|Sunday, The Christian Sabbath ....||A. B. Phillips|
SUNDAY, THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH
In order that we may clearly understand why the Jews of the Mosaic era were commanded to keep the seventh day as a sabbath or day of rest, it is important to know the nature and purpose of the covenants that God gave to Moses and Israel, of which their sabbath was a part and a memorial. In like manner the Christian sabbath is a memorial of Christ and the New Covenant which he established for the salvation of man; and the Scriptures tell us clearly the difference between these two covenants, for whom they were ordained, and why they were established.
CHRIST BEFORE MOSES
To some it may be a new thought that the gospel of Christ was proclaimed long before the time of Moses. But this remarkable truth is made known both directly and indirectly in several scriptural texts. The Apostle Paul specifically declares it, and Jude, the brother of our Lord, tells us that Enoch, who was three hundred and eight years old when Adam died, foretold his coming, saying:
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints. -- Jude 14.
As Enoch lived in the days of Adam, it is clear that the coming of Christ was known to God's people of that day. The faith of Abel in offering the firstborn of his flock takes on added meaning when we remember that this was a symbolic token of the coming sacrifice of Christ, as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The plan of redemption through Christ, then, was known and believed by people in Adam's day, of whom Abel and Enoch are mentioned. Jesus himself refers to Abel as a prophet (Luke 11:50,51), and in Hebrews 11:5 it is stated that for his faith Enoch was translated and had testimony that he pleased God. As priest of the most high God, Melchizedek administered bread and wine (Genesis 14:18), emblems of the Christian covenant. To Abraham also came the gospel, of which Paul states:
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. ... Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Galatians 3:8,16, American Revised Version.
Jesus confirms this faith of Abraham in the coming Christ when he informs the Jews:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. -- John 8:56.
Not only was the gospel known to these ancients, but the patriarch Jacob, who was the grandson of Abraham, prophesied of the coming Messiah, declaring:
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. -- Genesis 49:10.
The Oxford Helps gives the meaning of Shiloh as "rest, Messiah," and the Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopedia states that this text "has ever been regarded by Christians and by the ancient Jews as a denomination of the Messiah." The Alexandrian manuscript, the Samaritan copy, the Chaldee dialect, the Jerusalem Targums, the Syriac, the Arabic and Aquila give the same sense, says Professor Robinson, that is:
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a governor from between his feet, until He shall have come, whose right the sceptre is. -- Calmets Dictionary, page 850.
It was after Christ had opened the understanding of his disciples, "that they might understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:25,27,45), that the inspired Peter could say: "To him give all the prophets witness" (Acts 10:43); for they had not previously understood that Christ was ordained of God before the creation as the Savior, as declared by Peter:
Who verily was foreordained before the foundations of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. -- I Peter 1:20.
MOSES WROTE OF CHRIST
The book of Hebrews tells us of the great faith Moses had in Christ:
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the. pleasures <of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. -- Hebrews 11:24-26.
This remarkable information seems to indicate that faith in Christ was a matter of discord between Moses and the household of Pharaoh or the Egyptian priests of the realm. When first led out of Egypt, some of the Israelites known as "the fathers" appear to have believed in Christ, per haps under the teaching of Moses, for Paul informs us:
I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. -- I Corinthians 10:1-4.
But many of them did not believe the gospel, and in their unbelief they displeased God and "were overthrown in the wilderness," says Paul (verse 5). Of these people we read:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. -- Hebrews 4:2.
In their hardness of heart many rejected Christ, of whom the preceding chapter (3:16-18) states: "For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses." Moses not only taught faith in Christ but also bore witness in his writings. Jesus warned the Jews of this, and declared: "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me" (John 5:46).
LAW OF CARNAL COMMANDMENTS ADDED
The Israelites of the Exodus soon rebelled against God. The gospel of Christ taught the love of God and the love of man, and those who receive it voluntarily from the choice of their hearts serve God and their fellow man. But because they rejected these rules of life and chose to walk the road of carnality and sin, God gave them a law of carnal commandments to which were attached severe penalties for those who disobeyed. Even while this law was being given to Moses, those who approached the mount were ordered put to death (Exodus 19:12). The Mosaic law itself ordered the death penalty for many things (for example: Exodus 21:12,14,15,16,17,29; 22:18,19,20), and it is therefore called the "law of sin and death," and the "ministration of death" by Paul (Romans 8:2; II Corinthians 3:7). It is also termed "the law of a carnal commandment" (Hebrews 7:16), but often is simply called "the law" when referring to anyone or all of the Ten Commandments.
As the Mosaic law was designed to enforce to a certain extent respect for the rights of others until men should learn to live voluntarily on a higher plane, thus leading them upward toward the Christian rule and motives of life, its aim was to continue only until Christian conduct should become their voluntary choice. Paul explains this when he says:
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. -- Galatians 3:19
This statement makes it clear that the law would not have been given to Israel if they had not transgressed and rejected the gospel way of life. It was therefore a disciplinary law to lead them up to the life of faith in Christ, so that when Christ should come they might be better prepared to receive his message. After his conversion Paul perceived this great objective. He declared that righteousness did not come by the law, and explained:
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. -- Galatians 3:23-25.
COVENANT OF TEN COMMANDMENTS
From the time God gave to man his agency and power to choose his moral course in life by virtue of his creation in the image and likeness of Deity (Genesis 1:26), it has been the divine purpose to secure the willing compliance of men with his law. For this reason, even the Mosaic law Was offered to Israel in the form of a covenant with promises and penalties, the covenant being in force only after the people as a united body accepted it and agreed to observe it. This fact is of great importance, and will be noted more fully as we consider the subject in further detail; but in this connection it is highly significant that the covenant of the Ten Commandments was by the express direction of God submitted to Israel at the hand of Moses in order that they might voluntarily state whether or not they would accept and observe it. God told Moses to say these words:
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. -- Exodus 19:4-6.
In obedience to the instructions of God, Moses called the people together and laid before them the terms of the covenant offered to them, to which the people agreed. We are told:
And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. -- Exodus 19:8.
Having secured the acceptance of the covenant by the people, Moses received from God the words of the covenant the tenor of which was codified in ten commandments, various details of which are recorded in Exodus, chapters 20, 21, 22, 23, and elsewhere. These words and "all the judgments" forming the covenant were then submitted for the formal acceptance of the people. We read:
And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said we will do. -- Exodus 24:3.
From the foregoing text we may note that God and the people, acting through Moses as their joint mediator, made this covenant in accordance with basic procedure as old as human history. It contained mutual rights and mutual obligations, as well as mutual agreement to observe its terms and conditions. But to become effective, covenants must be validated by an official seal, and this vital requirement was not omitted in this case, for the covenant with Israel was sealed with blood. Having sprinkled with blood the altar before which the covenant was to be consummated and sealed, Moses performed the final mediatorial act by which it was made effective, as follows:
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words. -- Exodus 24:7,8.
