Preparing for the Lord’s Return – Apr-May 2018

Jesus is coming soon and it’s time to get ready! John the Baptist was sent ahead of Jesus Christ “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). This was done so that when Jesus came on the scene people were ready to receive Him. It was necessary for people to be prepared when Jesus came the first time, and it is also necessary for when Jesus comes the second time.

In the past several issues of Present Truth we have focused on practical godliness. There is a reason for this, nothing else matters until you are born again (John 3:1-7). You can learn all the biblical doctrines in the world, and perform the most extreme random acts of kindness, but if you don’t have Christ living in your heart, it is all useless—vain religion (1 Corinthians 13:1-3; James 1:26, 27). We have been focusing on basic salvation yet, there is a time to move from the milk of the word to strong meat (Hebrews 5:13, 14). Those preparing for the second coming of Jesus will need to move beyond the basics. Yet, they will have to have the basics down, they will have to be firmly established, “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17).

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For more details about some of the basics of salvation, please read John 3:1-21; 15:1-17; Ephesians 3:14-21; Romans 3:10-31, etc. You can also request the articles, “You Must be Born Again,” “The Root of the Problem,” “Finding Your Identity,” “What Motivates You,” “The Righteousness of God,” “Moved with Compassion,” and “Vain Religion.” Without this foundation of being born again strong meat will not be helpful to you. For some strong meat, please request the booklets, A Time to Choose, and The Mark of the Beast.

Strong Meat

Jesus said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). He also said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Friends, many will be lost while thinking they are saved. Just a few verses earlier, Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13, 14). It is imperative that we are on the strait and narrow path that leads to life. Sadly, being faithful to Jesus with all your heart, leaves you in the minority on this wicked planet.

It is not the ones who call Jesus, “Lord,” who will be going to heaven, but those who do the will of God. Jesus also said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Matthew 12:50). Those who do the will of God are part of Jesus’ family. Many say they are Christians, but do not do those things that demonstrate they are Christians.

Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Referring to the church leaders of His day, Jesus instructed, “…do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). Friends, it is not enough to say you are a Christian. That is meaningless if you don’t do the things that Jesus tells us to do. You see, it is not about saying a prayer to go to heaven, it is about being transformed from the inside out by letting Jesus live in your heart so that the things you do are the will of His Father. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). If you do not have this experience, you will not make it to heaven, regardless of how many prayers you have said, or how many good works you have done.

I used to think that as long as my good deeds outweighed my bad ones, then I would go to heaven. Friends, it is not about your actions, but about Jesus living in your heart. True, your actions will demonstrate who is living in your heart, but it is not the actions that matter, but whether Jesus is living in you or not. If He is living in you, when you see someone in need you will take care of them, not because you are trying to get to heaven, but because you actually care about them. Jesus told the story of a man who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Three men saw his condition; two of them were church leaders who passed him by, but a good Samaritan “had compassion on him” and helped him (Luke 10:30-35). The difference between these three men, was not what they did, but how they felt toward the man. When Jesus is living in your heart, you will truly care about others.

As Jesus explained in Matthew 7:21-23, a lost person can do great things to help people, but at the same time “work iniquity [sin].” The actions are not what really matters, but whether or not Christ is living in your heart. Your actions will take care of themselves if you get that settled. That is why we have spent so much time on these often-ignored topics. Basing your salvation on your performance will leave you empty inside and critical of those around you. Having Jesus living in your heart, Jesus loving others through you, is the only recipe for true success.

The Will of God

Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). Jesus lived His life in constant communion with His Father; so much that He did “always those things that please him” (John 8:29). He always sought to do His Father’s will instead of His own. He will do the same thing in you if He is truly living there. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).

Jesus explained, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). Those who truly love Jesus will keep His commandments. Jesus continued, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.… As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.… Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:5, 9, 10, 14).

Jesus is talking about a friendly relationship. If you know that your best friend hates it when you punch him in the arm, would you continue doing it? If you really love him, then you will naturally seek to do those things that please him. If you were to continue punching him in the arm, your relationship will suffer for it will be evident that you don’t really love him. Even so, when we know what pleases God and we continue persistently walking contrary to that, do we really love Him?

Continuing in His love requires us to constantly be connected to Him, for without Christ’s life flowing through us we can do nothing.

