Friday, April 10, 2009

Did God Change the Sabbath?

In honor of Good Friday, and to demonstrate that things aren't always what they seem, I thought it apropos to entertain the question, "Did God change the Sabbath?" The question of whether or not the Sabbath should be celebrated on Saturday or Sunday has been hotly debated for years, and in many cases, it has been debated in vain.

Seventh Day Adventists will fight tooth and nail for the belief that God never changed the Sabbath. Well, they are wrong. God did change the Sabbath, and for this reason, we are not to celebrate our rest on Saturday. Now, before you "Sunday Sabbath" fans start to high-five each other, let me also make it clear - God did indeed change the Sabbath. But He did not change it to Sunday. For this reason, we are not to celebrate our rest on Sunday either!

No more do we need to bicker about what day the Sabbath is, because it isn't a day at all! Dear Reader, isn't that exciting?!How can this be? Well, we often only consider this question in terms of two choices: Saturday or Sunday. But I believe there is a third option, one that we almost never even consider, because we are too busy focusing on the wrong thing. You see, I believe God changed the Sabbath from a day to a Person. That's right: God changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Jesus Christ. Consider this:
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, emphasis mine).

All of the Old Testament rituals and laws were a shadow of things to come! In this manner, the calendar sabbath was just a sign which points to the real Sabbath - Christ. He is our rest, not from our 9-5 jobs and our household chores, but from our toil to release the burden of sin.

Now, if we go with the idea that God did change the Sabbath, not from Saturday to Sunday, but from Saturday to Jesus, then is it still possible to break the Commandment which says we must honor the Sabbath and keep it holy? Absolutely! It's not that the 4th Commandment goes away, rather, it has merely been fulfilled. Jesus said He didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In this sense, we break the Sabbath whenever we dishonor Christ. Anyone who fails to keep the Sabbath holy is violating a command to honor Jesus:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29, emphasis mine).

Jesus is inviting us to take rest in Him. People who do not honor the new Sabbath - people who insist on working, working, working their way into heaven instead of entering into His rest - will find on Judgment Day the wrath of God kindled against them, no matter what day of the week they choose to "rest" or go to church. No more do we need to bicker about what day the Sabbath is, because it isn't a day at all! It's not about a day of the week. It's all about the Lord. Dear Reader, isn't that exciting?!

So why then do we meet on Sunday as a church? We meet on the first day of the week to celebrate His resurrection. It's not really a Sabbath at all, but a celebration! Sunday is a weekly reminder of the glorious day that He rose from the grave and conquered death. Our sins have been washed away. No more will we have to toil in an effort to keep the law, an impossible task! No, because He is risen, we can have rest in Him. This is why Sunday is referred to as "The Lord's Day" in Scripture.

This is good news for all who put their faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. It is also good news for those of us who still wish to honor God by keeping the Commandments, not in an effort to earn salvation, but as a means of repentance and an expression of gratitude to God for what He has done for us. We don't have to worry that we are displeasing God if we are called into work on a Sunday, because if we should work on Sunday, we are not breaking the Sabbath. But if we should attempt work our way to heaven, we are breaking the Sabbath:
And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:23)

As stated above, in God's kingdom, things aren't always what they seem! May you find your rest in Him this Holiest of Lord's Days: Resurrection Sunday.

40 comments:

LisaM said...

I like you "alternative" explanation. Good thoughts, and thank you for sharing this!

Natasa said...

I agree with you... God changed Sabbath from Saturday to Jesus... He is now our rest... our eternal rest...

Yvonne said...

Very well written!

Very few teach this truth. We have been blessed to have a pastor that teaches "walking in Spirit" and "reckoning ourselves to be dead in Christ".

Every day is the Lord's Day when are resting in His work of salvation.

"He Lives! He Lives! He lives within my heart!"

Puritan said...

Amen sister.

Shannan said...

What do you do with Mat 24:20 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath? Seems like Jesus thought the sabbath would still be around in the last days.
There's enough 'hints' to substantiate any view...I just always get hung up on this verse. Seems there will be a day of rest, whether Sat or Sun, to me.

Jennifer said...

Hi, Shannan. You raise a good point. I agree, there is still a "sabbath" in the sense that we should take a day off from work to rest. It is necessary for our bodies to rest in order to function. Many pastors take Monday as their day of rest, because they are working on Sunday. So I do agree it is sensible, healthy, and right for us to have a day of rest.

I would say in reference to Matthew 24:20 that having to flee on a sabbath would simply mean that an added hardship would be present. I would imagine if I worked hard all week, and then flee on my day of rest, I would be lose that resting period, which would mean added hardship for my body. It would make things harder on me, just as if I had to flee during winter as opposed to a time when it was not so cold.

When Jesus said the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, I believe he was referring to the calendar sabbath, because we were all made for the glory of the Sabbath called Christ. But it is probably a good idea to have a calendar sabbath anyway, because it is to our benefit to rest our physical bodies.

Thanks for stopping by!

Betsy Markman said...

This is wonderful!

The Lord has been putting it on my heart lately that I'm not "resting" in Him. Oh sure, I trust Him rather than my works to save me, but if you could see into my soul, you would see very little rest there. I still worry and get upset far too easily.

I want to know this rest much more deeply. Thank you for this beautiful perspective!

Jennifer said...

Betsy, your comment reminded me of another side to this -- that we frequently forget to "rest" in Him when we are too busy to spend time with Him! (I am guilty of this for certain.) Jesus provided another example of how we might consider Him the real Sabbath when we look at the story of Mary and Martha. We don't want to be so busy that we forget to rest and delight in Him.

I wish I had thought of that when I wrote this! Thanks for the reminder!

Rita Martinez said...

My dear friend we are on the same page...Hebrews says it all..and in fact we have one more sabbath left and that is when we enter into our eternal rest in heaven. (Hebrews chapter 4)

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

OOOh this is a great blog! Love this article - it's right on there!

I got something for ya's all to ponder here though concering Jennifer's question about "praying that your flight be not in the winter or on the sabbath".

