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A Sabbath (Saturday) Study

No single verse in scripture can mean less than what it says. However, every verse in scripture can be expanded on by other verses of scripture. That's not original with me, I picked it up somewhere but as a student of scripture I thought, "I've noticed that." In fact, scripture itself tells us that...

The single verse mentality is so common it results in the hundreds and hundreds of religious groups we see around us today.

For instance, so much of the denominational world teaches sinner's prayer salvation. No where in New Testament scripture is there any example of anyone being saved by any form of the sinner's prayer. Yet every New Testament salvation example is more than a simple prayer. When we examine the salvation passages in all their unity we see salvation requires a combination of conditions.

The single verse proponents continually come back to Acts 2:21 (whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved) or John 3:16. The denominational world holds John 3:16 up as the be all answer. You see it on hats, shirts, tattoos, cars, advertisements and even held up at sporting events.

While these verses are unquestionably true and mean exactly what they say, other scriptures expand and elaborate on and deeper explain them.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

"Rightly dividing" means putting all the parts in their rightful or correct place.

And once we fall into the single verse mentality it's easy to select supporting single verses that essentially say the same thing and insist those verses prove our initial point.

There are some who use single verse mentality to maintain Christians must keep the Sabbath (Saturday) instead of Sunday.

Let's see what the Bible says. Let's begin by looking at Genesis 2:2-3...

2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:2-3)

The word "sanctified" used here means to make holy or to set aside for a special purpose. He made it holy and set it aside to commemorate the conclusion of His Creation. We as humans understand the word "rest" to mean we recharge or re-invigorate ourselves. God has no need to recharge or re-invigorate Himself. He needs no rest. The passage simply means He stopped creating because He was finished.

Here is an interesting thought: From the moment the seventh day was set apart and made holy there was no mention of anyone observing and no mention of anyone commanded to observe the Sabbath until after the Israelites had left Egypt.

No mention of Noah observing the Sabbath. No mention of Abraham observing the Sabbath. No mention of Isaac observing the Sabbath. No mention of Jacob observing the Sabbath. No mention of any of these mighty men of God observing the Sabbath. No mention of anyone being told to observe the Sabbath and no example of anyone observing the Sabbath for well over 2000 years from the day it was sanctified, or set aside as holy, by God.

The first mention of anyone observing the Sabbath occurs when the Israelites are in the wilderness having left Egypt.

23 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” (Exodus 16:23)

Here Moses is saying that while God delivered fresh manna and meat six days of the week, there would be no delivery on the 7th day. They would have to gather enough on the 6th day to last through the 7th because God set the 7th day as a day of rest for the people.

Again, the word "rest" does not mean the same to us that it does to God. To us, we rest to recharge, to rebuild the resources we spent during our work. God needs no "rest." He is all powerful and never physically tires. To God, rest means to cease or finish what He was doing.

Why did God decide to enact the Sabbath for man?

God didn't enact the Sabbath for man. He enacted the Sabbath for the Israelites.

13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. (Exodus 31:13)

Notice it was a sign to the "children of Israel" the Sabbath honoring command was given. It was set apart for a holy purpose in Genesis 2:2-3 for a set apart for a holy purpose people, the Israelites and the Israelites only, as a sign between them and God throughout their generations. To say it was given to any other people is to go beyond what is written.

In Exodus 24:12 God tells Moses to come up to Him on the mountain to receive the written law (how to handle various situations if they arise) and commandments (things everyone must do).

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” (Exodus 24:12)

Here we have God giving the Law to Moses. This is what the Bible refers to interchangeably as the Law of Moses and the Law of the LORD. The Law of Moses, usually simply referred to as "the law," and the Law of the LORD are the same thing.

Some folks say there are two parts to the law of Moses - the moral part and the ceremonial part. They say the 10 Commandments are the moral part. The rest of the law of Moses, sacrifices and so on, were the ceremonial part. They insist the ceremonial part is the "law of Moses," and the moral part, the 10 Commandments, is the "Law of God."

Scripture does not make this division. The Bible uses the terms "law of Moses" and the "law of the Lord" to describe the same law.

29 these joined with their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes: (Nehemiah 10:29)

Moses gave "God's law,."

6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. (Ezra 7:6)

God gave "the Law of Moses, to Moses."

