“The Sabbath, is of utmost importance!!”

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South Arabian Sabbath lamp

South Arabian Sabbath lamp

2013: Some links have since been been taken down.

An interesting blog post – Sabbath Musings part 1 – discusses the Sabbath, and mentions my blog and website.

One of the comments there is worth highlighting.  It’s a wonderful example of how the Sabbath gets read into the New Testament Christian life without biblical support.

Sure, Korsman is right about there being no command in the New Testament to keep the Sabbath, and no clear cases where the New Testament Christians kept it …

Stark admission.  But that’s where it ends.

She and the blog post she comments on refer to my series of articles on the verses in the New Testament (mostly outside the Gospels, and Adventist proof texts from the Gospels and Old Testament) … that series can be found here.

And I noted in a recent post that not even do the Gospels command Sabbath observance.

…  And its unlikely that they worshipped on the Sabbath with unbelievers.  But they probably had regular Christian Sabbath services on their own.

Huh?  Probably?  I’d love to see the biblical evidence.

But Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (King James translation)

And Jesus says in Matthew 23:2-3  “Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

What Paul left out about them keeping the Sabbath

If the Sabbath is so important, why leave it out?  Not even a mention.

because he couldn’t write about everything,

He wrote about important things.  Was the Sabbath not important?  Yet the commenter says “The Sabbath, is of utmost importance!!”

is made up for by following Jesus Christ when we don’t know what Paul did.  And we know he said we could do good on the Sabbath, and he kept it too …

Here we get to the interesting bits.

As I said in a post the other day, if we are to follow Jesus in everything he did under the Old Covenant, we need to do the following, because Jesus did them:

Keep the Passover (lamb and all) – Luke 2:41-42, Luke 22:8, Matt 26:17-19
Keep the Feast of Tabernacles – John 7
Keep Hannukah – John 10:22
Be circumcised – Luke 2:21
Sacrifice birds – Matt 8:4 – here Jesus commanded a man to go and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded – see Leviticus 14, where God tells Moses how do offer such a sacrifice.

Clearly Jesus lived under the Old Covenant, and NOT everything he did is applicable to us.

In my recent post, I listed all the times the Sabbath is mentioned in the four Gospels, to see if any command Sabbath keeping for Christians.  The instances where the New Testament mentions it outside of the Gospels are discussed here.

… – Luke 4:16 says “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”

I’ve dealt with this in my discussion of Luke 4

Luke wrote to Gentiles.  Why explain it as a custom if it was a command his audience had to obey?

Much like John wrote in John 6:4 “And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.”

Why explain it as a feast of the Jews – why explain it at all – if it was being kept by Christians?

The New Testament also doesn’t tell us about clean and unclean meats, but Jesus didn’t eat them, and we know from the Old Testament that it’s wrong.

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;  [19]  Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?  [20]  And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

– Mark 7:18-20 [KJV]

I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  [15]  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

– Romans 14:14-15 [KJV]

See this article on Truth or Fables for a detailed discussion.

The New Testament doesn’t mention 1844, but we know from Bible prophecy that its a true teaching.

Also articles on Truth or FablesTruth or Fables, and the Ellen White Research Project.

The Sabbath, is of utmost importance!!  Jesus didn’t even want us to break the Sabbath by fleeing.

What???  We can rescue sheep on the Sabbath, we can heal on the Sabbath, but we can’t save our lives on the Sabbath by fleeing?  What sort of legalist does the poster think Jesus was?  See my discussion of this passage.

So the apostles would NEVER speak out against it.  Korsman is wrong about Romans 14, Galatians 4, and Colossians 2.

My articles on Romans 14:5-6Galatians 4:10-12, and Colossians 2:16.

In light of the absence of ANY biblical command to keep the Sabbath, I follow Paul’s advice:

Rom 14:6 – He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Another comment says:

Looking at Korsman’s logic, one could use the same argument about polygamy–why, not once in the Bible is it explicitly condemned! Yes, but Jesus promoted marriage as a one-to-one model, so let’s not ignore what Jesus had to say about an issue to excuse our own bias.

Matt 19:4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 
Matt 19:5  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 
Matt 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Mat 19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Obviously this is clear.  One man, one woman.  Two become one.  And if you marry a second, it’s adultery.  It only makes sense that a second wife WITH a first is adultery, if a second wife after divorce is adultery.

Polygamy doesn’t need explicit condemnation if it’s clear that a second wife is adultery.

So the polygamy argument doesn’t compare to the Sabbath argument.

