Basic Truth #34 - Sabbath Observance Binding Only For Israel

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Basic Truth #34 - Sabbath Observance Binding Only For Israel

Post by bejay » Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:29 pm

Basic Truth #34 – Sabbath Observance For Those Under the Mosaic Law Only

Of all of the laws given to the nation of Israel through Moses, the Sabbath observance is the one that still receives the most reverence. All so-called Christian religions pay homage to it. Originally the Sabbath was to be observed on the seventh day of the week and members of the Jewish religion today still recognize this. But members of other religions observe a Sabbath on Sunday, which is the first day of the week. They believe that the early Christians, because they believed that Jesus had been resurrected on the first day of the week, made this day their Sabbath.

But there is no record that the first century Christian were commanded or encouraged to observe this or any other day as something special. In fact Paul wrote to the Christians at Colossae warning them because they were paying too much attention to the observance of specific days. He wrote at Colossians 2:16, 17 this: “Therefore let no man judge you in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath; for those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ.” (See also Galatians 4:9, 10)

The term ‘Sabbath’ comes from a Hebrew word that means ‘rest, cease.’ This day of rest came to prominence when the nation, after leaving Egypt and before arriving at Mount Sinai, were given manna from heaven by Jehovah as their sustenance. They were instructed that for five days they were to pick up enough of this ‘food’ to last for each day only and on the sixth day, they were to pick up enough to last for two days, as there would be none on the ground on the seventh day. Jehovah stated His command to them at this time, as recorded at Exodus 16:29, 30. He said: “Mark the fact that Jehovah has given you the sabbath. That is why He is giving you on the sixth day the bread of two days. Keep sitting each one in his own place. Let nobody go out from his locality on the seventh day. And the people proceeded to observe the sabbath on the seventh day.”

Later when they came to Mount Sinai and Jehovah proceeded to give them the Law Covenant, the Sabbath became an integral part of these laws. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) In fact, it was a holy day and anyone who refused to observe it would be put to death. Exodus 31:14 records these words for us: “And you must keep the sabbath for it is something holy to you. A profaner of it will positively be put to death. In case there is anyone doing work on it, then that soul must be cut off from the midst of his people.”

The command to observe this day was certainly something unique to this people. The stringent requirements were imposed only on this nation as part of their agreement to obey Jehovah as their God. The scripture makes clear that the observance of a Sabbath was a special requirement for Israel only. Exodus 31:16, 17 makes this clear where it reads: “And the sons of Israel must keep the sabbath so as to carry out the sabbath during their generations. It is a covenant to time indefinite. Between me and the sons of Israel it is a sign to time indefinite, because in six days Jehovah the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day he rested and proceeded to refresh himself.” (See also Ezekiel 20:12) No, no other nation of people as could the nation of Israel make the claim that they had been given righteous laws by the God of the universe by which they would live. (Psalms 147:19, 20) This law was unique to this people.

As the nation of Israel was unable to remain obedient to this law, it was replaced with another covenant mediated by Jesus who also kept the commands and statutes this Law Covenant perfectly thereby making it possible for it to be replaced. By this means the law regarding the Sabbath as well as the other laws were no longer binding upon the nation or upon any person of another nation who put faith in Jesus. That is why Paul could say at Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness.” The Law, although righteous and holy, was not able to bring anyone to righteousness.

When the Gentiles were admitted into the Christian congregation, they were not required to learn the Mosaic Law and submit to it even though many of the Jewish Christians wanted them to do so. (Acts 15:1, 5, 28 and 29) Consequently, there is no such command for Christians today to keep the Sabbath as a requirement for gaining God’s approval.

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