Test The Spirits

Exploring Christianity

February 17th, 2016





SABBATARIANS believe the Sabbath should be kept (on Saturday) because it is a commandment from God who said we shouldn’t add or take away from his law. If Jesus changed the law and led others to break the least of these commandments (Matt 5:19) then Jesus would be a sinner because sin is defined as the ‘transgression of the law’. Jesus said , “if you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He didn’t exclude the 4th commandment. There are also Sunday Sabbatarians who believe they shouldn’t work on Sunday and should attend church on this day. Others attend church on Sunday and see no biblical reason not to do work on this day. They see the wisdom in selecting a day of rest for health reasons but this day of rest could be any day of the week. Pastors prepare messages during the week and preach on Sunday morning. Some pastors do this for a living. This is called work. This would be breaking the sabbath if you are still living under the Old Covenant.

Steve Brown / Pete Alwinson Audio Commentary SB30

God completed His work which he had done and rested on the seventh day (Gen 2:2) He didn’t rest because he was tired. Haven’t you heard that God the creator doesn’t grow tired or weary? (Isaiah 40:28). The meaning behind the word rest means stopped or ceased from working and doesn’t imply weariness. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because this unique period in history was when God completed his work of creation. The seventh day was a memorial to His creation. Seven is the number of completion. At this point in history nothing is said about this seventh day being a day of worship. Nothing is mentioned about people resting. There is no Sabbath law given to Adam. As we read through Scripture we don’t see Sabbath law given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob or Joseph. The first time the Sabbath is mentioned is in Exodus 16:26 when Moses tells the Israelites to gather manna for six days but not to gather manna on the seventh day. Then we see God’s fourth commandment in Exodus 20:9 to work six days and rest on the seventh. Exodus 20:11 points back to Genesis 2:2.

Out of the 10 commandments, the only commandment that is a sign is #4. God tells Moses to observe the Sabbath because it is a sign. It is a sign between God and his people that points to how God sanctifies man (Ex 31:12). The Sabbath is a sign or symbol that points to something else. Is though shall not commit adultery a sign that points to something else? No. Is though shall not murder a sign that points to something else? No. Like this sign in the Mosaic covenant, we also see a sign given to Noah. A rainbow. With Abraham the sign was circumcision. The sign given to Moses is reminder of God’s creation, paradise lost and how paradise will return by being righteousness. Regarding the moral laws of God, Paul didn’t write “let no one judge you regarding worshiping other gods and idols, taking God’s name in vain, dishonoring parents, murdering, committing adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting.” Moral standards remain in effect because they reflect God’s very nature. However, In Colossians 2:16 Paul writes let no one judge you “regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths.” Regarding a Festival: “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed (Deu 16:16). Regarding a New Moon: Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.” Regarding a Sabbath: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work (Ex 20:8-10a). In Col 2:17 “the shadow of things to come” is referring back to the festival, new moon and sabbaths. The substance is Christ.

Hank Hanegraaff Audio Commentary HH-126

The Pharisees accused Jesus and his disciples of breaking the Sabbath when they were picking heads of grain on the Sabbath. Jesus responded by citing how David ate consecrated bread that was unlawful and that priests in the temple break the Sabbath but were innocent. Jesus then said he was Lord of the Sabbath (Matt 12:1-8). Jesus could do whatever he wanted with the Sabbath. Here we see a transition taking place. Certainly, if Jesus was accused of committing adultery he would not respond by saying, “have you not read that David committed adultery with Bathsheba but was a man after God’s own heart?” No, of course not. Everything that was part of the system of Judaism was coming to an end, but not the moral law. John Calvin Writes [ Matthew 12:6-8 ] “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Some connect this sentence with a preceding statement in verse 6, that one greater than the temple is in this place, but I look upon them as different. In the former case, Christ, by an allusion to the temple, affirmed that whatever was connected with his personal holiness was not a transgression of the Law; but now, he declares that he has received authority to exempt his followers from the necessity of observing the Sabbath. The Son of man, (he says,) in the exercise of his authority, can relax the Sabbath in the same manner as other legal ceremonies. And certainly out of Christ the bondage of the Law is wretched, from which he alone delivers those on whom he bestows the free Spirit of adoption” [ Romans 8:15 ].
The Pharisees believed Jesus broke the sabbath after healing a man on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6). Jesus told the Pharisees that the Sabbath was made for man, and that man was not made for the Sabbath. And again, that he was Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was meant to be a blessing to man, not a burden and that Jesus could do what he wanted with it at any given time. You may ask what gives him the right to do that? Jesus is God.

