What about the sabbath?

Hey everyone,

I lately heard of the sabbath again and noted some verses. Keeping the sabbath is even listed in the ten commandments, but observing around in my church or in talks, its very rare to hear about that topic. How are we meant to handle/keep the sabbath in our days/society, though the catholic church changed in once to sunday, which we know is wrong, and it was back then the saturday. How are we meant to handle this according to the scripture?

There may be some errors in my post, I’m still improving my english. Also correct me if I’m wrong at any point in my statement. :wink:

Thanks for your advice!

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@sunrise Great question :slight_smile: As NT believers, Christ is our Sabbath rest. We are no longer required to observe the Sabbath. However, we should also respect the conscious of those who still feel compelled to do so.

Romans 14:5 - One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.

Colossians 2:16-17 - 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Believers are not obligated to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the sign of the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant and the Sabbath as the covenant sign are no longer applicable now that the new covenant of Jesus Christ has come. Believers are called upon to honor and respect those who think the Sabbath is still mandatory for believers. But if one argues that the Sabbath is required for salvation, such a teaching is contrary to the gospel and should be resisted forcefully. In any case, Paul makes it clear in both Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16–17 that the Sabbath has passed away now that Christ has come.

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Thanks @SeanO for your answer! Even though I’m not a newcomer in the belief in Christ, that was something new, which I probably didn’t perceive before.

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@sunrise Glad it was helpful :slight_smile: May the Lord bless and guide you as you grow in grace and knowledge of Him!

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As some of us know, i am sharing some research on the Sabbath topic in another category. I agree with much that has been shared here so far.

The one thing that i find missing in most discussions of the Sabbath topic, which i haven’t yet gotten to in my own postings, is this :

Isaiah 66:22-24
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says YHWH, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me," declares YHWH.

This seems to say, it seems to me, that in the new Heavens and Earth which will replace our current ones, we will all keep His Sabbaths as a worship day.

And that would be consistent with numerous other Scriptures, which say He does not change, like:

Isaiah 40:8
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

Hebrews 13:8
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

And, as i believe, it was the pre-incarnate Christ who wrote the 10 Commandments, in stone, by His own hand. The other 9 are eternal instructions, so why not the Sabbath which is given by the God who never changes?

Not wanting to be argumentative, just thought-provoking. Peace be with us, 7 days a week, forever.

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@DeanW Good observation :slight_smile: I think we must keep in mind that Isaiah was conveying God’s precious promises to a Jewish audience. For them, paradise was a land where they could honor the true God, have plenty of food and wine and live long and prosperous lives. That is why we also see death in Isaiah’s vision of a future world. The vision Isaiah gave was to a broken Israel of a day when Messiah would restore them - it was not a literal description of the events that would take place in the new creation.

Since we know there is no more death for those who are in Christ, we have to make sense of its presence in this text. I think there are two options:

  1. Isaiah was using imagery familiar to his audience to point to a day when death would be no more (Isaiah 25 may suggest this…). In this case, the imagery of the Sabbath would point to the fact that one day we would fin rest in God’s Kingdom forever—ultimately in Christ.
  2. Isaiah did not have the end of death in mind in this passage, but deliverance from Israel’s enemies and a Messianic age of peace and prosperity. In this case, the fulfillment is still Christ but Isaiah’s vision was one in a language familiar to his audience.

Isaiah 65:20 -Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.

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That is interesting, and i see your point of view. There is one other possibility that i also see.

In Isaiah 65, He is likely talking about Israel/Jerusalem during the 1,000 year reign of Messiah on earth (Revelation 20:6), when there will still be death, yet He maintains the peace,

But in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be no more death, and that is the context of Isaiah 66:22-24. There will only be the burning dead bodies (ashes according to Malachi 4:3) of the lost in the fire that never goes out, located outside the city of the New Jerusalem.

Isaiah 66:22-24
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says YHWH, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me", declares YHWH.
“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

So we see the promise of God is that He will give all mankind a final chance to receive Christ during the 1,000 year reign, when there will still be death, but He will rule firmly and fairly.

Then, when the Millenial Kingdom reign is ended, those who reject their King will be put to death, along with those who have rejected Him in earlier generations, as part of the Final Judgement, the Second Death (Revelation 20:14). Only their burnt dead bodies, their ashes, will be seen outside the New City, our permanent Home on the Earth made brand new (Isaiah 66:24).

If this is true, then part of our final destiny, for all mankind-made-new, in Christ, is to gladly, and lovingly, gather together to worship Him on His Sabbaths, from new moon to new moon, even though He will always be with us in Spirit, forevermore.

Just a possibility, but one which fits all the Scriptures related, as far as i can see, without having to “spiritualize away” any of them. Do you see what i am trying to convey?

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@DeanW Yes indeed :slight_smile: I was taught dispensationalism in seminary, which generally ascribes to the view that there will be a millennial reign. I don’t hold that view myself anymore, but I understand that point of view well.

