Creation of the earth and man #8 Of the Sabbath day #6 If it be necessary to keep Sunday

All I need say in conclusion is, that if it be necessary to keep Sunday as the Jews were required to keep Saturday by the law of Moses, then those who make so much ado about sabbath-breaking are themselves as guilty as those they denounce for the unholy and profane.

“He that offendeth in one point is guilty of the whole.”

If they do not keep open shop, or perambulate the parks and fields, or take excursions, or go to places of public resort and amusement on the Lord’s day — yet, they light fires in the dwellings and meeting houses, they entertain their friends at comfortable warm dinners, drive to church in splendid equipages, annoy the sick and distract the sober-minded with noisy bells, bury the dead, speak their own words, etc. — all of which is a violation of the divine law which saith,

“Thou shalt not do any work, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle”;

and

“Thou shalt not speak thine own words”.

This would certainly put to silence nearly all the preachers of the day; whose “sermons”, when made by themselves, are emphatically their own in thoughts and words without dispute. It is not only ridiculous, but downright Pharisaism,* the fuss that is made about breaking the sabbath. Let the zealots** “first cast the beam out of their own eyes; and then will they see clearly to cast out the mote from the eyes of others”. If they would “keep the day to the Lord,” let them believe and obey the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus; and then “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers”  on the “first day”; and cease from the works of sinful flesh (Galatians 5:19) every day of the week; and they will doubtless “delight in the Lord, and ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob” in the Kingdom of God, as the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.

Acts 2:42 The Scriptures 1998+  (42)  And they were continuing steadfastly in the teaching of the emissaries, and in the fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.

Galatians 5:19-23 The Scriptures 1998+  (19)  And the works of the flesh are well-known, which are these: adultery,1 whoring, uncleanness, indecency, Footnote: 1Only Textus Receptus contains adultery.  (20)  idolatry, drug sorcery, hatred, quarrels, jealousies, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,  (21)  envy, murders, drunkenness, wild parties, and the like – of which I forewarn you, even as I also said before, that those who practise such as these shall not inherit the reign of Elohim.1 Footnote: 11 Cor. 6:10.  (22)  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness,  (23)  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no Torah.

Of the things then which have been written under this head this is the sum.

1. The six creation-days were each as long as the seventh, whose duration is defined by the Mosaic law; and consequently the geological notion of their being six several periods of many centuries each, falls to the ground as a mere conceit of infidel philosophy.
2. The Lord God ended His work on the seventh day,. “and was refreshed” by the songs of the Morning Stars, and the joyous shouts of the Sons of God.
3. To celebrate His rest, He constituted it holy and a day of blessing. Hence it was commemorative of the past, and “a shadow of things to come”.
4. The seventh day was observed by Adam and Eve as a day of delight before they became sinners. The immediate cause of their joyousness on the day of rest is not testified. It is certain it was not a burdensome day; for sin had not yet marred their enjoyments. It was probably because of the gracious interviews granted them by the Lord God on that day; and of the revelations made to them of the things contained in the blessing pronounced upon it when He “blessed and sanctified it”.
5. There is no record, or hint, of the existence of a penal statute for not observing the seventh day, from the sanctification of it till the raining down bread from heaven for the Israelites in the wilderness of Egypt.
6. The observance of the seventh day by absolute rest from every kind of work and pleasure-taking, accompanied by a peculiar sacrifice on the brazen altar of the temple, and spiritual delight in its blessedness, was its Mosaic celebration enjoined upon the Israelites, and their dependants in Palestine, and upon them alone.
7. Its profanation by citizens of the commonwealth of Israel was punishable with death by stoning.
8. Israel was especially commanded to remember the seventh day and keep it as appointed by the law; because God in creating their world brought them out of Egypt, and rested from the work of its creation when He gave them a temporary and typical rest under Joshua in the land of Canaan.

Mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From Givat ...
Mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From Givat Mordechai synagogue wall in Jerusalem. Top row, right to left: Reuben, Judah, Dan, Asher Middle: Simeon, Issachar, Naphtali, Joseph Bottom: Levi, Zebulun, Gad, Benjamin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9. For an Israelite to remember the seventh day to keep it holy, spiritually as well as ceremonially, so as to obtain the blessing which it shadowed forth, he must have had an Abrahamic faith (Romans 4:12, 18–22. Read the whole chapter diligently)  in the promised blessing, and have ceased or rested from the works of “sinful flesh”.
10. The blessing promised to Israelites, who were Abraham’s sons by faith as well as by flesh descent, for a spiritual observance of the seventh day (and which, until “the handwriting”, or Mosaic law, was blotted out and nailed to the cross, could not be spiritually observed and ceremonially profaned) was, that they should “delight in the Lord, ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob their father”, when the time to fulfil the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should arrive.
11. The blessing pronounced on a national observance of the seventh day was the uninterrupted continuance of the throne of David, and great national prosperity. Its desecration to be punished by the breaking up of the commonwealth of Israel and desolation of their country.
12. The Mosaic observance of the seventh day was appointed as “a sign” between God and the twelve tribes of Israel. It was a holy day to them, and to be observed perpetually throughout their generations. (Matthew 1:17 — the forty-two generations from Abraham to Christ.)
13. It was lawful for Israelites to do good on the seventh day; but they were not permitted to be the judges of the good or evil. This was defined by the law. The priests profaned the sabbath by hard work in slaying and burning the seventh day sacrifices on the altar, yet they were blameless; because this was a good work which the Lord of the sabbath commanded them to do.
14. Having finished the work the Father had given him to do,a on the sixth day of the week, Jesus, while suspended on the accursed tree, cried with a loud voice, “It is finished!” (John 19:28–30) “All things were now accomplished”, so that the Mosaic handwriting was blotted out, being nailed with him to the cross, and taken out of the way as a rule of life. The Lord Jesus, “rested from his labours” on the seventh day in the silent tomb, and “his disciples rested according to the commandment”. (Luke 23:56)

Luke 23:56 The Scriptures 1998+  (56)  And having returned, they prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the command.

He abode in his place. and did not go out of it until the sabbath was at an end.

Mark 16:1 The Scriptures 1998+  (1)  And when the Sabbath was past, Miryam from Maḡdala, and Miryam the mother of Yaʽaqoḇ, and Shelomah bought spices, to go and anoint Him.

But on the eighth day, styled also the first day, God gave him liberty, (Matthew 28:2) he left the tomb, and “was refreshed”. Having “spoiled the principalities and the powers” constituted by the handwriting, he made the spoliation manifest, “triumphing over in himself” (ἐν αὐτῳ̂), that is, in his resurrection; thus, for ever delivering men from the bondage of the law, which, Peter says, “was a yoke which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear”. (Acts  of the apostles 15:10) With the abolition of the Mosaic handwriting the obligation to keep the seventh day as a rule of spiritual life was cancelled as a matter of course.

Acts 15:10 The Scriptures 1998+  (10)  “Now then, why do you try Elohim by putting a yoke on the neck of the taught ones which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

15. The apostles and Christians (Acts 21:20) of the Hebrew nation in Palestine continued a ceremonial observance of the Mosaic festivals (Acts 21:24–26.) (the annual atonement for sin excepted) and of the seventh day, until the destruction of the commonwealth by the Romans, on the same principle that New Testament Christians among the nations now observe Sunday and the laws; not as a means of justification before God, but as mere national customs for the regulation of society.

Acts 21:24-26 The Scriptures 1998+  (24)  “Take them and be cleansed with them, and pay their expenses so that they shave their heads. And all shall know that what they have been informed about you is not so, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Torah.  (25)  “But concerning the gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should keep themselves from what is offered to idols, and blood, and what is strangled, and whoring.”1 Footnote: 1See 15:20.  (26)  Then Sha’ul took the men on the next day, and having been cleansed with them, went into the Set-apart Place to announce the completion of the days of separation – until the offering should be presented for each one of them.

16. Hebrew Christians who proposed to blend the law of Moses with that of Jesus as a spiritual rule, or means of justification, and consequently to keep holy the seventh day, were severely reproved by the apostles, who stigmatised it as “Judaizing”(ʼΙουδαΐζειν).