It’s clear from the epistles that all manner of heresy was creeping into the church within a few years after the resurrection, so historical evidence (outside Scripture) for Sunday-keeping, etc. is a weak argument for tossing out the Sabbath.

Likewise, historical evidence (usually grossly misinterpreted, but that’s another issue) for Sabbath keeping is therefore a weak argument for keeping it.  What does the Bible say the early Christians did?  It mentions nothing about the Sabbath being kept by them.


Comments imported from the old blog:

Posted by Tompaul on January 22, 2007, 6:05 am
Nice to see a thoughtful response to a lively issue. Your quoting of some of Christ’s teachings on marriage makes the point nicely–that while the Bible never explicitly condemns polygamy, Jesus’ upholding of the the Edenic “1:1” model makes our obligations clear. Yet saying that “Polygamy doesn’t need explicit condemnation if it’s clear that a second wife is adultery” is oversimplying the issue, for Jesus’ words are specifically about divorce and remarriage, and says nothing about plural marriage. Divorce was the issue that Jesus’ selfish audience needed counsel on, so it was the one He addressed.

In fact, a shrewd expositor could make a case from the Bible that as long as one doesn’t break up another marriage, plural marriage is just fine by God, quoting. For example, God did not condemn David for taking second wives, but only condemned him when he stole another man’s wife (“I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own.” 2 Sam. 12:8, 9).

What Jesus was dealing with was people who selfishly took advantage of God’s Old Testament acquiesence, ignoring the Edenic model. Jesus said, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” (Matt. 19: Again and again Jesus pointed people back to what God established in Eden.

We can tell what issues were relevant to an author’s audience by what they emphasize. You quoted Matthew 19:9, which only indicates that males could initiate divorce. And so it was in the Jewish culture that Matthew addressed. Yet because Mark wrote to a largely Gentile community in which women could initiate it as well, he added Jesus’ words, “And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:12) Matthew left that out because it was irrelevant to his audience.

Likewise, the emphasis each of the gospels gives to Jesus’ teachings on the Sabbath tells us that for their readers several decades after Christ, the issue of how to keep the Sabbath was still a quite relevant issue. Such issues would have been irrelevant if the Sabbath was now passe. Underscoring the Sabbath’s continued relevance, there are passages like Matthew 27:62-28:1, in which the women wait until Sabbath is past, “according to the commandment,” to anoint Jesus’ body while the Pharisees carry right on with their machinations. The passage uses the ancient literary device of emphasizing through contrast that the early Christians were better commandment-keepers than the Pharisees (compare Luke 23:56 and Mark 16:1). There is no hint of abolishment, only abundant evidence that the gospels’ earliest readers were Sabbath-keepers.

There’s no hint that the Sabbath was about to be or had become any less binding on Christians, but the gospels emphasize that Jesus came to restore all things to their Edenic ideal, including the Sabbath, which each gospel indicates Jesus singled out for special attention (e.g. Matt. 12; Mark 3:2-4; Luke 6; John 7:23). The gospel writers take the Sabbath’s importance for granted, and tell us that, as He also did with marriage, Jesus rescued it from Pharisaical hair-splitting based on the Mosaic law–for, like marriage, its origins are in Eden, not Judaism (unlike the other examples of Jesus’ practices you noted).

 

Posted by Tompaul on January 22, 2007, 6:09 am
Hmm, didn’t expect my quoting of “Matthew 19:8” to create a sunglasses-wearing smiley-face . . . =)

 

Posted by stephen on January 22, 2007, 8:38 pm

Yet saying that “Polygamy doesn’t need explicit condemnation if it’s clear that a second wife is adultery” is oversimplying the issue, for Jesus’ words are specifically about divorce and remarriage, and says nothing about plural marriage.

I agree, his primary point is about divorce. But, if second wives were permitted at all, how could a second wife after divorce of the first be adultery. I.e. if a second wife without divorcing the first was not adultery, and was permitted?

I don’t see how we can escape that text’s implications as far as polygamy goes.

Likewise, the emphasis each of the gospels gives to Jesus’ teachings on the Sabbath tells us that for their readers several decades after Christ, the issue of how to keep the Sabbath was still a quite relevant issue.

I think that if we really look at the text, it’s not emphasising the Sabbath per se; it’s using the Sabbath as an example of how to keep the Law. Considering the amount of legalism surrounding the Sabbath, I don’t think that’s surprising. To read importance of the Sabbath into that is, imho, reading too much into the text.

The gospel writers take the Sabbath’s importance for granted, and tell us that, as He also did with marriage, Jesus rescued it from Pharisaical hair-splitting based on the Mosaic law–for, like marriage, its origins are in Eden, not Judaism (unlike the other examples of Jesus’ practices you noted).