The Bible says, “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it” (2 John 1:6). “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3, 4). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:2, 3).

God’s will for our lives is for us to keep His Commandments. If a man does not keep the commandments of God and claims to know God, he is a liar. If he persists in this condition Jesus will have to say to him, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Working iniquity, or committing sin, is the opposite of keeping the Commandments, “for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

What was Abolished?

When faced with plain texts like the ones above some will immediately say that the law has been abolished, so it is not necessary to keep the commandments. This idea strikes at the very heart of what Jesus came to do. He came to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.… Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 34, 36). The problem that caused Jesus to come in the first place was that man lost his connection with God and became slaves to sin. Jesus came to free us from that bondage. If destroying the law could have accomplished that, He would not have needed to come to earth and die for us. If you see someone drowning in a lake with a sign that says, “No Swimming,” would removing the sign help? No! Man needs to be saved from his condition not a removal of the law that reveals his condition.

It is true that something was changed, something was abolished, but what was that? The Bible says, “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:… And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished” (2 Corinthians 3:7, 13). This is clearly talking about the Ten Commandments which were written in stone. Yet, he says it was the glory of the ministration of that law that was to be abolished, not the law itself. In fact, in his previous letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). Paul clearly understood the Commandments to still be in effect.

In fact, the New Covenant is God putting His law in our hearts. God said, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Hebrews 10:16). This is so, because the law is in Jesus’ heart, who said, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8). Receiving the New Covenant is receiving Jesus into your heart to live His life in you, which is manifested in obedience to God’s law, because the living law is now in you.

Paul also wrote, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). And again, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). Paul clarified what law he meant when he wrote, “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 13:8-10). Paul is quoting the Ten Commandments here, so we know that Paul understood the Ten Commandments to still be in force.

God’s laws were not given to keep us from having fun, but rather, they were given for our benefit. As an example, Paul admonished, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3). God’s will is for us to prosper and be in health (3 John 1:2). He gave us two primary laws to ensure our happiness and success in life, they are 1) Love God with all our hearts, and 2) Love our neighbors as ourselves. These two commandments were expanded in the Ten Commandments. The first four deal with our love for God, and the last six deal with our love for our neighbors. There is nothing wrong with these laws. They are “perfect,” “holy, and just, and good” (Psalm 19:7; Romans 7:12).

Yet, there was a law that was abolished. The Bible says, “For he is our peace, who hath made both [Circumcised Jews and Uncircumcised Gentiles] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:14, 15). It also says, “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). What was abolished was not the Ten Commandments written by God’s own finger in tables of stone, and written in our hearts in the New Covenant. Rather, it was the commandments contained in handwritten ordinances that caused a separation between Jews and Gentiles.

The first handwritten ordinance mentioned in the Bible was regarding the Passover. The Bible says, “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever” (Exodus 12:14). This ceremony was rich in meaning, but it caused a natural separation between the Jews and Gentiles, for the Bible says, “And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:… when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof” (Exodus 12:43, 48). Not only were uncircumcised men prohibited from keeping the Passover, the location was also prohibitive, for it had to be done in Jerusalem. “Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place his name there.… Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee: But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 16:2, 5, 6).

This is one example of a handwritten ordinance that was against us, and prevented Circumcised Jews from fellowshipping with uncircumcised Gentiles. Circumcision became such a big deal that it prevented the spreading of the gospel. When it was time to preach to the Gentiles, God had to give Peter a vision and then tell him plainly to go preach to the Gentile, Cornelius. When Peter entered Cornelius’ home he explained, “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Later, “…when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them” (Acts 11:2, 3).

Circumcision was a primary identifying mark of the Jews. No uncircumcised person was allowed to enter the sanctuary (Ezekiel 44:7-9). This prevented Gentiles from participating in most of the Jewish traditions. When Christ died, he blotted out those commandments that made this separation. This was actually a natural consequence of the real Lamb of God dying for our sins.

History of Law

When man was first created his requirements were simple, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16, 17). This command was an expression of the first great commandment, to love God with all the heart. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve ate the fruit, demonstrating that at that point they did not love God with all their hearts.