The sabbath was created for man (particularly the son of man) that Christ rest after his work was finished. The original account back in Genesis "God rested on the seventh day..." is actually future tense. That "7th day" he rested was the day after the crucifixian. Jesus's body rested in the tomb and rose again on the first day (same day as the first day of creation - "let there be light" - Boom there it is!)

In Acts - Pete states that they are already in "the last days" as described in Joel. My hunch is that the begining of the "last days" started with the resurrection. New era - new covenant; the testator had died - come resurrection the new covenant is now in effect.

Connect this now to the question of "the last days". Is this statement in referrence to the end of the old covenant or the end of this heavens and earth? If it's in connection to the Old Covenant than the last of the "sabbaths" (last of the Old Covenant sabbath - since Jesus himself is now the new sabbath) was the day between the crucifixian and the resurrection.

So now, if they were to pray that their flight be not in the winter or on the sabbath - and that final sabbath is really connected to the 24 hours between the death and resurrection of Chist - what do you think that means?

Oooooh - who's up to the challenge of unraveling that one???

PS - pardon my bad spelling!

Jennifer said...

Ms. Modern Fashion Cents, I am still pondering what you've said here after all these weeks. It is truly fascinating. If you are saying that Jesus is the Sabbath (which I think He is)and that the old sabbath was done away with upon the resurrection, I would agree with that. However, I still don't know what it would mean for Him to say "pray your flight is not on the sabbath" if He was referring to Himself. For this reason, I think there is some credence to Shannan's assertion that there probably was still a "sabbath" in an OT sense, simply because we do need to rest.

It is very interesting and I thank you for your contribution to the conversation.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

A hint to the "pray that your flight be not (in the winter or) on the Sabbath..." could have to do with what happened Friday.

Just before Jesus died he said "It is finished." Because he had completed the atonement - he could rest on the sabbath. Now if Jesus would have had to break the sabbath because his work wasn't completed - all His people would still be "in flight" (running from the wrath of God) on the sabbath (when they were suppose to have found their rest).

Now the theological implications of this on salvation are huge. If Jesus hadn't finished his work before the sabbath set in - that would mean that all the redeemed would have been eternally lost.

Jesus himself would have returned to the Father - simply on the basis of his own righteousness because the justice of God prevents Him from condemning a
righteous man. Jesus would have returned empty handed though.

So the admonition to pray that your flight be not on the sabbath was really a pleading for your redeption.

Now the flight be not in winter thing. Earlier in the gospels Jesus had said look up for the feilds are ripe for harvest. The harvest comes just before the winter. Jesus was in the temple preaching until the Tuesday before the crucifixian.

Here's where it gets interesting. Late that afternoon Jesus is sitting on the Mt. of Olives and says something to the effect that now is the time Satan is cast to the earth. (It's in the book of John - can't remember the verse off hand) In the book of Revelation - when Satan is cast down - he's bound for 1000 years in the bottomless pit.

That night Jesus goes to someone's house for dinner (think it's Simon the leper?) and some un-named woman pours oil over his head. He states that she's done this for his burial. This is Teusday night, most likely right after sundown. Exactly 3 24 hour periods later (Teusday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) Jesus is dead! There's your 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth.

Notice Jesus is not in public anywhere. He's not preaching to anyone - the harvest of that covenant was over - this was "the winter". They weren't "fleeing in the winter" because Jesus was still physically there. He was still alive.

Now the apostles fled when Jesus was arrested. Now my assumption is that those who had died - including John the Baptist and all to be redeemed that had died before him (Old Testament) who were awaiting enterance into heaven had "fled" too. They'd fled the wrath of God. This is what I think was the "great tribulation". They fled for fear that the atonement would not be completed and that they'd be eturnally lost.

Now you get to the book of Revelation and immediatly after the lamb appears before the throne - to open the scrolls - so do all these people. And the passage states that these are those who've come out of (the) great tribulation.

So now resurrection comes and you have a totally new covenant. The enacting of the new covenant actually happened at the point Jesus died - the proof of his victory being the resurrection. (that's another theological topic though).

So anyways - the old has passed and Christ is the new testament sabbath. Remeber - if you wish to keep a portion of the old covenant than you are a debter to the whole law!

Hows this jive with "new covanent law". What coudn't be fulfilled in the flesh because of the sin nature of men is now completed in the believer through the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

So intrinsic in the new covanant is the "moral law" of the old since the Holy Spirit as God can't break His own laws. This is why Paul admonishes the churches saying that if you are truely born again - one evidence should be that you are living a moral life.

So, can you pick a day to rest - physically speaking - sure - it's a good idea. Is it mandatory like it was in the Old Testament - no. Again, all things are lawful for me but not all things are profitable.

This is what grace is about - it truely brings you choices and a will that's freed enough from the bondage of sin to make those kinds of choices. Of course no one is perfectly freed from their fallen estate - but a believers relationship to sin is profoundly different after redemption.

Elessar said...

Here's an excellent sermon on the Sabbath, for any who are interested. It would be interesting for the Sabbath to point toward the redemption found in Christ, since it was instituted before the fall. In other words, the Sabbath was instituted before there was any need for a Redeemer. What, then, would it have meant for Adam? And why would that be any different for the rest of humanity? Some things to consider...

Anonymous said...

Dear Author,

As a follow-up to the previous post, I'd like to offer a commentary on your article, with all due respect.

You wrote:

QUOTE: "In honor of Good Friday, and to demonstrate that things aren't always what they seem, I thought it apropos to entertain the question, "Did God change the Sabbath?" The question of whether or not the Sabbath should be celebrated on Saturday or Sunday has been hotly debated for years, and in many cases, it has been debated in vain.
Seventh Day Adventists will fight tooth and nail for the belief that God never changed the Sabbath."

The Holy Spirit of God moves like the wind. His influence is always pressing on individuals. His function is to convict of sin, righteousness and judgement as well as to lead to all truth. The truth is worth fighting for. Debates may seem in vain, but those who listen are being influenced either for or against the truth.

