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Was the Mosaic Sabbath Eternal and Unchangeable?

 by Robin Brace, UK Aplolgetics

Some Seventh-Day People Insist that the Principles of the Mosaic Sabbath Are Unchangeable and that, Therefore, the Prescribed Mosaic Sabbath Should be seen as Having Commenced from Creation;

But Is This Really Biblical?

Glaring Weaknesses in Sabbatarian, Seventh Day Adventist and Armstrongist Theology Frankly Considered

Is the Genesis 2 Seventh Day ‘Rest’ Essentially Inseparable From the ‘Mosaic Sabbath’?

Some  seventh-day observing people, undoubtedly sincere, but perhaps naive, seem to believe that if they can establish that the Sabbath was instituted in Creation Week then it must follow that the seventh-day Sabbath – as a legal obligation for all believers – is still in force. But what these people do not appear to understand is that every single Bible-believing Christian accepts that the Seventh Day ‘Rest’ (actually, not specifically the ‘Sabbath’) was instituted in Creation Week since that is plainly a biblical fact (Genesis 2:2-3), and nobody can argue with it – but that the original Creation Week Seventh-Day ‘Rest’ had no legalistic restrictions applied to it; those prescriptions and restrictions only came in at Sinai with the Old Covenant and were applied to Israel alone. Moreover, it is not at all difficult to establish this through the record of Scripture, as we are going to see.

The original Seventh Day – not originally ‘sabbath’ – the word ‘sabbath’ does not occur until Exodus 16:23 (of course, one cannot deny that the very origin of the word ‘sabbath’ is based on ‘rested,’ but it is nevertheless important to point this out), was given to all of mankind as a day of joy, contemplation of the Creator God and contemplation upon the beauty of Creation, apart from rest from ones normal labours. Notice Genesis 2:2-3 again.

‘By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creation that he had done.’ (Genesis 2:2-3, NIV throughout).

Yet please notice that Genesis 2:2-3 only refers to the Lord’s resting – there is not a single word there which bans anything, the text is entirely positive, and, thereafter, God did not impose ‘Seventh day’ observance (and certainly not Sabbath observance), anywhere in the entire book of Genesis! Please note that Genesis 2:2-3 never says anything like, ‘The Lord rested on that day and, from henceforth, no work or labour must ever occur on that day.’ No – the very first reference to ‘Rest’ is entirely positive with no mention of later requirement or restriction. Moreover, one may scan the entirety of Genesis, read of the Lord’s dealings with Adam, read of Noah, read of the Flood, read of the lives of the Patriarchs, read of Sodom and Gomorrah, read of Jacob and Joseph, right through Joseph’s life in Egypt and right up to the death of Joseph and there is never talk of a ‘sabbath’ or of any required ‘Seventh Day’ or sabbath observance anywhere!  The first example of obligatory, or required, sabbath observance is of Israel on-route from Egypt to Sinai in Exodus 16. Moreover – and this must be very carefully noted – according to Deuteronomy 5:2-3 and Nehemiah 9:13-14, the sabbath was never an official covenant obligation prior to the ratification of the Ten Commandments at Sinai:

“…Since the sacrifice of Christ, the Sabbath has changed again (Matthew 11:28-12:8). It is now fulfilled in Christ with an eternal sabbatism awaiting Christians in Heaven.” (Hebs 3:18-4:11).

Yes, God made that day, one day out of every seven, holy and special; a day of peace and blessing, that is, it was there if Mankind wanted to use it (it is now recognised that people actually work harder when they have a complete break from regular employment and normal activity one day in seven; seven days a week ‘workaholics’ end up with broken health, and often seem to lose balance in other areas of their lives as well). 

‘The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. IT WAS NOT WITH OUR FATHERS THAT THE LORD MADE THIS COVENANT, BUT WITH US.’

(Deuteronomy 5:2-3, my emphasis).

An argument which one sometimes hears from the seventh-day Sabbatarians (and I believe that SDA writer Desmond Ford is one who has used it), goes something like this:

‘You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.’ (Nehemiah 9:13-14).

