Is the Sabbath Part of the New Covenant?

sabbath new covenantIn today’s society we as Christians are caught in the middle of the great controversy and are faced with making a big choice: will we be obedient to God’s law, or will we try to justify our stand of not being obedient to God’s law? All the while we must remember that the law, in and of itself, cannot make us righteous.

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” (Romans 3:21, 22) Righteousness comes through our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, but we cannot make void the law because of Christ’s death. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)

When the Son of God walked this earth he said, “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.” (Matthew 5:17, 18) The fact is clearly seen that the law would not and could not be changed until heaven and earth pass away and all is fulfilled.

Have heaven and earth passed away?

Many people are falsely taught that the law of God (Ten Commandments) was nailed to the cross. This would be a contradiction of what Jesus said in the first half of the verse. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law.…” Those who teach that the New Covenant is the nailing of the Law of God to the cross say, “The Law (Old Covenant or Ten Commandments) is done away with.” The law alone was not the covenant. The law was given by God; the covenant was the people saying, “We will do it.” Upon their keeping of the law of God, He in turn would bless them. (Exodus 19:8, 24:3)

What is the New Covenant?

To remain focused, we will not go into the New Covenant in depth. Our focus is on the law of God; do we need to be obedient to it, or not? “But now hath he [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” (Romans 8:6, 7) Christ is the mediator of a better covenant, for in the first covenant there was found fault. With whom was the fault found—God or man?

“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” (Hebrews 8:8, 9)

The fault was found with the people. They did not uphold their end of the agreement. Yet God in His mercy has made a New Covenant with His people. (See Jeremiah 31:31-33.) We know the fault was not with God for David wrote: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalms 19:7)

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (Hebrews 8:10) The New Covenant that God has made for those who want to receive it is, He will cleanse us from our sins by faith in the death and resurrection of His Son. When we receive it, He will put His laws into our minds and write them in our hearts. If the Ten Commandments were done away with at the cross, why is God willing to write them in our hearts as part of the New Covenant?

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4) This passage of scripture is easily misquoted when taken out of context. Some have said it means we have died to the law, and we no longer have to keep the Ten Commandments.

The first point that needs to be brought out is what this scripture is saying. We are dead to the law by the body of Christ. This scripture, when taken in the proper context, is reaffirming the New Covenant promise. We are dead to the law! but which law? “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:23-25)

Paul understood our carnal tendencies and the nature of sin. Within each of us there is a war raging. Satan, through sin, is striving to be the master of us all. “How?” one might ask. “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7:7-12)

Paul states that the law is holy; the commandment is holy, just and good. Now because of the deceitful ways of the devil, he is able to take that which is holy, just and good, and trick you and me into going against it to receive lustful pleasure. This is the law of sin and death to which we are to be dead. (See Romans 8:2-4.)

Another argument is found in Galatians 3:10 which reads, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Several points need to be made here. This verse is referring to the Jews of Galatia who had gone back to the bondage of the works of the law.

What are the works of the law?

The works of the law are simply the Old Covenant. The children of Israel entered into an agreement with God, summed up in Deuteronomy 6:25, which reads, “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”

Are the Ten Commandments contained in the works of the law? Yes, they are. Any law that you or I would keep, thinking to become righteous by it, is of the works of the law. Righteousness only comes through our faith in Christ. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21) “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”(Galatians 3:21)

When reading Galatians 3:10, we must keep this scripture in context with the rest of the book. If you read on to verses 4:9, 10; & 5:1, 2; you can see what Paul was dealing with. The people had come into bondage to the feasts and ceremonies of the Old Covenant. They actually wanted to be circumcised, thinking that would make them righteous before God.

Some people teach that God did not have a law or, shall we say an order, as to the way things should be done until it was given to Moses at Mount Sinai. We know this is not true, otherwise there would not have been sin until after the law was given to Moses.

Was there sin before the law was given to Moses at Mount Sinai?

Did Adam sin? “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.…” (Romans 5:14) How could Adam have sinned if there was no law? Obviously there was a law in Adam’s time.

What is sin? “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4) “For the wages of sin is death.…” (Romans 6:23) After reading these scriptures one would have to conclude that there was a law given prior to the one given to Moses at Mount Sinai, for Adam had transgressed the law. What about Cain? He slew his brother Abel, and he was dealt a difficult judgment—more than he could bear. What law did he transgress? In Genesis 26:5 it is recorded of Abraham; “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” What commandments and laws did he keep?

The point being made is; God’s laws existed before the time of Moses. If we were to ask those who say that we no longer have to be obedient to the Ten Commandments whether it is okay to steal, lie or kill, what do you suppose they would say? They would say, “Of course not!” What if you asked them, “Is it okay to covet, or commit adultery? What about taking the Lord’s name in vain and worshipping other gods?” They would say, “Of course not!” Now suppose you went on to ask them, “What about not working on Saturday and assembling to worship God on the seventh day?” They would respond, “Well, that’s been done away with.” Has it?

What does the fourth commandment say?

“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)remember the sabbath fourth commandment

Why did God create the Sabbath day? “And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) God, in His mercy made a day in which we could come apart from the things of the world to rest and reflect on His wonderful works—just as He did after He made all things.

What day is the seventh day of the week?

Definition: “Saturday = The seventh day of the week.” (Winston’s Simplified Dictionary)

Does one really believe that because of the death of God’s dear Son for our transgressions, there is now no law to govern us human beings in our worship to God and our relationship to our fellow men? Some people actually say that there is no command given in the New Testament for us to keep holy the Sabbath day, therefore justifying their unfaithfulness to the Creator.

