Without Rule Of Law

Anarchy…

What does this word conjure in your imagination? He who can put the most boots on the ground and who has the biggest guns becomes king, or rather a warlord of sorts. This word “anarchy” generates images of rule by warlords, chaos in which the most revolting crimes are committed without penalty, complete and total lawlessness. Hordes of base criminals, best described as predators of the innocent, seem to come forth as though spontaneously generated. Bloodshed and indescribable evil become common place with looting and rioting.

Anarchy is the result of the complete and total breakdown of society, and ultimately what one might term rule of law. Society is governed by these laws, which alongside measures of enforcement, prevent the picture thus described. Although law in society is often broken, the scene pictured is held in check by armed and trained individuals who serve either in the military or police and essentially the Government.

Laws and their enforcement generate restraint with masses of individuals, who would prefer to live peaceably rather than create problems for themselves and their lives as a result of breaking those laws. The average individual knows that remaining in a state of abiding by laws is in their best interest, if they wish to avoid being arrested and thrown in prison, much less shot and killed. Therefore some of the baser crimes that an individual may wish to commit, were no laws present to stop them, may remain somewhat closeted. This is due to the potential to create serious problems, and no doubt because of an inability to perpetrate such crimes as a result of a lack of skills which might be required in order to escape punishment and evade the enforcers of law. Thus a closeted criminal remains a law abiding citizen, provided they do not suddenly acquire the skills that would enable them to get away with crimes.

Human nature is ultimately a base thing. In the book of Galatians, there is a description of what is known as the “Works of the flesh.” Some of the crimes that would come about as a result of anarchy in the land are listed among them. Paul also once wrote that “in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” I have produced this passage, as well as the texts from Galatians 5. Suffice it to say however that this all references human nature, which ultimately leads to the picture of anarchy described above. This is a result of the fact that we are all sinful fallen human beings with base passions, that if not restrained and overcome through Christ, lead to evil. One need only look at the wars consistently waged between countries, and the indescribable evil often perpetrated during those wars, to get a complete picture of what human nature is ultimately capable of.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” – Romans 7:18

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21

Note Paul’s use of the word “flesh” in Romans 7. He immediately connects the word with “in me”, indicating that this is something internal. Galatians 5 produces a list of sins of which the flesh is ultimately capable of if not restrained. Putting the pieces together this very clearly references human nature. Some of the things on the list are not necessarily condemned by the laws of man. Adultery, Idolatry, Witchcraft, and Hatred are prime examples of this. However, notice that “murders” is among the list. This in addition to another form of adultery known as rape would be prevalent in a world in which there was Anarchy, merely on the grounds that no rules exist to govern mankind and aid in restraining his base passions.

According to Scripture mankind is base. Therefore were the laws of the land to be removed, anarchy would be the inevitable result. Without rule of law there is nothing to stop this from happening. I then find what the Christian world has done with the laws of God to be strange. Too many echo the oft-repeated assertion that the Ten Commandments have been abolished, and that God’s laws have been nailed to the cross. Given the words of Paul in the book of Romans, I would imagine that this teaching is pleasing to the carnal heart.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” – Romans 8:7

In all reality, there isn’t an ounce of truth to this assertion. To picture the ridiculousness of the abolition of the Ten Commandments, one need only take statements from them such as “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal” or even “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and picture the result of them no longer being in effect. Christians would then be free to hate each other, look at porn, cheat on their spouses, steal from their neighbors, and even murder some one without repercussions from God. Moral restraint becomes arbitrary and goes out the front door, resulting in what one might term a spiritual anarchy.

Many in the Christian world do not oppose these things mentioned. Some will even go so far as to suggest that through love for God and our fellow man, we naturally do the things listed above. That in following the spirit of Christ these things just happen. Yet they turn around and assert that the law of God is abolished. The level of blindness to the contradiction in their thinking is worthy of a palm to the face. It is foolish and contradictory to assert that you naturally keep the law through Christ and yet in the same breath exclaim that it was abolished, for if it had been abolished there would be no keeping of the Ten Commandments at all.

These types of claims demonstrate a complete ignorance of the Biblical definition of Sin, as found in the book of 1 John. The passage in question reads, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” – 1 John 3:4. With Sin defined as the transgression of the law by the Scriptures, it should be clear that to abolish the law is an act which in and of itself removes any possibility of transgression. You cannot break a law which does not exist. Therefore I as a Christian would be free to cheat on my wife, supposing I had one, and could not be held accountable by God for any reason. I could essentially be saved in transgressions, and go to heaven regardless of whatever evil practices were present in my life.

What I have described is of course not possible. The simple fact is that sin has a defined punishment attached to it. This is found in the sixth chapter of Romans, where there are astounding and powerful statements that speak of the possibility for victory over sin. Note that in the text, the “wages of sin” is defined as death. Wages are something earned for work which a person does. Thus by committing sin you earn death. The reality is that this means a person who has earned this will miss out on salvation. If the Ten Commandments were abolished, than it would be very arbitrary of God for anyone to be lost because of Sin. How can you transgress a law which does not exist?

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

Were the Ten Commandments ultimately abolished, this would leave the Christian in a position where they could do whatever they want. While the more intellectual have a tendency to make outrageous claims about naturally doing the things mentioned in the law through love in spite of it’s supposed abolition, the less studious and more simple minded would no-doubt take the idea of the abolition of the Ten Commandments as a license to sin. This of course is the ultimate and inevitable conclusion that one may come to. Since sin is defined in Scripture as “transgression of the law”, the thought that the Ten Commandments were done away with creates the suggestion of freedom to transgress, since you cannot break a law which no longer exists.

