Which Day is the SABBATH?
day is the seventh day -- Saturday or Sunday? From sunset to sunset or
midnight to midnight (Lev.23:32)? How should we observe the Sabbath? Are
we allowed to pick fruit (Matt.12:1-8), take a bath (Acts 16:12-13), or
have sex (1 Sam.1:20)? What about policemen, firemen and doctors in emergencies
(Luke 14:5)? What is "a sabbath day's journey" (Acts
1:12)? Is it wrong to burn wood on the Sabbath (Ex.35:3)? Is there a natural
seven-day cycle in the body? Didn't Paul say that "every day"
is "alike" (Rom.14:5)? Is "the law no more" (Lam. 2:9)?
Which Day Is The Seventh Day -- Saturday Or Sunday?
Which day is the seventh day of the week? God "blessed" and "sanctified" only "the seventh day" (Gen.2:3). A person can't "KEEP" a day "HOLY" (Ex.20:8) unless it is holy to begin with. A person can't KEEP a teapot HOT if it is COLD. It must first be MADE hot in order to be KEPT hot.
If a person is just one day off in observing the Sabbath, it doesn't count. For instance, if a person is just one day off in observing the Passover, Christ said, "ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). If a bridegroom invited guests to his wedding, and they were a day late, they would miss the wedding (cp.Matt.25:10-12). Let us therefore be like the men of Issachar "who had understanding of the times" (1 Chr.12:32; see also Esther 1:13). The modern Roman calendar is not God's calendar. The Romans rejected God's ways (Rom.1:18-22).
Now the SEVENTH DAY of the WEEK is from FRIDAY SUNSET TO SATURDAY SUNSET. Here are some of the reasons why:
First, we see that all wall calendars have SEVEN columns beginning with Sunday at the left and ENDING with SATURDAY at the right. Thus, these calendars admit that SATURDAY is the SEVENTH day by their very design.
Second, the JEWS consider Saturday the Sabbath and "the oracles of God" (Rom.3:2; cp. Acts 7:8) were committed to the JEWS. From the time of Moses to our day the JEWS represent an UNBROKEN, HISTORICAL CHAIN that has never deviated from the day Moses gave them. Christ subsequently kept the Sabbath WITH THEM (Luke 4:17,20). From 70 A.D. onward, they've been scattered into all parts of the world -- INDEPENDENT, isolated and CUT OFF from one another. Yet everywhere they rest on the SAME DAY -- SATURDAY. There is no confusion among them.
Third, it was the Roman Catholic Church who CHANGED the day of rest from SATURDAY to Sunday at the Council of Laodicea in 364 A.D. and anathematized those who rested on Saturday (pp. 361-362, History Of The Sabbath by J.N. Andrews). "How long will you turn my glory into shame?" (Ps. 4:2).
Fourth, in 108 languages of the world, "SATURDAY" is rendered "SABBATH." Most of the world's leading ancient and modern languages use a word for SATURDAY that means "REST" and SOUNDS alot LIKE "SABBATH." They all came from the Hebrew "Shabbos" meaning "to rest." For example, notice "Sabado" (Spanish), "Sabbato" (Italian), "Subbota" (Russian), "Shubbuta" (Bulgarian), "As-Sabt" (Arabic), "Sabbaton" (Greek), "Sabbatum" (Latin), "Shambin" (Persian), "Shapat" (Armenian), "Sanbat" (Abyssinian), "Sobota" (Polish), "Shamba" (Hindustani), "Ari-Sabtu" (Malay), "Shamba" (Afghan), "Sabatico" (Prussian), "Sab" (Central African) and "Sabtu" (Dayak, Boreno). Although some languages, such as French ("Samedi") and German ("Samstag"), do not preserve this transliteration, the words for "Sunday" have no significance in any language.
Fifth, Webster's Dictionary defines Saturday as "the SEVENTH or LAST day of the week; the day of the Jewish SABBATH" (p.1611).
This weekly cycle has NEVER been CHANGED by man. As James Robertson, former Director American Ephemeris, U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington D.C., said, "There has been NO CHANGE in our calendar in past centuries that has affected in any way the cycle of the week." F.W. Dyson, former Astronomer Royal, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, stated, "As far as I know, in the various changes of the calendar there has been NO CHANGE in the seven-day rota of the week, which has come down from very early times."
"The week is a period of seven days, having no reference whatever to the celestial motions -- a circumstance to which it owes its unalterable uniformity.... It has been employed from time immemorial in almost all Eastern countries; and as it forms neither an aliquot part of the year nor of the lunar month, those who reject the Mosaic recital will be at a loss, as Delambre remarks, to assign to it an origin having much semblance
of probability" (Encyc. Brit., 11th ed., vol.4, p.988).
A book giving sunset tables for all major American cities can be purchased from the Nautical Almanac Office, U.S. Naval Observatory,Washington D.C. 20390. It gives the exact times of sunset for every day of the year in any major American city. Simply remember to figure in Daylight Saving Time (From April to October add one hour. Spring ahead; Fall behind. The exact dates vary from year to year but the rule is to move clocks ahead the first Sunday in April.) Hawaii, Arizona, and parts of Indiana do not use Daylight Saving Time at all.
God Set Us An Example By Resting
In Genesis 1:14 we read that "God said, Let there be lights in the firmament (expanse) of the heaven ... and let them be ... for DAYS." God created the sun or caused it to be seen from earth so that people could rest on the SABBATH DAY. The sun wasn't destroyed by Christ's death on the tree or when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Furthermore, the SUN CONTINUES to DEFINE the DAY and the Bible indicates it always will (Gen.1:14; 8:22; Ps.89:36-37; 148:3-6; Jer.31:35-36: Ps.104:19). The sun can still be seen and has not been abolished.
We read that "GOD RESTED on the seventh day from all his work" (Gen.2:2) and yet we know HE WASN'T TIRED or weary (Isa.40:28). He rested as an EXAMPLE for Adam (literally "man") (Ex.20:10-11) and "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even AS HE WALKED" (1 John 2:6). Christ, who created all things (John 1:1-3; Eph.3:9; Col.1:16), left "us an EXAMPLE, that ye should FOLLOW HIS STEPS" (1 Pet.2:21). This was Christ who rested after creating man on the sixth day and Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb.13:8). God doesn't change (Mal.3:6). He wouldn't have two different standards at two different times to qualify for salvation. Christ "blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it" (Gen.2:3) or set it apart for a holy use or purpose. That is what "sanctify" means. By blessing that period of time, he permanently put his holy presence in it. He made the seventh day holy. That is why Sabbath-keepers often learn new truth and feel so much peace on this day. We could say that God created the Sabbath on the seventh day, not by working, but by blessing and sanctifying it. A person can't "KEEP it HOLY" (Ex.20:8) unless it already IS HOLY. Neither can Christians keep Sunday holy when it was never holy to begin with. The Sabbath was not created for JEWS only, but for ALL MANKIND (cp. Ex.12:49). The Jews came from Judah, the son of Jacob. He was not even born yet at this time (Gen.29:35). As Christ said, "The sabbath was made for MAN" (Mark 2:27) -- not just Jews -- and "MAN (not only Jews) shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (including the Old Testament) that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt.4:4; cp. Deut.8:3 & 18:15-19).
Abel Kept The Sabbath
Matthew 23:35 calls Abel "RIGHTEOUS" and we know that "all thy COMMANDMENTS (Heb. "mitsvah") (including the Sabbath) are "RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Ps.119:172). So Abel must have kept the Sabbath COMMANDMENT.
Enoch And Noah Kept The Sabbath And Noah Preached Sabbath-keeping
Genesis 6:9 says "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah WALKED WITH GOD." Enoch also "WALKED WITH GOD" (Gen.5:22,24). Amos 3:3 says two can't WALK TOGETHER unless they AGREE. So Noah and Enoch must have agreed with God about the Sabbath. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to WALK, even AS HE WALKED" (1 John 2:6). And Christ kept the Sabbath. In 2 Peter 2:5 we read that Noah was "a preacher of RIGHTEOUSNESS" and we know that "all thy COMMANDMENTS are RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Ps.119:172), so Noah must have preached SABBATH-KEEPING which is one of God's ten COMMANDMENTS. Thus we find a "SABBATUM" in the ancient records of Assyria and Babylonia where certain activities are prohibited the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st and 28th days of some months (Brit.23:961; Hasting's Dictionary 4:319).
Christians Should "Do The Works Of Abraham"
We read that "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my COMMANDMENTS, my statutes, and my laws" (Gen.26:5). One of God's ten COMMANDMENTS requires SABBATH-KEEPING. Therefore Abraham rested on God's SABBATH. All Christians are "children of Abraham" (Gal.3:7,29; Rom.4:11) and Christ said, "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would DO the WORKS of Abraham" (John 8:39). In Genesis 18:4 we read of Abraham saying, "REST yourselves under the tree" and Abraham himself was SITTING in the tent door (18:1). This was probably a SABBATH since the "Lord appeared unto him," so why don't more Christians follow this EXAMPLE and REST on Saturday? The Lord might appear to us too.
Moreover the fifth tablet of the Chaldean account of the Creation teaches that "The SEVENTH DAY He appointed a HOLY DAY, and to cease from all business He commanded." (Talbot's translation of the Chaldean Account of the Creation in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, v., p.427).
Talbot observes -- "It has been known for some time that the Babylonians observed the SABBATH with great strictness. On that day the king was not allowed to take a drive in his chariot; various meats were forbidden to be eaten, and there were a number of other minute restrictions." But these Babylonian sabbaths (7th, 14th, 21st, & 28th days of each month) differ from the Bible Sabbath (an uninterrupted sequence of sevens) because the cycle is interrupted every month by the last two days of each 30-day month being excluded from the Babylonian cycle. (see p. 248, The Beginnings of History by Lenormant).
Lot Rested On The Sabbath
Lot is called "RIGHTEOUS" in 2 Peter 2:8 and "all thy COMMANDMENTS are RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Ps.119:172). Therefore, Lot rested according to the SABBATH COMMANDMENT.
Isaac And Jacob Were Sabbath-keepers
Abraham lived till Jacob was about 35 years old (cp. Gen.17:17 & 25:20) and so would have commanded "his CHILDREN and his household after him, that they shall KEEP the way of the Eternal, to DO justice and judgment" (Gen.18:19). Since Isaac and Jacob were Abraham's CHILDREN, we know they must have been SABBATH-KEEPERS too.
The SABBATH has been CONTINUOUSLY OBSERVED from the START! "The Sabbath was recognized as a weekly DAY of REST in Babylonia as early as 3,800 B.C." (Peloubet's Bible Dict., art. "Sabbath," p.573). Epics Of Creation, on clay tablets found in the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, Nippur and Ashur, were in circulation before Abraham's time. They mention the SEVENTH DAY as a "HOLY DAY" when we should "CEASE from ALL BUSINESS," (Halley's Handbook, p.62).
"All scripture (including the OLD TESTAMENT) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in RIGHTEOUSNESS" (2 Tim.3:16) and the only "scriptures" known to Timothy were the OLD TESTAMENT. And "whatever things were written aforetime (in the OLD TESTAMENT) were written for our LEARNING" (Rom.15:4). "Now these things (we read about in the OLD TESTAMENT) were our EXAMPLES" and "they are written for our ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10:6,11). In other words, God, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac and Jacob were all Sabbath-keepers and EXAMPLES for us to follow.