I think you should be careful with the word spiritualize though… It can come across as an accusation rather than as a form of argument. Viewing Isaiah 66 as metaphorical is not the same thing as spiritualizing it and people with both views are doing their best to interpret Scripture.

I would ask Him about Hebrews 4. Perhaps everyday is the Sabbath?

@SeanO, @DeanW
This might be a junior league question, but what exactly do you all mean by ‘spiritualize’?

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@Jimmy_Sellers People use the word spiritualize differently, but its basic meaning is to interpret a text as having spiritual significance. For example, a scholar might interpret the cross of Jesus to mean that we can be free by dying to self even though they deny the resurrection. However, not all cases of spiritualizing deny the historicity of the event. You could believe in the resurrection and give it an extra spiritual application. Even Scofield said it was okay to spiritualize some texts as long as you did not deny the historical event itself. The Church fathers gave spiritual meanings to many texts we would say are simple descriptions of fact.

But the term spiritualize as used in this conversation can be traced back to Scofield, who argued strongly against the idea that the Church is the new Israel. I disagree with Scofield on this point and others, but that is not what our discussion is about here…

[In prophetic Scriptures] … we reach the ground of absolute literalness . Figures are often found in the prophecies, but the figure invariably has a literal fulfillment. Not one instance exists of a “spiritual” or figurative fulfillment of prophecy…. … Jerusalem is always Jerusalem, Israel always Israel, Zion always Zion…. Prophecies may never be spiritualized, but are always literal. Scofield

The problem with Scofield’s statement is that there are obvious instances in the Bible where a place refers to something else. For example, here in Isaiah the word Sodom is used to refer to Israel (undeniably):

Isaiah 1:10-11 - Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

In addition, Scofield himself has been accused of spiritualizing the letters to the Churches in Revelation because he believed they referred to different eras of Church history rather than historical congregations.

I think the word spiritualize is generally unhelpful unless the definition is agreed upon. Its better to use more clear terms - allegory, metaphor, foreshadow, historicity. Even with the most egregious example of denying the historicity of the resurrection and giving the text an alternate personal application, the word spiritualize does not explain clearly what the issue is…

To me, it is a vague way to say you don’t like the way the other person interpreted the text and it is generally better to take the time to clarify exactly what bothers you about their interpretation in more precise language.

I’m not sure what you mean, SeanO, about there being no millennial kingdom? How do you interpret Rev 20:4-5?

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.”

I should have been more careful with the word “spiritualize”, but the Scripture says clearly that Believers would “come to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years” and then the lost will be raised. To interpret this as poetry or something symbolic, rather than just factual future events, seems to be invalidating the Word. No?

I was once a new-ager and “spiritualized” all of Scripture. We didn’t accept anything in the Bible as really reliable fact but “metaphysicalized” it to suit what we wanted it to say. So i am perhaps a bit oversensitive to metaphorical approaches.

And to Dean S. i would offer this about :

Hebrews 4:9-10
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

This could have several levels of meaning. The word for Sabbath there is actually “Sabbath-keeping”, i have been told. [There remains a Sabbath-keeping.] So the passage could be saying we are to enter into (7th Day) Sabbath rest which the children of Israel didn’t do correctly, in disobedience, and could also be saying we are to enter into Christ’s rest from our own self-effort-works.

I recognize that most Christians would eliminate keeping the 4th Commandment, even though the other 9 top Commandments are listed in the NT (if i remember correctly), and we are never told explicitly that the 4th was eliminated.

Many folks think that the moral law was eliminated by Christ’s death, but that is not true as i see it. The Commandments were not part of the Mosaic Law, since they were not given by Moses, or written down by Moses, but rather YHW wrote them on stone (twice, since Moses broke the first set).

So the Commanments are eternal principles written down by God Himself. I understand that many folks have been taught that the 10 Commandments were part of the Law of Moses, and they were therefore abolished by Christ. Yet in the Final Kingdom, we will not lie or steal or cheat or commit adultery or covet, etc.

I also note that the stone Tablets God wrote on were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant, below the “Mercy Seat”, while the Mosaic Law was written by Moses on parchment (or its equivalent), and placed on the outside of the Ark to indicate its temporary nature, while God’s directly-written instructions were made to last.

Well, that is more than i should have tackled in one posting, i suppose. Looking forward to the questions these statements will likely prompt. :nerd_face:

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@DeanW Thank you for sharing a bit of your own story regarding spiritualization. That makes more sense now.

What you have to understand about Revelation is that it is notoriously difficult to interpret. And that includes understanding the structure of the book itself. Is Revelation a single narrative in chronological order? Or is it a retelling of the same story repeatedly using different images? I personally do not think the book is chronological. I believe it repeats itself (see thread below for some reasons why).

Keeping that in mind, here is a short explanation for Sam Storms. Reading his entire book would be helpful if you want to understand this view better.