The senselessness of the teaching that the Ten Commandments were done away with has a tendency to boggle the mind. This teaching is something which I would include on a list of teachings within Christianity that make very little sense, are contradictory in some way, and do not really have a foundation in the Bible. Reality is that Scripture does not teach that the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross, neither does it teach that it is even possible for the law of God to be done away with. In the book of Matthew, around the fifth chapter, we find a series of strong statements made by Christ illustrating this fact to us.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:17-19

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” – Luke 16:17

Christ states specifically “think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” There are some who interpret this word “fulfil” as though this in and of itself abolishes the Ten Commandments on the grounds that the “law was fulfilled”, therefore the logic is that the law was done away with. However were this the case Jesus would be contradicting himself. He would in effect be saying, “I did not come to destroy the law. I came destroy the law.” This is ultimately a reason in which every word used in the text should be considered.

These words of Christ state that it was not his mission to destroy the law, and that nothing was to pass from it. He even used such strong language as “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law.” These terms indicate very strongly that it is impossible for the Ten Commandments to be done away with, as long as the earth still stands and that the term “fulfilled” in no way means what people take it to mean. We then have instruction in the nineteenth verse which completely invalidates the thinking that “fulfilled” means to abolish. These statements of Christ suggest that whoever breaks one of the commandments, and teaches men to do so, shall be “called least in the kingdom of heaven.” This language is very clear, and seems to place questions in one’s mind. Supposing that “fulfilled” means “abolished” how is it that one could be called least for breaking the Ten Commandments? Obviously that wouldn’t make any sense.

G4137

πληρόω

plēroō

play-ro’-o

From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: – accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.

Yet if this is all the case, what is the meaning of the mysterious word “fulfilled”? Doesn’t this word prove that Christ meant to abolish the law? Such a conclusion ignores the Greek meaning, produced above from Strong’s Concordance. Note the word “satisfy” and “execute” found in the definition. They seem to be the only definitions among the list produced that actually fit with the meaning of the word, given the rest of Christ’s words in the text, showing that the original meaning of the writer would’ve had to have been something along those lines. Otherwise contradictions and violence is done to the passage. Thus these Bible verses in fact state that it is impossible to do away with the Ten Commandments. Note that the equivalent passage produced above from Luke says virtually the same thing, only this time without using the word “fulfilled.”

Yet even without these texts, there are quite a few New Testament verses which mention the Ten Commandments. Many would be shocked to learn this, as some have claimed that the New Testament does not mention them. Note that in the book of Revelation, there are several verses which mention God’s law. All of these verses are prophetic in their nature. Some of these passages have a future application, while some are presently being fulfilled. If this is indeed the case, how can the Ten Commandments have been done away with? That is a thought which of course causes a man to scratch his head in confusion.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation 12:17

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” – Revelation 14:9-12

The first passage speaks of a dragon wroth with a woman. He then tries to make war with the woman, and the “remnant of her seed” which are defined as keeping the commandments of God. The commandments of God are obviously the Ten Commandments. Jeremiah 6:2 and Revelation 12:9 define for us these other terms. These texts, when combined with Revelation 12:17, teach us that the woman is the Church and the dragon is Satan. Thus Satan is enraged with a church, the remnant or remainder of which are defined as “keeping the commandments of God” and designated as that which the devil makes war with. If the Ten Commandments were done away with, why is Satan making war on the remainder of a church which keeps God’s commandments? This seems a fairly good question.

In the texts from Revelation fourteen, notice that an angel is proclaiming a message. This message is a warning that if anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark in his forehead or in his hand, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” The very next thing which follows are descriptions of torment via fire and brimstone. What is interesting is the contrast mentioned in the final verse of the three. In the twelfth verse, it says “here are they that keep the commandments of God” and this is then defined as the “patience of the saints.” The saints are obviously the people of God. Such a thought is difficult to dispute. However the saints are defined essentially as keeping God’s commandments. Were the Ten Commandments to be abolished, such a statement appearing in the book of Revelation would be rather outlandish.

“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 19:17-19

“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 neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 13:8-9

As one comes across these texts, the idea that the Ten Commandments were done away with starts to vanish. In the statements from the book of Matthew, Jesus appears to connect them to Salvation, telling the rich young ruler to keep them. The Ten Commandments are quite obviously referenced here, as Jesus lists a series of specific commandments which are found in the second table. Note that his statements are not meant to convey these are the only ones which should be kept. The Christian would then be free to worship idols and take the Lord’s name in vain. Such a thought is ridiculous and taking a seriously large amount of license. Instead the Ten Commandments are pointed out.

The next passages are from the book of Romans. Logically these would be statements from which one gets the idea that love does away with or supplants the law, in addition to some texts where Jesus made similar comments. However these texts are not really saying that. Paul starts out by saying that we should owe no man anything but to love one another. Thus he says that we should love each other, and that this “hath fulfilled the law.” He then goes on to list several of the commandments which appear in the second table of the Ten Commandments, and states that they are “briefly comprehended” in the saying “love thy neighbor as thyself.” In other words, if you love your neighbor you will naturally refrain from stealing their things, committing adultery with their wife, murdering them, or coveting their stuff. These texts do not teach that love replaces the Ten Commandments, but rather that if you truly love your neighbor you end up naturally keeping them.

