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

Samaritans atop Mount Gerizim in 2006.
Samaritans atop Mount Gerizim in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The law of Moses was delivered to the Israelites and not to the Gentiles, who were therefore “without the law”. “What things soever the law saith, it says it to them who are under the law”; consequently the nations were not amenable to it; and though they obtained not the blessings of Mount Gerizim (unless they became faithful Jews by adoption), neither were they obnoxious to the curses of Mount Ebal.

Deu 27:9-26 The Scriptures 1998+  (9)  And Mosheh and the priests, the Lĕwites, spoke to all Yisra’ĕl, saying, “Be silent and hear, O Yisra’ĕl: This day you have become the people of יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim,  (10)  and you shall obey the voice of יהוה  {Jehovah} your Elohim, and do His commands and His laws which I command you today.”  (11)  And Mosheh commanded the people on that day, saying,  (12)  “These are to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have passed over the Yardĕn: Shimʽon, and Lĕwi, and Yehuḏah, and Yissasḵar, and Yosĕph, and Binyamin.  (13)  “And these are to stand on Mount  Ěyḇal to curse: Re’uḇĕn, Gaḏ, and Ashĕr, and Zeḇulun, Dan, and Naphtali.  (14)  “And the Lĕwites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all the men of Yisra’ĕl:  (15)  ‘Cursed is the man who makes a carved or moulded image, an abomination to יהוה  {Jehovah}, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amĕn!’  (16)  ‘Cursed is he who makes light of his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (17)  ‘Cursed is he who moves his neighbour’s boundary.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (18)  ‘Cursed is he who misleads the blind in the way.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (19)  ‘Cursed is he who twists the right-ruling of the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (20)  ‘Cursed is he who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (21)  ‘Cursed is he who lies with any beast.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (22)  ‘Cursed is he who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (23)  ‘Cursed is he who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (24)  ‘Cursed is he who smites his neighbour secretly.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (25)  ‘Cursed is he who takes a bribe to slay an innocent being.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’  (26)  ‘Cursed is he who does not establish the Words of this Torah.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amĕn!’

The faithless Jews and Gentiles are equally aliens from the precepts of Christ and his apostles. What these prescribe is enjoined upon the disciples of Jesus. They only are “under law to Christ”.

“What have I”

says Paul,

“to do to judge them that are without? God judgeth them.” (1 Corinthians 5:12, 13.)

He has caused the gospel of the kingdom to be preached to sinners “for the obedience of faith”. When they are judged, it will be for “not obeying the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”, (Thessalonians 1:7–10.) and not because they do not “go to church”, or do not keep a sabbath instituted by a semi-pagan emperor of the fourth century.

2Th 1:7-10 The Scriptures 1998+  (7)  and to give you who are afflicted rest with us when the Master יהושע  {Jehsua} is revealed from heaven with His mighty messengers,  (8)  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know Elohim, and on those who do not obey the Good News of our Master יהושע  {Jehsua} Messiah,  (9)  who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Master and from the esteem of His strength,  (10)  when He comes to be esteemed in His set-apart ones and to be admired among all those who believe in that Day, because our witness to you was believed.

The sabbath God requires sinful men to observe is to cease from the works of the flesh, as completely as He rested from the work of creation on the seventh day, that they may enter into the millennial rest that remaineth for the people of God.

Heb 4:9-11 The Scriptures 1998+  (9)  So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim.  (10)  For the one, having entered into His rest, has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim rested from His own.  (11)  Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.1 Footnote: 1See 3:18.

Men frequently err in their speculations from inattention to the marked distinction which subsists in the scriptures between those classes of mankind termed “saints” and “sinners”. They confound what is said to, or concerning, the one, with what is said in relation to the other. Relatively to the institutions of God they are as near or afar off as are “citizens” and “foreigners” to the laws and constitution of the United States.

“What the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law.”

