The Sabbath is the "hinge" on which the others turn. This basic study treats the foundational truths about God's Sabbath day.
A common idea is that the Sabbath is the sign of the Old Covenant, but the Holy Spirit is the sign of the New. Yet the seventh day has been holy since creation.
The Sabbath provides an opportunity for God's children to develop a relationship with Him, reflecting on the spiritual as well as the physical creation.
It is from the proper use of the Sabbath—in fellowshipping with Him and getting to know Him—that we derive true spiritual rest and refreshment.
We need to develop righteous judgment about what constitutes a genuine Sabbath emergency and what may be a deceptive rationalization of our human nature.
In the Gospels, questions about the Sabbath center on how to keep it, not whether it should be kept. The way Jesus approached the Sabbath gives us an example.
Observing the Sabbath day is a vital key that this world's Christianity has lost. It opens up whole vistas of God's way and purpose!
The recent Lunar Sabbath phenomenon is unbiblical and unworkable. The weekly Sabbath, observed every seventh day, is correct and in line with God's Word.
The biblical instructions for Sabbath keeping apply far more to the church than to the Israelites, who did not have the fullness of scriptural counsel.
How and why a person keeps the Sabbath determines whether this test commandment is really a sign between God and His people or an act of futility.
In order to justify not keeping the Sabbath, many use Colossians 2:16-17 as proof that Paul did not command it. Here is what they are overlooking.
The Sabbath is an antidote to the weariness we experience. It recalls God's pausing after completing His physical creation, focusing on the spiritual creation.
God has blessed us with the Sabbath, a period of holy time, when He redeems us from the clutches of our carnality and this evil world.
The Catholic Church admits to changing the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday. Protestants who keep Sunday are bowing to presumed Catholic authority.
It is generally known and freely admitted that early Christians observed the seventh day as the Sabbath, and that mere men changed God's times and laws.
The Preparation Day is a day of 'gathering' what relates to eternity so that we can properly ingest the spiritual manna on the holy day without distraction.
We live in a society that is increasingly concerned about ownership. Yet who owns the Sabbath? How does the answer to this question affect our keeping of it?
Herbert Armstrong presents seven arguments proving that the week has not been altered over the centuries, and thus, we keep the same seventh-day Sabbath as God created in Genesis 2.
Most people think the fourth commandment is least important, but it may be one of the most important! It is a major facet of our relationship with God.
Correct actions become a sign—a witness—even without any preaching, which is why God's words are symbolically bound to the hand rather than the tongue.
The timing of Jesus Christ's resurrection has nothing to do with establishing which day God made holy, and everything to do with whether He is the Messiah.
God gave the Sabbath to His people so they can know Him intimately. Idolatry, scattering, and captivity are the natural consequences of Sabbath-breaking.
Protestants will not concede Papal authority. Instead, they justify Sunday-worship by saying they are honoring the day on which Christ rose from the dead.
The Sabbath is a period of time God purposefully sanctified and set apart for the benefit of mankind, a time dedicated to God's spiritual creation.
Whether a matter is salvational is the wrong question. There is a better question and another approach to evaluating matters that will put us on better footing.
Universal in scope, the Edenic Covenant introduces God to mankind as his Creator and establishes the way human beings are to relate to Him and the creation.
At creation, God sanctified only one day, the seventh, as a day of rest. At Sinai, He again sanctified it as a holy day, tying it to creation and freedom.
Most Israelites are blind to their origins, thinking that only Jews are Israelites. Here is why Israel has forgotten its identity.
The work required on the Sabbath is to prepare for the Kingdom of God, fellowshipping with our brethren, serving where possible, and relieving burdens.
God, not man, created, sanctified and memorialized the seventh day Sabbath from the time of creation, intending that man use this holy time to worship God.
The Sabbath reminds us that God is Creator and that we were once in slavery to sin. The Sabbath is a time of blessing, deliverance, liberty, and redemption.
The Sabbath is a special creation, a very specific period of holy time given to all of mankind, reminding us that God created and is continuing to create.
Jesus magnified the Sabbath, giving principles by which to judge our activities. Each time Jesus taught about the Sabbath, He emphasized some form of redemption.
Here is the story of a young man's momentous choice regarding his keeping of the Sabbath, a decision he had to make all on his own.
Can anything be more paradoxical than professing Christians not following the words of the One they claim as their Savior? In works they deny Him.
