"And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed...
sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed."
1 Peter 3:13-16
Answering Sabbath Objections
Despite all the scriptural proof to observe the Sabbath there are many who have objections. Why? Because what they have been taught the Sabbath has been done away with so often times people need to have specific objections answered. One of the hardest things to do, is to test what you believe, cast off unbiblical beliefs and hold fast to God's good doctrine. So let us look at some common objections to observing the Sabbath...
"Jesus talks about commandments but not the Sabbath, so I don't have to observe it"
So just because something is not mentioned means it is not applicable today. Ok let us explore why we cannot use this argument as a way to rightly divide the word of God. If this "Jesus never mentioned a particular sin then its permissible today" is how we test what we believe then it must not conflict with scripture. Let us test this and see if this argument works...
Jesus never mentioned the sin of beastiality so does that mean its okay to have sex with animals today? Of course not.
This is a prime example where this argument fails and you cannot use it to do away with the Sabbath. Whether something is repeated in the Gospels or New Testament or not has not bearing if its binding today or not, as we have shown. There are numerous sins not listed in the New Testament but they are still sins (1 John 3:4 'sin is transgression of the law' which is seen in the Old Testament. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and what is a sin in the Old Testament is a sin in New Testament and a sin in the New Millennium.
Now the New Testament is not silent about the Sabbath as a lot of people claim. While the fourth commandment is never mentioned verbatim there is more dialogue in the Gospels about Jesus addressing the Sabbath than any of the other 9 commmandments. Out of the 613 laws in the Old Testament, the Sabbath is mentioned more than any of them. It should be noted Jesus, our Messiah and our example, kept the Sabbath. Paul also kept the Sabbath as was his custom. So the 'silent argument' does not work and cannot be used.
So when we see people trying to use this argument, remind them of the truth that sin never changes.
"Jesus did not mention the Sabbath when asked 'What shall I do to inherit eternal life?' so its not binding today. Ref. Matt 19:16-17, Luke 18:18-20 & Mark 10:17-19
Many times people think just because something is not mentioned it is therefore not applicable. Think of it this way, your in school and you go to humanities class and write a paper, since you are not in English class therefore you do not have to use proper grammar? Of course not. "But in history of humanities class they never taught grammar, so I should not be given a bad grade for not using proper grammar!" Nice try but unfortunately this excuse does not fly. The same goes with God and HIs instructions.
In these passages if we use the same logic, that means 5 of the 10 commandments are no longer binding on us today. Why? Jesus only quoted 5 of the 10 commandments so does that mean we break the other 5 commandments? Does that mean we can worship graven images & false gods? To blaspheme and covet? Of course not. You see just because something is not mentioned, does not mean its not applicable today.
So when someone says certain things are not applicable today, test the logic with other items in scripture and know the truth.
Mark 7:21-22 mentions 13 sins but not observing the Sabbath is not mentioned, so I don't have to keep the Sabbath today.
This is often used by those who don't know the scriptures. The majority who make this claim are those who cannot properly test, rightly divide the word of God, let alone teach. Let us go into detail and explain how this argument falls apart in light of the truth.
The sins of following other false gods, idolatry, bearing false witness and others are also not mentioned in Mark 7:21-22. Just because a sin is not repeated verbatim in this passage or other parts of the New Testament does not mean it is no longer a sin today. What we also have to look for in the bible are instructions teaching this as proper criteria to discern if a law/commandment is applicable today.... and we do not.
So when someone tries to pick out one thing in scripture and do away with it, is to apply this same test to similar instances. As we saw in this case, when it does not apply then we know its not a valid objection. Remember to study to show yourself approved.
9 of of the 10 Commandments are repeated in the New Testament but not the 4th (Sabbath) so we don't have to keep it.
This is argument is silimar to other objections. Simply said, just because something is not said verbatim every single time does not negate what was previously taught. Case in point, as a loving parent you understand that teaching your children good hygiene is important so you make it really clear that it is. Washing their hands, taking a shower and brushing their teeth is key to maintaining good health. So what if your child wouldn't do these things and used the excuse "You didn't tell me to specifically do these thing today so I don't have to do it!". This would obviously be viewed as rebellion and not acceptable. So what if you child kept using this excuse? Woudl this not cause a strain in your relationship? Yes of course it would, and if it continued it would not only get worse.
So why do we do the same thing with God and His instructions? Its time we grow up in God. To have faith and keep the commandments of God. Consider the following scriptures found throughout the bible...
"Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments,
that it might be well with them and with their children forever!"
"Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before
the Lord our God, as He has commanded us."
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those
who do His commandments. His praise endures forever."
"Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments."
"Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!"
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all." Ecclesiastes 12:13
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of thesecommandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
"Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters." 1 Corinthians 7:19
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
1 John 2:3-6
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3
"This is love, that we walk according to Hiscommandments. This is the commandment,
that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it."
2 John 1:6
"Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12
"Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life,
and may enter through the gates into the city."
It should be noted that all these scriptures apply to those who follow God both Jews and Gentile/foreign believers, not unbelievers. We know if unbelievers follow the commandments it does not make them acceptable to God. The only thing that makes us acceptable to Him is the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. In other words we are saved by grace and not by any works. So when you see Paul's writtings that have an anti-commandment/anti-law statement, its in regards to those who tried to add works to God's salvation.
So now that you know the truth, obey God from your heart and let His light shine through you and be a light to the world.
As a Christian today I only have to live in the Spirit, not by the letter of the law.
Now this statement has been taught to many believers for a long time by well meaning pastors & bible study leaders, yet few look at this in detail. In scripture we are to live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:5) but does living in the Spirit disregard the letter of God's instructions. Let us look at some examples of the letter of the law...
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" is the letter of the law. If we commit the physical act of adultery it is a sin and Jesus expounded on this when the Pharisees tried to portray themselves as righteous in regards to adultery. Jesus confronted their hyprocracy because He saw their sin of coveting/lusting after women in their hearts. That is why Jesus said if you think adultery in your heart it was just as if you committed the physical act. Following the letter of the law is the physical act, the Spirit of the law is not coveting women and lusting after them.
A similar example is found when Jesus taught about the letter of the law, 'thou shalt not kill (murder)' and further looked into the hearts of men to see they hated their brethren in their hearts which is also a sin. Matter of fact Jesus quoted the Old Testament law that highlighted the Spirit of that law here...
"You shall not hate your brother in your heart..." Leviticus 19:17
We clearly see claiming we only have to live in the Spirit never negates the letter of the law. Why? Sin is sin, whether its the letter of the law or the Spirit of it, and God's word never contradicts itself.
As believers we also have to look at the prophets and what they say in regards to the Holy Spirit. Do the prophets ever state that the God's Spirit would do away or replace our obedience to the letter of God's law? Let us look at the scriptures and see...
