Combating Legalism III
Question #1: Hi Doc! I am in correspondence with some regarding the Sabbath who says we have to keep it or else. He wrote:
Please help me make some sense of this. Thanks again in advance!
Response #1: This is pretty typical of the sort of thing I receive all the time from legalists who are all het up about one requirement of the Law or another even though these have now been replaced by grace but which they call down to damn everyone who does not think like they do. One of the worst of these making the rounds these days is this one, seventh-day ritual Sabbath observance (others include water-baptism and also celebrating Jewish festivals). I'm waiting for circumcision to make a comeback in this regard too. Of course, if these people are following the Law to be saved, and they are certainly suggesting that this is the course we must adopt, then they are not saved at all, because no one can be saved by the Law.
(11) Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is
evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." (12)
However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO
PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM."
This is Jesus' whole point in Matthew 19:16-26:
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good
thing must I do to get eternal life?" "Why do you ask me about
what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If
you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?"
the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit
adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your
father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" "All
these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your
possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in
heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he
went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to
his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man
to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier
for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich
man to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this,
they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but
with God all things are possible."
The point is that it is impossible to get to heaven by "following the Law" ("these things I have kept") and/or by "doing good" ("sell all your possessions"); when the young man erroneously and arrogantly assumed that he had met the criterion of perfect obedience to the Law (but of course he did not "love his neighbor as himself" perfectly since no one can), then Jesus added the command to "sell all . . . and give to the poor" – not because good works does it either, but because the young man's inability to embrace this proved his essential sinfulness and need of grace salvation (along with everyone else); then Jesus said "follow Me!" which is the only way to be saved: following Jesus. So while it is impossible for a human being to follow the Law by refraining from evil it is perhaps even more difficult to do all that it positively requires. At least we more obviously fail here since in the case of "keeping the ten commandments" et al. we can merely redefine sin until it accords with what we are comfortable doing just as this young man did, but we are more clear that there is always more to do for others that we are never going to be happy about doing. But while it more difficult to be saved through the Law than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, nevertheless nothing is impossible for God – because Jesus has made salvation and the righteousness that springs from faith possible by His death in dying for all of our sins. The Law is our "pedagogue" as Paul puts it, leading us to Christ by showing us that we are sinful and in need of a Savior (Gal.3:24).
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On
the contrary, I did not come to know sin except through the Law.
For I did not know [what] lust [was] except that the Law was
telling [me], "You shall not lust". Then sin grabbed the
opportunity [offered] by the commandment and produced in me
every [sort of] lust. So without the Law, sin is dead (i.e., to
"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live
But what does scripture say about those who like your correspondent would place upon our necks the yoke of the Law which has now been fulfilled in Jesus Christ?
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are
justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
We are under the New Covenant, not the Old (2Cor.3:6; Heb.8:13; 12:24).
We are under grace, not the Law (Rom.6:14-15).
We live in freedom, not to sin, but to follow Jesus, rather than in slavery to the Law (Jas.1:25; 2:12; Rom.8:2; Gal.6:2; 1Pet.2:16).
We are free with Sarah, not in bondage like Hagar (Gal.4:21-31).
We have a New High Priest (Heb.7:14) and a new priesthood (1Pet.2:5; 2:9; Rev.1:6) and a new altar (Heb.13:10; cf. Rom.12:1).
And this change of Priesthood means there has been a change of Law ((Heb.7:12)!
But the Old Covenant and Priesthood have been replaced in the case of the Church (Heb.7:22; 8:6):
(12) "For I shall have mercy upon their unrighteous deeds and
shall remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34)." In
mentioning a "New [Covenant]", He has rendered the Old one
obsolete. And that which is obsolete and antiquated is close to
Attempting to revitalize the Law and the Old Covenant is to "crucify Christ afresh", and there can be no restoration for such people as long as they are doing this.
(4) For, in the case of those who been enlightened (i.e.,
have become believers, "light in the Lord": Eph.5:8), and who
have experienced the heavenly gift and become partakers of the
Holy Spirit (i.e., have been baptized with the Spirit so that He
indwells them, and by the Spirit into union with Christ), (5)
and who have experienced that the Word of God is good, and [who
have experienced] miracles [foreshadowing] the age to come, (6)
it is impossible to restore them to [true] repentance after
having fallen [into sin] as long as they keep crucifying the Son
of God afresh and exposing Him to open shame (i.e., while they
continue in their sin, the particular sin in question here being
continued participation in the sacrificial rites of Law which
foreshadowed Christ's work on the cross and suggesting by that
participation that His work was ineffective).
We all know what a commandment is. Jesus told us not to carry a sword; then He told us to carry a sword. If we had done so before, we would be violating His command; if we fail to do so (or the equivalent) after, we violate His command. It is all about the timing of where we are in the plan of God and what God wants from us at this time. We are the Church; we are not under the Mosaic Law; we are not required to offer animal sacrifices; if we had lived in ancient Israel and had failed to offer the required sacrifices, we would have been sinners; but to do so now is to blasphemously proclaim that Christ's sacrifice wasn't good enough (Heb.6:4-6)! It is the same with the Sabbath. The Jerusalem council, a body composed of Jews who kept the Law, put nothing other of the Law on the backs of the new gentile believers but to refrain from idolatry and its practices (like false communion of meat strangled and offered to idols and the false love of pagan prostitution). They did not require Sabbath-day ritual observance. And not only is there no command in the New Testament to keep the Sabbath in the way that most definitely was required under the Old Covenant, rather we have been told by scripture that we have a NEW Sabbath, the day to day faith-rest of walking in the peace that Jesus promised to give us:
So there does remain a "Sabbath day's rest" for the people of
God. For he who has entered into [God's] rest has himself ceased
from his works just as God did from His own. Let us therefore be
eager to enter into that [continual and spiritual ] rest, lest
anyone fall [from grace] following the same pattern of
disobedience [as the Exodus generation did].