Moses Received The Sabbath Oracle "To Give Unto Us"
Moses taught the ancient Israelites to keep the Sabbath. He wrote, "on the sixth day, they shall PREPARE that which they bring in ...
Tomorrow is the REST of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: BAKE that which ye will bake TODAY, and seethe (BOIL) that ye will seethe (BOIL) ... Six days shall ye GATHER ... Abide every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day" (Ex.16:23,26,29). Moses said this weeks before the covenant was made at Sinai. FOOD PREPARATION on the sabbath should therefore be AVOIDED since Friday is the day for baking and boiling and Sabbath is for REST.
Exodus 20:10 says, "the seventh day is the sabbath of the Eternal thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant (waiter), nor thy maidservant (waitress), nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger (unconverted employee) that is within thy gates." This scripture FORBIDS eating in a RESTAURANT, buying GASOLINE at a FILLING STATION, SHOPPING at a STORE, or even EXERCISING or PLAYING SPORTS on the Sabbath. If it becomes necessary to light a fire or do any work forbidden on the Sabbath, orthodox Jews ignore this scripture and employ a Gentile (called "Shabbos Goy" -- Sabbath Gentile). Yet he is "thy manservant" and "thy stranger."
Also Moses said, "Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day" (Ex.35:3). This refers to INDUSTRIAL FIRES, not fires for warmth or light. Occupational ENGINES and MOTORS should be shut off this day. The PHONE should be taken OFF the HOOK. TELEVISION and RADIO should be UNPLUGGED except for religious broadcasts.
Leviticus 23:2-3 says, "Concerning the feasts of the Eternal, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is the sabbath of REST, an holy convocation." A convocation is an ASSEMBLY or MEETING TOGETHER. Christians are required to meet together for a religious service on the Sabbath. Also, this scripture tells us that we should prepare a LARGE MEAL or BANQUET on Friday for the Sabbath. We shouldn't fast.
Numbers 15:32 & 36 say, "they found a man who GATHERED sticks upon the sabbath day.... And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Eternalcommanded Moses." He should have gathered the sticks on FRIDAY -- the preparation day.
Now all Christians are spiritual Israelites (Gasl.6:16; Rom.11; Eph.2:11-19; Rom.2:29). Since physical Israelites were required to rest on the Sabbath, why don't Christians rest too? God DOESN'T CHANGE (Mal.3:6) and Jesus Christ is "THE SAME yesterday, and today, and forever" (Heb.13:8). Sabbath-keeping is still a test commandment (Ex.16:4). Exodus 16 teaches us that we can rest on the Sabbath and still be AS WELL OFF as though we had worked.
Moses "who received the lively oracles (the Ten Commandments; statutes and judgments) to give unto US" (Acts 7:37-38), would not have given them to US if they were abolished. Stephen said this after Christ's crucifixion. "US" includes CHRISTIANS since Stephen was a CHRISTIAN. He included himself. In other words, the Sabbath was given to CHRISTIANS.
As Christ said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you (of sin), even MOSES, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed MOSES, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not HIS WRITINGS, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:45-47). To say it another way, if we don't believe the TORAH, we won't believe Jesus Christ. Moses gave these laws to us as CHRISTIANS, just as Stephen said.
Sabbath-keeping Was Commanded "Forever"
God promised to keep his covenant (Ex.19-24) with his people for a THOUSAND GENERATIONS (Deut.7:9; Ps.105:8; 1 Chr.16:15). A GENERATION is defined in the Bible as 100 YEARS (Gen.15:13-16). Yet from Moses to our day is only about 35 GENERATIONS since 3500 YEARS divided by 100 YEARS per GENERATION is 35 GENERATIONS since Moses. Now since the Sabbath commandment is part of that covenant (Ex.20:8-11) it has at least 965 GENERATIONS to go.
In Exodus 31:16-17 we read that sabbath-keeping is "a PERPETUAL covenant" and a sign "FOREVER." Both of these words come from number 5769 of Strong's Concordance which is the Hebrew word "OLAM" meaning a "CONCEALED" vanishing point in time. It does not always mean forever.
For instance, Jonah was in a fishes' belly for three days and three nights and this period of time is described as "FOREVER" (olam) (Jon.2:6). Also, if a servant chose to serve his master rather than go out free, he was then obligated to serve his master "FOREVER" (olam), meaning for the rest of his human life (Ex.21:6). Even "EVERLASTING" (olam) hills (Gen.49:26) only last for awhile (Isa.54:10; 42:15; 41:15). So the meaning of "OLAM" depends on the context and the duration of the conditions being described. In the case of Jonah, those CONDITIONS ENDED when he was vomited out of the fish's belly. In the case of the slave, those CONDITIONS ENDED with the death of the slave. And in the case of hills, those CONDITIONS END with an earthquake or bulldozer. But in the case of the Sabbath day, there is NO LIMITING FACTOR. The SUN CONTINUES TO DEFINE THE DAY from sunset to sunset and the weekly SEVEN-DAY CYCLE HAS NEVER STOPPED. PEOPLE STILL GET TIRED after working six days and REST STILL REJUVENATES. PEOPLE STILL NEED TO LEARN about God's ways and laws at regular intervals. How could the solution be abolished when the problems still exist?
Exodus 31:14-17 states that "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death ... Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a PERPETUAL ("olam") covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel FOREVER ("olam"). According to this scripture, Sabbath-breakers still deserve the death penalty TODAY.
"Do His will as if it were your own, so that He will do your will as if it were His. Nullify your own will before His so that he will nullify the will of others before you" (Pirke Avot 2:4).
What Was The Old Covenant?
The Sabbath was part of the ORIGINAL Old Covenant (Ex.19:5 to 24:8) before the LATER ritualistic laws were "ADDED because of transgressions, TILL the seed should come" (Gal.3:19). The ritualistic law from Exodus 25:1 to 31:11 "was four hundred and thirty years AFTER" (Gal.3:17) the covenant that was confirmed to Abraham (Gen.13:14-16). But we find the Sabbath command in Exodus 20:8-11. Thus we know that the sabbath day was part of the eternal, moral code of laws which are required for salvation.
The Old Covenant (Ex.19:5 to 24:8) was actually an agreement between the Eternal and the nation of Israel in which Israel agreed to obey God's ten commandments and statutes and judgments according to the LETTER in exchange for various PHYSICAL, NATIONAL benefits and blessings. There was NO promise of SALVATION or ETERNAL LIFE given to Israel. The Old Covenant was not ORIGINALLY a sacrificial or ritualistic covenant. The SACRIFICIAL, RITUALISTIC laws were UNKNOWN to the Israelites at the time of their exodus because God states that "in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I DID NOT speak ... or command them concerning burnt OFFERINGS and SACRIFICES. But this command I gave them 'Obey my voice'" (Jer.7:22-23).
The RITUALS and SACRIFICES didn't begin UNTIL Exodus 29 where we find them regulated in great detail. The TABERNACLE and its FURNITURE, the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD, RITUALS and SACRIFICES were BRAND NEW concepts. God doesn't take delight in sacrifices and offerings (Ps.40:6). Only one sacrifice -- the Passover sacrifice -- is mentioned in the book of the covenant (Ex.23:18). God calls it "my sacrifice." The Passover was re-instituted in Egypt weeks BEFORE Sinai (Ex.12:6) and it is possible that the lamb Abel offered (Gen.4:4) was even a Passover lamb (cp. Gen.14:18). God did command this sacrifice FOREVER and it had to be included in the covenant made at Sinai because it is an ETERNAL statute. But it didn't originate with that covenant and therefore couldn't be destroyed even if the Old Covenant itself was destroyed. When the "ADDED law" (Gal.3:19) was done away, the temporary sacrifices were done away also. Only the Passover sacrifice was continued because only it PRECEDED the "added law." It is a statute, not a ritual or sacrifice. Jesus' disciples even prepared this same Passover lamb (Matt.26:19).
The "Added" Law Didn't Include Sabbath-keeping
In contract law, anything added AFTER the signature is no part of the original contract. Instead it is a separate agreement. We've seen how the original Old Covenant from Exodus 19:5 to 24:8 does include the Sabbath. After agreeing to obey, blood (the signature) was sprinkled on the people (24:8) and Moses said it was "the blood of the covenant, which the Lord HATH MADE with you." This occurred BEFORE any rituals or sacrifices were added (Jer.7:22). But notice that Hebrews 9:21 mentions a SEPARATE and LATER sprinkling of blood (signature) by Moses which was ADDED to the covenant of Hebrews 9:18-20 (cp. Ex.29:12,20,36).
A full year passed from the time that God first started to teach Israel his laws (Ex.12:1-2) BEFORE we hear anything about sacrifices being offered in the tabernacle (Ex.40:17; Lev.1:1). Clearly the sacrificial laws were implemented almost ten months AFTER God began to instruct Israel at Sinai (cp. Ex.19:1 & 40:29). If these laws stand or fall together, why is there so much time between them? The rituals and sacrifices would not have been necessary if Israel had obeyed God. But Israel continually sinned, so God ADDED TEMPORARY ritualistic/sacrificial laws to remind them of sin and teach object lessons (Gal.3:24) and the habit of obedience. Just as it becomes a fixed habit to wind a watch once a day, so the rituals -- morning, noon and evening -- fixed in them the habit of obedience by reminding them of sin's penalty constantly. These laws were "imposed on them UNTIL the time of reformation" (Heb.9:10) or the crucifixion in 31 A.D. The Sabbath was not ORIGINALLY linked to sacrifices of Numbers 28:9-10. Since extra sacrifices were performed on the Sabbath, some people think that the Sabbath was merely instituted for ritualistic and sacrificial reasons. But sacrifices were offered on EVERY SINGLE DAY of the week all year long (Num.28:3-8), so according to that line of reasoning we should abolish all 365 days in the year.
These laws were NOT actually a part of the ORIGINAL Old Covenant. Israel's disobedience required the institution of rituals. Since these rituals required much laborious work, they became known as "THE WORKS OF THE LAW" by New Testament times. Those sins committed by Israelites, which didn't deserve death, now had to be acknowledged with manual labor and work to remind them of sin and its penalty. But these rituals didn't forgive anything (Heb.10:4). They were "A YOKE OF BONDAGE" (Gal.5:1; Acts 15:5,10) and a "LAW OF SERVITUDE AND BONDAGE" (Gal.4:1-9). These three phrases never refer to the Sabbath command. This sacrificial ritualistic law came "four hundred and thirty years AFTER" the promises to Abraham were confirmed (Gal.3:17). So we know this law isn't and can't be permanent. It was "ADDED because of transgressions, TILL the seed (Christ) should come to whom the promise was made" (Gal.3:19) of inheriting the whole earth forever. It was ADDED to a pre-existing law (the Old Covenant) that had been transgressed by the Israelites. Transgressions aren't possible without laws (Rom.4:15; 1 John 3:4; Rom.5:13). The law which was transgressed is called "my commandments and my laws" (Ex.16:28). But God never did take delight in the other law of sacrifices and offerings (Ps.40:6). The ritualistic law was the law Moses received on Mount Sinai in Exodus 24:12 where "the Eternal said ... I will give thee tables of stone, and A LAW, and commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them." Since the promises to Abraham were originally given in Genesis 12:1-3 and 7 and confirmed in Genesis 13:14-17, we know that 430 years later must bring us to the ritualistic sacrificial law beginning in Exodus 25 and ending in Exodus 31.
