Christian or Sabbatarian?
You Cannot Be Both
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would
pervert the gospel of Christ."
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."
"This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be."
"I would they were even cut off which trouble you."
The Lesson of Nehushtan!
"He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it:
and he called it Nehushtan."
II Kings 18:4
Israel became discouraged on the way to Canaan and complained against God and Moses, so the LORD sent fiery serpents among them, which bit and killed many. When the living repented and begged for mercy, God told Moses to make a brass replica of a fiery serpent and put it on a pole. If any person bitten by a fiery serpent looked at the brass serpent, he would live. Moses did as God told him, and Israel survived by looking at the brass serpent. See Numbers 21:4-9 for the whole history.
The superstitious Jews foolishly presumed this brass serpent Moses had made would have residual religious value, so they worshipped it for another 800 years! When the godly and righteous King Hezekiah reformed the nation, he found this religious relic and finally destroyed it. When he destroyed it, he mocked it with a name, Nehushtan! A mere thing of brass! See II Kings 18:4 for this history.
The Jewish Sabbath, taken out of its place as part of Old Testament ceremonial worship for Israel only, is just a day of the week now, no different than Tuesday or Friday. Nehushtan! It is only a day of the week! It has no value; it has no power; it has no role; it is a snare to the ignorant and superstitious. Leave it to Israel under the Old Testament.
The Lesson of Concision!
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
Superstitious Jews rejected Paul's gospel of justification by Christ. These Jewish legalists would not leave their rite of circumcision in the Old Testament, where it was given, and where it belonged. Much of Paul's ministry was against this heresy. He even called for a church council of the apostles and elders to formally reject this superstition.
Paul despised these Jewish legalists, for they bewitched Gentile believers and perverted his gospel by requiring surgery for salvation. He ridiculed false teachers holding on to circumcision as dogs, evil workers, and the concision! Body mutilators! The Holy Spirit thus contemptuously mocked the revered Jewish rite of circumcision as mere body mutilation. See Philippians 3:2 and its context for this history.
There is no reason to pity apostates that corrupt the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sabbatarians are brothers of the concision! It is vain superstition to require of Christians a rite that belongs in the Old Testament. Therefore, we call foolish Gentiles requiring Sabbath observance after the cross, calendar idiots, for these Jewish legalists exalt a day of the week rather than the Person and reality intended by it.
Christian or Sabbatarian?
You Cannot Be Both
Christians follow and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ – not Moses, not Israel, not the Law, not the Jewish Sabbath. Exalting these pitiful substitutes that passed away long ago rejects and dishonors Jesus Christ. Sunday, the Lord's Day, is a weekly privilege to glorify Jesus Christ on the day He ordained for worship. Christians always take N.T. ordinances and tradition over O.T. ceremonial or national laws.
Seventh-Day Adventists and their imitators glorify Saturday. They exalt Moses and the O.T. over Jesus and Paul and the N.T. They choose shadows over reality … law over grace … carnal ordinances over spiritual … bondage over liberty. They exalt a calendar day over the finished work of Christ. They reject the Lord's spiritual fulfillment and abolition of the Sabbath for a worldly yoke of bondage.
Paul's greatest burden was fighting such Jewish legalists. False teachers followed him, creeping into churches and corrupting Gentile believers with O.T. superstition about circumcision, dietary laws, and the Sabbath. Most of Galatians and Hebrews, and much of Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, were written to oppose them. These heretics chose Moses and meats over Jesus and His gospel.
Rejecting celebration of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ and His day for beggarly bondage of the Jewish Sabbath is heresy and superstition. Christians never assembled as Christians on Saturday after resurrection morning. The Lord of the Sabbath had abolished it at His resurrection, after nailing that carnal and worldly ordinance to His cross, when He became the reality and fulfillment of its shadow.
It was a new day …. literally, the first day of the week … spiritually, the gospel Day called Today … covenantally, the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The issue is simple. What is the N.T. day for religious worship? Is it Saturday, a carnal ordinance Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai and imposed on Israel until Jesus and His apostles? Or is it Sunday, the day on which Jesus Christ appeared to His assembled apostles and blessed them, who all kept that day from then on?
Four simple, conclusive passages – Col 2:16-17; Gal 4:9-11; I Cor 16:1-2; Acts 20:6-7 – are more than enough for noble readers (Acts 17:11), but the following arguments add much more, answer objections, and provide for further study.
Christian or Sabbatarian?
You Cannot Be Both
- Sabbatarianism should be a joke! It would be, if there were not so many trying to make something serious of this Old Testament relic. It would be, if Christians read the New Testament. It is merely a Jewish fable. Consider the facts. The Sabbath was given only to Israel as a special gift. The N.T. epistles only condemn it, and they only command or commend the first day. The book of Acts condemns it, and instead commends the first day. Jesus honored the first day and ignored the Sabbath after His resurrection. Why does the rabble babble? Because Satan hates truth, especially about Jesus Christ. If he gets believers sidetracked with Moses and O.T. superstition, Jesus loses. Let Jesus Christ be glorified!
- Are you a Christian? If you are, you know the Old Testament passed away, as its name proves (Heb 8:13). You know which section of the Bible is for you, and which section was for Israel. You know Leviticus was for the Levites, not the deacons in your church. You know Paul's epistles are for Gentile Christians. Therefore, it does not matter how many times circumcision, sabbath, turtledoves, wave offering, goats, blood, altar, and incense occur in the O.T., they do not apply to you today. Those were beggarly elements of a Jewish form of worship and bondage that is now 2000 years dead. Thank you, blessed God!
- Christians follow Jesus Christ and the apostles, not Moses. The N.T. exalts Jesus the Son far above Moses the servant (John 1:17; Heb 3:3-6). Christians follow the teaching and tradition of His apostles (II Thess 2:15; Gal 1:8). His apostles and prophets had the highest offices in the N.T., and they are the foundation of the N.T. church (I Cor 12:28; Eph 2:19-22; 3:1-7). Any contrary opinion is heresy (II Thess 3:6; Rom 16:17-18; I John 4:6; Jude 1:3). Following John and Jesus, they changed God's worship (Luke 16:16; John 4:20-24; Heb 2:1-4; 9:10). Using Jewish O.T. rules for religious practice today is not Christianity; Moses, David, or Isaiah hardly had a clue about N.T. Christianity (I Peter 1:10-12).
- Paul is the final authority for New Testament worship. Jesus Christ chose Paul to be the apostle of the Gentiles, and he and the other apostles understood his special role (Acts 9:15; 15:12; Rom 11:13; 15:15-21; Gal 2:8-9). Do you? Gentiles are to follow Paul in the way he followed Christ (I Cor 4:14-16; 11:1-2; Phil 3:17). He is the pattern for proper Christian living and worship (Phil 4:9). He wrote the three Pastoral Epistles of the N.T. If a practice cannot be found in Paul's writing, it should not be followed. Paul condemned Sabbatarians and exalted the first day of the week, as the N.T. and this document clearly show.
- Paul's gospel and ordinances were directly from Jesus Christ. Paul certified that the gospel he preached was directly from the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11-12; Eph 3:1-7; I Cor 11:23; 14:37). Therefore, just as the Lord had commissioned and charged the original eleven apostles, Paul taught converts to observe exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ had commanded (Matt 28:20). Since Paul condemned Sabbath obligations and ordered the churches to use the first day of the week for religious duties, we know that these were the express commands of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 2:16-17; Gal 4:9-11; I Cor 16:1-2).
- Paul condemned Sabbatarians and the Sabbath. He condemned any obligation or requirement to keep Sabbath days, because Jesus had nailed that contrary ordinance to His cross, for it was only a shadowy figure of Him (Col 2:14,16-17). He declared that Jewish days were weak and beggarly elements, created religious bondage comparable to idolatry, and would ruin his gospel labors and their conversions (Gal 4:8-11). He told the Hebrews that the gospel rest in Christ's finished work of redemption had superseded the Sabbath (Heb 4:1-11). He concluded that the old carnal ways had been replaced (Heb 8:13; 9:10).