Jesus never told us to keep the Old Sabbath; instead He went out of His way to heal and do other things in the ministry He had been given which would otherwise have been violations (and they charged Him with just that, blasphemously). But our Lord told us that "the priests profane the Sabbath and are guiltless" (Matt.12:5) – because they are doing God's will. So we too have a New High Priest and are priests in His new priesthood; that priesthood requires us to do God's work at all times, even on Saturday (or Sunday), so that it is impossible for us to violate the fourth commandment in the ritual way of old. This explains why the fourth commandment is the only one of the ten that is not repeated in the New Testament, not by Jesus our Lord, not by the apostles.
This is grace; this is freedom; this is a huge responsibility to grow and serve which admittedly few Christians are living up to. But going back to a system of ritual and shadow which by its very nature denies the reality of Jesus Christ come in the flesh and successfully dying for the sins of the world is utter blasphemy and very dangerous to a true Christian's spiritual health. That is why so few true Christians can stay involved in such nonsense for very long.
In the One who became a curse for us and thus liberated us from the curse of the Law, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
I am new to your website and have only read some of the questions and your comments in regards to the Sabbath vs. Sunday issue. Over 30 years ago when I was first confronted with this issue, I struggled for a long time trying to sort out all the pros and con, without being able to come to a clear and definitive conclusion. I sense the same frustration with many people today who are searching for truth, but eventually give up, accepting the explanations and decisions of those who are in teaching and leadership positions. The solution to my dilemma came when God answered my question: What is truth? With the clear answer from Jesus: "Thy Word is truth." I began to realize that since Jesus is the Word (of God), Jesus is the truth, and since Jesus was sinless, all I had to do was follow His example. Since Jesus was a Sabbath keeper, I did away with all the pro and con explanations of men, and simply followed Jesus. Since then I have learned that the Sabbath command is also a prophecy [therefore cannot have been done away with] that causes me to look forward to the millennial Sabbath. I also have come to understand that the Sabbath command is the test commandment that determines if we love Jesus, for Jesus said: "IF you love me, keep my commandments." So, my question is: Do you love Jesus?
I would hope that my love for my Savior would be obvious from everything that appears at Ichthys. Jesus is Christ is my life. I would venture to say, moreover, that there have been many believers over the course of the last two millennia who have genuinely loved the Lord but whose practice on this matter you might not find acceptable. That is hard for me to say, of course, because in this brief e-mail you do not explain precisely what you mean by "keeping the Sabbath".
So there does remain a "Sabbath day's rest" for the people of
God. For he who has entered into [God's] rest has himself ceased
from his works just as God did from His own. Let us therefore be
eager to enter into that [continual and spiritual ] rest, lest
anyone fall [from grace] following the same pattern of
disobedience [as the Exodus generation did].
In my reading of scripture, we are called upon now, after the cross, not to mark out any one particular day as special or sanctified through ritual observance, but to consider every day, every moment, the "rest" into which all who rely on God instead of their own works should enter and abide at all times, a spiritual reality that transcends any shadow ritual. The truth according to Hebrews 4:9-11 is that no ritual observance on a single day, a shadow looking forward to present and future spiritual realities, can fulfill the command of present day spiritual substance to which we are now called (i.e., a continual spiritual rest in Jesus Christ). Keeping the spiritual Sabbath is something I do indeed strive to do, moment by moment, day by day.
Your example of the Millennium is well taken in this regard. For, indeed, the thousand year reign of the Messiah is the eschatological Sabbath (as I have often written; please see the link: "The Seventh Day"). However, that entire time period will be a Sabbath, which certainly begs the question of what "keeping the Sabbath" in this regard will mean then. For beyond any question, although that time will be a period of the greatest blessing the earth has yet seen, nevertheless work will not disappear. Therefore the "keeping" of the Millennium as a Sabbath must likewise be meant in the deeper spiritual sense (which the ritual of the Law anticipates).
I will not repeat all of the information available at Ichthys on this subject (you have read one or more of the postings; you have a new link above and I will give you a list below). But there are a few other matters that should be addressed now, prime among which is the question of just what is meant by "keeping the Sabbath". Rabbinic Judaism has any manner of "interesting" interpretations of this issue, of course. In Israel today the elevators in high rise apartment buildings are set to stop on every floor automatically, because pushing a button is considered "work". I am sure you are acquainted with the "Sabbath day's journey" found in scripture at Acts 1:12. Rabbinic interpretation has various lengths but this particular journey would be something under a mile. However, in Exodus we find:
"See, for the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he
giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye
every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the
According to the Rabbinic view, driving to church would be "breaking the Sabbath", and walking a mile or more would be as well (not to mention the return trip!). But the passage above states unequivocally that "Sabbath keepers" are to stay home entirely. Yet in Jesus' day, this was not the practice, of course. Observant Jews gathered for worship in the synagogue and Jesus did as well (e.g., Mk.1:21; 6:2; Lk.4:16-20). Was Jesus breaking the Sabbath in so doing? Or was He accommodating to the practices of the times for a greater spiritual purpose? He was and is "Lord of the Sabbath", and therefore entitled to do whatever needed to be done, even on the Sabbath day, in the greater interest of fulfilling every aspect of God's plan for Him perfectly (Matt.12:8; Lk.6:5). After all, Jesus was accused many times of "breaking the Sabbath" because He did God's work therein, healing the sick and casting out demons (e.g., Mk.3:2; cf. Lk.6:2). To those who looked at Him with jaundiced eye as a "Sabbath breaker", He pointed out their hypocrisy:
And He said to them, "What man is there among you who has a
sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not
take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is
a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the
On one occasion, it was His disciples who were "caught" breaking the Sabbath, picking heads of grain and eating them as they passed through a field.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your
disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath." He
answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his
companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and
his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful
for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven't you read in
the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate
the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that one greater
than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean,
'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned
the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
I agree that Jesus is the One who gives us our example, and I find in the scriptures that "doing good" and "serving God" are said and demonstrated by Him to fulfill rather than to break the command to "keep the Sabbath" (cf. Jn.7:23). If the Lord of the Sabbath served a higher spiritual reality, should His servants do less? Nor can this area of exception be limited to "church" activities, because what the disciples did in providing for their material needs and what Jesus points out any person would do in caring for their animals are not special acts, but normal acts necessary to support spiritual activity. Of all the commandments, only the fourth is thus deliberately split into spiritual and ritual components. And if that is true in Israel under the Law, how much more should we not be wary today of ignoring Hebrews chapter four and restricting our understanding of the fourth commandment to the shadows now fulfilled?