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take your heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of of flesh. I will put My spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My Judgments, and you will keep My judgments and do them." Ezekiel 36:26-27
Notice that God's Holy Spirit will give us the ability to walk in the statues and judgments of God (His commandments). We also need to realize that we see no prophesies from any prophet that the Spirit of the law would do away from the letter of God's commandments.
So when you hear someone make this claim show them the truth of God and His word. If for some reason we have used this argument ourselves we need to repent & ask God forgiveness. Then we need to study to show ourselves approved, be a Berean and test everything.
The Sabbath is only for the Jews
This claim is often used but is this the truth? If we take a look at the scriptures and we search for "Jewish Sabbath" or "Sabbath of the Jews" and they are not found in any English bible translation (or any translation for that matter). When search the scriptures we do find the phrase "Sabbath of the Lord". So why do people make this claim? Simple they have taken the word of someone who hasn't take the time to search the scriptures for the truth. Let us look at what Jesus said in regards to the Sabbath.
If the Sabbath was only for the Jews then Jesus would surely make this known, so lets see what He said who it applies to...
"The Sabbth was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27
The Greek word for 'man' is anthropos mean people - male or female; i.e. mankind. This Greek word is NEVER translated as Jew, or Israelite. It is used to define all of mankind; matter of fact its translated 552 times in the same way. Yet despite this clear definition people still ignore the truth. Lets look and see if God's law for the Sabbath was just for the Jews or for both the native born and foreigners who follow God...
"You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 24:22
"One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto thestranger that sojourneth among you."
"One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you."
God even specifically mentioned that the strangers/foreigners who followed Him were to observe the Sabbath as seen here...
"Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed."
What is interesting is the fact that God sanctified the Sabbath in the beginning at creation. So when did "Jews" actually come into existence? You see there were no Jews for at least 2,300 years after creation. You see the term "Jew" was applied to those from the tribe of Judah. Before that time there were no Jews but only people who followed God out of Egypt, both native born and foreigners.
I don't have to observe the Sabbath because of Romans 14:5 "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind."
Does this mean that the Sabbath is no different from any other day? Orare we free to choose whatever day we wish to observe? To come to that conclusion, one must read it into the verse, because the Sabbath is nowhere mentioned here. In fact, the word Sabbath or references to Sabbath-keeping are not found anywhere in the entire book of Romans!
Is the word "Sabbath" found in all of Romans? NO!
The reference in this passage is simply to "days," not the Sabbath or any other days that were eternally commanded
by God such as the Sabbath or His feasts.
It is important to notice the context in which Paul is writing. Romans 14:1 says to accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. A matter on which God himself has spoken and given instruction is not disputable. Therefore, the days that one might or might not consider sacred in Romans 14:5 do not include the seventh-day Sabbath.
Keep in mind that Paul, earlier in this same epistle said the following...
"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Romans 7:12)
"The doers of the law shall be justified" Romans 2:13
"I delight in the law of God" Romans 7:22
So what is the context of Romans 14? Paul was writing to a mixed church of Jewish and Gentile believers in Rome. In Romans 14, verses 2 and 3, Paul discusses fasting ("another, who is weak, eateth herbs") and continued this theme in verse 6 ("he who eats...and he who does not eat"). The passage in question about days is in verses 5 and 6, immediately between references to eating meat and vegetables in verses 2, 3 and 6. So the context is NOT about the Sabbath but those who choose to eat certain foods; in this case vegetarians and those who eat meat. It is apparent Paul was discussing feasting, fasting or abstaining from certain foods was practiced, not the Sabbath. In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul addressed the issue of eating meat that may have been sacrificed to idols and consequently could have been viewed by some members as unfit to eat. Paul's point in that chapter was that any association of food with idolatrous activity had no bearing on whether that food was otherwise suitable for eating. Paul's advice in 1 Corinthians 8 was the same as his conclusion in Romans 14:15. His advice was to be especially careful not to offend a fellow member, causing them to stumble or lose faith over the issue of meats.
In no way was this verse related to Sabbath observance. The Sabbath is nowhere mentioned in the entire letter of Paul to the Roman believers that consisted of Jews and Gentile/foreign believers; it simply wasn't the issue. Those that take one verse out of context, though well intentioned, need to take more time studying, so they don't cause others to stumble when it comes to God's eternal commandments that are ment for our benefit and blessing.
There was no law prior to the 10 commandments so we don't have to observe the Sabbath today
Many people make this claim but forget the following scripture...
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
I John 3:4
So do we see proof of sin prior to Mount Sinai when the law was supposedly first given? Yes.
When Adam disobeyed God in Eden he "sinned" Romans 5:12. How could Adam be called a sinner clear back in Eden if God had no law back then to define sin? When Cain was thinking about murdering his brother Able, God warned him: "sin lieth at the door" Genesis 4:7. How could God warn Cain he was about to sin, and then place him under a curse for murdering his brother, if God had no law back then prohibiting murder? And how did Cain, and "every one" else on "earth," know that the penalty for a murderer was death Genesis 4:14-15 if God had no law revealing this? How could God tell that mankind had become exceedingly corrupt and evil if there was no Law that they had broken Genesis 6:11-13? What justification did God have for destroying the world by the Flood if the people were unaware of His law?
Need more examples?
How did King Abimelech (the Philistine king of Gerar, a heathen) know adultery was wrong, and that the penalty was death as seen in Genesis 20:1-7; 26:7-11? As did Joseph in Genesis 39:9? How did Jacob know stealing was wrong ref. Genesis 30:33; 31? The answer is obvious, because God's Law DID exist before Moses, before the Jews even existed in the world. God Himself said of Abraham that he, "...obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, mystatutes, and my laws" ref. Genesis 26.5. Did you read that? How could Abraham have obeyed God's commandments and laws unless God had already given it to him? God's Law, His Ten Commandments, therefore did exist before He gave them again to Moses on Mount Sinai.
As a matter of fact, there were blood sacrifices in the Garden of Eden! After Adam and Eve sinned, God clothed them in skins that were taken off animals whose blood had been poured out as a sin-offering to God Genesis 3:21; we also find Cain and Abel offering sacrifices to God. How did Abel know to sacrifice the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof to the Lord in Genesis 4:4 if there was no law/instruction of sacrificing and offerings? How did Noah know to take clean animals and offer them as burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord in Genesis 8:20 if there were no burnt offering laws or instructions on what animals were clean and unclean? How did Judah know that Tamar, being a widow, was to marry her husband's brother in Genesis 38:8,11 if this law was not revealed to them? The fact is, Deuteronomy 25:7-10 existed long before God gave this law to Moses.