On the Sabbath Jesus told a crippled man to pick up his pallet (a straw mat that could be rolled up) and walk. To carry a pallet on the Sabbath was seen as work to the Jews and so Jesus was encouraging him to break the Sabbath while healing him at the same time. Note, Jesus could have healed the man on the following day but intentionally wanted to bring attention to the Sabbath. Jesus was including himself in breaking of the Sabbath. Jesus responded by saying, “My Father is working until now, and I myself am working.” Here Jesus confirmed that he was indeed working on the Sabbath and He also claimed to be God (John 5:1-17). The Jews were seeking to kill him because he broke the Sabbath and was claiming to be God. (John 5:18). God is sovereign and can do what he wants with the Sabbath. You may respond by saying, “Jesus is Holy and would never violate or encourage others to violate the 10 commandments”. So why does he always choose to violate the 4th Commandment if this is a moral law? Could the 4th Commandment be a sign (Ex 31:12) that Jesus has come to fulfill? The Jews took Sabbath laws to extremes that were burdensome and beyond biblical. Was Jesus just addressing this issue ?

Hebrews 3:11 They shall not enter My rest.
Albert Barnes writes “It is called “my rest” here; meaning that it was such rest as God had provided, or such as he enjoyed. The particular rest referred to here was that of the land of Canaan, but which was undoubtedly regarded as emblematic of the “rest” in heaven. Into that rest God solemnly said they should never enter. They had been rebellious. All the means of reclaiming them had failed. God had warned and entreated them; he had caused his mercies to pass before them, and had visited them with judgments in vain; and he now declares, that for all their rebellion they should be excluded from the promised land.” This earthly rest was a shadow of a heavenly rest, the promise of salvation that God gives to those who put their trust in Him. If you have put your trust in Christ you are resting in Him and no longer cling to the shadow. Restlessness of unbelief is mentioned in Hebrews 4:1-6.

You find all of the commandments repeated in the New Testament except the 4th commandment. The 4th Commandment is not given in the New Testament because is a sign of Salvation rest that has been fulfilled in Christ’s death on the cross where he said “It is finished”. The only rest we hear about in the New Testament is that rest that comes from hearing and believing on the good news. Hebrews 4:9-10 tells us there is a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from all his works, as God did from His. Have you entered this rest or are you still trying to work your way to heaven. This work was completed on the cross. By grace you are saved through faith, not of works. Therefore all who are outside of Christ are the restless.

Jews who converted to Christianity felt compelled to keep dietary and Sabbath law. Paul advised Christians to give them room to grow in their faith and to not to make a big issue out of this. Ironically, today some Sabbatarians go against what Paul advised and do make a big issue out of this regarding one day over another (Romans 14:1-9). Notice this would be the perfect place for Paul to say, “Those of you who are not keeping the Sabbath, repent and keep the Sabbath holy.” We know Paul had volumes to say about morality.However, Paul is candid about his disappointment in those who are still holding to the shadows of yesterday. “Why do you turn back to the weak and worthless elemental things to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years.” Paul is speaking of the Sabbaths and festivals of the Mosaic system (Galations 4:9-11). “No one is to act as your judge regarding food, drink, festivals, new moons or a Sabbath Day, things which are a mere shadow of what is to come.”(Colossians 2:16). Another prefect place for Paul to bring clarity to keeping the Sabbath, but he says the opposite.