Let us note that this covenant concerned "all these words" which the book of the covenant contained. This included all of the Ten Commandments, the penalties, judgments, ceremonies, and other details of the Mosaic requirements, which were written out with great care and recorded in the last twenty chapters of Exodus and the twenty-seven chapters of Leviticus, and which end with the explicit statement:
These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai. -- Leviticus 27:34.
"THE TENOR OF THESE WORDS"
After completing his instructions to Moses, God handed him "two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18). But when Moses descended from the mount and found that Israel had already broken the covenant, he was angry and broke the tables in pieces. About three thousand Israelites were slain that day as an expiation for their sin. After this the lord commanded Moses to write the tenor of the covenant upon two tables of stone like the first, of which we read:
And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. -- Exodus 34:27,28.
From this express statement of Scripture it be comes certain that the Mosaic covenant made between God and Israel contained the Ten Commandments as the essence or "tenor" of the whole, and these commandments were to be in force as long as the covenant remained in force to which they pertained. By the decree of God, and as foretold in prophecy, the time came when this covenant was done away and was superseded by the covenant of Christ, as will be clearly shown by the Scriptures. Embodied with these Ten Commandments and forming a part of the covenant with Israel was an ordinance concerning the number of days that Israel should labor and a sabbath or day of rest to follow. As briefly stated in Exodus 23:12, along with other instructions in that chapter concerning labor, it commanded:
Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
It is also stated in somewhat greater detail in Exodus 20:8-11, and Deuteronomy 5:12-15. Early in the journey of Israel through the wilderness, it became necessary to provide for days of rest or sabbaths. Soon after they passed through the Red Sea, at a place called Marah, the Lord provided a regulatory statute and ordinance. Near this place was the Wilderness of Sin, where they began to live on manna, and by the terms of the statute and ordinance, which required six days of labor and the seventh day for rest, they were not permitted to gather manna on the seventh day. By this means the sabbath day of rest was provided before the covenant of the Ten Commandments as a whole had been given and was used by God as a test to show whether or not Israel would keep the divine law (see Exodus 15:25,26; 16:4-30), after which it was incorporated into the covenant and code of the ten commands.
and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. It is also stated in somewhat greater detail in Exodus 20: 8-11, and Deuteronomy 5: 12-15. Early in the journey of Israel through the wilderness, it became necessary to provide for days of rest or sabbaths. Soon after they passed through the Red Sea, at a place called Marah, the Lord provided a regulatory statute and ordinance. Near this place was the Wilderness of Sin, where they began to live on manna, and by the terms of the statute and ordinance, which required six days of labor and the seventh day for rest, they were not permitted to gather manna on the seventh day. By this means the sabbath day of rest was provided before the covenant of the Ten Commandments as a whole had been given and was used by God as a test to show whether or not Israel would keep the divine law (see Exodus 15: 25, 26; 16: 4-30), after which it was incorporated into the covenant and code of the ten commands.
THE COVENANTS WITH ISRAEL ALONE
Let us not suppose that this covenant was intended to include all people, for the sacred word distinctly informs us that it applied only to the Israelites. In fact, it is clearly implied in the first commandment itself, for it was specifically addressed to those who had been delivered from bondage in Egypt, saying:
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. -- Exodus 20:2, 3.
Not only was it given to Israel alone, but it had never been given previously to their ancestors. It was exclusively a covenant for Israel, and its commandments and its terms applied only to them. For this we have the word of Moses himself when he said:
The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb, The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but: with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. -- Deuteronomy 5:2, 3.
The covenant here referred to by Moses was the covenant of the Ten Commandments. Moses himself stated to Israel only the truth as God had previously informed him by saying: "after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel." This covenant was therefore ordained to be of a far narrower application than the New Covenant foretold by the prophets, and which Christ established for all mankind. It was also a faulty and imperfect covenant in several respects, for it was given to a people who had rejected the gospel way of life and would not live up to the glorious precepts of Christ. Israel was not yet ready for the Christian covenant which bids us to love God with all our hearts and to love mankind as ourselves; therefore God, with one exception, gave them commandments, expressed by "thou shalt not," and recorded these prohibitions in stone instead of in the heart of man.
THE JEWISH SABBATH LAW
When referring to the Ten Commandments, the Hebrew word for "commandments" is dabar, which means "a word." In Hebrew versions the whole term is rendered, "the ten words." For instance, the Jewish Version of the Masoretic Text says:
And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten words. -- Exodus 34:28.
As stated in Scripture, they were "tables of testimony" and abbreviations of the whole tenor of the Mosaic covenant, hence the penalties and some other details belonging to them are found written in other chapters recording the covenant in entirety, yet are a very necessary part of the commandments or words themselves.
This is as true of the Jewish sabbath law as it is of any other of the Ten Commandments. In order to know how God required the sabbath to be kept, it is necessary to learn the detailed instructions that he gave in regard to it. The first instance recorded in the Bible of any people who kept a sabbath as an established day of rest, or was commanded to do so, is that of Israel after being delivered by God from Egyptian bondage. The Lord warned them of his judgments if they did not keep this day of rest in the manner he had commanded. On the seventh or rest day they were strictly ordered: "abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day" (Exodus 16:29). After this when a man went out and gathered sticks on a sabbath, God directed Moses:
The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. -- Numbers 15:35.
This seems a severe penalty, but the law of the Ten Commandments was a severe law, a strict "schoolmaster." If the fire went out on a cold sabbath, it was unlawful even to build a fire, for God had through Moses commanded:
Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. -- Exodus 35:3.
It would require pages to detail all of the strict requirements of the sabbath law, everyone of which God himself had given and which he required to be strictly enforced.
CEREMONIALS OF THE SABBATH
But though severe prohibitions formed part of the sabbath law, there were various kinds of ceremonials which God had just as strictly ordered to be observed on that day, for they formed a part of the sabbath law to be kept, and he who failed to observe any and all of them was guilty of grievous sin. The Lord required an offering by fire to be made every day, including the sabbath, during the feast of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23: 8), which lasted seven days. Also an offering by fire unto the Lord must be made for eight days, including the seventh day sabbath, during the feast of tabernacles (Leviticus 23: 36).
Other ceremonials required unto the Lord on every sabbath day were also specified. One of these commanded that the priest make an offering by fire every sabbath, and he must also set before the Lord bread and frankincense for a memorial (Leviticus 24: 7). Another was known as the burnt offering of every sabbath, with the following elaborate directions:
And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: this is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. -- Numbers 28:9,10.