QUOTE: "Seventh Day Adventists will fight tooth and nail for the belief that God never changed the Sabbath. Well, they are wrong. God did change the Sabbath, and for this reason, we are not to celebrate our rest on Saturday. Now, before you "Sunday Sabbath" fans start to high-five each other, let me also make it clear - God did indeed change the Sabbath. But He did not change it to Sunday. For this reason, we are not to celebrate our rest on Sunday either!"

Do you have any Scriptural warrant for your claims above...

QUOTE: "No more do we need to bicker about what day the Sabbath is, because it isn't a day at all!"

As I'm writing, I notice a 'Please note' above my comments' box. Under this note, I'm reminded that "we need to be accountable for what we say on the internet..." Dear friend, as for your above statement, have you prayerfully considered the implications of your comment.

Pro 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Where has God said that the Sabbath day is not a day?


QUOTE: "Dear Reader, isn't that exciting?!How can this be? Well, we often only consider this question in terms of two choices: Saturday or Sunday. But I believe there is a third option, one that we almost never even consider, because we are too busy focusing on the wrong thing. You see, I believe God changed the Sabbath from a day to a Person. That's right: God changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Jesus Christ. Consider this:
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, emphasis mine).
All of the Old Testament rituals and laws were a shadow of things to come!"

Please note that the passage you've quoted (Colossians 2) specifically says that these things "ARE a shadow of THINGS TO COME." Paul wrote after Calvary and yet declared that these things ARE (present tense) a shadow of things to come (i.e. of something yet future). The greek agrees perfectly with this translation. The apostle never said they WERE a shadow of things to come.

Continued...

Anonymous said...

Continued...

QUOTE: "In this manner, the calendar sabbath was just a sign which points to the real Sabbath - Christ. He is our rest, not from our 9-5 jobs and our household chores, but from our toil to release the burden of sin.
Now, if we go with the idea that God did change the Sabbath, not from Saturday to Sunday, but from Saturday to Jesus, then is it still possible to break the Commandment which says we must honor the Sabbath and keep it holy? Absolutely! It's not that the 4th Commandment goes away, rather, it has merely been fulfilled. Jesus said He didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In this sense, we break the Sabbath whenever we dishonor Christ. Anyone who fails to keep the Sabbath holy is violating a command to honor Jesus:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29, emphasis mine).
Jesus is inviting us to take rest in Him. People who do not honor the new Sabbath - people who insist on working, working, working their way into heaven instead of entering into His rest - will find on Judgment Day the wrath of God kindled against them, no matter what day of the week they choose to "rest" or go to church. No more do we need to bicker about what day the Sabbath is, because it isn't a day at all! It's not about a day of the week. It's all about the Lord. Dear Reader, isn't that exciting?!"

My first post to you sufficiently exposes your error of interpretation here.

QUOTE: "So why then do we meet on Sunday as a church? We meet on the first day of the week to celebrate His resurrection. It's not really a Sabbath at all, but a celebration! Sunday is a weekly reminder of the glorious day that He rose from the grave and conquered death."

There is no Scriptural support for your position here. Please give the Bible chapter and verse to show that Sunday commemorates Christ's resurrection.

Observing Sunday in honour of His raising from the dead is simply a tradition of man that is contrary to the commandment of God. The truth is that it is in baptism, that we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

QUOTE: "Our sins have been washed away. No more will we have to toil in an effort to keep the law, an impossible task! No, because He is risen, we can have rest in Him. This is why Sunday is referred to as "The Lord's Day" in Scripture."

The exact phrase, 'The Lord's Day' is only mentioned once in Scripture. It is mentioned by John. Now, please consider the following.

John calls the seventh day of the week the “Sabbath” in John 5:9, 10, 16, 18; 7:22, 23; 9:14, 16; 19:31.

John calls Sunday the “first day of the week” in John 20:1, 19.

Why would John then suddenly call Sunday "The Lord's Day" in Revelation 1:10?

God bless!

Jennifer said...

Anonymous, I have a few questions for you that I’d like you to consider:

1) What is your definition of “keeping the Sabbath holy?” In the most orthodox communities, no work is done whatsoever. Do you do any work at all on the Sabbath? Do you operate any electrical appliances? Do you operate a vehicle? Or do you simply regard keeping the Sabbath as a matter of simply having a day off from work and going to church? If it is the latter, I’m confident there would be many who would challenge you as to whether or not you are really holding closely to that commandment as you claim.

2) I’m curious, Anonymous – is your pastor or minister a paid employee of your church? What do you think the Lord will say when every pastor or minister on earth has to give an account for what they’ve done? What do you think the Lord will say when they tell him that not only did they work on the Sabbath, but they broke the commandment knowingly and intentionally? Or are pastors and ministers “exempt” from keeping this commandment?

I do not take issue with your perspective on this. I just disagree because it is not congruent with the freedom and liberty we now have in Christ. For the record, I have never said we are to do away with the commandment. I personally observe the “Sabbath” on Sundays. But every day is a Sabbath rest from my sins. Isn’t this what the Christian faith is really about?

On the other hand, I do take issue with what you’ve stated here:

As I'm writing, I notice a 'Please note' above my comments' box. Under this note, I'm reminded that "we need to be accountable for what we say on the internet..." Dear friend, as for your above statement, have you prayerfully considered the implications of your comment.

Yes, Anonymous, I have. That is my real name and face attached to this blog. I stand by what I have written. Have you? You have chosen to leave a very lengthy comment on my blog, but have not chosen to be accountable for your own words. Why have you chosen to post as “Anonymous?” Is it right for you to point to an alleged speck in my eye when you ignore a possible log in your own? Did you read the Tim Challies article at all?

Nevertheless, although I disagree with them, I chose to post your comments because I thought you were able to articulate your points well and because I believe in allowing people to hear both sides of an issue so they can make their own decisions. And so I thank you for your comments.

Jennifer said...

At the recommendation of one of our male advisors, I have chosen to keep comments open on this post. However, I will no longer be publishing anonymous comments on this particular article. The anonymous feature is available for those readers who wish to comment on other articles and yet remain anonymous due to a delicate situation that requires them to protect their identities (i.e. domestic abuse, confession of sin, etc.). If you are leaving a comment only to state a particular position on this subject, we will not publish it unless we have a general idea who you are and where you stand doctrinally. We hope this doesn't cause offense. Thank you for your cooperation and please feel free to continue in the discussion.