Galatians 2:14-16: The Scriptures 1998+  (14)  But when I saw that they are not walking straight according to the truth of the Good News, I said to Kĕpha before them all, “If you, being a Yehuḏite, live as a gentile and not as the Yehuḏim, why do you compel gentiles to live as Yehuḏim?

(15) “We, Yehuḏim by nature, and not of the gentiles, sinners,
(16 ) knowing that a man is not declared right by works of Torah, but through belief in יהושע (Jeshua) Messiah, even we have believed in Messiah יהושע, in order to be declared right by belief in Messiah and not by works of Torah, because by works of Torah no flesh shall be declared right.

17. The Judaizing Christians endeavoured to impose the observance of the law upon the Gentile converts, which would have compelled them to keep holy the seventh day. But the apostles and elders of the Christian community at Jerusalem positively forbade it, and wrote to them, saying,

“We have heard that certain who went out from us have troubled you with words subverting your souls, saying, Be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment”.

On the contrary,

“it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 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.” (Acts 15:24–29)

18. Upon the first day of the week (or day after the seventh, and therefore sometimes styled the eighth day), the disciples of Christ assembled to show forth his death, and to celebrate his resurrection; which, with an enduring rest from the works of “sinful flesh”, was all the sabbatizing they practised.
19. There is no law in the scriptures requiring the nations to keep this day in any manner whatever during his absence at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. So long as they continue faithless and disobedient to the gospel of the kingdom, neither nations nor individuals can present an acceptable observance of the day before the Lord; on the principle that “Jehovah is far from the wicked, whose way and sacrifice are an abomination to the Lord”: (Proverbs 15:8, 9, 26–29) — and,
20. The “first day” was Judaized by Constantine, the manchild of sin, (Revelation of apostle John 12:2, 5) and his clergy. His present representative is the Italian high priest of Papal Christendom. When his power, and that of his kings, is finally destroyed in “the burning flame”; when Israel is engrafted into their own olive again, and the nations are subdued to the glorious sceptre of the king of saints — then will this day become the holy sabbath, “blessed and sanctified” of God instead of the shadowy seventh day, which was merely “a sign” of the things which will then have come to pass.

– Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 24–27). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Notes:

  • Pharisaism or Phariseeism: Hypocritical observance of the letter of religious or moral law without regard for the spirit; sanctimoniousness.
  • The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism (the term ‘Judaism’ today almost always refers to Rabbinic Judaism).
  • Zealots (Judea): Jewish faction traced back to the revolt of the Maccabees (2d cent. BCE) and a political movement in 1st century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Judaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms, most notably during the First Jewish–Roman War (66-70). The name was first recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus as a designation for the groups called “fourth sect” or Jewish resistance fighters of the war of CE 66–73.
    The extended sense of zealot as a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals is recorded from the mid 17th century.

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Preceding articles:

Creation of the earth and man #3 Of the Sabbath day #1 the Seventh day

Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50

Creation of the earth and man #5 Of the Sabbath day #3 Ceasing from the works of the flesh

Creation of the earth and man #6 Of the Sabbath day #4 Mosaic codes, Sabbaths and Sunday

Creation of the earth and man #7 Of the Sabbath day #5 Respecting the day on which Christ Jesus rose from the dead

Were Gentiles excluded from entering the synagogue?

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Related articles:

  1. Holy Sabbath
  2. Do we need to keep the Sabbath
  3. Are Christians required to keep the seventh day Sabbath?
  4. The Sabbath: Is it a special day for Christians?
  5. Sunday and the Sabbath (Pdf doc)
  6. Blindness in the Christian world
  7. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him
  8. We’re allowed to willfully break the Law of Moses
  9. Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus
  10. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  11. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  12. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  13. Was Jesus Religious
  14. Communion and day of worship
  15. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  16. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  17. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  18. Preparation for unity
  19. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart
  20. Deliverance and establishment of a theocracy
  21. Hosea Say What?