How did God teach the Israelites and foreigners who departed Egypt about the Sabbath? God sent manna six days a week for them to eat in Exodus 16 but He told them to gather twice as much on Friday because there would be none on the Sabbath. The scripture tells us God gave them manna to determine if they would walk in God's Law ref. Exodus 16:4. Yet Exodus 16:27 tells us the very next Sabbath they flunked the test because they disobeyed God by going out to gather manna on the Sabbath.
So God asked them in verse 28, "How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" The Lord didn't institute the Sabbath and then one week later cry out "How long will you refuse to keep My commands" the very firsttime they failed! No, God's commandments had been around for more than two thousand years by then. People had been continually breaking God's Law from Eden onwards. Even the Israelites & foreigners whom He rescued from Egypt were breaking His Sabbath day. No wonder God said, "How long will you refuse to keep My commands?"! The scripture evidence is that God's Law and His Sabbath had been around for thousands of years before they were reaffirmed to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
We even see that the sabbath was mentioned in the days of creation. Checkout the following...
"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Genesis 2:2-3
Most believers read this and don't see the word "sabbath" so they assume the sabbath did not come about till Mount Sinai. What happens is they simple forget the Old Testament was originally written Hebrew and not English.
What most English believers also do not know is that all the other days of creation are not given a title but are simply given a number.
Now the word "rested" in Genesis 2, verses 2 and 3, is Hebrew word #7673, "shabath", which is the root word for "Sabbath" comes from. Shabath means "to cease or rest", and it is from this that the Sabbath gets its meaning as "a day of rest." To paraphrase the account in Genesis 2:2-3, "God sabbathed on the seventh day from all His work, and God blessed it and sanctified it." The Hebrew language is clear and unambiguous in its intent. The sabbath day is a holy day, for God has sanctified it. He has separated and distinguished it from the rest of the days of the week.
There are many different Hebrew words for the word "rested", but "shabath" is used often in reference to the sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3; 8:22-"cease", Exodus 5:5; 16:30, 23:12; 31:17; 34:21, Leviticus 23:32-"celebrate"; 25:2-"keep"; 26:34-35, II Chronicles 36:21-"sabbath"). For example, the Hebrew word "shabath" is in Exodus 16:30, when the people sabbathed on the seventh day. Verse 29 mentions the sabbath specifically. Also, Exodus 31:17 explains that the sabbath was made at creation, and even quotes from Genesis 2:2! In addition, the word "shabath" is actually translated as "sabbath" in II Chronicles 36:21.
To show the other Hebrew words for "rested" that could have been used in Genesis 2:2-3 but weren't, here are all other uses:
Nuwach (Genesis 8:4, Exodus 10:14, Numbers 10:36; 11:25-26, Esther 9:17,18,22). Chanah (Numbers 9:18,23). Shaken (Numbers 10:12). Sahqat (Josh.11:23). Achaz (1 Kings 6:10). Camak (2 Chronicles 32:8). Daman (Job 30:17).
So God chose to cease from His labor, not because He was tired (Isaiah 40:28), but because He wanted to set an example for all mankind. The seventh day sabbath is as ancient as the earth. So with that said when people say there was no sabbath prior to Mount Sinai remember Genesis when God created the world in seven days.
Our Sabbath rest is found in Jesus - Matthew 11:28
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Many believers claim the 'rest' is the sabbath of the Old Testament; that Yeshua replaced the sabbath with His 'rest'. The word "rest" in the above passage is Greek word #373, "anapauo and does not obliterate and/or replace the Sabbath day in Luke 23:56. Scripture also declares that in Christ "there is neither male nor female"(Galatians 3:28) but again, this does this replace marriage? No. The Sabbath is a memorial of creation, departure from Egypt and a provision for the learning of God's will, a picture of the marriage ceremony when the Messiah returns as well as a restorative agency for the body, mind and soul; where God sets up a specific time that we can be with Him; its another way to 'be holy as I (God) is holy' and so much more. The "rest" that Jesus promises is a release from the drudgery of sin, not our obedience to God's instruction to observe the sabbath.
If this 'rest' replaced the sabbath then we would see clear instruction/teaching from Yeshua - so do we see this in the gospels?
"For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Matthew 12:8
Why would Yeshua knowing He would replace the sabbath say He was the Lord of it? That doesn't make sense as we never see Him saying the sabbath would be done away with. What is interesting is what we do see Yeshua stating about the sabbath and all mankind...
"and He (Yeshua) said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27
Now a lot of believers say the word 'man' is refering to the Jews and not all mankind. To see if this is true lets look at the definition of 'man' in the Greek. If the word 'man' is defined as "Jew" or "Israelite" then we can say the sabbath is only for the Jews. However if the word is defined differently we must make a change to what we believe. Lets check this out using BlueLetterBible.com...
Here we have proof positive that Yeshua/Jesus who is Lord of the Sabbath states its for ALL mankind. So when someone tries to say Jesus did away with the sabbath remind them about this passage.
Let no one judge you for observing the Sabbath ref. Colossians 2:14-17
“And you (Gentiles), being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. . .
Therefore let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon, or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Colossians 2:13-17
What is “the handwriting of ordinances that was against us?” A better translation is... “He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us.” You see its not the law that is against us but the written account of us breaking God's law. If we look at the bible in regards to obeying God's law the result was blessing so the law was not against us. It was only when people broke God's instructions that they were cursed. One way to explain this is to look at something people do everyday today... driving a car.
If we drive a car and obey the speed limit, then we are free to travel from point A to point B without delay. However if we break the law and go over the speed limit and a policeman gives us a ticket then there is a problem. Lets say the Judge's son is the policeman who fulfilled all the requirements of the police academy by passing all the tests with scores of 100%. Does that mean the laws have been done away with? No. Why? Because the laws were put in place to protect the people so they could travel safely. So when we break the speed limit and get a ticket it includes the law and how we broke that specific law. In other words it is the "handwriting of ordances" that is against us.
Yeshua/Jesus kept all the law perfectly and by his death “paid the debt” once for all the world's sins (the transgressing of God's law ref. 1 John 3:4). However many people think that the phrase "let no one judge you in food, drink, feastivals and sabbaths" means we no longer have to observe the sabbath.
What Paul was saying was to not observe the sabbath but to “let no one judge you regarding” (the WAY in which you keep) “a festival . . . or sabbaths.” You also need to consider the situation - that the surrounding pagans were heavily engaged in worshipping false gods and a lot of them were trying to get Christians to NOT observe these things. The pagans were trying to convince believers that they did not have to obey God and His word, so Paul was encouraging them to keep observing the things mentioned Colossians.
Now some try to imply that the festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths were shadows of things to come but that is not what it states. Paul wrote, “they ARE a shadow of things to come.” In the Greek is present tense - in other words the sabbath is still in effect today. We even see the sabbath being obseved in the New Millennium so its at best a shadow of things to come and it does not mean its been done away with.