Of course there were "voluntary" (Lev.1:3; Ez.46:12) sacrifices before this time called "burnt offerings," but they were not ritualistic types rigidly regulated in great detail. Instead, they were monetary offeringsto God in the absence of human representatives or Christian churches to give money to. For instance, animals "devoted" to the Eternal had to be put to death (Lev.27:29) or perhaps the offerings complied with Deuteronomy 16:16-17 (holy day offerings) since, at that time, offerings may have been paid directly to God. Symbolic, sacrificial types really began in Exodus 29 orally and Leviticus one in practice (cp. Jer.7:22). The TABERNACLE (Heb.9:11), LEVITE PRIESTHOOD (Heb.7:12), "MINISTRATION OF DEATH" (2 Cor.3:7), INCENSE (Ps.141:2), mandatory SACRIFICING (Jer.7:22; Dan.9:27; Heb.9:12-14) and CIRCUMCISION as a membership requirement (Gal.5:1-12; Rom.2:28-29; Jer.4:4) were all TEMPORARY concepts. Any man could be priest and offer sacrifices from the time of Adam to Levi or Moses (Ex.24:5). Abel, Noah, and Job didn't follow these TEMPORARY concepts. Abraham didn't follow most of them. Most were instituted for the first time in the days of Moses -- AFTER the Old Covenant was ratified. These TEMPORARY concepts are NOT found in the "book of the covenant" (Ex.19:5 to 24:8). A law must PRECEDE the Old Covenant in order to be considered permanent. The sabbath goes all the way back to Adam and is part of the ORIGINAL Old Covenant.
Furthermore, the Old Covenant was not done away or abolished. The laws contained in this covenant are still binding (with minor changes) on Christians today.
The Sabbath Is A Sign Between Us And God
In Exodus 31:13 and 17 we read that the Sabbath "is a SIGN between me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Eternal who doth SANCTIFY you....It is a SIGN between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Eternal made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." Christians certainly feel SET APART (or "sanctified") from the world for a spiritual use when they rest on the Sabbath. When we keep it, it identifies us as belonging to God. The Sabbath IDENTIFIES God's people and sets them apart. Other people will automatically SET YOU APART. They will even IDENTIFY you as a CHRISTIAN. The world acknowledges all the other nine commandments. The only one the world rejects is the fourth. When Israel quit keeping God's Sabbath, they went into idolatry (Ez.20:5, 11-13, 17-21) and became known as "the lost ten tribes" (cp. Matt.10:6; 15:24). But the Jews have retained their identity even to this day because they kept the Sabbath. The Sabbath Day is a SIGN which IDENTIFIES who the TRUE CHRISTIANS are. It is the real test command. Only those who have surrendered to God and obey God will have this SIGN (cp.Ez.9:4).
As Jesus said, "why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and DO NOT the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt.7:21). "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to OBEY, his servants ye are to whom ye OBEY?" (Rom.6:16).
Regarding one of God's annual Sabbaths, we read: "it shall be for a SIGN unto thee upon thine HAND, and for a memorial between thine eyes (FOREHEAD), that the Eternal's law may be in thy mouth" (Ex.13:9). "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart ... And thou shalt bind them for a SIGN upon thine HAND, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes (FOREHEAD)" (Deut.6:6-8). "Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a SIGN upon your HAND, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes" (FOREHEAD) (Deut.11:18). (See also Pr.7:2-3; Rev.7:3-4 & 14:1) But most people will not accept God's Sabbath in their MINDS or refuse to work with their HANDS. Their THOUGHTS (agreeing with God's ways) and ACTIONS (obeying God) will not surrender to God or obey him. What we BELIEVE and who we OBEY determine whether we have God's SIGN or Satan's MARK.
Homer and Hesiod Both Said The Seventh Day is Holy
The ancient Persians, the nations of India, and the old German tribes, regarded seven as a sacred number (Winer, Bib. R.W. Art. Zahlen 2:714). Hesiod says "the seventh day a holy day" (Works & Days 770). Homer says "Then came the seventh day, which is sacred or holy." (Clemens Alexandrinus Strom. 5:600) (Eusebius Prep. Evang. 13:12)Callimachus gives it the same title. Theophilus of Antioch, speaking of it, says, "The day which all mankind celebrate." Porphyry says, "The Phoenicians consecrate one day in seven as holy." Linus says, "The seventh day is given to schoolboys, as a holyday." Eusebius says, "Almost all philosophers and poets acknowledge the seventh day as holy." Clemens Alexandrinus says, "The Greeks, as well as the Hebrews, observe the seventh day as holy." Josephus says, "No city of Greeks or Barbarians can be found, which does not acknowledge a seventh-day's rest from labor." (Contra Apion 2) Philo says, "The seventh day is a festival to every nation." (Grotius, De Veritate 1:16) Tibullus says, "The seventh day, which is kept holy by the Jews, is also a festival of the Roman women," etcetera. Sunday was the first day of the week in the east from all antiquity (Jus Nat et Gent. 3:22).
Sunday-keeping Is The Mark Of The Beast
Revelation 13:16-18 says, "And he (the beast with two horns like a lamb) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a MARK in their right HAND, or in their FOREHEADS: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the MARK, ("of the beast" with ten horns -- Rev.16:2) or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.... Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six."
Since the MARK is "OF the beast" (Rev.16:2), we need to know who the beast is. Who is the beast? John said, "I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat (throne), and great authority" (Rev.13:1-2).
"Beasts" are defined as "nations" (Ez.31:6) or "kings" (Dan.7:17) or "kingdoms" (Dan.7:23). The "sea" or water symbolizes "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (Rev.17:15). The "horns" are "kings" (Dan.7:24; Rev.17:12). The "heads" are "mountains" (Rev.17:9) or governments (Jer.51:24-25; Isa.2:2; Micah 4:1) and the "dragon" is "Satan" (Rev.12:9; 20:2). Daniel 7 reveals that four successive world empires are symbolized by a "lion" (Chaldean or Babylonian Empire, 625-539 B.C.), a"bear" (Medo-Persian Empire, 558-330 B.C.), a "leopard" with four heads (Alexander's Greco-Macedonian Empire, 336-146 B.C.), and a fourth "diverse" beast with "ten horns" (Dan.7:7) matching the description of the beast John saw. This would be the ROMAN EMPIRE (31 B.C.-476 A.D.) which swallowed up and absorbed all the others and embodied the strongest physical and military characteristics of all its predecessors. Therefore, the MARK of the BEAST is the MARK of the ROMAN EMPIRE. The "number of the beast" is also "the name of the beast" and "the number of a man" (Rev.13:17-18). The founder and first king of Rome was ROMULUS. The Roman Empire was named after him. In Hebrew, the name is ROMIITH (R=200, O=6, M=40, I=10, I=10, TH=400) and in Greek the name is LATEINOS (L=30, A=1, T=300, E=5, I=10, N=50, O=70, S=200). It signifies "Latin Man" or "the name of Latium," the city where both the Roman people and their language came from. Both names add up to 666.
But what about the beast which had "two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him" (Rev.13:11-12)? Since a "Lamb" is defined as Christ (John 1:29; Rev.7:14), a "beast" with "two horns like a lamb" would be an ecclesiastical world government, exercising both spiritual and temporal authority (church and state -- the two horns), and appearing to be Christian, but teaching doctrines of Satan (the dragon). This PAPACY wielded all the power of the ROMAN EMPIRE from 538 A.D. to 1798 A.D. -- 1260 years (Rev.12:6,14). The "image of the beast" (13:15) was a likeness of the Roman Empire. As Myers Ancient History says, "there had begun to grow up within the Roman Empire an ecclesiastical state, which in its constitution and its administrative system was shaping itself upon the imperial model" (p.582). Since a "woman" symbolizes a "church" (2 Cor.11:2; Eph.5:25), the "great whore" of Revelation 17 is the same Roman Catholic Church as the lamb-like beast. This "woman ... is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (17:18) and she sits on "seven mountains" (17:9). The Roman poets Virgil and Horace both call Rome the "Seven-Hilled City" (see Georg.2:535; Aen.6:784; Carmen Saec.7). Remember that the saints "are they that KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Rev.14:12). "And the dragon (Satan) was wroth with the woman (church), and went to make war with the remnant (last generation) of her seed, which KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev.12:17).
But "the wrath of God (seven last plagues)" comes "upon the children of DISOBEDIENCE" (Eph.5:6; Col.3:5-6). The great day of the Eternal is near ... that day is a day of wrath ... and I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men because they have SINNED against the Eternal" (Zeph.1:14-17). Yes, the cups of the wrath of God are poured out upon "the men who had the MARK of the BEAST" (Rev.16:1-2). Therefore, the MARK of the ROMAN EMPIRE must be COMMANDMENT-BREAKING just as much as the SIGN of GOD is KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS. Christians refuse to have the MARK of the ROMAN EMPIRE.
But just as the SIGN of GOD was more specifically SABBATH-KEEPING, since that is one of the most obvious outward SIGNS of OBEDIENCE, so also SUNDAY came from the sun worship of the pagan Roman Empire. SUNDAY is the primary MARK of the BEAST (cp. Rev.14:9-11; 15:2; 19:20; 20:4)! It was Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire, not a pope, who made Sunday the day of rest for "Christians." On the seventh of March in 321 A.D. an unusual edict was issued by Crispus and Constantine, often designated as the earliest Sunday law. It reads as follows: "on the venerable DAY OF THE SUN let the magistrates and people residing in cities REST, and let all workshops be CLOSED. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain sowing or forvine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost." (Codex Justinianus, lib.3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the Christian Church, by Schaff, vol.3, p.380)
But it was enforced by the Roman Catholic Church. At the Council of Laodicea in 364 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church decreed that "Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, resting rather on Sunday. But, if any be found to be Judaizing, let them be declared anathema from Christ."
The Catholic Church caused them to be killed because when they were branded "anathema" (a heretic), the state police of the Roman Empire began torturing them until they either died or recanted. Laws became so strict that no man could buy or sell, hold a job, or engage in business unless he worked on Saturday and rested on Sunday. The same is true today in many areas. The Sabbath is the only commandment altered by the Roman Empire. In Daniel 7:25 we read that this "little horn" (cp.7:8) PAPACY "will think to change the times and the laws" -- the time for the Sabbath law. "Because they received not the love of the truth (SABBATH), that they might be saved ... for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie (SUNDAY); that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Th. 2:10-12).
French Revolution Instituted a Tenth Day of Rest
"The overthrow of all things old was further indicated by the issue, on November 24, 1793, of the new republican calendar. Year one was fixed to have begun on September 22, 1792, the date of the proclamation of the Republic. The new year should have twelve months like its predecessors, each with a new name, in four groups of three, each of thirty days, and each divided into three decades, of which the TENTH DAYS should be a DAY OF REST, in lieu of the old exploded Sunday. These twelve months of thirty days apiece, cutting across the old months so awkwardly, only made up 360 days, so that a little bundle of five days (in leap-years of six) had to be tacked on at the end of the Fructidor month (August-September) in an awkward and shapeless way, and called, poor things, the Sansculottides" (Encyc. Brit. 9:606).
