Sabbath versus circumcision – which is greater?

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Adventists think that the law of God and the law of Moses are two separate things. That is nonsense, as I have shown here: The Law of God vs the Law of Moses.

Moses with the Tablets of the Law – Rembrandt

It is worth pointing out that in John 7:19-23, Jesus points out that circumcision takes priority over the sabbath, and lists the sabbath as an example of the law of Moses.

John 7:19-23 (KJV) – [19] Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? [20] The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? [21] Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. [22] Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. [23] If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?

Jesus mentions (verse 19) that the law of Moses is broken by those he is talking to. He then gives the example of circumcising on the sabbath (verse 22). He the (verse 23) says that circumcising on the sabbath prevents the law from being broken. One could potentially view this passage like this:

  1. Jesus said they all break the law of Moses.
  2. Jesus says they circumcise on the sabbath to prevent the law of Moses from being broken.
  3. They therefore break one law of Moses (the sabbath) to ensure that a greater law of Moses (circumcision) is upheld.

That means that Jesus actually refers to the sabbath as being part of the law of Moses (just as he did with honouring one’s father and mother in Mark 7:10). It’s undeniable that Jesus is pointing out to them that circumcision is superior to the sabbath, and so is healing.

And if circumcision can go out the window … so can the sabbath.

God refers to circumcision as a perpetual covenant in Genesis 17:11-13, to incense as one in Exod 30:8, to the Levitical priesthood as one in Exod 29:9. All these so-called perpetual covenants have been done away with at the cross. Just because they are called perpetual covenants does not mean that their purpose will never come to an end. Circumcision was for ALL Abraham’s generations, yet although we are part of that people, circumcision if not necessary for Christians. The same goes for the Sabbath.

The Sabbath was made to serve man, and so was circumcision. They served their purpose, and Acts 15 tells us we need not circumcise any longer, and Col 2:16 and other texts tell us the same about the Sabbath.

Further reading:

John 7 – circumcision on the Sabbath
The Law of God vs the Law of Moses
The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 1
The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 2
The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 3

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