Acts 15 – do Christians keep the Sabbath in Acts?

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Acts 15

(Act 15:1) And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
(Act 15:2) When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
(Act 15:3) And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
(Act 15:4) And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
(Act 15:5) But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
(Act 15:6) And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
(Act 15:7) And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
(Act 15:8) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
(Act 15:9) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
(Act 15:10) Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
(Act 15:11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
(Act 15:12) Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
(Act 15:13) And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
(Act 15:14) Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
(Act 15:15) And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
(Act 15:16) After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
(Act 15:17) That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
(Act 15:18) Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
(Act 15:19) Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
(Act 15:20) But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
(Act 15:21) For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
(Act 15:22) Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
(Act 15:23) And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.
(Act 15:24) Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
(Act 15:25) It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
(Act 15:26) Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Act 15:27) We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
(Act 15:28) For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
(Act 15:29) That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well, Fare ye well.
(Act 15:30) So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
(Act 15:31) Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

Here we see the debate concerning observance of Old Covenant laws in the Christian community come to a close, as far as formal decisions are concerned.

The decision of the Apostles was that the Old Covenant laws did not apply to Christians except for “meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.” No mention of the Sabbath.

This is a far stronger argument than Adventism’s argument from silence. This is a list if things that Gentile Christians were told to do. If they had to keep the Sabbath, then it would have to have been included in this list. It was not included. That says a lot.

No even circumcision was necessary – and, if you recall from Genesis, circumcision was a perpetual sign given for all generations! It was a sign of the very identity of the Jewish people, under the Mosaic Covenant. And here the Apostles stated that it was no longer necessary. Paul tells us that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile – it was not a case of setting up double standards – one set of laws for the Jewish Christians, and another for the Gentiles. Traditions and customs were tolerated, but inflicting unnecessary practices was not allowed – so the Jewish Christians could continue with their traditional way of worship as they felt comfortable, but the Gentile Christians were not obliged to adopt the Mosaic Law.

So, apart from these items on the Apostles’ list, there were no parts of the law of Moses that the Christians needed to keep. Obviously they still had to follow moral principles as explained in numerous passages by Jesus and the Apostles, but there is NO command to keep the Sabbath, and it is glaringly absent from this list, which explicitly includes the sign of their identity, circumcision, which predates the Sabbath.

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