Nehemiah Didn't Buy Or Sell
On The Sabbath
In Nehemiah 9:13-17, the Levites taught the people that God "camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and didst speak with them (Israelites) from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments; And madest known unto them thy holy SABBATH ... But they and our fathers ... hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey."
In Nehemiah 10:29-31 we read that the people entered "into 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 Eternal, our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes ... And if the people of the land bring wares or any victuals on the SABBATH day to SELL, that we would NOT BUY it of them on the SABBATH, or on the HOLYDAY (no mention of new moons because they aren't sabbaths)."
Nehemiah 13:15-22 says, "In those days saw I (Nehemiah) in Judah some men TREADING wine presses on the SABBATH, and BRINGING IN sheaves (of grain), and lading (LOADING) asses; and also wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they BROUGHT INTO Jerusalem on the SABBATH day; and I testified against them in the day in which they SOLD victuals (food). There dwelt men of Tyre also therein (in Jerusalem), who BROUGHT fish, and all manner of wares, and SOLD on the SABBATH unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the SABBATH day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the SABBATH. And it came to pass that, when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the SABBATH, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the SABBATH; and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be BROUGHT IN on the SABBATH day. So the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged without (outside of) Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why LODGE ye about (before) the wall? If ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the SABBATH. And I commanded the Levites that they should ... keep the gates, to sanctify (set apart as holy) the SABBATH day."
Sabbath-keeping and other laws don't apply only to Israelites, but also to STRANGERS such as these "men of Tyre." Exodus 12:49 says, "One law shall be to him that is home-born and unto the STRANGER that sojourneth among you."
A Song For The Sabbath Day
Psalm 92 is called "A Psalm or SONG for the sabbath day." Therefore, it is proper to SING SONGS on the Sabbath. In fact, the first verse says, "It is a good thing ... to SING PRAISES unto thy name, O Most High." It is also proper to PLAY THE PIANO or HARP in church because verse three says, "Upon an INSTRUMENT of TEN STRINGS, and upon the PSALTERY; upon the HARP with a solemn sound." These verses show us that CHOIR PRACTICE and MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS are not violations of the Sabbath. SINGING is part of Sabbath worship (Eph.5:19-20; Col.3:16; Ps.33:1-3; 95:1-7; 96:1-3 and 98:1-9).
What Does It Mean To Ride On High Places Of The Earth?
In Isaiah 56:2-7 we read, "Blessed is the man ... that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger (foreigner), that hath joined himself to the Eternal, speak, saying, The Eternal hath utterly separated me from his people (bachelor since no interracial marriage); neither let the eunuch say, Behold I am a dry tree (Deut.23:1 excluded eunuchs from the congregation.). For thus saith the Eternal unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths (annual and weekly), and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant (Ex.31 Sabbath Covenant): Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls (They aren't restricted to Court of Gentiles since Christ tore down the wall of separation between it and Court of Israelites -- Eph.2:14) a PLACE and a NAME better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger (foreigner), that join themselves to the Eternal, to serve him, and to love the name of the Eternal, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them WILL I BRING TO MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, and make them joyful IN MY HOUSE OF PRAYER; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all peoples." (cp. Matt.8:11-12) It's not just a "Jewish" sabbath.
In Isaiah 58:13-14 we read, "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure ("desire" or will -- #2656 of Strong's) on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Eternal, honorable, and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure (will), nor speaking thine own words (cp.Isa.55:8-9); Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Eternal; and I will cause thee to RIDE UPON THE HIGH PLACES OF THE EARTH (high places "in PRAISE, and in NAME, and in HONOR" -- Deut.26:19. Also, the high places OF DIVINE WORSHIP -- 1 Ki.3:2; and DEFENSE -- Isa.2:15; and GOVERNMENT -- Jer.51:24-25), and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob (the "LAND" -- Ex.6:8; ETERNAL LIFE -- Ps.61:4-8; God's "TESTIMONIES" -- Ps.119:111 and VICTORY -- Isa.54:17), thy father; for the mouth of the Eternal hath spoken it."
Do Humans Have A Weekly Rhythm?
In nature, the unit of SEVEN is manifested in the MUSICAL SCALE and the COLORS of the RAINBOW. Is there a biological basis for the SABBATH DAY? Do humans have a built-in SEVEN-DAY cycle? Kenneth Westby of Association For Christian Development (4449 S. Star Lake Road, Auburn , WA 98001) has uncovered a STARTLING PROOF of the NEED for a SABBATH DAY! Given below are some of the facts he has uncovered.
According to Fernandez, Halberg and Good's "Circadian Rhythm," p.291, we read: "Studies show that the body rejects kidney transplants most frequently at MULTIPLES of SEVEN to eight days; in other words, in WEEKLY rhythms."
On the interplay of rhythms, Erhard Haus states, "We have followed up a cohort of elderly people essentially until time of death. We did find in this process very characteristic circadian, CIRCASEPTAN, and circannual variations in mortality, especially from acute cardiac death, which showed a marked circadian rhythm but also CIRCASEPTAN and circannual rhythms. The interesting aspect, especially in CIRCASEPTAN (approximately SEVEN-DAY) rhythms, is that this is in people who have NO RESPONSIBILITIES essentially, live in a home for the aged, and for whom weekends and weekdays are relatively VERY SIMILAR. So it's not the stress of Monday that hits these people, because they are not exposed to any stress like that" (p.208, The Light Book, by Jane Wegscheider Hyman).
According to Susan Perry and Jim Dawson's book The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal, (New York: Rawson Associates, 1988) "WEEKLY rhythms -- known in chronobiology as "CIRCASEPTAN rhythms" -- are one of the most puzzling and fascinating findings of chronobiology. CIRCASEPTAN literally means "about SEVEN." Daily and seasonal cycles appear to be connected to the moon. But what is there in nature that would have caused WEEKLY rhythms to evolve? At first glance, it might seem that WEEKLY rhythms developed in response to the SEVEN-DAY WEEK imposed by human culture thousands of years ago. However, this theory doesn't hold once you realize that PLANTS, INSECTS, and ANIMALS other than humans also have WEEKLY cycles ... BIOLOGY, therefore, not culture, is probably at the SOURCE of our SEVEN-DAY WEEK" (pp.20-21).
According to Jeremy Campbell's chapter "The Importance of Time," we read, "These CIRCASEPTAN, or about WEEKLY, rhythms are one of the major surprises turned up by modern chronobiology. Fifteen years ago, few scientists would have expected that SEVEN-DAY biological cycles would prove to be so WIDESPREAD and so LONG ESTABLISHED in the living world. They are of VERY ANCIENT ORIGIN, appearing in PRIMITIVE ONE-CELLED ORGANISMS, and are thought to be present even in BACTERIA, the simplest form of life now existing" (p.75).
One of Franz Halberg's amazing discoveries is that of an innate rhythm -- about SEVEN DAYS -- occurring in a GIANT ALGA some five million years old on the evolutionary time line. Because this microscopic CELL resembles a graceful champagne glass, the ALGA (plant) is popularly known as MERMAID'S WINEGLASS (Acetabularia mediterranea). When this "primitive" ALGA is subjected to artificial schedules of alternating light and dark spans of varying length over many days, this single intact CELL is somehow able to translate all that manipulation of light and darkness into the measurement of a SEVEN-DAY WEEK!
As Campbell says, this inherent rhythm has to do with the INTERNAL LOGIC of the BODY, not with the external logic of the world. Many more examples could be given. Involved experimentation with RATS, FACE FLIES, PLANTS and other LIFE have revealed CIRCASEPTAN rhythms similar to that of the mermaid's wineglass" (Halberg, pp.569-570; Campbell, pp.75-76). As Campbell explains: "all rhythmic systems of the body probably possess an innate CIRCASEPTAN frequency so that when they cooperate to perform a specific task which is body-wide, say, an immune reaction, the reaction occurs on a WEEKLY schedule. That schedule is a compromise between too much time and too little. A day and a night, which is the dominant frequency in the spectrum of many routine body chores, would not be long enough to
complete the complicated array of chemical and other activities that compose the immune defense reaction, and a month would be too long" (p.133).
In addition to being the KEY coordinating rhythm for the rest of the body's many rhythmic interactions, a SEVEN-DAY cycle has been found in FLUCTUATIONS of BLOOD PRESSURE, ACID CONTENT in BLOOD, RED BLOOD CELLS, HEARTBEAT, ORAL TEMPERATURE, FEMALE BREAST TEMPERATURE, URINE CHEMISTRY and VOLUME, the RATIO between TWO IMPORTANT NEUROTRANSMITTERS, norepinephrine and epinephrine, and the RISE and FALL of SEVERAL BODY CHEMICALS such as the stress coping hormone, cortisol. "In fact," Perry and Dawson note, "WEEKLY rhythms appear easiest to detect when the body is under STRESS, such as when it is defending itself against a virus, bacterium,or other harmful intruder. For example, cold symptoms (which are really signs of the body defending itself agasinst the cold virus) last about a WEEK. Chickenpox symptoms (a high fever and small red spots) usually appear almost exactly TWO WEEKS after exposure to the illness" (p.22 of Susan Perry and Jim Dawson"s book called The Secrets Our Body Clocks Reveal, New York, Rawson Associates, 1988).
Doctors have long observed that response to MALARIA INFECTION and PNEUMONIA CRISIS peaked at SEVEN DAYS. ORGAN TRANSPLANTS face similar crises as the body's immune system attacks the foreign organ. Campbell explains: "When a human patient receives a kidney transplant, there is a rhythm of about SEVEN DAYS, a predictable rise and fall in the probability that the body's immune system will reject the new kidney. A major peak of rejection occurs SEVEN DAYS after the operation, and when a serum is given to suppress the immune reaction, a series of peaks occurs, with increasing risk of rejection, at one WEEK, two WEEKS, three WEEKS and at four WEEKS, the time of the highest of all" (p.76).
"In Franz Halberg's view," summarizes Campbell, "a central feature of BIOLOGICAL time structure is the harmonic relationship that exists among the various component frequencies. A striking aspect of this relationship is that the components themselves appear to be harmonics or subharmonics, multiples or submultiples, of SEVEN, a number that has played a DISPROPORTIONATELY LARGE role in human culture, myth, RELIGION, magic and the calendar" (p.130).
Clearly, BIOLOGY came BEFORE CULTURE. The cycle is not artificially or culturally induced. SEVEN-DAY cycles in PLANTS and ANIMALS leave no room for CULTURE or RELIGIOUS influence at all. The only explanation that fits is a BIBLICAL model. God designed all life forms to have a built-in SEVEN-DAY cycle and then commanded man as well as his domesticated animals to rest, to keep in harmony with this cycle. The Bible is God's instruction manual that comes with the human product. God built us. God designed us. He ought to know how we operate best. "For the INVISIBLE THINGS of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the THINGS THAT ARE MADE, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE" (Rom.1:20). Deuteronomy 5:15 implies that the purpose of the Sabbath is to give our BODIES REST from a slave-like existence. A SAFEGUARD against OVERWORK, STRESS, and a life WITHOUT SPIRITUAL MEANING. "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt" (Deut.5:15). Just as the CIRCASEPTAN cycle keeps our bodies in physical syncronization or equilibrium, so also the SEVENTH-DAY sabbath keeps the church body in syncronization spiritually and morally. The Sabbath is an oasis in time when men return to God for rest and strength.
