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Special Studies on the Sabbath/Sunday Question

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  • Special Studies on the Sabbath/Sunday Question


    12 Reasons Why the Sabbath is Not a Ceremonial Precept

    1st. – Because it was instituted BEFORE the entrance of sin in the world (Gen. 2:2, 3; Exo. 20:8-11 and Mar. 2:27). The ceremonies represent an arrangement from AFTER sin showed up and served to provide its atonement by its symbolic value, pointing ahead to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin from the World” (John 1:29). To keep the Sabbath doesn't grant atonement, but its profanation is sin, which is a characteristic of a moral precept (1 John 3:4).

    2nd. – Because the Creation story stresses that God RESTED [ceased His activities of the creation week, for the Divinity doesn’t get tired—Isa. 40:28] on that first Sabbath day, thus leaving an example for the being He had created (Gen. 2:3; Exo. 20:11). No ceremonial precept acquires such relevance in God’s consideration.

    3rd. – Because the Creation story stresses that God BLESSED that first Sabbath day as a special mark of His approval and continuous physical, mental and spiritual benefit to those who observe it, a promise presented in many occasions throughout the Bible, as in Isaiah 56: 3-8; 58: 13, 14. Such divine blessing on the Sabbath is reminded in the commandment’s text (Exo. 20:11). There is no ceremonial precept that receives such consideration.

    4th. – Because the Creation story stressed that God SANCTIFIED that first Sabbath, separating it as a memorial of His work as Creator, which is confirmed in the commandment’s text (Exo. 20:8-11). The word “sanctify” means “separate something to be consecrated to God”. Since God is already absolutely holy, to whom did He sanctify [separate] the Sabbath, but for His human creatures? It would make no sense to establish a memorial for an event at a time so far removed regarding it.

    5th. – Because as He pronounced solemnly the moral law of the Ten Commandments at the Sinai mountain at the ears of the people of Israel, God included naturally the Sabbath as its 4th commandment and didn’t do the same with any of the ceremonial precepts. And as He concluded, the text says that He “added nothing more” (Deu. 5:22). Whoever adds ceremonial precepts to the Decalogue is going against what God did (1 Cor. 4:6).

    6th. – Because at the conclusion of His proclamation, God wrote those words on two stone tables, which Moses placed within the ark (Deu. 10:5). He didn’t write on those tables ANY CEREMONIAL PRECEPT. All that had ceremonial character was dictated to Moses for being recorded in books (scrolls) in another occasion.

    7th. – Because God restored the observance of the Sabbath under the Mosaic administration so that it was a special sign between Himself and His chosen people (Exo. 31:17 and Eze. 20:12, 20). He wouldn’t choose for that objective a ceremonial commandment that would be abolished in the future, for His plan was that Israel always remained His chosen people and His witnesses among Earth dwellers (Isa. 43:9, 10 and 49:6) when the scenario described in Psalm 67 would materialize.
    8th. –Because Jesus reinforced the concept that the Sabbath was a divine institution, established “because of man” (Mar. 2:27), so that it served man in the physical, mental and spiritual aspects. No ceremonial commandment would deserve such a treatment. Today, as never before, men need this regimen of regular rest, among other factors, the many stressing facts that we face in modern society. Not to say about the spiritual, familiar, social, benefits. Why would He be concerned with something that soon would be abolished?

    9th. – Because Jesus, Who is the Holy Lord and Creator (John 1:3; Heb. 1:2), gave the example of Sabbath observance (Luke 4:16) and revealed preoccupation as to its correct observance, discussing with the religious leaders about His acts of healing on that day, explaining that what He did on the Sabbath day was “lawful” (Mat. 12:12). The tenor of Christ's discussions with the Jewish leaders was not IF they should observe the Sabbath, nor WHEN they should observe the Sabbath, but HOW to do it, in the appropriate spirit. He never revealed the same preoccupation regarding any ceremonial precept.

    10th. – Because despite the ceremonies having ceased on the cross and a long discussion on their meaning is found in the New Testament, especially in Hebrews 7 to 10, the 4th commandment is never discussed as having a ceremonial character. On the contrary, in the epistle to the Hebrews itself, the Sabbath receives special treatment in the chapters 3 and 4 where it is never referred to as having ceased.

    11th. – Because there was a death penalty following the violation of this commandment: “So keep the sabbath, for it is holy unto you; everyone who profanes it shall die; for whosoever doeth any work therein shall be cut off from his people”. (Ex. 31:14). No violation of a merely ceremonial law was accompanied of this penalty. The neglect of circumcision, although meant rejecting both the Abrahamic and the Mosaic Covenants, and necessarily entailed the loss of all the benefits of the theocracy was not considered a capital offense. The law of the Sabbath, while remaining distinct, was elevated far above the mere positive commandments (ceremonial ones). It was given a special character of not only paramount importance but also of holiness.

    12th. – Because, as “memorial of creation” (see Psalm 111:2-4), the Sabbath will continue valid to generations of the redeemed in the New Earth conditions because now more than ever there are reasons to praise the Creator for the restoration of the planet that He Created perfect at the beginning of its history, linked to the history of man himself (Isa. 66:22, 23). Various Bible versions say that “every Sabbath shall all flesh come to worship Me, says the Lord”, as stated in the Louis Segond version, in French. Although it reference is made to the new moon, it is important to remember that was not limited to a ceremonial feast regarding this natural occurrence, but is also the mark of a month. And each month there will be some form of meeting, as is implied by Apo. 22:2.
    Editado por última vez por Azenilto Brito; https://www.foroadventista.org/member/5779-azenilto-brito en , 13:55:02.

  • #2
    10 QUESTIONS ON THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW OF GOD/LAW OF CHRIST

    Jesus said: "I and My Father are One" (John 10:30)

    1 – Where does the Bible say, in a direct, clear, straightforward way, that “the law of Christ” took the place of the “law of God” for the Christians?

    2 – If now we just have the “law of Christ”, that replaced the supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does Paul still refer to the “law of God”, saying he had pleasure on it, and keept it in his mind, that the “inclination of the flesh” is not subject to the law of God, etc. (Rom. 7:22, 25; 8:7 e 8)? Why does he still refer to the “law of God”, “commandments of God”, things that would be past, instead of focusing only on the “law of Christ”?

    3 – If now we just have the “law of Christ” that replaced the supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does Paul enumerate the Decalogue’s commandments (“law of God”), prescribing them to the Christians as to be obeyed according to the principle of “love”, instead of speaking of the “law of Christ” (Rom. 13:8-10)?

    4 – If now we just have the “law of Christ” that replaced the supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does Paul remind the Ephesians of a commandment of the Decalogue (“law of God”) as still in force, instead of urging them to obey the same principle, applying it to a different code, related to the “law of Christ” (Eph. 6:1-3)?

    5 – If now we just have the “law of Christ” that replaced a supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does Paul say that now “what counts” is to obey the “commandments of God”, and not the “commandments of Christ” (1 Cor. 7:19)?

    6 – If now we just have the “law of Christ” that replaced a supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does John speak of “law of God” and “law of Christ” interchangeably in his various epistles (see 1 John 2:7; 3:21-24; 4:7-12, 21)?

    7 – If now we have the “law of Christ” that replaced a supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does John in the book of Revelation say clearly that the faithful children of God are characterized as those who “keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12)? Why doesn’t he say that they “keep the commandments of Christ”?

    8 – If now we have the “law of Christ” that replaced a supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does Hebrews 8:6-10, dealing with the change of the Old to the New Covenant, refer to “My laws” (God’s), which are written on the hearts and minds of those who accept this New Covenant [New Testament], and not the “laws of Christ”?

    9 – If now we have the “law of Christ” that replaced a supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why does James mention the Decalogue’s commandments (“law of God”) as norms for the Christians, instead of concentrating attention on the “law of Christ” (James 2:10-12)?

    10 – If now we have the “law of Christ” that replaced a supposedly obsolete “law of God”, why as John defines what sin is—transgression of the law (1 John 3:4)—he doesn’t specify that this applies now to the “law of Christ”?

    Note.: The context of that verse doesn’t even speak of Christ, only of God. His primary readers would clearly identify the “law” as being God’s. The onus of the proof rests with whoever deny that.

    Comentario


    • #3
      10 POINTS TO PONDER ON THE THEME OF GOD’S LAW AND THE SABBATH

      1st. – God’s law is called “perfect” (Sal. 19:17), thus how could it be discarded as an inadequate “first law” to be replaced by a best one in the New Testament? Would God create an imperfect law for the Jews and a perfect one for the Christians?

      2nd. – Jesus DIDN’T create a new, revolutionary code, in SUBTITUTION to the divine law of the Old Testament, since his “golden rule” is just a reiteration of what Moses had already said (compare Mat. 22:3-40 with Lev. 19:18 and Deu. 6:5). What He did was to highlight the deeper and ethical aspects of the law that had been lost sight of due to the bad instruction His hearers had got from the religious leaders of the Jewish nation. After all, it was always wrong to look at a woman with impure intentions (see Job 31:1) as well as to hate a neighbor (Lev. 19:17).

      3rd. – A proof of that is what we read in Matthew 5:20—the key to understand Christ’s statements in His famous antithesis, “ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. . . But I say unto you. . .”: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”.