- Paul exalted the first day of the week. When he stayed in Troas for a full week, neither he nor the church came together in a full assembly on the Sabbath. Instead, they assembled as a church on the first day of the week, which was the appointed time for that church to gather and hold the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:6-7). Paul further ordered the churches of Corinth and Galatia to perform their religious duty of giving on the first day of the week (I Cor 16:1-2). This order by the apostle of the Gentiles confirmed the apostolic doctrine and tradition for setting aside the first day of the week for worship of God on the Lord's Day.
- The Sabbath was a special day to Israel only. This point is very important, but ignored or rejected by Sabbatarians. The Sabbath was never for Gentiles or Christians. It was only and specifically His special sign to Israel as His covenant nation under the O.T. (Ex 31:12-18; Deut 5:15; Neh 9:13-14; Ezek 20:12,20). These verses are plain and easily grasped. Read them! Believe them! Obey them! Gentile Christians under the N.T. have no obligation to keep Israel's O.T. Sabbath laws. God never charged anyone else at any other time to keep the seventh day for any reason or purpose. No one observed the Sabbath before Mt. Sinai.
- There is no mystery about the seventh day. It was never a memorial of creation, in spite of SDA's quoting Ellen Harmon. God could have created in seven hours, minutes, seconds, or no time at all. He chose six days to create, resting the seventh, to give Israel weekly rest for bondage in Egypt (Ex 23:12; Deut 5:12-15). God made the Sabbath for the carnal and worldly comfort of the Jews, their slaves, and their livestock. Worship was not required. Jesus declared God did not make man for the Sabbath, thus limiting it to a mere aid for refreshment (Mark 2:27). Its purpose and value are only the practical reason stated here.
- Moses wrote Genesis 2:1-3. Therefore, he referred to the seventh day as being blessed and sanctified from the perspective of God's law to Israel. This is a simple fact, but it has an important implication. There is no evidence the seventh day was a creation ordinance for all nations. The evidence says the opposite. Not one man prior to Israel under Moses ever saw or read Genesis 2:1-3. There is much worship of God in Genesis of all sorts, but there is no mention of anyone observing the seventh day. God judged many sins and sinners in Genesis, but He never charged anyone with violating the Sabbath. There is no mention of the Sabbath until Exodus 16, when God first introduced the rules for collecting manna.
- The Sabbath confused Israel, because they had never heard of it. There was confusion in Israel about gathering manna for the seventh day, and the inspired history states and shows that the Israelites had not been observing the Sabbath before leaving Egypt (Ex 16:16-31). Read it! Believe it! The Sabbath was a new thing for these people. They had not worked six-day weeks and rested the seventh day before. Pharaoh did not let them sleep in on Saturday mornings, sit at home all day, and relax from working one day out of seven! For 2000 years after creation, no one had heard about the Sabbath or observed the Sabbath.
- Jesus kept the Sabbath for reasons you cannot. He was born a Jew, in the nation of the Jews, under the laws of the Jews (Gal 4:4-5; Luke 2:21-24; Matt 5:17; Rom 15:8). He only kept the Sabbath as a Jew, not as an example for Christians. He never kept the Sabbath after His resurrection, and neither did His apostles. As a Jew, Jesus also kept other Jewish laws, like circumcision, which Christians must not keep. He even taught that the Pharisees were to be obeyed by his countrymen, but that does not obligate Gentile Christians to look for the nearest Sanhedrin (Matt 23:1-3). For these and many other reasons, we are to follow the apostle Paul as he followed Jesus Christ (I Cor 4:14-16; 11:1-2; Phil 4:9).
- Paul used the Sabbath for reasons you cannot. He only visited synagogues on Sabbath days to convert Jews and Gentile proselytes that were ignorantly following Moses (Acts 9:20; 13:14,42; 15:21; 16:13; 17:1-3; 18:4). He used his opportunities there to preach Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the O.T. prophecies of the Messiah. He did not sanction the Jewish Sabbath for anyone by this practice any more than he sanctioned circumcision for justification by circumcising Timothy (Acts 16:3). He was willing to be made all things to all men to save them, including visiting synagogues on Sabbath days (I Cor 9:19-23).
- Who abolished the Sabbath? The Lord Jesus Christ abolished the Sabbath! He was the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:8; Mark 2:28). He defined its limitations and inferiority to mercy (Matt 12:7). He defined its limitations and purpose as a tool, not a thing for worship (Mark 2:27). He nailed this contrary Jewish ordinance to His cross (Col 2:14; Eph 2:15). Having conquered sin and death, He rose bodily and appeared to His assembled followers on the first day of the week, which was thereafter known as the Lord's Day (John 20:19; Rev 1:10). He proved His great superiority to Moses (John 1:17; II Cor 3:6-11; Heb 3:3-6).
- When did He abolish the Sabbath? At His resurrection, when He had secured perpetual rest for the elect by His finished work of redemption (John 19:30; Heb 1:3; 4:1-11; 10:12). As Lord of the Sabbath, He had all the authority. As Head of the church, His example is everything. He did not choose the weekly Sabbath to rise from the dead and gather His disciples (Matt 28:8-10; Mark 16:9-14; Luke 24:33-48; John 20:1-25). He chose the first day of the week as the Lord's Day (John 20:19; Rev 1:10). His resurrection proved He was the Son of God, Lord, and Christ (Rom 1:4; Acts 2:32-36). Sabbatarians deny Him!
- Many dead saints rose on the first day of the week. The collateral power of our Lord's resurrection was so great that many tombs were opened and saints rose from the dead and went into Jerusalem (Matt 27:52-53). Glory! This wonderful power of the resurrected Christ was displayed on the first day of the week. Nothing like this ever happened on any Sabbath day. The Sabbath was a day attached to the curses and death of the old covenant (II Cor 3:6-11). The events of this day of salvation far exceeded the day of Israel's rest from Egyptian bondage. All hail, Immanuel! Sunday worship celebrates eternal life!
- The reunion of Jesus and His church was on the first day of the week. He came to their assembly, showed them His wounds, blessed them with peace, and commissioned them to their work (John 20:19-21). He then gave them the Holy Spirit and their apostolic authority to build His church (John 20:22-23). Here was a very significant event in the further establishment of Christianity. Consider it! It was this clearly identified first day of the week that was a time of great joy and gladness at the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord (Luke 24:41; John 20:20). The choice was clear and decisive – He and they ignored the Sabbath!
- He assembled with them again on the second Sunday. He appeared the second time to His disciples on the first day of the week, not the seventh (John 20:26-31). The following Sunday was the eighth day, inclusive, since His resurrection. The apostles were assembled, having been blessed by His presence a week earlier. There is no mention in John, Acts, or the epistles of any Christian event on a Sabbath day. The apostolic and Christian tradition was now established – Christians meet on the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's Day, and which entirely replaced the Sabbath (Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:1-2; Rev 1:10).
- The Lord of the Sabbath further hallowed Sunday worship at Pentecost. The disciples were assembled with one accord in one place, just as Christians today assemble on Sunday (Acts 2:1). Luke wrote that Pentecost had fully come, which is the morrow after a Sabbath, meaning it was the first day of the week (Lev 23:15-16). The Lord Jesus Christ shook the established religious world of the Jews by pouring out the gift of the Holy Spirit on this day (Acts 2:14-36). No wonder John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day – it was the day the Holy Spirit had come to exalt the worship of Jesus Christ the Lord (Rev 1:10). The Spirit of God was never so involved in any Sabbath day, for it was a stony ordinance (II Cor 3:6-8).