Focusing on material and temporal things undermines faith. The Sabbath is holy time, created for building faith, energizing our minds for fellowship with God.
In our hectic culture, we commit far too little time to God, depriving ourselves of the Holy Spirit and attenuating the faith required to draw close to God.
Benign neglect of the Sabbath covenant can incrementally lead us into idolatry. We must treat this holy time as different from the other days of the week.
Mark Schindler recounts some ominous storm fronts which ravaged Chicago, bringing lashing rains and intense wind damage. In the midst of the horrendous storm, one could see the burnt orange hue separating the intense black clouds from Lake Michigan. This glimpse of the end of the storm symbolizes the glimpse that we find in the Sabbaths and the Holy Days, a foretaste of God's Kingdom. From Passover to Pentecost to Trumpets to Atonement to the Feast of Tabernacles, these days should solidify our vision and our relationship with God the Father, Jesus Christ, and one another. At these convocations we learn to put into practice the biblical principles we have internalized, a roadmap illustrating God's purpose for us. Without living these holy days, we are in danger of being swept away by the perfect spiritual storm. These days should bolster us as God reveals His plan for us. If we don't keep these Holy Days or Feast Days in the manner God has prescribed, it is as though we had polluted or profaned these days. We need to use these days with God's vision, encouraging and exhorting one another in one accord, as it we were members of a great symphony orchestra under the direction of the Father and Son. As Abraham had to look through the ominous storm surrounding the impending sacrifice of Isaac, we have to seek the same vision of hope by observing God's Sabbaths
The reason for refraining from many activities on the Sabbath is not labor or energy, but the overall motivation. Certain works are perfect for the Sabbath.
Jesus Christ is not against signs; the book of John is structured around eight signs. The Old Testament is full of signs that the Pharisees missed.
There are over 1,200 Christian denominations in the United States! Why has God not intervened to remove the confusion and set things straight?
God has sanctified no day other than the Sabbath. Sunday worship is a pagan deviation, perpetuated by Gnosticism, a movement that despises God's laws.
John Ritenbaugh explores the several contexts in which the "first day of the week" (the word "Sunday" never appears) is used in scripture, observing that none of these scriptures (8 in all) does away with the Sabbath nor establishes Sunday as the 'Lords Day,' but invariably portrays the first day as a common work day. Because the days begin at sundown, the meeting Paul conducts at Troas in Acts 20 (on the first day of week) actually occurs Saturday night, having continued from the Sabbath. The miraculous resurrection of Eutychus occurs at this event. Paul, feeling pressed for time (feeling a compulsion to go to Jerusalem), decides (realizing he would have difficulty saying Good bye) not to go back to Ephesus, but gives final (Paul would never see them again) admonitory instructions to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, transferring responsibility for the care of the congregation over to them. Paul perceived that his work in the eastern part of the Mediterranean was coming to a close.
The Millennium or God's rest will be an exceedingly busy time, a time when all of humanity will be converted, a time everybody will be on the same trek.
The focus of Psalms Book IV and the Summary Psalm 149 is on the work of the glorified saints in serving as mediating priests under Christ.
Rejecting the Sabbath or embracing Christmas requires rejecting fundamental biblical truths. If we do not do what Christ did, we cannot claim to follow Christ.
Charles Whitaker exposes two of Satan's most blatant lies concerning God's Law. The first lie Satan has fired against is law in general. Charles Darwin wrote in a letter to Asa Gray (a friend of Darwin's and a proponent of theistic evolution) that he could find no credible evidence for beneficence and intelligent design in evolutionary processes, a process brutally cruel and evil- characterized by Tennyson as nature "red in tooth and claw." Darwin argues for a "designed law" having come together by chance. Nature's laws do not operate on "chance;" Einstein argues that God does not throw dice. Randomness occurs in neither physical nor spiritual laws. The universal consequence for all sin is inevitable death. Webster defines law as an observed regularity of nature, characterized as inevitable, absolute, and certain, totally incompatible with chance. Keeping God's Law is our assurance that the relationship we have with God is genuine. The second lie Satan has foisted upon the "Christian" world is that God's Law (including that 'burdensome' Sabbath) does not pertain to anyone outside of Israel. If the consequences of sin are universal, then God's Law is universal. God's law illumines what sin is, converting ignorant bliss into the horrifying insight that we have all sinned and have earned the death penalty. In effect, God's Law enables sin to kill us; the power of sin is the law. All of the entire creation is under sin longing and yearning for the power of God's deliverance and grace.