That this was part of the original sabbath law, and not additions by man afterward, is proved by the statement in Numbers 28:6 that it "was ordained in mount Sinai," and God commanded Moses (see verses 1 and 2) to so inform the children of Israel. These facts prove that the "ten words" or commandments were in fact a condensed or abbreviated form of the covenant given at Sinai, the details of which were written in the books of Moses at the direction of God, and which it required forty days in the mount for Moses to receive and record as revealed from God.
THE SABBATH A JEWISH MEMORIAL
These requirements, which formed part of the original sabbath law, should make it clear that the Jewish sabbath was not intended for those outside of the Mosaic covenant made between God and Israel. But, as if God anticipated the error of those who would apply it to Christians, the sacred Scriptures specifically show that it was to be kept by Israel in memory of their deliverance from Egyptian servitude and that it was given for this very reason. After reciting the fact that the covenant made in Horeb contained the commandments, Moses tells Israel why the sabbath was given and what it memorialized. Note his words:
And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. -- Deuteronomy 5:15.
This explanation by Moses of why the sabbath or rest day was included with the Ten Commandments is clear and unequivocal. They were to keep it so they would remember that God had delivered them from servitude in Egypt. This accords with the very first words of God when giving the Ten Commandments:
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. -- Exodus 20:2.
To assert presumptuously that the laws of this covenant were given for Christians is to attempt to put words in the mouth of God that he never uttered and which he already has repudiated. The Jewish sabbath was both a religious and a civil law, as were also the Ten Commandments, for under the Mosaic law a nation was established, and the national government was to be administered according to the terms of the covenant. It was a day of rest or ceasing from labor for the nation of Israel to remember that God had delivered them from grievous bondage and Egyptian taskmasters who gave them no days of rest. It no more applied to non-Jewish nations than the sabbath law established in the United States applies to non-American nations.
WHY A SEVENTH-DAY REST?
It has been argued that the seventh day of each week has been a particularly holy day to be kept as a hallowed day of rest by all people ever since God created the world. This fanciful notion is partly due to the supposition that each setting and rising of the sun formed the days referred to in Genesis 1,2 and Exodus 20:11, in which it is stated that, after six days of labor, God rested on the seventh day. But the fact is that the six days of creation could not have been twenty-four-hour periods regulated by the rising and setting of the sun, because the Bible itself states otherwise. Read Genesis 1:5,8,13, and note that light and darkness regulated the days of creation for three days before the sun had been created. It was not until the fourth day that the sun and moon were made and set in the firmament "to rule over the day and over the night" (verses 17,18). When this had been accomplished on the fourth day (verse 19), the fifth day of creation began.
The word "day" used in the first two chapters of Genesis is a translation of the Hebrew word yowm, or yom as some spell it. This word is often used to indicate indefinite eras or periods of time, and it is so used in a multitude of places in the Bible itself (see Psalm 110:3; 137:7; Isaiah 4:1,2; 11:10,11; 19:16; 27:12,13; Hosea 1:11; Amos 5:18; Micah 4:6; 7:11; Zechariah 2:11; 3:10; 4:10; 8:9; 14:9; John 8:56). Genesis 2:4 terms the entire period of creation "the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens," thus proving that our common twenty-four-hour day is not meant. Professor Strong defines the Hebrew word as meaning "a space of time defined by an associated term." For this reason the Bible does not always translate it "day." In Genesis 21:2, 7, and other texts, it is rendered "age"; in Numbers 20:15, Joshua 11:18, and I Samuel 7:2 it is "time." It is also at times translated "season," and other indefinite terms.
How long the days of creation were we do not know. Peter tells us (II Peter 3:8) that with God a thousand years may be as a day. In the day Adam sinned he was to "surely die." Many great periods are termed days, and astronomers have found suns in the universe thousands of times larger than ours and days equal to years of our time. One of these vast luminaries was found by Professor Euler to have an orbit. equal to 122,683 years of our time. Could this or some similar orb have been the light at creation?
In Genesis 2:3 Moses explains to Israel why God gave them a seventh-day rest. This has been distorted by those who urge that God blessed the seventh day before he rested in it, but the text itself shows that it was after he had rested, for it states:
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
The fact that Moses is here giving to Israel an account of creation and other events leading up to their own time, makes it clear that this statement refers to the setting apart of the sabbath by God at the time he commanded Israel to keep it, and that he appointed the seventh instead of the sixth, ninth, or some other portion of time because "he had rested from all his work" after six days of labor. Having sanctified (quadesh, meaning "to set apart") the seventh day as a rest day and memorial for Israel, God commanded Moses:
Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations. -- Exodus 31:13.
This and other texts presented prove beyond reasonable dispute that the Christian faith does not hang upon the covenant to Israel, its commandments, or its sabbath; that the law from Sinai was added as a schoolmaster to govern a people who had rejected faith in Christ, and to no, other nation; and that the ceremonials of its 'sabbath were a vital and inseparable part of the sabbath law to be kept, and therefore could not possibly apply to Christians outside of the Israelitish nation and people.
THE SO-CALLED CEREMONIAL LAW
But some who would yoke a part of the Mosaic covenant to the faith of Christ, finding no support in the word of God, have invented the theory that a portion of the Mosaic law, which they call the ceremonial law, was inferior to the rest and to be discontinued, but that the sabbath and other commandments are permanent and for all people. Some of these even assert, and the whole claim is but an unfounded assertion, that this ceremonial law was not really given of God but was added by the Jews to what God had commanded.
We have already proved by Scripture that the Ten Commandments, including the sabbath, were given and declared by God himself to be "the tenor" of the whole covenant made with Israel, 'and that the details of these commandments were written by Moses in a book, and included the sacrifices, offerings, ceremonials, and penalties as essentials of the covenant itself. The word of God itself, however, forbids any such attempt to do away with any part of that which had been given to Israel. It commands:
Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you. ... Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your Gad which I command you. -- Deuteronomy 4:1,2.
The word of James, who was the brother of our Lord, shows that he also understood that no part of the Mosaic law could be omitted without incurring guilt, and he states:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. -- James 2:10.
Paul was one of the most learned teachers of the Jewish law before his conversion, and he warned certain Christians who had been misled by Mosaic law advocates:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. -- Galatians 3:10.
Note that Paul is not here speaking solely of the Ten Commandments as such, but of all things written in the "book of the law," which included not only the abbreviated ten commandments but all the statutes, ordinances, ceremonials, and instructions of the entire law and covenant. There is no distinction permitted between them as obligations to ,be kept. In fact, the only mention of ceremonials in the Bible is when God commanded concerning the Passover:
According to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it. -- Numbers 9:3.