      4th. – Another proof that Christ didn’t intend to REPLACE the principles of the law, besides His statements in Matthew 5:17, 18 that He hadn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, is that what He says in these verses is accompanied by His RECOMMENDATIONS regarding the most perfect obedience, taking into account the minimal details of such law (see vs. 19).

      5th. – Also in Matthew 23:1-3 Jesus recommends to His hearers that they accept ALL that their religious leaders taught (not what they practiced). And one of the things they taught, even though corrupting the meaning of the commandment, was the faithful observance of the seventh-day Sabbath: Luke 13:14.

      6th. – The expressions used by Paul of “law of the spirit of life” and “law of sin and death” don’t mean different laws, but different visions on the law. He employs the word “law” in Romans 7:25 as a “play on words”, for he is speaking on the operation of sin as a “law”, while significantly he also states: “I myself serve the law of God”. That would make no sense in case he understood that this law was annulled. But he also declared: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31).

      7th. – Jesus Christ stated that “the Sabbath was made because of man, and not man because of the Sabbath” (Mar. 2:27). In that statement He confirms the universal character of the Sabbath and REINFORCES the need to keep the Sabbath commandment, which is, above all, a privilege of God’s children, while He condemned the distortions to the commandment practiced by the religious leaders of His time. Christ’s debates on the Sabbath didn’t have the objective of teaching that it was an abolished commandment to be no more obeyed (for that would be in opposition to His own words in Matthew 5:19), rather He showed the CORRECT spirit by which the Sabbath should be kept.

      8th. – On the question of the “division of the laws” as “moral”, “ceremonial”, “civil”, etc., we find the words of Paul in 1 Cor. 7:19, where he speaks that “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God”. In that we see how he himself makes a “division” of the laws that were important, but are no more so, and commandments that must be fulfilled by God’s people.

      9th. – Christian leaders along history always defined God’s law on this basis: as moral law (the Ten Commandments), ceremonial, civil laws, etc. The historic confessions of faith, creeds and catechisms of Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Congregationalists, and even Roman Catholics, allow anyone to realize it.

      10th. – Finally, there is the question of the change of Old Covenant for the New Covenant: There isn’t the least hint that in this process, as God writes His laws on the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of this New Covenant (New Testament), He

      a) leaves out the 4th commandment (of the Bible’s Decalogue, not of the falsified one in the Roman Catholic catechisms)

      b) includes the 4th commandment, but changing the day of observance from the seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week (Sunday)

      OR

      c) includes the 4h commandment, but as a vague, voluntary and variable principle, that can be fulfilled or not, or adopted according to the most convenient time for the believer (or his/her employer).

      Basic Texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; Jeremiah 31:31-33 y Ezekiel 36:26 y 27. – By Prof. Azenilto G. Brito.

      Comentario


      • #4
        10 Questions About the Sabbath for Anti-Sabbatarians to Think Seriously About


        They don’t need to be answered. Could be just for serious reflections . . .

        1 – Since Isaiah 56:2-8 and Mark 2:27 show that the Sabbath is not an institution only for the literal children of Israel, encompassing the foreigners and “every man”, how can be it denied that it is a moral, universal precept, that stems from the Creation of the world?

        Note: By the way, the only two institutions that still persist in the world since the entrance of sin are the Sabbath and marriage, both equally established for man (see Mar. 2:27 and Mat. 19:5). Both are equally the object of tremendous attacks from Satan, in the first case through the development of false theologies (promoting the ancient dies solis of Roman paganism, transformed into Sunday, or the ambiguous philosophy of the “anydayism/nodayism/everydayism”), and, in the second case, through the growing wave of separations, divorce, marital unfaithfulness and, more recently, same-sex marriages.

        2 – Since the historical confessions of faith, creeds and catechisms of Protestant (and Catholic) Christendom admit that the Sabbath is a MORAL commandment, that comes from Eden, where did the interpretations that negate this come from?

        Note: A clue would be to get information regarding a certain C. I. Scofield by the beginning of the 20th Century.

        3 – Since those who found rest for their souls following Christ directly, when He inhabited among men, and didn’t for that reason dispense with the Sabbath (Luke 23:56), why should we act differently today, as Jesus came to save His people FROM their sins, and not WITH their sins (Mat. 1:21)?

        Note: We find the Bible’s definition of “sin” in 1 John 3:4: “Sin is the transgression of the law”.

        4 – Since Paul along the entire epistle to the Colossians never utilizes the word “law”, doesn’t that allow us to see he is not teaching anything in Chapter 2 regarding the end of laws, but is speaking of another thing related to the attribution of guilt to forgiven sinners?

        Note: The “written code” (cheirographon, in the Greek --Col. 2:14) that was “against us” is not the “ceremonial law”, as some think, but the document that attributed guilt to a condemned man before a court.

        5 – Since Paul as an Apostle never could have authority to abolish or alter any of God’s law, whatsoever, isn’t it clear enough that in Col. 2:16 he is not playing the role of a legislator who engages himself in altering the terms of God’s law?

        Note: The parallel language of vs. 16 and 18 makes it clear the reason of Paul’s admonition: “. . . do not let anyone to judge you. . .”, “. . . do not let anyone . . . disqualify you. . .”

        6 – Since even considering the weekly Sabbath a shadow, but having an ample character that doesn’t imply its end (for it will continue in the New Earth--Isa. 66:22, 23), isn’t clear that the precept of the Sabbath differs contextually and conceptually from the ceremonial ordinances abolished on the cross (see Eph. 2:15)?

        Note: Remembering that God uttered it solemnly on the ears of the people, jointly with all moral norms and wrote it on the stone tables, a fact that would never apply to any ceremonial precept.

        7 – Since God declared that the Sabbath is a sign established between He and His people (Exo. 31:17; Eze. 20:12, 20) and since it is never said that God replaced such sign for any other, what justification do the anti-Sabbatarians have to neglect this divine sign, while pretending to belong to God’s people?

        Note: To quote Eph. 1:13 as a “proof” that now there exists a new “sign” has no basis because the text doesn’t say that the Holy Spirit became that “sign”, and not even the noun “sign” occurs in the text. What is said is that the Holy Spirit seals the true believers, but the seal of the Spirit is reflected in the writing of God’s law on the hearts and minds of those who accept the New Covenant between God and His children (Heb. 8:6-10; Rom. 8:3, 4), which includes, and not excludes, the Sabbath commandment.

        8 – Since the Roman Catholics allege that those who don’t want to utilize sculptured images in their acts of worship are not obliged to do so, while they complain against the Evangelicals' insistence in criticizing them for their use of these images, those who say they are not against us keeping the Sabbath, but just asking to not bother them regarding such commandment, are not acting in exactly the same way?

        Note: To condemn the Catholics for their use of images, quoting a precept of the same code of law that contains the neglected Sabbath commandment, is not only inconsistent, but could even be an exercise in hypocrisy.

        9 – Since Jesus discussed so many times with the Jewish leaders regarding the Sabbath question, not to disqualify the Sabbath, but to indicate the form it should be observed, and asserted being “the Lord of the Sabbath”—to show He had authority to correct them who corrupted the meaning of the divine commandments—shouldn’t we learn what Christ intended to teach us regarding the manner of observing correctly the “day of the Lord”?

        Note: The Jewish leaders corrupted also the 5th commandment (Mark 7:9ff) and the tithe principle (Mat. 23:23). Jesus declared in Matthew 15:6 about them: “. . . nullify the word of God for the sake or your tradition”. Christ discussed with them not WHETHER they should keep the Sabbath, nor WHEN they should keep the Sabbath, but HOW they should keep it, in the right spirit.

        10 – Since in the passage of the Old to the New Covenant, when God inscribes what is called “My laws” on the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of this New Covenant [New Testament] (Hebrews 8:6-10) nothing is said that He leaves out the commandment of the day of rest, nor that He transfers the sanctity of the seventh-day to the first day of the week (or that this principle became something vague, voluntary and variable), why should we resist this divine writing of that commandment in our minds and hearts, at the same time that we allege to fulfill God’s will, as the Psalmist said in the Psalm 40:8)?

        Note: Said text says, “I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart”.

        [All Bible texts taken from the NIV]

        Comentario


        • #5
          10 Serious Difficulties For the Advocates of Either Sunday Keeping or the “Nodayism/Anydayism/Everydayism”

          1 - Jesus said that “the Sabbath was made for man” without implying that it was a provisional institution to be cancelled some time later. He simply confirms the commandment as having a universal character. What, then, is the basis for the notion of the end of the Sabbath for the Christians?

          2 - The most representative confessions of faith of the historical Christian churches (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Baptist New Hampshire Confession), clearly confirm the Sabbath as a moral commandment derived from Creation for all men, in all times. The fact that they reinterpret such principle applying it to Sunday doesn’t reduce their enforcement of the 4th commandment as valid for Christians, which is much different from the nodayism/anydayism/everydayism that has characterized the discourse of the Evangelical world since the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. How do you justify the radical change in mentality as to the question of the day or rest in comparison to the historical thinking of the Protestant Christendom?

