The Protestant Reformers and the Jewish sabbath

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Some Adventists and sabbatarians like to claim that the reformers knew that keeping the sabbath was biblical, but they kept Sunday instead because the Holy Spirit hadn’t led them to that light yet.

Other dishonest Adventists and sabbatarians like to quote Protestant “admissions” that there is no reason to observe Sunday and that the Bible teaches that we should be keeping the Saturday sabbath.

Well, here are some quotes from important reformers. They show that the reformers clearly understood that the weekly sabbath commandment from the Old Testament was abolished, and that they could keep any day that inspired them.

Luther:

Luther and the sabbath

Luther and the sabbath

Again one can prove it from the third commandment that Moses does not pertain to Gentiles and Christians. For Paul and the New Testament abolish the sabbath, to show us that the sabbath was given to the Jews alone, for whom it is a stern commandment. The prophets referred to it too, that the sabbath of the Jews would be abolished. … For in the New Testament the sabbath is annihilated as regards the crude external observance, for every day is a holy day,” etc. … Now if anyone confronts you with Moses and his commandments, and wants to compel you to keep them, simply answer, “Go to the Jews with your Moses; I am no Jew. Do not entangle me with Moses. If I accept Moses in one respect, then I am obligated to keep the entire law.” For not one little period in Moses pertains to us.
Martin Luther, “How Christians Should Regard Moses”; note that Luther counted the sabbath commandment as the third of the ten.

We find in our day in Moravia a foolish rabble folk that call themselves the Sabbathers. They con­tend that we must, according to the Jewish regula­tions and customs, keep the Sabbath; and perhaps they will yet in time lay a similar requirement for circumcision.
There are in Austria and Moravia, as it is re­ported to me, people at this time that in Jewish manner keep the Sabbath and compel circumcision. If these people come in contact with people that are not properly instructed in God’s Word, they will do great damage.
Martin Luther, “Auslegung von 1. Mose” (Genesis), Schriften (Walch ed.), vol. 1, cols. 873, 1009-1010. [Quoted in Ministry Magazine]

Lutheranism from Luther’s time:

Calvin and the sabbath

Calvin and the sabbath

For those who judge that by the authority of the Church the observance of the Lord’s Day instead of the Sabbath-day was ordained as a thing necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath-day; for it teaches that, since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted. And yet, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the Church designated the Lord’s Day for this purpose; and this day seems to have been chosen all the more for this additional reason, that men might have an example of Christian liberty, and might know that the keeping neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is necessary.
Augsberg Confession, Article 28

Calvin:

Zwingli and the sabbath

Zwingli and the sabbath

First, with the seventh day of rest the Lord wished to give to the people of Israel an image of spiritual rest … there is no doubt that it ceased in Christ (Col. 2:17), Hence, though the sabbath is abrogated, it so happens among us that we still convene on certain days in order to hear the word of God.
— John Calvin, Instruction in Faith, section 8, “The Law of the Lord”

Zwingli:

For the words of Christ are of themselves clear enough, when He says: the sabbath is made for man and not man for the sabbath. In a word, the sabbath and all time are subject to man, not man to the sabbath.
— Ulrich Zwingli, Liberty Respecting Food in Lent

Tyndale:

Tyndale and the sabbath

Tyndale and the sabbath

And as for the sabbath, a great matter, we be lords over the sabbath; and may yet change it into the Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or may make every tenth day holy day only, if we see a cause why. We may make two every week, if it were expedient, and one not enough to teach the people. Neither was there any cause to change it from the Saturday, than to put difference between us and the Jews, and lest we should become servants unto the day, after their superstition. Neither needed we any holy day at all, if the people might be taught without it.
— William Tyndale, Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, book 1, chapter 25).

Clearly the Reformers knew their Bible and considered their reasons for not keeping the Jewish sabbath to be biblical.

