Christianity, faith

Commandment 4: The Sabbath

Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; but the seventh day is Sabbath to Hashem, your God; you shall not do any work-you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, your animal, and your convert within your gates- for in six days Hashem made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Hashem blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it. (Exodus 20:8-11 from the Tanach, Stone Edition).

This commandment is the only one of the ten, given on Sinai and expounded on by Jesus, that the majority of the Christian world does not follow. This article will have three sections. The first will be examples from the Old Testament (Tanach) that show where it originated and why it is important.

The second section will be from the New Testament and show how important the commandments are. It will use the Gospels, Letters, and Revelation to show the importance of keeping all the commandments by those professing faith in Christ.

The third will be historical looks on the changing from Sabbath worship to Sunday worship. It will use writings of main denominations of Christianity. And it will look at how the Roman Catholic church looks at the ability and reason for the change and their views on the biblical Sabbath.

This debate of Sabbath v Sunday will probably be debated through Christendom until the second coming of Christ. But this article will show the biblical (not man’s interpretation) of God’s Holy determination of the day of worship.

Old Testament Views

The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done (Genesis 2:1-3). The first book of Moses shows us why the day is sacred, and the day of holy rest. It was the only day sanctified by God himself. Six days God worked creating everything. He took the seventh day and sanctified it as a rest day. When God brought the Israelites from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, he made it clear in his commandments that because he sanctified it at creation, they were to keep it sanctified in their faith. It was retold to them in Deuteronomy 5:12-14 & Leviticus 23:3.

We learn in Numbers that the Sabbath rest also was extended to gentiles and had penalties for breaking its observance. But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly reviles the LORD; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has spurned the word of the LORD and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off—he bears his guilt. Once, when the Israelites were in the wilderness, they came upon a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. Those who found him as he was gathering wood brought him before Moses, Aaron, and the whole community. He was placed in custody, for it had not been specified what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death: the whole community shall pelt him with stones outside the camp (Numbers 15:32-36).

New Testament Views

The Gospels tell us of the important parts of Christ’s life and ministry. Such things as his birth, miracles, baptism, death, and most important of all, his resurrection. Being brought up in the Jewish faith, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom (Luke 4:16). At a few points, the Pharisees asked why he would profane the Sabbath by doing healings and getting food to eat from the fields. He gave them a couple different answers like reminding them of God’s compassion (healings) and of David eating food meant for the priests (gathering food).

But he also expounded on the Sabbath as a hallowed day. Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28).There are theologians who will say that this proves that Jesus, while reverencing the day hallowed by God, that because he is the Lord of the Sabbath, he changed its meaning and importance. Two issues arise from this perspective. The first being, he never said it was open to interpretation or that it didn’t need to still be followed. The second issue comes from the understand that he was God in the flesh “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:1-4,14)” and that God never changes Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Matthew 13:8).So saying Jesus was indicating that the validity of the sanctity of the Sabbath was no longer important, is saying that Matthew 13:8 is a lie. Since the scriptures tell us AllScripture isGod-breathedandis usefulforinstruction,forconviction,forcorrection,and fortraininginrighteousness,so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), that would be the same as calling God himself a liar.

We find in Acts and in various letters by the apostles that they followed the Sabbath as the holy day.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 Paul said Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). We also see that those gentiles seeking to hear of Jesus observed the Sabbath because it is when Paul and other disciples preached to them. So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them,persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God (Acts 13:42-44).

In many places of the New Testament, Jesus tells his followers what it takes to be saved and earn eternal life.If yekeepmy commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love (John 15:1). If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, andkeepeth 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 14:15, 21).

In Revelation we are told through John’s writing are those that will see eternal life with God. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, whichkeepthe commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17). Here is the patience of the saints: here are they thatkeepthe commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).These few verses, as well as others, should make it important to understand that the commandments and faith in Christ are needed to make it to a heavenly reward of eternal life.

History of Change

The bible prophesied the change of times and laws. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (Daniel 7:25). There is only one commandment that is also a time. The fourth commandment (law) is the command for Sabbath (time) holiness. Let look to see where that change came from.

The Catholic Catechism states in Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 1 Article 3 Subsection 2 Line 2174Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead”. What is interesting is that they use the pagan vernacular “the day of the sun”. They also say they celebrate for two reasons. Christ rising from the dead on the first day AND God’s “separation of light and dark” on the first day of creation.