In the late 1700s, the humanistic French Revolution promised the people a new Age of Reason to replace religious superstitions. A new secular, "rational" week of TEN DAYS was devised and approved by the ruling convention in October, 1793 (R.R. Palmer, The World Of The
French Revolution, New York, Harper & Row, 1971, p.120). The TEN-DAY "decade" was patterned after the decimal principle, having TEN DAYS divided into ten hours, of 100 minutes each, with each minute divided into 100 decimal seconds. Every TENTH DAY, the "decadi" was reserved for rest and celebration of various natural objects and abstract ideas. Notre Dame was renamed the Temple of Reason. During the Reign of Terror the TEN-DAY "decade" was imposed by force. Churches were closed and allowed to open only on the TENTH DAY. People were even forbidden to wear their good clothing on the traditional Sunday, with severe fines and even jail sentences given to violators. RELIGION, however, proved TOO RESILIENT and the attempt to destroy the SEVEN-DAY week (1793-1805) FAILED COMPLETELY ... as did the First Republic of France.
The Communists ruling the Russian Revolution tried a second experiment, 140 years later. They also wanted to abolish Judeo-Christianity by abolishing the SEVEN-DAY WEEK. The Soviet plan was a FIVE-DAY continuous, rotating work week which called for 80 percent of workers
to be on the job on any given day -- a plan which left 20 percent to share a day off. There was no longer a national day off. The advertised reason for the new rotating FIVE-DAY week was to increase production. After ELEVEN YEARS of DISAPPOINTING production and epidemic irresponsibility in the work place (1929-1940), Stalin called it quits and gave the Soviet people back their seven-day week.
Something similar happened in Great Britain during World War II when, to increase war materials production, the work schedule was set at SEVENTY-FOUR HOURS a week. Soon there were MORE ACCIDENTS and SPOILED WORK, LOSS OF MORALE, ABSENTEEISM, IRRITABILITY, and RESTLESSNESS. When management REDUCED the week TEN HOURS, much of the PROBLEM was DECREASED and PRODUCTION was EQUAL. But when they cut back to 48 HOURS, PRODUCTION WENT UP 15 PERCENT. Subsequently, Great Britain instituted a law requiring ONE DAY OF REST EACH WEEK and TWO WEEKS of VACATION each year. They rediscovered that God's principle, "SIX DAYS shalt thou labor," was BEST (p.126, Raymond & Dorothy Moore's Home Made Health). The information in this section is mainly from Ken Westby's article entitled "The Mysterious 7-Day Cycle" portions of which have been reprinted by permission.
Is A Rest Really Necessary?
Did you know that SLEEP is as NECESSARY for SURVIVAL as air, food, or water? Without air you can't live more than five minutes, without food more than ninety days, and without water more than a week. But if you were to not get any sleep for more than ten days, you would die.
Nothing else will substitute for sleep. I've heard people say, "I'm going to eat more today because I didn't get much sleep last night." It doesn't work that way. The two are not interchangeable. In fact, SLEEP is MORE VITAL than FOOD. This was proven in an experiment by a medical professor, the results of which were published in a national magazine. This professor kept a litter of puppies AWAKE for FIVE DAYS, at the end of which time they all DIED, even though they had been well fed the whole time. While this was happening, another litter of puppies was allowed to have plenty of sleep but was not given any food for twenty days. At the end of that time the puppies were weak but they recovered totally when fed. These results are not surprising. One dictionary defines sleep as "the unconscious state or condition regularly assumed by man and animals during which the ACTIVITY of the nervous system is almost entirely SUSPENDED and the RECUPERATION of the body takes place." During sleep food is transformed into tissue. A certain amount of time is needed to do that, and to RID the body of POISONS. The cells in your body are REPAIRED and REPRODUCED more rapidly when you are sleeping than when you are awake and all the body functions are going at full speed. That is why there is NO SUBSTITUTE for sleep. It actually changes the structure of the blood. There are certain things that need to happen in your body that can only happen during sleep. A tranquilizer helps you to go to sleep, but it interferes with some of the processes that need to happen in your body while you are sleeping. HEALTH, ATTRACTIVENESS, and BEAUTY depend on good, deep sleep. Lack of sleep can probably AGE you more quickly than anything. And if you were unable to sleep at all for long enough, you would DIE. Wartime tortures include keeping victims AWAKE to the point of INSANITY or near DEATH, for then they can be programmed to do anything. We underestimate the powerful need for sleep and the destruction that happens in the body when we are deprived. (p.178, Greater Health God's Way by S. Omartian)
"Again, PERCEPTUAL PROBLEMS may result from toxic chemical buildup in the body caused by acute sleep loss. Christian counselors who are aware of the effects of sleep loss (often as a result of sinful abuse of the body) have been able to get to the root of the problem when physicians could find no cause. At times some of these causes may be combined: the counselee could be taking drugs to keep him awake at night. He may have been on "up" pills (amphetamines) to keep himself awake (as do some students during exam periods; truck drivers, etc.). But if in doing so he misses two or three days of sleep, he may become very IRRITABLE, then SUSPICIOUS, and then even begin to HALLUCINATE. Significant sleep loss (loss of Rapid Eye Movement [R.E.M.] sleep) can cause every effect of LSD....Sometimes counselees object, "But I can't get to sleep at night; my mind keeps on racing even after I go to bed." What can be done? Several things: (1) PRAYER for God's blessing upon sleep (cf. Proverbs 3:24; Psalm 4:8; 127:2) including CONFESSION of SIN and committal of problems into God's care; (2) EXERCISE to perspiration before retiring (especially if one has been worried or tense); the body is designed so that exercise and worry are normally exclusive of each other; (3) RELAXATION; (4) the use of night NOTES; if a pad and pencil are placed within reach of the bed, one can jot down notes (not write essays) that will RETAIN VITAL THOUGHTS so that he will feel free to go asleep." (pp. 384-388 of Adams' The Christian Counselor's Manual) Continual work makes a person PREMATURELY OLD just as much as continual rest makes a person lazy and degenerate. The Sabbath also BENEFITS the MIND by regularly interrupting material pursuits with thoughts of GOD'S SOLUTIONS to every problem. This proper balance made it so "There was not one feeble person among their tribes" (Ps.105:37).
|"The religious observance of the Sabbath is a main prop of the
religious character of a country. From a moral, social and physical
point of view, the observance of the Sabbath is a duty of absolute
consequence." -- Gladstone
|"We know not here, what land before us lies,
Or to what quarter now we turn our eyes,
Or where the sun shall set, or where shall rise."
-- Homer's Odyssey 10:190
The Sabbath Preserves Morality
What did God create on the seventh day? He created the SABBATH -- which is a space of time devoted to the ONGOING CREATION of God's SPIRITUAL IMAGE in humans. The Sabbath is an institution which OPPOSES human DEGENERACY. This weekly observance WEAKENS the power of SIN. This holy rest is a BARRIER which must be broken down before men turn wholly TO SIN. Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England, remarks that "a CORRUPTION of morals usually FOLLOWS a PROFANATION of the SABBATH." It is an observation of Lord Chief Justice Hale, that "of all the persons who were convicted of capital crimes, while he was on the bench, he found a few only who would not confess that they began their career of WICKEDNESS by a NEGLECT of the duties of the SABBATH and vicious conduct on that day." Many laws have been enacted to punish the criminal. But only ONE law has been enacted to PREVENT the CRIME from ever occurring. Only the Sabbath command, which treats the CAUSE rather than the EFFECT, prevents a man from becoming a criminal in the first place. No man can PRESERVE his own morals unless he is repeatedly TAUGHT and reminded of these principles in the scriptures. Our society today doubts the authenticity of the Bible and doesn't even know if there is any such thing as right or wrong. Thus, people DON'T FEAR God's RETRIBUTION beyond the grave. They believe the WEAK have NO GUARDIAN, and the INJURED NO AVENGER; that an OATH is NOT HEARD in heaven; that all their IMPROVEMENTS PERISH FOREVER at death; that secret CRIMES have NO WITNESS but the perpetrator; that human EXISTENCE has NO PURPOSE; human GOODNESS NO REWARD; that this brief life is all there is. There is NO RESTRAINT to immorality and crime because people have never taken the time out to prove the Bible true. Sabbath-breakers have never heard a good sermon. They don't have time to obey their Maker and rest. (pp.186-189, McGuffy's Sixth Eclectic Reader)
Priests Violated The Sabbath Law!
Furthermore, we find that Ezekiel's message condemns Sabbath-breakers. As the Eternal says, "Thou ... hast DESPISED mine HOLY THINGS (Exodus 31:14 says the Sabbath is holy.) and PROFANED my SABBATHS (weekly and annual).... Her priests have violated my law (They rest on Sunday instead), and have profaned mine HOLY THINGS; they have put NO DIFFERENCE between the HOLY and PROFANE, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have HIDDEN their eyes FROM my SABBATHS, and I am profaned among them" (Ez.22:8,26; cp. 23:38 & 20:12-24). Jerusalem "hath changed mine judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes" (Ez. 5:6). Sabbath to Sunday.
The entire book of Ezekiel was written primarily for our day. This book was written during a 22-year period, between the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity (c.592 B.C. -- Ez.1:2) and the 27th year (c.570 B.C. -- Ez.29:17). The House of Israel went into Assyrian captivity from about 745 B.C. to 718 B.C. The House of Judah went into Babylonian captivity from about 604 B.C. to 586 B.C. Therefore, the House of Israel and much of the House of Judah were NOT AROUND to hear Ezekiel's message! The book of Ezekiel was written primarily for OUR TIME NOW! The House of Israel and House of Judah were prophesied to remain separate peoples until David's resurrection (Ez.37:15-28).
The book of Ezekiel addressed the "House of Israel" about 82 times and the "House of Judah" only 6 times. The name of "Israel" is used 186 times and "Judah" 15 times. The "House of Jacob" is addressed one time. From this summary it should be obvious that the book primarily concerns Israel rather than Judah. The prophecies relate to events that took place during Ezekiel's life, but this is just the FORERUNNER and TYPE of the end-time application. There will be a parallel captivity of Israel by Assyria, and of Judah by Babylon, both in OUR DAY TODAY! There is no record that Ezekiel ever personally delivered the messages included in his book to the nations addressed, though he did, on occasion, talk with elders (leaders) of Judah, some of the Jews in the Babylonian captivity, and some of the elders of Israel. But the nation of Israel had already been TAKEN CAPTIVE 126 years BEFORE Ezekiel got his first vision and the nation NEVER RETURNED from this captivity. Ezekiel was NEVER RELEASED to take his message. He was also given prophecies against the Ammonites (25:2), Moab (25:8), Edom (25:12), Philistines (25:15), Tyre (26:2-3), Egypt (29:2) and others besides Israel.