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2 comments

    • Eu Sunt on August 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    sunt in multe locuri in noul testament dovezi ca sabatul trebuie tinut. Isus a spus clar: “eu nu am venit sa desfiintez Legea ci sa o impinesc.”
    Pavel scrie in multe locuri mai precis de 59 ori, cu acelasi resoect ca in vechiul testament. Ellen a spus mereu ca ea vrea sa fie inaltat Numele Domnului Isus nu numele ei, dar ea nu stia ca oamenii sunt ca in vechime si fac aceleasi greseli. Ea a spus ca nu este decat degetul aratator indreptat spre Isus, nu altceva. doua greseli au ei, faptul ca spun ca sufletul este muritor confundand trupul cu sufletul, ceea ce e mare gresala, si ca fac botez trinitar, care este sigiliul bisericii catolice pentru toti cei ce au iesit din ea, dar care inca mai sunt prin botez. Botezul in Fapte si in Petru si in multe alte locuri este in Numele Domnului Isus, si intr un singur loc in Matei este trecut in Numele Tatalui al Fiului si al Sfantului Duh. Desi noi suntem triunici in multe feluri, anume: suntem trup, Duh si suflet. Trupul este material, Duhul este de natura divina si putere, sufletul este de natura spirituala, si anume suflarea de viata de la DUmnezeu.

    Stephen’s input:

    This appears (via Google translator) to translate from Romanian into English as:

    There are many places in the new Testament evidence that the Sabbath should be kept. Jesus clearly said: “I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.”
    Paul writes more than 59 times in many places, with the same respect as in the Old Testament.
    Ellen has always said she wants the name of the Lord Jesus to be raised, not her name, but she did not know that people are as old and do the same mistakes.
    She said she was just a pointing finger pointing to Jesus, not something else.
    There are two mistakes: the fact that they say that the soul is mortal confusing the body with the soul, which is a great mistake,
    and that they do a Trinitarian baptism, which is the seal of the Catholic Church for all those who came out of it but who are still through baptism.
    Baptism in Acts and in Peter and many other places is in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in one place in Matthew is passed into the Name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
    Though we are triadic in many ways, namely: we are flesh, spirit and soul. The body is material, the Spirit is of a divine nature and power, the soul is of a spiritual nature, namely the breath of life from God.

    1. There are many places in the new Testament evidence that the Sabbath should be kept.

      Actually, there are none. See “The Sabbath vs Sunday debate” for evidence.

      Jesus clearly said: “I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.”

      Jesus fulfilled the law, bringing it to completion. It was replaced under the New Covenant. See the series on the Sabbath and the Old Covenant.

      Paul writes more than 59 times in many places, with the same respect as in the Old Testament.

      That is not true. Paul very clearly shows that the sabbath is no longer relevant for Christians.
      Col 2:14-17
      Rom 14:5-6
      Gal 4:10-11

      Ellen has always said she wants the name of the Lord Jesus to be raised, not her name, but she did not know that people are as old and do the same mistakes.
      She said she was just a pointing finger pointing to Jesus, not something else.

      And she made some terrible mistakes in her teachings.

      There are two mistakes: the fact that they say that the soul is mortal confusing the body with the soul, which is a great mistake,

      The great mistake is the Adventist concept of the soul. See the list of articles here.

      and that they do a Trinitarian baptism, which is the seal of the Catholic Church for all those who came out of it but who are still through baptism.
      Baptism in Acts and in Peter and many other places is in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in one place in Matthew is passed into the Name of the Father of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

      Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is thoroughly biblical, unless you plan to reject Matthew. Jesus is fully God, and Jesus is fully one with the Father and the Spirit.

      The Adventist problem with the Trinity is dealt with in a post entitled “Are Adventists really Christian? Are they authentic Trinitarians?

      The Trinity is a biblical doctrine, and non-Catholic Christians recognise this.

      Though we are triadic in many ways, namely: we are flesh, spirit and soul. The body is material, the Spirit is of a divine nature and power, the soul is of a spiritual nature, namely the breath of life from God.

      If spirit is breath, then is the Holy Spirit the breath of God? I don’t think so. The faulty concept of the soul is one of the major failings of the Adventist church and influences their Trinitarian or semi-Trinitarian theology.

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