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:21, 22)

According to the above scripture, Christ left us an example that we should follow in His steps. His example was that He did no sin. Sin is the transgression of the law. If the example that Jesus left us is not to sin, then there must still be a law that governs what sin is, or we would not know what it is. Let’s look at some of the examples that Jesus left us in regard to the Sabbath.

“And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.” (Mark 1:21) “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) “And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days.” (Luke 4:31) “And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue.…” (Mark 6:2)

The custom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is clearly seen. He abstained from those things prohibited on the Sabbath and went into the synagogue on that day, and He is to be our example. What specifically did He do there? He taught the people. What an example!

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Paul states here that the people of God should be teachers, but they were in need of being taught again the first principles of the oracles of God. They were unable to digest strong meat; therefore he fed them with milk. Strong meat, he said, belongs to those who have exercised their senses to discern both good and evil. If God’s law was done away with, why would there need to be discernment between good and evil? What is the standard by which good and evil are judged?

Again I must say, God never intended for His law (Ten Commandments) to be done away with. As far as the law making us righteous apart from Christ, that was never a part of God’s covenant. God says, “I will put my laws in their hearts and in their minds will I write them.” In so doing God gives us His righteousness.

Did the Apostle Paul follow the example that the Son of God left us?

“But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” (Acts 13:14, 15)

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” (Acts 13:42) “And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” (Acts 13:44) “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” (Acts 18:4) Yes, Paul did follow the example that Jesus left us. He also taught concerning the Sabbath in the book of Hebrews.

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:1, 2)

In the above passage of scripturePaul is identifying the Sabbath rest with the Gospel. If you have the time to read the third chapter of Hebrews, you will see that many people in Moses’ time did not enter into the Sabbath rest because of the hardness of their hearts and unbelief. Paul, in this first verse, is exhorting you and me not to follow in their example of unbelief. He goes on to say, “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.” (Hebrews 4:3, 4)

Paul is stating that those who believe enter into rest and have ceased from their works as God did from His when He created all things at the foundation of the world. Thus reaffirming that God’s law existed before Moses’ time.

Paul’s exhortation goes on to say, “And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:5-7)

Paul’s admonition, given almost two thousand years ago, is relevant for us today. “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein.” Will you enter the Sabbath rest of the Creator of the universe? or will you continue to work on it and go to church on another day, Sunday, the first day of the week?

“For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:8-10) Please notice verse nine in another translation. “It is therefore the duty of the people of God to keep the Sabbath.” (Hebrews 4:9, George M. Lamsa’s translation from the Aramaic of the Peshitta.)

Many people are taught that the seventh-day Sabbath of the Lord has been done away with by being nailed to the cross. They are taught that we keep Sunday holy because Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week, therefore we honor that day. If we were expected to honor another day instead of the seventh-day Sabbath, then would Jesus not have told us? Yes, Jesus would have told us for he stated, “…for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15)

“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament [or covenant] is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” (Hebrews 9:16, 17) The New Covenant was ratified by the death of Christ and was not in force until after His death.

“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.” (Galatians 3:15) After the death of Christ nothing could be added to the New Covenant.

Some say that Sunday-keeping is part of the New Covenant and point to the resurrection of Christ on that day as proof of this assertion; yet that particular Sunday came three days too late to be part of the New Covenant. Any assertion that Sunday is part of the New Covenant is proven untrue by the Scriptures.

In the society in which we live here in America, most of the professed Christian world works on the Sabbath, or they regard it as they would any other day of the week. Sunday has replaced the day of rest and worship. How is it that this change occurred? Who is responsible for the change? To answer these questions we will be reading some quotations from prominent writings within the Christian world.

“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (364 AD) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” (The Converts Catechism, Peter Giermann, page 50. This catechism received the pope’s blessing on January 25, 1910)

“The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday.” (The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14, 1942, page 4)

“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.” (Priest Brady, in an address at Elizabeth, New Jersey on March 17, 1903, reported in the Elizabeth, New Jersey News of March 18, 1903)

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8, 9)

Why is the Sabbath so important?

“Hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 20:20)

The scriptures tell us that if we hallow the Sabbath, it will be a sign between God and us that He is the Lord our God. What will happen if we do not honor the Lord’s Sabbath? Well, it will still be a sign, but the sign will be that He is not the Lord our God. We actually honor and worship another god—not the Lord of the Sabbath. The very words of our Saviour were“Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:28)

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.…” (Romans 14:5, 6) We have the choice whether to honor the Sabbath or not. Yet the Lord will hold us accountable for our actions.

If the Bible is so clear, as we have seen, about the Sabbath, how is it that Catholicism thinks she can change God’s law? Where did she get the authority, and when did this change take place?

Question: “How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

Answer: “By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday

strictly, and breaking most other feast days commanded by the same church.” (Abridgement of Christian Doctrine, by Rev. Henry Tuberville, D.D., of Douay College, France, 1649, page 58)

Question: “Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?

Answer: “Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.” (A Doctrinal Catechism, by Stephen Keenan, page 174)

“The Catholic Church of its own infallible authority created Sunday a holy day to take the place of the Sabbath of the old law.” (Kansas City Catholic, February 9, 1893) “The Catholic Church,… by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” (Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, September 23, 1893)

Conclusion

Clearly we have seen that God’s law has not been changed by Jesus Christ nor was it done away with at His death. The seventh-day Sabbath is still a sign be-

tween God and His people that they belong to Him. Yet if we acknowledge Sunday as a day of worship, we are acknowledging some other god than the Lord of the Sabbath.

Will we be obedient to the Creator of heaven and earth? Or will we choose to worship another god and give him the homage due to the only true God?

For more information about another god, and more detailed information on how he came into the Christian movement, please write or call.

 

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