This is a principle laid down by Paul concerning the law of Moses, which is equally true of the codes of all nations. “Citizens” are the saints, or separated ones, of the particular code by which they are insulated from all other people; while “foreigners” or “aliens” from their commonwealth are sinners in relation to it; for they live in other countries in total disregard of its institutions, and doing contrary to its laws, and yet are blameless: so that if they were to visit the country of that commonwealth, they would not be punished for their former course, because they were not under law to it. Let them, however, while sojourning there continue their native customs, and they would become guilty and worthy of the punishment made and provided for such offenders.

It is a fact, that “God blessed and sanctified” or set apart, “the seventh day”; and doubtless, Adam and his wife rested, or intermitted, their horticultural tendance upon that day. Yea, we may go further and say, that it is extremely probable that “the sons of God” before the flood, worshipped God according to “His way” upon that day; but in all the history of that long period, which intervened from the sanctification of the seventh day to the raining down bread from heaven for the Israelites in the wilderness, (Exodus 16) there is not the least hint of any punishment for breaking the Sabbath day. Guiltiness before God cannot therefore be argued against the Gentiles so as to entitle them to death or reprobation, predicated on the threatenings of the patriarchal code. Whatever the appointment might be, it was no doubt significative of the blessings to be obtained through observing it; not alone, but in connexion with the other matters which made up “the way of God”.

– Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 20–21). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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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

Were Gentiles excluded from entering the synagogue?

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Additional reading:

  1. Genuine message of salvation
  2. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  3. On the Edge of Believing
  4. Imitate prophets and Paul
  5. Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats
  6. Sabbath according to the scriptures

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Further related writings:

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

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

The ordinances of the law of Moses are styled by Paul “the rudiments”, or “elements of the world”, which, in Galatians, he also terms “weak and beggarly elements, whereunto they desired again to be in bondage”. They evinced this desire by “observing days, and months, and times, and years”;(Galatians 4:3, 5, 9, 10) not being satisfied with the things of Christ, but seeking to combine the Mosaic institutions with the gospel.

Gal 4:3-5 The Scriptures 1998+  (3)  So we also, when we were children, were under the elementary matters of the world, being enslaved.  (4)  But when the completion of the time came, Elohim sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under Torah,  (5)  to redeem those who were under Torah, in order to receive the adoption as sons.

Gal 4:9-10 The Scriptures 1998+  (9)  But now after you have known Elohim, or rather are known by Elohim, how do you turn again to the weak and poor elementary matters,1 to which you wish to be enslaved again? Footnote: 1See v.3, Col. 2:8 & 20.  (10)  You observe days and months and seasons and years.

This was Judaizing, and the first step to that awful apostasy by which the world has been cursed for so many ages. When the Mosaic constitution, as “the representation of the knowledge and the truth”, had “waxed old” by the manifestation of the substance to a sufficient extent to nullify it, it “vanished away” by being “cast down to the ground” by the Roman power, and with it the law of the seventh day.

The Disciples Eat Wheat on the Sabbath
The Disciples Eat Wheat on the Sabbath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even before its abolition, Paul expressed his fear of the Galatians, “lest he should have bestowed labour upon them in vain”, seeing that they were becoming zealous of the ordinances of the law. They seemed not to understand that the Mosaic economy was only a temporary constitution of things, “added because of transgressions, till the seed should come”; that when he came, “he redeemed them from the curse of the law, being made a curse for them”; and that therefore they had nothing to fear, nor to hope for from keeping, or transgressing its methods. They had got it into their heads that “except they were circumcised and kept the law of Moses”, as well as believed and obeyed the gospel of the kingdom, they could not be saved.

Mat 12:5 The Scriptures 1998+  (5)  “Or did you not read in the Torah that on the Sabbath the priests in the Set-apart Place profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

Therefore they “desired to be under the law”, and began to busy themselves about “keeping the sabbath”, and doing other works which Moses had enjoined upon Israel. Paul was very much distressed at this, and describes himself as “travailing in birth again until Christ be formed in them”. They had been delivered from “the yoke of bondage”, by putting on Christ; but by seeking to renew their connexion with Moses’ law, they were selling their birth-right for a mess of pottage.

“I say unto you”,

saith Paul,

“that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace”.