But this is no comfort to ceremonial abolitionists, for the Hebrew word for ceremonies here used is the word that is translated "ordinance" in Exodus 15:25, concerning the ordinance of the sabbath. Neither the Revised nor Jewish Version named previously renders it "ceremonies" in Numbers 9:3, but "ordinances," where it refers solely to the Passover with a warning to keep every part of it.
THE "HOLY TIME" FALLACY
The claims of Saturday sabbath advocates that the Mosaic law is for Christians, but that its ceremonials are separate and done away, have clearly been disproved. But some often seek to arouse fear by claiming that Sunday keeping is the dread mark of the beast of Revelation 14, and that those who keep it will be consigned to perdition. To make this seem plausible, they assert that the seventh day in which God rested after six days of labor was holy time, and that counting from that exact time every seventh day thereafter must be kept as God's day of rest, this exact time being made known to Israel to keep in Palestine on the day now called Saturday, beginning Friday evening and ending Saturday evening.
When this moment of holy time arrives, all people should cease work, it is urged, and that even God and the angels keep this holy time. The Scriptures contain no such teaching as this, nor does the Decalogue even hint at such an idea. Its inconsistency is apparent when we remember that Saturday does not come at the same time in all parts of the world, for when it is Saturday holy time in Palestine, it is at the same moment Sunday, or unholy beast-mark time, in countries west of the international date line. A good atlas or globe showing the date line and the difference in time in the various countries of the world is conclusive proof that this Saturday sabbath holy time idea is an utter impossibility.
The international date line is in general located at 180 degrees, the point between east and west longitude, passing northward somewhat west of Midway Island but varying places for considerable distances and running between Alaska and eastern Siberia before it reaches the Arctic Ocean. On the east side of this date line it is Saturday when it is Sunday on the west side, hence persons going west around the earth would lose one day in reckoning, while those going east would gain a day in their reckoning. Such persons could not possibly keep every seventh day of the alleged holy time, for what would be either six or eight days to them would constitute seven days of reckoning to others. To keep this exact holy time everyone must live near the longitude of Palestine, for otherwise one could be keeping Sunday at the same moment of time another was keeping Saturday, and it would be night in some countries when it was day in others. Those in the Arctic Circle would in fact have days of several months duration and nights as long-few evenings and mornings.
THE NAMING OF THE DAYS
The divinely ordained days and nights were regulated by the alternating periods of light and darkness. Of this the Book of Genesis leaves us no doubt, for it specifically states that God thus named them according to this division:
God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. -- Genesis 1:4,5.
As the sun had not yet been made to regulate or give light to the days of creation, it is clear that they were not the same as our days and had no names to designate them, but were simply numbered consecutively. Even as late as the time of Moses no names were given to the days, and the day appointed for a sabbath was indicated as the seventh day, or the day following six days of labor. The word "sabbath" itself is not the name of a day, the Hebrew word being sabbath, meaning an intermission or cessation, and derived from the word shabbath, a primitive Hebrew root meaning to desist or rest (from labor). In fact it is translated "rest" in Exodus 23:12, which commands:
Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger may be refreshed.
There is therefore no particular significance with respect to work and rest attaching to the names of "Saturday" and "Sunday," as our present order of names for the days of the week were unknown until after the time of Christ. While some ancient nations named certain of the days after their gods, the names we use today were given by the Saxons who substituted them for names of gods formerly applied by Eastern nations. Hence we have the Saxon Sunandaeg (or Sunday in modern English), Monandaeg (Monday), Tiwesdaeg (Tuesday), Wodnesdaeg (Wednesday), Thunresdaeg (Thursday), Frigedaeg (Friday), and Saeterdaeg (Saturday). However, Sunday was the day of the sun in very ancient times, and certain other days had names assigned to them, though they differed in various nations. Dio Cassius states that the Egyptian week began with Saturday, but the Jews of the Exodus so hated the Egyptians that they began their week on Sunday instead.
OTHER SABBATHS COMMANDED
The command to work six days and then rest a day is but a part of the Jewish law in regard to sabbaths or rest days. The Mosaic law given on Mount Sinai provided several other sabbaths, each of which was to be kept just as sacredly as that of the rest after six days of labor. It commanded a sabbath to be kept on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24), and on the tenth day of the month (23:27,28,32). Also on the fifteenth day (23:34-36) began a seven-day period of daily offerings, with a sabbath of rest on the first day and another on the eighth day following the seven-day period. The law specified (verse 39): "on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath." On the first day they should celebrate with branches of palm trees (verse 40), and it should be "a statute forever in your generations" (verse 41).
All of these sabbaths constituted a sign to Israel, and also were parts of the covenant between God and the children of Israel. Centuries after this law was given, God directed the prophet Ezekiel to remind the elders of Israel of this fact, saying:
I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. -- Ezekiel 20:12.
THE MOSAIC LAW A SHADOW
As the Mosaic law with its covenant followed the rejection of the gospel through lack of faith, so God ordained that it should continue only until the covenant of Christ should be established. It was therefore prophetic, symbolic, and a shadow of the coming Christian dispensation, operating as a schoolmaster to that end. Of this Paul states:
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. -- Galatians 3:23,24.
Moses himself had warned Israel that this law and covenant were only temporary and incomplete, and Peter (Acts 3:22) declares that Christ was the one to whom Moses referred when he foretold the coming of a prophet to teach them all of God's will. He declared:
I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. -- Deuteronomy 18:18.
Peter's words concerning this show that the message of the coming Christ would take the place of the old covenant law and would condemn those who disregard it. The rendering as given in the Syriac Version is particularly clear, and states:
And it shall be, that every soul who will not hearken to that prophet, that soul shall perish from his people. -- Acts 3:23.
The shadowy and imperfect nature of the Mosaic law is specifically affirmed in the sacred text. Even the sacrifices and offerings of the law were in vain except as shadows of better things to come, of which we read:
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. -- Hebrews 10:1.
IMPERFECT NATURE OF MOSAIC LAW
The Ten Commandments themselves were but shadows of the higher law of Christ. The commands not to steal, kill, bear false witness, commit adultery, or covet, were faint shadows of the Christian precepts to love both God and man, to do to others as we would have them do to us, to forgive until seventy times seven, and to keep the thoughts of the heart pure. Their shadowy nature-sometimes very faint shadows-is discerned in the law of the sabbath rest days, which symbolized the "rest for the people of God" in Christ and his millennial reign of peace; in the sacrifice of the lamb, a symbol of atonement through Christ the Lamb of God; and in many other rites and ordinances. They pointed to and were ended in Christ, the promised Lawgiver and Covenant Maker. They were, at most, prophecies of the more wonderful and perfect covenant to which Israel might attain, hence Jesus explained that they only foretold his day and coming:
For all the prophets and the Jaw prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. -- Matthew 11:13,14.
