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The Persecuted Church


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The Sabbatarian’s Identity crises

Sabbath day worship is considered the law above all laws to dedicated sabbatrians.

Jn.1:17: "the law came through Moses grace and truth through Jesus Christ. "What law? The 10 commandments were a small representation of all the laws God was going to give the Israelites. Moses came down the Sinai mountain with 613 laws for the Israelites to obey. He had 10 written in stone to begin their instruction,  while the others subsequently were written down and to be obeyed equally.

This i law He is referring to was a special revelation only given to Israel. Psalm 147:19-20, "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them."

The Sabbath was given as a special sign from God to Israel. If the Sabbath had been kept by mankind from the creation, it could not have been given as a special sign to Israel. This is why Jews and the Bible refer to the commandments as the Law of Moses, not the law of Adam or Noah? After the flood God gave commands to Noah and his sons (Genesis 9), but the Sabbath is not mentioned. There is no record of any one observing the Sabbath until the days of Moses.

Exod. 31:17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.'" No man rested – God did. Since the children of Israel came into being after Abraham, there is not a single individual that kept the Sabbath until Moses.

The New Testament identifies the nation of Israel as being the recipients of the covenant, calling it the law of Moses. In Romans 9 Paul expressed his burden for his kinsmen, national Israel. In his description of them he said, "Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law...v. 4 The Law was Israel’s exclusive possession

Mal 4:4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”

Notice, the law is for Israel, and so is the Sabbath contained in the law. In fact if one reads carefully, they find the Sabbath is always qualified as being for a nation, not all nations but only one- Israel. It is exclusive to Israel and that is why they alone were punished for not keeping it.

Sabbath -moral law or ceremonial law

Many of the same moral laws are taught in both the Old and New Covenants. In the New Covenant nine of the Ten commandments are enumerated (only the Sabbath is not carried forward into the New Covenant).

Paul speaks of the commandments, Rom. 13:9: “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Whenever the ten commandments are repeated by the apostles in the New Testament (Mt. 19:18-19; Romans 13:9, etc.), the Sabbath commandment is NEVER included in the list, because it is not a moral law

It is claimed by Sabbatarian's that there are two types of laws, one given by God, the moral law, the decalogue; the other by Moses, the ceremonial laws written in a book. Yet Jesus calls the law - all of the law Moses law. One has to deny the way the word of God teaches this to come to any other conclusion.

The Sabbath and other laws, such as pertaining to food (dietary laws) cleansing were not moral laws. How do we know this? Things that were forbidden on that particular day are allowed all through the week proving it is not a moral law. A moral law is wrong on every day not just one day a week. If we look more carefully we find the Sabbath is not a moral law but a ceremonial one. This is why it is not incorporated in the New Testament law. Things that were forbidden on that particular day are allowed all through the week proving its not a moral law. 

The commands pertaining to the Sabbath are allowed on other days of the week. But God's moral commands do not change with the days of the week, murder or adultery on any day of the week is still wrong. If it is moral one day, it is moral on all others. A moral law is to be obeyed 365 days a year (all the time). We are instructed not to bare false witness, this would include teaching the Sabbath Day as a moral law. God requiring different things on different days, makes this ceremonial law, not a law about what is moral all the time.

Sabbatarians need to understand they are breaking the Sabbath the way it is written in the Bible. Therefore they are not keeping the Biblical Sabbath.

They have done exactly what the Pharisees have.

Matt 23:23-24: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

The Pharisees were the ones that brought up the Sabbath to Jesus they kept it as best as one could, yet Jesus said to them “justice and mercy and faith” are the weightier of the law (the word matters is not in the text).

Jesus never grouped the Sabbath with moral laws, or any other of the Ten Commandments. He always compared it to ceremonial laws. Jesus treated the Sabbath as a "lesser" law.

When his disciples were criticized for picking grain on the Sabbath, he compared the Sabbath to ceremonial laws using the example of David eating the showbread in the tabernacle (Matt. 12:1-4). Making the argument that if David could eat the showbread, my disciples can pick grain to eat, showing that the Sabbath is not more important than the showbread nor the sustaining of life.

Paul tells us that the gentiles, even without the written law given to Israel, have a law written on their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15). What law was this? The moral law, man made in the image and likeness of God. We instinctively know above the animals when we are doing what is wrong, what is against our human nature and God’s law. These are incorporated in all people, (even atheists and those of other religion). So why were laws given to Moses along with the other specific commands for Israel encapsulated in 611 laws. To make sin more apparent and increase it so that we will all notice that we are sinful.

