T he following Email was recently sent to Blow the Trumpet’s by a visitor who argues that our position regarding the Sabbath is inconsistent with the scriptures. The writer contends that Sunday is the Sabbath of the New Testament. Below is his letter and our response.
It seems interesting to me that you believe what you believe concerning the Sabbath; I have read your article concerning it, and would like to make a few statements. First of all, do you believe that the church and Israel are separate? Interestingly, although you quote alot from the Ten Commandments and other scriptural references to it, you fail to note that NOWHERE in the New Testament is the Sabbath commandment mention.
Your Scriptural quotation of "let this mind be in you..." is not a correct one, because contextual interpretation shows that the very next verses define "the mind of Christ" and no-where is a reference to the Sabbath mention in the next verses. Finally, ALL church history-from the Apostles- has shown that the Church has honored THE LORD'S DAY-Sunday-the day of His resurrection, as the day to worship God, and as the new day of rest. The Bible clearly records that the Apostle John was worshiping on THE LORD'S DAY when he was given the vision and told to write the book of Revelations.
Finally, the millennium is NOT the church age. Hence the scriptural references to the Sabbath in the millennium DO NOT apply to the Church age. In a sense, the LORD'S DAY can be thought of as the "new Sabbath" but scripture makes it clear that the Mosaic Laws DO NOT APPLY. I know I have briefly scratched the surface, but these are points to consider in your interpreting of the Bible.
Thank you for visiting Blow the Trumpet and for your comments concerning our position on the Sabbath. You mentioned that you read our article on this subject. However, we actually have one book, numerous booklets and literally dozens of articles on this subject. And although we are not sure which article you are referring to, we will still attempt to address your comments based on how they were presented in your Email, which by the way was very clear and quite articulate. Thank you.
Based on our understanding of your comments, we have identified five broad points in your argument concerning why you believe Sunday is the Sabbath of the New Covenant. Below are our answers to each one. We apologize for the length of this letter, but we truly respect your comments and wanted to give them the attention they deserve. We hope this helps.
Your Comment (1):
“Although you quote alot from the Ten Commandments and other scriptural references to it, you fail to note that NOWHERE in the New Testament is the Sabbath commandment mentioned.”
The Sabbath is mentioned 61 times in the New Testament – 51 times in the gospels alone. Jesus Christ called Himself the Lord of the Sabbath (Mk. 2:28) and never once did He remotely hint at a desire to change this command. Furthermore, throughout the New Testament the great champions of faith honored God’s Sabbath. This would include the Messiah (Mk. 1:21; 2:27) as well as His apostles (Acts 13:42) and later Paul, along with his gentile converts (Acts 13:42; 17:2; 18:4).
With respect to the Sabbath never being referred to as a command in the New Testament, your assessment is not correct. For example after the death of the Messiah, certain women purchased spices for Jesus’ burial. According to Luke’s gospel they then “rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Lk 23:56). At this point it is important to understand that these women knew the Messiah very well. They were intimately familiar with His behavior as well as His teaching regarding this day. Their conduct makes it clear that there was no indication that Jesus suggested that the Sabbath was going to be changed or done away with altogether. On the contrary, it was alive and well after His death.
Your Comment (2):
“The Bible clearly records that the Apostle John was worshiping on THE LORD'S DAY when he was given the vision and told to write the book of Revelations.”
While some have argued that John was referring to a particular day of the week when he spoke of the "Lord’s Day," the context of the book makes it clear that this is not so. Remember, the book of Revelation is a prophetic book. This being the case the term "Lord’s Day" is actually referring to a time comprising the final year of man’s reign on earth. This period is described by the great prophet Isaiah.
Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty... Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (Isa. 13:6, 9)
The "Day of the Lord" mentioned by Isaiah is not referring to a literal day but rather a prophetic day. A prophetic day actually lasts one year. This principle is demonstrated in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6. The prophet Isaiah confirmed this principle when he spoke of a day of God’s vengeance on the world and indicated that the day would be a year in length.