In any case, ritual Sabbath observance is now problematic in any case. Even within Judaism today there are differences in how this command is "kept", and reconstructing the precise rituals of Jesus' day is not an easy matter (and, as the "journey" makes clear, even then there were discrepancies between the Torah and the tradition). I would imagine you do not light the menorah on Friday night nor walk a short distance to synagogue on Saturday morning (and for all I know you may consider Sunday the "new Sabbath"). Simply doing something different from what most Christians do on Sunday (or Saturday) is not the same thing as "keeping the Sabbath" in the ritual fashion of Jesus' day, let alone according to what the Torah actually envisions. But all these shadows have been fulfilled in the death and resurrection of the Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – whom we all should love with our hearts and souls and minds and might. Loving Him means indeed being loyal to the truth, for He and the Father want true worshipers, those who worship "in Spirit and in truth", not in ritual and in shadow (Jn.4:23-24).
For example, the Law commands circumcision (Gen.17:10ff.). But the council at Jerusalem ruled on this issue that gentiles were not required to fulfill this most fundamental precept of the Law (Acts 15). Paul goes on at great length on this subject in Galatians, inveighing against those legalists who were bullying the Galatians into being circumcised, stating, among other things, that if they did succumb to the pressure they would be obligated "to keep the whole Law" (Gal.5:3), that is, to go back to the entire regime of shadow worship that looked forward to the wonderful spiritual realities they were on the point of forsaking.
Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you
now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Instead of a circumcision done by human hands, we now have a new spiritual reality, the circumcision of the heart (Deut.30:6; Col.2:11; Rom.2:28-29). Instead of a ritual day observance, we now have a moment by moment Sabbath rest, a wonderful spiritual reality which we are called upon to enter and in which we are called to abide at all times in the power of the Holy Spirit (Heb.4:1-13). If we are physically circumcised, we are obligated to follow the Law in all of its details. If we adopt the Sabbath observance of the Law, how are we not also then likewise obligated to be consistent in every respect when it comes to keeping the whole Law? And this is manifestly impossible, for there are at present no temple, no priests, no festivals, no land of promise, etc. But if you would go back to the observance of the Law in terms of the Sabbath keeping of Jesus' day, what gives you the authority to choose this one precept out of all the so many others that the Torah comprises? On what basis do you "pick and choose"? If you tell me, "the 10 commandments", I must reply that on the one hand these are certainly not represented in the Law as fundamentally separate from the rest of the Torah so as to give any leeway to ignoring any of the other commands. On the other hand, if you take the position that only the 10 are to be matters of faith and practice for the Church (though on what biblical basis it would be hard to see), then it should be pointed out that the fourth commandment is the only one which is in fact not repeated in the New Testament as mandatory for Christians to keep in the traditional sense. The commandment is, however, reapplied in the spiritual sense discussed above, and not only by Paul in Hebrews, but by our Lord Himself.
"Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we
have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to
those who belong to the family of believers.
Here is a list of the references at Ichthys which touch on this subject:
If we really do love our Lord Jesus, is one day really enough on which to do so?
In the love of Him who loved us unto death, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you very much for your extensive reply and all the articles on your website justifying not keeping the seventh day Sabbath holy. Please be assured that I would never question your, or any ones love for Jesus. I am no judge of any person, for only Jesus knows your heart. However, I am a judge of the Word of God, and the fourth commandment (less than 100 words), tells me what to do and what not to do, and causes me to set aside all arguments to the contrary, and on faith follow Jesus, as my example. You ask what I mean by "keeping the Sabbath?" How to Keep the Sabbath is a huge subject and in over 30 years I have, most likely, never kept a perfect Sabbath. But, that is what the sacrifice of Christ, on my behalf, is all about. The issue is not how I am able to keep the Sabbath, the issue is if I accept the Sabbath command and thereby show and express my love for Jesus Christ. It's ironic, Roman Catholicism changed the law of God from the seventh day to the first day and you (wisely) reject that. But then you desire to do more than what God is asking for, which is to remember the Sabbath, and to keep it holy by working six days and then rest one day, the seventh day. You ask: "If we really do love our Lord Jesus, is one day really enough on which to do so?" Human reasoning may ask such a question, but God only repeats Himself and says: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."
In Christian love and concern,
Thank you for your reply and for your spirit. The first thing I would like to say, however, is that if you feel I am justifying "not keeping the seventh day Sabbath holy", then you are misreading my argument and my understanding of what scripture teaches. I am not teaching the diminishing of sanctification by one day but the expansion of sanctification by six days. I see nothing inherently wrong with memorializing one out of six except to the degree that such an approach reduces a person's focus on the other six of the rest Christ gave to us as perpetual gift (Jn.14:27).
I still find the question about just "how" to keep the Sabbath relevant and the fact that there is no straight-forward answer ready to hand very significant. For example, I dare that just because we "accept the command" of the seventh commandment yet fail to carry it out perfectly we will not for that reason be considered guiltless – as I say, the ten commandments are all about refraining from activities that compromise sanctification and in this respect one either is or is not holy. There is no middle ground.