That they take its importance for granted is debatable … that they take the Sabbath for granted is more likely. Luke’s use of the term “custom” to explain the practice to his readers indicates that he, at least, didn’t take it for granted that his readers would be familiar with the practice.

As for returning to Edenic forms of the various issues … that’s a good point. At least in principle, marriage and the Sabbath existed in Eden … and I’d argue that they existed in a perpetual state, based on the way days 1-6 end and the way day 7’s end isn’t mentioned (I wouldn’t argue that as a compelling argument, but a spiritual insight that need not be accepted by all, and only recently did I see any sense in it at all myself.)

Judaism: circumcision and sacrifice predate Judaism … circumcision, as a sign for all generations, dates to Abraham, and sacrifice … some argue that the first lamb killed was to clothe Adam. Edenic – it’s clear that the Sabbath existed then; it’s also clear that no mention of humans keeping it is made until the time of Moses, when God taught them about it. The sabbath was a sign between God and Israel, a sign of the Covenant made with Moses, a covenant made with Israel, not their predecessors.

If we’re going to say Jesus returned the Sabbath to its Edenic state, I find it hard to believe he corrected the way the 7th day was kept, because there is no biblical evidence that the 7th day was kept back then. What there is evidence of is a sort of rest in Eden in God’s grace, which could well be compared to the rest in Hebrews 4, interpreted to be continuous rest in Christ, our Sabbath.

We can safely find our continuous Edenic rest in Christ without having to read importance into texts mentioning the Sabbath in the Gospels.

My worry is that if the Sabbath was so important in the Gospels, why do we not see it demonstrated in the lives recorded in the rest of the New Testament? Was it taken for granted there as well? So much so that we have not even one command or one such example set for us? And several passages that are quite easily understood to show that it’s part of the Old Covenant and no longer necessary?

I don’t like that discrepancy … if it were actually a real one. Personally, I find no importance placed on the Sabbath in the Gospels aside from its relevance as a prime example of abuse of the law in the form of Pharisaism.

As for the smileys … they’re annoying. I might shut them off completely sometime … I rarely use them.

 

Posted by Tompaul on January 24, 2007, 7:00 pm

“Luke’s use of the term `custom’ to explain the practice to his readers indicates that he, at least, didn’t take it for granted that his readers would be familiar with the practice.”

I think that’s reading a bit too much into a figure of speech. Mark 10:1 uses the same words “as was his custom” as well, “Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them” but it’s just making the point that this was something Jesus did repeatedly, not explaining something unfamiliar.

I’ve found the most thorough treatment of these issues in Harold Weiss’s “A Day of Gladness: The Sabbath Among Jews and Christians in Antiquity.” Some excellent redactionary analysis.

As for the “old” and “new” covenants, Jeremiah 31:31 tells us that the difference between them is whether the law is written on our hearts. I’d argue that that’s the Edenic ideal as well (I don’t think there was a tablet of stone tucked in a branch of the tree of life). Of course, like the “sabbath rest” Hebrews mentions, that heart relationship was available in Old Testament times as well, if only the Israelites had truly committed to God (e.g. Psalm 95:10, 11, the text Hebrews quotes).

“I find no importance placed on the Sabbath in the Gospels aside from its relevance as a prime example of abuse of the law in the form of Pharisaism.”

The gospel’s treatment of the Sabbath is not if, but how. Jesus’ focus is not on the negative but on the positive: It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

 

Posted by Andre REIS on June 25, 2007, 5:24 pm
I’ve initiated a blog that challenges Stephen to prove his views using the Bible only, with clear verses and he has said he is not able to do so <a ref=”http://stephenkorsmanreviewed.blogspot.com”>Click Here to Read</a>

 

Posted by Tompaul on January 24, 2007, 7:03 pm
And, I might add, ’tis one of Adventism’s greatest failures–that its popular observance of the Sabbath has been far more like the Pharisees’ than Jesus’. Following Jesus’ example would make such a difference in the understanding and perception of this issue.

 

Posted by stephen on January 24, 2007, 10:01 pm

Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them” but it’s just making the point that this was something Jesus did repeatedly, not explaining something unfamiliar.

I think the important thing is explaining a custom of Jesus to people who didn’t know what Jesus did regularly. The same would go for the Sabbath, but woulnd’t make sense in the context of Sabbath keepers as the audience.

Jesus’ practices would be unfamiliar, not the Sabbath, which would be known to most people with a remote knowledge of the Jewish origins of Christianity. It would just be odd to have to explain Jesus’ practices in this way if all Christians were doing likewise, keeping the Sabbath.