So, the principle of the ‘Sabbath,’ which required observance, can only be dated back to Moses. Yet many Seventh Day observing people have been erroneously taught that the Sabbath was always a legal requirement but that the Lord chose Sinai to “remind” the people of the Sabbath and His other laws, which they had “forgotten.” Sincere or not, these people do not have Scripture on their side; indeed, Israel are only ‘called out’ and formally organised as a people and a separate nation from the time of the exodus. So the Scripture is clear and unequivocal that the Old Covenant package – including strict Sabbath laws – only dates back to the time of Moses. Actually, the Old Testament is so clear on this point, with great stress laid on the description and detailing of the Old Covenant in the books of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, with a careful description of the divine deliverance of the Ten Commandments and the book of the law and the agreement and ratification of that with the Israelites, that one is really without excuse in challenging this. The only possible reason one could ever have for challenging this point is to make some obscure theological point which is against the run of Scripture – and that is exactly what Sabbatarians attempt to do.

So Nehemiah confirms what any careful research of the book of Genesis reveals, that is, that although the ‘Seventh Day’ was instituted at Creation Week, the observance of a ‘Sabbath’ was never a legal requirement until Mount Sinai.

So only Israel were given the Sabbath as a required observance and, in fact, the Sabbath was a major sign of Israel. Apart from Israel, the rest of us simply have the principle that to rest from ones normal labours and industries one day in seven and to contemplate on our God and on the wonder and beauty of His Creation is a truly godly principle – but not a legal requirement! Most Christians like to set aside ‘The Lord’s Day’ (the day of Christ’s resurrection) in this way and even occasionally call it the ‘sabbath’ even while usually fully understanding that it is not – and never was – the Sabbath. That day is the actual and specific period of time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset which was given to Israel at Sinai (the Genesis 2 ‘Seventh Day’ is not specific).

‘In the fourth (sabbath) commandment there exists a parallel between what took place during the first six days of creation week and what transpired on the seventh day. One should note the tense in Exodus 20:11:

“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth…and rested the seventh day; Wherefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”

All four verbs are in the past tense. No one disputes that the first two apply to Creation week. The correlation of divine acts clearly indicates that the blessing and the hallowing took place at the same time as the resting.

The last phrase, “and hallowed it,” has no significance unless the Sabbath was proclaimed and set aside for human beings at Creation. The Hebrew term in this passage occurs repeatedly in Scripture to denote a public proclamation.’

The common Seventh Day Adventist error is in failing to notice the difference between the original institution of something and the point at which a particular divine prescription comes into effect. Frankly, it is very sloppy biblical interpretation. Yes, the Seventh Day was set aside at Creation but there were no legalistic observances attached to it at that time. But when the Israelites were given the Old Covenant (from Exodus 20), the Sabbath was given a special and prominent place and various legalistic observances were added – but those parts were added at Mt Sinai and only had effect and force under the Old Covenant! So – yes the Seventh Day was hallowed and set aside at Creation but it was given to all of mankind as a day of joy, of contemplation upon nature, and of rest. But no commands accompanied it at that time. The ‘Seventh Day’ only became the ‘Sabbath’ at the time of Moses. You think I am wrong? Then search Genesis to provide me with an example of a ‘sabbath’ or of any exhortation to keep a sabbath; oh, and by the way, the events related in Genesis cover an amazingly long period of time, actually several thousand years: so, several thousand years with no sabbath command!

Four Further Sabbath Questions

1. Is the ‘Seventh Day’ on which the Creator ‘rested’ in Genesis necessarily the very same weekday as the 7th Day Sabbath of Moses?

No. Some use naive reasoning here; they will say that since the Mosaic Sabbath is the ‘seventh day’ then it must be the same ‘seventh day’ as Genesis 2. However, it appears that ‘seventh’ is only used in Genesis 2 in order to denote a principle of rest one day in seven, a principle which has been shown to be mentally and physically beneficial for Mankind. Yes, the day and principle is even sanctified, but since several thousand years separate Genesis 2 and Exodus 16:23, which is the first ever use of the word ‘Sabbath’ in Holy Scripture, it is impossible to be certain that it is the same ‘seventh day,’ although maybe Exodus 31:14-17 implies that it is. However, the reason that the Lord links the Sabbath to Creation Rest is that He is identifying Himself to Israel as the true and living Creator God. By the way, the same Scripture confirms that the Sabbath was a sign between the Lord and Israel (but not between the Lord and all Mankind).2. Is the Sabbath the ‘Seal of God’?