- God shook the Sabbath away to reveal Christ's kingdom. Haggai promised a shaking of religious things at Christ's coming to Zerubbabel's temple (Hag 2:6-9). Jesus came to this second temple at His first coming and glorified it, and there He made peace (Matt 27:51). Paul declared in Hebrews 12:25-29 that the religious shaking had occurred, leaving the permanent kingdom of Christ and ending the temporary O.T. (Heb 8:13; II Cor 3:6-11). Christians have a heavenly kingdom (Heb 12:22-24). The temporary and worldly Jewish ordinances are gone (Heb 9:1-10), including circumcision, dietary laws, and the Sabbath, for they have been shaken away to leave only the final form of N.T. worship.
- The true reformation changed the day of worship. The law and the prophets were until John, since then the kingdom of God was preached (Luke 16:16). Beginning with John, continuing with Jesus Christ, and ending with the apostles, the true time of reformation ended the Jewish ordinances of the O.T., including any Sabbath ordinances (Heb 9:1-10). Jesus declared this change to the woman of Samaria by rejecting external religion and declaring that God was seeking spiritual worshippers in truth (John 4:20-24). Paul declared that the names of the covenants proved that God's worship had changed (Heb 8:13).
- The Jewish Sabbath is now Nehushtan! It is only a day of the week! It has no value; it is not binding; it is a snare to the ignorant and superstitious. Moses made a brass serpent to save Israel from fiery serpents, and it worked wonderfully (Num 21:4-9). The superstitious assumed it had residual religious value, so they worshipped it for 800 more years. Hezekiah finally destroyed it, mocking it as Nehushtan! A mere thing of brass! See II Kings 18:4. The Sabbath, taken from its place as a worldly element of O.T. Jewish ceremonial worship, is just a day of the week now, no different than Tuesday or Friday. When Sabbatarians adore an ordinance that is 2000 years dead, it is merely another form of Nehushtan!
- Sabbatarians choose mount Sinai; Christians choose mount Sion. When Paul exhorted Hebrew Christians to leave the carnal ordinances and justification by works of the O.T., he made a graphic comparison between the two covenants in Hebrews 12:18-29. He described Sinai and its commandments, including the Sabbath, as so fearful, terrifying, black, and dark that no one could endure the noise of it, including Moses. But he described Sion in the most glorious terms, for there is no comparison between the two. To conclude, he proved that Sion had replaced Sinai by God's shaking of the heavens (temporary religious things exchanged for permanent ones) by the arrival of Christ's kingdom. Read it! Believe it!
- Sabbatarians are kin to other Sinai lovers. As men turn their ears from the truth to fables, they seek teachers to obsess about the tabernacle, its furniture, feast days, and other Jewish relics (II Tim 4:3-4). Though Sinai's religion is 2000 years dead, men love to have their ears tickled with superstitious nonsense. Paul blasted such notions (Heb 9:1-12). Even he passed over details of the mercyseat and other things (Heb 9:5). He explained that the tabernacle's furniture and ordinances were signs that access to God was not clear yet (Heb 9:8). That religion was only figurative, and it could not heal consciences (Heb 9:9). It was a dead religion imposed until Christ fulfilled it with a much better religion (Heb 9:10-12)!
- The only inspired church council condemned Sabbatarians. When the apostles and elders met for a church council in Jerusalem at Paul's request, the specific and only purpose was to settle what parts of Moses' law applied to converted Gentiles. With this perfect opportunity to instruct ignorant Gentiles and to exalt the Sabbath, the Holy Spirit and the apostles totally ignored it (Acts 15; 21:25)! Note the words, no greater burden (Acts 15:28). They had learned the first day of the week from the Lord Jesus Christ. They knew the Sabbath was fulfilled and gone. Jesus had abolished it. The Christian church is founded on these men, and they rejected any role for the Sabbath in N.T. churches (Eph 2:20).
- James and the elders declared that Gentiles should ignore the Sabbath. Paul later came to Jerusalem again and met with James and the elders (Acts 21:15-19). Since the believing Jews in Jerusalem remained superstitious about the Law until Jesus totally destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., they asked Paul to participate in a Jewish vow to prove to this Jewish church that he allowed the Law for Jews (Acts 21:20-24). But they made it very clear to this great apostle of the Gentiles that Gentile believers needed to keep no such thing, which would include the Sabbath, beyond the four items from the Jerusalem council (Acts 21:25).
- Apostolic churches assembled on the first day of the week. Paul was in Troas a full week on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 20:6). But the church did not assemble on the Sabbath! This church had the practice of assembling on Sunday, as indicated by when, at which time Paul preached, since he would leave on Monday (Acts 20:7). Sabbatarians can fuss, but the church ignored the Sabbath and exalted Sunday. Read it! Believe it! Obey it! This N.T. text declaring church practice is far weightier than 100 O.T. verses to Israel about their Sabbath. Consider further that Moses commanded work for six days of the week, Sunday through Friday, but these saints did not work the first day! Are there two sins here? God forbid!
- Apostolic churches took communion on the first day of the week. It was the established custom of the church at Troas to assemble on the first day of the week for breaking the communion bread, as indicated by when (Acts 20:7). The communion of a local church is described as breaking bread (I Cor 10:16-17; 11:24). It requires the whole church coming together into one place (I Cor 11:20,33-34), which is different from breaking bread and eating meat from house to house (Acts 2:46). Communion truly makes it the Lord's Day, for the communion of the Lord's Supper remembers the death of the Lord Jesus Christ!
- Apostolic churches worshipped on the first day of the week. Paul ordered N.T. churches to do their religious giving on the first day of the week (I Cor 16:1-2). This was not a liberty or a suggestion; it was an order! Paul ordained Sunday as the day of the week for religious duties, making it apostolic doctrine and tradition. In formal, spiritual contemplation of God's mercy, Gentile believers would have been very disposed on Sunday to give for poor saints in Judea. There is no order, nor even a hint, of N.T. churches doing anything on the Sabbath or any other day. Sunday was and is the day of worship!
- Sabbatarians are brothers of the concision! Paul ridiculed Jews requiring circumcision after the cross as the concision – body mutilators (Phil 3:1-3). The Holy Spirit despised these religious frauds and heretics and said so with this choice of language, which was very offensive to those holding to the revered rite of circumcision. There is no reason to be polite to apostates that corrupt the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should call Judaizers requiring the Sabbath after the cross calendar idiots, for they exalt a mere day of the week rather than the Person and reality intended by the O.T. day and law.
- Sabbatarians are bewitched. Rejecting the free liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ to return to the bondage of Moses' weak and beggarly ordinances shows a bewitching (Gal 3:1-5; 4:9-11). Paul asked who had performed this witchcraft on the foolish Galatians. The Spirit of God would never lead a person away from Jesus Christ and back to shadows, away from gospel rest back to law bondage, away from the new back to the old, etc. Such a perversion of the gospel of grace indicates satanic delusion (II Cor 11:1-4,13-15; II Tim 2:25-26; Titus 3:9-11). No wonder Paul wanted these cursed heretics cut off (Gal 5:12).
- Sabbatarianism is leaven. Paul warned about the corrupting influence of requiring O.T. ordinances from N.T. Christians by comparing it to leaven, or yeast (Gal 5:9). A little yeast disturbs a whole lump of bread sufficiently to cause the whole thing to rise. A heresy like Sabbatarianism corrupts the whole religion of Jesus Christ by exalting the Law where it ought not to be. Once the Sabbath is put where it ought not to be, it is only ignorance or inconsistency that keeps a man from bringing other parts of the Law forward, and it is only inconsistency that keeps him from getting these works involved in justification to salvation.