A partial observance of the law can do no one any good. If he kept the sabbath in the most approved manner, but neglected the sacrifices, or ate swine’s flesh, he was as accursed as a thief or a robber; for to one under the law it saith,

“Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which axe written in the book of the law to do them”;

hence even the sinless Jesus was cursed by it, because he was crucified; for it is written,

“Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”

Gal 3:4 The Scriptures 1998+  (4)  Have you suffered so much in vain – if indeed in vain?
Gal 5:4 The Scriptures 1998+  (4)  You who are declared right by Torah have severed yourselves from Messiah, you have fallen from favour.

What hope then is there for Jew or Gentile of escaping the curse of the law, seeing that from the very nature of things connected with the present state of Jerusalem it is impossible to observe it, save in the few particulars of “meat and drink, or in respect of the sabbath” partially, etc. The observance of the seventh day was regulated by the Mosaic law, and the penalties due to its “desecration”, or “profanation”, are pronounced by it alone; but it is dear that the law being taken out of the way, or abolished, by Jesus, who nailed it to his cross, there remain no more retributions for the non-observance of its appointments; and therefore there is no transgression in working or pleasure-taking, or in speaking one’s own words on the seventh day.

On the first day of the creation-week God said,

“Let there be light, and there was light”;

so on the first day of the week “The True Light” came forth from the darkness of the tomb “like dew from the womb of the morning”. It is a day to be much remembered by his people, because it assures them of their justification “in him”, of their own resurrection to life, and of the certainty of his ruling or “judging the world in righteousness” as Jehovah’s king, when they shall also reign with him as kings and priests to God.

Rom 4:22-25 The Scriptures 1998+  (22)  Therefore also “it was reckoned to him for righteousness.”  (23)  And not because of him alone was it written that it was reckoned to him,  (24)  but also because of us, to whom it shall be reckoned, to us who believe in Him who raised up יהושע  {Jeshua} our Master from the dead,  (25)  who was delivered up because of our trespasses, and was raised for us to be declared right.

Rom 8:11 The Scriptures 1998+  (11)  And if the Spirit of Him who raised יהושע  {Jeshua} from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Messiah from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit dwelling in you.

1Co 15:14 The Scriptures 1998+  (14)  And if Messiah has not been raised, then our proclaiming is empty, and your belief also empty,

1Co 15:20 The Scriptures 1998+  (20)  But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep.

Act 17:31 The Scriptures 1998+  (31)  because He has set a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed,1 having given proof of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Footnote: 1See 10:42.

Rev 5:9-10 The Scriptures 1998+  (9)  And they sang a renewed song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals, because You were slain, and have redeemed us to Elohim by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,  (10)  and made us sovereigns and priests to our Elohim, and we shall reign upon the earth.”1 Footnote: 1Dan. 7:18-27.

This day is also notable on account of the special interviews which occurred between Jesus and his disciples after his resurrection.

Joh 20:19 The Scriptures 1998+  (19)  When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week,and when the doors were shut where the taught ones met, for fear of the Yehuḏim, יהושע {Jehsua} came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace to you.”

Joh 20:26 The Scriptures 1998+  (26)  And after eight days His taught ones were again inside, and T’oma with them. יהושע {Jehsua} came, the doors having been shut, and He stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

He ascended to heaven on this day, even the forty-third from his crucifixion; and seven days after, that is the fiftieth, being “the day of Pentecost”, the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles, and the gospel of the kingdom preached for the first time in his name.
Power being in the hands of their enemies, the Christians of the Hebrew nation still continued to observe the seventh day according to the custom. Hence we find the apostles frequenting the synagogues on the sabbath days and reasoning with the people out of the scriptures.

Act 17:2 The Scriptures 1998+  (2)  And according to his practice, Sha’ul went in unto them, and for three Sabbaths was reasoning with them from the Scriptures,

Act 17:17 The Scriptures 1998+  (17)  Therefore, indeed, he was reasoning in the congregation with the Yehuḏim and with the gentile worshippers, and in the market-place daily with those who met there.

