Sunday, March 21, 2010

Christianity and the Sabbath

There are still some groups of people today that claim to be Christians but insist that the 7th day Sabbath be observed. They may even go as far as mixing in other Old Testament laws like abstaining from pork.

It is beyond me how they ascertain these practices from the Bible when the old law was specifically given to the tribes of Israel and not Christians. It is clearly taught in the Bible that much of the old testament law, including 1 of the 10 commandments, was changed with the new covenant of Christ.

Hebrews 6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 7:11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.

The passages above from Hebrews shows that the old testament Levitical priesthood that administered the law was changed to the order of Melchizedek. This change in priesthood necessarily changed the law. Jesus is the guarantor of a new law or new covenant.

Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. 16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

The above passage from Colossians has two key points regarding the old testament law and the Sabbath. Verse 14 is describing the old law being set aside or "nailing it to the cross." Verse 16 specifically points out that the dietary parts of the law and observation of Jewish festivals and special days, including the Sabbath are shadows of things to come in Christ Jesus and are no longer binding.

Christians are to look to Jesus for their guidance, not deprecated Jewish law. Jesus gave us commandments and examples to pattern our life after. Jesus taught the Apostles directly and they were guided and taught by the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended into heaven. We can be assured that the teachings and examples of the Apostles and how the early church worshiped are also part of the pattern we should use. This includes the practice of meeting for worship on the first day of the week.

Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.

1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

Why wouldn't disciples of Christ meet on the same day of the week that our Lord and Savior was resurrected? Nowhere in the Bible does it suggest Christians should observe the 7th day Sabbath.

Don't get me wrong, much can be learned from the Old Testament and the Old Testament laws. Principles of how to treat your neighbor fairly, morality laws, laws against idol worship and others are still applicable. But it is clear that things like the Levitical Priesthood, Sabbath observation, cleanliness rituals, most all of the dietary laws, temple worship, stoning people, et. al. were done away with within the scriptures of the New Testament.

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