- Sabbatarians deny Jesus Christ. They will not allow the Lord of the Sabbath to define, limit, and abolish Moses' Sabbath institution (Matt 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28). They will not allow the Lord Jesus Christ, as God and the Head of the church, to have His own day, which John called the Lord's Day. They choose Moses and the prophets over Jesus and His apostles for doctrine and practice. They choose the shadow over the reality of Jesus (Col 2:16-17). They choose a weekly day to sleep over His finished redemption (Heb 4:1-11). They choose the schoolmaster over the inheritance (Gal 3:23-25). The choose Sinai over Sion (Heb 12:18-24). They choose Leviticus over Luke (Ac 20:7). They are not Christians.
- Honest Sabbatarians cannot eat pork. If God's Jewish command to keep the seventh day holy still stands, then so does His command to avoid pork (Lev 11:7; Deut 14:8). Paul knew that the Sabbath and pork either stood or fell together (Col 2:16; Heb 9:10; Rom 14:1-6). On what Bible basis is there any difference? Any verse showing an end to dietary laws also shows an end to the Sabbath. If it is an abomination for Gentile Christians under the N.T. to pollute Saturday, based on O.T. warnings such as Isaiah 56:6-8, then it is also an abomination for Gentiles Christians under the N.T. to eat pork, based on O.T. warnings such as Isaiah 65:1-5. Only inconsistent or lying Sabbatarians eat pork. See Gal 6:12-14.
- The Sabbath was a schoolmaster that retired when the church graduated. Paul described Moses' Law as a schoolmaster driving the church to faith in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:23-24). Once Jesus Christ and His system of justification by faith was in place, there was no further need of the schoolmaster, and the saints are no longer under his rules (Gal 3:25-29). The Sabbath was only a shadow of Christ's reality (Col 2:17), and its rest was only a type of the gospel rest, which we have in Christ's finished redemption (Heb 4:1-11). N.T. Christianity has graduated from the elementary school of Moses, Israel, and the law and its rudimentary education to advance to the status of sons of God and brothers of Jesus Christ.
- The Sabbath was never a creation ordinance or memorial. God did not give the Sabbath for men to reflect on creation every seven days, thus implying that it is binding on all men of all ages. Ellen Harmon White's hallucinations hold absolutely no value whatsoever for Bible believers. Moses wrote the history of creation in Genesis 1-2 from a Jewish perspective with God's rest on the seventh day, but there is no evidence in Genesis or Exodus that anyone kept any Sabbath prior to Mt. Sinai. God gave it to Israel as a special blessing of rest for their bondage in Egypt, not as an ordinance to remember creation.
- The Sabbath looked forward, not backward. If it had been a creation ordinance for a memorial of God's creation, then it would have looked backward. But the Bible declares it was a shadowy figure of good things to come. The Sabbath looked forward to Christ, not back to creation (Col 2:16-17; Heb 10:1). The Sabbath was an elementary and rudimentary aspect of the schoolmaster leading us to Christ (Gal 3:24-25; 4:1-7). There is not much exciting about creation, since our race sinned horribly in Eden. Rather than looking back at creation, men needed to look forward for redemption (Gen 3:15; 22:15-18; 49:10; etc.).
- The Sabbath was only a shadow, which is worthless compared to the reality. Christians now have the reality and substance of the good things figured and shadowed by the weak and beggarly things of the Law of Moses, which makes the shadow of no value after Christ the reality came (Col 2:16-17; Heb 8:5; 10:1). Who in any situation would choose the shadow over the reality and substance of any object? Does a man settle for the shadow of his spouse, or does he want her really and truly with him? How much more should we exalt the reality and substance of Jesus Christ and salvation by Him over any shadow of them!
- The Sabbath is not the rest for the people of God. The blessed God had a much better rest in mind for His people than merely the seventh day of the week. He had perpetual rest planned through the finished work of Jesus Christ, which is obtained by faith. Psalm 95, indicating a future rest for the people of God, was written about 3000 years after creation, and about 500 years after Canaan (Heb 4:1-11). Believers enter this rest when they stop working themselves and trust in Christ (Heb 4:3,10). Consider: God rested the seventh day from His works of creation; Jesus rejoiced on the first day from His works of redemption.
- The Sabbath was a carnal ordinance. God imposed carnal (the opposite of spiritual) ordinances on O.T. saints (Heb 9:1-12). These ordinances of worship involved the worldly tabernacle of Moses and earthly activities of the senses. God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth, which was not done in Jerusalem or under the O.T. (John 4:20-24). The carnal or worldly ordinance of the Sabbath has been replaced by spiritual rest in Christ, just as the whole sacrificial system of Moses has been replaced by the finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins once for all (Heb 9:11-14).
- The Sabbath was imposed only for a while. God never intended for the carnal ordinances of the O.T. to go past the time of reformation (Heb 9:1-10). They were a schoolmaster until the church graduated to the N.T., when it would advance to a spiritual form of worship and greater fellowship with God. They were imposed or forced on Israel until the time God reformed His worship to its new form. What was the time of reformation? From John (Luke 16:16) to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jesus described this change to the woman of Samaria (John 4:20-24), and Paul described it as imminent (Heb 8:13).
- The Sabbath was a rudimentary part of a worldly religion. Paul condemned worldly rudiments, which included the Sabbath days of the Jews (Col 2:8,16,20). What are rudiments? Rudimentary or elementary parts of a thing. The Sabbath was a rudimentary part of the O.T., meaning it was part of that elementary system of religion. How was it of the world? Because the O.T. was carnal and physical of this world, not of heaven (Gal 4:3; Heb 9:1). Those who obsess about this worldly and rudimentary ordinance show their spiritual immaturity and a lack of appreciation for the better spiritual things of the N.T.
- The Sabbath was an elementary part of a worldly religion. Paul condemned worldly elements, which included the days of the Jews (Gal 4:3,9). What are elements? Elementary or rudimentary parts of a thing. The Sabbath was an elementary part of the O.T.'s rudimentary form of religion. Christians want to grow up into Christ! How was it of the world? Because the O.T. was carnal and physical of this world, not of heaven (Col 2:8,16,20; Heb 9:1). Those who obsess about this worldly and rudimentary element show spiritual immaturity and a lack of appreciation for the better spiritual things of the N.T.
- Paul only allowed the Sabbath as a private matter of liberty. Conflicts between Jews and Gentiles led Paul to allow liberty for private observance of Jewish days by weak converts (Rom 14:5-6,22). The days here are not pagan days, because pagan days are never acceptable (Deut 12:29-32; II Cor 6:14-17). Debate about Jewish days was forbidden (Rom 14:1), and the days could only be observed in private (Rom 14:22). Sunday was still the only day for assemblies and religious duties, set by apostolic order and tradition; but those weak and superstitious Jews that could not leave Moses alone could sleep in on Saturdays.
- Grace rejects the Sabbath. The Sabbath was from Moses. Moses brought the carnal and worldly ordinance down from Mt. Sinai (the mountain of bondage) for the nation of Israel. The covenant of works of the O.T. was anti-grace. Jesus Christ brought grace and truth, which is contrary to Moses' Law (John 1:17). Trying to mix the two corrupts both, and causes a person to fall from grace (Gal 5:1-4). The proper understanding of grace and the N.T. precludes fussing or obsessing about carnal ordinances of the O.T. (Heb 13:9). Grace sees the fulfillment, the payment, and the interpretation of the law all wrapped up in Christ.
- Grace is better for the heart and mind than the Sabbath. Paul warned the Hebrews about the danger and unprofitableness of external religion, especially from Moses' Law, rather than the grace of God that had put that Law away and given the people of God a perpetual rest (Heb 13:9). The Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). There is no comparison between the two. Sabbatarians, who would rather fuss and obsess about calendar and dietary details of Moses' Law instead of bask and glory in Christ, are to be rejected. Studying O.T. ceremonies, rules, and worship is a waste.
