THE TRUE CHRISTIAN SABBATH?
Pastor Jory Steven Brooks, USA
THE principle of the Sabbath is an important one in Scripture which has been almost totally corrupted in our modern society, and is no longer championed in our churches. Under Old Testament law, all of society was subject to the Sabbath rest: mankind experienced rest from labour every seven days, as well as the livestock (Exodus 20:8-11), and even the land (every seven years: Leviticus 25:1-5). The principle of needed rest and rejuvenation is supported by modern science as being necessary to health and well-being.
Under the New Covenant, the law of God wholly continues as principles and precepts, including the Sabbath. While most of the arguing is about which day to call the Sabbath, God's concern is that our bodies receive their needed weekly rest in a day devoted to Him. This seems to be lost in the discussion. The Seventh-Day Adventists have taught that it is a sin for even a fireman to work on the Sabbath, but police (they say) are not sinning in working the Sabbath because of the need for police protection. To me, this is legalistic nonsense. It is also true that there was no "Saturday Sabbath;" God actually commanded that we keep every seventh day as a Sabbath. (Leviticus 23:3)
The Apostle Paul apparently encountered the debate over Saturday versus Sunday worship, and his answer was:
''Let no one, then, be judging you in food or in drink or in the particulars of a festival, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, which are a shadow of things which are impending ... " (Colossians 2:16-17, literal)
There is no question that the earliest Christian church was mainly made up of Hebrews, and that most or all of them originally kept Saturday Sabbath. Yet Paul said not to judge someone who keeps a different day, and that the Sabbath was a foretype of the coming Millennial Sabbath in which all toil will be set aside seven days a week every day will be a Sabbath with God and our fellow resurrected saints.
The principle here is that we are to keep a day of rest and worship, and look toward the time when we will have the priviledge of worshipping God every day of the week, not just on one day. How many Christians do you know who act holy on their Sabbath day, and then carouse, cheat, and do immoral things the other six days of the week? Is God only concerned with how we live on just one day of the week? A number of years ago, an Israel believing Christian told me that he could not attend my church because we didn't keep the correct Sabbath day, and that he basically kept the Sabbath by himself ("I sit in my easy chair, turn on the telly, pop open a beer, and rest.") He contented himself that he kept the "correct day" but left God completely out of it! Under the New Covenant, God is concerned with our heart attitude, and not with legalistically keeping a day for the sake of obeying a tradition.
I think that B.I: s should try not to argue about such matters with one another, but to encourage one another to more fully and faithfully dedicate to God the day that they do keep. If you keep Saturday or Sunday with your whole heart, dedicating the day to rest and worship, you have fulfilled the requirements of the law under the New Covenant. See Acts chapter 15 for the early Jerusalem council's statement concerning the issues of importance for Christian believers. A related study of this subject in more detail by this author can be found on our CBIA website articles page at http://www.israelite.ca/
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