Ezekiel was among the Jewish captives by the River Chebar and God wanted him to personally "go speak unto the house of Israel" (3:1,4; cp. 2:3). Thus we know that Ezekiel's message is primarily for MODERN-DAY Israelite descendants who are breaking the Sabbath.
As Paul said, "all these things happened unto them for ENSAMPLES, and they are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ENDS of the WORLD are come" (1 Cor.10:11). In other words, the prophecies have a DUAL application at least. That would therefore include Isaiah and Jeremiah also. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for OUR LEARNING, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope" (Rom.15:4). When a prophecy is fulfilled once, it does not become useless. If a warning was given long ago, it applies also to the end-time. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in righteousness" (2 Tim.3:16). If we see an example in the Old Testament portrayed in a favorable light, it is a lesson for today. If a law isn't specifically mentioned and abolished, then silence means it must still be obligatory (2 Pet. 1:20; Isa.28:10-13).
What Does The Sabbath Day Typify?
We read in 2 Peter 3:8 that "ONE DAY is with the Lord as a THOUSAND YEARS, and a THOUSAND YEARS as ONE DAY." Also, "a THOUSAND YEARS in thy sight are but as YESTERDAY" (Ps.90:4). We read in Revelation 20:1-7 of a period of "a THOUSAND YEARS" during which Satan is chained and the saints live and rule with Christ. This THOUSAND-YEAR period is called a "REST" which Christians can "enter into" if they aren't "disobedient" (Heb.4:1,6,10-11; ASV, Gspd, Moffatt, Ber, Bas; See also Talmud Sanhedrin 97a). The Promised Land that physical Israelites entered into was a type of this "REST" (Deut.12:9-10; 25:19; 3:18-20; Josh.1:13-15; Heb.3:11,18).This THOUSAND-YEAR DAY of "REST" is spoken of by the prophets also (Isa.11:10; 14:3; Jer.30:10; Ez.38:11). Just as we study the Bible on the Sabbath, so also in the Millenial Sabbath "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Eternal, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab.2:14). Just as God physically created the earth in SIX LITERAL DAYS, and RESTED on the SEVENTH DAY, so also he is creating spiritual character in man for 6000 years before the Millenium when man will have a chance to rest. Mankind has SIX DAYS to make the wrong choices and suffer. Then Christ will return and force us to make the right choices. As Genesis 2:17-18 says, "in the DAY that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Yet Adam lived for "nine hundred and thirty years; and he died" (Gen.5:5). So the "DAY" God was referring to was the first 1000 YEARS. The Epistle of Barnabas 13:4 says, "Consider, my children, what that signifies, 'He finished them (the works of creation) in SIX DAYS.' The meaning of it is this; that in SIX THOUSAND YEARS the Lord God will bring all things to an end. For with Him ONE DAY is a THOUSAND YEARS; as Himself testifieth, saying, Behold this DAY shall be as a THOUSAND YEARS. Therefore, children, in SIX DAYS, that is, in SIX THOUSAND YEARS, shall all things be accomplished." According to Gibbon's Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, ch.15, p.187, "As the works of the creation had been finished in SIX DAYS, their duration in their present state, according to a tradition which was attributed to the prophet Elijah, was fixed to SIX THOUSAND YEARS. By the same analogy it was inferred that this long period of labor and contention, which was now almost elapsed, would be succeeded by a joyful SABBATH of a THOUSAND YEARS; and that Christ, with the triumphant band of the saints and the elect who had escaped death, or who had been miraculously revived, would reign upon earth till the time appointed for the last and general resurrection."
Biblical chronology indicates that man has existed on earth for almost 6000 years so far. The 6000-year chronology is determined in this way. Genesis 5 and 6 give us 1656 years from creation to the flood (3960-3959 B.C. to 2304-2303 B.C.). Genesis 11 and 12 and Acts 7:4 give us 352 years from the flood to Abram's birth (2304-2303 B.C. to 1952-1951 B.C.). Genesis 12:4 gives us 75 years from Abram's birth to the confirmed covenant (1952-1951 B.C. to 1877-1876 B.C.). Genesis 12:4, 13:14-16, Exodus 12:40-41, 14 and 24:12 and Gal.3:16-17 give us 430 years from the confirmed covenant to the exodus (1877-1876 B.C. to 1447-1446 B.C.). First Kings 6:1 gives us 480 years from the exodus to the temple foundation (1447-1446 B.C. to 967-966 B.C.) in the fourth year of Solomon's reign. First Kings 11:42 gives 36 years for the remainder of Solomon's rule (967-966 B.C. to 931-930 B.C.). By adding all the reigns of each of the kings of Judah mentioned in Kings and Chronicles we have an additional 345 years (931-930 B.C. to 586-585 B.C.). Daniel 9:2, Ezra 6:15 and Zechariah 7:5-7 give us 70 years from the destruction of the first temple (Jer.52:12-13) to the building of the second temple "in the sixth year of the reign of Darius" (586-585 B.C. to 516-515 B.C.). History teaches us that there were 58 years from the sixth year of Darius to the seventh year of Artaxerxes when he made his decree (516-515 B.C. to 458-457 B.C.; Ezra 7:7). Daniel 9:24-25 and Ezra 7:11-26 give us 483 years from Artaxerxes' command to Messiah (458-457 B.C. to 26-27 A.D.). From 26-27 A.D. to 1993-1994 A.D. is 1967 years. Thus, man has been on earth for about 5953 years so far.
Now if a person rests on any day but the seventh, he is denying that the Millenium will be the seventh thousand-year period. Sunday-observers are therefore not consistent because most of them believe in the Millenium.
Did The Sabbath Merely Foreshadow Christ?
Christ didn't come "to DESTROY the LAW... but to FULFILL" (Matt.5:17) the PROPHECIES about himself (Luke 24:44). The weekly and annual sabbaths are LAWS and PROPHECIES. But their PROPHECIES haven't come to pass yet. The Sabbaths are TYPES and SYMBOLS and SHADOWS "of things TO COME" (Col.2:17) even BEYOND Paul's day. Paul wrote this about 60 A.D., 29 years after the crucifixion of Christ. Any shadows which pictured Christ's sacrifice would necessarily be ABOLISHED by this time (Heb.10:1-2). But Paul spoke in the PRESENT TENSE of the sabbaths. They "ARE a shadow of things TO COME." PRESENT TENSE indicates these days were STILL BEING OBSERVED at the time Paul wrote. Christ didn't fulfill these days by his "death on a cross" or by giving us the Holy Spirit.
Christ fulfilled the RITUALISTIC TYPES and SACRIFICIAL SHADOWS in the LAW as well as the PROPHECIES in the PROPHETS. Many rituals typified Christ's CRUCIFIXION or the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. Ancient Israelites offered sacrifices (Lev.1-7). But today only spiritual sacrifices are required (Rom.12:1-2; Ps.51:17; 1 Sam.15:22).
Christ Observed The Sabbath And Set Us An Example
Christ said that man shall live "by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt.4:4) and the OLD TESTAMENT scriptures were the ONLY WRITTEN WORD of God at this time. Christ also said, "the scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35) -- meaning the OLD TESTAMENT isn't abolished. Later he said "Thy WORD is TRUTH" (John 17:17). The apostle Paul even said he believed "ALL THINGS which are WRITTEN in the LAW and in the PROPHETS" (Acts 24:14). Does that remark sound like he was doing away with Sabbath-keeping?
The only "SCRIPTURES" that Christ or the early Christians used or knew anything about were what we call the "OLD TESTAMENT" today (2 Tim.3:15-16; 1 Cor.10:11). As Christ said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you (of sin), even MOSES, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed MOSES, ye would have believed me: For he wrote of me. But if ye believe not HIS WRITINGS, how shall ye believe MY WORDS?" (John 5:45-47). If we don't believe the TORAH, we won't believe JESUS CHRIST. As Stephen said, Moses "received the LIVELY ORACLES (Ten Commandments; statutes; judgments) to give unto US" (Christians) (Acts 7:37-38).
Christ stated, "Think NOT that I am come to DESTROY the LAW, or the PROPHETS; I am NOT come to DESTROY, but to FULFILL" (Matt.5:17).
Fulfill what? Christ answers, "all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the LAW of Moses, and in the PROPHETS, and in the PSALMS CONCERNING ME" (Luke 24:44; see also vv.25-27; Luke 18:31-34 & Acts 13:27-33).
Christ fulfilled the RITUALISTIC TYPES and SACRIFICIAL SHADOWS in the LAW as well as the PROPHECIES in the PROPHETS. But Christ didn't come to destroy the LAWS against MURDER, ADULTERY, THEFT, IDOLATRY or SABBATH-BREAKING. These laws serve a PRACTICAL PURPOSE and are not mere SHADOWS or TYPES. They aren't PROPHECIES of CHRIST'S DEATH or TYPES of the HOLY SPIRIT. Unlike sacrifices, the Levite priesthood, the temple and furniture, the MORAL LAWS DON'T FORESHADOW what happened in 31 A.D. The Sabbath is an unfulfilled prophecy. It provides NEEDED PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL REJUVENATION. It is part of the moral law that reveals God's CHARACTER which DOESN'T CHANGE (Mal.3:6; Heb.13:8).
Christ also fulfilled the moral law, but in a different way. He MAGNIFIED the law, and made it HONORABLE (Isa.42:21) by adding the FULL SPIRIT and INTENT to the mere LETTER of the LAW. This is proven by reading through the "Sermon on the Mount" and especially from Matthew 5:21-44. But he did not fulfill this law in the sense of abolishing it. Unless God specifically abolishes an Old Testament statute, it is binding on us today whether or not the New Testament mentions it. Christ's death couldn't possibly abolish the invisible, SPIRITUAL LAWS of God because SPIRITUAL things are ETERNAL. The "LAW is SPIRITUAL" (Rom.7:14) and "HOLY" (v.12). The "things which are seen are TEMPORAL; but the things which are not seen are ETERNAL" (2 Cor.4:18). We can't see the law of gravity but we don't doubt its existence. God's SPIRITUAL LAWS in the Bible are the same way.
Furthermore, Christians should follow the EXAMPLE that CHRIST set. As 1 Peter 2:21 says, Christ left us an EXAMPLE "that ye should FOLLOW his STEPS." First John 2:6 states, He that saith he abideth in him (Christ) ought himself also so to WALK, even as HE WALKED."
"Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4) and Christ never sinned (1 Pet.2:22). Since SABBATH-KEEPING is one of the ten LAWS, CHRIST must have KEPT the SABBATH.
As Mark 1:21-22 says, "on the SABBATH DAY he entered into the SYNAGOGUE, and TAUGHT."
As Mark 6:2 says, "when the SABBATH DAY was come, he began to TEACH in the SYNAGOGUE."