- The cross rejects the Sabbath. Jesus nailed the carnal and condemning ordinances of the O.T. law to His cross, which leaves all His children complete and completely forgiven in Him (Col 2:10-15). On this basis … therefore … the Jewish Sabbath was rejected (Col 2:16-17), for there was no further obligation to keep it, and there was no guilt or sin in ignoring it, for it was perfectly fulfilled by Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He obliterated the distinctions of ordinances that separated Jews and Gentiles, including the distinctively Jewish Sabbath days (Eph 2:14-17). Read it! Believe it! Obey it! Exalt Jesus!
- Sabbatarians put new wine into old bottles, and both are destroyed! You cannot put the new things of Jesus Christ in the old bottles of Moses and the Pharisees, for they will overwhelm and destroy both (Matt 9:14-17). There was a visible difference between Christ's religion and Moses' religion of the Pharisees, which moved our Lord to create this parable about not mixing elements of the two, for they are mutually exclusive. Trying to attach apostolic Christianity to Sabbath-keeping is counterproductive, impossible, and destroys the intent of both. Leave Moses where he belongs, buried by God. Lift up Christ, Who lives forever! The new wine of the gospel would be lost in old bottles from Moses.
- Sabbath debates are unprofitable and vain and lead to heresy. Paul warned Titus not to waste his time answering foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the Law of Moses (Titus 3:9; I Tim 1:3-11). Striving about words such as law, Sabbath days, judge, in respect of, and such like were subversive and evil (II Tim 2:14). Paul knew such debates were unprofitable and vain, so he instructed Titus to reject heretics that engaged in such foolish things (Titus 3:10-11). The Sabbath issue is not difficult, if a person has a mind, reads the N.T. scriptures, and submits to Jesus and His apostles.
- The Sabbath is a Jewish fable. Paul warned Titus about Jewish fables (Tit 1:14-16). Requiring Jewish ordinances for Gentiles to please God is a Jewish fable, for Gentiles are only bound to keep the things God requires of them (Acts 15). They do not need to be circumcised; they may eat pork; they do not need to keep the Sabbath. Teaching that the Sabbath was required of men before Moses is also a Jewish fable. The Sabbath was for the Jews only – it was not observed before Moses, and Christians did not keep it after Christ's resurrection. Most Sabbatarians are also superstitious about other aspects of Moses' law.
- Sabbatarians are pretenders. They pretend to know and teach the law, but Paul ridiculed them and other Jewish legalists as not knowing what they were talking about (I Tim 1:3-11). Their content is nothing more than fables, and their noise itself is vain jangling! The briefest of exchanges will catch them coming and going, for they must drop those sections of the law they dislike, as the prohibition of ham and pepperoni; but they must include any section with Sabbath rules, in order to keep their Saturday golden calf. Their greatest teacher, Ellen Harmon White, was the greatest pretender, as simple research will show.
- The Sabbath is old and gone. God made a covenant with Israel, which included a special gift of a hallowed seventh day. It was called their covenant with God. Jesus called His covenant the new covenant, which made Israel's covenant old, meaning that it was vanishing away (Heb 8:13). The logic is simple, for those who will submit to the N.T. scriptures. By definition, the naming of one covenant new makes the previous covenant old, meaning the things of the Jewish covenant were now old and ready to vanish away, for they had been replaced. They were imposed for 1500 years. They were gone by 70 A.D.
- The Sabbath is unacceptable worship. God is a spirit, and His worship must be spiritual, as Jesus taught the woman of Samaria (John 4:20-24). The O.T. was a carnal and worldly religion, based on external worship involving the senses (Heb 9:1,10). But John, Jesus, and the apostles taught a spiritual religion that had no place for a carnal ordinance like the Jewish Sabbath (Luke 16:16; John 1:17). The rest for believers of the N.T. is the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ, not a day to sleep (Heb 4:1-11). The kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom, not a carnal, visible one (Luke 17:21; Rom 14:17).
- The Sabbath was altogether inferior. By any measure, the carnal and worldly O.T. was inferior to the spiritual and heavenly N.T., which Paul declared by several weighty comparisons (II Cor 3:6-11). Consider how inferior letters in stone are to spirit, death is to life, temporariness is to permanence, condemnation is to righteousness, and a comparative value is to a superlative value! No wonder Paul described the Sabbath as weak and beggarly (Gal 4:9)! Only great blindness or rebellion can cause a person to seek glory in the O.T., especially the Sabbath. Let the Spirit of God show you the liberty of Christ!
- Sabbatarians make Paul's labors in vain. In Paul's extensive refutation of Judaizers in the epistle to the Galatians, he identified the keeping of Jewish days as a system of bondage perverting his gospel (Gal 4:9-11; 1:6-9; 3:1). The days, months, times, and years are those of Moses, not of pagans. Paul feared his gospel labors to convert the Galatians would be in vain, if they added the Sabbath or other rules from the O.T. to his gospel of liberty (Gal 4:19-20; 5:1-4). Christians follow the law of liberty, not the law of bondage (Jas 1:25). It is a shame that Sabbatarians ignore and reject the labors of the apostle to the Gentiles.
- Paul confirmed which of the Ten Commandments are still valid. Since the Law of Moses was fulfilled and abolished by Jesus Christ, has the prohibition of idolatry or coveting been lifted? God forbid. Paul's gospel includes nine of the Ten Commandments that applied before and after the law (I Cor 8:6; 10:14; II Cor 6:14-18; Eph 6:1-3; Rom 13:8-10). But the Sabbath commandment, a beggarly and carnal ceremonial ordinance for the nation of Israel, has passed away (Col 2:16-17; Gal 4:9-11; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:1-2). Why did God include a carnal ordinance among the Ten? To trip up Sabbatarians, for He has promised to deceive those who come to him with an idol in their hearts (Ezek 14:7-9)!
- The Lord's Day is Sunday. Jesus gave the new covenant, so the Lord's Day could not be a day of the old covenant (Heb 8:13). Since John was in the Spirit on this day (not in the letter), it had to have been a day ministered by the Spirit, not by Moses. Jesus appeared to the apostles on the first day of the week, so He met John at the same time. Jesus was shown to be Lord and Christ on this day, so it only makes sense it is the Lord's Day (Acts 2:1,33-36). Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath, so He changed it for purposes of the New Testament, which would be kept by Gentiles (Matt 12:8; Rev 1:10; John 20:19; I Cor 16:1-2).
- Christians are fellowcitizens with Moses without the Sabbath. Gentiles were once aliens and strangers without hope, and keeping the Sabbath could not help (Eph 2:11-13). Jesus' life and death fulfilled the law, paid for violations of it, and abolished it as a means of pleasing God, so that Gentiles are now fellowcitizens with O.T. saints by His blood (Eph 2:13-19). This is the wonderful news of the gospel, which had been kept secret until revealed by Paul (Eph 3:1-9). Sabbath-keeping corrupts this gospel by clouding the glory of Jesus Christ for Gentiles and seeks to put a destructive yoke of bondage on them.
- The Sabbath separates Jews and Gentiles, which cannot be. The Sabbath was a special gift from God only to Israel for their bondage in Egypt (Ex 31:12-18; Deut 5:15; etc.). Thus, it was one of the carnal ordinances that divided and separated Jews from Gentiles. But Jesus Christ's death on the cross, at which time He abolished those national and racial ordinances, has eliminated all differences between the two groups, including the Sabbath (Eph 2:11-22; 3:1-12; Gal 4:24-29; Col 2:10-17; 3:11; Phil 3:1-3; Rom 3:28-31). Those who seek to resurrect a Jewish ordinance like the Sabbath are dividing what Christ united.
