Days and feasts

 

 

The Sabbath-day must be kept

 

 

 

Many sects teach that a Christian is bound to keep the Sabbath Day. Among them are the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the Church founded by Herbert Armstrong.

Adventists say: ‘We believe that the Sabbath was instituted in Eden before sin entered, that it was honored of God, set apart by divine appointment, and given to mankind as the perpetual memorial of a finished creation. It was based upon the fact that God Himself had rested from His work of creation, had blessed His Sabbath, or rest day, and had sanctified it, or set it apart for man (Gen. 2:1-3; Mark 2:27). We believe, further, that it was none other than the Son of God Himself, the second person of the eternal Godhead, who was the Creator of Genesis 1:13, and who therefore appointed the original Sabbath (John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16, 17; Heb. 11:1, 2). While the Sabbath is enshrined in the very heart of the commandments of God, it must be remembered that Jesus said, "The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28). In other words, He is its author and its maker. He is its protector. The Sabbath is the "sabbath of the Lord [Jehovah] thy God" (Ex. 20:10). Hence Christ is its Lord; the Sabbath belongs to Him. It is His day; it is the Lord's day. Inasmuch as we, His blood-bought children, belong to Him and live in Him, and He lives in us (Gal. 2:20), how natural that Sabbath observance, among other expressions of love and loyalty to Him, should be revealed in our lives …..We believe that the restoration of the Sabbath is indicated in the Bible prophecy of Revelation 14:9-12. Sincerely believing this, we regard the observance of the Sabbath as a test of our loyalty to Christ as Creator and Redeemer.’ (Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions On Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C. 1957, pages 149-150, 153)

The followers of Herbert W. Armstrong affirm: ‘God has a Master Plan by which He is fulfilling His awesome purpose for mankind. And His Son, Jesus Christ, plays the central role in God's little-known plan for man. God's plan is revealed by seven annual festivals. These annual observances give a step-by-step outline of how God is working out His Master Plan for man. Each vividly pictures a great event in God's plan. It was not until after the Israelites were delivered from Egypt that God revealed the rest of His annual festivals. As God made the weekly Sabbath for man when man was made, so He gave His people seven annual festivals, with their annual Holy Days (Sabbaths), when He established the Church (or congregation of Israel) in the wilderness. But Israel, under the covenant made at Sinai, had no promise of receiving the Holy Spirit, and therefore could not understand the spiritual meaning of these annual observances. Regardless of carnal Israel's lack of understanding, God's annual Holy Days were ordained to be kept FOREVER! Christ kept them. The New Testament Church, founded by Jesus in A.D. 31, kept them. And God's Church keeps them today! Just as the weekly Sabbath is a "sign" between God and His people, so are the annual Holy Days (Ex. 31:13). They are the "feasts of the LORD"-- "my feasts," said God (Lev. 23:2, 4). These feasts are, as the God of the Old Testament said in Leviticus 23:37-38, to be kept as holy convocations "beside the [weekly] sabbaths of the LORD''! And as we learned in Lesson 17, God's festivals, which are a part of God's Law, were not done away with when the Sinaitic Covenant ceased to be in force at Christ's death. The whole story of God's marvelous plan is to be reenacted year after year by God's Spirit-begotten children--spiritual Israel today--through the keeping of God's Holy Days. The observance of these days reminds them of His great Master Plan and their part in it.’ (Why Christians Should Keep GOD'S HOLY DAYS, The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 23, 1985). As you can see, according to the followers of Herbert Armstrong, every Christian must keep not only the Sabbath day but also the Jewish feasts.

 

Confutation

 

We as Christians are not bound to keep the Sabbath day, for the weekly Jewish day of rest – that is, the Sabbath day - is a shadow of the rest of God which God has made known in the fullness of the time by His Son.

That the Sabbath day is a shadow and thus we are not obliged to keep it is evident from the following words Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17 - NIV). I want you to notice that these words are preceded by these other words of Paul: “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us, he took it away, nailing it to the cross ….“ (Colossians 2:13-14 – NIV). So the adverb ‘therefore’ which is in verse 16 indicates that since Christ on the cross has taken away the law of commandments contained in ordinances, which was contrary to us, which has the shadows (New Moons, feasts, sabbaths, regulations concerning foods) and not the realities themselves, now we must not keep the new moon celebrations or the sabbaths or precepts concerning foods, for we died with Christ to the basic elements of the world so that we might walk in newness of life and not in the oldness of the letter. However, if we keep these shadows we will be regarded as people who want to build again those things which Christ has destroyed by His death, and who want to attain perfection by the precepts of the law, which can’t justify those who keep them, “for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16 – NKJV). And that is something which we must avoid.

As I said before, the Sabbath day is a shadow of the rest of God for the people of God. So let me say something else about this. The law of Moses has “a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (Hebrews 10:1 – NKJV), therefore the Sabbath day – on which the Israelites had to rest - was not the true rest of God for His people but only a shadow of it. The Scripture confirms this when it says: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9-10 – NIV). When do all those who belong to the people of God enter that rest? When they die in the Lord; that is attested by John in the book of Revelation when he says: “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (Revelation 14:13 – NIV). In the light of what John wrote, therefore, we can say that when believers die they will rest consciously from their labor. I say ‘consciously’ for when a believer dies he does not enter a state of unconsciousness or a state of non-existence, for he goes to be with the Lord in heaven where he is able to see, to hear, to talk and to remember.

So anyone who abstains from every work on the seventh day of the week rests only for a short period of time for when the Sabbath is over he must begin to work again and he needs to rest again the following Sabbath; while anyone who enters God’s rest (that is, the true rest) rests from his work and labour of love (which he has shown toward the name of God) forever.

The Scripture says: “For we who have believed do enter that rest … Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:3, 11 - NKJV). As you can see, the Scripture makes it clear the following things: first of all only those who have believed enter God’s rest, secondly we who are on the earth have not yet entered that rest and we must be diligent to enter it lest anyone fall according to the example of disobedience of the Israelites, who “did not enter because of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:6 – NKJV – As God said: “They shall not enter My rest” Hebrews 4:3). So, beloved, “since a promise remains of entering His rest” (Hebrews 4:1 – NKJV), that is, the Sabbath-rest, let us continue to believe in the Word of God planted in us till the end so that we might enter the blessed rest of God.

 

 

 

 

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