If Jesus made such statements in Matthew 19, and Paul says that we naturally keep several of the Ten Commandments through love for our neighbor, how is it that they have been abolished? Does it make any logical sense for Jesus to respond to the rich young ruler’s question about Salvation in that way, if part of his mission was to abolish them? Why on earth would Matthew be writing those statements years later if they had been done away with after the cross? Wouldn’t this give to Christians the idea that the Ten Commandments were still binding, and that we have a duty to keep them? What of Paul, who claims that we naturally keep them through love for our neighbor? If the Ten Commandments were abolished, how on earth is that possible? Wouldn’t that be contradictory in the extreme to suggest that you wind up naturally keeping them, and yet to claim they were done away with? Isn’t it clear that this would be saying, “you will end up keeping the Ten Commandments, but you don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments”? Isn’t it clear that to abolish the Ten Commandments, based on Paul’s words, would mean that you no longer are required to love your neighbor?

I could further ask how this kind of thinking is harmonized with the book of James. In the second chapter of that book, we find passages which present problems for the thought that the law was abolished. Notice verses eight through eleven, where we find the phrase “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” By default this would obviously connect back to the concept found in the thirteenth chapter of Romans, where we find this same phrase used. Note that James states that if you keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, you are guilty of all. The concept ultimately brought forth by James is that if you break one commandment, you break all of them.

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” – James 2:8-11

Notice that James extends this concept beyond just loving your neighbor versus having respect to persons. He takes it right down to the actual commandments themselves, noting that if you do not practice adultery and yet run off and kill some one you are a transgressor of the law. We already proved that 1 John defines sin as transgression of the law, and that Romans 6:23 suggests that the wages of sin is death. This means that being a transgressor of the law is something which ultimately causes some one to miss out on their salvation, when all of the pieces of Scripture are studied together. If we were not under any obligation to obey the Ten Commandments, why on earth would James be saying this? His words do not in any way harmonize with the popular teachings of today that the Ten Commandments were abolished.

In all reality, those who claim that the Ten Commandments were done away with do not have any problem with the majority of them. When pressed and confronted, everyone ultimately believes that it is wrong to steal, kill, have sex with another man’s wife, lust, worship idols, refuse to honor your parents, or take the Lord’s name in vain. The real issue is the fourth commandment, or rather the Sabbath. The claim is advanced that he who keeps the fourth commandment is a “judaizer”, and that the Ten Commandments were abolished as a means of skirting around obedience to a command which people are unwilling to obey.

The word “judaizer” is nothing more than an ad hominem attack. Ad hominem is a mistake in reasoning or logical fallacy, in which some one attacks the character of an individual making an argument rather than actually answering their arguments. The claim that the Sabbath is Jewish falls right into this category. The idea is to paint some one who keeps the fourth commandment as pushing false teachings that are associated with Judaism, which is something which most Christians believe shouldn’t be followed any more. We freely admit that the ceremonial or sacrificial system was abolished. Therefore my words should not be misunderstood.

However claiming that the Sabbath is Jewish, that everyone who keeps the Sabbath is into “Jewish practices”, that Sabbath keeping is somehow cultic, or that a Sabbath keeper is a “Judaizer” does not in any way make their teachings false. These claims by themselves do not in any way answer the argument that the Sabbath should be kept, or sweep the Scriptural evidence of such aside. Merely this is just an attack on the character of those who do it, without really proving them wrong from Scripture. And obviously every passage that we have produced from the Bible should prove conclusively how it is impossible for the Ten Commandments to be abolished.

That said, I hope that you see the ridiculousness of the idea that the Ten Commandments were done away with.

 

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Sunday Sacredness Examined

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” – Acts 20:7

“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” – 1 Corinthians 16:2

“The Christian Sabbath is Sunday” says the believer of Sunday-Worship. Then follows a  collection of Scriptures, which on the surface seem to support this very claim. Seemingly triumphant over the Sabbath-keeper, the average Sunday-keeping Christian exults in an apparent victory over the observer of the fourth commandment. The above two Bible passages, thrown out to support these claims as stock arguments against the Seventh-Day Sabbath, are often produced by those seeking to combat Sabbath keeping.

It is saddening to see the great lengths many will go to in defense of tradition, rather than adopting a teachable spirit and allowing the Bible to speak for itself. As I point out in my writings on how to study the Bible, we must always come to Scripture with a teachable spirit, rather than making the Bible say what we want it to. These Scriptures, produced in support of Sunday-worship, are an evidence that somebody approached Scripture with a lot of assumptions. They came to the Bible with the idea that they were going to make it ‘prove’ that we must worship on Sunday, and then forced that meaning on to the text without thorough examination. This should become much more obvious as we engage in a deep examination of these passages.

The question should then at this point be asked, “what exactly makes a day sacred?” This question holds a high degree of importance to it. The answer will determine whether or not these texts prove the sacredness of Sunday, and if Sunday has indeed become the Christian Sabbath. With that thought in mind, it is a logical deduction to examine the original Sabbath to determine what attached sacredness to this day. This will give us the answer as to what exactly attaches sacredness to a day, and sets it apart from any other day of the week. Then we must turn back to the beginning, when the earth was first created.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 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.” – Genesis 2:1-3

“But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” – Exodus 20:10-11

The statements from the book of Genesis speak of the creation of the earth. The very next thing which is mentioned is the end of God’s work on the seventh day, followed by a description of him resting from all of his work. He then blesses the seventh day and sanctifies it, with the reasoning being connected to his resting from the creation of the earth. Notice that in the book of Exodus in the twentieth chapter, these events are clearly referenced. The eleventh verse mentions the creation of the world, then God’s resting on the seventh day, which is then followed by a blessing on the Sabbath day and it being hallowed. The tenth verse also identifies the seventh-day as being the Sabbath, finishing off a clear connection between these passages.