Being incomplete and imperfect, though adapted to the faulty mature of those to whom it was given, it could not perfect its adherents. Therefore Hebrews 7:19 informs us:
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.
The faulty nature of the Mosaic covenant law is strongly implied in the fact that a new one was promised in days to come. But this is not left to conjecture, for we read:
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. -- Hebrews 8:7.
The sacred writer continues by quoting the divine promise of a new covenant not according to the old covenant made with Israel and after explaining this remarkable prophecy' he closes the chapter with the significant words (verse 13):
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
The evidence is therefore complete and overwhelming. The old Mosaic law and covenant had waxed old and vanished away when the new covenant of Christ became established by his atonement and resurrection. The Sinaitic law had to command, "Thou shalt not kill." No one who loves God and his fellow man will kill, steal, bear false witness, covet, or commit adultery. To such these prohibitions of the Mosaic law are useless and imperfect or faulty. Those who cannot understand the beauty of this sublime truth may misconceive Paul's words:
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law .of sin and death. -- Romans 8:2.
THE SUPERIOR COVENANT OF CHRIST
This law of Christ that frees from the Mosaic law with its penalties of death is the essence of the new covenant mediated by Jesus, of whom it is explained: "he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises" (Hebrews 8:6). Jesus himself contrasts the superior teachings of his covenant with the inferior rules of the old. He quotes the command against killing, then declares:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. -- Matthew 5:22.
So with the command against adultery, Jesus points out its inferiority to his teachings by saying, "But I say unto you" that a lustful look is adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:27,28). The law of Moses, he declares, permitted one to put away his wife, but that law was given "because of the hardness of your hearts" (Matthew 19:8). This is a part of the law that Paul states was added because of transgressions, yet God gave it to Moses, as Moses himself declared, and God afterward commanded Joshua (1:7) to keep it. Jesus gave them a perfect law instead. In the Mosaic law God forbade Israel to swear by his name falsely (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12), but Jesus said: "But I say unto you, Swear not at all" (Matthew 5:34). In the covenant law of Moses God commanded (Exodus 21:24), "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth," while Jesus gave the higher law: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil" (Matthew 5:39). Other teachings of the Mosaic era were also corrected by him.
Instead of the old Mosaic law of the sabbath, Jesus established a higher and better rule of action. He and his disciples traveled through the grain fields on the sabbath and plucked the grain (Mark 2:23), instead of observing the command (Exodus 16:29) for every man to abide "in his place." For the new covenant of Christ simply required that every day be regarded unto the Lord (Romans 14:6), and when the Jews accused him of breaking the sabbath (which on another occasion John 5:18 admits was done), Jesus did not deny it but said:
The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. -- Mark 2:27,28.
CHRIST'S NEW COVENANT ESTABLISHED
Some of the Jews misunderstood these acts of Jesus. They understood them to mean that he intended to overthrow the divine law. They failed to see that the schoolmaster law placed over them by the Mosaic covenant was in consequence of their hardness of heart, and that before this law had been given to them, the higher law of the gospel had been offered to them but rejected. They failed to see that since Christ was now come they were offered the grand privilege of being no longer under the schoolmaster, if they would receive the new covenant. But Jesus assured them concerning the law and the prophets: "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." The aim of the divine law is righteousness, and in all of his acts Jesus was motivated by the spirit of doing good. He was now come in fulfillment of the prophets and to fulfill the spirit of the divine law, to establish the covenant of which God said:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. -- Jeremiah 31:31,32.
In establishing the new covenant, Jesus had several tasks to perform. He must show the difference between the precepts of his covenant and those of the old, as well as present the nature of his mission as the Savior, Redeemer and promised Messiah, and must send out his chosen ministry to proclaim his message to the people, inviting them to obey it. In addition to this he must make the supreme sacrifice and atonement for sins, that by the shedding of his blood and his death and resurrection the new covenant might become established and in force for all who would receive it, In preparation for this final consummation, Jesus sat down with his apostles at the Passover and there introduced the sacrament of the bread and wine which should afterward commemorate both his sacrifice and the new covenant to be confirmed by the shedding of his blood, The American Revised Version states:
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. And the cup in like manner after supper saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you. -- Luke 22:19,20.
While the King James Version uses the word "testament" instead of "covenant" in this text, the Greek word itself not only means covenant but is so translated in about twenty other texts in the King James Version itself, thus confirming the Revised text. However, the word "testament" is used in Scripture and elsewhere to mean a covenant, though various modern versions prefer the word "covenant" itself. Before the old or Mosaic covenant should be abolished and superseded by the new, however, it was necessary for the "death of the testator" to occur. This is explained in Hebrews 9:16-18, as follows:
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
Upon the cross Jesus completed his earthly mission, having presented the precepts and terms of the new covenant, and sealed the covenant with his own blood. The Beloved Disciple, who so intimately understood his Lord, evidently noted the significance of this final consummation of the new covenant, for he observes:
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost. -- John 19:28-30.
With the establishment of the new covenant, the "law of sin and death" or old covenant was no longer in force. In order that both Jew and Gentile might henceforth be united in one sacred family under God, Christ removed the barrier of the Jewish law of commandments established as ordinances to Israel, as explained by Paul:
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: ... For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. -- Ephesians 2:14-16,18.
A day of new and greater glory now dawned upon the world, and the new covenant, sealed with the precious blood of Christ the Son of God, ushered' in for both Jew and Gentile the higher "law of the spirit of life," of which the apostle declares:
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, . . . how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? -- II Corinthians 3:7,8.
And in order that there might be no doubt that the old covenant with its commandments had been done away, the apostle continues:
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. -- II Corinthians 3: 11-15.
THE SINAITIC LAW WAS WEAK
Had the Mosaic law been perfect, the new covenant of Christ would not have been needed. The old covenant was administered by the Levitical priesthood, but the new covenant is under the Melchisedec priesthood, of which Christ is the abiding high priest, for the Mosaic law, as previously noted, was imperfect and had to be changed to the new law of the Christian covenant. Hebrews 7:11,12 refers to this when it states:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priest hood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Aside from the imperfections which we have previously noted of the Mosaic law, it did not present the complete ideal of the divine will, and its promises also failed to fully reflect the salvation to be received by the righteous. The law itself was weakly symbolic of heavenly things, for it could not produce perfection. Hence we read:
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. -- Hebrews 10:1.
In another chapter the inspired writer explains this lack of the Mosaic regime as distinguished from the perfection offered through the better hope of the Christian faith:
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness there of. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. -- Hebrews 7:18,19.