In Judaism they considered the Sabbath the great commandment, they would welcome her in on Friday night as a queen and very, very careful not to break it for good reason it was part of the reason they were sent into captivity because of not keeping it. They learnt their lesson and did not want to repeat its offense.

The Pharisees looked for law breaking in Jesus ministry especially about the Sabbath. The problem was they added their own rules to the law increasing them, the Sabbath had nearly 10 times the amount of laws added then the others. It was these laws called the tradition of the elders that they tried to have Jesus obey and make him guilty of breaking. Matt 12:2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" (Mk.2:24; Lk.6:2) Jesus was innocent of their accusation but this is a good point for the Sabbatarians to answer today- what are you doing what is unlawful.

The Sabbath is to be a different day then all the rest. Yet the majority of those who are legalistic in keeping it do not keep it correctly. Why do you work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20: 10; Lev. 23: 3; Jer. 17:21-22). No watering the lawn, no working in the yard, no work that you may do on other days.

Why do you kindle a fire (Ex. 35:3). No barbecues with friends over to watch sports or fellowship. Why do you travel (Ex. 16:29) You buy gas on the Sabbath as you drive to church when you are not supposed to.

Why do you trade (Amos 8:5). You are not be allowed to buy a CD of that morning's message or a book at the store. There is to be No exchanging of money for goods. In fact you are to double the daily offering along with the other offerings, you are to give twice as much on the Sabbath (Num. 28:9).

Why do you shop (Neh. 10:31; 13:15,19). Make sure you do no shopping for anything. You can't buy any ice cream for dessert or anything else for the children or yourself. If you run out of food or drink at home you can’t go out to purchase any. And the most important offense for those who claim to keep it.

Deut 5:12-14"Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work ,but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall not do any work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you." If you have any friends visiting, even if they are not Christian they must observe the rest day also.

And of the course this last one.

Exod. 31:14-15 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15' Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (also Num. 15:32-36).

Exod. 35:2 "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death." You cannot separate the punishment from the breaking of the law,

Now the most important of the questions, Do you or your congregation work for 6 days? Or 5?  The actual command is to work 6 days with only the 7th observed as a rest day, not the weekend as the whole world lives both unbelievers and believers. When was the last time a sabbatarian obeyed this command and enforced the punishment. Why is the command for disobeying that brings the punishment not observed?

Sabbatarians never look at what they do wrong on the Sabbath only that others do not acknowledge the day.

They cannot prove their arguments from Scripture but only from their particular viewpoint taught by their organization or group. Their arguments are from silence. An example of this is that God rested on the Sabbath day therefore Adam and all mankind after did also. But there is not one scripture they can point to show this. One can point to hundreds of scriptures when Israel was given the Sabbath by Moses and see their activity, but there is nothing to see until then.

It is clear that Sabbath keepers do not want to keep the Sabbath as it is written but adjust it by their own interpretations, for their own intentions.

As far as saved Gentiles keeping the Sabbath Acts 15 is certainly applicable. It was the Pharisees who insisted "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses" v.5.

The Jerusalem Council had no reference to Sabbath keeping for the Gentiles coming into a church that was Jewish in majority. If Sabbath keeping were to be an essential part of the New Covenant relationship with God it would have to be mentioned for it was an unfamiliar practice to the Gentiles. Sabbath keeping was not even discussed because it is not a requirement for New Covenant believers: Paul explains “And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage). (Gal 2:4), yes bondage. This is why the apostles decided “to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” They said this in reaction hearing troubling words, to keep the law which they considered a burden (Acts 15:28), and the Sabbath was not mentioned as necessary. In fact there are no more references to keeping the Sabbath in the temple or synagogues after Acts 18:4-7 as the church majority was more Gentile than Jewish.

As far as Gentiles in the last days keeping the Sabbath: Mt. 24:19-21:"But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

He certainly is not saying this to the church, but to the Jews who are in Israel that must flee the land when the peace treaty that brings the tribulation is broken.

The perpetual Sabbath

What Exod. 31:16 'Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.”

Notice it says “a perpetual covenant;” the Sabbath was the covenant of Moses. The Bible teaches us this in numerous places, the Sabbath was the covenant.

Exod. 34:27-28: “He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” The 10 commandments are the Old Testament covenant and he states that it was between him and Israel.

Deut. 4:13: “So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.”