- The Sabbath is a curse. Any part of Moses' Law is a curse, because anyone not keeping the whole Law is cursed (Gal 3:10-12; Jas 2:9-11). It cursed Israel, because they could not keep it (Heb 8:7-9). If required of Gentiles, it would curse them, because it is impossible to keep it fully. The entire Law of Moses is a curse, but Jesus Christ has redeemed His sons from that curse, being made a curse for them (Gal 3:13). The Sabbath was part of the law and part of the curse. The essence of the gospel and salvation by Christ is freedom and liberty, rather than a curse. Instead, curse those who preach the curse (Gal 1:8-9)!
- The Sabbath is dung. Paul knew more about Moses, Sinai, the old covenant, and Sabbath days than any hundred Seventh Day Adventists or their cheap imitators (Phil 3:4-6; II Cor 11:22; Acts 22:3; 23:6; 26:5; Gal 1:14). But he counted the advantage and profit of all that knowledge, all that training, all that tradition, and all that false righteousness to be a total loss when compared to Jesus Christ (Phil 3:7). He had no doubt about the comparison (Phil 3:8)! He counted all his Jewish heritage, including Sabbath days, to be dung in comparison to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord (Phil 3:8). He wanted Christ, which is not the chief ambition of Sabbatarians, for they are too caught up with dung.
- Sabbath-keeping today is superstition. The Sabbath was for the Jewish nation under a covenant of works that was replaced nearly 2000 years ago by apostolic Christianity. Reviving it for Gentiles is nothing less than superstition – unreasonable awe or fear of something imaginary, esp. in connection with religion. As Hezekiah would say, Nehushtan! It is just a piece of brass (II Kgs 18:4)! Taking an ordinance out of its context makes it a superstition. God buried the Sabbath like He did Moses' body with verses like Col 2:16-17, but superstitious Jews dug it up, whitewashed it for Gentiles, and sell it as an O.T. relic.
- Sabbatarians are Hagar and Ishmael; Christians are Sarah and Isaac. One of Paul's arguments to the Galatians, where he refuted and condemned the Jewish legalists, was to compare Jerusalem under the O.T. economy to Hagar and Ishmael (Gal 4:21-31). He likened N.T. Christians to Sarah and Isaac. This comparison surely offended those in love with the old covenant and its Sabbath institution, but Paul did not care. Paul's stated cure was the same as for Abraham and Sarah – cast out the bondwoman and her son, for they have nothing to do with N.T. Christianity. Hagar and Ishmael, your Sabbath-keeping shall not inherit gospel blessings with Christians. It is no surprise that Ishmael persecutes Isaac!
- Why the silence? If the Sabbath is all-important, holy as can be, and necessary for eternal life, as Sabbatarians claim, why the deafening silence in the N.T. about it? If it is the mark of the beast, why not a single warning about its importance? Why nothing in Paul's Pastoral Epistles, where he instructs ministers about church conduct (I Tim 3:15)? Why nothing to the Gentile converts that had been former idolaters and would have known nothing about the seventh day? But he is not silent altogether, for he does condemn Sabbatarians and Jewish days twice (Col 2:16-17; Gal 4:9-11)! And He ordered the Gentiles churches to observe the first day (I Cor 16:1-2) and did so himself (Acts 20:6-7)!
- Do Sabbatarians keep the Sabbath rules? Loud and long about their Sabbath verses, they are not nearly as intense about God's rules for observing it as they are that others keep it. They are like Charismatics clamoring about speaking in tongues, but ignoring the Bible's rules for tongues! Moses' Sabbath does not allow food preparation (Ex 16:23), eating out or ordering in (Ex 20:10), any work under penalty of death (Ex 31:14-15), turning the heat on (Ex 35:3), cutting the grass (Num 15:30-36), or moving or transporting anything (Jer 17:21-22). Furthermore, an honest Sabbatarian must work every Sunday (Ex 20:9; 23:12; 35:2; Deut 5:13). Honest ones will also quit their jobs every Sabbath year (Lev 25:1-7)!
- Sabbatarianism is worse than circumcision. Paul waged war against Jewish legalists in the N.T. that required Gentile believers to keep the ancient rite of circumcision given to Abraham as a sign of God's covenant with him and his seed (Gen 17:1-14; Acts 15:1-2; Gal 2:1-5; 5:1-6; Phil 3:1-3). But God gave circumcision 400 years before He gave the Law to Moses, which gives circumcision more circumstantial evidence as a binding obligation on mankind than the national Sabbath laws of the Jewish nation. Furthermore, Paul even circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3), but he never went to church on Saturday with Timothy!
- Abraham was not a Sabbatarian. Abraham had a better and greater covenant with God than the covenant Moses and Israel had with God. Abraham's covenant included the gospel, as Paul explained in Galatians 3:8-9,16-19,23-29. The sign of Abraham's covenant was circumcision, which he received as a seal of the righteousness of the faith that he had in God's promises (Rom 4:1-3,9-16). The Law of Moses, including the Sabbath, was contrary to this covenant with Abraham (Rom 4:13-15; Gal 4:17-25). The folly of Sabbatarianism is seen clearly when they rush back to Moses and overlook Abraham! Why pretend to be a Jew and overlook the father of the nation to adore its schoolmaster instead!
- Sabbatarians deserve greater punishment than severe O.T. judgments. The true God is infinitely just and righteous – greater privilege brings greater responsibility. He told Moses to stone a man to death that had picked up sticks on the Sabbath (Num 15:32-36). However, Paul reasoned with the Hebrews that the greater privileges and glory of Jesus Christ and His gospel would bring more severe judgment than violating the inferior laws of the O.T. Consider the warning to Sabbatarians in these passages, where Paul stresses the greater crime of turning back to Moses from Christ (Heb 2:1-4; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:25-29).
- Sabbatarians deserve only a short, direct answer. Paul would not waste time with Jewish legalists (Gal 2:5), so ordinary saints should avoid them. Their crimes against Jesus Christ and His gospel by superstitiously exalting Jewish fables condemn them as subverted (Tit 3:10-11). Paul warned against Jewish wrangling, for such debates are unprofitable and vain (I Tim 1:3-11; II Tim 2:14-16; Tit 1:14-16; 3:9; Heb 13:9). The N.T. proof for Sunday is plain enough, and no amount of striving about the law will alter it. Fools do not deserve honor, so do not give them any (Pr 26:1). Jesus warned about casting pearls before swine, and Paul rightly described these blind and superstitious heretics (Matt 7:6; Phil 3:1-3).
- Sabbatarians must be rejected. There is no room in the church of Jesus Christ for superstitious followers of Jewish fables that make a mongrel of Christ and Moses, that turn mount Sion into mount Sinai, that replace grace with law, that adore carnal shadows over spiritual realities, that trample Jesus Christ under foot, etc. Paul condemned any man or angel teaching Jewish legalism, even if he himself were the culprit (Gal 1:6-9)! He ordered saints to mark and avoid them (Rom 16:17-18). He ordered ministers to avoid striving with them and their word games (I Tim 1:3-7; II Tim 2:14-16; Titus 3:9). He ordered their rejection after two admonitions (Titus 3:9-11). He ordered their mouths shut (Titus 1:9-16).
- Paul despised Sabbatarians. Superstitious Jews of the N.T. era perverted Paul's gospel of justification by adding circumcision to Christ (Gal 1:6-7; 3:1-5; 5:1-4). Paul despised these Jewish legalists, for they bewitched Gentile believers and perverted his gospel by requiring surgery for salvation. He ridiculed false teachers retaining circumcision as dogs, evil workers, and the concision (Phil 3:2). There is no reason to pity apostates that corrupt the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sabbatarians are brothers of the concision! It is superstition to require of Christians a rite that belongs in the O.T. Paul despised them, for he saw their keeping of days as similar to pagan idolatry and a corruption of the gospel (Gal 4:8-11).