Ms. MFC -- I never did tell you that your last comment on this post was equally fascinating. Thank you SO MUCH for that perspective. I enjoyed it immensely!

Jennifer said...

Also, out of fairness to "Anonymous," I'd like to offer the scriptures that s/he (?) asked for. I would submit Hebrews 4:1-11 as well as Hebrews 8:13. The passage in Hebrews 4:11 especially appears to support what Ms. MFC has contributed to the conversation.

Now these scriptures do not directly state that God changed the Sabbath from a day to a Person, however we can infer this based on scriptures like this and the ones I provided in the original post. Just as there are no scriptures deliberately making mention of the Trinity, we can infer that the Trinity exists by juxtaposing several scriptures side by side. I hope this helps.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Jennifer - I'm glad you "re-opened" this post for more comments.

Because I got a couple of great Greek "monkey wrenches" to throw in here! LOL

Before I pull out my "monkey wrenches" though, I want to comment on the question Elessar posed concerning Adam - What the Sabbath meant for Adam?

Adam and the Sabbath:
There are two opposing "schools" of theological thought that would address this question in different ways. For those who may be on more of an "Arminian" bent - they may approach this question with the assumption that God knew nothing about the fall at the point of creation.
Of course (on the other hand) if one believes in the omniscience (sp?) of God - He'd have to know what was "coming down the pike".
So, with God knowing the inevitibility of the fall; the question of Adam and the Sabbath becomes quite easy to answer. Even if Adam didn't understand what a "day of rest" was all about; it'd soon be painfully clear to him that he'd need rest. He'd need it in a way he'd never known before! He'd need redemption!

I'd stated in my first post that the phrase "God rested on the seventh day" is actually in the future tense in the Hebrew. Couple that with the incidence of the Pharisees dismay at the disciples picking ears of corn on the Sabbath. Jesus's answer to them is that his Father has continued to work even unto this day; and so does he himself (Jesus).
Now from a practical stand point we know that plants and animals still grow on Saturdays, the sun still shines, the rain still falls. Every living thing where within the "breath of life" is found does not cease to "labor" in that life just because it's Saturday. It's very obvious that God is "working" in the maintaining of this creation because if He wasn't - we would't be here writing in this blog.

So there's the "simple" answer as to the question of Adam. Now for the "complicated" answer. LOL

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Before Adam transgressed would he have needed a redeemer? Now, on the surface that question seems like it'd have a real simple "no brainer" answer. Does it really though? I'll post here some things from Genesis and the book of John, give you my own assesment and let ya'all make up your own minds on that question.
In the very first verses of Genesis we have the earth being without form and void and darkness being upon the face of the deep. Now the phrase "darkness upon the face of the deep" is interesting because the "darkness" is "the with-holding of light" that's upon the face of "the abyss".
When we take this over to the opening of John, we get a "definition" of what it means. At the commencement of creation "the Word" already existed. Here's where it gets interesting because the Greek actually says: "... and the Word continously existed superceeding god." The Watch Tower Society seriously butcher the meaning of this in their translation; but the King James doesn't really do it justice either. King Jimmy translates it "and the Word was God".
King James translates an accurate meaning, although misses an important neuance. The Word was "the God" that superceeded a power that was already present. God had imposed His creation into this "darkness" that was upon the face of the deep. This power (or god) resisted "the light" and attempted to supress the light. This darkness is a perpetually destructive force that God proved His supiority over by creating life.
In simple terms God labled it as "evil" (This is why Adam and Eve were confronted with the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. Evil already exited - creation was just ignorant of it before the fall.)
Science calles this perpetualy destructive force enthropy. This is why the conception of life is so puzzling to science. The creation of new organizisms is completly contradictory to the law of enthropy!

So, having Adam, Eve and the rest of creation suspended by God's sovereign power into this perpetually destructive force called evil - we can see why and how the fall was so very diabolical!

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Did Adam need a Redeemer before the fall? From the judicial stand point - no. From the practical stand point - absolutely. Because Adam lacked all the "omni(s)" that God possesses; his requirement of a sacrifice was inevitable.
The first "weak link" that rocked the whole created order was Eve. ("Satan" - what ever Satan constitues; I personally don't have an answer for, that I'm satisfied with. Traditionally, people have believed that he was a fallen angel; yet nothing in God's created order had "fallen" until Adam ate the fruit. So, what was Satan? I don't know. I'm not inclined to think he was a fallen angel - but that's a different topic altogether.)
If we look real carefully at the text we see that Eve ate the fruit because she wanted the knowledge of good and evil. It never says that Eve wanted to be like God in the totality of who He was! No, it says she ate the fruit because it was "desireable to make one wise". Her intention was not evil. The way she went about trying to satisfy the hunger (pardon the pun) for that knowledge is what brought her into direct conflict with God.
Adam on the other hand jumped into this mess with both feet. If he'd refused to eat the fruit and instead just went to God ("Houston, we got a problem!") God's answer would have still been - "You need a Sacrifice." (ie you need a Redeemer!)
Adam and Eve were not created with a nature that could withstand the knowledge of good and evil without being corrupted by that knowledge. (They were not eternal.) In order to conquar this perpetually destructive darkness; God himself had to enter into it and overcome it's final outcome (death) with life. This is why Jesus had to physically rise from the dead!

So here is what I believe was the reason for making mention of a day of rest back in Genisis. Again, we have a "day" really ending up being a Person!

Now, the "Greek Monkey Wrenches" I mentioned earlier I'm going to put in another post. This one is already pretty long and my 'ol flesh is weak. (My eyes are blurring out looking at the computer screen and I'm falling asleep!)

So, "I'll be back!" (Jennifer, I'm glad you re-opened the posting for this thread. It's a good topic. Made my brain work for it's supper tonight!)

Brandon said...

Jennifer,

I appreciate that you consider the Sabbath a topic worth discussing. However, I would encourage you to continue studying the issue because your reasoning does not sufficiently justify your conclusion.