As Luke 13:10 says, "he was TEACHING in one of the SYNAGOGUES on the SABBATH." (see also Luke 4:31; 6:6; John 5:9; 9:14; Matt.12:6)
Luke 4:16 states, "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his CUSTOM was, he went into the SYNAGOGUE on the SABBATH DAY, and stood up to READ." This scripture shows us that Christ was in the HABIT of keeping the SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH. Some teach that since the Greek word for "SABBATH" here is plural, Christ was observing the "DAY OF WEEKS" or feast of weeks (Ex.34:22). But the truth is that the Greek word for "SABBATH" is OFTEN found in its plural form in the gospels (Matt.12:5,10,11; Mark 1:21; 2:23,24; 3:2,4; Luke 4:31; 6:2,9; 13:10) when it clearly must refer to the WEEKLY SABBATH. Both Acts 13:14 and 16:13 refer to the WEEKLY SABBATH also, even though the Greek word for "SABBATH" is plural in both places.
Christ set us an EXAMPLE of SABBATH-KEEPING in these scriptures and we ought to FOLLOW in his STEPS. Even his "Sermon on the Mount" (Matt.5-7) was given on a SABBATH since there is NO BREAK in the story flow up to 8:16 when the people brought him the sick "When the EVENING was come." Mark 1:21-34 records the same event and clearly calls it the "SABBATH." Christ even said, "But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the SABBATH DAY" (Matt.24:20) indicating the church would be RESTING on that day.
Christ Commanded His Disciples To Keep The Sabbath
As Christ said, "if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS" (Matt.19:17). But which commandments was Christ talking about? He answers: "Thou shalt do no MURDER, Thou shalt not COMMIT ADULTERY, Thou shalt not STEAL, Thou shalt not BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR thy FATHER and thy MOTHER" (19:18-19). In other words, the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Obviously Christ did not abolish the law.
He even warned that "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven" (Matt.7:21).
Christ also said, "Howbeit in vain do ye worship me, teaching fordoctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the COMMANDMENT OF GOD, ye hold the tradition of men ... Full well ye REJECT THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD (Saturday), that ye may keep your own tradition (Sunday)" (Mark 7:7-9).
Christ said to his disciples, "If you love me, KEEP my COMMANDMENTS" (John 14:15).
Luke 23:56 says, "And they (some of his women followers) returned, and prepared spices and ointments, and RESTED on the SABBATH DAY, according to the commandment." This is why Christ said to "pray that your flight be NOT in the winter, neither on the SABBATH DAY" (Matt.24:20). He knew his followers would not want to travel more than a SABBATH-DAY'S JOURNEY on that day. (see also Matt.28:1; Mark 16:1) This flight took place in 69 A.D., about 38 years after the crucifixion.
We've now seen a number of scriptural commands Christ gave to his disciples. Then the "eleven disciples" went to Jesus (Matt.28:16) and he told them to go and "TEACH ALL NATIONS" (v.19) "to OBSERVE ALL THINGS whatsoever I have COMMANDED you" (v.20). So Sabbath-keeping was intended for ALL nations, not just his disciples or the Jewish nation. Anything Christ commanded his disciples must be obeyed by all nations today. In other words, "He that saith, 'I know him,' and KEEPETH NOT his COMMANDMENTS, is a LIAR" (1 John 2:4).
Don't Harvest Manna versus Do Eat Showbread
Normally FRIDAY is the food PREPARATION DAY for the Sabbath (Matt.27:62). BAKING and SEETHING were done on FRIDAY (Ex.16:23). Matthew 12:1-8 says, "At that time Jesus went on the SABBATH DAY through the corn (grainfields); and his disciples were an hungred (hungry), and began to PLUCK the EARS of CORN (grain), and to EAT ("RUBBING them in their HANDS" -- Luke 6:1). But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is NOT LAWFUL to do upon the SABBATH DAY (GLEANING GRAIN in somebody else's field was LAWFUL provided NO SICKLE was used (Deut.23:24-25). The Pharisees, however, had included "REAPING" as one of the 39 activities FORBIDDEN by their TRADITION on the SABBATH (Mishnah Shab.7:2). They based it on Exodus 16:26-29 which PROHIBITED GATHERING MANNA on the SABBATH.) But he said unto them, Have ye not read what DAVID DID, when he was an hungred (hungry), and they that were with him, How he ENTERED intothe HOUSE of GOD, and did EAT the SHOWBREAD, which was NOT LAWFUL for him to EAT, neither for them who were with him, but only for the priests? (It was when this sacred bread "was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken" -- on the SABBATH (1 Chr.9:32; 1 Sam.21:1-6; Lev.24:8) -- that David ate it. The loaves of unleavened bread were baked every FRIDAY (Antiq. 3:6:6 & 3:10:7) and the old batch was eaten in the Holy Place each SABBATH (Lev.24:5-9)). The Mishnah ("traditions of the elders") also teaches that "whenever there is doubt whether LIFE is in DANGER (the case discussed is a SORE THROAT), this overrides the SABBATH" (Yoma 8:5-6). Yet in Pesahim 4:8 "the sages" rebuked the people of Jericho who PICKED UP and ATE raw FRUIT on the SABBATH (see also Covenant of Damascus 10:22). The Sabbath is a feast day (Lev.23:3), not a fast day.
Your Disciples Must Not Prepare Food versus God's Priest's Must Prepare Sacrifices
"Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the SABBATH DAYS the PRIESTS in the temple PROFANE the SABBATH, and are BLAMELESS? (The priests SACRIFICED "two lambs" and OFFERED both a meal and drink offering on the altar (Num.28:9-10) and REPLACED the showbread (Lev.24:8; 1 Chr.9:32) all on the SABBATH [see Hagigah 2:10].) But I say unto you that in this place is one greater than the temple. (In other words, I AM GOD and my disciples are my PRIESTS. The grain they pluck is OLD SHOWBREAD or the FOOD the priests place on the altar and when they're around me they are in the HOLY PLACE of the temple.) But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice (A Hebrew idiom meaning "I will have mercy ALSO, not sacrifice ONLY."), ye would not have condemned the GUILTLESS. For the Son of man is LORD even of the SABBATH DAY." (Therefore, SATURDAY is the LORD'S day, not Sunday (cp. Rev.1:10).)
Don't "Carry Forth A Burden" versus Do "Carry Thy Bed"
In John 5:8-10, Jesus healed a man who had been infirm for 38 years. "Jesus saith unto him, Rise, TAKE UP thy BED, and WALK. And immediately the man was made whole (well), and TOOK UP his BED, and WALKED; and the same day was the SABBATH. The Jews, therefore, said unto him that was cured, It is the SABBATH DAY; it is NOT LAWFUL for thee to CARRY thy BED (mattress).... But Jesus answered them, My Father WORKETH hitherto, and I WORK." In other words, HEALING the cripple was the Father's WORK and he did it through Christ's WORK of commanding the cripple to WALK showing that "the same WORKS that I do, bear witness of me, that the Fatherhath sent me" (John 5:36). Therefore, the cripple was obeying God himself by CARRYING his BED. The MIRACLE confirmed it. A man lying on a bed for 38 YEARS RESTING would certainly be more than CAUGHT UP in his rest. To EXERCISE and STRETCH his MUSCLES might be more RESTFUL and RELAXING than being IMMOBILE on this day. God needs NO REST from WORK, and neither did Christ from healing WORK. "The CREATOR of the ends of the earth DOES NOT FAINT and is NOT WEARY" (Isa.40:28). "He gives POWER to the FAINT" (Isa.40:29). "Come unto me, all you who LABOR and are HEAVY-LADEN, and I will give you (Sabbath) REST ... and you will find (Sabbath) REST for your souls. For my YOKE is EASY and my (Sabbath) BURDEN LIGHT" (Matt.11:28-30). "The Sabbath was made FOR MAN" (Mark 2:27) -- not God. He merely set us an example in Genesis 2. Humans need physical and spiritual rejuvenation ONLY AFTER six days of LABOR and WORK. The Sabbath command is in two parts. "Six days shalt thou LABOR" is the first part. If a business executive SITS behind his desk reading and typing six days a week, a Sabbath rest might include STRETCHING and WALKING.
However, this principle should be balanced by Jeremiah's warning to "BEAR NO BURDEN on the SABBATH DAY" and don't "CARRY FORTH A BURDEN out of your houses on the SABBATH DAY, neither DO ANY WORK" (Jer.17:21-22). The Sabbath is a day to GO TO BED EARLY, GET UP LATE and REST in between (Ex.34:21). Isaiah also warns us against "DOING THINE OWN WAYS" and "FINDING THINE OWN PLEASURE" (Isa.58:13). Also Nehemiah warns against "BRINGING IN SHEAVES (of grain), and lading (LOADING) asses; and also wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of BURDENS, which they BROUGHT into Jerusalem on the SABBATH DAY" (Neh.13:15). Nehemiah even commanded that the gates should be shut "that there should NO BURDEN be BROUGHT in on the SABBATH DAY" (Neh.13:19). According to Jewish TRADITIONS, you couldn't CARRY anything HEAVIER than a FIG on the SABBATH. Yes, Christ said his BURDEN was LIGHT possibly in reference to this tradition.
A Sabbath Day's Journey versus Marching Around Jericho
When Acts 1:12 mentions "a SABBATH DAY'S JOURNEY" it is refering to Jewish oral tradition of assigning a limit of about 3000 FEET (2000 cubits or five furlongs) to travel on the SABBATH (see Erubin 4:5). This measure may have been determined by the DISTANCE that the children of Israel were required to allow BETWEEN themselves and the ARK of the covenant at the passage of the Jordan (Josh.3:4); for therabbis may have assumed that the SAME LIMIT prevailed BETWEEN the TENTS of the people and the TABERNACLE -- a distance that the Israelites would need to walk in order to worship on the Sabbath. According to another source, the longest distance a Jew may walk from the outskirts of the city on his Sabbath day as prescribed by Talmud Berachoth is 3,675 feet and 9 inches or about a little over 3/4 of a mile. It is the Hebrew "T'chum Shabbos" meaning "Sabbath limit." (p.35, The Bud and the Flower of Judaism by Specter) The concept of LIMITING TRAVEL on the Sabbath is definitely biblical because we are commanded to "REMAIN every man of you in his place, let no man GO OUT OF HIS PLACE on the SEVENTH DAY" (Ex.16:29). To keep the Sabbath, one must REMAIN AT HOME in his village and congregate together.
Yet Christ CLIMBED a MOUNT to give a sermon on the sabbath (Matt.5-8:16). Also the Israelites were commanded to MARCH AROUND the city of Jericho -- a LONGER trek than the lawful Sabbath day's journey of 2000 CUBITS from one's house -- and this was to be carried out for SEVEN DAYS (Joshua 6:1-16). One of these days had to fall on the WEEKLY SABBATH therefore. We must conclude that in times of BATTLE or other EMERGENCIES, a Sabbath-day's journey is OVERRULED by the need for SURVIVAL.