          3 - Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Anglicans didn’t understood or understand things as defined by those of the semi-antinomian/dispensationalist line, who contradict the statements by Luther, Calvin, Wesley and many others Evangelical thinkers, both contemporary and past, especially the historical Confessions of Faith, Creeds and Catechisms of the Christian churches. All these Christian instructors, in harmony with the confessional documents of those churches they either founded, belonged to or still belong to, reiterate the Sabbath position as being a moral commandment that proceeds from Eden, for all men, in all times, including Pentecostal authors. The fact that they reinterpret such principle applying it to Sunday doesn’t reduce the strength of their setting apart the 4th commandment as valid and still in force for Christians, which is very different from the nodayism/anydayism/everydayism, which has characterized the discourse of the Evangelical world since the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. In the face of that historical reality, how do you justify the radical change in mentality vis-à-vis the question of the day of rest in contrast to the historical thinking of the Protestant Christendom?

          Note: Luther, Calvin and Wesley sometimes were inconsistent and made comments disparaging the keeping of the 7th-day Sabbath as a biblical requirement. But they all admitted the validity of the 10 Commandaments as a rule for Christian conduct. They certainly found it difficult to explain why Sunday was the favored day to be kept when there is no such instruction in the Bible and came out with unconvincing excuses. They also raised unacceptable arguments to justify child baptism.

          4 - The Evangelicals cannot define where the Bible establishes that the day of rest in the Christian era should be presently observed in a more “user friendly” way, with permission to buy and sell, watch games on TV, go to movies, theaters, mall, etc., with practically the only difference being that on their “Lord’s day” one stays some more time at the Church’s meetings. What biblical basis do you have to justify this change in the dedication of a day to the Lord?

          5 - The Evangelicals cannot define why this supposed Christian Sabbath should be considered according to the Roman time reckoning, from midnight to midnight, instead of the Bible reckoning, from sunset to sunset, especially as the texts that deal with the first day of the week in the New Testament utilize the Jewish reckoning, not the Roman one. What biblical basis do you have to justify that change?

          6 - It’s significant that the main meetings of worship, praise, preaching, altar calls in the Evangelical churches occur in their Sunday night meetings which, according to the Bible time reckoning, is already Monday, not Sunday! How do you justify that, at least those who still hold the idea that Sunday is a special day to dedicate to the Lord?

          7 - Are the evangelicals able to define where, in the passage from the Old to the New Alliance, it is said that when God writes what is called “My laws” in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of His New Alliance [New Testament], He

          - leaves out the 4th commandment of the Decalogue (Basic Texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; 10:16; Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Ezekiel 36:26, 27)?

          8 - Are the evangelicals able to define where, in the passage from the Old to the New Alliance, it is said that when God writes what is called “My laws” in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of His New Alliance [New Testament], He

          - maintains the 4th commandment, but transferring the sanctity of the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday (Basic Texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; 10:16; Jeremiah 31:31-33 e Ezekiel 36:26, 27)?

          9 - Are the evangelicals able to define where it is said, in the passage from the Old to the New Alliance, that when God writes what is called “My laws” in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of His New Alliance [New Testament], He

          - leaves the question of the day of rest as something vague, voluntary and variable, to be set individually, according to the conveniences of the believer (or his/her employer) (Basic Texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; 10:16; Jeremiah 31:31-33 e Ezekiel 36:26, 27)?

          10 - Since in the biblical promise of the New Heavens and a New Earth, when there will be no more sin or sinners, the Sabbath will continue to be observed by the redeemed ones eternally (see Isaiah 66:22, 23), why shouldn’t we now dedicate to the Lord His holy day, as He Himself established in His law, which was not cancelled by faith, but confirmed (Rom. 3:31)?

          Comentario


          • #6
            10 Reasons Why the Sabbath Is the Most Important Commandment of the Decalogue

            1st. – Because it was originated before sin entered this world:

            Only two institutions come from before sin entered our planet: the Sabbath and marriage. No wonder Satan tries to corrupt both institutions he hates particularly: the Sabbath through false theologies that discard it completely or alter its significance, and marriage, through an avalanche of separations, divorce, negative innuendos in the show biz (radio, TV, etc.), and, now, same-sex marriages.

            2nd. – Because it was “made holy” by God and to be commanded to be “made holy” by man:

            God Himself gave the example of resting, blessing and sanctifying the first Sabbath day (Gen. 2:2, 3). He is already completely holy and need not sanctify any day to Himself. If He did it, that was “because of man” (Mar. 2:27). The connects with creation and begins ordering, “remember the Sabbath day to make it holy”. Rest comes after the order to make the day holy. It must be the seventh day, not any other according to human expediency, as made clear in Exo. 20:11: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it”.

            3rd. –Because it is located in the heart of the law and highlights both its vertical and horizontal aspects:

            The Sabbath commandment is located right in center of the law, even as it was solemnly uttered by God to His people before Sinai (“and He added no more”—Deu. 5:22), later written on the two tables of stone. It is practically the only that deals with the two basic perspectives of man’s relationships: the vertical and the horizontal.

            On the vertical perspective (“love God above all things”), if the seventh-day Sabbath is to be sanctified, this means to dedicate to God that day for a more intimate relationship with Him, without the distractions of secular preoccupations.

            In the horizontal perspective (“love your neighbor as yourself”), the 4th commandment grants physical rest to those who serve a believer—“nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant. . . ”, and even the animals are benefited in a blessed act of mercy—“nor thy cattle. . .”

            4th. – Because it was selected as God’s sign between Him and His people:

            God chose the Sabbath to serve as His sign between Him and His children, both during the Exodus event and millenia afterwards, confirming the fact through Ezekiel, the prophet (see Exo. 31:17 and Eze. 20:12, 20). There is no indication that this sign has been discarded in the passage of the Old to the New Covenant (see Heb. 8:6-10, acc./ Jer. 31:31-33).

            5th. – Because Jesus highlighted it as established “because of man”:

            The Sabbath was made to serve the best interest of physical and mental rest, and spiritual refreshment to all men (Mar. 2:27). Christ many clashes with the Jewish leadership, not about IF it should be kept, nor WHEN it should be kept, but about HOW to observe the “day of the Lord” in its due spirit. He engaged Himself in correcting the distortions caused by those leaders to the commandment because He was zealous of God’s things. He identified Himself as “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mat. 12:8').

            6th. – Because Jesus declared Himself “Lord of the Sabbath”, not to disqualify the commandment:

            In Matthew 12:8 Christ declares Himself “Lord of the Sabbath”, not to disqualify the commandment. He didn't engage Himself in a sort of anti-Sabbath campaign, as He was its Creator (John 1:3; Heb. 1:2). He wouldn't ever try to reduce the importance that was established “because of man”. If He in any measure violated the Sabbath or taught that He Himself would have to be considered “the least in the kingdom of heaven”, on the light of His own words in Matthew 5:19.

            Christ was “the Lord of the Sabbath” because He had authority to define the manner of observing it, due to the distortions of the Jewish leaders and their constant question to Him: “. . . by what authority doest thou these things? Or who is he that gave thee this authority?” – Luke 20:2. They didn’t corrupt only the meaning of the 4th commandment, as also did that with the 5th and the practice of tithing (see Mar. 7:9-11 and Mat. 23:23).

            7th. – Because of receiving special treatment in the epistle to the Hebrews and being indicated as still necessary:

            In the epistle to the Hebrews, while the ceremonies and their prefigurations of Christ’s sacrifice are discussed in detail in chapters 7 to 10, the Sabbath receives a very special treatment in chapters 3 and 4, taken as symbol of the spiritual rest that one obtains in Christ. And despite the people of Israel having failed collectively to obtain such rest, there were within Israel those heroes, mentioned in chapter 11, who found that spiritual rest, and because of that they didn’t put the Sabbath commandment aside.

            Clearly, the Bible author wished to demonstrate that, in spite of utilizing the Sabbath metaphor to illustrate the spiritual rest, he wanted to avoid any ambiguity, making it clear that the weekly Sabbath didn’t cease. God’s people proceeded having the Sabbath rest as a little model of that rest in Christ.

            8th. – Because of having been indicated as also a memorial of the redemption:

            Sabbath is both a memorial of Creation and Redemption. It symbolizes perfectly that those who were delivered from the Egypt of sin (see Exo. 5:15) now have the privilege of observing the Sabbath to dedicate it to the Lord and to obtain physical and mental rest, besides spiritual refreshment, something that they didn’t experience under the bondage of sin, defined in the Scripture as “transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

            9th. – Because of being indicative of the willingness to serve the “Lord of the Sabbath” faithfully:

            The fact is that whoever is willing to observe faithfully the Sabbath denotes a spirit of submission to all that the Lord determines in His law. Hardly an assassin, robber, customary adulterer would be willing to follow such a principle. These individuals mostly do not reveal any consideration towards other Bible rules even easier to follow, let alone would they voluntarily be subjected to a rule that means a restriction, seen as inconvenient and burdensome—to dedicate time for God regularly, on a day contrary to the social custom, in association with other worshippers of same vision in a church weekly.

            10th. – Because it will continue in the New Earth as a perpetual principle:

            Finally, of all the commandments, the Sabbath is the only mentioned specifically as being respected plainly by the saved ones in the New Earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:13). There the redeemed ones will have two regular meetings—one monthly, on the new moon days, (possibly of social character), and one weekly, on the seventh-day Sabbaths, to worship the Lord (Isa. 66:22, 23).
            Now, if the Sabbath is an institution that is confirmed from the newly created world and extends itself to the eternal eons of the recreated world, why shouldn’t we observe it now also, since Paul made it clear that faith didn’t come to annul the law, but to confirm it (Rom. 3:31')?