After man sinned, God instituted another remedial law of types and shadows illustrating how God would deal with the sin problem. If man had not sinned, this law would never have been added. This law “…was a figure for the time then present” (Hebrews 9:9) and at first it was very simple, if someone sinned, they were to offer an animal sacrifice which pointed forward to Christ’s death on the cross. Adam’s first two children, Cain and Abel participated in this law, but Cain, instead of offering an animal sacrifice, decided to do it his own way, and offered “the fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). His brother offered a sacrifice as God commanded, and God showed favor to Abel’s sacrifice but not to Cain’s. This angered Cain, so he killed his brother, revealing that he did not have love in his heart.

If man had obeyed the simple laws given at first, there would not have been any need for further clarification and instruction. But man got more and more corrupt, and God added the ceremony of circumcision at Abraham’s time (about 2,000 years after creation). At this time God’s laws were simple. The Moral Law had not been written down, but they knew it was a sin to kill, and commit adultery (Genesis 4:7-12; 39:9). The figurative law only included killing an animal as a sin offering, and circumcision.

After hundreds of years in Egypt, their worship had become more corrupt, and after God brought them out (about 2,600 years after creation), He gave them detailed instructions both about the Moral Law and the figurative law. At this time the Moral Law was clearly explained as Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God on stone (Exodus 20:3-17; 32:15, 16). This is the only part of the Bible that God wrote with His own finger. God also gave Moses further instructions clearly relating to the Moral Law, such as how we treat others and their property, explanations of adultery, theft, lying, murder, etc. All of these statutes were expansions of the original Moral Law to love God with all of our hearts, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The Figurative Law

Moses was also instructed to add minute details to the figurative law, adding statutes about priests, what they should do in the sanctuary, how and when they should kill animals, etc. All of these details are rich in meaning, but they were only designed to be temporary, they are dependent upon sin to exist. All laws that dealt with how sin was to be dealt with were only required to be performed by the Jews until the death of Christ. It was then that Christ “abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15), “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).

There are two distinct types of laws, one moral and eternal, and the other figurative and temporary. Many try to blend these two systems, but the distinction is broad and clear. The problems with blending these two systems are twofold: 1) Some try to blend them and claim that every law that was ever given by God must be kept forever. This would require circumcision, the sanctuary services, and animal sacrifices to still be performed today. 2)_Others try to blend them and conclude that every law has been abolished at the cross. Yet, neither of these positions can be correct.

There is a law that is eternal, of which the Bible says, “…the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12), and Jesus said, “…if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). Paul wrote, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). The Book of Revelation depicts the faithful who live in the end, saying, “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). “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). This Moral Law is a depiction of God’s character. It will endure as long as God endures. The only way to change this law is to change God, and that will never happen.

However, there is a law that is temporary, that was never designed to be kept after the cross. Of this law, the Bible says, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Hebrews 7:12). “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof” (Hebrews 7:18). “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 divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:9, 10).

There is a law that was “weak,” “unprofitable,” and “against us,” which was “disannulled,” “changed,” nailed to the cross, and “abolished,” but this law should never be confused with the eternal, Moral Law of God that was written by His own finger in stone and upon the hearts of every New Covenant Christian.

Now that we know the Ten Commandment Law has not been abolished or changed, let’s look at what it says.

The Ten Commandments

1)   Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2)   Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

3)   Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4)   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.

5)   Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

6)   Thou shalt not kill.

7)   Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8)   Thou shalt not steal.

9)   Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

10) Thou shalt not covet [lust after or desire] thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:3-17)

Is there anything wrong with any of these Commandments? No! They are all good commands that were given for our benefit, so we can live peaceful lives. Even those who do not believe in the Bible generally accept that at least the last six commandments are good principles to follow. Some thieves may not like a command that tells them not to steal, but even they desire that others do not steal from them, so they think it is good for at least everyone else to obey that command.

What about the first four commands that deal with our relationship to God?

Only One God

In general, most people who follow the God of the Bible would say there is only one God, yet there are many variations on how this is defined. Because of this, it is important to clarify the issue. In short, the Bible says, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). Jesus said to His Father, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Jesus said that He is “the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

The heart of the gospel is: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17). I encourage you to study this out for yourself, for it is the key to understanding the greatness of God’s love for us. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). There are many false theories about God that deny the basic truth that God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. Denying this is devastating to our own love for God, for “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). For an in-depth Bible study on the one God of the Bible, please contact us to request your free copy of God’s Love on Trial, and Understanding the Personality of God. You can also read them or download them on our website at www.presenttruth.info.