It would stand to reason that the word “hallowed” is essentially the same thing or holds the same meaning as the word “sanctified”, because Exodus 20:11 uses this word in place of “Sanctified” and contains an obvious reference to the passages from Genesis, which suggests that the two are synonymous. However, in order to arrive at the true definition of these words I have produced a series of Scriptures below. You will notice that in Leviticus 27:14 it states “And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy”. The passage makes this statement as though the act of sanctifying the house would make it holy in and of itself, indicating that the word bears huge connotations of making something holy. I would also single out Exodus 40:9, which uses the word “hallow” and then concludes with “and it shall be holy”, thus indicating that to hallow something would essentially make it holy. Note that the way the Bible is using these terms in all of the passages quoted below is in complete harmony with Webster’s definitions for the two words. Thus to sanctify and hallow something is to make it holy.

“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” – Leviticus 20:7

“And when a man shall sanctify his house to be holy unto the LORD, then the priest shall estimate it, whether it be good or bad: as the priest shall estimate it, so shall it stand.” – Leviticus 27:14

“And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.” – Exodus 30:28-29

“And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.” – Exodus 40:9

Sanctified

SANC’TIFIED, pp.

1. Made holy; consecrated; set apart for sacred services.

2. Affectedly holy.

Hallowed

HAL’LOWED, pp. Consecrated to a sacred use, or to religious exercises; treated as sacred; reverenced.

If something therefore has been made holy, than obviously there is a degree of sacredness attached to it. Than truthfully this is what would make a day sacred in Scripture. If it has been directly sanctified or hallowed, than we may conclude that it is to be regarded as sacred. Nothing else is acceptable as evidence for the supposed sacredness of a day. Even apparent meetings taking place on that day do not prove the day in question to have been regarded with sacredness, as there could be a number of common reasons for meetings [whether they are of a religious character or not] to be held.

We might also direct your attention to the word “blessed” as used in both Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:11. This word does not need any lengthy explanation, but we may logically conclude that this term would indicate that something is to be regarded as special. The two words “blessed” and “sanctified” or “hallowed” when combined carry a weighty testimony as to what constitutes sacredness. Can any of this be produced in connection with the first day of the week? In spite of access to a very powerful Bible search engine in the form of E-sword, I conveniently am unable to produce a text which connects these words with that day.

In fact, all of the references to the first day of the week in the Bible have been produced below. You will notice that none of them ever attach the words “blessed”, “sanctified”, or “hallowed” to that day. Therefore none of these statements prove that Sunday has any sacredness whatsoever. The majority of them describe events taking place on this day, but never attach any level of sacredness to it. You will find that not one of these texts says anything to the effect of, “Remember the first day of the week, to keep it holy; because on the first day of the week he rose from the grave.” When studied in context, many of these texts reference the resurrection of Christ. Yet not one of them, when all the verses are examined before and after these texts, uses the words “blessed”, “sanctified”, “hallowed” or flat out “made holy.” Those words cannot be located in any of the surrounding Scriptures either. This fact is something I invite you to see for yourself, as you will notice some of the Scripture references below contain embedded links.

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” – Matthew 28:1

“And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.” – Mark 16:2

“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” – Mark 16:9

“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” – Luke 24:1

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” – John 20:1

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” – John 20:19

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” – Acts 20:7

“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” – 1 Corinthians 16:2

If none of these statements attach any sacredness to Sunday whatsoever, than it is clear that really these statements of the Bible do not prove anything. Without the markers of sacredness, they do not define the first day of the week as anything other than an ordinary day. It is also prudent at this point to expose what else is missing from these statements. Were one to take a look at the difference between the fourth commandment and these passages, what might they notice?

It is all in the name, for the fourth commandment is just that — a commandment. Only one of these statements bears any appearance of a command, and you might notice that the instruction is not to worship on Sunday but rather to “every one of you lay by him in store” on the “first day of the week”. The fourth commandment is much more explicit. You are told the exact day on which you are to worship, how you are to observe that day as holy, in addition to the fact that you are given the reasons why you are to do this; namely being the creation and God’s sanctifying and blessing of that day.

In contrast, if these statements from Scripture regarding the first day did prove that we’re now to worship on Sunday they are in fact rather vague. A fresh convert with no knowledge of the Bible or Christianity could read these passages and never get the idea that we’re to worship on Sunday from them alone, strictly because none of these texts include any instruction of the sort. Six of the verses are historical records, one is a recording of a gathering taking place, and the final statement talks about laying money aside. However none of these verses really transfer sacredness from one day to the other, command worship on the first day of the week, instruct us to remember it, or give directions as to how to keep it holy.

