Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


LORDíS DAY AS REPLACEMENT FOR THE JEWISH SABBATH?
 
We are checking Christian claims that the Jewish Saturday Sabbath is abolished by God.

This is an important question because Jews doing Sabbath on Saturday and Christians on Sunday drove a huge wedge between both communities.  Choosing a different Sabbath from the Jews was a clever weapon against the Jews.  The larger religion Christianity has continually stolen from the religion and culture of the Jews and taken advantage of its size to hound the smaller faith.
 
Christians argue that Sunday is the Lordís Day Ė it is called that in the Bible Ė so itís the new Sabbath. Where in Revelation 1:10 is it written that Sunday is the Lordís Day? And yet this text is supposed to be an authority for the Sunday Sabbath. Early tradition outside the Bible said that the Lordís Day was Sunday. The Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas, for example. But these books differed from Christís religion. The Didache denied the last supper and Barnabas gave outlandish and imagined interpretations of scriptural symbolism that was not even there. We cannot rely on them.
 
If the Lordís Day is really Sunday then that does not mean that Sunday was the Sabbath. The Lordís Day could be an optional day for remembering the resurrection of Jesus in public worship. There is no value in the objection that the Lordís Day could not be kept as a day of rest for that presupposes it was intended to be a day of rest. It may not have been. The working week started on Sunday in those days for Jews. Besides, the Christians could have killed two birds with the one stone. What is Saturday evening to us is Sunday to Jews. So a Christian could honour the Lordís day on Saturday evening. This would also be honouring the Sabbath for the Christians might have believed the Sabbath didnít end until midnight Saturday. Why would they use two different ways of reckoning time? The answer is that it could have been a type of liturgical calendar. For Catholics, Saturday ends at midnight and yet they worship on Saturday evening for according to Jewish tradition that is Sunday. The Jewish Sabbath begins on sundown Friday and finishes on sundown Saturday for that was how they measured their days. So the Christians could have kept the Lordís Day on Saturday night.
 
It would seem that the Lordís Day is not the Lordís Day unless it is not wholly devoted to prayer but there is no evidence that this was the understanding of the New Testament Church at all. Roman Catholics consider the fifteenth of August to be the day for remembering the assumption of Mary and that does not entail thinking only of the assumption all day.
 
And nowhere does the New Testament say that it was a Christianís duty to worship in public on the Lordís Day. It could just have been a day in which there was no resting or compulsory Church attendance but which was called the Lordís Day in commemoration of the resurrection.
 
Acts 15 shows us that the Gentiles went to Jewish Christian synagogues on the Jewish Sabbath without the apostles complaining. The apostles attempted to settle a dispute about the burden of the Law on non-Jews and insisted upon a few rules in which the Sabbath was unmentioned. Does this mean that the Sabbath is done away? The apostles were dealing with a difficult situation as best they could and mightnít have been able to enforce any more rules. Also a Sunday Sabbath would be as bad a burden as a Saturday one. Perhaps they took it for granted that the Sabbath would remain and that Sabbath was the Saturday one. The Saturday Sabbath was not abrogated and was obligatory to Gentiles too. It could be said that since the Sabbath was a day of rest and worship that it was not a burden. The apostles were dealing with burden laws and so this would mean the Sabbath wasnít being excluded when they decreed what rules Gentiles must keep.
 
In Acts 15, one of the four rules was to keep away from blood and another was to avoid sex outside marriage.
 
The sex outside marriage being mentioned is interesting. Catholics say we are bound to keep the moral side of the Law of Moses for that hasnít been abolished but we can ignore the ceremonial side, rites and Sabbaths etc, for it has been abolished. If this distinction was made by the apostles then why do they have the ban on fornication in?  The Church says banning fornication is about banning what is evil not what is just ceremonial. But the fact that the apostles included it shows that they made no difference between the moral and ceremonial law at all.
 
Did banning them having sex outside marriage mean they could kill and steal if they wanted? No.
 