            CONCLUSION: Undoubtedly, the Sabbath is the most important commandment of the Decalogue. Whoever disagrees prove, please, that it’s not, then answer: Which one would, then, it be?

            NOTE: One common objection to this study is that Jesus indicated that the most important commandment of God’s law would be any of the two “golden rules”—love God above all else, and love the neighbor as oneself.

            But these commandments are merely a summary of the 10 Commandments, not a different rule. We could say that these principles are the Decalogue itself in its double core—that of the God-man vertical relationship, and that of man-man, horizontal relationship. Both the Westminster and the 1689 Baptist confessions of faith confirm that the first four commandments deal with our responsibility towards God, and the last six, do the same regarding our responsibility towards our neighbors.

            Comentario


            • #7
              10 Questions The Anti-Sabbatarians Seem Incapable of Answering

              Those who adopt certain semi-antinomian/dispensationalist theories—an interpretive current among Evangelical Christians that emerged by the end of the 19thcentury, bringing only confusion to the due interpretation of the Scriptures—don’t seem capable of answering certain questions that have been repeatedly addressed them and which are really important. They also came up with unfounded speculations in the field of eschatology regarding the rapture of the church, anticipating it for 1988, in which they certainly proved being in error. But in error they also are regarding the theme of God’s law and the Sabbath. Let’s see 10 questions that prove it:

              1.) Since we are in the “dispensation of grace”, and the “dispensation of law” is past, how were the children of God saved at the time of the Old Testament?

              Note: That is a dilemma for dispensationalists in general, for if they say that they were saved by grace, how could that be, when the “dispensation of grace” hadn’t been inaugurated? If they allege that they were saved by fulfilling the law (as many do), how could anyone ever have reached ontological perfection to achieve that, since God’s law is “perfect” (Psa. 19:7)?


              2.) Christ said that he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He recommended the most faithful obedience to all the commandments, not admitting that the least of them were disrespected (Mat. 5:19). Even considering that He referred to the entire Torah, how come some say that Jesus didn’t care much about the faithful observance of the Sabbath commandment and even defended His disciples’ violation of it? If He did that, He would inevitably be contradicting Himself and would have to be considered “the least in the kingdom of God”, according to His own words.

              Note: The anti-Sabbatarians never seem willing to give a solution to this evident dilemma of their own arguments, just insisting that He really wanted to diminish the importance of the Sabbath commandment, considering it “inferior to the circumcision”, twisting Christ’s words and showing that they don’t understand the meaning of His debates with the Jewish leaders. They didn’t have to do with IF they should keep the Sabbath, WHEN they should keep the Sabbath, but HOW to observe it, in the correct spirit.


              3.) Insisting that Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20 refers to the entire law (Torah), which includes the ceremonies, totaling 613 rules, the anti-Sabbatarians don’t realize that in the immediate context Christ also addresses His audience calling them “salt of the Earth”, “light of the world”, later teaching them to pray the Lord’s prayer. Then, we ask: Are those who TODAY consider themselves “salt of the Earth”, “light of the world”, and pray the Lord’s Prayer, also required to fulfill the 613 legal rules of Judaism?

              Note: The allegation that Christ referred to the complete Torah and recommended its faithful obedience (actually He even included the ceremonial offerings in Mat. 5:23, 24) DOESN’T SOLVE the problem that He recommends the faithful obedience of ALL the law, which includes, and not excludes, the Sabbath commandment. But why, then, don’t we observe the ceremonies today? Anyone who knows his/her Bible can answer that. . .


              4.) Besides not knowing how to answer the question in the previous topic, the anti-sabbatarians cannot justify the fact that in Matthew 5:17-19 the Sabbath is included, while the ceremonial part of the law has ceased—which was indicated by the rendering of the Temple’s veil from top to bottom. Since the Sabbath is NOT a ceremonial precept, why shouldn’t we obey it?

              Note: Although some allege that the Sabbath was a ceremonial precept which ended at the cross, actually there is no way to prove this point. The ceremonies were instituted AFTER man’s fall, while the Sabbath was established before sin (Gen. 2:2, 3; cf. Exo. 20:8-11 and Heb. 4:4). Also, the ceremonies point to the future—Christ’s atoning sacrifice, inasmuch as the Sabbath points to the past—is the memorial of Creation.


              5.) Christ declared that the Sabbath was made “because of man” (Mar. 2:27), correcting the true meaning of the commandment. How the first part of this statement is to be understood? After all, was the Sabbath made for the Jewish man only? The word in the text for “man”—anthropós—denotes the universal man, as it is also used in Matthew 19:5.

              Note: Those who deny the divine Sabbath commandment don’t know what to do with this text. Some attempt to prove that Christ had in mind only the Jewish man. But that doesn’t work in view of Gen. 2:2, 3; Isa. 56:3-7 and Mat. 19:5. Also it wouldn’t make sense to interpret the second part in the suggested sense: “and not the Jewish man [was created] because of the Sabbath”. There was no creation of “Jewish man”, but of the universal man. After that there appeared “Jew”, “Babylonian”, “Roman”, “Greek” men as time went by.


              6.) Christ in Matthew 24:20 anticipates that two things would continue to exist after His ascension: a) winter; b) Sabbath observance by His followers. Referring to the future destruction of Jerusalem He recommended to His followers: “Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day”. Why didn’t Jesus say that they prayed that they hadn’t to flee on a Sunday, since that would be the new day of observance according to the theses of some anti-Sabbatarians (not all, because the majority opted to adhere to the more user-friendly nodayism/anydayism/everydayism).

              Note: The anti-Sabbatarians don’t know what to do about this clear prophecy of Christ as to the Sabbath being still observed by His followers after the cross. Then, one of them attempted a clear way-out smokescreen asking teasingly: “Do Sabbath keepers observe the winter?” But that was all he said regarding the text, with no explanation to Christ’s prediction! And the tentative argument that the doors of the cities were locked on the Sabbaths, thus nobody could get out of a city on that day (which would explain His words) is not valid because they could leave the city on a Sabbath too, through smaller doors, as the episode of Christ’s disciples on a Sabbath day exploring a plantation for food to eat at the scene (Mat. 12:1) proves. Also Jesus’ words were not limited to the urban environment, for He said: “. . . them which be in Judea flee into the mountains” (vs. 16), also referring to those who were “in the field” (vs. 18).

              [To be completed in the next frame]

              Comentario


              • #8
                [Conclusion of previous frame]

                7.) In the council gathered in Jerusalem to face the challenge of the judaizers (Acts 15), some instructions were given on things that the Gentile Christians should abstain from, and among these the Sabbath commandment IS NOT LISTED. Isn’t it a clear proof that there was no doubt among those believers as to the validity of the commandment, obeyed by all, especially for the fact that the first Christians were ethnically Jews and “zealous of the law” (Acts 21:20)?

                Note: The way to explain out this important evidence in favor of the Sabbath commandment being still in force among the early Christians is to allege that the judaizers pointed to the “law of Moses” as having to be fulfilled (vs. 5). But in this way they discriminate illegitimately against the Sabbath commandment, forgetting that the “law of Moses” didn’t have only that precept, but also “ye shall not kill”, “ye shall not commit adultery”, “honor thy father and thy mother”. . . Were the Gentile Christians under no obligation to respect these principles?


                8.) Paul clearly states in Rom. 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law”. It’s obvious that as a pattern of conduct the law couldn’t having been abolished, for in the same epistle to the Romans Paul stresses that it is holy, just, good, spiritual, pleasurable and says: “. . . with the mind I myself serve the law of God” (Rom. 7:12, 14, 22, 25). In Rom. 13:8-10 he shows that the obedience to the law’s commandments has love as its foundation. He quotes part of the law, but implying he refers to the entire Decalogue without having to quote commandment by commandment (see vs. 9, “. . . if there be any other commandment. . .”). What Paul condemned was the illegitimate use of the law (1 Tim. 1:8). Why did he speak in such positive terms about the law, if he intended to teach that it was no more normative for Christians?

                Note: The anti-Sabbatarians engage themselves in exegetical gymnastics attempting to demonstrate that Paul wouldn’t refer to the Ten Commandments, which had been “abolished”, since any division of God’s law as “moral”, “ceremonial”, “civil” is denied by them. The error regarding how to consider the law, according to Paul, was in looking for justice through it’s obedience, which is an impossibility because the function of God’s law is not to save (see Rom. 9:30-32). As a mirror only points to the stain but has no means to clean it up, the law points to sin (Rom. 7:7), but has no way to eliminate it, nor has any means to transmit sanctity. However, it’s significant that Paul says that he served God’s law (Rom. 7:25), which is the one having the commandment, “ye shall not covet” (vs. 7, 8).


                9.) Another of the anti-sabbatarian arguments is that as He declared Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” Christ would be saying that He had the right to do whatever He wanted with the Sabbath, including to violate it, or even, as a certain Evangelical apologist alleged, to set the “degrees of violation to the Sabbath”, certainly a revolutionary concept! If that was true, where exactly are these “degrees” for Sabbath violation defined? Imagining that the Sabbath is indeed ceremonial (which, obviously has no foundation), were there violability degrees to any other ceremony? If not, why not?

