Did the early Christians observe a Saturday Sabbath until Constantine?
Isa 66:22,23 is not a solid Saturday Sabbath argument
Ellen G. White Fact Sheet
The Wicked Dead - Will They Experience Annihilation or Eternal Torment?
1. All of the Ten Commandments were reinstated in the New Testament with only one exception, the one dealing with the Saturday Sabbath Day being kept holy.
Sometimes Heb. 4:4 and 4:9,10 are thought to show the sabbath command was reinstated in the NT merely because the word "sabbath" is found. Let's look at this passage:
- The 1st commandment was reinstated in Matt. 22:37; 1 Cor. 8:5,6.
- The 2nd commandment was reinstated in 1 Jn. 5:21. (Col. 3:5 and Eph. 5:5 broadens idolatry to include covetousness.)
- The 3rd commandment was reinstated in Col. 3:8.
- The 5th commandment was reinstated in Eph. 6:1-3.
- The 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th commandments were reinstated in Rom. 13:8-10; Matt. 19:18; Gal. 5:14; 1 Cor. 6:9,10; and Gal. 5:19-21.For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his (Heb. 4:4-10).Please note: That passage mentions only a "Sabbath rest," but not the keeping of the Sabbath, as Israel was commanded in the Old Testament! Furthermore, this "Sabbath rest" can not be equated with the keeping of the Saturday Sabbath, for even the Israelites who did keep it did not enter this "rest." A Christian finds his spiritual rest in Christ (Mt. 11:28). Only the 4th commandment, which is ceremonial rather than moral, was not reinstated in the New Testament, the covenant we are under today.
2. The Saturday Sabbath command was a memorial for those delivered from slavery in Egypt.The Saturday Sabbath command was given soon after the Israelites were delivered by Moses. Read of the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 14. The point of Exodus 19:1 was just three months after they left Egypt, with Exodus 20 (when the Ten Commandments were given) coming soon thereafter.
Exodus 20:1-17 is repeated in Deut. 5:6-21, where Moses expounds upon WHY it came and to WHOM the Sabbath command was given.
"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day" (Deut. 5:15).As Passover was an annual memorial festival for the Jews to celebrate in memory of God, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt while the firstborn of the Egyptians were struck dead (Ex. 12:14-30), the Saturday Sabbath was also for the Jews to remember weekly their historical deliverance from bitter slavery in Egypt, Deut. 5:15. The Saturday Sabbath command, therefore, was not a "creation ordinance" as some say, according to Deut. 5:15. Also consider the following:"The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested" (Exo 31:16,17).
3. Christians are permitted to make up their own minds about a special day."One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord ...." (Rom. 14:5,6).If the Saturday Sabbath command was still enforced today, as in the Old Testament, such "liberty" would NEVER be allowed! Can you imagine such Christian "liberty" in setting up idols, committing adultery or stealing? Since the latter are clear commands (no idolatry, no adultery, no stealing), there is no such "liberty" regarding these matters, in contrast to a special weekly day to the Lord. Also remember, when Paul gave us Romans 14, he knew about Gen. 2:3 and the rest of the Old Testament. Among Saturday sabbatarians there does NOT exist this Christian liberty!
Col. 2:16,17 adds to all this by saying:"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink or with regard to a religious festival, a new moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."If it is true, as some say, that the pope changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, then why did first-century Christians sometimes meet on Sunday?
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight (Acts 20:7).On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made (1 Cor. 16:2).
4. The Gentile Christians were NOT informed to keep the Saturday Sabbath (or the rite of circumcision) when practices and commands were officially passed on to them from the original church council.In Acts 15, the first church council convened over a false teaching of that day:"Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved," verse 1.When the Lord's apostles wrote their decision about circumcision for the Gentile Christians to read (Acts 15:23-29), their silence about the observance of the Jewish Sabbath is significant, especially when we consider that breaking the Saturday Sabbath command in the Old Testament carried with it very serious consequences, including the death sentence for offenders (Exo. 31:14-17 cf. Num. 15:32-36):
5. Paul tells us the real purpose of the entire Ten Commandments (law) in Gal. 3:24 and Rom. 3:20."So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.""Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."
6. If the Saturday Sabbath command as given to Israel is still in effect, then the Lord Jesus commanded a person to sin by breaking it:"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me." Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat." But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk' " (John 5:7-11).The Lord Jesus commanded that invalid, on a Sabbath, to pick up his mat and walk with it to be healed. Hence, this would constitute "work," according to the Old Testament Sabbath command. Since the Lord of the Sabbath could NEVER command a person to sin, we, thereby know that Christians today are NOT under this same Sabbath command as given to Israel in Ex. 20:8-11, which reads:"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Ex. 20:8-11).Again, what the Lord Jesus told the man to do was forbidden to be done on a Sabbath, as the Jews correctly noted:"The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat" (John 5:9,10).Here's the exact Scripture where such was forbidden:"This is what the LORD says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. But if you are careful to obey me, declares the LORD, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it" (Jer. 17:21-24).The Jews were right that the law, as given to Israel, to keep holy the Sabbath day forbid such things from being done. Hence, the OT Sabbath command can no longer be valid for Christians. So when did this change? The answer is found in Lk. 16:16:"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it."This is also the reason why we don't see this part of the 10 commandments reinstated in the New Testament. This point cannot be answered by the SDA people.
