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QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE SABBATH
by Stan L. Caldwell

I've been corresponding with a man concerning the Sabbath question and I thought you might be interested in seeing a few of the questions we are discussing and my answers to him.

1. Does Genesis 2:1-3 teach that the Sabbath was observed by Adam and Eve since the Garden of Eden? The passage does not say Adam and Eve kept the Sabbath and all the Patriarchs' kept the Sabbath. It gives the reason why God chose the Sabbath not when God set the Sabbath aside for man. In Nehemiah 9:13-14 God made known His holy Sabbath by the hand of Moses. Moses wrote Genesis two telling us why God chose the Sabbath and Nehemiah tells us when God gave man the Sabbath. It is a part of the law of Moses given to the Jews of that period. Ezekiel 20:10-13 is another such passage that shows God giving his Sabbaths as a sign between Him and the Israelites. It was not for all men, for all time. Those who bind the Sabbath must assume that it was binding in the Patriarchal age and then they must assume that it is binding on Christians today but these passages teach otherwise.

2. Did the Catholics have the right to change the Sabbath of the Old Testament to "Sunday Sabbath" of today? Catholic scholars state that this is the case. The Catholic church assumes power to change things from the word of God. They take this position on the Sabbath because they believe they have such power. The New Testament teaches us to abide in the doctrine of Christ and not in the doctrines of men, be they Catholic or any other. This alone should make us flee from the Catholic position. They will lead you away from Christ whenever it is to their advantage or thinking. No man has that right. No wonder there is such a wide range of churches. Everyman is doing what is right in his own eyes, rather than having a passage of Scripture for what he does.

The Sabbath of the Bible is always Saturday. The first day of the week is Sunday. The Sabbath was the 7th day of the week. There has never been a change to a "Christian Sabbath" authorized by God. We do not have a "Christian Sabbath". That is nowhere taught in the word of God.

The Sabbath was a part of the law of Moses which was done away when the gospel came into force, just like burning of incense or worship at the temple in Jerusalem on feast days, or the binding of circumcision, etc. were done away.

The Catholic church has not the right to create religious observances such as Lent and Easter and Christmas celebrations with all their ceremonies involved. They have not the right to create a Christian Sabbath in the place of the old Jewish Sabbath.

We worship on Sunday because New Testament Christians worshipped on Sunday. They gave of their means on Sunday, 1 Cor. 16:1-2. They partook of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week and Paul preached on that day, they worshipped God, Acts 20:7ff. This I believe is the Lord's Day of Revelation 1:10 wherein John was in the spirit. This is the day Jesus rose from the dead. This is the day Jesus appeared to several of the disciples. This is the day the church began on Pentecost of Acts 2. This day is the day Christians have been worshiping ever since the first century, not from the sixth century when Catholicism got its hold.

If these people are going to hold to a "Christian Sabbath" will they also bind the punishment for violating it? Those who hold to this position say God gave no specific punishment for violating the first day of the week, as He did for violating the Sabbath. No, it is not the Sabbath. We have no scriptural prohibition of working on Sunday as the Jews had concerning the Sabbath. We have the instruction to worship on Sunday. In their binding of the Sabbath, Saturday, or binding their made up "Sunday Sabbath", do they stone a man for picking up sticks on that day and do they bind all of the regulations of that day given in the Old Testament? If you are going to keep the Sabbath, it seems like you should bind the punishment for breaking it as well. We have no such laws in the gospel but the Jews did under the Old Testament.

3. Are the Ten Commandments binding on Christians today? The Ten Commandments are a part of the law of Moses and have been taken away along with the law of Moses, Col. 2:14, etc. Jesus was circumcised in keeping the law just as he and all of His day who lived under the law of Moses kept it.

Paul in Romans 7 talks about the doing away of the law of Moses as binding on us today. In verse seven he says, "I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet". This is one of the Ten Commandments, which is a part of that which he is saying we have become dead to, verse 4. Also 2 Cor. 3 is talking about the law being done away and in verse seven in the midst of this discussion He speaks of "the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones". That which was engraven in stones is the Ten Commandments and a part of that which is taken away.

The reason we hold to nine of the Ten Commandments is that nine of them are found binding in the New Covenant as well. But the Sabbath is not.

We are under the gospel or New Testament or New Covenant and are not under the law of Moses today. The Ten Commandments were only a part of the law much like the Beatitudes are a part of the gospel of Christ. We need to decide which law we are going to follow? Are we going to bind the law of Moses on men today? Are we going to bind whatever religious tradition we are in, be it Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Cults, etc? Or are we going to live under the gospel of Christ, the New Covenant or New Testament of Christ which is the gospel that has the power to save our soul, Rom. 1:16?

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