As Elessar pointed out, the Sabbath was instituted before the Fall so it cannot foreshadow Redemption.

Also, please note that Heb 4 makes it clear that we have not yet entered that rest. The entire passage in Hebrews is an exhortation to persevere. Thus it is not possible to say the weekly Sabbath is done away with because Christ is our rest, because the author of Hebrews is very emphatic that we have not entered the rest he is speaking of!

God made a covenant of works with Adam, the reward of which was life everlasting. Adam had the hope that he would one day enter God's rest once he had fulfilled his probationary period of testing. The Sabbath was a weekly reminder of that rest, just as it is for us today. The difference is that Adam saw it as something he had to work for, we see it as something accomplished for us, thus the change in day because of the change in motivation.

1) It is a red herring to point to how "orthodox" Jews practice the Sabbath today. We do not look to them to interpret Scripture. Jesus corrected the Pharisees distortion of the Sabbath laws and we should learn from Him.

is your pastor or minister a paid employee of your church? What do you think the Lord will say when every pastor or minister on earth has to give an account for what they’ve done?

You need to calm your zeal a little. Have you read Matthew 12? Jesus explains that those who serve the Lord on the Sabbath by doing His work do not profane the Sabbath (priests/disciples).

I do not take issue with your perspective on this. I just disagree because it is not congruent with the freedom and liberty we now have in Christ.

The freedom we have in Christ is freedom to sin.

Ms. MFC, I'm afraid your solution to what Elessar mentioned is insufficient. The shadows that Paul refers to in Col 2 were understood by true believers to be shadows pointing to something greater. From their inauguration they pointed to Christ and believers knew that. The weekly Sabbath could not point Adam to a redeemer that he did not know he needed. To say that God knew it would one day point to a Redeemer is to avoid the issue.

Furthermore, it is clear that Paul is referring to the Sabbaths mentioned in Lev 23 that were added in addition to the weekly Sabbath. Any festival that God required Israelites to rest on was called a Sabbath.

Brandon said...

I'd stated in my first post that the phrase "God rested on the seventh day" is actually in the future tense in the Hebrew. Couple that with the incidence of the Pharisees dismay at the disciples picking ears of corn on the Sabbath. Jesus's answer to them is that his Father has continued to work even unto this day; and so does he himself (Jesus).
Now from a practical stand point we know that plants and animals still grow on Saturdays, the sun still shines, the rain still falls. Every living thing where within the "breath of life" is found does not cease to "labor" in that life just because it's Saturday. It's very obvious that God is "working" in the maintaining of this creation because if He wasn't - we would't be here writing in this blog.


Ms. MFC, I am not a Hebrew scholar, but I'm guessing you're not either. Can you please reference where you read that the Hebrew in Gen 2:2 is future tense? Why doesn't any translation reflect this? Why do they all say that He rested on the seventh day? Why don't they say He was going to rest on the seventh day? Furthermore, why does Ex 20 point Israelites back to God's rest as a motivation for their rest?

As far as God continuing to work... again, you are simply ignoring what Gen 2:2 says. It says God rested. However, we need to understand what He rested from. Did He rest from all work? No, He rested from the work he had done (note the NET and NASB translation). He rested from the work of creation. This is important to remember as we rest from our work. We are not to rest from all work, but from the work we do the rest of the week.

Your reference to Jesus saying the Father and He are working is in reference to Redemption. And Jesus does not offer that as an excuse for what He is doing (He was healing in John 10, not the wheat) because He did not need an excuse. Healing is lawful on the Sabbath. His comment was to hint towards His work of Redemption, just like when He says something greater than the temple is here.

God rested from His work of Creation. Adam fell and then God began his work of Redemption. God completed His work of Redemption and so now we honor Him by resting on the day He rested from His work of Redemption.

Brandon said...

oops The freedom we have in Christ is [NOT] freedom to sin.

Jennifer said...

Brandon, thank you so much for sharing your identity. I do consider it a courtesy to the rest of us participating in this conversation. (I want to ensure that we are discussing these issues with actual Christians and not being distracted by those who would just perpetuate discussions for the sake of creating discord.) And so I truly thank you.

I appreciate your argument, and Elessar’s. However, I believe entirely that the creation process itself, and everything that was instituted before the fall is, in fact, indicative of Christ. Consider the fact that the earth was in a sense “buried” under water, but was brought forth on the third day. Is that a mere coincidence, or is that indicative of the work of Christ? Consider the fact that God created marriage before the fall. Was marriage created for the sake of marriage, or was it a foreshadowing of Christ? Consider Ephesians 5:27-28. Paul is discussing Christ’s model, then says we are to emulate our marriages after His example. God did not get the idea to betroth Himself to the church from the institution of marriage. On the contrary, He instituted marriage as a symbol of what was to come. Is it not equally possible that the day of rest is to signify our rest in Christ?

I also appreciate your arguments concerning Hebrews 4 and Colossians 2. Yes, the work of God is not finished yet. There will come a day when we will rest from all we know here. However, I do believe that there is sufficient evidence that the rest has already come and is still yet to come. Using the marital example again, when two people are married, they often look forward to their future together. But this does not negate the fact that their future exists in a sense now, in the present. Corresponding to this, Jesus defined eternal life in John 17:3 as “knowing God.” I have eternal life now, in the present. I will also enjoy eternal life in the future, when I stand in glory with God. So I don’t see my view as being inconsistent with the future tense of Hebrews 4 and Colossians 2.

Again, I appreciate your comments, however I am not sure exactly what your goal is in participating in this discussion. My goal was not to inspire debate, but simply to encourage and inspire people to place an emphasis on Christ, rather than the symbols used in the Bible to foreshadow Him. I do not believe I’m in sin, or that I have embraced a false teaching. At the most, I believe I hold a different view than you. Is your intention to simply state an alternate view, or is it something more? I ask because you seem very passionate about this. I do not judge you for your view. However, I am inspired by my view because it truly has given me a deeper appreciation for all Christ has done, and the perfection of His plan, down to the smallest detail. To bring my sense of understanding of the Sabbath back to a mere day just seems to reduce my faith to a series of rules. Again, I observe my “Sabbath” on Sunday because I love God, and He says if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. This is why I personally continue to observe a Sabbath "day". However, I do not embrace any of those commandments as a vehicle by which I can achieve God’s favor.