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Further background articles:

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Creation of the earth and man #6 Of the Sabbath day #4 Mosaic codes, Sabbaths and Sunday

As I have shown, the observance of the seventh clay was obligatory only upon the Israelites so long as the Mosaic code was in force, being “a sign” between God and them. The sabbaths belong to the land and people of Israel, and can be only kept according to the law while they reside in the country. This will appear from the fact that the law requires that “two lambs of the first year without spot” should be offered with other things “as the burnt-offering of every sabbath”; an offering which, like all the offerings, etc., must be offered in a temple in Jerusalem where the Lord has placed His name, and not in the dwelling places of Jacob. Israel must therefore be restored to their own country before even they can keep the sabbath. Then, when

“the throne is established in mercy; and he (the Lord Jesus) shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness”, (Isaiah 16:5)

then, I say

“shall the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God: and they shall hallow my sabbaths.” (Ezechiël 44:15, 24.)

But these sabbaths will be no longer celebrated on the seventh day. They will be changed from the seventh to the eighth, or first day of the week, which are the same. The “dispensation of the fulness of times”, (Ephesians 1:10) popularly styled the Millennium, will be the antitype, or substance, of the Mosaic feast of tabernacles which was “a shadow of things to come”.

Eph 1:3-14 The Scriptures 1998+  (3)  Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master יהושע  {Jeshua} Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Messiah,  (4)  even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be set-apart and blameless before Him in love,1 Footnote: 12 Thess. 2:13.  (5)  having previously ordained us to adoption as sons through יהושע  {Jeshua} Messiah to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His desire,  (6)  to the praise of the esteem of His favour with which He favoured us in the Beloved,  (7)  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses, according to the riches of His favour,  (8)  which He has lavished on us in all wisdom and insight,  (9)  having made known to us the secret of His desire, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him,  (10)  to administer at the completion of time, to gather together in one all in Messiah, both which are in the heavens and which are on earth, in Him,  (11)  in whom also we did obtain an inheritance, being previously ordained according to the purpose of Him working all matters according to the counsel of His desire,  (12)  for us to be the praise of His esteem – those having first trusted in Messiah,  (13)  in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your deliverance, in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Set-apart Spirit of promise,  (14)  who is the pledge of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His esteem.

In this type, or pattern, Israel were to rejoice before the Lord for seven days, beginning

“on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when they had gathered the fruit of the land”. In relation to the first day of the seven, the law says, “

it shall be a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein”. This was what we call Sunday. The statute then continues, “on the eighth day”, also Sunday,

“shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein”.

Again,

“on the first day shall be a sabbath and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath” ( Levites 23:34–43)

 

Lev 23:34-43 The Scriptures 1998+  (34)  “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to יהוה {Jehovah}.  (35)  ‘On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.  (36)  ‘For seven days you bring an offering made by fire to יהוה {Jehovah}. On the eighth day there shall be a set-apart gathering for you, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה {Jehovah}. It is a closing festival, you do no servile work.  (37)  ‘These are the appointed times of יהוה {Jehovah} which you proclaim as set-apart gatherings, to bring an offering made by fire to יהוה {Jehovah}, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a slaughtering and drink offerings, as commanded for every day –  (38)  besides the Sabbaths of יהוה {Jehovah}, and besides your gifts, and besides all your vows, and besides all your voluntary offerings which you give to יהוה {Jehovah}.  (39)  ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you gather in the fruit of the land, observe the festival of יהוה {Jehovah} for seven days. On the first day is a rest, and on the eighth day a rest.  (40)  ‘And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of good trees, branches of palm trees, twigs of leafy trees, and willows of the stream, and shall rejoice before יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim for seven days.  (41)  ‘And you shall observe it as a festival to יהוה {Jehovah} for seven days in the year – a law forever in your generations. Observe it in the seventh month.  (42)  ‘Dwell in booths for seven days; all who are native Yisra’ĕlites dwell in booths,  (43)  so that your generations know that I made the children of Yisra’ĕl dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Mitsrayim. I am יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim.’ ”

External aerial view of Sukkah booths where Jewish families eat their meals and sleep throughout the Sukkot holiday

Thus, in this “pattern of things in the heavens”, the first and eighth days are constituted holy days in which no work was to be done. It also represents the palm-bearing or victorious ingathering of the twelve tribes of Israel from their present dispersion to the land of their fathers, “when the Lord shall set his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people”

Isa 11:11 The Scriptures 1998+  (11)  And it shall be in that day that יהוה {Jehovah} sets His hand again a second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Ashshur and from Mitsrayim, from Pathros and from Kush, from Ěylam and from Shinʽar, from Ḥamath and from the islands of the sea.