If it is indeed so burdensome to accomplish Sabbath observance today that it cannot be defined, the pre-Pentecost mode would seem to be precluded by 1st John 2:3. If, on the other hand, keeping the Sabbath means whatever one wants it to mean, then we are all Sabbath keepers by definition – you in your way, me in mine. As important as the ten commandments are, I do not find them to be more so than the New Testament. And of course there is no need to prioritize, because the Bible is a perfect harmonious whole without contradiction of any sort – as can be clearly seen when correctly interpreted. So I also see the positive directives of Hebrews chapter four telling us to enter His Sabbath rest at all times to be commandments; and I also see the negative directives of Galatians and elsewhere telling us to avoid falling back into the shadow worship of the Law as commandments. Expanding our application of the fourth commandment to a continual rest satisfies all of these commands (as well as the fourth commandment); reverting to the Law does not. And I have a very good idea of how to fulfill the new mandate of the fourth commandment; but I am very unclear, in light of all of the above (and the information previously discussed), as to how I would carry out the prior application of the fourth commandment today in a manner with which God would be pleased in fact in light of New Testament revelation. I could do as I please, I suppose, and consider that "Sabbath keeping" (just as I could give myself leeway on all of the other commandments), but that would be trading the power of the Spirit for a mess of pottage. I am prefer to stick with what the apostle Paul said in regard to all such matters:
We did not give in to them (i.e., the legalists) for a
moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
In the Name of the One we love, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
For years I have been listening to R.C. Sproul on radio (you may know of him?) for he is one of the best bible teachers I know of. R.C. can take a subject like the Passover or the Sabbath and extract more historical truth and extrapolate its meaning to the x degree so that I can always learn something from him. The problem is that he is a Roman Catholic, Trinitarian, Easter and Sunday keeper under the Presbyterian Church label who speaks about, but does not keep the Passover or the Sabbath. Based on what little I have read so far on your website, I am beginning to feel the same about you. Much can be learned from your writings, but you are a Roman Catholic, Trinitarian (under whatever label?) who does not keep the biblical Sabbath and Passover holy. (at least not to my understanding). You write: "I am not teaching the diminishing of sanctification by one day but the expansion of sanctification by six days." That is an incredible statement! Elsewhere you wrote on The Seven Days of Human History: "When God restored the heavens and the earth to habitable form, He did so in six literal days, leaving the seventh as a day of rest to memorialize the principle of peace and rest available to all who trust in Him." Yes, it was the LORD who blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy, He did not bless and make holy the other six days. Do you really believe that YOU can expand God's seventh day Sabbath sanctification and apply His blessing to the other six days and make them holy? You write: "I still find the question about just "how" to keep the Sabbath relevant and the fact that there is no straight-forward answer ready to hand very significant." But, in fact, there is a "straight-forward answer" the fourth commandment!
REMEMBER the Sabbath day (it does not say remember all seven days)
KEEP it holy (it the seventh day, not all of them)
SIX DAYS you shall labor and do all your work (not rest for seven days)
The SEVENTH DAY is a Sabbath to the Lord your God (not the first day and not all days)
Why? For in SIX DAYS the LORD made the heavens and the earth (God worked for six days and expects us to do the same)
Therefore, the Lord blessed the SABBATH DAY and hallowed it (God did not hollow the other six days and neither can anybody else)
The fourth commandment says nothing about pushing buttons in elevators, etc., etc. On the other hand, there is a day of preparation for the Sabbath and a spiritual dimension to keeping the Sabbath which is implemented differently by every individual. As I said, the question is not so much how, the question is to acknowledge, to remember and to keep, to the best of your knowhow and ability, the SEVENTH DAY HOLY, in contrast to the other six. Please forgive me for stating the obvious, for I know that you know all of this, but in our desire to please God, we must be careful and remember the lesson of Uzzah, who also meant well, but, well you know the story. Enough said. As the sun sets, my family and I will remember the Sabbath day, and keep God's DAY holy, in contrast to the work we did on our days. I wish you and your family a happy and blessed Sabbath day,
First of all, I can assure you that I am not a Roman Catholic. I am perplexed as to what caused you to labor under that misapprehension. Perhaps you have gotten me confused with someone else. I have heard of Sproul but never heard him. I understood that he was Reform Presbyterian.
There is a reason why Jesus deliberately and frequently "broke" the Sabbath (in the view of the legalistic Jewish community of His day, though not in fact), and had his disciples do so as well, and there is a reason why the fourth commandment is never repeated in the New Testament, and there is a reason why the fourth commandment is clearly, deliberately and purposefully reinterpreted in scripture for the Church. That key reason is that no other commandment was otherwise so inextricably tied to the Mosaic Law. For the sake of freeing all generations of the Church from the deadly yoke of legalism, that link obviously had to be broken. The temple was destroyed shortly after the apostolic era, but legalism has of course never ended. And in spite of the fact that the Jerusalem counsel very clearly told the gentiles that apart from idolatry and related behavior they were free from having to keep the Law, there are always people out there who are trying to put that yoke on the shoulders of the rest of us who understand what grace means. I would never dream of putting words in God's mouth. My guidance comes from scripture, and Hebrews is very clear on this point.
Can you point to one instance of the fourth commandment repeated in the New Testament?
Can you point to a single instance of Sabbath observance by any human being before Moses?
As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time for everything. The Age of Israel (and the fulfillment in the Millennium) was/will be the time for Sabbath observance. But now is not the time to indulge in the shadows of the Law. Literal Sabbath observance is precisely that. It is not only not required but it is at present unauthorized – and carries a potential spiritual danger with it as well, I might add, to the degree that anyone feels the least bit pleased with themselves for indulging in it.
