Sunday, November 25, 2012

Which Day Is Sabbath Day For Christians?

More On : Is Keeping Sabbath Important?

Question : No Change Documented in the Bible. In both Old and New Testament there is not a shadow of variation in the doctrine of the Sabbath. The seventh day, Saturday, is the only day ever designated by the term Sabbath in the entire Bible. Not only was Jesus a perfect example in observing the weekly seventh-day Sabbath, but all His disciples followed the same pattern after Jesus had gone back to heaven. Yet no intimation of any change of the day is made. The apostle Paul, who wrote pages of counsel about lesser issues of Jewish and Gentile conflicts, had not one word to say about any controversy over the day of worship. Circumcision, foods offered to idols, and other Jewish customs were readily challenged by early Gentile Christians in the church, but the weightier matter of weekly worship never was an issue. Why? For the simple reason that no change was made from the historic seventh day of Old Testament times, and from creation itself. Had there been a switch from the Sabbath to the first day of the week, you can be sure the controversy would have been more explosive than any other to those Jewish Christians.

The whole point is not keeping the true sabbath legalistically, its about honoring God. Jesus said if you love me keep my commandments. So true love is keeping God's commandments, we love Him not when we try to work our way into heaven. Paul never talked about doing away with the Sabbath holy days etc.. He was talking about the gnostic and ascetic beliefs that was creeping into the church at the time.

Answer : In the New Testament the Sabbath is internal in our heart whereas in the Old Testament it was external
(Heb 4:9-10). So no one should confuse the two. If you want to keep Sabbath on Saturday, well and good, if you keep it on Sunday, well and good, New Testament accommodates flexible timing to set apart a day of worship towards the Lord and meditate upon His word, which can be a Sunday as people already have leave in various parts of the world (Col 2:16-23).

Sabbath in itself means rest and therefore needs no explanation. Yes you are right in the area of Love where the Spirit of God will help us walk in it. Yet there is no right or wrong way of keeping Sabbath in the New Testament as it has become an internal one.

Clearly we must also understand that writer of Hebrews was speaking and reminding about "a rest" which really means internal that remains for the people of God and not "the rest" which is Sabbath Keeping that comes week after week
(Heb 4:9; Exod 20:11).

This does not point to the Israelites entering Canaan either, because the word of God says,
"Now it came to pass, a long time after the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua was old, advanced in age." (Jos 23:1). But David nearly five hundred years after Joshua had given rest speaks about a spiritual rest in Psalm 95:7-8 that comes as a result of hearing and responding to the voice of God internally, of which it says that the Israelites in the wilderness under Moses missed the internal rest which comes by faith and then as a result of it missed the external rest too, when they did not believe God's word of promise and missed the Canaan physical rest which the second generation under Joshua experienced (Deut 1:21-32). The twenty and above crowd who were above the age of accountability were denied by God the external rest of Canaan because they did not want the internal rest which comes by hearing and believing the word of God (Deut 1:34-39; Num 14:29-30; Rom 10:17). If Joshua had given the Israelites "a rest" permanently and internally, then God would not have spoken through David of another day afterward in which they need to enter in to a rest by obeying the voice of God and not harden one's heart through unbelief (Heb 4:7-8).

There are three steps of faith that one has to go through until we reach God's timing in which the perfection of faith will happen, which is nothing but the work of faith finally displayed through one's action that will help us get the reward for now and for eternity ahead
(James 2:22). God's work of faith done in God's timing will bring the provision of reward in the right time. The three steps are Hearing of faith in which faith comes in to us (Rom 10:17; Gal 3:5), Fight of faith in which we keep the faith that God has given intact without losing it (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7) and finally the Rest of faith which teaches us to be patiently delighting in the Lord while we look forward to the reward of God that is awaiting us (Heb 4:1-3,9-11; 6:12; 10:35-36; Psa 37:4). The external physical rest was a copy and shadow of the internal rest that comes to us spiritually by believing the promises of God, which is considered by God as the real Sabbath rest which He expects all believers to keep it with out fail (Heb 4:9-11).