- Paul desired death for Judaizers. Many coddle Judaizers or Sabbatarians as Christians or almost-Christians, but Paul desired their death, due to the harm they did to the saints (Gal 5:10-12). They make a mongrel of Moses and Christ. These troublemakers and lovers of Jewish fables make Jesus Christ of no effect by bewitching N.T. believers back under the yoke of bondage of the O.T. (Gal 3:1; 5:1-4). The severity of Paul's attitude toward these heretics is consistent with godly men (Ps 101:3; 119:128; I Cor 3:16-17) and God Himself (Acts 5:1-11; I Cor 11:29-30; Rev 2:9,23; 3:9). The sons of Levi consecrated themselves and Phinehas obtained high praise from heaven for such a spirit (Ex 32:25-29; Nu 25:1-15).
- The Sabbath was made for asses. There was never any spiritual value in the seventh day. God gave it as a day for asses to rest (Ex 23:12). Man was not created to worship God by resting the seventh day; the seventh day was ordained as the day for men to let their asses rest (Mark 2:27).
- Objection: It was the Roman Catholic Church that changed worship from Saturday to Sunday, so those who worship on Sunday are committing spiritual fornication with Rome, maybe even taking the mark of the beast.
Answer: First, truth is not determined by what Roman Catholics do or do not do. Second, this objection and claim is entirely an SDA fable without any historical basis. The burden of proof is on the accuser. Third, the apostles changed the day of worship to Sunday 300 years before Constantine and about 600 years before there was a Roman Catholic Church. See the Bible evidence above. See historical evidence here: http://www.bible.ca/H-sunday.htm. Roman Catholics claim Mary as the mother of Jesus, but they stole the fact from our scriptures. We do not deny Mary, just because they worship her. Apostolic Christianity existed long before Roman Catholicism; we cannot help what they copied or stole.
- Objection: If you meet and worship on Sunday, you are guilty of sun worship or association with sun worship by your choice of that day to worship. Answer:If you meet and worship on Saturday, you are guilty of Saturn worship or association with Saturn worship by your choice of that day. The world named the first day of the week, but our practices are not because of, nor in agreement with, their choice. This is incidental and unavoidable association with false religion, which Elisha excused to Naaman (II Kgs 5:15-19). We likewise carry paper money with a truncated pyramid and the all-seeing eye of Horus, but we have no choice in the matter. Though we hold potluck dinners, we do not believe or endorse luck, regardless of the name. It does not matter what the world calls the first day of the week – we know we are worshipping on the Lord's Day.
- Objection: Romans 14:5-6 gives liberty to keep the Jewish Sabbath, and no other believer has the right to criticize or judge the choice.
Answer:This is only true as a matter of liberty for personal and private observance. If a weak Jewish convert chose to waste his Saturdays by sleeping to keep the abolished Old Testament, he could make that choice for himself, and he was to only do so in private (14:22), without any doubtful disputations about it (14:1). All converts kept Sunday as the Lord's Day for assemblies of the church, for it was an apostolic tradition and commandment. The liberty for private practice of Jewish days was in addition to the apostolic obligation of the Lord's Day for church services.
- Objection: Genesis 2:1-3 describes a creation ordinance that puts the Sabbath above the Law of Moses, making it obligatory for Gentiles before and after the Law of Moses, including Christians today. Answer: Moses wrote Genesis 2:1-3 about 2000 years after creation, and he said it was a special sign between Jehovah and Israel (Ex 31:12-18; Deut 5:15; Neh 9:13-14; Ezek 20:12,20). There is no Sabbath observance in the Bible until Exodus 16. There is no Sabbath observance in the Bible for Christians after the cross.
- Objection: Isaiah 56:6-8 teaches that Gentile converts of the New Testament would keep the Sabbath days of the Jews and be blessed by God for doing so. Answer: These Gentile converts also burn animals in sacrifice (56:7)! This passage does not alter the N.T.; the N.T. alters this passage, if it even applies to the N.T. The only lesson here is that holy living brings benefits to all categories of men. To any degree that the gospel era is considered here, the prophet used the only language at his disposal to describe proper worship. Compare Malachi 3:1-3 about Levites. Isaiah knew less than our children about Jesus Christ and the gospel era (I Pet 1:10-11). The N.T. church is not built on the foundation of Moses and Isaiah; it is built on the foundation of John, Jesus, and Paul.
- Objection: Galatians 4:10 must be understood in light of Galatians 4:8, which is describing the days, months, times, and years of idolatrous pagan religion, not the Old Testament Sabbaths of Jehovah.
Answer: The large context of Galatians deals with Judaizers seeking to enforce the Law of Moses, not backsliders to Zeus or Aphrodite. The small context shows the same (Gal 4:3,5,21). Paul did not try to confuse his readers with 4:8-11 by introducing an entirely different argument and heresy. Paul has not changed the subject - he is fighting Judaizers, not idolaters. The weak and beggarly elements of 4:9 are the law elements of the worldly religion of the Jewish schoolmaster of 4:1-3 and 3:23-24. Paul elsewhere described Moses' ceremonial law as weak and unprofitable (Heb 7:18; 13:9). The bondage of 4:9 is the Law bondage of 2:4; 4:3,24-25; and 5:1. The adverb again, used twice in 4:9, emphasizes the folly of converted pagans returning to another religion of slavery by accepting the Jewish yoke of bondage. The use and language of the Jewish calendar in 4:10 is the same calendar that Paul had in view in Colossians 2:16, which is taken from the scriptures of the Jews (Is 1:13-14; Hos 2:11; I Chron 23:31). Galatians 4:8-11 is just one more argument of Paul's in this epistle to arrest and reverse the backsliding of the Galatians into Jewish legalism, which includes the weak and beggarly Sabbath days that lead to religious bondage.
- Objection: Colossians 2:16 teaches that you cannot judge me for keeping the Jewish Sabbath. Answer: Colossians 2:16 only works in one direction – no one has the right to require Jewish rules for Christians. Paul used Galatians and this chapter of Colossians to condemn any that would do so. The context is all-important, as indicated by therefore, showing the carnal ordinances of the Jews is the issue (Col 2:14). There is no protection for Judaizers anywhere in the New Testament, for they are the enemies of the gospel of Christ. Jewish days as a personal and private liberty are something altogether different (Rom 14:5-6,22).
- Objection: Paul's condemnation of plural Sabbath days in Colossians 2:16 refers to the Sabbath days attached to the several feasts of the Jews, not the seventh day of the week observances. Answer: Paul had already identified those special feast Sabbaths by the term holyday. Paul used the plural Sabbath days for the weekly Sabbaths, just like Moses and others (Ex 31:13; Lev 19:3,30; 26:2; I Chron 23:31; Hos 2:11). Paul separates and distinguishes the feast days and feast Sabbaths by calling them a holyday or new moon.
- Objection: The Sabbath commandment was "for ever" (Ex 31:17), which means without end, so it is still in force today.
Answer: The same or stronger words are used about circumcision, which was temporary (Gen 17:10-14; Gal 2:3; 5:3); Israel inheriting the land, which was temporary (Ex 32:13; Deut 29:28; Zech 7:14; Jas 1:1); the Levitical priesthood, which was temporary (Deut 18:5; Heb 7:11-19). The Sabbath was strictly Jewish, and this carnal ordinance lasted only until the time of reformation, when God ended His dealings with the nation of Israel (Ex 31:16; Heb 9:10).
- Objection: Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, had the habit and manner of assembling in synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 13:14; 17:10; etc.).
Answer: He visited synagogues to find monotheistic worshippers of Jehovah with the scriptures, so he could recruit converts by persuading them Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and had come and fulfilled the Law of Moses, including the Sabbath, and they should be baptized as Christians and worship on the Lord's Day (Acts 17:1-4; 18:4-11; 19:8-12; I Cor 9:19-23; 16:1-2; Col 2:16).