Singling out fornication may mean that sexual sin is the worst sin for it is the only possibly objectively wrong thing that was condemned. But the singling out of things like eating blood etc when something more important could have been chosen shows that the apostles were doing what they could in a crisis situation.
 
We have a case in Acts 15, where the apostles for expediency and because they could do no better, had to pick four rules out of the Law to bind Gentiles to. What they did shows us that they believed the ceremonial law of not eating blood and the moral law of fornication being bad were equal in value and that the ceremonies were not done away. By implication, the Sabbath was in force for the Gentiles though it wasnít time to get them to keep it or because it was not a burden they were keeping it anyway.
 
Some Christians say it is an error to believe that the Sabbath has been moved from Saturday to Sunday for what is observed on Sunday is just for our own good and we donít have to do it though we are commanded to met together when we can (page 7, Sunday or Sabbath). But this eliminates one of the ten commandments! Jesus certainly said we have to keep the commandments. He never mentioned the Sabbath one true but there were others he never mentioned too and he certainly did not want them abolished.
 
The Sabbath could not picture Christ in any obvious way. Those who say it did and therefore that it is needed no more and abolished since Christ has come and we donít need pictures any more are talking nonsense (page 11, Sunday or Sabbath).
 
Some argue as follows. The Sabbath was obligatory on pain of death and a day of physical rest. It typified salvation by works. The Lordís Day commanded in the New Testament is so different that it is clear that the Sabbath must have been abolished (page 12, Sunday or Sabbath). This reasoning is deceptive because we know little about the Lordís Day. Nowhere is it said that we didnít have to rest as much as we can on that day.  


CHANGE OF LAW?
 
Christians ignore the Jewish Law claiming that Jesus did away with it.
 
Christians argue that Jesus did not rescind the laws about right and wrong in the Torah but the laws that dealt with liturgy such as the Seventh-Day Sabbath. They argue that the law of the Sabbath would be written in the hearts of those who were never taught by God if it were a moral law if religion is true for a day is needed to spend with God and devote to him. (In other words, they would figure out from reason and the influence of the Spirit that a day of rest and prayer was needed). But all recognise the need for a day of rest and freedom to think about oneself so this argument is wrong. The need for a Sabbath day is moral law. The Sabbath was not a mere ceremonial law that could be changed but a moral one, which was therefore immutable. And the fact that pagans may not have felt they should rest and worship on Saturdays does not affect our argument for the point is that a Sabbath is needed not what day it should be on.
 
The book Not Under Law which argues that the Old Testament is meant to be relevant today (page 4,6,16) and that the view that it is a thing of the past is heretical. The book states that Mark 10:19 shows that Jesus believed that the moral side of the Law, the Torah, was still in force but that the ceremonial side of it was not. It states that according to John 4:21-24 when he told the Samaritan woman that the value of Jerusalem as the centre of worship would soon come to an end shows that the ceremonial side had been done away. It concludes that though the Law was not divided up into two, moral and ceremonial, there was a distinction between moral and ceremonial (page 7).
 
The book on page 16 admits that the liturgy laws like the diet ones were tied up with morality. It was immoral to break the liturgy or ceremony laws. The error in the books conclusion is that a difference, between moral and ceremonial, is made into a distinction. It is like stealing and adultery being condemned by the moral law. They are different things but they do not imply that there are two moral laws. They both reflect the moral law, ďWhat God commands is rightĒ.
 
Jesus said that eating unclean food by itself doesnít make you morally unclean. It was moral uncleanness he was talking about. The Jews misinterpreted the Torah and held that to eat pigs was necessarily the same as having a selfish hard heart. As a Jewish minister or Rabbi, he made all foods clean meaning he was abolishing the Jewish tradition. He never dissented from the rule of the Torah that eating such food is unclean in the sense of dirty. He only rejected the idea that such food is morally dirty. He would have agreed that somebody eating pig would become morally unclean not because of the pig but because of the disobedience to conscience.
 