OLD COVENANT CAST OUT
In three different epistles of the New Testament which we have already noted, the same outstanding truth is emphasized, that the new covenant of Christ is complete and needs no part of the Mosaic covenant or its laws. The law from Sinai was therefore to be abolished and cast out as was Hagar the bondwoman, as the warning voice of Paul states:
I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory; far these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. -- Galatians 4:20-24.
These Galatian Jews had failed to understand that as Christians they were no longer under the Mosaic law and covenant, hence Paul shows them that Hagar the bondwoman was a likeness of the Mosaic covenant, while Sarah the freewoman was a likeness of the Christian covenant. He then significantly adds:
Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her san; far the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. -- Galatians 4: 30.
The unmistakable statement that Hagar represented the Sinaitic covenant which should be cast out proves beyond any cavil that the new covenant of Christ has superseded it, not a particle of the old covenant being permitted to remain. The Hebrew letter presents the same unshakable and glorious truth that the Sinaitic covenant ended in Christ:
But now hath he obtained a mare excellent ministry, by haw much also. is he the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. -- Hebrews 8:6. (Also. see verse 13.)
THE MOSAIC LAW FULFILLED
The Mosaic law as the "schoolmaster," the "shadow," the "bondwoman," and "the law of sin and death" must nevertheless be fulfilled according to its ordained purpose of pointing and preparing the way to Christ and his perfect covenant. It must enforce the letter of the old law until Christ should come and fulfill not only its outward observance but the spirit and ideal toward which it sought to lead all men. Jesus himself assured the skeptical Jews that the law should continue until fulfilled by him:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to. destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto. you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall in no. wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. - Matthew 5:17,18.
Until Jesus had completed his mission and atonement for man, therefore, the whole law could not be fulfilled. Alford's Greek Testament (footnote) explains that in the English version of this text, "the sense will stand thus: 'While heaven and earth last one jot or one tittle shall not pass away from the law without all being fulfilled.'" The Greek word here rendered "fulfilled" is ginomai and means "to become, come to pass." Alford quotes the scholar, Tholuck, as rendering it "to pass by" or to "pass out of view."_ Therefore the Mosaic law should pass away only after Jesus had fulfilled its purpose and obligations. This, he informed his disciples, must be done. And after his resurrection, he reminded them of its accomplishment, saying:
These are the wards which I spake unto. you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. -- Luke 24:44.
The coming of John the Baptist marked the beginning of the new covenant message, of which both the prophets and the law were prophetic. The old dispensation was now about to end, and the new dispensation was being ushered in, concerning which Jesus declared:
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to came. -- Matthew 11:13,14.
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of Gad is preached, and every man presseth into. it. And it is easier far heaven and earth to. pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. -- Luke 16:16,17.
CHRISTIANS DEAD TO MOSAIC LAW
It was not easy for some of the Christian Jews to throw off the yoke that had bound them and their ancestors so long, and many of Paul's explanations were made in order to place this matter beyond doubt in their minds. To the Roman Jews he declared that as a woman becomes free from marriage by her husband's death and may be married to another so also they had become dead to the Mosaic law and were married to Christ.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to. the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. -- Romans 7:4.
The learned Paul was able to discuss these matters from the viewpoints of others. His explanation of this fact is particularly illuminating as rendered in the Revised Version, for he states that he was not under the law, but sought to gain those who were:
To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to. them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to. God, but under law to. Christ, that I might gain them that are without law. -- I Corinthians 9:20,21.
The new covenant of Christ supplies every moral and spiritual need of man, and those who live its two perfect precepts are in complete harmony with God. To be filled with the love of God and the love of man in the thoughts and deeds of life is to live above the strictest commands of the law from Sinai, for in Christ the spirit maketh alive the final objective and purpose of living. This sublime truth is voiced by the declaration:
And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace, Far the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. -- John 1:16,17.
TEN COMMANDMENTS SUPERSEDED BY TWO
The perfection and completeness of the law of Christ, embraced in two commandments, cannot be denied. The law of love fulfills every requirement of man toward God and toward his fellow man. Jesus gave a code of two commandments which took the place of ten given through Moses, yet were superior to the whole ten. In the Mosaic law, the law of love was secondary. To the Pharisees, Jesus presented it as the first and second commandments:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy Gad with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto. it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. -- Matthew 22:37-39.
Turning to the Ten Commandments from Sinai (Exodus 20), according to Jewish order the second commandment is "Thou shalt have no other gods." The English church gives the second commandment as "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," while the Roman Catholics give it as "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." But in neither of these do We find the second commandment of Jesus, for he gave the law of the new covenant, not of the old covenant. The imperfections of the law from Sinai were due to the necessity of dealing with a people who had rejected the perfect law based on faith in Christ, but now that Christ was come, these schoolmaster laws. were to give place to the laws of the new covenant, which embraced all the ideals and purposes of the whole Ten Commandments that had been added as a means of disciplining unfaithful Israel.
Without the two commandments of Christ written in the heart, Israel's knowledge of sin was founded upon the ten stone laws. Becoming "dead to the law" through Christ, the disciples became subject to his commandments which admonished them to "serve in newness of spirit," thus not being under the letter of the old law. The old Sinaitic law effected its work by convicting transgressors of sin, hence those Jews who did not accept Christ were under the old law of sin and death, from which they could become free by obeying the higher law of Christ. This is the essence of Paul's explanation when he observes:
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. -- Romans 7:6,7.
It is true that under the Christian law and covenant no one will murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet. The reason for this is explained very dearly by Paul when he admonishes:
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. -- Romans 13:8,9.
The truth is that all these are embodied in the spirit of the two great commandments of Christ, for they require that one shall "serve in newness of spirit," which prohibits sinful works of the flesh. Hence when the young man asked Jesus "which" of the commandments he should keep, Jesus answered in nearly the same words as those of Paul given above, saying:
Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. -- Matthew 19:18,19.
The words "For this," beginning Paul's words in Romans 13:9, are from the Greek term To gar, used in all inflections, and means "for this reason," "for this cause," or "because of this." Hence the full sense of the text is that because love is the fulfilling of the law, Christians shall not commit adultery and other sinful acts named, which would be a violation of the Christian law and covenant. Neither Jesus nor Paul, however, include the Jewish sabbath in their prohibition, for it was no part of the new covenant, which was so perfect and complete that no act of sin would be committed by one who lived by its terms, whether on a sabbath or any other day.
BECOMING FREE FROM THE LAW
Some of the Jewish Christian believers appear not to have fully understood that it was by their own voluntary choice and act that they might become free from the Sinaitic law of sin and death by yielding obedience to the commandments of Christ, the law of righteousness and grace. In considerable detail Paul discussed this great truth and the principles which govern it, and continued:
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? -- Romans 6:14-16.