It is interesting to note that the reasons which Christians commonly claim for Sunday worship, that being that Jesus rose from the grave on that day, are not connected to the two most common quotations that supposedly prove Sunday sacredness. One mentions a gathering on the first day of the week “to break bread”, but says nothing about the resurrection either in the context or the passages that immediately follow. The second verse makes some vague statements about “laying by him in store”, says something about a collection in the verse before it, but doesn’t say a word about the resurrection. Whereas the statements that are connected to Jesus rising from the grave do not command worship on that day, say nothing about Sunday’s supposed holiness because of it, or strangely enough do not say anything to the effect of “and now Christians commonly gather on this day because of these things.” You would think with such powerful descriptions of the resurrection, there would be room to say something along those lines. Surely an extra sentence could not in any way make Scripture too lengthy.

Is it not a logical deduction that if God wanted us to worship on Sunday, he would give us exact directions surrounding his desires, that we may not be left in darkness as to what his will is? Would he not want to leave no question in people’s minds as to what he wants us to do? It seems kind of odd that God would, in the place of explicit directions, give us nothing but vague statements to work with. The reality is that some one has taken the first two statements in question, and twisted them in support of tradition, without investigating the Biblical foundations for their practices. When some one takes liberties with Bible verses, it is probably a good bet that their teachings are starting to lean in the direction of false.

So what of the gathering that the passage from Acts mentions? It is claimed that since the disciples are described as coming together to break bread on the first day of the week, and Paul is preaching, than therefore this must be a church service taking place on Sunday. The reasoning is then that this was becoming the regular practice of the Christians, that they had begun to abandon the Sabbath for the First day of the week to honor the resurrection, and that this text somehow proves that early Christians worshiped on the first day of the week. There are a couple of realities that somebody missed in their neglect to examine the foundations for their thinking.

The first comes from the mysterious phrase, “to break bread.” This is usually looked at by the advocate of Sunday sacredness and worship as being something significant, like communion, or in and of itself referencing a church service. The claim then might be something to the effect of communion always falling on a Sunday, which is a thought that has been demolished by others. However, we might direct your attention to the neglected verses. You might notice that these passages comment on the issue of “breaking bread.”

“And 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, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” – Acts 2:46-47

Breaking bread does not always mean something significant like communion. The disciples are described in the second chapter of the book of Acts as doing this every day. In reality, the phrase “breaking bread” simply just means that they came together to eat food. That thought also destroys the possibility of it referencing their Church services. If one were to interpret the phrase this way, they may as well claim that early Christianity regarded every day as holy.

Another fact so often missed by the advocates of first-day worship rests in the claim that early Christians worshiped on the first day of the week in Paul’s day. In response, I might direct your attention to the references above which use the phrase “first day of the week.” These are the only verses in the Bible which use that phrase. Bible search engines and concordances fail to produce another verse, neither can anyone claim to have read one without lying. To further illustrate this point, I narrowed the search range on E-sword to the book of Acts and have produced the Bible-wide search results in this link for your perusal.

Act_20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

1 verse found, 8 matches

Acts 1 verse found 8 matches

The book of Acts, being a historical record of Christianity directly after Christ, would be the most likely place to mention the switch from the Seventh-Day to the first. The only other places in which this could happen would be the epistles and the gospels, but none of those locations in Scripture say a word about the supposed change. In this particular case, it is pretty clear that the book of Acts doesn’t mention any other instance in which Paul, the disciples, or the apostles met on the first day of the week. With these facts before us, its clear that this is the only recorded instance in the entire Bible in which the followers of Christ appear to be having a meeting of an apparently religious character on Sunday. They are never mentioned as doing this again anywhere in the Bible.

I find it strange that from this lone Bible verse we are expected to believe that early Christianity in the time of Paul worshiped on Sunday. It is a thought which leaves a man who truly thinks the matter through scratching his head in apparent confusion. To further illustrate why this doesn’t constitute real evidence of that thought, I would like to direct your attention to the passage I’ve produced below. Notice that it describes Jesus [see verses 14-15 of Luke 4] entering the synagogue on the Sabbath, and standing up to read. Specifically you should focus in on the phrase “as his custom was.” This statement implies that this was a regular habit for Christ, or rather a tradition if you will. Note that this phrase is missing from Acts 20:7.

If this lone Bible verse had said that it was the custom of the Christians to meet on the first day of the week, than perhaps there would be a valid case. Yet such a statement is missing from the passage! The implication is that this is the only time that early Christianity in the time of Paul ever met on a Sunday. In which case it was not their regular practice, and therefore it cannot be claimed that early Christianity in the time of Paul worshiped on Sunday in honor of the resurrection. There just simply is not sufficient evidence upon which to make that case.

“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.” – Luke 4:16

Let us stop and think about this for a moment. The lack of Bible passages elsewhere in Scripture which describe similar occurrences bears the marks of something quite sad. Somebody came to the Bible with the idea that they were going to make it say what they wanted it to. They have practiced what is known as Eisegesis, which is something we have discussed in other articles. Having practiced this, they abused the text in support of tradition rather than approaching the Scriptures with a teachable spirit. It is my hope that you do not approach the Bible in this way!

The arguments surrounding this text from the book of acts are quite obviously full of holes. This fact becomes much more clear as the surrounding passages are examined. The reality of it is this meeting never actually really took place on what we would call “Sunday”. Most who use this passage in support of traditional thinking do not consider the description of what a day is in the Biblical sense. Note that Genesis 1:5 defines a Biblical day by stating that the, “evening and the morning were the first day.” According to Scripture, a day is defined as evening to morning, which is a huge difference from the modern definition of midnight to midnight. Thus a statement can read, “first day of the week” and in actual fact be in reference to the evening of what we would interpret as the previous day.