Deut. 9:9: “When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.” V.11 “And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.” See complete article on the old and new covenant www.letusreason.org/7thdayAD16.htm

When the Sabbath was first mentioned in Genesis it was not a perpetual command for any man to keep. It wasn't until God led Israel out of bondage that he made a covenant with THEM as a nation, called the Mosaic (law) covenant. This consisted of 613 commands, not just the first 10 written on stone.

The Law itself prophesied of the day in which the Mosaic Covenant would be superseded by a superior covenant. Jeremiah's prophecy states: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah [authenticating the fact that the present covenant was made only to the house of Israel]: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.... But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts... (Jer. 31:31-33). One of the reasons the new covenant was made Jer. 32:40 'And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”

The word translated "for ever" is the Hebrew olam. This word is used to indicate indefinite continuance into the very distant future. It is the idea of a period of unspecified time, olam means from what one can see to a vanishing point on the horizon.

The word can be used to express eternality, as in reference to God whom we know has and always existed (Gen. 21:33); of whom is the only being it is used for -- forever and ever or from everlasting to everlasting (Ps 90:2), Everlasting is your name [El Olam] (Isa.63:16). But there are exceptions, it does not always refer to eternality, it carries a long duration of time when describing things of creation. Context must determine how the word is used in a given passage.

The Sabbath, like the other laws were to last throughout their generations to a certain point:

“Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” (Exod. 31:16-17)

How they are told to observe the Sabbath[s] and other ordinances is also called everlasting.

Lev 24:7-8: "And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the LORD. "Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.”

If one is going to use the Sabbath as a forever ordinance to obey then they must apply the same to other commands that are everlasting. If Sabbath keepers want to make the requirement of the Sabbath based on the word perpetual, then they will also have to apply the other "perpetual" requirements of Moses (Exod. 29:9; 30:21; Lev. 23:41; Num. 10:8).

The Passover: Exod. 12:14: “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.”

'So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. (Exod. 12:17)

Levitical priesthood: Exod. 40:15: “for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." (Num.25:13)

The priests on Yom kippur: Lev. 16:34: "This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year."

Exod. 27:21: "In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.”(Ex.28:43)

And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. (Exodus 30:8)

Do we see the Sabbatrians of our day insist on these being obeyed along with the Sabbath? No.

It is obvious to anyone who rightly divides the word that if God says something else supersedes what was before it, then it not an eternal command, that command is replaced.

The Law itself contained several prophecies of its replacement by another covenant, olam applied to these subjects can only refer to a long period of time. If the word olam is used in a qualified sense then it would stay without being changed. For example:

In Exod. 21:5-6 where it explains that a servant who served his seven years for his master could be set free, but if he desires to stay with his master for the rest of his life, he would have a hole punched through his ear, "and he shall serve him forever" (v. 6). That did not mean that he would serve for eternity, but for the rest of his life.

But when directly pertains to God Ps. 145:13 “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”

In Genesis 17:13 circumcision is also called an "everlasting covenant," eight days old shall be circumcised, … My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” Paul in defense of the new covenant stated: Gal. 5:2-3 “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law” (Or has become no value to you).

The length of "everlasting" is demonstrated by the context in which it is used. The covenant that will last through eternity is the new covenant, not the old covenant (Moses). The age of the law stopped with Jesus bringing in a new covenant.

Heb. 10:9: “then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.”

The author of Hebrews explains that the Law was weak and had come to an end, that the Law foretold that the Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek, which replaced the order than that was formerly made under the Mosaic Law (Heb. 7:17; Ps. 110:4). The Mosaic Law and the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood interdependent on each other in this covenant, the termination of the Mosaic Law-Covenant also made it necessary for a different priesthood (Heb. 7:11-19).

The misunderstanding of what is perpetual is answered. The Sabbath and the Law of Moses had a beginning and it had an end. The Old Covenant, (the Ten Commandments), had a beginning and had an end. Gal. 3:19 clearly states, "was added UNTIL the seed should come." The law was temporary until Christ (V.21-25).

All the law was completely fulfilled in Christs life, moral, ceremonial, and when He died He removed the handwriting that was against us. Then he replaced it with a new covenant that is operated by grace based on his sacrificial death for sins.

The new covenant is not an improvement or extension of the old covenant but a completely different agreement, it is unconditional. The Old Covenant was strictly to Israel (conditional), the new is to both Israel and gentiles equally. The gentiles do not become part of Israel or become Hebrews (Jewish) but are united in a new entity with the Jews, called the body of Christ, the church.


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