Three times in four verses does Zechariah style the yearly going up of the Gentiles to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, there, the keeping of the feast of tabernacles; (Zechariah 14:16–19) an event which is consequent upon the destruction of the dominion represented by Nebuchadnezzar’s image, and the re-establishment of the kingdom and throne of David.

Zec 14:16-19 The Scriptures 1998+  (16)  And it shall be that all who are left from all the gentiles which came up against Yerushalayim, shall go up from year to year to bow themselves to the Sovereign, יהוה {Jehovah} of hosts, and to observe the Festival of Booths.  (17)  And it shall be, that if anyone of the clans of the earth does not come up to Yerushalayim to bow himself to the Sovereign, יהוה {Jehovah} of hosts, on them there is to be no rain.  (18)  And if the clan of Mitsrayim does not come up and enter in, then there is no rain. On them is the plague with which יהוה {Jehovah} plagues the gentiles who do not come up to observe the Festival of Booths.  (19)  This is the punishment of Mitsrayim and the punishment of all the gentiles that do not come up to observe the Festival of Booths.

This national confluence of the Gentiles to Jerusalem is characteristic of Messiah’s times; and of the true or real festival tabernacles, when he will “confess to God among the Gentiles, and sing unto his name”, and “they shall rejoice with his people”, Israel.

Rom 15:9-10 The Scriptures 1998+  (9)  and for the gentiles to praise Elohim for His compassion, as it has been written, “Because of this I shall confess to You among the gentiles, and I shall sing to Your Name.”  (10)  And again it says, “Rejoice, O gentiles, with His people!”

Referring to this time, the Lord says,

“the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the House of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.… They have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever”. (Ezechiël 43:7–9)

This is clearly a prophecy of what shall be hereafter, because the House of Israel still continues to defile God’s holy name by their abominations; but when this comes to pass they shall defile it “no more”.

After the declaration of these things, Ezekiel is commanded to show them the description of the temple which is destined to be “the house of prayer for all nations”, with the ordinances, forms, and laws thereof. The Lord God then declares,

“the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it”,

and when the Levites of the seed of Zadok shall approach unto Him. The “cleansing of the altar”, and the consecration of the priests, is then effected by the offerings of seven days.

“And when these days are expired, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and So Forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you (O Israel), saith the Lord,” (Ezechiël 43:27 27)

Thus, the day of the Lord’s resurrection from his seventh-day incarceration in the tomb, becomes the sabbath day of the future age which shall be hallowed by the priests of Israel, and be observed by all nations as a day of holy convocation in which they shall rejoice, and do no manner of servile work at all.

– Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 21–23). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Note:

The phrase “They will be changed from the seventh to the eighth, or first day of the week, which are the same” could give the impression we believe the Sunday came in the place of the Sabbath, which is not.

elpis_israelWe want to remind our readers that “Elpis Israel – An Exposition of the Kingdom of God” (commonly called “Elpis Israel” (English transliteration of Greek for “the hope of Israel”, taken from Acts 28:20)) is a theological book written by John Thomas, founder of the Christadelphians, in 1848-1849 and published in 1849. It predated the coining of the name “Christadelphian” by a decade and a half, but sets out in a logical manner the distinctive and fundamental beliefs that the Brotherhood, all these years afterwards, still upholds.

The original manuscript was essentially the substance of a lecture series delivered by Brother Thomas during a visit to the United Kingdom from the USA in 1848. After being encouraged by many who heard these lectures to put them into a more permanent form, Brother Thomas stayed for a time in London, and in a feverish period of activity centred mainly on six weeks when – to use his own description – he oscillated like a pendulum between his desk and his bed, he produced this important work.

Before the author’s death in 1871, the work went through four editions, the last of these incorporating some changes, mostly in the third and last part. As he explained in the Preface to that edition, he was agreeably surprised that so few changes were necessary: less than a dozen altogether in the first two parts of the book. Those in the last section were occasioned mainly by developing international events, but also by a more detailed consideration of the subject of resurrection.
In the light of changing times and modern discoveries, especially in the field of textual knowledge, several visions got changed. Where there is some doubt regarding the scriptural support for any point, this has generally been covered by a footnote in the later editions, and not by amending the text.