                Note: What happens is that some people try to transfer to Christ their anti-Sabbath prejudices, which, certainly He who declared Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” wouldn’t harbor. Christ declared Himself “Lord of the Sabbath”, not to campaign against the Sabbath (as some anti-sabbatarians imply), rather to demonstrate His authority to correct the distorted vision regarding its legitimate obedience. The Jewish leaders also distorted the meaning of the 5th. Commandment (Mar. 7:9ff) and the tithing principle (Mat. 23:23). They often asked him, “by what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority”? (Mat. 21:23) Thus, He was “Lord of the Sabbath” because He had authority to correct them regarding the form of observing the commandment, pointing them their deviations on the question of HOW to observe the Lord’s day in the correct spirit.


                10.) The adherents of the theological dispensationalist semi-antinomian current hush entirely regarding the undisputed proofs that what constitutes the Evangelical orthodoxy on the Sabbath theme for centuries is the current validity of the Decalogue as Christian conduct pattern, the division of the law as having “moral, “ceremonial”, “civil” precepts, and the understanding that the 4th. commandment is not only a moral, but also a universal commandment that stemmed from Eden.

                Note: Many anti-sabbatarians simply pretend that there aren’t proofs and more proofs that centuries before the Seventh-day Adventists appeared in the religious scene already Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Lutherans and other Christians taught the same thing about the current validity of the entire Decalogue and about the “division” of the law. There was a certain Evangelical “apologist” that even assured the Evangelical community he addressed that the notion of existing this division of “moral”, “ceremonial”, “civil” law is an “artifice” created by the Adventists to advocate the keeping of the Sabbath, which simply is not true.

                Comentario


                • #9
                  10 Questions on Christ’s Attitudes Regarding the Sabbath

                  1 – According to the reasoning of certain anti-Sabbatarians, Jesus didn’t value the Sabbath, as they quote Matthew 12:5 that mentions the priests “violating” the Sabbath and remaining blameless. However, the priests actually ALWAYS acted the same way along history. Since Christ’s words are not limited to His time, have God condemned the people of Israel due to their breaking of the commandment unjustly (see Jer. 17:27)?

                  2 – If in God’s law there was a religious rule which the priests, in charge of giving the people the best example and best instruction of spiritual character, systematically violated the fourth commandment, how could that law be called “perfect” (Psalm 19:17)?

                  3 – If in God’s law there was a religious rule which the priests, in charge of giving the people the best example and best instruction of spiritual character, systematically violated the fourth commandment, how the Legislator who established such a law could be perfect in His ways and in Himself (2 Samuel 22:31; Matthew 5:48)?

                  4 – If in God’s law there was a religious rule which the priests, in charge of giving the people the best example and best instruction of spiritual character, systematically violated the fourth commandment, how could the Apostle Paul say that such law was holy, just, good and obeyed by him (Romans 7:14, 22, 25), and that it was not annulled by faith, but, rather, confirmed (Rom. 3:31)?

                  5 – If Jesus were justifying or covering up the violation of the Sabbath commandment, wouldn’t He be inconsistent as He contradicted His own words in Matthew 5:19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”? Consequently, would He Himself have to be considered “the least in the kingdom of heaven”?

                  6 – If Jesus were justifying or covering up the violation of the Sabbath commandment, wouldn’t He also be a liar as He declared: “I have kept My Father's commandments” (John 15:10), since He couldn’t say that in case He violated the Sabbath?

                  7 – If Jesus were justifying or covering up the violation of the Sabbath commandment, wouldn’t He also be a hypocrite, since He recommended to His hearers the faithful respect for the “least” among the commandments (Mat. 5:19), while He Himself didn’t respect one of the “greatest” commandments of the law, as was the Sabbath?

                  8 – If Jesus were justifying or covering up the violation of the Sabbath commandment, how could He recommend to His hearers what he said in Matthew 23:1-3—that they obeyed ALL that their religious leaders taught, just not acting as they did, on the basis of “do what I say, but not what I do” (and one of the things they said was that the Sabbath should be remembered for faithful compliance with the commandment—see Luke 13:14)?

                  9 – If Jesus were justifying or covering up the violation of the Sabbath commandment, why did the holy women who served Him had preoccupation of keeping the Sabbath “according to the commandment”, as they prepared ointments and spices to embalm His body, for they would have learned from Him that the Sabbath was not important (see Luke 23:56)?

                  10 – If Jesus didn’t consider the Sabbath important, why did He declare that it was established “for man”, and discussed with the Jewish leaders, not IF it was to be observed, nor WHEN it should be observed, but HOW to observe it, in the correct spirit?

                  Comentario


                  • #10
                    The Balaam Factor

                    We have a very special question that I developed when I found a syllabus of a certain anti-Sabbath Christian apologist in which he presented, among many arguments on the law-was-abolished line of thought, the text of Hebrews 8:6-10. Said passage makes reference to the New Covenant, or New Testament, in which God is willing to write what is called "My laws" on the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of that New Covenant.

                    He tried to convince his readers that these "My laws" would mean something of a new Christian law that left the Sabbath commandment out of the picture (but, strangely, not any of the other nine of the Decalogue).

                    When I read that, I thought: "Wait a minute! Here it says, 'My laws', and not 'My new laws'! And since the text is a mere reproduction of Jeremiah 31:31-33, when the same promise was made to Israel, then why is this man alleging that what God proposes to write in the minds and on the hearts of those who accept the New Covenant [New Testament] would have a different law? It is THE SAME that was known by the prophet Jeremiah!"

                    Of course all those elements that were prefigurations of Christ's sacrifice are not included because when Hebrews was written, both his author and his primary readers already knew that the temple's veil had been rent from top to bottom, signifying the end of all ceremonial aspects of the law. But none of the commandments of the moral law had its end at that time.

                    Thus, this Sabbath opposer's allegation became rather an inspiration for me to formulate the question below, which has already versions in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, German and now. . . Kiswahili, a language widely spoken throughout the African continent.

                    I would say that what we have here is the "Balaam Factor" in action. All certainly remember the Bible episode of that apostate prophet of Israel who went to the Israelite's enemies side, and was "hired" to utter a curse on God's people, but by the Lord's interference, the curse was reversed into a blessing to Israel.

                    So, that criticism against the Sabbath truth became a blessing to show the error of such reasoning, and now we are publicizing this question, that both Sunday keepers and adepts of the more "user friendly"
                    nodayism/anydayism/everydayism are unable to answer, as I have tested it time after time.

                    The fact is that the equation they try to establish: NEW COVENANT = NEW LAW continues without being resolved satisfactorily. It's simply not so. . .

                    Well, below is the question, first in English, then in our most recent international version, Kiswahili, that a brother from Kenya kindly translated for us, and finally in French, that we composed also recently.

                    If you know any other languages and could volunteer to put it into a different one, please send me a note about. God will reward you richly because I am quite convinced that it is an important evangelistic tool:


                    ENGLISH VERSION


                    Where is it written that in the change from the Old to the New Covenant, when God writes what is called “My laws” in the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of the New Covenant [New Testament] (Heb. 8:6-10), transferring the contents of the cold tables of stone to the hearts warmed by the divine grace (2 Cor. 3:2-7), God

                    a) leaves out the 4th commandment of the moral law;


                    b) includes the 4th commandment, but changing the sanctity of the 7th to the 1st day of the week?

                    OR

                    c) includes the 4th commandment, but as a vague, voluntary and variable principle that can be reinterpreted as any day which is most convenient to the believer (or his employer)?

                    ALSO:

                    d) leaves out the dietary rules regarding unclean/clean meats?

                    Basic texts: Hebrews 8:6-10; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 11:19, 20 and 36:26, 27; Isaiah 66:16-18.

                    KISWAHILI VERSION

                    Ni wapi imeandikwa ya kwamba kutoka agano la Kale hadi Agano Jipya, wakati Mungu anapoandika kile anachoita “Sheria Zangu” katika mioyo na kwenye nia za wale wanaokubali masharti za Agano Jipya (Ebr. 8:6-10), zikihamisha vyote vilivyomo katika vile vibao vya mawe baridi kwa mioyo zinazopata moto kwa neema ya mbinguni (2 Kor. 3:2-7), Mungu

                    a) aliacha amri ya nne katika torati;


                    b) alizingatia amri ya nne, lakini akaibadili utakatifu ya siku ya saba hadi siku ya kwanza ya juma?

                    AU

                    c) alizingatia amri ya nne, lakini kama kanuni lizilo dhahiri, la hiari, na bila sharti lolote na amabalo linaweza kufasiriwa kama siku yeyote inayofaa zaidi kwa mwaminifu (ama tajiri wake)?

                    TENA:

                    d) aliacha masharti za chakula yanayohusu nyama najisi/safi?

                    Vifungu: Waebrania 8:6-10; Yeremia 31:31-33; Ezekieli 11:19,20 na 36:26,27; Isaya 66:16-18.


                    FRENCH VERSION

                    Où est-il dite dans l'Écriture Sainte qui quand Dieu écrit ce qui s’appelle les “mes lois” dans les coeurs et les esprits de ceux qui acceptent les termes de Son nouveau concert (Nouveau Testament), les transférant des froids tables de pierre aux coeurs chauffés par la grace divine (voir 2 Cor. 3:2, 3.,6 et 7), Il

                    a) laisse excepté le 4ême. commandement de la loi morale (du décalogue biblique, non du décalogue contrefait des catecismes catholiques)

                    b) inclut le 4ême. commandement, mais en changeant la sainteté du septième au premier jour de la semaine?