By the way, I'm still waiting for an explanation of just exactly what you think "keeping the Sabbath holy" means. I can read the verses well enough for myself. Repeating them is not an answer. I do understand why I'm not getting one: among all of the other problems, there is no easy way at present to carry out the biblical mandate in the way the Law describes it or the tradition ancient or modern interpreted it. As I say, if we are all our "sanctifiers unto ourselves", free to determine for ourselves what is and is not "keeping the Sabbath holy", then on what basis do we even deign to criticize whatever others choose to do on the seventh day (or Sunday, if that is your poison)? If we are really living our lives for Jesus Christ, if the "work" we do on the Sabbath is good or necessary for the support of our spiritual growth, progress, and production (i.e., the "doing of good"), then how is this not holiness, on that and on every other day?
Finally, what are these hostile "Trinitarian" references? The next thing you'll tell me is that you do not believe in the divinity of Christ!
In the One who was before the world was made and who made it by the Word of His power in an instant of time, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sorry for having made the assumption that you knew from my website what my basic beliefs are.
I am not hostile towards the trinity since I do not believe that there is such a thing as a trinity. I am, however, hostile towards Satan and the Roman Catholic Church who cooked up the trinity doctrine. Surly, you know the history of the trinity doctrine which is the product of 3rd and 4th century Roman Catholic Church councils. Do I belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ? Of course I do! But not because He is the second person in a trinity. Jesus is divine because He was the begotten and born Son of God. No trinity is needed to have that belief.
Dear Bob, I am sorry to say, but if you are a Trinitarian you are a Roman Catholic (that includes all daughter churches). Most likely you also keep Easter in place of the Passover, and this, most likely, also explains your position on the Sabbath. Anything "Jewish" is rejected and replaced by a counterfeit "Christianity" even though the Son of God, our Savior and example was a Jew who never spoke of a trinity, kept the Passover and remembered and kept holy the seventh day Sabbath. (www.logoslogic.info/AreYouACatholic.html) Unfortunately, there is a gulf between your and my understanding of who and what God and Jesus Christ is, that we cannot bridge without God's direct intervention. The problem is that we are not contenting between "right and wrong," "good and evil." The problem is the tree of the knowledge of good AND evil that causes us to content between "right" and "right AND wrong," "good" and "good AND evil." Every Roman Catholic teaching is syncretism, Satan's primary tool through which he has deceived the whole "Christian" world. We will have to leave it at that, although you might be interested in reading Sir Isaac Watts "Solemn Address to the Deity" available at: www.logoslogic.info/SirIssacWatts.html
I wish you the best and God's blessings,
No problem – guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I do have to protest about your identification of my beliefs as "Roman Catholic", however. The idea that the Roman Catholics "invented" the Trinity is not original with you, but it is a canard based on ignorance of the facts. I first heard this heresy many years ago from a very famous Greek professor who was lost as a goose. This lie started out as a liberal attempt to deny the divinity of Christ, but has since been picked up by Arian-oriented groups as well. It's only claim to historical reality is a slanted view of the councils of the church which took place long before there was any split between the east and the west. I put no stock in anything outside of the Bible, so what these people did or said means absolutely nothing to me. And that goes for their traditions and day observances as well – it would hardly be consistent of me to object to Sabbath day worship and not realize that Easter and Christmas are likewise mere human traditions that have no true place in the age of grace. I reject as a matter of principle all such traditions which are not biblically based and our not appropriate for the Age of the Church like, for example, water-baptism.
As to the fact of the deity of Christ, if we are talking about the Bible's testimony, there is absolutely no question about that. Please see the following links if interested:
In our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ the Divine.
Hi, I read your message on sabbath keeping and feasts etc...I am thinking about hebraic roots myself and it does make sense that sabbath was instituted from the beginning to the end to be remembered (as we will forget it in some future time) and to be kept holy...In Ezekiel 46 when the Lord's kingdom is set up, there will be sabbath worship etc, feasts and new moons. It is also mentioned in Isiah 66v23 also. Does it seem fitting that it's the 7th day in the beginning and the end that we should change it to the 8th day for 2000yrs and then change it back again...The Lord is a God of order and this does not seem very orderly...Only He can make things holy, not us...Otherwise if all days are a sabbath rest then we have chaos and disorder..Maybe you can clear this up for me as it has been causing me bother for a while now..God bless
The Old Testament is very emphatic about Sabbath observance, especially in certain passages in Isaiah, and I would also add Is.56:2-6 and 58:13. You are certainly correct about the fact that these observances will be repeated in the Millennium according to both Ezekiel and Isaiah. However, it also says in Isaiah "Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me, New moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies – I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, they have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them" (Is.1:13-14 NASB), showing quite perspicuously that God is concerned with what is in the heart rather than with ritual or symbolism, and that this was the case even during the time of the Mosaic Law. Of course we are now "no longer the Law, but under grace" (Rom.6:14-15; 10:4-5), so that it is not "we" who have decided that things are different during this two thousand year period of the Church, but God who ordained things in this way:
So don't let anyone judge you in regard to food or drink, or
in the category of festival observances, be it of new
moons or Sabbaths. All these things are shadows
of what is to come, but the reality has to do with
Christ. Let no one gain control over your life, desiring to
[enslave you to himself] through a show of false humility and
the adoration of angels, basing his approach on what he has
[allegedly] seen while puffed up by his own fleshly thoughts,
yet not embracing the Head [Christ]. For it is from this Source
that the entire body [the Church] is [truly] supplied and
instructed through [all] its joints and sinews, and [thus]
produces the growth that God has given. If you have died with
Christ to these false [pagan] principles [belonging to] this
world, why are you letting yourselves be [wrongly] indoctrinated
as if your life were of this world? In accordance with the
commandments and teaching of [mere] men [these false teachers
tell you] "Don't handle! Don't taste! Don't touch!", even though
[we know] that all these [are only] things [which] decay with
So while I try to avoid being judgmental in regard to my brothers and sisters in Christ who want to "regard the day" and keep one day out of seven holy (cf. Rom.14:5), I cannot accept the position which maintains that Sabbath observance is still necessary (regardless of the issue of whether the "true" Sabbath now is still a Saturday or has been "changed" to Sunday); indeed, insistence upon Sabbath observance is in my considered view spiritually dangerous in the extreme. Taking a cue from the apostle Paul who wanted the Judaizers of his day to "go the whole way" and not stop at half measures (Gal.5:12), I would have those who want to keep and celebrate the Sabbath keep and maintain the whole Law, starting with the sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem. But of course there is at present no temple standing, and for me there could be no clearer sign that the Law and all of its accouterment are not now presently in force. For while the believers of Paul's day certainly had the opportunity of doing just what I suggest (and many did so to their shame and spiritual undoing as the book of Hebrews attests), today at any rate we have no such temptation, no such excuse. Fully keeping the Law in its entirety is not only spiritually impossible (as it always has been) but also ceremonially impossible. How can we possibly keep a New Moon festival without the temple and the priesthood?