Paying careful attention to the passage, we notice details such as many lights in the upper chambers, the length of the sermon defined as being until midnight, and Eutychus falling into a deep sleep. Every single one of these details bears the markers of “evening”. The presence of lighting indicates that it was dark, the statement about ‘midnight’ places the setting at evening, and Eutychus falling asleep indicates that he was tired. Boring preaching did not put him to sleep, but rather the fact that they had been awake late. With all of these facts before us, it is clear that in actual fact they did not meet on Sunday but rather on Saturday night. Therefore the concept of a Sunday church service completely disappears under the weight of the original connection of the passage.

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.” – Acts 20:7-9

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” – Genesis 1:5

This is of course even further the case as one examines the defined reasons for the meeting. The passage often abused contains the phrase, “ready to depart on the morrow.” This statement implies that Paul was intent on leaving the following day. In other words, the whole point of the meeting was not having a religious meeting in honor of the resurrection, coming together for communion, or something of that sort but was indeed rather a farewell meeting. Paul was leaving, therefore the disciples came together to break bread and say their goodbyes on Sabbath evening.

I hope that you are able to see that this argument in support of Sunday sacredness is not sound. Chances are, the use of 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 to support Sunday sacredness is even less sound. I have produced the passages below with their original connection, as context is always important and sheds much light on the meaning of a verse. The claim is that these passages are referencing a church collection which took place on Sunday, and are therefore an argument in support of Sunday sacredness, or the transfer of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. However, it is my hope and prayer that you might see that this argument actually doesn’t work or bear the scrutiny of Scripture. Notice also that I have produced the fourth commandment underneath this statement for comparison.

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” – Exodus 20:8-11

Although I have already made similar points above, I see it as prudent to restate a few details. In comparison with these passages from Exodus, I hope that you might be able to see what I am talking about with much more clarity. Notice the difference between these two statements from the Bible. One mentions a collection, and then says something to the effect of “lay by him in store.” The other says to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. It then gives directions as to how the Sabbath may be kept, and closes by mentioning creation and the blessing and hallowing of the Sabbath.

The question which arises in my mind comes right down to this. If these statements from 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 transfer the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, why are they missing a statement of blessing and sanctification? Why is it that these statements say nothing about the Christian’s supposed duty to Remember the “Christian Sabbath”? Why do they not outright command Sunday to be kept holy? Why is it that these statements do not include a word about the resurrection of Christ? All of the necessary information was together in one place with the original Sabbath, so that the reader is without excuse. Yet obviously this is not the case with these statements from Paul, as they are clearly missing huge details.

The missing details indicates that somebody has obviously twisted these statements. Others have even provided significant evidence further detailing this fact, showing conclusively how these Scriptures have been abused. They’ve even gone so far as to point out that these passages actually do not indicate that the Corinthian believers worshiped on Sunday, as is so often claimed from this text. Of course, this should’ve been clear as there is a huge difference between laying money aside on a particular day and making that a day of worship. These texts are read with a ridiculously large amount of assumptions taking place.

There is a reality that every abuser of these passages must face. It is that these statements neither command worship on the first day of the week, neither do they forbid the keeping of the fourth commandment. These statements do not in anyway prove that a day other than the Sabbath should be the date of worship for the Christian, as clear statements commanding this are not found in any of the passages in question. The lack of commands automatically means that the Christian should feel no guilt for worshiping on the Sabbath and not being in Church every Sunday, and that there really is no Scriptural foundation for Sunday sacredness.

 

The Sabbath A Shadow?

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of any 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 2:14-17

“The Sabbath was done away with,” says the believer in Sunday worship. “We don’t have to keep it anymore; it was only for the Jews.” He who worships on Sunday agrees, and then adds “You are denying Christ by keeping the Sabbath!” The claim here is that the Sabbath was abolished at the cross, alongside the Ten Commandments. Therefore we as Christians do not need to keep either of them. The question then remains, is the Sabbath still valid for Christians today?

In the book of 2 Peter, we find the following passages “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” – 2 Peter 3:15-16

In these passages from the second epistle of Peter, we are warned about scriptures which are difficult to understand. We are told plainly that they are often wrested by “they that are unlearned and unstable”, to an individual’s own destruction. Yet, as we previously saw when we first examined these passages the specific target of these texts from Peter is Paul’s writings. The logical deduction is that Colossians 2:14-17 especially fall under this warning from 2 Peter, since Colossians was written by Paul. We therefore owe it to ourselves to examine these passages.

A point often overlooked by most is the immutability of the Ten Commandments. In the book of Luke we read, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one title of the law to fail.” – Luke 16:17. The meaning of the mysterious word “title” can be found below from Strong’s Greek definitions. It is the “apex of a Hebrew letter (figuratively the least particle)”, in other words the term “title” refers to the minutest details. If it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for the minutest details of the law to fail, it should be obvious that neither the Sabbath nor the Ten Commandments can be changed or abolished in the slightest.

G2762

κεραία (keraia) ker-ah’-yah

Feminine of a presumed derivative of the base of G2768; something horn like, that is, (specifically) the apex of a Hebrew letter (figuratively the least particle): – tittle.

In addition, the Christian must consider the result of these conclusions. If any one of the Ten Commandments have been abolished, this places the Christian in a position where he is only keeping Nine of them. As we have seen from Luke, it is an utter impossibility for any of them to be abolished. Yet we find even more problems as we turn to the following passages.