Israel had voluntarily entered into the covenant of the Ten Commandments, and now the great privilege was theirs to become free from its bondage by receiving the new covenant of Christ. Provision for this was foreshadowed in the prophecy of Moses, mediator of the old covenant, the ten words, when God said of Israel:
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. -- Deuteronomy 18:18,19.
The Jews had repeatedly and continuously transgressed the terms of the old covenant made at Sinai, of which God declared (Hebrews 8:9), "they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord." The blood of bulls and goats no longer was sufficient, for they could be purged only by the blood of Christ, the mediator of the new covenant, of which Hebrews 9:15 significantly explains:
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
It will be seen, therefore, that there was a complete and orderly transition to the new covenant, by which the covenanters were no longer under the Mosaic law. This was accomplished by their voluntary act, in which they declared their allegiance to Christ and the terms of his covenant, each acting as an individual for himself.
THE OLD SABBATH A SHADOW
Yet the bondage of the old law, including its sabbath, was so strong upon those who failed to discern the new dispensation that they appear to have turned back to some of its rites, which caused Paul to admonish them:
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye 'Observe days, and months, and times, and years. lam afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. -- Galatians 4:9-11.
As Christians they were not under the covenant to Moses or the judgments of the old law. The great biblical scholar, Paul, informed them that Christ had blotted out these old ordinances and nailed them to his cross (Colossians 2:14), and he enjoined them:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. -- Colossians 2:16,17.
As days of physical rest and memorials of deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, the sabbaths of the old covenant foreshadowed the coming rest in Christ and deliverance from the bondage of sin. Because of their unbelief God swore that disobedient Israel should not enter into that promised future rest (Hebrews 3:18,19; 4:6), but that rest remains to be realized through the promise of Christ by faithful believers, not the old law sabbath rest, but a sabbath rest of "another day," of which we read:
For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. Far he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience. -- Hebrews 4:8-11, American Revised Version.
The Revised rendering of "Joshua" in this text is evidently correct and is supported by all the best recent versions. The erroneous rendering of "Jesus" in the King James Version was due to the fact that the Greek word for Jesus is identical with the Greek for Joshua, but the context shows that Joshua is meant. This text clearly shows that "another day" than the Jewish law sabbath is provided for a sabbath day rest under the terms of the new covenant of Christ, of which the old sabbath was a shadow of things to come. As explained in Scripture, the Ten Commandments as a covenant had been added to the gospel, hence Jesus stated concerning his two commandments:
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. -- Matthew 22:40.
SABBATH OF THE CHRISTIAN COVENANT
The new covenant of Christ has also a sabbath day of rest. It is not a rest, enforced with the death penalty, that prevents one from going outside of his dwelling or picking up sticks or building a fire. It is not a sabbath that commemorates escape from Egyptian servitude, or that applies only to the Israelitish people. It is far more glorious and inspiring than all of these ancient prohibitions to a comparatively small nation. It is a day in which to gather together and thank God for eternal salvation through Christ offered to every person in all the world and to every generation of mankind to come. It is a day in which to remember our release from sin through the atonement and redemption of our divinely risen Lord, to remember that through repentance and faith in him all men may become new creatures, inherit immortality, and reign with him a thousand years.
The Christian sabbath memorializes the day that Jesus arose from the- tomb the omnipotent Conqueror of death, the almighty Lord of life. It memorializes his promise (John 14: 19): "because I live, ye shall live also." It celebrates the day on which he gave infallible proof that he is the Savior of the world, the Son of God, the promised Redeemer of mankind. On this day we celebrate our faith and trust in him, our abiding hope of life in the glorious kingdom of heaven, our adoption into the divine family as children of God and into the brotherhood of Christ. And because on this day Jesus arose from the dead and confirmed his mission, his message, his covenant, and our faith, Sunday is sanctified as the divinely approved Christian sabbath, being dedicated by Jesus himself as the Lord's day. It also is a token of the heavenly rest to come.
What a wonderful day it is! The Sadducaic Jews made the gloomy assertion that no angel or spirit existed and no resurrection would ever take place (Acts 23:8). After death there would be no life and no hope. Like the raven, they croaked: "Nevermore!" But on that Sunday morning after Jesus was laid in the tomb all their supposed wisdom perished, for angels appeared and Jesus himself, clothed with immortal life, stood before his disciples and bore witness that life and immortality hereafter are eternal truths. Who is so lacking in gratitude that he scorns to hallow that glorious day? Let no modern Sadducee blaspheme that holy memorial to our Redeemer and Lord.
"THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK"
The day called Sunday is referred to in Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1,19 of the King James Version, as the "first day of the week." This was after the Jewish manner of naming the days in their numerical order of seven days to the week, the Jewish sabbath being reckoned the seventh day, coming after six days of labor. There is, I think, no serious question Jut that this day was Sunday, as is almost universally admitted. But the Greek word used in all four of these texts using the word "week" in the above phrase is sabbaton, which is the identical Greek word rendered "sabbath" in the first phrase of Matthew 28:1: "end of sabbath." It is also the same word rendered "sabbath" in Matthew 12:1,2,8; Luke 6:2; 6:5; John 5:9; Colossians 2:16, and more than fifty other places in the New Testament.
Greek scholars declare that the above four texts literally mean "the first day of sabbaths," "the first day of the sabbaths," or "the first sabbath day." Professor Crossan, University instructor in Greek, states that Sunday is called the Sabbath in these and several other texts, indicating that the early Christians held Sunday as their sabbath after the resurrection of Christ.
EARLY CHRISTIANS KEPT SUNDAY
We also have the specific testimony of apostolic and subapostolic Christians that Sunday was kept by them as "the Lord's day" in place of the Jewish sabbath. It was on Sunday that Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, saying "Peace be unto you." Evidently it was the following Sunday when he next appeared to them as they were assembled together again. John 20:26 says, "after eight days," but both the Weymouth and Twentieth Century versions render it, "A week later." The Greek word for "after" used here is meta, which is translated also "on" or "upon" in various other texts. The second appearance of Jesus appears therefore to have been on the eighth day, an expression used by the early disciples for Sunday, as will later be shown.
It was on Sunday that the day of Pentecost occurred, when the assembled Christians received their marvelous endowment of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). On this holy day was preached the first sermon of the Spirit-filled church, which also celebrated it with prayers and the "breaking of bread," that Paul declares (I Corinthians 10:16) is "the communion of the body of Christ." During the seven days that Paul remained at Troas, he chose Sunday in which to preach to them. On this day they "came together to break bread," symbol of the Lord's body (Acts 20:6,7). The old Jewish Sabbath is not even mentioned. Both in Galatia and Corinth the Christian churches ob served Sunday for their devotions, and Paul specifically directed them to take up their collections on that day (I Corinthians 16:1-3).