Sabbatarians Are Not Keeping
The Saturday Sabbath
Saturday Sabbatarians claim to keep the Sabbath command as was given to Israel, but in reality are only keeping a modified Sabbath regulation, which is not keeping it at all! Below are three reasons why this is so:
(A) In the OT, when this command was given to Israel and enforced, people were to be put to death for desecrating the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14,15):
"Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people. For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested" (Exo. 31:14-17).A man was put to death for violating this command (Num. 15:32-36). So the same ones (Israel) that kept the Sabbath put to death Sabbath violators. Sabbatarians are NOT doing this!
(B) The Sabbath keepers were NOT allowed to light a fire on the Sabbath day:
"Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day" (Ex. 35:3, KJV).If your heat in the winter is automatic through your furnace, you are violating this command. If you light your stove on the Sabbath you violate this command. If have an automatic hot water heater you are violating this command. Finally, if you start your car on the Sabbath, you have also violated this command given to Israel. Note: When you start your car, you start a fire that did not exist moments before.
(C) On "EVERY Sabbath" there is to be a burnt offering:
"On the Sabbath day, make an offering of two lambs a year old without defect, together with its drink offering and a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil. This is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering" (Num. 28:9,10).This OT command for Sabbath keepers is clearly forbidden under the New Covenant in light of the book of Hebrews. The early Christians didn't do this and, therefore, did not keep the Saturday Sabbath command like Israel (Ex. 20:8-11 cf. Num. 28:9,10).
There is no Scripture in the New Testament which states that Sabbath breakers will be thrown into the lake of fire. On the other hand, the New Testament does state that idolaters, murderers, thieves, the covetous, the sexually immoral, liars, etc. will be excluded from the kingdom of God and thrown into the lake of burning sulfur (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Eph. 5:5-7; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8). Furthermore, there are others, like the drunkards, etc. who are not mentioned in the Ten Commandments, that will likewise experience the same eternal destiny, that is, unless they repent (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:19-21).
Sabbath Breakers will NOT Be
Thrown into the Lake of Fire
For a Saturday Sabbatarian to say one MUST keep the Saturday Sabbath regulation for salvation is to place themselves under the anathema found in Gal. 1:8,9. A person can be a true Christian and have Sunday as the special day unto the Lord.
Furthermore, the true plan of salvation is concisely stated in the Bible as repentance towards God and faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:21). We are to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8) and prove our repentance by our deeds (Acts 26:20). To "repent" means to turn from your evil ways (Matt. 12:41 cf. Jonah 3:10). Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matt. 3:10; 7:19). The Lord Jesus also taught the road to life is "hard" and only a "few" will find it (Matt. 7:13,14, NKJV). The Lord declared there that there are ONLY 2 gates, 2 roads, 2 groups of people and 2 eternal destinies. So don't follow the crowd, since they are on their way to eternal fire, even though they might not know it.
The True Plan Of Salvation
Moreover, many get saved, but afterwards fall away (Lk. 8:13; Jn. 6:66; 1 Tim. 1:19; etc.). In other words, after initial salvation we must endure to the "end" to enter the kingdom of God and escape the lake of fire (Matt. 10:22; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10,11). Eternal life comes to the repentant the moment such believe on Jesus for salvation (Jn. 3:16; 6:47; 1 Jn. 5:12,13), but there is another important aspect of eternal life that many are totally unaware of in our day because of a different false teaching which is commonly called "once saved, always saved." According to true, Biblical, grace teaching, eternal life is also a HOPE (Titus 3:7), yet to be REAPED (Gal. 6:8,9) in the AGE TO COME (Mk. 10:30) for only the ones who PERSIST IN DOING GOOD (Rom. 2:7) and DO NOT GROW WEARY AND GIVE UP (Gal. 6:9).
Also, remember this: If a saved person sows to please his sinful nature he'll die spiritually (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8,9). The prodigal is a clear example of this (Lk. 15:24,32). The end result of sin is spiritual death. DO NOT BE DECEIVED by the "once saved, always saved" teachers (James 1:14-16). We must continue to believe (TRUST) on Jesus for our soul's salvation to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus described his "sheep" as his "followers" (John 10:27). James stated that faith without works is "dead" (James 2:17).
In conclusion, Jesus successfully destroyed the devil's work (1 John 3:8). He is the resurrected "Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8), before whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord (Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus has the ONLY name in which salvation is found (Acts 4:12), is the ONLY mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5) and is the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5). We are advised in Scripture to go directly to Him for forgiveness and to TRUST in Him alone for our soul's salvation.
No offense intended, but if you are a Seventh Day Adventist, did you know that Ellen G. White was a false prophetess, plagiarist and false teacher? Her strange teaching that Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 to perform investigative judgment is a clear denial of the finality of the atonement on the cross. See Jn. 19:30. Also, for her to teach Satan is the sin bearer is a clear contradiction of Scripture (Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24). Both of these false teachings disseminated by false prophetess Ellen G. White can be found in her book, The Great Controversy page 422 published by Pacific Press, Mountain View, CA, 1950.
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