“But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” – James 2:9-11

“Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19.

According to James, to break any one of the Ten Commandments causes the Christian to break all of them.

This means that if we as Christians run around teaching that any one of the Ten Commandments have been abolished, we are teaching others to transgress the whole Law. In addition, he who teaches this is also called “least” in the kingdom of heaven according to Matthew. To teach that the Sabbath or any part of the Ten Commandments has been done away with is a serious thing, and could be causing the Christian to transgress the law. 1 John 3:4 defines this as sin. This is a thought which should cause the Christian to stop and put these teachings to the test.

In order to properly test the claims of those who object to the Sabbath, we have quoted the passages from Colossians in context. The very first passage of which reads, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” – Colossians 2:14. The terms “handwriting” and “ordinances” are very important. They are the first pieces in the puzzle of a proper understanding of that which Paul is speaking of. What is their meaning?

Handwriting might seem a little more obvious on the surface than ‘ordinances.’ The logical deduction from a mere surface understanding of the word’s meaning is that this term is a reference to something written by the hand. However, when we take a look at Strong’s Greek definition we gain a slightly deeper understanding of what is taking place in this text.

G5498

χειρόγραφον (cheirographon) khi-rog’-raf-on

Neuter of a compound of G5495 and G1125; something hand written (“chirograph”), that is, a manuscript (specifically a legal document or bond (figuratively)): – handwriting.

Strong’s definition includes both the obvious understanding of the word, and something just a bit more interesting. It says, “something hand written (“chirograph”), that is, a manuscript (specifically a legal document or bond (figuratively)).” The Greek word here is referencing a handwritten manuscript, and not simply just ‘handwriting.’ The implication here is of a paper or book-like document, especially with the word ‘manuscript’ found in the definition.

As we look at the second word, ‘ordinances’ we find much that sheds light on these passages. Elsewhere in scripture, we find other passages where this word ‘ordinances’ is used. These passages read, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” – Hebrews 9:8-10

The context of these verses from Hebrews, found in verse eight, indicate that the old sacrificial system is here referenced. This is made very clear by terms such as “the first tabernacle” followed by “gifts and sacrifices.” Note that the terms “meats and drinks” are connected directly to “gifts and sacrifices”, indicating that meat and drink offerings are here referenced. This is an important point as this fact sheds light on Colossians 2:16, which reads “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:” The probability is high that “meat and drink” as used in these passages from Colossians is a reference to the same meat and drink offerings found in Hebrews 9:8-10. This is a fact which should become much more apparent as we further examine these passages from Paul’s writings.

Shortly after we read about meats and drinks, we find the statement “and carnal ordinances.” These passages from Hebrews connect the term “ordinances” with the old testament sacrificial system. In view of this fact, it is clear that the word ‘ordinances’ as used in Colossians 2:14 is a reference to the ordinances of the ceremonial/sacrificial system found in the old testament. As we look at the Greek definition for the word ‘ordinances’ as it is found in Colossians 2:14, this is a fact which becomes much more apparent to us.

G1378

δόγμα (dogma) dog’-mah

From the base of G1380; a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): – decree, ordinance.

The Greek word for “Ordinances” is defined as a “law (civil, ceremonial, or ecclesiastical)”. The word ‘ceremonial’ as found in the definition opens the door for this statement in Colossians 2:14 to be a reference to the old testament sacrificial system. Combine this with the previous connection of the word ‘ordinances’ by itself with that system as found in Hebrews 9:8-10. It should then be clear that the sacrificial system or rather the ceremonial law is here being referred to when Paul uses the term “ordinances.” Strong’s definition for the word ‘Ordinances’ as found in Colossians 2:14 makes this fact much more obvious.

We now direct your attention back to the word “handwriting”, and especially to the wording of Colossians 2:14. It is important at this point to focus on the words “that was against us, which was contrary to us.” These statements are a direct reference to a statement found in Deuteronomy. The passages found therein read, “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:24-26.

The term ‘book of the law’ is a phrase which is connected to the sacrificial system. Inside this book is written various curses, directions for the sacrificial system, descriptions of feasts which the Jews were to keep, and laws governing other aspects of life. This book is described as being placed ‘in the side’ of the ark of the covenant. This implies that the book was to be placed on the side of it rather than directly inside the ark. It is described as being placed in this position, “for a witness against thee”, a statement which connects these passages from Deuteronomy to Colossians 2:14.

Note that Moses is described as the writer of this book. This is a fact which again connects to Colossians 2:14, as the word “handwriting” is used. This term, as we saw from the Greek definition, references a manuscript or legal document. This fact would logically connect the term and the entire passage of Colossians 2:14 to these passages from Deuteronomy, which we will see references the ceremonial or sacrificial system.

“Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount E-bal, As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.” – Joshua 8:30-31

These passages from Joshua connect the phrase “book of the law” with the sacrificial system. Joshua is here pictured constructing an altar for sacrifices according to directions found in that book, and found giving burnt offerings and peace offerings. These are of course activities only found in the ceremonial system of the old testament. As if what Joshua is here pictured doing is not enough, the book in of itself is termed the “book of the law of Moses.” The term “law of Moses” by itself both references this book and the sacrificial system.