One thing we have to remember is what Yeshua said...
"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:18-19
What we see is that heaven and earth are still here so the feasts of the Lord and His sabbaths are still in effect today - if we claim that Colossians 2:14-17 does away with the very words of our Messiah, we are saying Yeshua was wrong and that is not the case.
So remember when someone brings up Colossians remind them of these simple facts.
Those that observe the Sabbath are 'turning back again to weak and beggarly elements'.
“But how after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months
and seasons and years.” Galatians 4:9-10
Some will quote this as proof the sabbath has been abolished. They claim the sabbath is a 'weak and beffarly element' yet we can find no scriptures to support this. God set apart His sabbath as holy and those that observe it will be blessed. So what are the 'weak and beggarly elements'? The “days, and months, and seasons, and years” refers to the sacrifices which were required on the Sabbaths, New Moons, and every appointed feast day ref. I Chron 23:31.
The Galatians who had come to belief in Christ, had been taken in by the circumcision party who were “zealous for the law.” They also included the offering of sacrifices at Jerusalem, in order to be saved (works salvation). “Tell me,” Paul wrote, “you who desire to be under (justified by) the law” (Gal. 4:21). He was adamant that we are saved by faith in Christ - not by “works of the law” as seen in the old testament). Why? Because Yeshua was our passover lamb, the lamb of God that took away the sins of the world.
So keeping the Feasts of the Lord in order to be saved would be no better than observing pagan festivals in order to please the false gods. Both involved a type of salvation by works, and so called “weak and beggarly elements. The “weak and beggarly elements” were also the animal sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood. They were “weak” because they could not “make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience” ref. Heb.9:9. Our Messiah was the perfect sacrifice, and He is now our High Priest who has made us a new creature in Christ. The question is are we to continue in sin or walk in obedience as Yeshua exampled? Scripture is clear but many confuse what Paul says about the law. Even Peter stated that many would misunderstand what Paul taught...
"Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation - as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in ALL his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:14-18
The things that are 'hard to understand' was how Paul refered to the law. Paul seems to be for the law and against it at the same time. In Colossians 2:14, “the handwriting of ordinances” is “wiped out,” while in Romans 3:31, he explains that justification by faith in Jesus Christ does not overthrow the law but “establishes” it. In Romans 7:6, he states that “now we are discharged from the law,” while a few verses later he writes that “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good” in 7:12. In Romans 10:4, Paul writes that “Christ is the end of the law,” while in 8:3-4, he explains that Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh . . . in order that the just requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us.” Paul maintains in Romans 3:28 that “a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law,” yet in 1 Corinthians 7:19, he states that “neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.” Here clearly Paul is contrasting the the sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood and/or works salvation with the law of God that was not done away with (not continuing in sin but being obedient from the heart). In 2 Corinthians 3:7 Paul designates the law as “the dispensation of death,” while in Romans 3:2, he views it as part of the “oracles of God” entrusted to the Jews.
How can Paul view the law both as “abolished” and “established”, unnecessary and necessary? The answer is to be found in the context. When Paul speaks of law-keeping as a means to earn salvation, he he clearly states that keeping the law of God is useless. “If justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose” (Galatians 2:21). Now when he speaks of the law in the context of Christian conduct after salvation, he maintains the value and validity of God’s law. In fact, Christ came, “in order that the just requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us” through the working of His Holy Spirit. We “received grace” he wrote, “for obedience” ref. Romans 1:5.
So when people claim the sabbath is a weak and beggerly element remind them there are no scriptures stating this; what we do see is that God set His sabbaths as Holy and we are to be holy as He is holy.
The Sabbath was a ceremonial law and it has been abolished ref. Lev 23:1-4, 32-34, 2 Kings 4:23,
A lot of believers claim the Sabbath is "ceremonial" because it is grouped with some ceremonial laws and thus it has been done away with. The fact is the Sabbath is mentioned right alongside some "ceremonial laws" but the question is, does this mean the sabbath was a "ceremonial law"?
If the answer is 'yes' then this logic must also work for other laws as well. However it does not work because God's laws are mixed in with temporary laws many times throughout scripture. For example Deuteronomy 22 shows the ttemporal, ceremonial, and eternal' laws are all mixed together. Among these temporary and ceremonial laws, it also mentions the sin of adultery. So does this mean adultery was a ceremonial law because it is mentioned among all these other ceremonial laws? Of course not.
The Old Testament says if someone steals they must make a trespass offering. The trespass offering has been abolished but the sin of stealing has not been abolished. If one was to go by the fact that the sin of stealing is mentioned in the same exact passage as a ceremonial law and its trespass offering, and conclude that the law of stealing is a ceremonial law simply based upon the fact that it is mentioned alongside other ceremonial laws, would not be a correct conclusion.
So when we look at the scriptures we have to look at the context and not just the grouping of things.
Colossians states the sabbath is a shadow so it is abolished today
Notice this verse does not say, "the sabbath days ARE a shadow of things to come;" it says, "the sabbath days WHICH are a shadow of things to come." When the word "which" is used, this means that ONLY those sabbaths which are shadows are being addressed...and not necessarily ALL sabbaths. Let us compare scripture with scripture:
Colossians 1:2 says, "The saints WHICH are at Colosse."
This phrase does NOT means "All the saints are at Colosse; it refers to ONLY those saints which are at Colosse. It would be presumption to say that ALL the saints are at Colosse, just as it would be presumtion to say that ALL sabbaths are shadows and are thus abolished.
Let us presume that Colossians 2:16-17 says that the sabbath is a shadow of things to come. Now, where does scripture say that all shadows were abolished? Fact is scripture says no such thing. However, there is one verse, and only one other verse in the entire scripture, which speaks of shadows of things to come, and here it is...
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,
can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers
thereunto perfect." Hebrews 10:1
Notice this passage does not say, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never make the comers thereunto perfect." This is how most people interpret this verse, but this is in error. Hebrews 10:1 does not say shadows were abolished. It does not even say shadows "can never make the comers thereunto perfect." What does this verse say "can never make the comers thereunto perfect"? The answer is, "those sacrifices which they offered year by year."
Not only does this verse verify that the "sabbaths" are "yearly" sabbaths, but it says the laws that demaded sacrifices can never make anyone perfect. What sacrifices is Hebrews 10:1 referring to? Well, the remaining verses of this chaprter tell us...
* Hebrews 10:3-4, "But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."
* Hebrews 10:6, "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure."