Brandon said...

Jennifer, it may be your opinion that everything in creation was indicative of Christ, but you do not have Biblical warrant for such an assertion. Paul certainly has no such thing in mind. Every use of the term shadow in relation to Christ refers to the Mosaic Covenant. Furthermore, to suggest that everything in creation prior to the Fall was indicative of Christ robs the meaning of the shadows that God instituted in the Mosaic Covenant.

Marriage is nowhere described as a shadow of Christ, including Eph 5. If it is your opinion that marriage is a shadow of Christ, then we should no longer marry because marriage is fulfilled in Christ, the substance of what marriage foreshadowed.

A day of rest has always been meant to signify the rest we find in God. Saturday signifies our effort to work towards that rest. Sunday signifies Christ's accomplishment of that rest.

However, I do believe that there is sufficient evidence that the rest has already come and is still yet to come.

In the context of Hebrews, the entire point of the passage is an exhortation to persevere because we have not entered that rest. The author of Hebrews does not say we have rest now and we will also have rest later. He says we have not entered God's rest and we must persevere in our faith lest we fail to enter. To claim otherwise is to ignore what the passage says.

Again, I appreciate your comments, however I am not sure exactly what your goal is in participating in this discussion. My goal was not to inspire debate, but simply to encourage and inspire people to place an emphasis on Christ, rather than the symbols used in the Bible to foreshadow Him.

You inspired debate the moment you chose to say in public that my view of the Sabbath is incorrect. You are encouraging men and women to sin by teaching them to ignore the 4th commandment. I understand you believe you still observe it, but you are wrong. By failing to observe Sunday as a Sabbath to God by resting from our labor, we sin. If you do not wish to be challenged on this point, then you should consider not making posts that others will disagree with.

I do not believe I’m in sin, or that I have embraced a false teaching.

Which is why I took the time to show you the problems with your reasoning. I am exhorting you to change your mind on this matter. I apologize if I sound "gruff." It's just due to lack of time to more fully expand my thoughts. Please consider the sermon Elessar linked to above.

However, I do not embrace any of those commandments as a vehicle by which I can achieve God’s favor.

Jennifer, that's a red herring. Nobody is claiming to be justified by works.

Jennifer said...

Brandon, again I appreciate your willingness to care enough to bring these issues to my attention. I do not think you sound gruff. I did listen to the sermon Elessar posted (I would not have posted something I did not listen to. I want to know what my readers are being encouraged to listen to.) In spite of this, we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. It is not that I do not wish to be challenged. If that were the case, I would not be publishing your comments. I just do not really feel the need to go any deeper into this. Both sides of the issue have been raised. Rest assured your concerns have not only been heard, but will remain here for posterity for all who choose to visit this article in the future.

Blessings!

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Referance material I use:
Word Study Series - THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY OLD & NEW TESTAMENT(seperate volumes) Printed by Zodhaiates AMG Publishers.

I also use a King James Bible & a Strong's Concordance. Occasioally I check linguistic references on-line to see if the gramatical notations match the reference material I use.

Note about gramatical notations - the Mood, Voice, & context of any given verse is often subject to the interpretation of the person translating. Their interpretation is ususally colored by what aspect of any given verse they may be focusing on.
For example: in Greek - actions performed by God as related to man. If a translater is focusing on the human role in the interaction they will translate the verb as "passive voice". If they are focusing on God's role in the interaction than they will translate that same verb as "active voice". The outcome is the same though.

Rule of thumb that I use is - if the translation of any difficult verse jives with the overall redemptive message of the Scriptures; than that is still a good translation - even taking into account the variance of the translaters and what they deem of the gramatical "bent" of particular words or phrases.

We always have to keep in mind that translation of language is always subject to human interpretation; regardless of how highly schooled those humans may or may not be.

We must keep in mind that Christ and the redemptive message are the centeral theme of all the Scripture. Any periphial (sp?) issues (cerimonial laws & commandments, historical events, prophecy, songs, proverbial statements ect) are some how a testimony of / related to that redemption. If we focus on that truth - it makes translation hard to mess up.

This is where the Holy Spirit becomes an essential element in dealing with Scriptural translation. Humanity is incuriably religious in it's attempts to "make right" with God. Fallen humanity wants to think they bear the capacity to make themselves right with God; therefore they invent all sorts of religious schemes based on works. In response to this, God presented fallen humainity with His standards. This was the Old Testament. Within those standards was imbedded the message of redemption.
The focus was never meant to be the standared - the focus was always meant to be redemption. The reason being, is that it's impossible to live up to God's standards - because we are not God.

The very missing of the redemptive message is evidence that the translater was not working under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Consequentally, a good translator doesn't necessiarly have to be highly schooled. This is what baffled the religious leaders conserning Jesus and the disciples. They probalby only had the equivalant of a sixth grade education.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Now as to the question of the translation "Rested on the seveth day..." being future tense.

Hebrew is different than Greek. The language is constructed differently thus lending less ambiguity to the tense, mood and voice of the Hebrew words themselves. Hebrew has little characters that have specific meanings attached to them.

This isn't necessiarly true with Greek. The reason is that Hebrew is a language of description that protrays an idea. Greek is a language of idea that protrays a description. English is also a language of idea that protrays a description.
Example: when we say "He was angry" - we get a picture in our heads of what this angry person "looked like". Hebrew on the other hand - that same phrase "He was angry"; literally translated is "He had snorting nostrils".

There is no actual gramatical character in Hebrew that denotes "future tense". What Hebrew does have is an "imperfect" tense. The "imperfect" tense is a countinous action that has a definate end in the context of an entire scheme of events. When that action becomes completed it becomes "perfect" tense.
So where you have imperfect and perfect tense notation in the same phrase of a text this can be confusing to translation.