Some Sabbatarians have claimed that the seventh-day Sabbath is the ‘Seal of God.’ But the Seal of God is certainly not the Sabbath. The Bible tells us clearly that the ‘Seal of God’ is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13 says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.”
Ephesians 4:30 warns, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 states “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”

3. Is a Sabbath-keeping church, or denomination, the Commandment-keeping church of Revelation 12:17?

Rev. 12:17 says, “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
In the New Covenant, what are the “Commandments of God”? Does this mean the Ten Commandments? Actually, no, the Greek word used for the Ten Commandments and ‘Law’ is “nomos.” That word is not used here. The word used here is “entole” and it is a much broader word, usually meaning “teachings.”
In Revelation and in his epistles too John uses ‘entole’ rather a lot. Before we find John’s own definition of the way he uses the word, let us look at another example,
I John 5:1-3 says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

These verses are frequently used to teach people that they must still keep the Sabbath since it is one of the Ten Commandments, however, the Apostle John finally defines his use of “commandments” for us. In chapter 3 of this small epistle, he defines it specifically:
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in is sight. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him…”
I John 3:21-24a.

4. Did the Roman Catholic Church change the day of the Sabbath at the Council of Laodicea?

It is amazing how common and widespread this complete mis-information is among sabbatarians! In fact, the Council of Laodicea sat 363-365AD and The Roman Catholic Church did not even exist until several centuries after that! The early “catholic” church, as described in church histories, is the Church which Jesus founded! The word ‘catholic’ simply meant ‘universal’ and the term was often used to separate biblical churches from heretical groups. However, the congregation based at Rome increasingly followed unbiblical teachings and emphases, especially in placing all power in the hands of a ‘pope,’ taking an independent line in doctrine and approving superstitious practises. Roman Catholicism reached the peak of its power and influence in the 11-13th centuries and can be discerned as a separate movement from about the 7th century. While a few earlier Roman bishops were known as ‘popes’ this was not the grandiose sense of ‘pope’ of later centuries.
The Council of Laodicea may have been guilty of anti-Jewish sentiments but nothing more, because, the First Day, or, Lord’s Day, was already established as a day of Christian meeting in the 1st and 2nd centuries which we know from many sources, including Justin Martyr, the Epistle of Barnabas, Irenaeus, the Epistle of Ignatius, Apostolic Constitutions, and other sources too.
R.J. Bauckham says this,
“Anti-Judaism played its part in second-century Christian polemic against Jewish Sabbath observance, but it does not follow that it motivated the introduction of Christian Sunday worship…..Sunday worship dates back to the first century, while few second-century writers compare and contrast the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday. Derogatory discussions of the Jewish Sabbath do not usually refer to the Christian Sunday. If Sunday were a recent substitute for the Jewish Sabbath, we should expect far more discussion of the superiority of Sunday to the Sabbath.” (R. J. Bauckham, From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, p. 271, edited by D.A. Carson.)
Robin A. Brace, 2007.

So here it is being suggested that the Sabbath – as given to Israel at Sinai had always been in force as an obligation, when, as we have already seen, that is simply not the case. Moreover to insist that it is so, shows that one has never carefully studied the book of Genesis or even discovered the plain statements of Deuteronomy 5:2-3 and Nehemiah 9:13-14. Also, the Lord appeared to identify Himself with the original ‘Creation Rest’ in order to positively identify Himself as the Creator God, that is, the ‘I AM,’ rather than to infer that the Mosaic Sabbath had any sort of continuous lineage with the Genesis 2 divine rest. Certainly, the Lord based the authority and precedent for the Old Covenant sabbath on the Creation Rest, that is undeniable, but the two things are obviously quite different.