The external Sabbath law was just a copy and a shadow of the real spiritual rest that God had planned for all believers spiritually and internally within
(Heb 8:4-5). This is the reason apostle Paul instructed the New Testament believers saying, "16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. 20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Col 2:16-23). So no one should be allowed to judge us spiritually according to the law of the Old Testament which is a shadow, but the spiritual reality of the New Testament which leans on maintaining relationship with God and men through love in Christ rather than keeping the law should be our prime priority. When we love God and men, we live not by subjecting ourselves to regulation of the law of the Old Testament which Christ kept for us fully and has replaced within us internally with the law of the Spirit who influences us to live 24/7/365 for God and God alone (Matt 5:17-19; Rom 8:2). Christ expects all believers to keep this internal law so that the external also can line up with it (Matt 23:25-26), the Pharisees kept all the external law of the Old Testament without any internal spiritual law which the Holy Spirit guides and gives energy to fulfill it, of which Christ pointed out and said that the law keeping should go beyond Pharisaical external means (Matt 5:20).

Say for example, you are having a copy of your wife's picture in your pocket while you have gone to some foreign land to participate in a war, once you have won the war and return back to your home, will you still have the copy of your wife's photo and cherish over it when your real wife is standing physically before you. It is a madness to do something like that. The law is like a photo that had been given to guide us spiritually for a while until Christ who is the real substance would come in to our heart to guide us spiritually in to receiving the very life of God within us
(Gal 3:21-25; 2 Peter 1:19).

The record of history, from the Resurrection of Christ, Christians have always worshiped on the first day of the week (Sunday) and never on the Sabbath (7th day). Sunday is not a Christian Sabbath or a day of rest, or a holy day to be kept based on any Biblical law or instruction. On the first day of the week, the saints during Roman rulership in the first few centuries had a day off or leave officially, and so in that day they utilized to gather together as a Church to worship and celebrate communion with one another in fellowship
(Acts 20:7). So before the end of the 1st Century AD, the author of the last Book of Revelation who was Apostle John gave the first day its name as the "Lord's Day" because on this day the Lord has risen from the dead (Rev. 1:10; Luke 24:1, 6-7, 20-21, 34-35; 1 Cor 16:1-2). Besides this Biblical truth, Saint Justin Martyr (100 A.D. - 165 A.D.), philosopher and defender of the Christian faith, in his historical writings described and confirms that the Christians gathered together for worship on the Lord's Day: the gospels or the Old Testament was read, the presiding minister preached a sermon, and the group prayed together and celebrated the Lord's Supper.

Christians are not under the ten commandments or any other law of Moses or of the Old Testament Prophets
(John 1:17; Rom 6:14). By the way that does not mean that a Christian can steal, kill, commit adultery and do all kinds of evil things, if they do, the local governmental laws of the land will act and put then in prison because they are framed and put in force by the political servants of God who are rulers of each land whom God has appointed (Rom 13:1-7; 1 Tim 2:1-2; 1 Peter 4:15; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Christians are under a new law, a better Law, the law of Christ, (Gal 6:2) a better covenant (Heb 8:6-7). The better law of the Spirit which comes to us moment by moment when in relationship with God through Jesus Christ will fulfill the righteous requirement of the law in us because we are walking according to the direction of the Spirit of God (Rom 8:2, 4). So we do not break the law but instead keep it all in a higher level in the New Testament by the strength and power that comes by the Spirit within us.

So above all, the most important thing to keep is the Sabbath Rest which is entered internally within our heart by faith, that should be kept in our heart all the 7 days of the week in the New Testament time of ours. New Testament demands this higher level of spiritual life and rest in the Lord internally than mere physical and external keeping of Sabbath on just one day. We must understand this and be blessed eternally with the favor of God.

Do not misunderstand me thinking that I am advocating people not to keep the Sabbath day of rest once a week, all I am saying is that you can set apart any particular day of the week to have fellowship with God and the saints, as there is no set day or a rule to keep regarding Sabbath in the New Testament time. At the same time we should hear the apostolic writer to the Hebrews saying, "24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb 10:24-25). The gathering of saints once a week together on any particular day was advocated by the apostolic writers to emphasize the need to stir up love and good works, which can be maintained easily through exhorting one another. Some people were neglecting the gathering of saints to worship together once a week and did not realize the benefits that come to one's soul because of corporate fellowship and worship. So it was a heart felt exhortation of the writer to the Hebrews to all the Church saints to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This day of assembling together can be a Sunday, but there is nothing official about it. Think about the Christians who are in the Middle East, they do not have leave given to them on Sunday, but faithfully they gather together on Friday to worship the Lord. In the same way, around the world saints gather together to worship the Lord at various times. Once a week it is good to set apart a day to take rest and fellowship with the Lord. But the external rest we do is to maintain the internal rest of faith that really pleases the Lord at all times. External Sabbath keeping without the Internal Sabbath Rest of Faith is a complete waste of time, but it good to have the inner Sabbath kept first by faith and then allow the external keeping to aid it.    

Much Blessings...


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