Genesis 2:2
....God ended his work....and rested .... - both of those words(ended and rested) are imperfect tense. What that means is that as a part of God's whole work that He would (come to) "rest" upon; there was an aspect of it that wasn't completed yet.
"...ended His work which He had made.." Now the word "made" is perfect tense. He's completed the creation. That aspect of His work was finished, yet that doesn't imply that God's working was totaly "ended".
Consequentlly if you tried to interpret that "rest" being in the imperfect tense as a continous event that never comes to an end (ie. the notion of having to continously observe a sabbath) - than you have a major theological problem. God would have never picked up His work again if He stayed in a state of continous rest.

Now the next verse:
"....blessed the seventh day.... because that in it He had rested from all his work which God created and made."
Here is where attention to a little detail is imperitive or you'll miss the point God was trying to make about "resting". Notice the phrase "created and made."
Two different Hebrew words - God didn't just put them there because He was being linguistically redundent. The word "created" is primarily translated chosen. It's a word that's in the absolute and it's also in the perfect tense. This particular word "Made" on the other hand is not in the perfect tense. It's a verbal noun that depicts a simple one time completed act. I.E. creation of the heavens and earth.
So in essence what these two words are telling us is that there is more to God's "creation" than the physical universe.
Here is where God links the act of redemption to the sabbath! The primary purpose of creating a sabbath day of rest was for Christ. He could "rest" on the day after the crucifixian because God had completed the entirity of His work.
This is reflected in the portion of verse 3 "....because... had rested from...." Now that word "rested" is perfect tense, meaning that once he'd come to the end of that "rest" He was not going to rest any longer. There was no need to rest from His labor because there was no more labor to be labored upon.

Now, my translation of this "rested on the sabbath" as future is because of the tense being both perfect and imperfect in the context of this single idea. It's very clear in these two verses that God is making a distiction between a tempoary rest and a permanant rest. If He wasn't the two verses would consistantly be either perfect or imperfect tense; not one of each.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Ok, now for my "monkey wrenches" that I promised earlier!!!!

Did God change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? People claim there is no Scriptural evidence for the changing of the day - when actually there is!

Matt 28:1, Lk 24:1, Jn 20:1
"In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week..." (Matt)
"Sabbath" and "first day of the week" are the same Greek word and in this passage, it is actually plural. The word is "sabbaton". So the literal rendering is actually:

"At the end of the Sabbaths, as it began to dawn toward the first of the Sabbaths....."

Another accurate rendering would also be "At the end of the weeks, as it began to dawn toward the first of the weeks..."

Yes it is true that in Scripture there is no other Greek word for "week"; but there is also no other Greek word for Sabbath. (I'm sure though that the Greek language did have a seperate word for "week". We just don't see it rendered in the Scripture.

Either way, you can't get away from the fact that there is a distinction made in the text as to a transition from one set of weeks to another set of weeks.

Now the other "monkey wrench" - I'm warning ya - it's a big one!!!

Mark 16:1
"and when the sabbath was passed...."

This word "Sabbath" is singular and has a definate article. A definate article identifies a particular thing apart from others of it's kind. So this is "the Sabbath" or "this Sabbath".

The word "passed" (this Sabbath being past..) is composed of two Greek words that mean "through the vehicle of" and "to declair".

So we have:
"And when the (this) Sabbath had been declaired through the vehicle of; Mary....brought sweet spices..."

What or who had this Sabbath been declaired through the vehicle of? Jesus's rest from his work was a complete rest. You don't get anymore "doing no work" than being dead! He didn't even decompose - that's how "rested" he was!

Ironically, the fact that Jesus's body didn't decompose; tells us something about what the real "no work" injunction of the Sabbath was. This is why it's impossible for any of us to keep Old Testament sabbath.
You may think this analogy is a stretch; but the picture is profound. All "labor" that was contained in the "body" of the "sabbath" rested. Man and beast. The cells of his flesh labored not, nor did the bacteria or any other organism that may have been on or inside his body.

To me that's very profound as to the message that redemption brings. It really and truely does bring a total rest to ALL of our labor!

Puritan said...

Ms Modest wrote: "Another accurate rendering would also be "At the end of the weeks, as it began to dawn toward the first of the weeks..."

No that would not be an accurate rendering. Greek (nor any other language) does not work like that. You can't just pick up a concordance, and pick which meaning you like best. The context determines the meaning.

The example I use is, if I said "I took something back to the shop, but I was in the wrong queue, so I had to go back to the back of the queue, but then my back was hurting, so I went back home, I forgot my front door key, so I went in the back way, I put coat on the back of the chair and sat back down."

Now I used several different meanings for the word back there. But each time you instantly knew which meaning of the word back I meant. You didn't have to think each time "I wonder which version of the word back he's using this time?" Because the context determines the meaning. It's the same in both Hebrew and Greek.

So not a single person will have read that text how you would like it to read.

Also yes I do think you are stretching it with Mark 16:1, it is simply saying, after the Sabbath day was over.

Blessings.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Puritan

If you have an interliniar bible - I suggest you go look this up. Here is the literal English rendering in the order of the Greek words:

"After, But the sabbaths, at the dawning into the first of the sabbaths came Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary...."

Now what do you think that means?

The word is "Sabbaton" - it's translated "sabbath" in one phrase and "first day of the week" in the other - yet it's the same word and it's plural! As you can see by the verse it's-self. I didn't "do anything" to the language. You can even check it out on line if you want.

God could have had whom ever penned the verse render it differently, if He so chose to. I'm sure in Konia Greek - they had a word for "week", and one for "day", and one for "first". In other passages they simply use the phrase "the next day" (which does not contain the word "sabbath": - but that's not how this was written. God must have had it written the way that it is for a reason!

Your "back" / "back" argument works well for English because English is constructed that way - Greek is not. Modern English is composed of several different languages and the more you "throw in the pot" so to speak - the more you end up havig mulitiple words that have very similar meanings. New Testament Greek does not have as many words of neuance as Modern English does.

New Testament Greek has a tendency to use the same words over and over again, or only a few variance of a meaning; (as compared to classic Greek or other more complex languages). I think the reason for this is because it would have to be translated over and over again and God already knew that. New Testament Greek is considered inferior to Classical Greek because it's so rudimentary.