Jesus never said that Jerusalem would cease to be the centre of worship but that people would stop being so dependent on it. They would stop reserving their worship for Jerusalem. To focus on God just when you are at the Temple would be blasphemous so you need to worship God everywhere you are for you need to adore him in spirit and in truth before you can even go into the Temple to worship. You need to have your spirit opened up to worship at the Temple and that can only be done by worshipping him everywhere you are Ė in spirit and in truth in other words. It would be ridiculous to construe Jesusí meaning as that you must worship anywhere but the Temple and the holy Samaritan Mountain! The Law never desired the sanctuary in Jerusalem to be the only place of worship though it alone was the legitimate place of sacrifice in Jewish practice. It was possible for branches of the Temple to be set up in other places. They would have been like extensions of the Temple. This makes sense for say the Temple grounds were spread to Syria or even Moscow you could still see Jerusalem as the centre of worship but you would not need to go physically to Jerusalem to participate. Jesus never made any distinction between the ceremonial and moral law and neither did any New Testament writer. The Law did require a sanctuary or Temple but wasnít fussy about where it was. The Jews used a movable temple or tabernacle in the desert.
 
Clearly the moral and ceremonial sides of the law though different were inseparable.
 
John 5:18 says that Jesus broke the Sabbath by healing a paralytic. John meant that Jesus broke the Sabbath tradition that such things do not be done. Jesus indicated elsewhere that healing was not breaking the law of God about the Sabbath but only the overly strict rest required by man-made tradition. This Colossians verse does not prove that Jesus abolished the Sabbath. John said that Jesus was sinless which he could not be if he literally broke Godís Sabbath law.
 
ďIn Matthew 12, Jesus let the apostles pick up food on the Sabbath though it was forbidden by the Law. The Law didnít even allow you to light a fire on the Sabbath day. This proves that the Sabbath was changed.Ē

The Law did not forbid what the apostles did. And though it is true that the Law says that you are not to burn things on the Sabbath day it only means that you shall not kindle the fire for the Jewish tradition was to keep the fire alive from the day before. A fire burning is not work for us and if the logs are near the fire there is very little work to do. If the Law had gone that far it would have instructed that nobody was allowed to speak or get out of bed on the Sabbath.
 
The apostles did not break the Law concerning the Sabbath for they were on their way to worship and were only picking the grain as they went along (page 83, What Day is the Christian Sabbath? Worldwide Church of God). If that was wrong then it was wrong to reach across the table for the salt or anything on the Sabbath. Jesus was telling his critics that they were going too far and making the Law stricter than it really was. The Law opposed the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath for it could wait another day or should have been done on Friday. Lighting fires was forbidden for that was hard work. But you have to eat. You can wrap up in a blanket if you cannot light a fire.

Jesus told the Jews that when his apostles were hungry he let them pick some food as they walked through fields on the Sabbath day and said that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath and that he was Lord of the Sabbath. He did not mean that as Lord he could change the rules for the Sabbath for he kept the Sabbath himself and never questioned it. He meant that he was the one who was honoured by the Sabbath. He certainly did not mean he could do away with the Sabbath for he claimed to be love and he was after saying it was out of love for man that there was a Sabbath at all. His denial that the Sabbath was just a symbol of the ceremonial law that could be done away is seen when he says the Sabbath was created for utilitarian reasons which takes away the only basis the Christians have for abolishing the Sabbath: that it was a picture that Jesus did away with when he fulfilled the picture. Also how could Jesus say he was Lord of the Sabbath in the sense that he could alter the way the Sabbath was observed when the issue at hand was not disobedience to the Sabbath but disobedience to manmade Jewish rules about the Sabbath?

FINALLY

There is no clear and convincing proof that the Jewish Sabbath should be abolished.  It is more than abolished it is banned.   An abolition would allow for the Jewish Sabbath to be kept but not as an iron rule.