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity (Ephesians 2:14-16)
John Calvin comments “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity. The meaning of Paul’s words is now clear. The middle wall of partition hindered Christ from forming Jews and Gentiles into one body, and therefore the wall has been broken down. The reason why it is broken down is now added — to abolish the enmity, by the flesh of Christ. The Son of God, by assuming a nature common to all, has formed in his own body a perfect unity. Even the law of commandments contained in ordinances. What had been metaphorically understood by the word wall is now more plainly expressed. The ceremonies, by which the distinction was declared, have been abolished through Christ. What were circumcision, sacrifices, washings, and abstaining from certain kinds of food, but symbols of sanctification, reminding the Jews that their lot was different from that of other nations. By the cross. The word cross is added, to point out the propitiatory sacrifice. Sin is the cause of enmity between God and us; and, until it is removed, we shall not be restored to the Divine favor. It has been blotted out by the death of Christ, in which he offered himself to the Father as an expiatory victim. There is another reason, indeed, why the cross is mentioned here, as it is through the cross that all ceremonies have been abolished. Accordingly, he adds, slaying the enmity thereby. These words, which unquestionably relate to the cross, may admit of two senses, — either that Christ, by his death, has turned away from us the Father’s anger, or that, having redeemed both Jews and Gentiles, he has brought them back into one flock. The latter appears to be the more probable interpretation, as it agrees with a former clause, abolishing in his flesh the enmity.”

Matthew 5:18 is usually quoted and cut short the following way. “not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until heaven and earth pass away. Have heaven and earth passed away? No. So the law has not passed away either.” The verse leading into in from verse 17 is “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I have not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle will pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” In Galatians 3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made… In John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” In John 19: 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.
Jesus fulfilled all things on the cross. Matthew 5:17 is from the Sermon on the Mount, a place where Jesus was showing His authority over the law. He said many times “the law says this, but I say this.” He was answering an objection that many people were beginning to have because of His teachings; namely, have you come to do away with the law. He answers them very plainly in verse 17. He says that He has not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. What can we take from this except that Jesus planned on fulfilling the law? Then in verse 18 He says again very plainly that the jots and tittles of the law will in fact pass away, but not until he fulfills them all. Sometimes people forget this very important “till” as in “till all be fulfilled.” This is not a teaching that the law won’t pass away; this is an explicit teaching that Jesus indeed did plan on the law and the prophets being fulfilled by him — jots and tittles and all. (Sources Cited: Chris White – Should Christians Keep The Sabbath? – A Refutation of Seventh Day Adventism and the Hebrew Roots Movement)

John Calvin comments, “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one point of the law to fail The design of Christ, in both passages, was to teach, that the truth of the law and of every part of it, is secure, and that nothing so durable is to be found in the whole frame of the world.”

1. Christ fulfilled the law on the cross
2. Heaven and earth have not passed away

Albert Barnes comments, “The laws of the Jews are commonly divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral laws are such as grow out of the nature of things, and which cannot, therefore, be changed – such as the duty of loving God and his creatures. These cannot be abolished, as it can never be made right to hate God, or to hate our fellow-men. Of this kind are the ten commandments, and these our Saviour has neither abolished nor superseded. The ceremonial laws are such as are appointed to meet certain states of society, or to regulate the religious rites and ceremonies of a people. These can be changed when circumstances are changed, and yet the moral law be untouched. A general in an army may command his soldiers to appear sometimes in a red coat and sometimes in blue or in yellow. This would be a ceremonial law, and might be changed as he pleased. The duty of obeying him, and of being faithful to his country, could not be changed. So the laws of the Jews designed to regulate mere matters of ceremony and rites of worship might be changed. Those requiring love and obedience to God and love to people could not be changed, and Christ did not attempt it, Matthew 19:19; Matthew 22:37-39; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9. A third species of law was the judicial, or those laws regulating courts of justice which are contained in the Old Testament. These were of the nature of the ceremonial law, and might also be changed at pleasure. The judicial law of the Hebrews was adapted to their own civil society. When the form of their polity was changed this was of course no longer binding. The ceremonial law was fulfilled by the coming of Christ: the shadow was lost in the substance, and ceased to be binding. The moral law was confirmed and unchanged.

Under The Law
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20). People living “Under The Law” include those who ignore God and live their lives according to their own subjective morality and those who try to justify themselves before God by keeping the law to inherit salvation. Jews and Muslims talk about getting the best score possible so that when they die they might pass the test and go to heaven. But the requirement of the law is not that we do our best but that we score 100% and nobody has kept that score. Only Christ. So to be under the law means to be judged by the law. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:10-11)
However, within the family of Christ the phrase “Under The Law” may also refer to Christians who have placed their trust in Jesus for salvation but still feel the need to DO what has already been DONE for them. And I’m not only referring to Roman Catholics. I’m referring to Protestants who hold to this idea that if they fall into a particular sin that they may lose their salvation as if it was something they actually earned. An unhealthy emphasis on the law rather than grace enslaves.