Now to answer your question about "weeks" as opposed to "end of the sabbath". The anchient Hebrew world measured weeks by the passing of Sabbaths. The fact that they did this makes "At the end of weeks as it dawned toward the first of weeks..." also an adiquate translation. "The end of sabbaths toward the beginning of sabbaths.." is still a better translation though.

The New Testament language picks up on this idea by tacking on "sabbaths" as a new set of sabbaths starting on the first day of the week. If you were trying to stretch this verse to mean "toward the 7th day sabbath..." You'd have Jesus being resurrected a week following the crucifixian, since the dawning of the next 7th day sabbath would have been Friday at sundown.

Ms. Modest Fashion Cents said...

Mark 16:1

"And passing the Sabbath, Mary the Magdelene...."

The word "passing" is composed of two other Greek words.
"Passing" - Strong's #1230

#1230 composed of

#1223 - which is a prime preposition denoting the channel by which an act is committed.

#1096 - a prolonged and middle form of a prime verb "to be"

The middle voice is an action of someone who is acting upon their own will on behalf of their own self interest.

"And through the channel of he who is caused to pass away the Sabbath, Mary the Magdelene..."

If you break down this phrase - that's what you get. Yes, in the simplest form it's saying the sabbath is over; but it's saying a lot more than that as conserning how it came to be over and who caused that.

This word sabbath is singular, the reason for that is that "the sabbath" was made specifically for Christ. So the sabbath that was created to "pass" at some point - passed when he rose from the dead. That's how it passed though the channel of him!

Jennifer said...

Someone shared this article with me and it is absolutely amazing:
http://www.soundofgrace.com/jgr/index076.htm

Or Click here to visit. Very detailed, very humbly written, very exciting to read!!

Brandon said...

Jennifer, if you agree with John Reisinger and are going to promote his views on your blog, you need to remove "Reformed" from your blog's title.

ADieL said...

God bless you brethren.

I also have been studying what the Bible has to say about the Sabbath recently. I must say that it has been a very thrilling and joyful experience.

I just have a question for Brandon. Do you believe that those of us who do not hold to a first day Sabbath but rather believe that the Sabbath was a shadow of things to come but the substance is of Christ... are lost? Are habitual impenitent first day Sabbath breakers (or who teach others so)... people like John MacArthur, Albert Mohler, Don Carson, Tim Conway etc... must repent or they will perish?

Would you call such people to repentance and discipline them out of the church and not even eat with them if necessary?

This would be my reaction to anyone who professes to be a Christian but is in direct violation of commandments 1 through 3 and 5 through 10. Is this your reaction to violators of the first day Sabbath doctrine?

How do see this?

Brandon said...

No I would not say they are lost. Their disobedience is not necessarily done in rebellion. But yes, I believe discipline is a legitimate step - though certainly taking into consideration the climate we live in, much grace should be extended in the learning process.

ADieL said...

Hi brother,

I agree that church discipline should be done biblically (lovingly, humbly, patiently, firmly, graciously)!

Let me see if I understand what you are saying... You don't believe we are necessarily lost. However if we Christians who believe that Christ is the fulfillment of the Sabbath and that the first day Sabbath doctrine is unscriptural don't respond to church discipline with repentance, we can ultimately be excommunicated and regarded as a tax collector (a lost person who needs to be evangelized). Correct?

Thanks.

David said...

The verse you used of "Let no man judge you" was referring the laws contained in ordinances which was written by Moses in a book, that was against us and placed outside the ark. That is the Law that was nailed to the cross. God's Ten Commandment Laws as stated by David, "Will stand fast for ever and ever and are done in TRUTH and uprightness" We must worship Him in TRUTH! King David says again in Psalms 119 that "Thy Law IS THE TRUTH" The law contained in ordinances was the laws concerning meats and drinks and holy days such as Day of Pentacost, Feast of Tabernacles and so on. Those laws were "against us" and a "witness against us" until the seed should come who did fulfill them, which is why we don't have to sacrifice sheep in the back yard for forgiveness! There were 2 laws, Moses law (contained in ordinance) and the law of GOD (Royal law). Moses law was nailed to the cross, God's perfect law will stand fast forever! Rev 12:17 tells you who the true end time saints are, those who KEEP the commandment of God AND have the testimony of Jesus! Rev. 14 says "And this is the patience of the saints, here are they who KEEP the commandments of God AND the testimony of Jesus Christ." And lastly, Jesus Himself testified to who has the right to the tree of life in Rev 22:14-18 "BLESSED are they who KEEP the commandments that THEY may have right to the tree of life,....I JESUS have sent my angel to testify these things!!!!!" Salvation is more than a 30 sec prayer for forgiveness, Jesus said it Himself! We must accept the sacrifice of Jesus which allows us to recommit to the covenant of God and "Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" because "Faith without works is DEAD!" Why is it that you confirm that I should not murder, commit adultery and so on, but "Jesus" did away with the Sabbath commandment? God saw that His perfect law could not be attained so He has to send Jesus? Heb "We have not a high priest who cannot be sympathetic to our infirmities as HE HIMSELF was tempted in every area YET WITHOUT SIN!!!!" Jesus was our example that it can be done! You say, well He was God so that is why He could keep the laws? Would that verse make sense if that was the case? Would it have made any sense to tempt Him if it were impossible for Him to break the commandments of God? I suggest you stop teaching in direct defiance to God's word! I think it is funny that the Antichrist is call the "LAWLESS ONE" and the entire "christian" world claims that their "christ" did away with the law! Isaiah 8 "To the law AND to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM!

Jennifer said...

Nobody in this discussion is claiming that Jesus did away with the sabbath. Rather, the position held here is that Jesus IS the sabbath. Those of us who bow in allegiance to Christ are honoring the sabbath, because He is the sabbath.

My goal is not to convince people of the joy of knowing Christ as our sabbath rest. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. I think we've said about all we can say on this topic, and for this reason, I am closing this discussion to further comments. It is not fruitful.