There is a clear demarcation in God's mind regarding which is the true way and which is not. We were formerly children of Satan until God rescued us.
A summary of the Covenants, Grace, and Law series, reiterating the differences in the Covenants and the respective places of grace and law in God's purpose.
Here are biblical strategies to cultivate the fruit of peace, including controlling our thoughts and emotions, submitting to God's will, and embracing His law.
Catholics and Protestants, because of lack of belief, do not find the Bible a sufficient guide to salvation. They claim to believe Christ, yet disobey.
A scriptural explanation of the time of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, showing that He died on a Wednesday and rose from the dead on the Sabbath.
Despite the Council of Laodicea's condemnation of the Sabbath, a group of believers termed Paulicians kept God's laws and resisted the heresy from Rome.
The days, months, and times of Galatians 4:10 do not refer to God's Holy Days (which are not weak or beggarly), but to pagan rites the Galatians came out of.
The Gnostics criticized by Paul in Colossians 2:16-17 were guilty of bringing in ritualistic ascetic discipline to propitiate demons.
John Ritenbaugh, affirming that the Sabbath was made for mankind and that Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath, does not conclude, as some Protestant theologians have erroneously inferred, that the manner of Sabbath observance is no longer important, nor has the Sabbath been 'done away'. Jesus Christ's and the apostle Paul's example in Sabbath observance (including the annual Sabbaths) provide a model as to how we keep the Sabbath and the holy days. Failing to keep the Sabbath (as well as the annual Sabbaths) breaks the two great commandments—loving God and mankind. According to the Keil-Delisch Commentary, observance of the Sabbath and the annual Holy Days was not instituted by the Old Covenant, but preceded it, making them universally applicable rather than strictly for the Jews. The ceremonial and symbolic applications taught in these holy days provide the fundamentals for the Christian's (spiritual Jew's) entire life. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, commanded them to follow him—as he observed God's annual holy days, maintaining unity in the fellowship, all speaking the same thing. Likewise, we are here to follow Christ eternally.
The Sabbath is not a mere ceremonial observance, but identifies God's people as different, and consequently a perpetual irritant to the world.
People who try to supplement their spiritual diet with lawlessness or other heresies risk losing their identity, and ultimately their spiritual life.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that the Sabbath Command (as well as all of the Ten Commandments) was made for both Jews and Gentiles (all of mankind). Throughout the book of Acts, Gentiles are faithfully keeping the Sabbath along with the Jews. Paul's insistence that a relationship with God could not be established by keeping the law did not lead to the fallacious conclusion that the law (including the Sabbath command) had been done away. Following Paul's tearful and poignant farewell to the Ephesian elders, one finds startling parallels between Paul's final journey to Jerusalem and Christ's final journey to Jerusalem, including their awareness of plots on the part of zealous Jews to kill them, their being handed over to Gentiles for sentencing, their receiving multiple predictions and warnings that they would be apprehended, their demonstrating a resolute determination to do God's will regardless of the consequences and resigning themselves to suffer death. Paul, like Christ, was accused and tried on totally fabricated charges of being antinomian and defiling the temple. As with Christ, the Gentile officials recognized that the charges made against Paul were baseless, but felt coerced by mob influence to carry out the sentence anyway. Paul, through the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit, times his arrival in Jerusalem to coincide with the pilgrim crowds arriving for Pentecost, when his testimony would have the greatest impact. Before his apprehension and imprisonment, Paul delivers the love offering collected from Gentile converts for the Jerusalem church after undergoing a purification rite demonstrating his respect for law and custom.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the proclivity of the ancient Israelites to nullify the power of the gospel, refusing to mix it with actual obedience, which stems from faith and belief. What they heard never became a part of their lives; "Egypt" never left the Israelites. We have to exercise care that we do not follow suit, assenting intellectually but hardening our hearts when it comes to making the changes demanded of us. The consequences for us are far graver than the consequences for them. By yielding to God, we begin to experience the kind of life that He experiences. The rest (katapausis) which God experiences (a period of refreshment, prefiguring the Millennial rest) is a rejuvenating, exhilarating peace of God we can experience right now. We need to yield to the correcting powers of His Word, a means of reflecting the contents and intents of the heart.
We must avoid forgetting the connection between past and present, especially as our forebears had to battle outer and inner enemies of God's truth.
It is easy to denigrate a matter as not being 'salvational,' but the real question to ask is, How will this action affect my relationship with God?