JEWISH SABBATH NOT KEPT
Besides Paul, whose testimony has been mentioned, other early fathers of the church declare that the Jewish sabbath was abolished. Barnabas, ordained an apostle with Paul (Acts 13:2,3; 14:14), quotes at length from Isaiah to prove that God no longer desired observance of sacrifices, new moons, or sabbaths of the Jewish law, saying:
These things therefore hath God abolished, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without the yoke of any such necessity, might have the spiritual offering of men themselves. -- General Epistle of Barnabas, 2:8.
This apostle plainly states that Jewish sabbaths "are not acceptable," and declares:
For which cause we observe the eighth day with gladness, in which Jesus rose from the dead, and having manifested himself to his disciples, ascended into heaven. -- General Epistle of Barnabas 13:10.
This Christian observance of Sunday is also witnessed by Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the time of the apostles themselves, receiving his instruction from them. He states that Jewish converts had come "to the newness of hope; no longer observing sabbaths, but keeping the Lord's day" as his disciples (Epistle to the Magnesians 3:3), and warns them:
It is absurd to name Jesus Christ, and to Judaize. For the Christian religion did not embrace the Jewish, but the Jewish the Christian; that so every tongue that believed might be gathered together unto God. -- Magnesians 3:11.
The Epistle of Barnabas was so highly regarded in the early church that it is found in the Sinaitic Codex, while the historian Eusebius himself certifies to the Epistle of Ignatius. Justin the Martyr lived in the early part of the second century, and the genuineness of his two Apologies and his Dialogue are unquestioned. He confirms the fact that the Christians kept Sunday and that the Mosaic law was obsolete, as follows:
But Sunday is the day on which we hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, when he changed the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior, on the same day, rose from the dead. -- First Apology, page 52.
Our hope, is however, not through Moses, nor through the Law, or there would be no difference between you and ourselves; but I have read that there should hereafter be a final law, and a covenant more mighty than all others, which everyone who hopes for the inheritance of God should henceforth observe. The law given at Horeb has become obsolete, and was for you Jews only, but the one of which I speak is for aU men alike. A new law passed upon a law abrogates that which is old, and in like manner does a subsequent covenant annul a former one. An everlasting and perfect law, and a faithful covenant, is given to us, even Christ, after which there shall be no other law, or ordinance, or command. -- Dialogue with Trypho, page 84 (The Works of Justin, Oxford Edition).
To avoid being voluminous in this condensed work, let us briefly note that the "Didache of the Apostles" (about A.D. 70) commanded the observance of the Lord's day, which is also attested by Bardesanes (2nd Century), and by Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (2nd Century). This is supported by Tertullian (A.D. 200), Cyprian (about A.D. 250), Eusebius the historian (A.D. 315), and others before and after his time. The claim made by some that Constantine in the fourth century first caused the Christians to keep Sunday instead of Saturday is not according to the plain and undeniable facts of history. As lovers of truth these early Christians certainly did not lie. Mosheim the historian also states that the Christians of the first century kept the day on which Christ rose from the dead, adding:
For that this day was set apart for religious worship by the apostles themselves, and that, after the example of the church at Jerusalem, it was generally observed, we have unexceptionable testimony. -- Book 1, Century 1, Part 2, chapter 4.
SUNDAY IS THE LORD'S DAY
The unrefuted testimony of the earliest Christian writers, of which the foregoing are a few examples, proves beyond reasonable dispute or doubt that Sunday is the true Lord's day and Christian sabbath or rest day. Like the glory of the sun, from which the day was named, Jesus Christ arose on that day from the depths of stygian death to the heights of glorious immortality, offering eternal life to all men. That wonderful Book of Revelation was revealed to John on that day, for of this great event he affirms (Revelation 1:10): "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." The Greek word here used is kuriakos, meaning "belonging to the Lord." It is found in but one other text of the New Testament, in I Corinthians 11:20, concerning "the Lord's supper." Not once does the New Testament call the Jewish sabbath the Lord's day. This day has fulfilled the Psalmist's prediction:
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. -- Psalm 118:22-24.
The head stone, Jesus, was refused by the Jewish builders and was crucified, but on Sunday he created a new and universal day of hope for all the world. We will rejoice and be glad in it. This day which the Lord hath made represents the supreme miracles of all ages. He who cannot see the glory of this day is blind indeed.
MEANING OF THE NEW SABBATH
The keeping of the Christian faith is a perpetual sabbath in the heart, for it enjoins the great ideal of doing good on all days, whether it be to heal the sick, as Jesus did on the Jewish sabbath, walk abroad in the fields of corn to appease the pangs of hunger, as did his disciples on the Jewish sabbath, or go to the house of the Lord and offer up sincere devotions to God, as they all did when occasion arose. Whatever action is inspired by the Two Great Commandments of Christ, whatever the day, honors the law of Christ within its highest meaning.
But in the keeping of the new sabbath we also remember the coming of that day of rest which ancient Israel could not enter because of unbelief, the heavenly rest prepared for the people of God. And we remember the admonition:
Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. -- Hebrews 4:11.
As we keep the new sabbath we look forward to that heavenly perpetual sabbath which the Prophet Isaiah tells us shall glorify the new heaven and new earth for the "chosen seed," the redeemed of Christ:
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. -- Isaiah 66:22,23.
THE TWO COVENANTS CONTRASTED
Supported by many texts, though others might be added, the Scriptures clearly show that the covenant and law of the Ten Commandments, including their sabbath, were given to and for Israel alone as a schoolmaster after they had fallen in unbelief; that God had foretold to them the fact that these but foreshadowed a new covenant to come, when the Jewish covenant would be abolished; that the Sinaitic law and sabbath were shadows of "things to come," in which the Mosaic law would be fulfilled and pass away; that the old covenant was a "law of sin and death," but the new covenant is the "law of the spirit of life in Christ" that makes men free-the freedom of faith and righteousness-and that the new covenant is for all mankind to make them children of God and a universal brotherhood in the kingdom of Christ, the coming King of kings and Lord of lords.
The sabbath of the old covenant celebrated deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt, and it brought death to one who dared to build a fire or pick up a stick on that day. The sabbath of the new covenant celebrates deliverance from sin and death and offers a sure hope of immortality in a heavenly world to come. Which of these sabbaths will you choose? One offers the yoke of bondage and fear, with no glimmer of hope beyond the tomb. The other offers the wings of faith, and the joy of eternal life in its fullness.