The gospel’s treatment of the Sabbath is not if, but how. Jesus’ focus is not on the negative but on the positive: It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

In most cases, the Gospels’ treatment of the Sabbath is as an example out of the whole law. Jesus’ focus is to counter the negative with the positive, imho.

 

Posted by Gary on February 3, 2007, 5:29 am
It is interesting what a person will do and ignore to do what he wants to do or not do. The fact that there is no cammand given in the new testament does not ignore the fact that it still exists. Act 16:13 mentions Paul and others going out to be by a river on the Sabbath to have prayer.
If they believed that the Sabbath had been done away with it seems strange that they would use the word Sabbath when they should have been saying Saturday which would have recognized the dismissil of the Sabbath.
NO cammand you say? A command is given even though not in strong terms when Paul gave instructions to pray ( did you get that ) to pray that they would not have to flee on the Sabbath. If there was no Sabbath that statement would not be in the New Testament. And they were to pray that they should pray for a women to not be in birth when they had to flee.
It is interesting how both commands seem to be with the same need. Why? It would seem that to for a women to pray that she isin’t with child would be more important unless there was something of a very Holy nature that it should receive the same notice.
There are several places in the New Testament where it would have been the time to say something about the law being change as to the day that we are to spend the time in worship.
There is no such a place. The Jews were punished so many times for breaking the intent of the Sabbath that they began to make other laws that made it into a hardship and destoyed the blessing of that great day.
Old or newtestament makes no difference as to how Holy something is that God made. By your relentless attempt to do away with something that you obviously hate. Be careful my friend with what you choose to hate you may be making the biggest mistake of your life on this side of heaven. I hope that we will be able to talk with one another about the Great things of God in Heaven or in the new earth whem we will have a good opportunity to ge to know each other.

Posted by stephen on February 8, 2007, 11:48 am

The fact that there is no cammand given in the new testament does not ignore the fact that it still exists.

I’m glad people are realising that there IS no command to keep the Sabbath in the New Testament.

Act 16:13 mentions Paul and others going out to be by a river on the Sabbath to have prayer. If they believed that the Sabbath had been done away with it seems strange that they would use the word Sabbath when they should have been saying Saturday which would have recognized the dismissil of the Sabbath.

Since they didn’t speak English in those days, it is unlikely that they would have called it Saturday. What we would expect is that they would refer to the day using its name found in their everyday speech, which was “Sabbath.” That they called it “Sabbath” has no bearing on whether or not they observed it as a holy day. If they had called it “Saturday” would we think they worshipped Saturn?

NO cammand you say? A command is given even though not in strong terms when Paul gave instructions to pray ( did you get that ) to pray that they would not have to flee on the Sabbath. If there was no Sabbath that statement would not be in the New Testament.

If Jesus thought all Jews would become Christians, then your argument holds water. But, since many didn’t – and I believe he knew that – there would still be many legalistic Sabbath keepers around to obstruct fleeing people with their Sabbath laws. Gates of cities etc were closed on the Sabbath, remember.

And they were to pray that they should pray for a women to not be in birth when they had to flee. It is interesting how both commands seem to be with the same need. Why? It would seem that to for a women to pray that she isin’t with child would be more important unless there was something of a very Holy nature that it should receive the same notice.

Not something more holy … just something equally dangerous, namely a hinderance to fleeing from harm.

If fleeing on the Sabbath was bad, healing on the Sabbath was bad. If life is more important than the Sabbath, then both fleeing and healing on the Sabbath was okay. If there is no religious reason for not fleeing on the Sabbath, the only other option is that there was some other problem associated with fleeing on the Sabbath – and the Bible gives us that info.

See my discussion of Matt 24, where this is all discussed in more detail.

There are several places in the New Testament where it would have been the time to say something about the law being change as to the day that we are to spend the time in worship.

There was no change, apart from the Sabbath not being necessary, and yes, that is mentioned in the Bible. See The Sabbath vs Sunday Debate

There is no such a place.

See above.

 

Posted by Andre REIS on June 25, 2007, 5:33 pm
I’ve initiated a blog that challenges Stephen to prove his views and attacks to the Sabbath using the Bible only, with clear verses and he has said he is not able to do so per an email on June 25, 2007 and I quote: “[Your questions] are designed in such a way that a true biblical answer is not allowed by you. [!!]” Biblical answers are encouraged not disallowed! Click above to read the blog.

You will also find a blog on the documentary on the Catholic Church, Deliver us From Evil, a must see for Catholics and Protestants alike!

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