Worshiping Idols

We are told not to bow down to idols, nor serve them. This is pretty straight forward, yet many religions incorporate bowing down to idols, statues, pictures, etc. as part of their rituals. This is not to be part of a Christian’s life.

Taking God’s Name in Vain

Many people use the titles God, Jesus, Christ, Lord, etc. in vain. These names are used as curse words. When something goes wrong, these words often come out. Christians should not make that part of their lifestyle. When I was into drugs, almost every other word was a curse word. When I asked God to give me a new heart, and invited Jesus to live in my heart, swearing and curse words just fell away very quickly. I was amazed by that, and I praise God for taking them from me. There is no benefit in taking God’s name in vain.

The Sabbath

This command is almost forgotten today. Perhaps that is why God told us to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Every week most Christians use the Sabbath day to do work around the house that they didn’t finish during the week, or they continue their normal jobs they do on every other day of the week, or they do activities that require others to work for their enjoyment. God said, “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” (Exodus 20:9, 10).

Jesus said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). God added a day of rest on the end of the week for the benefit of man. It is scientifically proven that we need rest. In addition to that, the Sabbath is a time when we can enhance our relationship with God, free from the chaos of the rest of the week.

You may wonder, “Which day is the Sabbath?” Great question! It is simple to trace the Sabbath through history, and we don’t have to go any further back than Jesus’ time, for we know He knew which day it was, since “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day” (Luke 4:16). Even in His death, He rested on the Sabbath day. Right after Jesus was put in the tomb, “the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. 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. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher” (Luke 23:55-24:2).

The order of events surrounding the death of Christ make it plain that the Sabbath of the Commandment is the day right before Sunday, the first day of the week. Perhaps you have been led to believe that Sunday is the Sabbath day. Actually, it is Saturday.

There is no scientific reason for the weekly cycle. (Some have noted that there are natural phenomenons in creation that reflect the weekly cycle, such as in birds and beavers, but they do not determine the weekly cycle.) The second, minute, and hour are divisions of a day. A day is determined by the rotation of the earth. A month is determined by the cycle of the moon. A year is determined by the rotation of the earth around the sun, but there is no scientific reason for the weekly cycle. Yet in virtually every country and language there remains a seven-day week. There is no record that this seven-day weekly cycle has ever changed. The evidence from nearly every language under the sun substantiates this fact. If the weekly cycle had been changed by anyone there would be no way that every language and country would still maintain the same seven-day weekly cycle. In recent years there have been a few countries attempting to use a new calendar that makes it appear as if Sunday is the seventh-day of the week. However, the evidence of many languages which still maintain a number as the name of the each day, instead of the Roman names, proves the falsehood of such an attempt. For example many African languages still call Sunday “day one.”

Many languages refer to the seventh day of the week as Sabbath rather than Saturday. In Spanish there is no other word for the seventh day of the week, it is Sabado (Sabbath). The same is true for Russian, Polish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Hungarian, Turkish, Malayan, Malagassy spoken in Madagascar, Swahili, and many other languages. In Russian it is Subbota (Sabbath). In Polish it is Sobota (Sabbath). In French it is Samedi (Sabbath). In Portuguese it is Sabbado (Sabbath). In Italian it is Sabato or Sabbato (Sabbath). In Hungarian it is Szombat (Sabbath). In Turkish it is yom-es-sabt (day the Sabbath). In Arabic it is as-sabt (the Sabbath). In Malayan it is hari-sabtu (the Sabbath). In Malagassy spoken in Madagascar it is alsabotsy (the Sabbath). In Swahili it is as-sabt (the Sabbath).

If there had been a change in the seven-day weekly cycle it would be virtually impossible to have that change implemented in all these countries who speak many different languages, unless it was done very, very early in time. If there had been a change made in the first four thousand years of earth’s history, surely Jesus would have informed us of such a change. Yet it is clear that He made no mention of a change. From Christ’s day to our day there is no record of any change made in the seven-day weekly cycle. The day that is known alone in many languages as the Sabbath is the same day of the week that we often call Saturday in English. This should be sufficient proof that the seventh-day of the week, known as Saturday, or the Sabbath, is in reality the same Sabbath day that God instituted at the creation of this world.