                    OU

                    c) inclut le 4ème. commandement, mais comme un principe vague, volontaire et variable, que n'importe être suivi littéralement comme la Bible dit, dans le septième jour comme Mémorial de la Création, mais chacun pouvant choisir le temps qui plus lui conviendra (ou à son employeur) pour consacrer à Dieu.

                    AUSSI:

                    d) exclut les règles de restrictions alimentaires sur des viandes immondes?

                    Textes basiques: Hébreux 8:6-10; Jérémie 31:31-33; Ézéchiel 36:26, 27; Ésaïe 66:15-18.

                    Comentario


                    • #11
                      10 Main Reasons to Discredit the Observance of Sunday

                      (1.) No Command of Christ or of the Apostles.

                      There is no commandment of Christ or of the apostles regarding a weekly-Sunday or annual Easter-Sunday celebration of Christ's resurrection. We have commands in the New Testament regarding baptism (Matt 28:19-20), the Lord's Supper (Mark 14:24-25; 1 Cor 11:23-26) and foot-washing (John 13:14-15), but we find no commands or even suggestions to commemorate Christ's Resurrection on a weekly Sunday or annual Easter-Sunday.

                      Since Sunday would be a “novelty”, a new principle of worship, especially as it would be the substitution of such an inbred tradition in the national and religious culture of the Jewish people, as was the case of the Sabbath, any change in that practice would undoubtedly prompt commentaries, specific instructions justifying the alterations, particularly as the first converts to the Christian religion proceeded from Judaism and were “zealous of the law” (Acts 21:20). However, nothing is found in the whole New Testament concerning such change, nor any debates discussing the subject.

                      Seventh-day Sabbath remained valid and in force along with all the other Decalogue’s commandments after the cross. A proof of that is the testimony of Luke, writing 30 years after the Resurrection event, describing the action of the holy women, followers of Christ, as they prepared “spices and ointments” to apply on His body. They worked actively on their tasks, but “rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56).

                      For Luke, then, who declares to have looked for detailed information about everything related to Christ’s experience (Luke 1:1-4), the rest day “according to the commandment” was the seventh-day Sabbath. He refers to the following day simply as “the first day of the week”, without attributing to it any special qualifications (see Luke 24:1).

                      The same Luke reports in the Acts of the Apostles how during the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), as the judaizers problem was dealt with, no norms were set against the Sabbath observance (Acts 15:20), a demonstration that such instruction was unnecessary. All observed it regularly and there was no need to give instruction regarding it. Paul, on a Sabbath day, when there was no synagogue in a certain location, went to the side of a river for a time of prayer (Acts 16:13). In Corinth he spent one year and a half preaching every Sabbath and never remembered to tell those who met there to change their day of worship to Sunday (Acts 18:1-4, 11) even when only the gentiles remained, as the Jews left.

                      (2.) Jesus Made no Attempt to Institute a Memorial of His Resurrection.

                      If Jesus wished the day of His resurrection to become a memorial day of rest and worship, He would have capitalized on the day of His resurrection to establish such a memorial. It is important to note that divine institutions like the Sabbath, baptism, Lord's Supper, all trace their origin to a divine act that established them. But on the day of His resurrection Christ performed no act to institute a memorial of His resurrection.

                      If we think it through, both Christ’s death and resurrection are equally important events, foundational to the Christian faith. Both could deserve a special day for their celebration. If the Resurrection was supposed to be celebrated regularly on a special day, given its importance, why not the Savior’s death? So, we have two exceptional historical landmarks for a Christian—the death and the resurrection of Christ. Which would deserve a memorial day? Possibly both, but the Scriptures don’t establish that. Nothing is implied that any change occurred in the text of the divine law because of any of these events.

                      If Jesus intended to memorialize the day of His Resurrection, most likely He would have told the women and the disciples when He arose: “Come apart and celebrate My Resurrection!” Instead He told them, “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee” (Matt 28:10), and to the disciples, “Go . . . make disciples . . . baptizing them” (Matt 28:19). None of the utterances of the risen Savior reveal any intention to memorialize His Resurrection by making Sunday the new day of rest and worship.

                      The reason is that our Savior wanted His followers to view His Resurrection as an existential reality to be experienced daily by living victoriously by the power of His Resurrection, rather than a liturgical/religious event to be celebrated on Sunday. Paul expressed the hope to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3:10), but he never mentions his desire to celebrate Christ's Resurrection on Sunday or Easter-Sunday.

                      (3.) Sunday Is Never Called “Day of the Resurrection.”

                      Sunday is never called in the New Testament as “Day of the Resurrection.” It is consistently designated “First day of the week.” The references to Sunday as day of the resurrection first appear in the early part of the fourth century, specifically in the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea. By that time Sunday had become associated with the resurrection and consequently was referred to as “Day of the Resurrection.” But this development occurred several centuries after the beginning of Christianity.

                      (4.) The Sunday-Resurrection Presupposes Work, not Rest and Worship.

                      The Sunday-Resurrection presupposes work, rather than rest and worship, because it does not mark the completion of Christ's earthly ministry which ended on a Friday afternoon when the Savior said: “It is finished” (John 19:30), and then rested in the tomb according to the commandment. Instead, the Resurrection marks the beginning of Christ's new intercessory ministry (Acts 1:8; 2:33), which, like the first day of creation, presupposes work rather than rest.

                      (5.) The Lord's Supper was not Celebrated on Sunday in Honor of the Resurrection.

                      Historically we know that Christians could not celebrate the Lord's Supper on a regular basis on Sunday evening, because such gatherings were prohibited by the Roman hetariae law—a law that outlawed all types of communal fellowship meals held in the evening. The Roman government was afraid that such evening gatherings could become an occasion for political plotting.

                      To avoid the search of the Roman police, Christian changed regularly the time and place of the Lord's Supper celebration. Eventually, they moved the service from the evening to the morning. This explains why Paul is very specific on the manner of celebrating the Lord's Supper, but he is indefinite on the question of the time of the assembly. Note that four times he repeats the same phrase: “When you come together” (1 Cor 11:18, 20, 33, 34). The phrase implies indefinite time, most likely because there was no set day for the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

                      If, as some scholars contend, the Lord's Supper was celebrated on Sunday evening, as part of the Lord's Day worship, Paul could hardly have failed to mention the sacredness of the time in which they gathered. This would have strengthened his plea for a more worshipful attitude during the partaking of the Lord's Supper. The failure of Paul to mention “Sunday” as the time of the gathering or to use the adjective “Lord's-kuriake” to characterize the day as “the Lord's Day,” (as he did it with reference to the Lord's Supper), shows that the apostle did not attach any religious significance to Sunday.

                      [To be concluded in the next frame].

                      Comentario


                      • #12
                        [Conclusion of previous frame]

                        (6.) The Lord's Supper Commemorates Christ's Sacrifice, not His Resurrection.

                        Many Christians today view their Lord's Supper as the core of Sunday worship in honor of Christ's resurrection. But in the Apostolic Church, the Lord's Supper was not celebrated on Sunday, as we have just seen, and was not connected with the Resurrection. Paul, for instance, who claims to transmit what “he received from the Lord” (1 Cor 11:23), explicitly states that the rite commemorated not Christ's resurrection, but His sacrifice and Second Coming (“You proclaim the Lord's death till he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

                        Similarly, Passover, celebrated today by many Christians on Easter Sunday, was observed during apostolic times, not on Sunday to commemorate the Resurrection, but according to the biblical date of Nisan 14, primarily as a memorial of Christ's suffering and death. Contrary to what many people believe, Easter-Sunday was unknown in the Apostolic Church. It was introduced and promoted by the Church of Rome in the second century in order to show separation and differentiation from the Jewish Passover. The result was the well-known Passover controversy, which eventually led Bishop Victor of Rome to excommunicate the Asian Christians (about A. D. 191) for refusing to adopt Easter-Sunday. These indications show that Christ's resurrection on the first day of the week, did not influence the Apostolic Church to adopt the weekly Sunday and the annual Easter-Sunday to commemorate such an event.

                        (7.) The Resurrection is not the Dominant Reason for Sundaykeeping in Earliest Documents.

                        The earliest explicit references to Sundaykeeping are found in the writings of Barnabas (about A. D. 135) and Justin Martyr (about A.D. 150). Both writers do mention the Resurrection but only as the second of two reasons, important but not predominant. Barnabas' first theological motivation for Sunday keeping is eschatological, namely, that Sunday as “the eight day” represents “the beginning of another world.” The notion of Sunday as “the eighth day,” was later abandoned because it is senseless to speak of “the eighth day” in a seven days week. Justin's first reason for the Christians' assembly on Dies Solis—the Day of the Sun, is the inauguration of creation: “Sunday is the first day on which God, transforming the darkness and prime matter, created the world.” These reasons were eventually abandoned in favor of the Resurrection which became the primary reason for Sunday observance.

                        (8.) Nothing Indicates that in the Establishment of the New Covenant There Was Any Change in the Terms of the Biblical Rest Day Commandment.

