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Special Studies on the Sabbath/Sunday Question

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  • Azenilto Brito
    respondió
    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.

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  • Azenilto Brito
    respondió
    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.

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  • Azenilto Brito
    comenzado un tema Special Studies on the Sabbath/Sunday Question

    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; 30/01/2016, 14:55:02.
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