* Hebrews 10:8, "Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;"
* Hebrews 10:11, "And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:"
So Hebrews 10:1 is saying that the sacrifices that were offered year by year, the animal sacrifices made to attone for ones sins, does not take away sins. God has no pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices. Therefore, these sacrifices can never make anyone perfect. Hebrews 10:1 is in reference to the animal sacrifices which are shadows. That is the point of Hebrews 10. The laws that prescribed animal sacrifices have passed away, not laws that define good and evil, righteousness and wickedness, etc. When somebody committed theft, they had to sacrifice blood for their sins. Even though these sacrifices were done away with, the law that says it is a sin to steal is still binding upon us today. When somebody broke the sabbath day, they had to sacrifice an animal for their sins. Even though these sacrifices were done away with, the law that says it is a sin to work on the sabbath day is still applicable today.
The penalty for breaking the Sabbath is death so it is no longer binding today
Let us look at this claim and apply it to another sin... adultery. If the bible states the punishment for adultery is death, then we are free to break this commandment? Let us turn to the scriptures and see...
"The man who commits adultery with another man's wife... the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death."
So according to the logic that is used for not observing the Sabbath does this mean we don't have to obey the commandment to not commit adultery? Of course not. Let us try another... how about honoring your father and mother?
"For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death..."
Again do we get to dishonor our parents today because it was punishable by death? Of course not. How about taking the Lord's name in vain?
"And whoever blashphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death." Leviticus 24:16
Here are some more examples of commandments that have the penalty of death if broken...
Having other gods before God - Exodus 22:20 & Deuteronomy 18:20
Promoting the worship of other gods - Deuteronomy 13:5
Killing with out just cause - murder - Exodus 21:12, Leviticus 24:17 & 21, Numbers 35:16-31
Commiting rape - Deuteronomy 22:25; homosexuality - Leviticus 20:13; beastiality - Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:15-16
Stealing - Exodus 21:6, Leviticus 5:6 & 19; 6:2 & 5, Deuteronomy 24:7
Bearing false witness - Leviticus 6:1-6, Deuteronomy 19:16-19
Lots of examples but you get the point - you cannot use the argument that many believers and pastors use (we don't have to observe the Sabbath because the penalty in the bible was death) because it does not work when applied to other sins. So there is another question we must clear up.
"Why don't we stone people today for these sins to include not observing the Sabbath?"
Simple because the Messiah died for the sins of the world and He redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13). Physical death and the shedding of blood, is no longer required for sin, because Jesus shed His blood for all (Matth 26:28, Mark 14:24, etc). So if there is no more death penalty for breaking 9 of the commandments there is no more penalty for breaking the 4th commandment, observing the Sabbath, etc.
This is the exact reason why scripture says there is a change in the law...
"For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law."
Remember in Jeremiah 31:31-34 as New Covenant believers the law, God's instructions are to be written on our hearts and minds so we could obey. One thing we have to remember when testing beliefs, doctrines and such claims is to also apply it to other verses. As we saw above if the other examples don't follow the same, then it cannot be used. We as believers need to follow the truth and and continue to not sin, to walk as Jesus walked.
We don't have to observe the Sabbath because of Galatians 4:9-10
This is a very common and widely used objection to not observe the Sabbath but as we have learned, pulling a single verse out of context is not a proper way to interprete God's word. So let us look at this in detail...
"but now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years." Galatians 4:9-10
Those who would argue against Sabbath observance see Paul's reference to "days and months and seasons and years" (verse 10) as pointing to the Sabbath day, and the festivals, sabbatical and jubilee years given in the Old Testament (Leviticus 23, 25). They view these God-given observances as "weak and beggarly elements" to which the Galatians were "turning again" and becoming "in bondage" (verse 9). But the problem is, coming to this conclusion betrays a lack of understanding, both of the historical context of the book of Galatians and of the immediate context in which Paul is speaking. A big question we must answer is this... "Is word Sabbath even in the book of Galations?" Let us search the scriptures and see...
Is the word "Sabbath" found
in the book of Galatians?
Wow! The word "sabbath" and any related words do not appear anywhere in the entire book of Galatians! So there is an obvious problem with viewing these verses as being critical of the Sabbath and its observance.
To argue against keeping the Sabbath, some assume that the "years" referred to in Galatians 4:10 are the sabbatical and jubilee years described in Leviticus 25. However, the jubilee year was not being observed anywhere in Paul's day, and the sabbatical year was not being observed in areas outside Palestine (Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 14, p. 582, and Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 666, "Sabbatical Year and Jubilee"). The fact that Galatia was in Asia Minor, far outside Palestine, makes it illogical to conclude Paul could have been referring here to the sabbatical and jubilee years. The Greek words Paul used for "days and months and seasons and years" are used throughout the New Testament in describing normal, civil periods of time. So why do people ignore this?
These descriptions of time are totally different from the precise Greek words Paul used in Colossians 2:16 specifying the sabbaths, festivals and new-moon celebrations given in the scripture. He used exact terminology for biblical observances in Colossians, but used very different Greek words in Galatians. This is a clear indication that he was discussing altogether different subjects.
To understand what Paul meant, we must ask the question who were these Gentile believers, where they did they come from & what believed prior to becoming followers of the Messiah. So lets examine both the historic and immediate contexts of these verses. The Galatian churches were composed mostly of gentiles who followed false gods and did not have a Jewish background. Paul made it clear that they were physically uncircumcised (Galatians 5:2; 6:12,13), so they could not have been Jewish. The false gods these gentile people followed were Jupiter, Zeau, Mercury, and not God Almighty. In other words, the Greek and Roman gods are what they worshipped, not the God of the Old Testament as seen in the previous verse...
"But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods"
Because these people were predominantly gentile who used to follow false gods, Paul would not have said that to a congregation of Jews. He would not have said they did not know God; they may not have understood God, or the plan of God, or the mercy of God, but it would be grossly innacurate to say to a synogogue of the Jews, "you didn't know God." Its clear these were gentiles who did not know God. First must understand what they were in the past, to understand what Paul meant in these verses. Scripture says they did not know God, and they were in bondage to false gods.
This background is important in understanding this passage. In Galatians 4:9-10, Paul said that the Galatians were "turning again to the weak and beggarly elements," which included "days and months and seasons and years." Since Paul's readers were from a Gentile background, it is difficult to see how the "days and months and seasons and years" they were turning back to could be the Sabbath and other biblical festivals, since they could not turn back to something they had not previously observed. Now, the whole concept here is the going back to something from which they came - false gods. Now, there isn't any way that we can find these gentiles having come out of the pagan worship of false gods, then having go forward to Christ, and then have them go into Judaism. It will not come together this way. The context of Galatians and historical context does not support it.
Is it possible that these "weak and beggarly elements" they were returning to (verse 9) could be God's laws, sabbaths and festivals?
Good question, so lets look into this...