The unbiblical argument of the claimed ‘one required seventh day observance for all men of all time’, sometimes continues in the following fashion:

‘There is no instance in Scripture of a memorial being instituted thousands of years after the event it memorialized. The Passover, for example, began at the time of the deliverance it symbolized.’

So here it is apparently insisted that a divine prescription cannot later change and yet Holy Scripture presents us with several examples of Old Testament institutions being changed even before we reach the changes of the New Covenant. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for example, had no knowledge of the package of laws delivered to Moses and the children of Israel at Mount Sinai! This is obvious to the keen student of Scripture before we even find confirmation of this fact in Deuteronomy 5:2-3 and Nehemiah 9:13-14. Regarding using the Passover as a thing which began ‘at the time of the deliverance which it symbolized’ (therefore – presumably – suggesting that a later change is impossible), one wonders why an example which can be so quickly refuted would ever be chosen (simply compare Exodus 12 with Matthew 26: 20-30 !!). In fact, Jesus changed the way the Passover had been observed up until His time, turning it into Christian communion. Even the form of “passover” or “memorial” conducted among several legalistic sects (including the Worldwide Church of God and the Jehovah’s Witnesses) has little in common with the Passover given to Israel! The fact that “the Passover began at the time of the deliverance it symbolized” (as seventh-day writers sometimes state) proves nothing, and is actually a very poor example. God is able to change things, and Scripture amply testifies to this.

Later we find the major changes of the New Covenant. We learn that Old Covenant law was never intended to be permanent:

‘The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.’  (Luke 16:16).

Of course, a few complain that the Sabbath command was part of the Ten Commandments and not part of Old Covenant law which, again, reveals a certain biblical naievity: The Ten Commandments stand at the very heart of the Old Covenant in Exodus 20! Those theologians who came along later who often separated components of Old Covenant observance into things like ‘the ceremonial law,’ ‘the civil law,’ and ‘the moral law,’ were only artificially separating those parts for purposes of closer study. The Torah presents one, unified law.

‘All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no-one is justified before God by the law…’  (Galatians 3:10-11a).

‘What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come…’  (Galatians 3:19a).

‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.’  (Hebrews 1:1-2).

‘For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.’  (Hebrews 7:12).

‘By calling this covenant “new” he has made the the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.’  (Hebrews 8:13).

‘But now, by dying to what bound once us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.’ (Romans 7:6).

By the way, nobody is saying that the Sabbath was a ‘memorial instituted thousands of years after the event’ (as seventh-day writers often infer to be the Christian position because of the gap from Creation to Mount Sinai), one day out of every seven was indeed recognised as ‘holy time’ in Genesis long before the time of Moses but only at the time of Moses did ‘Sabbath observance’ begin with many prescriptions and restrictions being added. This is simply what inspired Scripture teaches us, however unpalatable to Seventh Day Adventist theology it may be. Indeed, since the sacrifice of Christ, the Sabbath has changed again (Matthew 11:28-12:8). It is now fulfilled in Christ with an eternal sabbatism awaiting Christians in Heaven (Hebrews 3:18- 4:11). With this in mind, it is hardly surprising that the New Testament does not contain a single admonition for Christians to continue to observe a ‘sabbath,’ even though Christian doctrine and practise is well-covered in the epistles and in the book of Hebrews. An even bigger problem for those who teach one regulated sabbath observance which is more or less ‘set in stone’ for all time, is Acts 15 where, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and dating to about AD49 or 50, the Apostles discussed which elements of Old Covenant law needed to be taught to those Gentiles who were coming to Christ. The Sabbath is highly conspicuous by its absence! Since the topic was, apparently not even raised, this tends to confirm that the Apostles fully understood that the Sabbath was given to Israel alone. In a rare moment of  ‘off the record’ candour a strong sabbatarian once admitted to me that Acts 15 is a major and unresolved weakness in sabbatarian argument.

A Seventh Day minister I used to know (WCG, not SDA), loved quoting Hebrews 13:8 to back up his belief that the seventh day ‘sabbath’ and the Leviticus 23 Mosaic ‘holydays’ were still in force for Christians:

‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.’