Your point about the importance of the Sabbath as a memorial and as a principle of divine construction is certainly well-taken and one with which I heartily agree as I hope is also clear from the writings posted at Ichthys. For, indeed, the seven thousand year plan of God is constructed around this principle, corresponding perfectly with the seven days of the world's re-construction. But there is indeed very much that is different about the present age of the Church. Just as soldiers in the midst of a war have to behave differently than they did and will in future in civilian life – for as long as the conflict continues, so also we now are in the middle of a spiritual war that has intensified to an astonishing degree, and will continue in this way until Jesus returns. We cannot afford to rest in the Lord only at intervals – we need to be resting in Him at all times. We do not have the luxury of being gathered together in one place with all our brothers and sisters to worship the Lord in the place He has chosen to dwell – we are scattered as outcasts throughout the world, alienated from and sometimes persecuted by the peoples in whose midst we dwell. We are not at liberty to live our lives as we might choose, merely remembering Him and what He has done for us on a single day of the week – we are in the midst of the fight of our lives and have to hold tight to Jesus' hand at all times, letting Him decide the hows and the whys and the wherefores as we follow Him faithfully up the high road to Zion. In short, there was a time for a literal Sabbath rest; and there will be again. But at the moment it is not a question of an eighth day, but of fighting the good fight of faith every day and continuing to do so until that great day of days when there is no longer any time at all any more, when we bask in the presence and the glory and the rest of our dear Lord Jesus throughout the unending day of eternity.
I very much appreciate your sensitivity to scripture and would wish you to continue to nurture it. I would only wish to point out that much in the Christian life depends upon interpreting the precise "code of conduct" that applies to the time in which we live. Just as Jesus told the disciples who had been provided for in their ministries to Israel to the degree that they were forbidden to take anything with them that in the future they should "buy swords" (Lk.22:36), so we now find ourselves in the middle of that prophesied time of spiritual conflict. For the kingdom was prophesied and offered by all the prophets right up until John the baptist (Matt.11:13; Lk.16:16), but Jesus' coming and Jesus' sacrifice changed everything. With the coming of the Savior and the fulfillment of the Law by His wiping out the charges against us with His blood (Rom.13:8-10), the devil and all his minions have been put into an impossible position and ushering in the final phase of the plan of God in the calling out of the Church:
(13) And though you were [spiritually] dead in your
transgressions and in the un-circumcised state of your flesh,
[God the Father] made you alive together with [Christ], having
forgiven you all your transgressions. (14) [God] has erased the
charge against us along with its particulars (i.e., our sinful
nature and personal sins) which opposed our [relationship with
Him], and He removed it [as an obstacle] between us by nailing
it to the cross. (15) [For by means of the cross, God] has
stripped [demon] rulers and authorities [of their power] and
subjected them to public humiliation, having triumphed over them
But that means that Satan and company have redoubled their efforts, and that we are now the target of their attentions. Thus, being fully aware of who we are (the Body of Christ) and where we are (the devil's world) and what time it is (the Church age) and what all this means is of critical importance. Just as during the Tribulation it will be very important for Christians to "discern the times" and the standard of behavior appropriate to them (i.e., refraining from active opposition to antichrist and accepting martyrdom instead), so in our present age it is imperative that we not become hobbled by the restraints of "civilian life" (2Tim.2:4). We are in the fight of fights, and we have to conduct ourselves accordingly, not being sucked back into the way of doing things that was previously appropriate, nor anticipating the Kingdom before it arrives, but serving the Lord of Hosts on this battlefield in the way in which He would have us to do so, by putting His Word of truth above all other considerations, and ministering it with our all our might and strength.