The word translated "elements" here is the Greek word stoicheia, the same word translated "elements" earlier in verse 3. There Paul described his readers as having been "in bondage under the elements of the world." For this to refer to God's law in verse 9, it would also have to refer to His law in verse 3, since the same word is used. Many people seem to want to equate the observance of the Sabbath of the Lord as being a 'week and beggarly element' of the world. Yet it is the Sabbath of the Lord which was sanctified and holy, a sign between God and His followers forever. However those that take verses 9-10 out of context try to imply its bondage and look for other expressions regarding bondage to condemn those who want to obey God from their heart. Paul's expression, though, says they were in bondage to the elements of the world. This expression can NEVER be applied to God's Law. These gentile Christians had not been involved in those Jewish observances before Paul came there, so how can they go back into them again if they had never come out of them in the first place? Simple they cannot. It would seem that in Paul's time, this exceedingly early and primitive view had been expanded to the point at which the stoicheia also referred to the sun, moon, stars, and planets-all of them associated with gods or goddesses and, because they regulated the progression of the calendar, also associated with the great pagan festivals honoring the gods. In Paul's view these gods were demons. Hence, he would be thinking of a demonic bondage in which the Galatians had indeed been held by these people prior to the proclamation of the gospel.
In the verses that follow, Paul goes on to speak of these three crucial subjects in quick succession: 'those who by nature are not gods,' presumably false gods or demons (verse 8); 'those weak and beggarly elements (verse 9); and'days and months and seasons and years' (verse 10). No doubt Paul would think of these demons in ways entirely different from the former thinking of the Galatians. Thus, this whole issue takes on a spiritual significance. The ultimate contrast to freedom in Christ is bondage to Satan and the evil spirits. Whatever "days and months and seasons and years" the Galatians were observing, they were apparently observing them in a superstitious manner, as they had observed days and times before their conversion when they followed false gods.
Now that we know the full context, we see it is illogical to conclude that Paul was criticizing the observance of the biblical Sabbath since it was not even mentioned anywhere in book of Galatians. Instead, he was attacking the misguided efforts to attain salvation through unnecessary superstitious observances used in the following of false gods &/or using the ways of following false gods when following the Creator. Remember the Sabbath is an eternal commandment, a perpetual covenant this is for eternity, and God's Commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3). Here's another point to consider concerning the fact about the Galatians "observing times" (Galatians 4:10). In Leviticus 19:26, the term "observe times" does not refer to the days that God set aside. Leviticus 19:26, "...neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times." The phrase "use enchantments" refer to divination that the sorcerers used. To observe times meant to observe the clouds, as a study of the appearance and motion of clouds was a common way of foretelling good or bad fortune. (See Matthew 16:3).
So when we take a verse or two out of context and not consider the background of whom the epistle was written to and their background, we end up with conflicts that go against what our loving Father put in place for our benefit and blessing.
The first century Christians worshipped God on Sunday and so should we...
While many claim this, there is no evidence in scripture to support such a claim. Even in church history there are no records of this. When we do research this, we find the majority of christians were worshipping on the Sabbath (friday night to saturday night) up to 300 years after the resurrection of the Messiah.
Now there are instances of those who worshipped on sunday in the first century, just as a lot of believers do today. So the question we need to ask is this...
Does someone else's disobedience justify our breaking one of God's commandments? No.
For one reason sin is defined as breaking/transgressing God's law/commandments as seen in 1 John 3:4. Second is a scripture that shows no matter what the majority are doing, if it is wrong, we are to not disobey...
"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn
aside after many to pervert justice." Exodus 23:2
So when we look at scripture we should not be like those who jump in because everyone else is doing it. We are to be mature believers who test what we believe, what we are taught and told. Consider the following when a believer went against the instructions of God and tried to promote a belief that was not in line with God's word. Please read Numbers 16 for the whole story of Korah who claimed the people were holy when in fact they were not. You see Korah, Dathan and Abiram were condoning sin, that the people no longer needed to be holy, to be set apart from the ways of Egypt (pagan ways), claimed everyone was holy when they were not. This resulted in the following...
Numbers 16: Verse 25 "And Moses spoke to the congregation saying 'Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.'... verse 31 Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, the ground split apart under them (Korah, Dathan & Abiram) and the earth opened up its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly.... verse 35 and a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense."
We also see this referenced again because of it's severity in Jude...
"But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about[a] by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead,
pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars
for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."
So remember that even though the majority is doing something that is against what God has put forth in His word, we are responsible to God and not the majority who are not following Him and His ways.
The Jerusalem Council did not mention the Sabbath as a requirement for Gentile believers
“Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath” Acts 15:19-20, 28-29
When people bring up this passage they seem to ignore a lot, consider the following. Notice how stealing, murder, disrespect for parents, bearing false witness, beastiality and taking God’s name in vain, were not mentioned either. This doesn’t mean those things are acceptable behavior for believers today. The Jerusalem council listed those things which would prevent Gentiles from keeping company with the people of God. Idol worship, sexual rituals, blood sacrifices which included the drinking of blood - all these were a part of pagan worship. The pagans of the day followed multiple gods - the things mentioned in Acts 15 was to prevent them from adding another 'god' to their collection. If a Gentile believer was serious about following the one true God, he/she would have to give up these practices, then he/she could come to any synagogue to learn about the one true God. Once a gentile believer had these basic good fruits, then they could learn about the other things in bible (the first five books of the Bible) which was taught in the synagogue every Sabbath.
Peter admonished the Jerusalem council not to put a “yoke on the neck” of the Gentile converts “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” ref. Acts 15:10. What was this yoke? If the yoke refers to the 10 Commandments, then we must say that God put a yoke upon His own people which they were not able to bear - making Him unjust. If however, the yoke refers to the man-made concept of “righteousness by works of the law” then Peter is telling the council not to preach salvation thru works. This agrees completely with what the Apostle Paul taught. Another possibility is that Peter was speaking of Pharisaic traditions which Yeshua confronted.
So when you hear someone say since the sabbath was not mentioned in Acts 15 we don't have to observe it today, remind them of these simple facts.
The Sabbath was only given to the Jews and not foreigners/strangers
Actually, the sabbath was not given to the children of Israel only, they were given to the stranger as well. The scripture is clear that there were not two laws, but the same law applied to both Israel and strangers, believers and non-believers (Exodus 12:49, Isaiah 56:6, Numbers 9:14; 15:15-16,29-30, Psalm 18:44).
"You shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country:
for I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 24:22
God ruled over all the kingdoms of the heathens, not just the kingdom of Israel (2 Chronicles 20:6). The Lord is, "the governor among the nations" (Psalms 22:28), and not just the governor among Israel.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man."
If we check BlueLetterBible we see the word 'man' here is Strong's H120 אָדָם 'adam meaning man, mankind; a human being and not Jew.
This is also proven by fact that there can be no "sin" without the "law"...
* Romans 3:20, "...by the law is the knowledge of sin."
* Romans 4:15, "...where no law is, there is no transgression."
