2500 years between Adam and Moses. Conflicts over theft, adultery, murder and idolatry abound before Moses: but no conflicts over any 7th Day Sabbath.

One who wishes to assert that Sabbath observance is a perpetual law for the human race must then give account for why the pre-Mosaic saints neither commanded or observed any 7th day Sabbath, and for why God never spoke to them about it.

2. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3

COMMENTARY BY DEAN:
But since the “he” in this verse is Jesus Christ, it is the commandments of Jesus Christ that we are here told to keep: not the Law of Moses. Jesus Christ makes a list of things that defile a man in Mark 7:21-23; and these harmonize with compliance to nine of the original Ten Commandments; but nowhere does Jesus tell any of His OWN disciples that they must or should observe the Sabbath.

3. “For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:4-9

COMMENTARY BY DEAN:
There is nothing in Hebrews chapters 3 & 4 which affirms, commands, or recommends Christians to the observance of the 4th Commandment. That the Saturday Sabbath is not the subject of these passages is made obvious if you continue for just 2 more verses.

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The “rest” described here is a STATE OF BEING, and not just for one day of the week. Just as Jesus “fulfilled” (Grk. completed; filled out) the commandment about adultery by saying that anyone who looks to lust has committed adultery, the Sabbath-rest of faithful Christians, is that state in which they NO LONGER “Labour for the meat which perishes” (John 6:27) ON ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. It is therefore necessary to conclude that those who assert that we must rest on the 7th day, are making the 7th day an exception to the routine of their lives, and they are therefore labouring for the meat which perishes 6 days of the week (that is, serving mammon); in clear contradiction to the command of Jesus Christ. The fact that so few professing Christians have had the faith or the courage to achieve the “rest” (Matt.11:28-29) that Christ and Christianity offer us, does not “make the promise of none effect” for those who trust and obey.

4. “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13

COMMENTARY BY DEAN:
The command here is to the Jews and their proselytes only. There is no such command issued to Christians. On the contrary, when some tried to introduce Jewish observances into The Church, the Apostles convened a counsel, and unanimously produced this: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: TO WHOM WE GAVE NO SUCH COMMANDMENT……………For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. (Acts 15:24-29)

What is conspicuous to me here, is that while they thought it necessary to reinstate the prohibition against eating things strangled and from eating blood, both of which strike us as relatively peripheral issues, they made no mention of Sabbath observance. Since the main charge made against Jesus by His enemies was that He was breaking the Sabbath, this would have been one of the main slanders leveled against the New Church: but yet, none of the apostles ever tells anyone to “Remember the Sabbath”. The disciples could “do well” without observing the Sabbath.

5. “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:6-8

COMMENTARY BY DEAN:
God made no arrangements with Abraham concerning any Sabbath observance. God never even mentions any “Sabbath” to Abraham.

6. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28

COMMENTARY BY DEAN:
The crux of the matter is here: the Sabbath was instituted to prevent one Jew from working another to death (The Sabbath was made FOR man), and as a prophetic sign of the age to come: not to perpetuate special religious devotions on one day above the rest.

We do retain the RIGHT to “take a day off” according to Paul, as quoted above in Romans 14:4-5, but not to make Saturday Sabbath observance into a law for The Church.

Make no doubt of it: Jesus changed the way we receive the Mosaic Sabbath law when He and His disciples went through the field and picked corn to eat (Mark 2:23). This is the same thing as “harvesting”, and the fact that seconds, rather then hours or days elapsed between the picking and the eating does not make this any less a violation of the Mosaic Law.

The Saturday Sabbath Law is still in continuance for those who claim to be Jews under the Old Covenant, but has nothing to do with Christians. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt………. (Jer.31:31-32).

END OF DEBATE

The question before you witnesses is simple: Which position is best supported by the New Testament? Are Christians advised or commanded to observe a Saturday Sabbath Day in The Church Age or not?

rfwbs-sliderfwbs-slide