Please see the link: "Strangers in the Devil's Realm"
In the One who called us to His kingdom and glory, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hi Bob and thank you for getting back to me again. The quote in Isaiah about the Lord hating ...it says YOUR new moons, festivals etc....Aren't these the LORD'S new moons etc..I can't be 100% sure but isn't it because they were a stiff necked people that got away from God's laws and statutes that made God get angry at them...It doesn't make sense that God would institute these specific times of worship(hallow them) and then hate them? Surely God doesn't change....My guess is that HE wants to be worshiped the way HE wants worshiped and HOW HE wants worshiped...We as humans tend to always do things our way, thinking we know best but the truth is....He made us and He knows best. I was thinking that we are married to the Lord now (covenant) and we have freedom within our marriage...but we also have boundaries and guidelines(as in an earthly marriage)called HIS laws and statutes and commandments which are for our benefit to help us live long in the land. The law has 2 main purposes found in Deut 11v26&27.....blessing and cursing..This applies in the natural and spiritual for all times so if we don't be aware of what is right or wrong then we are most definitely playing with the blessing and the curse. I think the problem these days is that we see the law as bad instead of good. It is here to protect us and has a parental purpose for us but for some reason it has been viewed back to front..The law never saved anyone in the old testament and will not save anyone in the new(renewed) testament, it is always about the heart. That's why Jesus said "if you love me you will keep my commandments" because love will make you do what the Lord wants you to do ,not the other way round...If we are to keep HIS commandments(at least 10 of them)then it most certainly includes ...Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy...The problem once again is that people say the commandments are nailed to the cross therefore we don't need to keep any of them..I know we live in the time of grace but that doesn't give us the right to do what we want and call it grace. Our hearts will testify against us on judgement day and we wont have anyone there to fight our case if we have gotten it wrong..My guess is that the restoration of all things is to bring the hearts of the children back to the fathers and the fathers back to the children (mal4)means the roots of our faith....to the Jew first, then the gentile..Our roots are most certainly Jewish as in Rom 11 and we are grafted into their tree....Take away Jesus who is a jew,the apostles who are jews, Israel which is jewish and the Holy book they were given and we got nothing...Wouldn't it be so clever if the devil was to try and remove all Jewishness from the word of God and put us so far apart..The Catholic church done it in the 3-4th century and people have been doing it ever since..Hitler almost done it and Islam and the secular world are both having a go at the Jews and Jesus now...Bob there has to be something significant in the statement God said. "I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you". In Col 1v16 if you put yourself in the time of the apostles who all kept the feasts etc, they already knew what was good to eat(kosher) and how to drink, they also knew about appointed times of worship etc. Col 1v8 will give you the clue about what is going on....Beware lest any MAN spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the TRADITIONS of MAN, after the RUDIMENTS of THE WORLD and NOT AFTER CHRIST. Are the feasts, the food, sabbath, new moons etc God's appointed or traditions of man. The question is ,if they are mans then they are vain and empty but if they are God's then we need to take them on board. Just before i go Bob, the feasts we celebrate are Christmas and Easter. They are both not found in the word of God and are of pagan origin. Maybe this is the sort of thing that God hates ,as we are mixing the traditions of man with the holy. The Lord's 3 feasts which He told us to keep forever are Passover(unleavened bread), First fruits and Tabernacles, the very feasts to be observed in the reign of Christ....Please check this stuff out and don't take my word for it.......Anyway brother in Christ, take care and may the Lord richly bless you.
O I entirely agree! There is nothing wrong with the system God instituted; it's just that mere ritual can never replace spiritual reality. That is the point I was attempting to make. It really doesn't matter when we worship but how we worship. Even if there were a mandatory Sabbath at present (which there isn't), people who got together on Saturday or Sunday but ignored the Lord the rest of the time or, like their Israelite exemplars, participated in a sort of religion "made up only of rules taught by men" (Is.29:13), would be worshiping in vain.
Secondly, I also agree with you that we are responsible for keeping the substance of the Law, but not its formalities. What I mean is, we do not have to restrict our travels to "a Sabbath journey" on Saturday; we do not have to wear frontlets; we do not have to refrain from shellfish; we do not have to call a priest to our home whenever we find mold; we do not have to abolish debts every fifty years (would that we did!). We are not Israelites; this is not Israel. But of course we have to accomplish the love that lies behind the Law. The ten commandments are a perfect model for this, when carefully considered (please see the link: "The Ten Commandments"). According to the Bible, the book of Hebrews in particular, the Sabbath for us in the Church is a moment by moment all-the-time rest, ceasing from our own work at all times and always remembering that God is in control. If we were to limit this wonderful principle of truth to a ritual observance of one day only, we would miss the original symbolism of what the Sabbath meant (just that), and would be failing to "worship God the way He wants to be worshiped". It's not up to us to write or re-write the ground rules. Jesus healed on the Sabbath and the restrictions of the symbolic Saturday Sabbath are never invoked by Him, in my view because He was showing us the new way, that is, the way of reality over symbolism (which is what all the writers of the New Testament proclaim).
So yes, the Law is wonderful and the commandments are essential, but they have to be correctly appreciated, understood and applied. I certainly agree with you about Easter and Christmas – I have never liked any of the phony trappings of cultural Christianity which mimic Israel but are not of Israel (the Roman church is the worst on this of course). I long for the day when we will celebrate the feast of Tabernacles – but of course that means going to Jerusalem to worship at God's temple with the Messiah presiding in person (something currently impossible).
Rightly dividing the Word of truth, and correctly discerning the times is critical for any correct spiritual application. I'm not sure where we disagree, if we do disagree, on substance. Clearly, no one can keep the formalities of the Law because we are not Israel and there is at present no temple and no priesthood. Is this all about Saturday worship?
Anyway, good to hear from you. Keep on fighting the good fight of faith.
Yes Bob and thank you for some fine points.....I am not trying to be right and all else are wrong, it just makes more sense to me that we once lived a pagan life without observing the civil laws not to mention God's laws. The thing is that now we understand that there are conditions with God and His covenant and we have to play our part in fulfilling those conditions. If the 10 commandments are the least of God's laws that we should follow (Jesus made the stakes higher by saying that if we as much as look at a woman with lust)then how come the 4th commandment has been set aside...or moved to the 8th day by man.. Jesus healed on the sabbath because it was made for man by God and He knows we need to rest but if we need to do good then it is fine. This is only basic common sense. We could not stand about watching while some one lay injured by the roadside because it is the sabbath. This would make a day of rest a day of bondage. The sabbath is not the only day we come before the Lord but a day when we congregate in His house as an assembly to glorify Him and unite as a body. Didn't Jesus come to nail the laws of the Pharisies etc to the cross along with the ordinances and handwritings that were contrary to us ...(sin).... Do you celebrate christmas and easter at your church at present?.....Was Jesus raised on Sunday (which is supposedly why we have church on sunday)or was it the saturday....I'm doing a study at present to find out because i believe so much hangs on the saturday and sunday issue...If it doesn't matter about the day then why does the whole church observe it and even the catholic church says it is an anathema if they don't go(they instituted it)...Something isn't right and besides all that i don't see power in the church and my guess is that if people separated themselves unto God and kept His commandments as He asked then perhaps we might see the power return...I have been saved nearly 3yrs Bob and i love the Lord so much but i see a lukewarm church who have no guidance because everyone keeps saying that the law is nailed to the cross.I am going to start observing the sabbath and the feasts and hang up the 10 commandments in my home for all to see because i'm proud of His laws and they are for my benefit and others...Don't you find it strange that Christians around the world are fighting to stop public buildings from taking down the 10 commandments when in fact they don't really matter in the first place!!!It's the same as christmas etc when Jesus gets replaced by santa and a X replaces Christ in christmas...I don't know about you but wouldn't it be a genious plan by the enemy to slip in these feasts in God's calander and watch christians fighting to stop people watering them down or removing Christian symbols. It is good to talk with you Bob and maybe this conversation has given you something to think about(please don't take this as an arrogant statement as it is most sincerely not ment in that way at all....