In the book of John we find the following passage, “If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath day?” – John 7:23 In this passage, Jesus is here found connecting circumcision to the “law of Moses.” Circumcision was a part of the old testament system. This is a fact which connects the ceremonial law to the phrase “law of Moses.” It is important to note that the Law of Moses and the Law of God are two very different things. A mistake often made in Christian thinking in this day and age is that they are supposedly connected with each other, and therefore the abolishing of the one automatically abolishes the other. As we already saw, the Ten Commandments are immutable and cannot be done away with. This conclusion that most Christians seem to have about both being abolished together is therefore an impossibility.

In view of the fact that the term “book of the law” references the ceremonial system, we then turn our attention to the Ten Commandments.

“And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” – Deuteronomy 4:12-13.

“At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.” – Deuteronomy 10:1-5

From these two sets of passages, we learn that the Ten Commandments were written on tables of stone. This is very different from the book of the law that Moses is found writing. This is made clear by the statements “and he wrote them upon two tables of stone” and “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first.” Later, we see that these Tables were placed inside the Ark of the covenant. Once again, this is very different from the book of the law which is found on the side of the ark. The two laws, the Law of Moses and the Law of God, are two very different things and are not connected to each other.

When Colossians 2:14 uses terms like “handwriting” and “ordinances”, combined with “that was against us” these are all very clear references to the old testament system. This means that in context, Colossians 2:14-17 is speaking about the ceremonial law, and not the Ten Commandments. From the differences thus cited above, we know that these are two different unconnected things. Therefore we know that Colossians 2:14-17 does not do away with the Ten Commandments. Such would be a ridiculous assertion in view of many passages admonishing us to keep them. [Matthew 19:16-17, Revelation 22:14, 1 John 5:3, John 14:15, James 2:9-11, 1 John 2:4.]

In view of this information, we cannot take Colossians 2:16 as though it does away with any one of the Ten Commandments. As we examine the passage closely, this should become much more clear. The verse reads, “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.” We previously saw that the terms “meat and drink” are references to meat and drink offerings, a fact which is made so much more clear by the following passages from Ezekiel.

“This is the oblation that ye shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley: Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, ye shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are an homer: And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD. All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.” – Ezekiel 45:13-17

Piecing Ezekiel 45:17 together with Colossians 2:16, it is clear that these passages are connected. Both passages mention meat and drink, with Ezekiel 45:17 adding the word “offerings.” In the passage from Ezekiel, “feasts, new moons, and sabbaths” immediately follow the offerings. The way in which the passage lists things mirrors Colossians 2:16 in a most striking manner, further confirming the fact that “meat and drink” in Colossians is a reference to “meat and drink” offerings. Another type of offering, which is burnt offerings, is also mentioned in Ezekiel. This is yet another link to the ceremonial law found in these texts.

What of the term “Sabbaths?” Also referenced as “Sabbath Days” in Colossians 2:16, the term Sabbaths is speaking about the feasts of the old testament system. It should be noted that when in the plural, it does not reference the Seventh Day Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Ezekiel 45:17 makes this especially clear as it mentions this term in connection with offerings. The targets here are feasts like the Day of atonement and the Passover, which are festivals that the Jews still observe to this day. In the book of Leviticus we find a description of the day of atonement.

“And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.” – Leviticus 16:29-31

Note that the day of atonement, one of the feasts of the old testament system, is here referred to as “a sabbath of rest.” We see this concept again with the feast of booths, and with the feast of trumpets. [See Leviticus 23:24, 39. With the feast of booths specifically the beginning and end of it is titled a ‘Sabbath.’] The term ‘Sabbaths’ and ‘Sabbath days’ in this sense are references to these old testament feasts where the term “sabbath of rest” or “sabbath” is used to describe them.

As we take a look at the Greek definitions for the words “Sabbath Days” and “Holyday”, it becomes unquestionably clear to us that Colossians 2:16 is referencing the feasts of the old testament system. Many believe that this also targets the Seventh-Day Sabbath, but as we will see this is not the case.

G1859

ἑορτή heortē heh-or-tay’

Of uncertain affinity; a festival: – feast, holyday.

Note that the term “holyday” as defined above means “festival”, and is also translated as “Feast.” The two words share the same meaning, bringing us to the logical conclusion that the term “holyday” is actually referencing the old testament feasts, a fact which is most fitting with the context. Complete with the surrounding references to that system of feasts and sacrifices, it should be clear to us that the Ten Commandments are not referred to in Colossians 2:16.

At this point, some go to the Greek definition for the word “Sabbath” and attempt to use this to state that the Seventh-Day Sabbath is also referenced. We acknowledge that the word “Sabbath” can reference the Seventh-Day Sabbath, as shown from the definition below. The fact is however that the word “Sabbath” simply just means “Sabbath”, and without a context you cannot select whether it refers to the Seventh-Day Sabbath or the feasts of the old testament system, or whether or not both is included.

In response, we again point to the context. As we have thus far seen, the system of feasts and sacrifices found in the old testament is referenced here in Colossians 2:14-17 and not any one of the Ten Commandments. All of the surrounding details such as offerings and feasts also place it within this context. We then direct your attention to the end of the Greek definition, which says “likewise the plural in all the above applications”. The Greek here is unquestionably plural. Combined with the context, this means that the feasts are referenced and not the Seventh-Day Sabbath. The term “days”, although supplied by man, fits most strikingly into place with the Greek definition found to be plural.

G4521

σάββατον sabbaton sab’-bat-on

Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se’nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: – sabbath (day), week.

The Sabbath-Keeping Christian at this point says, “The Sabbath is still binding. It wasn’t done away with at the cross.”