The traditions of men have perverted the Sabbath, but if we keep His law with the intent in which He gave it, we can produce actions in line with His will.
God promises to write His Law on our hearts and minds. When we experience the consequences of our or others' sins, we lean the depth of how bad sin is.
Kim Myers, reflecting on the uniqueness of our calling, asks us if we appreciate the miracle of our calling, an event which changed our orientation regarding our belief structure, diet, and moral behavior, totally at odds with the world. God has called each of us differently, giving us different support systems and different time sequences, and motivations. Nobody can come to God without His calling. God manages the events, contacts, and circumstances so we are motivated to obey Him. The men Christ called to be His disciples were not the rich and powerful, nor the high profile movers and shakers of the world, but everyday men. The calling of Saul of Tarsus, a man who had many trials and triumphs, was particularly dramatic. The common denominator of all these callings constitutes adoption as God's offspring. As a result of our calling, we will have tests and trials, but the end of the process is sanctification and glorification.
John Ritenbaugh insists that this particular topic is attached to the Old and New Covenants, solemn agreements which are eternal (God's Word is eternal) and will not pass away, nor will they be 'done away.' Some things may be set aside for a while, but they are there for our purposes for learning how to judge. Some of the aspects which the world's religious claim are 'done away' will at a future time be brought back. We need to learn to judge in a godly manner, putting merciful restraints on our tendency to condemn or jump to conclusions. We need to inculcate the two great commandments: loving God and loving our fellow humans. We need to learn that sin has different levels of consequences. When it comes to judgment, one size does not fit all. Not everything is on the same level. God is going to judge each of us individually. Our ultimate destiny is to share rulership with our High Priest, Jesus Christ, judging righteously in God's Kingdom, rightly dividing the Word of God. God's Laws set the standards upon which righteous conduct is to be judged. It takes a lifetime to prepare to judge in the Kingdom of God. Learning to apply the spiritual dimension of the law is much more difficult than applying the physical dimension. But both of these dimensions are easier to keep than the traditions and regulations of men, inherently heavy burdens. When Gentile converts were admitted into the church, they were instructed to follow Old Covenant laws regarding the strangling of animals, eating of blood, or eating meat offered to idols. Clearly, the Old Covenant was not 'done away.' After Christ's return, some of the aspects of the Old Covenant, currently in abeyance (for example, circumcision and sacrifices), will be re-instituted. There is nothing evil about the Old Covenant; it provides insights on righteous judgment.
Even though keeping the law does not justify us, it does point out to us what sin is. The law is a guide keeping us within moral and ethical boundaries.
Mark Schindler, cuing in on a theme in a previous sermonette titled Perception is Reality, suggests that the further away perception is from truth, the more dangerous become the consequences. The debacle of Enron and the disastrous Bernie Madoff ponzie scheme, followed by the latest financial meltdown, has illustrated the chasm-like gulf between the perceived version of reality and the truth. Because we live in a world whose leader's (Satan's) mind is totally deceptive, we could be coasting on the verge of destruction. Unless we love the truth, anchoring ourselves in God's precepts, we are in danger of succumbing to deadly deception. As we learn about God's Holy Days, we need to learn to treat them as sanctified times and not just substitutes for the world's holidays. As we are offered the prospects to be made whole, we have a responsibility to bring forth fruits of repentance bringing glory to God, realizing that to whom much is given much will be required. We are evidence of Jesus' power and authority through our calling. The feasts of God enable us to present ourselves as living sacrifices, our reasonable service, humbly looking for opportunities to serve one another in the function God has given us within the body of Christ, transforming our minds from a false reality to conformity to Christ's image.
Both Lot and Ezekiel were tormented by the abominations, sins, and defilement taking place within their culture, polluted with idolatry and paganism.
If we patiently endure, trusting in God's faithfulness to bring us to completion, there will be a time when we will attain the rest we desperately yearn for.
Galatians 4:9-10 is a favorite crutch of those who claim Christians no longer need to observe God's holy days. However, Paul's meaning is quite different.
Those who advocate doctrinal change portray God as a confused and false minister who lacks the power to instruct his chosen leaders to 'get it right.'
The proponents of a 15th Passover discount clear scriptural details and instead speculate. One cannot build doctrines on implication, distortion, and traditions.
Nine steps had to be included with the Passover observance, all within the house until morning. It takes place between sun's setting and complete darkness.