Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sabbath? Which Sabbath? S.O.S.? - L.O.T.S.!

I remember a long time ago when the Roman church we attended started allowing Saturday evening mass to fulfill the Sunday obligation. (Note the word "obligation", in Christianity attending services is joy, fellowship, and worship, in catholicism it's an obligation.) Thanks to Church Canon Law # 1248 §1 we could redeem ourselves from purgatory, limbo, or some other non-biblical made up pit of damnation (they come and go so often) and be at the stadium in time for kick off against those hated, and probably Methodist, Miami Dolphins. Saturday evening mass in a football crazy town like Buffalo NY was truly a gift from God. Or the pope. Or Monsignor Zimpher. Or who ever came up with that rule. 

So, yeah, maybe it was selfish, and probably paganistic too as sports in Buffalo is kind of its own weird form of religion, but Saturday services is sooo convenient. And us precocious 4th graders asked the nuns if Saturday wasn't better anyhow seeing as the Jews had mass on Saturday. (Ever see a nun faint?) But that raises the question - what day should we worship? I know several denominations and sects that preach a Saturday Only Sabbath (SOS) Are they right? 

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. (Exodus 20:8–10)
 Yep - it's there in black and white, or what ever color the original tablets were. "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy." but we as Christians worship on Sunday and keep that holy. So what's up with that, why does the Christian church worship on Sunday rather than Saturday? 

Like I mentioned, some Christian churches and sects consider Saturday to be the proper and only Sabbath: Seventh Day Adventists, Sabbatarian Baptists (Seventh Day Baptists), Church of God Seventh Day, Sabbatarian Apostolic Pentecostal Assemblies (if there's not a rule about a church having more than 10 syllables in it's name there should be), Assemblies of Yahweh, World Wide Church of God, the United Church of God, the Restored Church of God, and several other sects. Many of these can be traced back to Herbert W. Armstrong, but that's a blog for another day.

So let's go back to the beginning, the very beginning. In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth...
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 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)
Here's a question for you: If God is all powerful why did he need a rest from working? Answer: He didn't. God was setting an example for us to follow. We were made in God's image, we are not a carbon-copy of God. We have failable weak human bodies that will break down after prolonged use, and God being all-knowing knew this and declared a day of rest for us. He took the first step and showed us how to do it. It is so beneficial to man to take this rest God made it mandatory in the 10 commandments. In Mark 2:27 Jesus clearly stated that the entire concept of the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

How important was the day of rest for man? So important that during the exodus from Egypt, God cut off the manna supply so man wouldn't spend their day of rest collecting food.
29 See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16:29-30)
 Not only is it a day of rest but a day of remembrance:
15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. (Deut. 5:15)
This is a law given to the Jew to rest and to remember. And, of course, the Pharisees grabbed on to the concept and made a mess of things. In their zeal to make the Law of Moses the Law of Everything, they even imposed severe punishment for those that failed to follow the Sabbath. To me it seems that the Pharisees were worshiping the Law rather than worshiping the Lord, and that's what Jesus was sent to fix. So along comes Jesus, and my Lord seemed to take great delight in punching holes in the Pharisees worship of the Sabbath. He healed on the Sabbath, He cured on the Sabbath, He forgave on the sabbath, He even allowed His followers to pick wheat (gasp!) and eat it on the Sabbath. And when confronted by Pharisees about this he said
25 And He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2: 25-28)
In Matthew 12:7 at this point Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 to the Pharisees
For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)
 Even back in Hosea's day God was getting on the Pharisees of the time about their legalism. And speaking of legalism, let's throw a little legalism back in the faces of the Christian pharisees of our time. I'm getting beaten over the head that one of the best ways to tell that there's going to be a pre-tribulation rapture is that the Church isn't mentioned in the book of Revelation after chapter 3. Personally I don't think that the Church not being mentioned in the book of Revelation after chapter 3 is a good measure of anything other than the fact that the church isn't mentioned in the book of Revelation after chapter 3. (Hey if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But the worst thing that I'm accused of is not following a modern movement, it doesn't effect my salvation at all) 

But in the same vein, lets look at the 10 commandments in the New Testament. In Matthew 19:18-19 the following commandments are mentioned: murder (6), adultery (7), stealing (8), false witness (9), honor parents (5), Matthew 22:37 covers worshiping God (commandments 1, 2, & 3), and Romans 3:9 mentions coveting (10). Commandment #4, requiring the observing the Sabbath isn't mentioned at all except for Jesus mention that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. 

But this is all law, with Jesus' atonement we are no longer to required to keep the law as a means for our justification. The many impossible-to-fulfill requirements of the law were fulfilled in Christ. He said so Himself:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)
We now have rest from the law. In a manner of speaking we are observing the Sabbath every moment of every day. Paul says it quite plainly - it's now between you and God.
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mindWhoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6)
In Colossians 2 Paul not only says it's between you and God, but not to let other people influence your worship of God
16 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. (Colossians 2:16-18)
So when is it proper for a Christian to set aside a day to worship God? Any day, it's between you and God
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. (Romans 14:22)
If you think that Saturday is best spent worshiping God, by all means go for it. Or Wednesday. Or possibly Thursday, it doesn't matter which day. But if your fellow Christian chooses to worship on Sunday is he wrong? No, that's between him and God. If you choose to tell them that Saturday is the proper day of worship are you correct in correcting them? You are correct, but only  if they are Jews, the law requires them to observe the Sabbath on the 7th day. We are no longer under the Mosaic law, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 that the Law is fulfilled, in Colossians 2:14 Paul said that the Law has been taken away:
having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Col.2:14)
So go ahead and celebrate God, any day of the week and every day of the week, invite your friends, and accept their invitation to celebrate with them regardless of what day it is. When it comes to which day is best to worship Jesus, they're all good. So if it's a Saturday Only Sabbath (SOS) or a Sabbath on Sunday (SOS) it's all about the Lord Of The Sabbath (LOTS).

1 comment:

  1. I've got good observations.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ never taught that keeping the Sabbath was the most important commandment:

    "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

    This of course refutes Seventh-Day Adventist theology, and others who demand that Christians observe the Jewish Sabbath.

    This passage from Hebrews is also relevant:

    When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant." (Hebrews 8:13-9:4)

    The New Testament never commands Christians to observe the Sabbath. In fact, neither Jesus nor the apostles warned against failure to observe this Jewish holiday. Nowhere does the Old Testament even condemn Gentiles for not observing Saturday.