Since the Bible writers didn’t say that God the father or God the Son (Jesus) changed the rules of the fourth commandment, it has to be understood that the Catholic Church got that ability from somewhere. The church tells us where that power came from. “ “All power is given Me in heaven and on earth; as the Father sent Me so I also send you,” said our Divine Lord in giving His tremendous commission to His Apostles. “He that heareth you heareth Me.” We have in the authoritative voice of the Church the voice of Christ Himself.The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact.Deny the authority of the Church and you have no adequate or reasonable explanation or justification for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday in the Third – Protestant Fourth – Commandment of God. As the Rev. Mr. Smith rightly points out: “The Jewish Sabbath is not Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Christians are all wrong in speaking of the Sabbath as Sunday.” The Christians who so speak are “Bible Christians,” those who make the Bible the sole rule of Faith; and the Bible is silent on Sunday observance, it speaks only of Sabbath observance. The Lord’s Day – Dies Dominica – is the term used always in the Missal and the Breviary. It occurs in the Bible once (Apoc. 1.10;) in Acts xx. 7 and 1 Cor. xvi., 2 there is a reference to “the first day of the week;” but in none of these is there the remotest intimation that henceforth the first day is to take the place of the seventh. That is the crux of the whole question, what authority does the Bible give for the change? And that difficulty Mr. Smith and his critics, though pious and effusive and vaguely eloquent about many things, have each and all sedulously evaded.

    If affects very materially and very intimately the question of the proper observance of the Lord’s Day.

    In the first centuries the obligation of rest from work remained somewhat indefinite. The Council of Laodicea, held at the end of the fourth century, was content to prescribe that on the Lord’s Day the faithful were to abstain from work as far as possible. At the beginning of the sixth century St. Cesarius and others showed an inclination – very familiar to us – to apply the law of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday. But the Council of Orleans in 538 reprobated this tendency as Jewish and non-Christian.

    Thus by the same Divine authority, in virtue of which she did away with the Jewish Sabbath and substituted therefor the Christian Sunday, the Catholic Church legislated as to how the Lord’s Day should be observed.

    Due to the exaggerated importance given the Bible after the Reformation and to the influence of Puritanism, the Lord’s Day in England and still more in Scotland began to take on all the rigorism of the Jewish Sabbath. That heritage, though somewhat softened, we still have with us. A game of ball where participants and spectators enjoy health-giving rest and recreation in the open air is “desecration of the Sabbath.” The swimming pool controversy is another good example.

   We would not be misunderstood. With much of the activity of the Sabbatarians we are in sympathy. Their insistence on a day of rest being given all workers is admirable. But their muddle-headed confusion of the Lord’s Day with the Jewish Sabbath – against which the Rev. Mr. Smith so vigorously protests – finds no sympathy amongst the Catholics who receive the Lord’s Day itself as well as its mode of observance from the Church and not from the Bible(Saturday, September 1st, 1923 edition of The Catholic Record of London, Ontario, Canada, Volume XLV, #2342 and appeared on page 4http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/c-record.htm).

The Bible does not say that God or Christ (or the Apostles through leading of the Holy Spirit) changed the day of worship or said that the commandment was void. The Catholic Church admits that they changed it and call those that worship on the day set aside by God are ‘B ible Christians’. So do you follow traditions set by man or are you a “Bible Christian”?

Jesus called out the Pharisees of his day. But he is also talking to the Pharisees of our day.

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (Mark 7:6-9)

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Christianity, faith, Uncategorized

Commandment 2: No Graven Images

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)

While most know the first part of this commandment but don’t go on to read the second part. This has led to various concepts of the verses and the commandment. The Amish have no images (pictures, faced dolls, statuary, etc) because they believe that these can lead to false worship and ego. But then you have the Catholic Church which allow it in certain ways.

The Catholic Church has combined the 1st and 2nd commandments and split the 10th commandment into two commandments. This allows them the use of statuary in private and parish worship. So in this concept, we will look at how not every man made image is an idol or god and how some are within Christendom.

The first part of the commandment leads directly into the second part. What makes a man made image a sin is the person’s giving it adoration given only to God. So the pictures of your kids, a concert poster, an star’s autographed picture, the garden gnome are NOT what the commandment is referring to. These are just images UNLESS you bow down to them and give them the adoration and praise allowed only to God.

The Catholic Church has statuary, prints, reliefs, etc that correspond to those they deem saints, the blessed mother of Christ, the walk to the cross, etc. What makes them sin is the prayers and adoration given them. The catechism states that worship is given only to God (which is true). The part that is in defiance of the 2nd commandment is giving prayers to the saints that these statues and prints that represent them. No where in the Holy Scriptures does it say to pray to the dead (which the saints and mother of Christ are).

It actually says not to pray to them because they can’t hear prayer. For the living know that they will die,but the dead know nothing;they have no further reward,and even their name is forgotten.Their love, their hateand their jealousy have long since vanished;never again will they have a partin anything that happens under the sun. Eccl 9:5-6 (NIV)

Now, they will bring up Moses and the making of the image of a serpent. But as you will see, that image was ordered by God and not worshiped, but only looked upon.  They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way;they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:4-9 (NIV). Jesus later told what this action actually was.Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. John 3:14 (NIV).Prayer is a form of worship (https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/blog/prayer-is-an-act-of-worship/). Worship is to God alone. So not matter what you pray to or worship, if it is NOT God alone it is a violation of the commandment of God. This would include pagan gods and deities. As well as the saints, the mother of Jesus, and any image of them.