Therefore, Revelation 20:1 is not to be thought of as following Revelation 19 in chronological order (which describes the second coming of Christ). Rather, it takes us back once again to the beginning of the NT era and recapitulates the entire present age (that is to say, it describes the same period in different but complementary terms). By doing this the amillennialist is able to interpret the binding of Satan in Revelation 20:1-3 as having already occurred during our Lord’s earthly ministry, and the 1,000-year reign (i.e., the millennium) of Revelation 20:4-6 as describing in symbolic language the entire inter-advent age in which we now live. Therefore, the thousand-year period is not a chronologically literal piece of history; it is a symbolic number coextensive with the history of the church on earth between the resurrection of Christ and his return.

Well, jimmy, i was using the term “spiritualize away” to mean taking what can be literally true in Scripture, and giving it a “spiritual” meaning which negates the possibility of it being factually true.

For example, if the Word says Christ will reign on the earth with Believers for a thousand years while Satan is bound, (but unbelievers exist and are still mortal), then to “spiritualize it away” would be to come up with an interpretation which is intended to be “spiritual” but actually negates the possibility that it could be true future fact.

As i gave the example above, in Rev 20:4-5, the ending of which says, “They (Believers) came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.”

Add that to Rev 20:1-4, which says clearly that Satan will be bound by an angel for 1,000 years after which he will be released for a little while.

And add to that the verse following the referenced passage,

Rev 20:6
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”

Now, take the whole passage from verse 1-6, and say that it doesn’t really mean Christ will have a 1,000 rule on the earth while Satan is bound, it really means something more “spiritual”, and the 1.000 is just a symbolic number.

By doing this, our interpretation invalidates the clear statements that are future prophecy. And we can do something similar with many sections of Scripture.

Another example, relating to this current topic is:

Isaiah 66:22-23
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says YHWH, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me", declares YHWH."

To “spiritualize” this we would deny that it could be literal prophecy, and give it a symbolic or metaphorical meaning. Which is not to say that this new interpretation is wrong, just that it invalidates the possibility / reality of the literal meaning.

Is that clear enough? Hope so. A bit wordy perhaps…

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To whoever gave me a “like” on this last posting, i thank you. It sometimes feels a bit lonely taking an unpopular stand in theology, as you probably know well.

But then, with Jesus living in us, how can we really be lonely? :smile:

In all things Christ is our example and when we commit to give up our life to him we are responsible our actions in Christ. There is a lot out there about keeping the Sabbath and here are a few facts about "Keeping the Sabbath
Exo 31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a Perpetual covenant.
Exo 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel For Ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
In the two above verses God Commands His people to keep the Sabbath as a Perpetual Covenant For Ever.
In truth there is not one single place in the Gospel that says anything about the Sabbath ever being changed.
Jesus Himself “Kept the Sabbath” and He was Lord over the Sabbath.
Mat 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Mar 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
Mar 6:2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Luk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Luk 4:31 And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. (As in more then one Sabbath)
The above verses show that Jesus always kept the Sabbath according to the commands of His Father.
Not even once did Christ ever denounce or command against or even hint at not keeping the Sabbath and indeed the Apostles continued to keep the Sabbath after the death of Christ
Act 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
Act 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
Act 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
God is the same today as He was Yesterday and He will never change. It was God’s command to keep the Sabbath and that command has never been changed,. Christ came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it.
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill
For the next 325 years or so after the death of Christ the Sabbath was kept but a chasm that had been brewing for many years between the Jerusalem church and the Roman church exploded and the Jerusalem as the seat of authority for Christendom faded away and the Roman Church became dictator of Doctrinal Beliefs. Here is an excerpt from my book titled The Jerusalem Church.
“As the Roman church began to separate itself from its Hebrew roots, it began to adopt more and more pagan practices, and after Constantine, who was a sun worshiper before he converted to Christianity, made himself emperor/pope, the paganization of the church accelerated. Almost overnight, pagan temples became churches, and pagan parishioners and priests became Christians. This is where we get the name for our first day of the week, Sunday, and how it came to be that on Easter Sunday we will go to church early for a sunrise service, literally watching the sunrise, which is symbolic of the rise of Christ, but is still a pagan ritual. The problem with this sunrise service to commemorate the raising of Jesus from the dead is that Jesus didn’t rise with the rising sun; he was already raised while it was still dark just before dawn. In Matthew 28:1- 6 (KJV), the Bible doesn’t say anything about Jesus coming out of the tomb at the time of the rising sun because even before the angle was sitting on the stone, Christ had already risen from the dead and had already left the tomb, which means the tomb was empty before sunrise.”
Historically speaking God never changed His day of rest/worship from Saturday to Sunday. It was the Roman Church so the idea that we are no longer required to “Keep the Sabbath” is inherently wrong because God never changed that requirement, Men did. However I go to church on Sunday and I have seen God work on every day of the week and the only churches that worship on Saturday are small and tainted in some way to the extreme for the most part.