                        Nothing is said that when God writes His laws on the hearts and minds of those who accept the terms of the New Covenant (New Testament) there occurs an alteration in the terms of these laws, so that Sunday replaces the seventh-day Sabbath (Heb. 8:6-10). Since this passage is an ipsis literis reproduction of Jeremiah 31:31-33, when the promise of a new covenant was firstly made to Israel due to the captivity they would face because of their sins (and one of the reasons for their punishment was exactly their negligence regarding the Sabbath commandment—see Jer. 17:19-27), it is understood that these “My laws” referred to in Hebrews are the same that always pertained to those eternal and moral principles expressed in the Decalogue.

                        The ceremonial part of that law ended on the cross, and the primary readers of the Hebrews epistle (as well as its author) knew that, for when it was firstly received by them the Temple’s veil had already been rent from top to bottom, ending those rites that pointed to Christ and His sacrifice. And if there were any doubts about it, the tenor of the epistle itself would solve the problem, for chapters 7-10 define exactly the end of these ceremonies, while stressing that the divine law is written on the hearts of the true children of God—in its moral aspects and other ethical and hygienic principles, without the ceremonial prefigurations (see Eph. 2:15).

                        (9.) The Roman Catholic Church Presents Itself as the Author of the Change in the Rest Day from the Seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday.

                        Several documents of the Roman Catholic Church assert that it was the responsible for that alteration, as can be exemplified by some official statements of that church, such as:


                        “The Catholic Church . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday” – The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.

                        “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify”.—James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72, 73.


                        Another Catholic document confirms it:


                        “Ques. How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?

                        “Ans. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same Church”. – Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine (same in the Manual of Christian Doctrine, ed. By Daniel Ferris [1916 ed.], p. 67.


                        (10.) The Seventh-day Sabbath Will Be Restored in the New Earth When Sin Is Extirpated From the Universe.

                        If some alteration in the terms of the divine day of rest had occurred, this would be reflected in prophecies regarding the future world, when the prophet declares that “in the new heavens and new earth” all the residents will come to “worship before Me, says the Lord” on the Sabbath day (Isa. 66:22, 23). Isaiah’s prophecy has to do specifically with the New Earth regime, as indicated by the context. When no more sin or sinners will exist in this new environment where “dwelleth righteousness” (2 Ped. 3:13) ALL the commandments of the divine law will be respected, and since “the Sabbath was made because of man” (Mar. 2:27), it will proceed in the holy regime of the New Earth, not Sunday, as would be the case if any change had occurred.

                        The well reputed French version of Louis Segond thus reads: “. . . à chaque sabbat, toute chair viendra se prosterner devant moi, dit l‘Éternel” [every Sabbath day all flesh will come to prostrate before Me, says the Eternal One]. This is also reflected in the contemporary language Bible published in Brazil, in the Portuguese language: “. . . em todos os sábados pessoas de todas as nações virão me adorar no Templo” [on every Sabbath day people from all nations will come to adore me in the Temple].

                        CONCLUSION: The 10 reasons listed above suffice to discredit the claim that Christ's resurrection on the first day of the week caused the abandonment of the Sabbath and the adoption of Sunday. The truth is that initially the resurrection was celebrated existentially rather than liturgically, that is, by a victorious way of life rather than by a special day of worship.
                        __________

                        Note: This article is an adaptation of the text “Seven Main Reasons That Discredit the Sunday Observance”, by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, with the addition of three more reasons and several paragraphs to the seven reasons presented in the original text, by Prof. Azenilto G. Brito.

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                        • #13
                          10 Topics to Better Understand the Question of Law and Grace

                          10 Topics to Better Understand the Question of Law and Grace


                          UNDERSTANDING THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS OF PAUL AND JAMES ON LAW & GRACE, FAITH & WORKS, JUSTIFICATION & SANCTIFICATION

                          In this sequence of 10 items the proposal is to promote a rational and objective study of the divine law question in the face of the message of salvation by grace, a theme that is often misunderstood by Christians in general.

                          The apostle Paul clearly says that salvation is only through faith, without any human merit (Eph. 2: 8 e 9). The prophet Isaiah had said that our works of justice are mere “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). No work performed by man is acceptable to God—Whose law is “perfect” (Psa. 19:7)—in terms of obtaining merits for salvation. Even our prayers, such a pious act of religious fervor, can only be heard through the intercession of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26).

                          But after speaking of salvation not due to works in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, Paul adds in vs. 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. James reiterates that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead” (2:17) and Jesus also said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

                          Thus, we have a clear tension between being saved by faith, independently of the works of the law, but the necessity to demonstrate that faith by faithful obedience to the law. How to understand that?

                          Introduction

                          The theme of God’s law in contrast with that of grace could not be absent from theological materials, homepages of “Christian apologetics” ministries and in the confrontation of ideas in Evangelical forums in the Internet. However, since we promised to deal with the subject, let’s first raise a pertinent and encompassing question of what will be dealt with in this study:

                          * Are the Old Testament laws indeed valueless, no more applicable to the Christian community under the new covenant?

                          1) The answer is—yes and no. There are laws that were invalidated for fulfilling their prefigurative function, such as the rules on offering of lambs and foods, the sacrifices and several norms for priests and people. When John the Baptist pointed to Christ as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) he reminded his hearers the meaning of the many lambs sacrificed by the Israelites as atonement for their sins. They were the antitype of the Great Type, Jesus Christ.

                          Nevertheless, if there are laws of temporary character, there are also those of a perennial character that could not be removed lest it opened the door for total chaos at public and private levels: “Honor thy father and thy mother”, “ye shall not kill”, “ye shall not steal”, “ye shall not commit adultery”. . . These precepts are reminded by the several New Testament authors as normative to Christians (see Eph. 6:1 e 2; Jas. 2:8-10). Paul makes that clear as he shows the validity of some rules and the nullity of others to the Christian community, as we will see briefly.

                          The Bible laws are divided into clear categories regarding their objectives and value. Along the centuries, Christian documents and authors have defined these laws as being moral (expressed in the Ten Commandments), ceremonial, civil, hygienic, etc. The most representative Confessions of Faith of Christendom, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, always taught this “division” of the laws, as is clearly presented in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England.

                          There are those who allege that the Bible deals on “law” indicating only one indivisible “package”, but the “division” of the laws is obvious by the simple fact that on Sinai God proclaimed with His own voice, audibly, before the gathered people, only the Ten Commandments, later transcribing them on the tables of stone, “and He added no more” (Deu. 5:22). All the laws that were ceremonial, civil, hygienic, etc., were dictated to Moses in another occasion, so that he transcribed them on the scrolls of the law.

                          Conclusion: There are commandments which are important, but should not be fulfilled any more, and commandments that should be obeyed, as the apostle Paul engages himself in a clear “division” of Bible laws when he says in 1 Cor. 7:19: “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God”.

                          2) Both modern and ancient scholars, as well as historical faith confessions (including some among the main Reformers) have the Decalogue as the valid Christian conduct norm. In their confessions of faith they never allege that the divine law was abolished, replaced by some “law of Christ” (supposedly less rigorous) neither promoted the thesis that observing these commandments would be attach oneself to the “letter of the law” in place of being inspired by “Spirit”. They rather define the divine laws as having ceremonial, civil and moral precepts, the latter synthesized in the Ten Commandments.

                          Among the scholarly statements and creeds of the Christendom with these clear positions we could mention The Second Helvetic Confession (1566), the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England (of 1571) in its Article VII; The Irish Articles of Religion (1615); The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647); The Savoy Declaration of the Congregational Churches (1658); the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1688 (Philadelphia) based on the London Confession of 1677; the Methodist Articles of Religion (1784); The Presbyterian Small Catechism and such authors as Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon, and more recently Billy Graham, James Kennedy, etc.

                          In hymn books of Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, etc., one can find hymns of praise to God, speaking of God’s law as ruling the Christian’s conduct.

                          Conclusion: Great Christian scholars and creeds of Christendom always recognized the different types and objectives of the divine laws according to their civil, ceremonial, hygienic, penal aspects. These are divers codes ruled by the basic moral law, such as the Constitution is the foundational law of a democratic country, on which is based all civil legislation through its many codes (commercial, criminal, labor laws). These laws could be abolished or changed that they won’t interfere with the Constitution, but if the latter is changed, it will affect all the other laws.

                          3) It is necessary that Christians understand better the concepts of justification and sanctification. Justification is entirely by faith, and through it “peace with God” is established (Rom. 5:1). It means God’s work for us for salvation, centered on the cross of Christ. As a consequence, there is regeneration, or new birth, thus beginning the process of sanctification, which represents God’s work in us for granting us His Spirit and shedding His love in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). It’s a lifetime work of gradual and continuous growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2a. Pet. 3:18)—consequence, not basis, of the experience of salvation.

                          Conclusion: Obeying the commandments of God’s law occurs in the field of sanctification, not of justification. It means to accept Christ as Lord after having received Him as Savior.

                          4) The principle of genuine obedience, which synthesizes the tenor of all divine commandments, is love. Thus Jesus summarized (not substituted) the commands into a) love God above all things and b) love the neighbor as oneself. He is just quoting Old Testament statements (Mat. 22: 34-36, cf. Deu. 6:5; Lev. 19:18). The same basic principle of love is also His “new” commandment: John 13:24.

                          Conclusion: The covenants are built upon the moral principle of love—both the new and the old (see also Rom. 13:8-10). The divine laws were always, in all times, based on love.