Help An"Ox In The Ditch" versus Don't Work On The Sabbath
After Christ healed a man on the Sabbath, he asked, "Which of you shall have an ASS or an OX FALLEN into a PIT, and will not straightway PULL HIM OUT on the SABBATH DAY?" (Luke 14:5) In Mark 3:4 Christ asks, "Is it lawful to DO GOOD on the sabbath days, or to DO EVIL? To SAVE LIFE, or to KILL?" Then in Matthew 12:12 Christ answers his own question by saying, "it is LAWFUL to DO WELL on the SABBATH DAYS." Christ was saying that those who ABSTAIN from SAVING LIFE are actually guilty of MURDER -- VIOLATING the sixth commandment -- in an attempt to OBEY the fourth commandment. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath" (Mark 2:27). He may have gotten this expression from the traditions of the elders who said "The Sabbath is delivered into your hands, not you into the hands of the Sabbath" (Talmud Yoma, fol.85b). Or in the words of "Rabbi" Nathan, "it is said, '... Israel shall keep the Sabbath ... throughout their generations" (Ex.31:16) -- ONE SABBATH may be PROFANED that he may KEEP MANY (further) SABBATHS" (Mekhilta extract, ed. Lauterbach III, 198-199). Professional veterinarians, doctors and paramedics don't have the right to violate the sabbath on a regular basis simply because of the "ox in a ditch" principle. It should be the UNFORSEEN EXCEPTION rather than the NORMAL RULE.
Do Circumcise On The Sabbath versus Don't Heal On The Sabbath
Jesus said, "Moses, therefore, gave unto you CIRCUMCISION (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers [Gen.17:9-14]), and ye on the SABBATH DAY CIRCUMCISE a man. If a man on the SABBATH DAY receive CIRCUMCISION, that the law of Moses should not be broken, are ye angry with me, because I have made a man EVERY WHIT WHOLE (entirely well) on the sabbath day?" (John 7:22-23). Christ was probably referring to a well-known oral tradition later printed in the Talmud Shabbat 18 and 19. Rabbi Jose says, "they may PERFORM on the SABBATH all things that are needful for CIRCUMCISION" (Mishnah, Shab. 18:3) and "Great is CIRCUMCISION which OVERRIDES even the rigour of the SABBATH" (Mishnah, Ned.3:11). Christ does not disagree with this "tradition of the elders" (Talmud) because the "eighth day" (Lev.12:3) does sometimes fall on the Sabbath and therefore ONE LAW must OVERRULE the OTHER. Instead he urges CONSISTENCY to this principle in the area of healing. Christ was not always against the Talmud as so many "Christians" are today.
Do Water Your Livestock versus Don't Heal A Suffering Human
When Christ healed a woman suffering from curvature of the spine on the Sabbath, he said, "Doth not each one of you on the SABBATH LOOSE his OX or his ASS from the STALL, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath BOUND, lo, these eighteen years, be LOOSED from this BOND on the SABBATH DAY?" (Luke 13:15-16). Christ was actually condemning the "traditions of the elders" (Talmud) here because the "TYING" and "LOOSENING" of a KNOT are FORBIDDEN WORK according to the Mishnah (Shab. 7:2) which existed in oral form at the time of Christ. We have responsibilities to our animals which depend on us for their care. A MILKING COW must be MILKED TWICE A DAY, EVERY DAY. At some point, the herd will be TOO LARGE to be milked without BREAKING the SABBATH. A farmer therefore has NECESSARY sabbath work. Paramedics, firemen and prison guards have NEVER-ENDING emergencies ALL WEEK long and therefore are responsible to make time for the sabbath.
Don't Take A Bath versus Do Use A Mikvah Before Worship Services
A BATH on the SABBATH is not wrong since Christians and Jews used the MIKVAH by the Huldah Gate on FRIDAY EVENING and the SABBATH MORNING before worship services (John 11:55; 2:6; Acts 24:18). In Acts 16:12-13 we could translate it as "on the Sabbath we went outside the gate to the RIVERSIDE, where we understood a minyan (quorum of ten men) met." Synagogues were frequently built by RUNNING WATER in order to eliminate the need for constructing a MIKVEH for RITUAL IMMERSION. Proselytes were required to immerse in a MIKVEH as well as be circumcised and offer a sacrifice at the Temple and an early Tanna said that BAPTISM is more important than circumcision (see Yebamoth 46a & b).
Using DEODORANT on the SABBATH is UNNECESSARY. If the three women could WAIT till AFTER the Sabbath before ANOINTING
Christ's body with "SWEET SPICES," so can we WAIT (Mark 16:1).
Convocate versus "Separate From Sinners"
Christ met with JEWS every SABBATH (Luke 4:31; 6:6). Early Christians met in already-established SYNAGOGUES with non-believing JEWS. After Christ's crucifixion, we find his DISCIPLES MEETING TOGETHER in SECRET for FEAR of the JEWS. Christ risked his life on one Sabbath when he gave the Torah-reading and the congregation TRIED TO KILL HIM as a consequence (Luke 4:16-30) He also RISKED his LIFE to attend the annual festivals (John 7:19). Paul regularly began his evangelism in a city by first entering the local SYNAGOGUE of non-believing JEWS. But we must also realize that both Paul and Christ also created THEIR OWN fellowship GROUPS for the weekly Sabbath and annual festivals. We can conclude that HOSTILITY was sometimes, but not always, a reason for SEPARATION. First and foremost, "our FELLOWSHIP is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3) via prayer and Bible study. We are commanded to "CONVOCATE" (Lev. 23:3) with Christians, but "have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11).
Don't Work versus Do Defend Yourself
In the early days of the Maccabean revolt, many of the pious Jews were KILLED because they would NOT DEFEND themselves when attacked on the SABBATH. As a result of this episode, the Maccabeans resolved to FIGHT in SELF-DEFENSE but not otherwise (1 Macc.2:29-41). An early Hasmonean, John Hyrcanus (135-104 B.C.), broke off an important siege because of the coming of the SABBATIC YEAR (War 1:157-160). In 63 B.C., when the Roman general Pompey had hemmed up the Jewish defenders in Jerusalem, he took advantage of Jewishadherence to the law by RAISING EARTHWORKS on the SABBATH, while NOT FIRING MISSILES. Josephus explains that "the Jews FIGHT only in SELF DEFENSE" (against missile attack, not building earthworks). Thus the Roman battering rams could be brought into service in PERFECT SAFETY (War 1:145-147). Rome recognized the fact that SABBATH LAW kept Jews from SERVING in the imperial ARMIES (Antiq. 14:237 &13:252). Also, Julius Caesar EXEMPTED JUDAEA from tribute in the SEVENTH YEAR (Antiq. 14:202). But as Yoma 8:6 says, when "LIFE is in DANGER this OVERRIDES the SABBATH." Indeed, those who ABSTAIN from SAVING LIFE are actually GUILTY of MURDER -- violating the sixth commandment. It was argued that a BATTLE need NOT be STOPPED because of the SABBATH DAY since Deuteronomy 20:20 says "UNTIL it be SUBDUED" (Talmud Shabbat 19a).
Go To The Toilet versus Don't Work On The Sabbath
The Essenes would not light a fire, remove a vessel "or even GO TO STOOL" on the SABBATH (War 2:147). Yet the Sabbath is a day for BANQUETING and FEASTING (Lev.23:1). There would be MORE WORK involved in HOLDING IT BACK than in actually GOING TO THE TOILET. Judith, who fasted "all the days of her widowhood," DID NOT FAST on FRIDAY or SATURDAY (Judith 8:6). Even direst necessity would not force rabbis to FAST on the SABBATH (Taanith 1:6). Whatever we allow IN, we should allow OUT to be consistent.
"Be Fruitful, And Multiply" versus Sex Is Work
Couples wonder whether or not it is lawful to HAVE SEX on the SABBATH since that might be considered WORK. Yet we read that on the sixth day God said to the man and woman, "BE FRUITFUL, and MULTIPLY, and FILL the EARTH" (1:28). Were the NAKED couple supposed to WAIT ONE DAY before OBEYING this COMMAND? Of course not. They had sex on the seventh day Sabbath! Actually, the very MEANING of the ANNUAL SABBATHS has to do with CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY and BIRTH: PASSOVER typifies OVULATION on day fourteen; the first day of the FEAST of UNLEAVENED BREAD typifies CONCEPTION the fifteenth; the twenty-first day is IMPLANTATION; PENTECOST marks the beginning of the FETAL STAGE; TRUMPETS, ATONEMENT, TABERNACLES and LAST GREAT DAY typify the FINAL SEVENTH-MONTH DEVELOPMENT and BIRTH of the baby. Most pregnancies last a full nine months but the baby is fully developed in the seventh month. Also, Hagar conceived "AT THE END OF ten years" (Gen.16:3-4) which is defined in Genesis 4:3 and 41:1-14 and Psalm 81:35 as the FEAST of TRUMPETS. The same phrase is used in all three passages in Genesis. Also 1 Samuel 1:20 uses the same phrase "END OF DAYS" to describe when Hannah CONCEIVED which again indicates the FEAST of TRUMPETS. These women were all OUR EXAMPLES (1 Cor.10:6).
Yet there is an argument on the other side because having SEXUAL RELATIONS causes us to become UNCLEAN (Lev.15:16) and Nehemiah commanded the Levites to CLEANSE THEMSELVES in the context of the SABBATH (Neh.13:22).
Torah-Reading versus Sermon Preaching
Because preachers sometimes use the pulpit to verbally bully and abuse their congregations, the members look for biblical alternatives to sermon-preaching. Christ set us the example in Luke 4:16-17 when "he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and STOOD UP to READ." After reading only one-and-a-half verses from Isaiah 61:1-2 (the haftorah reading after the torah reading), "he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister (shammash), and SAT DOWN" (4:20). Then everyone in the synagogue STARED at him apparently because he had NOT READ the PORTION ASSIGNED for that SABBATH but instead had chosen his own section OUT OF ORDER. Also, he probably HADN'T READ ENOUGH of it. THEN Christ PREACHED a SERMON. "The last reader was customarily given the honor of expounding on the reading with a sermon" (p.8, God's Appointed Times by Barney Kasdan). Acts 13:15 says, "after the READING OF THE LAW and the PROPHETS the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of EXHORTATION for the people, say on." In other words, the SERMON-PREACHING took place AFTER the TORAH-READING here in Acts also. Some members find Bible reading dull and boring. Others find sermon-preaching oppressive. The Bible teaches both. Perhaps this is to allow us the alternative to attend only one half of the service if we choose. The Sabbath must be a day of REST, not TURMOIL or BOREDOM. If the minister will not fulfill his duty to the congregation, the congregation is not duty-bound to that minister. However, speaking was a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY among MANY MEN. The men in the congregation ALL TOOK TURNS reading and speaking. There wasn't a ONE-MAN MONOPOLY.
When Does The Sabbath Day Begin?
Leviticus 23:32 says, "from EVENING to EVENING, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." When is EVENING? Mark 1:32 says, "And at EVEN, when the SUN did SET, they brought unto him all that were diseased." Matthew 27:57 says, "When the EVEN was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea." Leviticus 22:6-7 says, "The soul who hath touched any such shall be unclean until EVENING ... And when the SUN is DOWN, he shall be clean. Deuteronomy 23:11 says, "But it shall be when EVENING comes on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the SUN is DOWN, he shall come into the camp again." Judges 19:9 states, "Behold, now the day draws toward EVENING ... the day growing to an END." Nehemiah 13:19 says, "And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem BEGAN to be DARK before the Sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut." Genesis 1:5 says, "And the EVENING and the MORNING were the first DAY."Go to http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneYear.php or go to http://www.sunrisesunset.com/ for a one-year chart for your city.
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