* 1 John 3:4, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
Scripture says both Jews and Gentiles are under sin (Romans 3:9), and the "world" is guilty of breaking God's Law.
Galatians 3:22, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin..."
God cannot convict the whole world of sin unless the Laws of God are binding upon the whole world, because if there's no law, there's no sin. If God's law was only for Israel, how could God bring judgment upon Gentiles and heathen nations for not keeping His law? This fact alone proves that all nations are to keep God's Law.
Many believe that the laws contained in the Ten Commandments applied only to Jews, and not to the strangers/foreigners (non-Jewish believers). This goes contrary to all the evidence in scripture. For example, God told The Philistine king of Gerar, king Abimelech (i.e., a heathen, foreigner, and stranger), the following, "...Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech...said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?" (Genesis 20:3-4). If the laws contained in the Ten Commandments, such as adultery, did not apply to the heathen, how did this heathen king not only know it was a sin against God, but why did God threaten this man with death if he did not let this married woman return to her husband (Genesis 20:7)? The answer is, because there is one law for both the heathen and believers, the same law, God's Law.
As a matter of fact, for those who believe the Old Testament was given to the house of Israel only, scripture says the New Covenant was given to the "house of Israel" only as well (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).
Does that mean the New Testament does not apply to believers in Christ just because it was given to the house of Israel? Of course not. And why not? Why does the New Testament apply to all people; Jews, gentiles, and believers alike? For the same reason the Old Testament applied to all people as well. Because it is Truth! Because the same law is for both Israel and strangers! Besides, "Israel" is not a specific nation or race, it is all those who believe in God. All Christians are "Israel" and "Jews" today (Romans 1:16; 2:28-29; 9:4-8; 10:12, 1 Corinthians 10:2-4, Galatians 3:16,26-29, Colossians 3:11). Remember Romans 11 says we are grafted into Israel.
This fact alone proves that we cannot use this criteria to discern if a law has passed away or not. Just because a law was given to the children of Israel "only" has no bearing on whether it applies to those living under the New Testament. The command prohibiting having sex with an animal was also given to the "children of Israel" only; does that mean it is not binding upon the servants of Christ? Does that mean Christians can have sex with our pets and it will be okay? Of course not. A sin is a sin. This logic does not work for the sin of laying with animals, and neither does it work for the sin of breaking the Sabbath.
Many people believe that the following laws were given to Jews only, but scripture says otherwise. In Old Testament times, non-Jews were also partakers ofGod's Law, but the Mosaic laws as well. God wanted the "stranger" within their gates to do the following:
to be circumcised (Exodus 12:48);
to keep the 7th day sabbath (Exodus 20:10; 23:12, Deuteronomy 5:14);
to keep yearly solemn fast (Leviticus 16:29);
to keep the 7th year sabbath (Leviticus 25:6);
to observe the feast of weeks (Deuteronomy 16:11);
to observe the feast of tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:13-14);
to not eat blood (Leviticus 17:10,12);
to not eat animals that die of itself or is torn (Leviticus 17:15);
to keep God's statutes and judgments (Leviticus 18:26);
to not eat of the holy thing (Leviticus 22:10);
to not eat leavened bread during the feast of unleavened bread; (Exodus 12:18-20);
to keep the passover (Exodus 12:48, Numbers 9:14);
to make burnt offerings to the LORD (Numbers 15:14);
to not commit any sexual sins (Leviticus 18:26)
to be forgiven as the children of Israel were forgiven (Numbers 15:26);
to be cut off from among his people if he does something presumptuously (Numbers 15:30);
to use the ashes of the heifer as a purification for sin, and it was to be a statute forever (Numbers 19:9-10);
to go to the cities of refuge when one kills by accident (Numbers 35:15; Joshua 20:9);
to eat and be satisfied (Deuteronomy 14:29);
to rejoice before the Lord (Deuteronomy 26:11);
to hear, learn, and fear the LORD your God, and do all the words of God's law (Deuteronomy 31:12);
to have no idols (Ezekiel 14:7)
Jews were commanded to treat strangers without malice...
as one born among them (Leviticus 19:34);
to judge strangers righteously (Deuteronomy 1:16);
to love strangers (Deuteronomy 10:18-19);
to share tithes with the stranger (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12-13);
to do no violence to the stranger (Jeremiah 22:3);
to give strangers their inheritance depending in what tribe they were sojourning with (Ezekiel 47:23);
Strangers also stood on the side of the ark and heard all the words of the law (Joshua 8:32-35).
Isaiah 56:6-7, "Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, 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 people."
The fact that God has punished Heathen nations throughout the Old Testament is proof that God's Law was binding upon the stranger without the gates of Israel as well. If God's Law was not binding upon them, why would God punish them for breaking His Laws?
God's fourth commandment (Exodus 20:10) tells us briefly "who" must observe this law, but there are certain people not mentioned. For example, it says, "Thou, and thy son, and thy daughter...", but "wife" is not mentioned in this commandment! Does that mean the "wife" did not have to keep the sabbath day holy? No, of course not. The wife had to keep it just as much as the husband did. This fact shows that just because certain people are not specifically mentioned in this commandment, it does not mean they are excluded from keeping the Sabbath. Likewise, just as God's fourth commandment mentions the man but not his wife, the fourth commandment mentions strangers within their gates, but not outside their gates. And just as in the case with the man and wife, in which the Sabbath pertains to both of them (even though the wife is not mentioned), the same is true with the stranger within the gates as well as without the gates (even though the stranger without the gates is not mentioned).
Some may believe that the phrase "the stranger within thy gates," (God's fourth commandment) or "the stranger that sojourneth among you" is limited to only those strangers within the gates (i.e. strangers who soujorneth among them), and excludes all strangers without the gates. But, when we compare scripture with scripture, these phrases pertain to all strangers, whether inside or outside the gates.
Does adultery (and all the other sexual sins in scripture), only apply to Jews, or to all strangers as well? If that phrase is limited to only strangers that sojourneth among them within their gates, then we must say adultery (God's seventh commandment) and every sexual sin in scripture, is not a sin for the stranger if he is not sojourning with them and is outside the gates of Jerusalem. Leviticus 18 lists every sexual sin that God considers an abomination. After all these sins are revealed, look what God says:
Leviticus 18:26, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:"
Scripture shows us that this phrase does not exclude strangers who are not sojourning among them, because God shows us, in His Word, that His law forbidding adultery applies to the heathen as well. God plagued Pharoaoh and his house because they were treating Abraham's wife as an unmarried woman (Genesis 12:11-20). God told King Abimelech (the Philistine king of Gerar, a heathen) that adultery was wrong, and that the penalty for committing adultery was death (Genesis 20:1-7; 26:7-11). Therefore, the phrase "any stranger that sojourneth among you" does not exclude the strangers not sojourning among them.