At first you could receive the impression Dr. John Thomas is for the replacement of the Sabbath with the Sunday, but as you will see later and in texts of his works he first stated what he got to see in his time, wanting to observe a Judaized Lord’s day (p. 23).  For him it was a voluntarily inflicted case and restriction upon themselves, bringing on them selfinflicted limitations or pains and penalties to which they may be entitled for its “profanation”. Later the vision on Sunday as observance day became much more clear and the new light or insight on the Sabbaths made it clear that we do not have to have Sunday as the specific day of worship for God. Any day of the week can be used. The same for work and rest, each person can work on any day or night and take some rest on whatever day of the week, as long as he provides enough rest for himself to recuperate from his duties.

You may find more about the Sabbath and Sunday in later writings on this site (a.o. when we shall discuss Jesus’ saying on this subject.) or in previous writings on our other sites. Please do find also our article: Sabbath according to the Scriptures.

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Preceding articles:

Creation of the earth and man #3 Of the Sabbath day #1 the Seventh day

Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50

Creation of the earth and man #5 Of the Sabbath day #3 Ceasing from the works of the flesh

Were Gentiles excluded from entering the synagogue?

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Related articles:

  1. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  2. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  3. Hellenistic influences
  4. Do we need to keep the Sabbath
  5. Communion and day of worship
  6. Christmas and other feasts or holy days in certain Christian groups – Kerstmis, Katholicisme en heidense feesten
  7. Old orthodox Dissenters and Unitarians in 19° Century London
  8. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  9. To find ways of Godly understanding

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Further reading:

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Creation of the earth and man #3 Of the Sabbath day #1 the Seventh day

Of the Sabbath day

On the seventh day, which was neither longer nor shorter than the days which preceded it, “God ended his work which he had made”; and because of this notable event, “he blessed and sanctified it”.

A day is blessed, because of what is or will be imparted to those who are commanded to observe it. The sanctification of the day implies the setting of it apart that it might be kept in some way different from other days. The manner of its original observance may be inferred from the law concerning it when it was enjoined upon the Israelites. To them it was said,

“Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy”.

If it be asked, how was it to be kept holy? the answer is,

“in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor any one or thing belonging to thee”;

and the reason for this total abstinence from work is referred to the Lord’s own example in that “he rested the seventh day”. The nature of its observance in the ages and generations, and the recompense thereof, is well expressed in the words of Isaiah:

— “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” {Isaiah 58:13, 14.}

"Der Samstug (Sabbath)", Frederich C...
“Der Samstug (Sabbath)”, Frederich Campe, 1800: German Jews, wearing baretta hats, gather outside a synagogue on Sabbath. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this passage, the conditions are stated upon which faithful Israelites might inherit the blessing typified by the rest of the seventh day. They were joyfully to devote themselves to the way of the Lord. They were not simply to abstain from work, yawning and grumbling over the tediousness of the day, and wishing it were gone, that they might return to their ordinary course of life; but they were to esteem it as a delightful, holy, and honourable day. Their pleasure was to consist in doing what the Lord required, and in talking of “the exceeding great and precious promises” He had made. To do this was “not speaking their own words”, but the Lord’s words. Such an observance as this, however, of the sabbath day, implies a faithful mind and a gracious disposition as the result of knowing the truth.

Neither antediluvian nor postdiluvian could “call the sabbath a delight” who was either ignorant or faithless of the import of the promise,

“thou shalt delight thyself in the Lord, and ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob”.

Representation of Sabbat gatherings from the c...
Representation of Sabbat gatherings from the chronicles of Johann Jakob Wick. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A man who simply looked at the seventh day as a sabbath in which he was interdicted from pleasures, and conversation agreeable to him, and from the money-making pursuits in which he delighted, would regard the day more as a weekly punishment, than as joyous and honourable. Though he might mechanically abstain from work, he did not keep it so as to be entitled to the blessing which belonged to the observance of the day of the Lord. It was irksome to him, because, being faithless, he perceived no reward in keeping it; and

“without faith it is impossible to please God”.