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn... (Isa. 61:2)
Therefore, it is essential to understand that the "Day of the Lord" constitutes a one-year period in which God will punish a rebellious and depraved world. Included in this punishment are a series of trumpet plagues as well as seven plagues poured out of seven vials by seven angels.
Once again, the whole point of the book is prophetic. Making reference to a particular day of the week would add no relevance to it at all.
Your Comment (3):
“ALL church history-from the Apostles has shown that the Church has honored THE LORD'S DAY-Sunday-the day of His resurrection, as the day to worship God, and as the new day of rest.”
This might come as a surprise to you, but Jesus was not resurrected on a Sunday. This is a fact that Jesus’ own words confirm.
The gospel of Matthew describes an event in which Jesus was challenged by the religious leaders of His day to give a sign that would prove He was the Messiah.
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. (Mt. 12:38)
Jesus responded to these religious leaders by providing the only sign He said would be given.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt. 12:39-40)
Notice that Jesus Himself clearly stated that the only sign He would give to prove He was the promised Messiah was that He would be in the grave "three days and three nights." With this understanding, how could Jesus have been crucified on "Good Friday" and resurrected on "Easter Sunday"? It is virtually impossible to get three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday at dawn.
Furthermore, how could Jesus have been raised at sunrise when He died near sunset? Once again, if Jesus was buried toward the end of the day as virtually all authorities admit, and He was in the grave three days and three nights, then He would have risen toward the end of the day, 72 hours, or three days later. Otherwise, His words are false and He is not the Messiah. If Jesus’ words are true, then the vast majority of professing Christians are worshiping Him in vain because He was not resurrected early Easter Sunday as so many believe.
Some argue that the Bible says Jesus was raised Sunday morning before daylight. This is based on the gospels’ account of certain women visiting Jesus’ tomb "early on the first day of the week" (Mk. 16:1-4). However, when they arrived, the tomb was empty. They were then informed by an angel, "He is risen" (Mk. 16:6).
Notice, however, the angel did not say when Jesus rose, only that He had risen. Consider for a moment: if the women had not visited the tomb until Monday or Tuesday, the angel’s declaration would have been no different: "He is risen." This angelic being is only announcing what has taken place, not when it took place. Remember Jesus Himself already said how long He would be in the grave: "three days and three nights," exactly 72 hours (Mt. 12:40).
There are some who contend that Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:40 are a Hebrew idiom and can mean "any part of a day." Therefore, a late Friday burial and an early Sunday resurrection would be consistent with the scriptures.
However, this argument is simply not true. Although the Bible does contain idiomatic phrases, this is not one. Virtually all credible scholars acknowledge that when the number of nights is included as well as the number of days, it is no longer an idiom but a statement of fact. Consider the words of E. W. Bullinger.
The fact that "three days" is used by Hebrew idiom for any part of three days and three nights is not disputed; because that was the common way of reckoning... But, when the number of "nights" is stated as well as the number of "days," then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact. (The Companion Bible, Appendix 144)
The plain truth is that Jesus was never crucified on "Good Friday" or resurrected on "Easter Sunday." This belief is not driven by the scriptures but rather by the traditions of men.
Furthermore, those who believe that the 7th day Sabbath was only in effect during the Old Testament do not have the scriptures as evidence. Nowhere in the Bible does it say the Sabbath was abandoned by God’s people in the New Testament. This is a fact that even leading Sunday keepers will reluctantly acknowledge. We strongly recommend you read Sabbath Confessions. This very informative booklet is a collection of quotes by leading Catholics and Protestants admitting that Sunday worship was the invention of the Catholic Church and not the Bible. Here are just a couple of quotes from it.
“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we [The Roman Catholic Church] never sanctify.” Faith of Our Fathers, pg. 111, James Cardinal Gibbon
“The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. This fourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember,’ showing that the Sabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away when they will admit that the other nine are still binding?” Weighed and Wanting, Dwight L. Moody
“I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ‘No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.” Roman Catholic Priest T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884.