How about God's second commandment, forbidding idols? Is this limited to only Jews and those strangers sojourning in Israel, or does it apply to everyone?
Ezekiel 14:7-8, "For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself: And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD."
Scripture shows us that this phrase does not exclude strangers who are not sojourning in Israel, because God shows us, in His Word, that His law forbidding idol worship applies to the heathen living outside of Israel. The fact that God has punished Heathen nations throughout the Old Testament is proof that God's Law was binding upon the heathens without the gates of Israel as well. If God's Law was not binding upon them, why would God punish them for breaking His Laws?
"For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by; And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold,
which were among them:" Deuteronomy 29:16-17
Notice in the above passage that scripture says Egypt and other heathen nations were committing abominations with their idols. If the law prohibiting idols did not apply to heathen nations, but only to those in Israel, why would God say these Heathen nations were sinning by having idols? The reason is because they were sinning and committing abominations by having idols, because God's Law applied to the heathen nations as well as to the nation of Israel.
Learning God's Word:
Was it God's will that the stranger outside the gates not learn about and fear God, and observe the words of the law?
"Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to
do all the words of this law:" Deuteronomy 31:12
Scripture shows us that this phrase does not exclude strangers who are not within thy gates because God shows us, in His Word, that it is God's Will that strangers outside the gates hear and learn and fear the Lord God, and observe His Law. For example, remember Nineveh and Jonah (in the book of Jonah)? Nineveh, a heathen city, was doing evil, and God sent a prophet, Jonah, to that city so these people would be informed that they were sinning. God told Jonah to tell Nineveh they had 40 days to repent of their sins, or God would destroy them. Jonah went to Nineveh and told them they were going against God's Law. Then the people in that heathen city repented of their sins, and started to obey God's Law from that moment on, and God graciously spared that city from destruction.
Vex means "to suppress, treat violently, maltreat, do wrong." Does Leviticus 19:33 apply only to strangers that sojourn with them; meaning that it was okay for God's children to suppress, treat violently, maltreat, and do wrong to every man, woman, and child throughout the rest of the earth? Or was it God's Will that His Children treat all men, women, and children with love, regardless of where they live?
Leviticus 19:33, " And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him."
Deuteronomy 24:14, "Thou shalt not oppress...thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:"
Obviously, all the above passages refer to all strangers, regardless of where they sojourn. Proof of this is found in:
Exodus 22:21, "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers
in the land of Egypt." (See also Exodus 23:9).
Leviticus 18 and 20 lists all the sexual sins in scripture. After Leviticus 18 lists all these sexual sins, it states:
Leviticus 18:26, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:"
Does this mean that these sexual sins are an abomination only for the strangers that sojourn among them, and not to the strangers in other nations? No, it does not have that meaning. This is proven by reading the context:
Leviticus 18:24-30, "Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (Forall these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God."
As we can see, it was an abomination for the heathen nations as well to commit these sexual sins. Now let's look at Leviticus 20.
Leviticus 20:2, "Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones."
Does this mean that it is not a sin for strangers who are not sojourning in Israel? No, this phrase does not have that meaning.
Leviticus 20:23, "And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them."
God abhorred these heathen nations, and cast them out, because they committed these same acts that "the strangers that sojourn in Israel" were forbidden to do. This shows that this phrase is not a term of limitation. This command applies to all strangers, no matter where they are sojourning, or what country they are from. Therefore, when the 4th commandment says it was for the stranger within thy gates, that means it was a law for the stranger without the gates also. That is the scriptural meaning of this phrase.
In addition, when God's Ten Commandments were first given, what "gates" was God referring to? The children of Israel, at that time, were in the wilderness. They were not in the country of Israel, with gates around them. This would not happen for at least another 40 years. So, obviously, the "gates" did not refer to any physical gates or borders.
So when the topic of the sabbath comes up and someone says its only for the Jews, please remind them of what God's word actually states.
Christians today are under grace,
not the law
This is probably the most used response to NOT observe the Sabbath. However in Acts 13:42-44 it states Gentiles believers were assembling for worship on the Sabbath to listen to Paul's preaching. What is interesting is that they all came back the next Sabbath to hear more. If the sabbath was done away with would not Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, correct such false teaching? Do we see where Paul tell them to come back on the next day which was 'Sunday' instead of the sabbath because they were "under grace"? No.
Furthermore, Paul specifically upheld God's Law and said it was applicable to all believers (Romans 3:31, 1 Corinthians 7:19). He also said that being under grace does not give Christians a license to sin (Romans 6:15). Paul continue to say that God's law is "holy, righteous and good" (Romans 7:12).
So why do a lot of believers twist his words to mean that being "under grace" gives them a license to break the fourth commandment by substituting some other day for another? Would believers use the same logic and say that being under grace means they can break the sixth commandment: "You shall not murder?" Did God say, "You shall not murder except when you are under grace?" No. Being under "grace" simply means the blood of Christ has forgiven us and we are no longer under the penalties or condemnation of the Law - it does not mean we are free to continue in sin by disobeying His commandments.
Many seem to think that Grace, Faith and Obedience are not compatible, that Grace and God's instruction (i.e. His law) are opposites, however the believers of the New Testament understood that that all work together. Watch the following video about this topic...
Paul collected money from believers on Sunday, proving the Sabbath was changed
Many believers think that 1 Corinthians 16:1 is proof that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. Let us look at this passage...
"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the firest day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there will be no collections when I come."
What is a 'day'? What many believers today don't understand is what the bible says a 'day' consists of is different than what we know a 'day' is today. Let me explain.
Today in America we think a day starts in the morning when the sun comes up and ends when it becomes night (or midnight). However when does God say a day starts and ends? Lets look at Genesis 1...
"God calld the light day, and the darkness He called night. So the evening and the morning were the first day." Genesis 1:5
"... So evening and the morning were the second day." Genesis 1:8, etc. etc. etc.
So we see that a day according to God consisted of an evening and morning. When it came to the seventh day, the Sabbath, it was from Friday evening to Saturday just before evening. So how does this play into 1 Corinthians 16:1?
Many believers say that the collection happened on a Sunday morning service but they forget about God figures a day. Simply put when believers came together on the Sabbath they engaged in prayer, reading of the scriptures, teaching, etc. After the Sabbath was over, it was early Saturday evening. So they took up the collection after the Sabbath, which was the first day of the week (still Saturday by the Gregorian calendar). This changes everything.
Something else to consider is that Paul never said that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. The instructions was only for the collection of funds which Paul would collect when he visited them. There is no mention of changing the day of worship anywhere in scripture. When we look at the writtings of the prophets we do not see any prophesies that God would change the Sabbath. The biggest proof that the Sabbath was not changed are the New Millennial scriptures. Please go to BibleGateway.com and do a search for the word "Sabbath" and concentrate on the prophets.