The reward to antediluvian and postdiluvian patriarchs and Israelites, for a faithful observance, or commemoration of Jehovah’s rest from His creation-work, was

“delight in the Lord, riding upon the high places of the earth, and feeding with the heritage of Jacob”.

This was neither more nor less than a promise of inheriting the Kingdom of God, which is a summary of “the things hoped for and the things unseen”, or the subject matter of the faith that pleases God. When that kingdom is established, all who are accounted worthy of it will “delight or joy in the Lord”; and occupy “the high places of the earth”, ruling over the nations as His associate kings and priests; and share in the “new heavens and earth,” in which dwells righteousness, when Jerusalem shall be made a rejoicing, and her people Israel a joy. The knowledge and belief of these things was the powerful and transforming motive which caused Abel, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc. to “call the sabbath a delight, holy of the Lord, and honourable”; and to observe it as the sons of Belial cannot possibly do. But while this was the motive, even faith, which actuated the sons of God in their keeping holy the seventh day, Jehovah did not permit the faithless to transgress or desecrate it with impunity. We know not what penalty, if any, was attached to its violation before the flood; but its desecration under the Mosaic constitution was attended with signal and summary vengeance, as will appear from the following testimonies:—

1. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore: for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done, but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” { Exodus 31:12–17.}
2. “Remember (O Israel), that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” {Deut. 5:15.}
3. “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day mere shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the sabbath day.” { Exodus 35:2, 3.}
4. “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.” { Numb. 15:32–36.}
5. “Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem: neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.… And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, to do no work therein: then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and upon horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and meat-offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the temple of the Lord. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then I will kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” {Jer. 17:21–27.}
6. “Abide ye every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” {Exodus 16:29, 30.}

From these testimonies it is clear that it was unlawful for servants in the families of Israel to light fires, cook dinners, harness horses, drive out families to the synagogues, or priests to the temple to officiate in the service of the Lord. The visiting of families on the sabbath day, the taking of excursions for health or for preaching, and conversing about worldly, or family, or any kind of secular affairs, was also illegal, and punishable with death. The law, it will be observed also, had regard to the seventh, and to no other day of the week. It was lawful to do all these things on the first or eighth day (some particular ones, however, excepted), but not on the seventh. On this day, however, it was “lawful to do good”; but then, this good was not arbitrary. Neither the priests nor the people were the judges of the good or evil, but the law only which defined it.

“On the sabbath days the priests in the temple profaned the sabbath, and were blameless”; {Matt. 12:5.}

for the law enjoined them to offer “two lambs of the first year, without spot, as the burnt-offering of every sabbath”. { Num. 28:9–10.} This was a profanation of the seventh-day law, which prohibited “any work” from being done; and had not God commanded it, they would have been “guilty of death”. It was upon this ground that Jesus was “guiltless”; for he did the work of God on that day in healing the sick as the Father had commanded him.

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore”,

said Jesus,

“the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath Day ”. {Mark 2:27.}

It was a wise and beneficent institution. It prevented the Israelites from wearing out themselves and their dependents by incessant toil; and revived in them a weekly remembrance of the law and promises of God. It was, however, only “a Shadow of things to come”, the substance of which is found in the things which pertain to the Anointed One of God.  (Col. 2:14, 16–17)

14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Let No One Disqualify You
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. {The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Kol 2:14–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.}

It was a part of “the rudiments of the world” inscribed on

“the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us”,

and which the Lord Jesus “took out of the way, nailing it to his cross”. When he lay entombed he rested from his labours, abiding in his place all the seventh day. Having ended his work, he arose on the eighth day, “and was refreshed”. The shadowy sabbath disappeared before the brightness of the rising of the sun of righteousness; who, having become the accursed of the law. delivered his brethren from its sentence upon all.

– Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 13–17). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Preceding: Creation of the earth and man #2 Evil Angels and moments of creation

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Additional reading:

  1. Truth, doubt or blindness
  2. Observance of a day to Remember
  3. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. Written to recognise the Promised One
  6. The Right One to follow and to worship
  7. Sabbath according to the scriptures

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