- Objection: David said the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, and it included the Sabbath commandment (Ps 19:7).
Answer: It also included circumcision, dietary laws, and sex with your sister-in-law! Do those who toss this sound bite around keep those three laws? Thankfully, we know much more than David when he penned those words. Paul said the law David had was weak, unprofitable, and made nothing perfect, because a better covenant with hope had come (Heb 7:18-19). It is now the perfect law of liberty of the N.T. that brings blessings (Jas 1:25). If David intended Moses' law, we should not fault him for his inferior knowledge – for it was better than anything else available for that time under the schoolmaster. If David intended scripture in general in its respective dispensations, then we know the N.T. laws have replaced the O.T. laws (I Cor 13:8-10; II Cor 3:6-11; Eph 3:1-7).
- Objection: Paul kept Jewish feast days, showing that Israel's holy days were still valuable in pleasing God, which would also include the Sabbath days (Acts 18:21; 20:16).
Answer: The two covenants ran side by side during the time of reformation (Heb 9:10). Paul became a Jew to win Jews and went under law to win those under law (I Cor 9:19-23). The feasts and the Sabbath were still carnal ordinances with a near end (Heb 8:13; 9:10). His trip to Jerusalem was also to deliver charitable collections (Acts 24:17; Rom 15:25-28); he was not obsessing about Jewish holy days, for he had skipped dozens of them during the years he traveled abroad. The feast Paul sought to attend, Pentecost, was always held on the first day of the week (Lev 23:15-16)!
- Objection: Paul kept Jewish vows, showing that Israel's ceremonial laws were still valuable in pleasing God, which would also include the Sabbath days (Acts 18:18; 21:23).
Answer: There was an offering involved. On what altar should it be offered? If the excuse is made that there is no longer a temple or an altar, we agree that God destroyed both in 70 A.D. at the end of the time of reformation, which has denied all such observances for nearly 2000 years (Heb 9:10). Paul only did this vow to be made all things to all men, including the Jews (I Cor 9:19-23). If this was the Nazarite vow, how should we burn our shaved hair in the fire under the peace offering (Num 6:18)?
- Objection: If Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, then the Sabbath law is still in force, and if it is still in force, should it not be observed on the day chosen by God for its observance?
Answer: There is no Sabbath law or principle in the New Testament. It was only a shadow, and a poor one at that, of the reality and substance of Jesus Christ and the finished work of redemption (Col 2:16-17; 8:5; 10:1). The gospel rest replaces the Sabbath and is far superior to the weak and unprofitable Jewish Sabbath (Heb 4:1-11; 7:18-19). Christians do not want anything to do with a weekly Sabbath, which is a Jewish institution, no matter what day of the week is chosen. This does not mean that Christians cannot rest more on Sunday to refresh themselves for the coming week and enhance the value of the spiritual activities of their day of worship.
- Objection: Mark 2:27 states that the Sabbath was made for man, which means it was not for the Jews only.
Answer: Mark 2:27 should be viewed in light of Matthew 12:7, where we have the same event and similar lesson. God made the Sabbath for the benefit of Jewish men, rather than Jewish men for the purpose of worshipping the Sabbath. The lesson is the intent of the Sabbath, not the extent of the Sabbath. The extent of the Sabbath is settled by the express declarations for it by scripture (Ex 31:12-18; Deut 5:15; Neh 9:13-14; Ezek 20:12,20).
- Objection: Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law, but you say He abolished the Sabbath ordinance (Matt 5:20).
Answer: This and the following three verses were our Lord's introduction to His Sermon on the Mount, and His intent was to head off any Jewish defensiveness about His correction of the common understanding of the law. He did not destroy the law at all. He restored its right definitions and applications, even in the smallest parts of it. After completely fulfilling it by His life and death, and nailing its impossible terms to the cross, He instituted the new covenant with its new laws written in the heart, but void of all the carnal ordinances of the O.T., including the Sabbath.
- Objection: Why do you reject the fourth commandment, but you emphasize the fifth?
Answer: The fourth commandment was strictly Jewish for the nation of Israel only (Ex 31:12-18; Neh 9:13-14), and Paul and the other apostles rejected it as binding on Gentiles (Col 2:16; Gal 4:10-11; Acts 15:19,28; 21:25). On the other hand, the fifth commandment existed before Israel, and Paul applied it word for word to Gentiles (Eph 6:1-3).
- Objection: Why did God make the Sabbath one of the Ten Commandments, if it was only a part of Israel's ceremonial and national law? The other nine are moral and still binding, and this connection causes many to think they are all equivalent and binding.
Answer: God knew with perfect omniscience that superstitious types would rather hold two tables of stone with an even ten commandments on them than submit to His Son and His apostles and their gospel of reformation in the N.T., so He gave them a stumblingstone to trip them up, to which they were appointed (I Pet 2:6-8). God is happy to confuse and deceive those who approach Him with idols like the Sabbath in their hearts (Ezek 14:6-11).
- Objection: You make the council at Jerusalem to be an important vote against Sabbath-keeping, but Acts 15:21 indicates that the apostles counted on the numerous synagogues throughout the world to keep Jewish traditions, including the Sabbath, alive and binding.
Answer: The purpose of Acts 15:21 is the opposite of what you think. With a clear apostolic and inspired answer that Moses' law did not apply to Gentiles, we should not look for loopholes to conclude the opposite of what they declared. The purpose of Acts 15:21 was to explain why such ridiculous restrictions as strangled meat should be requested of Gentiles. Because there were synagogues in every major city of the Gentiles, the Jews there would be regularly hearing the Law about strangled meat, and if the Gentiles were insensitive to the weak consciences of the Jews, it would lead to greater division and strife. These meat laws of the Jews were only a temporary obligation of the Gentiles, for Paul dispenses of one of them when writing the Corinthians (I Cor 8:1-13; 10:23-33).
- Objection: Paul said the law and commandment were holy, just, and good (Rom 7:12). How can you take something that is holy, just, and good and throw it away?
Answer: The law Paul spoke of was the tenth commandment against coveting, which exposed and revealed Paul's lusts (Rom 7:7). This precept of God's moral law existed long before Mt. Sinai, and it is still binding on Christians today (Job 31:1; Rom 13:8-10). If this text justifies Sinai's Sabbath, then it must also justify Sinai's dietary laws, for both precepts are from the ceremonial and national laws of Israel. The two should stand or fall together, and Paul condemns them both together (Col 2:16-17; Heb 9:10). Remember that striving about the law is unprofitable, and no amount of striving can overturn Col 2:16; Gal 4:10; John 20:19; Acts 20:7; 21:25; and I Cor 16:2, among many others provided above.
- Objection: Paul said the law was spiritual; so the Sabbath is spiritual, and it belongs with the spiritual nature of the new covenant (Rom 7:14).
Answer: Yet Paul declared that the ordinances of the law were carnal (Heb 7:16; 9:10) and worldly (Heb 9:1; Gal 4:3; Col 2:20). What shall we do? He told Timothy to rightly divide the word of truth to avoid confusion like this (II Tim 2:15). The moral law of God and the ceremonial law of the Jews must be separated, for the one is spiritual and the other carnal. In the context of Romans 7, Paul dealt with the moral law, for he explained at length how its spiritual properties exposed his spiritual depravity. The carnal ordinances against pork and for Saturday sleeping are not part of Paul's discussion in Romans 7.
WHERE DID THE ADVENTISTS GET THEIR SEVENTH-DAY IDEA?
OTHER LINKS REJECTING THE SEVENTH DAY
For Further Study:
The web document, What About the Seventh Day?
The web document, "Jesus or Paul."
The sermon outline, "Colossians 1."
The sermon outline, "Galatians 4."
The sermon outline, "Nehushtan!"
The sermon outline, "Rude Preachers."
The sermon outline, "Instant Preaching."