Of course, that statement is true but it describes the unchanging character and purposes of God. Just consider: If it means that Old Testament doctrine can never change (as this sincere but seriously misguided man seemed to infer), then you and I should still be performing animal sacrifices, Jesus was plainly wrong in some of His ‘sermon on the mount’ comments, Paul was plainly seriously wrong in numerous comments he made (especially in Romans and Galatians), and the writer of Hebrews (whoever it was) was an arch-heretic!!

So because the Lord set things up in a certain way, either at Creation or at the time of Moses, does not mean that those things can never change or have various prescriptions later added or annulled. To reject this is to either show a poor knowledge of Holy Scripture, or, more seriously, it is to attempt to force ones ‘official doctrines’ to fit in with Scripture rather than to allow Holy Scripture alone to shape ones doctrinal approach.

Robin A. Brace, 2007.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Used with permission.  Many thanks to UK Apologetics.

This article is also linked to on the Articles page here at JGIG.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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8 Responses

  1. […] Brace takes on the question of whether Christians need to observe the Sabbath. “The common Seventh Day Adventist error is […]

  2. Some great pointers in this article. Thanks for posting!

  3. The disciples/apostles were DAILY in the temple (along with the sacrifices). ….and in the 1000 year reign, all who are there will be involved in sacrificing, don’t take my word for it or not, it is in the Bible, and these 2 passages refer in context to the last days/1000 year reign, and include statements of “ALL FLESH” and “EVERY ONE that is left of the nations” these are not terms referring to the physical children of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob are they?

    Is. 66
    23And 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.

    Zech. 14
    16 And it shall come to pass, that ***every one that is left of all the nations*** which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
    17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

    Acts 2:46
    46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

    Acts 3:1
    1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. (These prayers were accompanied by a prescribed sacrifice)

    Acts 5: 42
    42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

    Gentiles observing the sabbath is recorded Acts 13:
    42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the *Gentiles* besought that these words might be preached to them the *next sabbath*.

    Even Paul was involved in offering sacrifices. Check out Acts 21:
    23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
    24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

  4. Hi Momma 2 4 –

    One of the issues you bring up just came up from another commenter here at JGIG, regarding worship practices during the Millenium. My response to that below (I’ll answer your other part of your comment in a separate response):

    One of the main teachings in the Hebrew Roots Movement is that sacrifices and Temple ordinances will be reinstituted in the Millenium. Zechariah 14 is one Scripture that the HRM uses to support that teaching.

    Here’s the passage:

    Zechariah 14
    1 A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you.
    2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.
    3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
    6 On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. 7 It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime—a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light.
    8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.
    9 The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.
    10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place, from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
    12 This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day men will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. Each man will seize the hand of another, and they will attack each other. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
    16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
    20 On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A couple of things strike me about this passage. First of all, the prophecy was communicated in terms that both the prophet and the hearers were familiar with. Though they had prophecy regarding their coming Messiah, they had no working knowledge of Who He is or how His ministry and and the plan of Redemption would actually manifest. Their concepts of what was to come were in the shadows of the Feasts . . . the reality was still to come in Jesus Christ.

    Secondly, this is a passage which those in the HRM like to use to convince people that the temple and sacrificial systems will be re-instituted during the Millenium. So we “better start practicing now”. Those in the HRM who are Amillenialists hold more to a Dominionism theology, teaching that we (believers) are responsible for bringing about the world conditions to make it “possible” for Messiah to come back.

    Knowing how much I don’t know about the HRM (there are so many variables in the HRM spectrum with so many cultish belief systems that feed into it – it’s hard to keep up!), I’m sure there are several more views that I’m not mentioning. But the basic idea is that the Old Covenant practices will be put back into practice, with Messiah as the Ruler over all.

    Back to the prophecy of this passage being communicated in terms that the prophet and the hearers were familiar with . . . If you read it in that context, and then re-read it with the truths of the completed work of Redemption in the New Covenant in mind, you can see where the shadows of what was to come apply to what is now the reality in Christ.