                          [To be continued in the next frame]

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                          • #14
                            [Continued from previous frame]

                            5) Certain Bible expositors make a lot of confusion in pulpits, presses and text processors regarding the theme of the law in the Pauline epistles. This misunderstanding is dangerous on the light of 2 Pet. 3: 15 e 16, for those who act like that are called “unlearned” and “unstable”. They don’t realize the meaning of the apostle Paul’s words when he speaks negatively on the law in some texts, dealing, however, with it in other places in positive terms and quoting its commandments as valid. This should be understood on the light of the concepts of justification by faith and sanctification. Let’s see these Bible paradoxes:

                            a) Texts in which Paul deals with the law “negatively”: Rom. 3: 20-24; 5:20; 6:14, 15; 7:6; 8:3; Gal. 2:16-19; 3:10-13; 5:4; Eph. 2:7, 8; 15.

                            b) Texts in which Paul confirms the validity of the law as normative to Christians and exalts it saying that it pleases him: Rom. 3:31; 7: 7, 14, 22; 8: 4; 13:9-10; 7:19; Gal. 5:14; Eph. 6:1, 2.

                            How to understand this? The explanation is simple: those who try to have the law as a source or means of salvation, placing his obedience in the area of justification, can only put themselves under its malediction, for “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20 and 7:7). These ones could even come to the point of losing salvation if they were grounded in grace before: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Failing to trust in the merits of Christ by including their works as means of salvation, they deny their experience of genuine faith in the complete, perfect and meritorious work of Christ for the salvation of all those who believe.

                            6) Two episodes illustrate the harmony between law and grace in both the Old and the New Testament:

                            a) In the Old Testament: At the solemn proclamation of the Ten Commandments at Sinai, God declared, even before pronouncing the first commandment: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exo. 20:2). This is a revelation of His grace. It follows the enunciation of the law in vs. 3 to 17.

                            b) In the New Testament: Before the woman caught in adultery Christ first presented her His forgiving grace —“Neither do I condemn thee”. After that He presented her His law: “Go and sin no more” (John 8:10, 11).

                            Thus, the obedience to God’s commandments (works) not only doesn’t go against the principle of justification by faith alone, but is, rather, its consequence, placing itself in the field of sanctification. Thence the statement by the apostle James: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (Jas. 2:17, cf. Eph. 2:10).

                            Conclusion: As two tracks of a railway run side by side and give the necessary balance that the train speeds ahead safely, thus it is with grace and law, faith and works, God’s action and man’s response in the process of justification, sanctification until the final glorification.

                            7) A factor for misunderstanding the theme of the Bible laws is what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3 regarding the “ministration of death, written and engraven in stones” in contrast with the “ministration of the Spirit”, by which the Christians present themselves as recommendation letters written “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (vs. 8 e 3).

                            Paul contrasts those who live under a regimen of “condemnation” for not having experienced salvation in Christ, with those who accepted the terms of the new covenant, thus having the divine law, not merely in the form of letters etched on stones, but written on their hearts and minds by God’s Spirit, according to the promise of this new covenant (Heb. 8:6-10). The psalmist speaks of that experience in Psalm 40:8.

                            Those who still lived under the “old covenant” were the same who Christ reprimanded for being more concerned about the letter “which kills” than with the spirit of the law. That was the case of His criticism to their practice of tithing (Mat. 23:23). Christ didn’t condemn them for tithing, but for being so much concerned with the technicalities of dividing the “mint and anise and cummin”, to the point of losing sight of the spiritual aspects of the ordinance.

                            Paul didn’t live in times so far removed from that of Christ, and he himself had been a Pharisee, thus he knew the mindset of his previous fellows in the religion field. To mistake the law, that he considered “holy”, “just”, “good”, “pleasurable” and that he had served with his mind (Rom. 7:12, 14, 22, 25), with a “ministration of condemnation” makes no sense, inasmuch as he confirms that “the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” (1 Tim. 1:8). Would God summon His people for the solemn event of the delivery of the law, to offer them a law of death?! Moreover, the problem of this “ministration of death” was not with the law, which is perfect (Psa. 19:7), but with the people, who didn’t realize its more profound and spiritual character.

                            Conclusion: For not understanding the difference between “law”, “covenant” and “ministration of the Spirit” and “ministration of condemnation” many fail to perceive that Paul is not diminishing the importance of the moral law as normative to the Christian in 2 Corinthians 3, rather he is contrasting attitudes vis-à-vis the law. He compares what it means to live under the regimen of the old covenant, more preoccupied with the letter, with the life of Christians he compares with letters written with the divine Spirit, having the law, not in letter on the cold stone tables, but recorded in their hearts, warmed by the divine grace (see Rom. 8:3 e 4 and Psa. 40:8).

                            8) Far from teaching that the New Testament represents a new covenant without the basic moral law expressed in the Ten Commandments, the author of Hebrews shows that to those who accept the terms of the New Covenant (or New Testament) God Himself would write His law in their hearts and print it in their minds (Heb. 8:6-10; 10:16). We’ve seen as Paul compares the Christian under the new covenant with “epistles written in our hearts, known and read of all men . . . not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:1-11).

                            Under the new covenant, established upon “better promises”, God writes His law in the hearts of those who accept its terms, taking them from the cold stone tables to record it in their hearts warmed by the divine grace (ver Heb. 8:6). Notice that this “law of God” is the same that was contained in the original promise directed to the children of Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-33, not any other. The burden of proof rests with those who deny this fact, clearly set in these texts. Heb. 10:16 confirms: God writes His law in the hearts of His children under the new covenant. The Hebrew-Christian readers of the epistle would understand that perfectly. And the promise of divine assistance for obedience to this law is found also in Eze. 36:26, 27.

                            Conclusion: The context of these verses (chaps. 8 and 10 of Hebrews) clearly defines that they apply to the expanded Israel of God, under the Christian dispensation. After all, the new covenant is now available to all, Jews and gentiles, for the wall of separation was broken down through the abolition of the “ceremonial law”—not the “moral law” (Eph. 2:11 to 22). Thus, the theme of the divine law is not something that belongs to the Old Testament. On the contrary, it is a foundational component of the New Testament, itself, certainly in its moral, not ceremonial aspects.

                            9) There are those who teach that the “law of Christ”, or His commandments (as in John 14:15), has nothing to do with the Decalogue, being such “law of Christ” the new norm for the Christian, which brings only nine of the 10 commandments of the “old fashioned” law (did Christ rupture with His Father, establishing a different law?). Although he speaks repeatedly of the “law of Christ”, Paul also speaks of the “law of God” with similar validity weigh (compare Rom. 7:22, 25; 13:8-10; with Gal. 6:2 e 1 Cor. 9:21).

                            [To be concluded in the next frame]

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                            • #15

                              [Conclusion from previous frame]

                              James speaks of the law as based on love, and calls it “law of liberty” (Jas. 2:8-12). John speaks of law of God and law of Christ as if they were just one and the same, without distinction, along his epistles, 1st and 2nd John (e.g., 1 John 2:7; 3:2-4; 21-24; 4: 7-11, 19-21; 5:1-3 e 2 John vs. 5 e 6).

                              In the book of Revelation, God’s remnant people is characterized as those who “keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17 and 14:12). John describes a vision he had of God’s Temple, within which he contemplated the “ark of his testament” (Rev.11:19). Those who know the Bible are aware that the Ten Commandments were kept in this ark (Deu. 10:5). Why was it shown to John this “ark of his testament” in a clearly eschatological context? It’s because it represents the throne of God which is founded on justice (the law) and mercy (the mercy seat).

                              Conclusion: Christ’s law and God’s law are just one and the same. Jesus declared: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). He stressed the principle of love to God and to the neighbor as the basis of His commandments, according to the same basic principles of God’s law since the beginning (Deu. 6:5; Lev. 19:18, cf. Mat. 22:37-40). For Paul, to be “under the law of Christ” is comparable to being in harmony with God’s law (1 Cor. 9:21).

                              10) Sometimes there is a clear misunderstanding regarding the tenor of Christ’s debates with the Jewish leaders on the validity of His cures on the Sabbath day. Jesus defends Himself of the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ accusations (and those of certain contemporary leaders of Christendom nowadays) that He broke the Sabbath, clarifying being LAWFUL (in harmony with the law) to heal on the Sabbath (Mat. 12:12). What Christ condemned was not their practice of the Sabbath rest by them, for He Himself was an observer of this commandment (Luke 4:16), but the wrong spirit in which they practiced it. For that reason He said that “the Sabbath was made for man [not only for the Jews], and not man for the Sabbath” (Mar. 2:27), besides declaring Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mat. 12:8). The tenor of His debates with the Jewish leadership was not IF they should keep the Sabbath, nor WHEN to keep the Sabbath, but HOW to keep the Sabbath in the due spirit.

                              Conclusion: The Jewish leaders didn’t corrupt only the meaning of the Sabbath commandment, but also of the 5th one (Mar. 7:8-10), as well as the tithing practice (Mat. 23:23), as already seen. However, Christ told His hearers (the multitudes and the disciples) to practice all that they said, although not following their bad example of “do as I say, but not as I do” (see Mat. 23:2, 3). Among the right things that they said was their insistence regarding a faithful observance of the Sabbath, even though they were wrong in condemning them for coming to seek healing on that day (Luke 13:14).

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