This fact is not difficult to verify, virtually every Bible Commentary states that Saturday is the Sabbath of the Commandment. Most pastors will admit this as well.

What About Sunday?

Considering Sunday to be “The Lord’s Day” has an interesting history. It cannot be traced to the apostles. It came into Christianity many years after the Bible was written, and the last of the apostles had died. For an intriguing history of this, please read the chapter entitled, “The Sunday-Lord’s Day not Traceable to the Apostles” in the book, History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week, by John Nevins Andrews, pages 204-228.

The Augsburg Confession of 1530, authored primarily by Philip Melanchthon, voiced Martin Luther’s primary reasons for the Protestant Reformation, and stated in part,

“Neither must we submit to Catholic bishops if they chance to err, or hold anything contrary to the Canonical Scriptures of God… They refer to the Sabbath-day as having been changed into the Lord’s Day, contrary to the Decalog, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath-day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!” (Augsburg Confession, Article 28: Of Ecclesiastical Power).

In 1533, in response to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, Johann Eck defended the authority of this change, stating, “The Scripture teaches: Remember that you keep the Saturday; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, etc. However, the church has transferred the observance from Saturday to Sunday by virtue of her own power, without Scripture, without doubt under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.… The Sabbath is commanded in various places in the Scriptures. But there is no mention of the cessation of the Sabbath and the institution of Sunday in the Gospels, or in Paul’s writings, or in all the Bible; therefore this has taken place by the apostolic church instituting it without Scripture” (Dr. Johann Eck’s Enchiridion, 1533, pages 78, 79.

A recent author wrote, “The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact” (Catholic Record of London, Ontario, September 1, 1923).

The First Sunday Law

In 321ad with a desire to unite his pagan and Christian kingdom, the Roman Emporor Constantine instituted the first Sunday Law, which stated, “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time.)” (History of the Christian Church, by Philip Schaff, Third Period, Chapter 7, §75, Footnote #692).

Notice what one historian has to say about this law:

“Centuries of the Christian era passed away before Sunday was observed by the Christian church as the Sabbath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed previous to the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in 321 A.D.” (Sir William Domville, of the Church of England, The Sabbath or An Examination of the Six Texts, page 291).

Sunday Laws Today

Today, there is a large movement pushing for more Sunday laws. Even today, in the United States, we have many Sunday laws on the books—called blue laws. Have you ever wondered why many businesses are closed or have shorter hours of operation on Sunday? In many cases it is not because of choice, but because laws restrict their businesses on Sunday. In most states it is illegal to buy or sell alcohol until noon on Sunday. In the state of Indiana it is illegal to buy or sell a car on Sunday. There are many other such Sunday laws in effect all over the country. All of these Sunday laws are religious laws and are in direct violation of the First Amendment to our Constitution which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

According to the Bible, Sunday is one of the “six working days.” (Ezekiel 46:1) God said, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.” (Exodus 20:9) Honoring one day of the week above another is strictly religious in nature, directly relating to our worship of God. There can be no other reason for honoring a day of the week than that of worship. Seeing that Sunday observance can only relate to worship, the government has no right to regulate what may or may not be done on Sunday, if it is lawful any other day of the week. Yet, this is precisely what the government sought to do in the time of Constantine, and it was used to persecute God’s people. Today, many are seeking to do this again.

On Sunday, March 11, 2018 a new law was enacted in Poland. “A Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers closed for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after the collapse of communism.… The law was proposed by the trade union Solidarity, which says employees deserve Sundays off, and found the support of the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party, Law and Justice. The influential Catholic church, to which more than 90% of Poles belong, has welcomed the change” (Associated Press, March 11, 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/11/poland-sunday-trading-ban-takes-effect).

Pay special attention to laws regarding Sunday. Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) Here Jesus made a distinction between that which we owe to our fellow man, and that which we owe to God. We must not render to Caesar the things that belong to God, yet that is exactly what the government asks of us when they seek to enact a Sunday law.

God has warned us that a crisis will come upon this earth and it will revolve around worship. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship [the beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world… And [the second beast] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:8, 15-18).

The mark of the beast crisis will revolve around worship and the government legislation of worship. It is certain that the governments of this world will pass a universal law regarding worship. Today there are laws on the books and others on the way to enforce religious observance of Sunday. You and I may be called upon to stand up against these religious laws.