    Christ came to “Tabernacle” with us in that He came and dwelt among men fully as God and man, and after His Ascension, He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell believers, which makes us the tabernacle (”do you not know that your body is a temple . . . “).
    Why does the passage talk about Egypt? Egypt, Babylon, and Rome have all been symbolic of the world (the unsaved) in the Bible. If you read the passage in the context of believers worshipping and non-believers obviously not worshipping, it fits in a New Covenant perspective. Eternal life for the redeemed, death (no rain = no life) for the un-redeemed.

    The HRM view that Old Covenant Feasts and practices will come back makes no sense at all considering that Christ has fulfilled all. He was the FINAL sacrifice. He is the reality of what the Feasts foreshadowed. There are some events that still need to play out, historically, but the work is done. It is finished.

    Christ commanded us to love God, love others, make disciples. Going back to the Law doesn’t spread the Gospel to the nations, it isolates and turns ones heart toward self and the duties we must perform to be pleasing to God. What He really desires is for us to merely share the Life for which He paid so dear a price with others, bringing precious souls into relationship with Him.

    More in a separate response . . .

    Blessings,
    JGIG

  5. Hi again Momma 2 4 –

    Regarding the passages in the book of Acts that you reference, it’s very important to understand that the book of Acts is primarily a history of what happened in the infant Church, and is not necessarily a portion of Scripture from which doctrine is to be derived.

    The example of Paul participating in sacrifices is a documentation of an event, not an indication of ongoing practice. In fact, Paul, having been a Pharisee of spotless reputation, spent many years away from Jerusalem after his conversion to Christianity. That means he could not have kept the Law, for he was not making the trek to Jerusalem 3 times per year for as the Law commands for the “pilgrimage” Feasts. After the passage (Acts 21) that you refer to, if you read the rest of the book of Acts, you will see that from that point on, again there was a period of years that Paul was basically a prisoner and could not possibly have kept the commands of the Law.

    I’m just curious – Does your family participate in the sacrificing of animals for either ceremonial or purification purposes? If not, why not? If so, why? (I understand that in the HRM belief system atonement sacrifices were made unnecessary by the blood atonement of Yeshua – but there are some that actually do participate in the required sacrifices during the Feasts – hence my question to you.)

    The letters to the Corinthians and the Hebrews (among others) call the Church into a maturity she was not ready for in her infancy as recorded in the book of Acts. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews speaks of the Law “passing away” (Hebrews 8:13 – “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”)

    The second letter to the Corinthians compares the significance of the the “fading glory” on the face of Moses after he returned from Sinai (carrying the Law that came with glory) and the significance of the increasing Glory of the ministry of the Spirit . . . Paul says it so much better than I can =o):

    2 Corinthians 3

    1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

    4Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    7Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

    12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Blessings,
    JGIG

  6. Hey, Sabbath keeping is not part of the Mosaic covenant at all! It was established by the Creator following completion of the creation. For mankind, not just those of the Mosaic covenant, after all. would love to discuss this further.

  7. Hi Carolann –

    Please forgive me for asking this, but I must in light of your comment . . .

    Did you actually read the article posted above?

    Honestly wondering,
    -JGIG

  8. One of the easiest counter-arguments to the whole “the Law is eternal” thing is that the Hebrew word of “eternal” is more like “indefinite,” the idea being that the end, if there is any, is not in sight, over the horizon.

    Another counter-point is that while the Law is eternal, as in valid, we’re not under it because we’ve been born again (even Jewish believers).

    A third point is that the Law is not a salary-based contract, but work-based contract. Once the purpose of the work is accomplished, the workers are paid and the contract no longer applies to them. Such a contract is eternal in a sense, because it’s for an indefinite period of time.

    One of the problems addressed elsewhere is the false teaching that the Sabbath is a sign of obedience, or a mark that signifies to God we’re His. First of all, God doesn’t need an outward sign. Second, many people, including Herod the Great, were sabbath-keepers, and were obviously NOT obedient to God.

    The truth is that the Sabbath is a sign, but every sign requires the one who signifies, the significance of the sign, and who the sign is for. The Sabbath was created by God, to communicate to the Israelites that He is the Lord and salvation, Now that Christ is come, He is our Sabbath rest.

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