14 Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses. (2 Chronicles 34:14)

Moses gave the "Law of the Lord" to the people of Israel.

8 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. (Nehemiah 8:1)

The Law of Moses came from God.

1.) Moses gave God's law." (Nehemiah 10:29)
2.) God gave the Law of Moses. (Ezra 7:6)
3.) Moses gave the "law of the Lord." (2 Chronicles 34:14)
4.) God gave the "law of the Lord."

The law of Moses came from God through Moses but it was the "law of the Lord."

In Deuteronomy 5:1-21 we have the 10 Commandments. Moses tells the Israelites what he got from God Himself (vs 5). Obviously, these came from God and can be rightly called the "Law of the LORD" and they can also be rightly called the "Law of Moses." Sabbath keepers separate the 10 Commandments from the law of Moses and call them the "Law of the LORD."

Sabbath keepers insist the 10 Commandments as given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai are binding on Christians today.

In Deuteronomy 5:5 Moses used the term "word of the LORD" to describe the commandments given by God.

Notice the two commandments mentioned in the following verses, the fourth, honoring the Sabbath, and the fifth, honoring father and mother.

10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' (Mark 7:10)

19 Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” (John 7:19)

Jesus plainly says both of these commandments, honoring parents and murder, were part of the law of Moses. If there are two sets of laws and there is a difference between the two, how can the commandments be a part of the law of God/LORD since Jesus attributed both commandments to the law of Moses? If these two commandments are part of the law of Moses, and Jesus, who was God on earth (John 1:1, John 1:14), said they were, then the other eight commandments are also. Remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy was one of the other eight.

7 But if the ministry of death (Mark 7:10), written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)

The 10 Commandments were written in stone. (Exodus 24:12) Paul refers to them as the ministry of death written and engraved on stones because the penalty for breaking them was death. (Mark 7:10) The law of Moses, of which the 10 Commandments were a part, was a handwriting of ordinances that were against us.

The law of Moses, once an integral part of a believer's life and still clung to by Israelite culture, was being replaced by Christ's law (James 1:25, James 2:12)

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)

In Paul's day the Jews were having great difficulty letting go of the law of Moses for the law of liberty - a veil laid on their heart. Even today when most of those turning toward Christ observe a new covenant and the first day of the week as a day of special worship and honor there is a small percentage who still have a veil on their heart.

The law of Moses, the law of the LORD, was given to the Israelites, and the Israelites only, as a sign of their relationship with God. (Exodus 31:13) It separated them from all others. It was a wall of partition or separation. That wall was removed when Jesus went to the cross.

14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)

Here it is in a nutshell...

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3:24-26)

Christians, God's people through Christ, are not under the 10 Commandments as given to Moses.

This conclusion, based on the scriptures we have studied, often has Sabbath keepers offering something along the following I received...

I just saw your article about whether or not Christians are required to keep the Sabbath.

To be honest and fair with yourself and the readers, please apply the same logic you have used to how it is OK to have other Gods now, it is OK to make graven images now, it is OK to take God.$B!G.(Bs name in vain now, it is OK to disrespect your parents now, it is OK to murder now, it is OK to commit adultery now, it is OK to steal now it is OK to lie now, and it is OK to covet now.

Christians, God's people through Christ, are not under the 10 Commandments as given to Moses. The concepts set out in the original 10 Commandments have been carried on in the new covenant, the New Testament. Nine of the ten are re-given, and expanded, in the NT with the exception of remembering the Sabbath. Remembering the Sabbath day has been replaced by the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2)

The day that takes the place of the Sabbath is the "first day of the week." It is not "our Sabbath." The Old Testament ends on the last day of the week. The New Testament begins on the first day of the week. The first day of the week is the Lord's day. The first day of the week is the day he arose. (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20) The first day of the week is when the apostles gathered to break bread, the first day of the week was set up for regular congregation collections for the saints. (Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2) The first day of the week is a brand new beginning.

God set aside the Sabbath (Saturday) as a memorial to what He had finished. The first day of the week (Sunday) has been set aside to honor what He has begun, Salvation through His Son.

Jesus is so much better than the Law of Moses.

Salvation comes through Jesus and not observing the Law...

If we can be of help in any way, please call on us any time.

Marv Walker
706 816-7190

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