God bless and take care brother
I appreciate your attitude and your approach. On the issue of Saturday versus Sunday resurrection please see the following link:
On the ten commandments, your point about the tenth commandment is well-taken. Indeed, Jesus showed us by His interpretation of the command against covetousness that there is a spiritual reality behind these commandments that far exceeds the first appearance of the words themselves. As I point out in the link mentioned before (and see also "The Ten Commandments"), the first three commandments are focused upon sanctifying God in our thinking; the second area (Sabbath) is focused on having us sanctify ourselves in regard to the world; the third area (#5) encapsulates the principle of divinely established authority and the sanctified way in which we are to behave in that regard; and all the rest (#6-10) deal with various aspects of the sanctified and holy way in which we should treat others. Please note that by expanding the Sabbath to a moment by moment walk, we now are enjoined actually and deeply to "not love the world" at all times, and not merely to symbolize that perspective by ritual action one day a week. Also note that all of the commandments are negative in that they deal with sanctification, the "defense" of the Christian life. Now we need a good defense, but you can't win without an offense – that means we need spiritual growth, progress, and production. In fact, since the Christian life is never static, those who try to approach God by merely refraining from sinful behavior inevitably slip into legalism and self-justification (in those areas where they are unable to be completely pure). As Jesus shows by comments in regard to the Law and as Paul makes crystal clear in exegesis, the Law is an impossible standard (as at least the tenth commandment shows anyone this point very well), designed, among other things, as a "pedagogue" to take us to Christ. In my experience and observation, the best sanctification always follows spiritual growth just like the cart follows the ox. Trying to push the cart from behind without the ox of spiritual growth never actually works. True change comes from within by hearing, believing and applying the truth of the Word of God – and in no other way.
So in my professional view on this, the problem with churches and Christian groups and individual Christians not leading holy lives is not really because they don't respect the ten commandments or don't honor Saturday/Sunday etc. – it is because they do not love the Word of God and are not concerned with listening, learning, believing and applying the whole truth of the Bible to their lives. That is the very definition of "lukewarm" in Revelation chapter three, and it is, indeed, the hallmark characteristic of the Laodicean age in which we presently live (please see the link: in CT 2A: "Laodicea: the Era of Degeneration").
Keep the fire of the Spirit alive, and keep walking after the Lord wherever He leads.
In our dear Savior Jesus Christ,
Hello again Bob, just to add to your last email.....the church is lukewarm because they don't love the word of God as you were saying...The word (logos)says "if you love me keep my commandments".....He also said "a new commandment i give you is to love one another"(jn13v34)...the greek word for new is (strongs 2537) kainos.......new..esp in freshness...this does not imply something totally different but fresh...if i gave you a rotten apple and you wanted a fresh one, i wouldn't give you an orange....it would be a fresh apple................The new commandment is actually an old one which was given on mount Sinai in Ex20..The problem was that people had left love behind and focused on the law as a means to righteousness...Jesus came to show them that it is always about love and through love you will fulfill the commands of YWHW ...If obedience is better than sacrifice then we need to know what obedience means...According to todays church we don't need any laws, commands or keep His appointed times for feasts and worship...That means we can come and go as we please when and where we want and basically anything goes..Does this sound like a God of order who done everything so precisely and gave us such exact patterns for weeks, harvests, night, day, sabbaths etc and then say that He changes not....That sounds like a God who changes very often Greek thinking(that's us) is abstract and has no solidity to get hold of, maybe thats why they seek wisdom of man..If you do a survey in you church, pick one subject like..... why do we worship on sunday....see how many different answers you get...Or what is grace,or what is love..If these topics are not solid then we have no grounds to keep them but if they are central to our beliefs then why do we all have different answers..Every answer you get will be abstract...Thats not the way it is in hebrew, it's all solid and there we can get solid ground to stand on...My guess is we will all speak one language in the millenium and it won't be greek or english.... Jews are of the tribe of Judah and are Israelites but israelites are not all Jews so to speak...Our God is the God of Israel (all israel...that's us too) not just the God of the Jews.....
God bless Bob and thankyou again
Jesus told us that if we were really walking in love, loving God with all of our hearts, mind and might, and loving our neighbors as ourselves, we would indeed be fulfilling the Law and the commandments. For me this encapsulates the difference between "now" and "then". Instead of a limited list of don'ts, we have a very clear and perspicuous "do". Learning what love really is and how to carry our Jesus' "new command" cannot be subjective, and it is not an easy thing, either to understand or accomplish. It requires learning and applying correctly all of the truth of the Word of God.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to
you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first
and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your
neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on
these two commandments."
The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder,"
"Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment
there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your
neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor.
Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your
neighbor as yourself."
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love
your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
In hopes of carrying out that greatest of commandments to the glory of Jesus Christ,