“...Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible.” Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947
"Sunday is our mark of authority. The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact." The Catholic Record, Sept. 1, 1923
"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observation can be defended only on Catholic principles . . . From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." The Catholic Press
"And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it." Plain Sermons on the Catechism, Isaac Williams, Vol. 1, pp. 334, 336
“The Primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the Day in Devotion and Sermons. And ‘tis not to be doubted but they derived this Practice from the Apostles themselves." A Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and Observation of the Lord’s Day, p. 189
"Which church does the whole civilized world obey? Protestants call us every horrible name they can think of , anti-Christ, the scarlet colored beast, Babylon, etc. and at the same time profess great reverence for the Bible, and yet by their solemn act of keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the power of the Catholic Church." (Father T. Enright, Roman Catholic Priest, Kansas City, MO)
"The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ But the Catholic church says, ‘No, keep the first day of the week,’ and the whole world bows in obedience." Father T. Enright, Roman Catholic Priest, Kansas City, MO.
Your Comment (4):
"In a sense, the LORD'S DAY can be thought of as the "new Sabbath" but scripture makes it clear that the Mosaic Laws DO NOT APPLY."
It is commonly taught, without any scriptural authority, that the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross. Proponents of this idea never stop to realize that, if there is no law, there is no transgression—as Paul plainly states in Romans 4:15. This would mean that no one has sinned since Christ's death, and therefore, we would have no need for a Savior!
Yet, even if this perverted and deceptive argument were true—if God had abolished all ten of His commandments at the cross, and then brought back nine of them in the New Testament, in order to get rid of the Sabbath—people are still without excuse! Why? Because God made the Sabbath a special and separate covenant, binding forever. That’s right! A separate covenant. One unique unto itself. Consider the following.
God added nothing further to the Ten Commandment law (Deuteronomy 5:22). It is complete. Any other law or covenant that came later is not a part of it but a separate law or covenant. Paul makes this plain in Galatians 3:15: "Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it."
The Old Covenant was confirmed, as described in Exodus 24:4-8. It cannot be added to. Later, after both the Ten Commandments and the Old Covenant had been made complete, God made another separate and eternally binding covenant with His people throughout the ages, the Sabbath covenant.
God never does anything in vain. When He does anything, or makes anything, we can be sure there is an important purpose. God, through the Word (John 1:1), the One who became Jesus Christ, made the Sabbath for a specific purpose.
Jesus Christ said the Sabbath was made for man, rather than man for the Sabbath (Mark 2: 27-28). At that time, He merely told for whom He had made it, but not for what purpose. That is why this special, separate Sabbath covenant is important: It reveals the basic purpose behind the Sabbath commandment.
The Sabbath Covenant is found in Exodus 31:12-17. Notice how it begins:
"Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you" (Exodus 31:13).
Here, then, is the purpose of the Sabbath: “ . . . it is a sign." A sign is a badge, symbol, mark, or token of identity. Webster's Dictionary defines a sign as "a display used to identify or advertise a place of business or a product. Something indicating the presence or existence of something else."
The word Moses wrote in Hebrew is 'owth, which means "a sign, signal, distinguishing mark, banner, remembrance, warning; a token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof" (Brown, Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon). A banner or flag identifies a nation or group. A signal like a beacon announces the existence of something, like a rocky shore, that others need to be warned about. A token is a visible sign that serves to make something known, such as a white flag is a token of surrender.
God commands His people to keep His Sabbaths as a sign. It is a sign between God's people and God: "It is a sign between Me and you." It is a badge or token of identity, advertising, announcing, or proclaiming certain identifying knowledge: “ . . . that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you."
The Sabbath is the sign that identifies to people who their God is. It is the sign by which we may know that He is the Lord. It identifies God, and by so doing, it identifies who His people are as well.
Your Comment (5):
Finally, the millennium is NOT the church age. Hence the scriptural references to the Sabbath in the millennium DO NOT apply to the Church age.
These are rules man makes up to justify behavior that is found nowhere in the scriptures. God has a different set of rules—ten broad ones to be exact. We would caution you from dismissing the words of Isaiah so casually.
We hope this has provided you with some additional clarity on this issue.
Blow the Trumpet
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