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Christianity, faith

The Commandments: No Other Gods

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3

This verse starts what are known as the 10 commandments of God. Given to Moses on Mt. Sinai after being brought out  of Egyptian captivity and going across the Red Sea. But what is the meaning of this verse? Many believe it says that only God Jehovah is the only god. But as you go down through history, there are three types of gods that can be seen in this quote.

The definition of a god is simply something a person worships. There are three classifications to this: spiritual gods, men who are seen as gods, and inanimate objects. All three will be discussed and to show why the GOD of the Abrahamic faiths is the one that is the one true God.

Spiritual Gods

Spiritual gods in this article are referring to the multitude of pantheon gods of bygone cultures and civilizations. I will not say that this entities had no abilities. The bible proves they did at some point. After all, the bible tells us in Exodus that the priests (magicians) of the the Pharaoh could perform certain things like Moses and Aaron. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 7:8-13)

The actions of Aaron’s ‘serpent’ show that God Jehovah was superior. Later, when it was time for the Israelites to leave God used some of the Egyptian gods to plague the Egyptians and proved He alone was almighty. (http://www.stat.rice.edu/~dobelman/Dinotech/10_Eqyptian_gods_10_Plagues.pdf) Look through Exodus 7:1-12:36 and study the hyperlinked pdf.

Then we move to areas like Babylon. Where there gods were put to the test. So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it.And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down.Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,”and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs[a] of seed.And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time.And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.” (1 Kings 18:20-40)

As we move through the points of history, the gods and goddesses of every pantheon have fallen. From Medo-Persian and Roman of the ancient world to Celtic, Viking/German, African, and Meso-American. In the end, all of these pantheons fell to the Judeo-Christian God. And were left buried in antiquity until modern times. Now these pantheons are making a comeback. But like then, they will again fall.

Here’s where these false gods came from. They created nothing. They can’t save the soul of their believer. And they must bow down and forfeit to the one true God because they came from him. They are nothing more than the fallen that sided with Lucifer against the Creator himself. Because of lust of self and power, Lucifer and one third of the angels were cast from heaven. Where did they go? Here. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15). Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Men who place themselves as gods

Throughout man’s history, there are men who have placed themselves as god on earth. Pharaoh was believed to be the sun god Ra walking on earth. In more modern times, people like Jim Jones and David Koresh have led followers to their deaths with these claims. Most of these are demigods of man’s making. Take how people flocked and followed to Donald Trump over the last few years. They have been blinded by his words and emotional influence. Much like men throughout history: Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, and quite a few television evangelists/prosperity preachers (such as Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland). But one seems to be set above all others. The Pope of Roman Catholicism. Over his reign, the pope has commanded countries who bowed, armies who fought (inquisitions and crusades), and placed himself as god on earth.

The Catholic church believes they have the ability to forgive sin, According to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” confession involves either “venial” (minor sins) which are confessed to God and “mortal” (major sins) which must be confessed through a priest. This means the priest (or above) acts as mediator between man and God. But we are told in Scripture that not understanding that Jesus was God in flesh (John 1:1-14) they made the statement Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” (Luke 5:21). The Catholic also tends to forget that there is only one mediator between man and God, and the priest is not it.For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

In Pope Leo XIII’s 1885 Encyclical ‘The Reunion of Christendom’ he states, “the pope holds upon this earth the place of Almighty God”. His title is, besides Pope and Bishop of Rome, is Vicarious Filii Dei ‘Vicar (replacement or agent) of God on Earth’. So, by the Church’s own admission, the seat of the papacy is the thrown of a man that is seen as a god. The power and influence of the papacy have grown majorly, especially since the Francis became Pope. We see the spiritual and political influence this man has throughout the world.

Inanimate objects

Everything else that can be worshiped falls within this category. Money, power, and position are the main points of this category. This are tangibles that man seeks for. Now, these things may be needed (try buying groceries without financial ability or having a business operate without a person in the lead). BUT when the desire for these become the main component of one’s life and ambition, that is when they become a god to that person. For these things when they reach that level of importance, mankind has killed, cheated, lied, warred, and stolen to get them. They have taken precedents over his soul and his compassion for his fellowman.

Conclusion

There is one reason that the first commandment is what it is. With all of these categories of false gods, we need reminded that there is only one God over all. He is the Creator of all things. He is the spoken word that became flesh in Jesus the Christ. HE IS GOD ALONE. Because we fell for the great satan, the liar and deceiver, the once great Lucifer, we need to be reminded who our Father really is.

Take a moment and ask the Father, the one true God to help you always remember who He is and to have the strength through him to turn away from these false gods. We all need that repentance and forgiveness. As an earthly parent may chastise his children, he will also have their back when they need him. How much greater will the Father that created all protect His children. As time draws near to the end of all things and the return of Christ the King, please remember who the true God is, and seek His protection and salvation.

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