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What About The Sabbath?

Summary: We have to remember that keeping the Sabbath is still the 4th commandment in the 10 Commandments. However, Paul modified its "legal strictness" for the gentiles. And Jesus spoke against the supper-strict-Sabbath on many occasions.

The New Testament verses below confirm that the "legal strictness" aspect of "The Sabbath" has been removed by the cross. 

Only the "legal strictness" of it was removed. It is still the 4th commandment of God.

It is not wrong if you choose to observe the Sabbath as decreed in the Old Testament. But it is wrong and against New Testament teachings to enforce it onto others like military orders!!

In the same way many old-covenant "ceremonial" commandments of God became fulfilled by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, the absolute strictness aspect of observing "The Sabbath", also became fulfilled according to Paul. Paul called it "the charge of our legal indebtedness was canceled."

Colossians 2:14-16 Paul said: 

Having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

Notes: Paul said: "Do not let anyone judge you by ... a Sabbath day". Which is exactly what some churches and dedicated Sabbath internet articles today are doing - judging people about the Sabbath. Jesus specifically stressed and overstressed many things repeatedly in the New Testament, but did not mention the Sabbath, except to rebuke those who tried to enforce it. So why are there people still going there today?

But not to completely abolish the 4th commandment of honoring the day of the Lord! or sweep it to the side as only applicable to the Jews! Let's examine the 4th commandment closely.

Exodus 20:8-11

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The "legal" aspect of it was meant for the Jews in the old covenant law.  But honoring the day of Lord is still our Christian commandment. The emphasis in the commandment was on working 6 days and resting the 7th day. Choosing Sunday as the "resting and honoring God" day, may be ceremonially against the commandment but not against it in the Christ-fulfilled new covenant. And that is what Paul was saying.

 

Paul did not specifically say Sunday, but he himself used Sunday as the church gathering day:

Acts 20:7

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

 

Sunday is the day Jesus rose from the dead. So, Sunday was a good choice for Christians who are former gentiles even though the Bible did not exclusively state it. What Paul was also saying was, if your ancestors were Jews, then yes by all means you go ahead and observe Saturday as the Sabbath, but without judging others who are not doing it your way.

This is another one of those cases where our attitude as Christians is key. If we set out to abolish this commandment, or limit it to the Jews, is the wrong attitude. But seeing the commandment as, we should be honoring God one day of the week, is the right attitude. But not as some churches stress the strictness of it.

Other observations from the New Testament, Jesus had so many parables, a thorough sermon on the mount, and stressed so many points like mature spiritually, seek God always, the Lord’s Prayer, forgive others so God forgives you, etc. But never once stressed the Sabbath. In fact not only did He not stress it, in so many parts of the Bible He rebuked those that made a big deal of it. So why are there Christians out there today taking us in the wrong direction, stressing the wrong things that Jesus Himself did not enforce?

Mark 2:27-28

Then he [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Matthew 12:5-8

Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

What Jesus said in the above references lessened the strictness of the Old Testament commandment. And this supports what Paul said about "the legal indebtedness and nailing it to the cross", above

In this New Testament story, Jesus told a man to pick up his mat on the Sabbath!

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John‬ ‭5‬:‭10‬-‭11‬ ‭

”and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.” But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”“

Jesus healed this blind man on the Sabbath. Then told him to pick up his mat and go. If Jesus was so concerned about defiling the Sabbath in the way some of today's churches are, He would not have told this man to pick up his mat! He would have just healed him and told him to come back and clean up the next day. But He didn't!! Pay attention Sabbath policers!!

Does God Change?

He does not change concerning His grand plans:

1 Samuel‬ ‭15‬:‭29‬

“He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.””

 

But He does change details within His set boundaries, examples:

 

- He changed details from the old-covenant to the new-covenant, example:

No longer animal sacrifices and grain offerings - But only the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

- He changes things when we pray and ask Him concerning our individual lives. Jesus said:

Luke 11:10 "For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Luke 11:13 "... your Father in heaven gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

 

So He does change some specific-details as He chooses. Therefore, removing the "legal indebtedness of the Sabbath" as Jesus and Paul explained, is one of these specific-changes within His main plans. 

To those Sabbath-policers and enforcers today, I say shift your focus and efforts to teaching the more crucial side of Jesus' Christianity. There are so many truths and Jesus' commands in the New Testament that people don't know, because of the misleading teachings of your church!

See my page on How to Be True Christians

I noticed that some Christians, only in certain parts of the world, enforce the Sabbath like dictatorship more than any other Christians. Abusing verses in the Bible to fit their agenda!! What are you? Jewish in disguise? It is good to teach all of the 10 commandments, but we should always remember that in the New Covenant of God, if we miss any of them (except the 1st one of course), we repent, humble ourselves, and ask God for forgiveness as we do in the daily Lord's Prayer, and He forgives us. So to the Sabbath-enforcers, no need to judge and destroy someone specifically because they're not keeping the Sabbath!!

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