God’s Law Still in Effect

Man has no right to change God’s Laws. Jesus declared, “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).

Satan will have a special attack in the last days against those who keep God’s Commandments. “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). During the Mark of the Beast Crisis, God will triumphantly proclaim over His faithful people, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Those who are faithful unto the end will have a rich reward. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).

Jesus said, “…if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). Jesus was speaking specifically of the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath is one of those Commandments. The Bible says, “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. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10-12).

The Jewish leaders were constantly accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. They made these accusations because they had turned the blessing of the Sabbath into something oppressive. Yet, that is not what it was designed for. It was designed for our good, so we can “call the Sabbath a delight” (Isaiah 58:13). The only way we can do this is by having Jesus living in our hearts, then we will be delighted to have an appointment to spend all day with Jesus and watch God bless others through us.

Conclusion

Keeping God’s Commandments will not save you, for “…by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). The law is there to point out our flaws and lead us to Christ so we can be cleansed. “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).

If you looked at the law today, and discovered some things that need cleansing, Praise God! Jesus is just the Person to perform this work in you. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.… Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 34, 36). It is better to recognize this need before it is too late, for Jesus will say to many who thought they were ready, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).

This is just one step in preparing for the Lord’s return, yet it is a necessary step. Those faithful unto the end will keep all Ten of the Commandments. I care about you a lot, and it is because of this that I tell you the truth. I pray that you will be prepared for the Lord when He returns for His people. At that time there will only be two classes of people, those who worship the beast and his image, by breaking God’s law, and those who have Jesus living in their hearts so fully that they will “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). Only those who have been transformed from the inside out will be able to stand the “brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). The Bible says, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalms 24:3-5). Friends, be faithful unto the end, and you will be given a “crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

  • Rebecca Sewell

    Your understanding of “taking the name of God in vain” doesn’t go quite deeply enough, dear Brother! Using the name of God as a curse-word is evil, yes, but probably 99.9% of Christians misunderstand what “taking the name of” actually means, and thereby miss the REAL blessing of this commandment.

    All through Scripture, God speaks of being a husband to his beloved bride, and preparing her for the actual marriage ceremony that will be held in heaven upon the gathering-in of all the saints at the end of the world. This is a tremendously beautiful description of the way he loves his church, his followers, his bride. He wants that union and unity to be such as was commanded when he created the first man and woman: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen 2:24) God wants to have THAT KIND of relationship with each one of us, him living within each of us and us in him, with one spirit in common, so that we are enabled to always do that which pleases him.

    In most Christian marriages, the husband gives his surname to his bride, and she accepts it – she TAKES it as her own last name. This is a sign of her absolute fidelity to him, because she has ceased to be different from him, separate from him. She is now PART of him, ONE with him. This is “taking the name” in truth.

    When a person is baptized into Christ, he or she is “taking the name of Christ” the Son of God and is known as a Christian. In the same way, when someone not born in America becomes a citizen of America, he “takes the name” of “American” and is known as an American. He then ACTS like an American, learns and uses the language of America (English), obeys the laws of the land, is loyal to what America stands for, lives the way most Americans live, etc. However, if he performs treasonous acts, such as defaming our government, bombing and destroying buildings and monuments, selling our military secrets and equipment to enemies of America, etc., he has obviously “taken the name” of “American” in vain – he isn’t really an American at heart and is indeed an enemy to America.

    Likewise, a person who “takes the name of God and of Christ” but ACTS OTHERWISE has taken that name IN VAIN – he isn’t really a Christian at heart. If he continues to swear and use foul language, misuse other people, break the commandments of God (1. love the Lord your God with all your heart; 2. love your neighbor as yourself), and thoroughly defile his “marriage vows” of baptism by following satanic practices in ANY form, he is not a genuine Christian and is an enemy to God.

    So you see, the Third Commandment is about much more than using foul language that includes the precious name of God and of Jesus as curse-words. It’s about the immeasurably-deep marriage-relationship they desire to have with each one of us. They want it to be a GENUINE relationship, not just one of convenience or necessity, as so often happens between people. They want our LOVE, and will give us their own full and limitless love in return.

    And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Rev 19:6)
    Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Rev 19:7)
    And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (Rev 19:8)
    And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Rev 19:9)