Act 18:4 The Scriptures 1998+  (4)  And he was reasoning in the congregation every Sabbath, and won over both Yehuḏim and Greeks.

Act 19:8 The Scriptures 1998+  (8)  And having gone into the congregation he spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the reign of Elohim.

 To have done otherwise would have been to create an unnecessary prejudice, and to let slip one of the best opportunities of introducing the gospel to the attention of the Jewish public. They did not forsake the synagogues until they were expelled. While they frequented these, however, on the seventh day, they assembled themselves together with the disciples whose assemblies constituted the churches of the saints and of God. They ordained elders over these societies, and “taught them to observe all things whatsoever Jesus had commanded them”.

Mat 28:20 The Scriptures 1998+  (20)  teaching them to guard all that I have commanded you. And see, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Amĕn.

Act 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.

Act 14:21-23 The Scriptures 1998+  (21)  And having brought the Good News to that city, and having made many taught ones, they returned to Lustra, and Ikonion, and Antioch,  (22)  strengthening the beings of the taught ones, encouraging them to continue in the belief, and that through many pressures we have to enter the reign of Elohim.  (23)  And having appointed elders in every assembly, having prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Master in whom they had believed.

In his letter to the Hebrew Christians, Paul exhorts them “not to forsake the assembling of themselves together”

Heb 10:19-25 The Scriptures 1998+  (19)  So, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Set-apart Place by the blood of יהושע {Jeshua},  (20)  by a new and living way which He instituted for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,  (21)  and having a High Priest over the House of Elohim,  (22)  let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water.  (23)  Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy.  (24)  And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works,1 Footnote: 1Mt. 16:27.  (25)  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the Day coming near.

Such an exhortation as this implies a stated time and place of assembly. On what day, then, did the churches of the saints meet to exhort one another so as to provoke to love and to good works ? Certainly not on the seventh day, for then the apostles were in the synagogues. What day then more appropriate than the first day of the week ? Now it cannot be affirmed that the saints were commanded to meet on this day, because there is no testimony to that effect in the New Testament. But it is beyond dispute that they did assemble themselves together on the first day of the week, and the most reasonable inference is that they did so in obedience to the instruction of the apostles, from whose teaching they derived all their faith and practice, which constituted them the disciples of Jesus.

To keep the first day of the week to the Lord is possible only for the saints. There is no law, except the emperor Constantine’s, that commands sinners to keep holy the first, or eighth, day, or Sunday, as the Gentiles term it. For a sinner to keep this day unto the Lord he must become one of the Lord’s people. He must believe the gospel of the kingdom and name of Christ, and become obedient to it, before any religious service he can offer will be accepted. He must come under law to Christ by putting on Christ before he can keep the Lord’s day. Having become a Christian, if he would keep the day to the Lord, he must assemble with a congregation of New Testament saints, and assist in edifying and provoking them to love and good works, in showing forth the death of Jesus, in giving thanks to the Father, in celebrating the resurrection of Christ, and in praising and blessing God. Under the gospel, or “law of liberty”, he is subjected to no “yoke of bondage” concerning a sabbath day. It is his delight when an opportunity presents, to celebrate in this way the day of the resurrection. He requires no penal statutes to compel him to a formal and disagreeable self-denial, or “duty”; for it is his meat and drink to do the will of his Father who is in heaven.

Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 17–20). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Preceding article:

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

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Additional reading:

  1. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  2. First Century of Christianity
  3. Hellenistic influences
  4. The early days of Christianity – Position and power
  5. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  6. Sabbath according to the scriptures
  7. Al-Fatiha [The Opening] Süra 1: 4-7 Merciful Lord of the Creation to show us the right path
  8. Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled
  9. Raising digression
  10. Object of first woe
  11. Seven Bible Feasts of JHWH
  12. Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus
  13. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1
  14. Speaking in tongues
  15. Tongues a sign of authenticity or divine backing
  16. Meaning of “speaking in tongues”
  17. Remember the day
  18. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  19. Reasons to come together
  20. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  21. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood
  22. Do we need to keep the Sabbath
  23. Communion and day of worship

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Further reading of interest:

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