A video came across my feed that disturbed me a bit so I thought I would write this article to make some clarifications on what was said in the video. Pastor Greg Locke is a pastor in Tennessee that I do have quite a bit of respect for. That respect comes from listening to many many of his messages on social issues in the light of Holy Scripture.
He carries the message of the need for the saving power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He pulls no punches in calling out sin. This has gotten him banned from social media and even hate mail and even curses from those proclaiming to be witches.
His zeal is needed in more pulpits. However, the latest video brought up an idea that needs commented on. In one of his latest messages, he called Sabbath observance a demonic doctrine. Now, he did make the truthful point that we are not under the law but saved by grace. That is true. It is only through the grace of Jesus the Christ and His mercy that gives us the hope of salvation. But that does not make the the Commandments of God void. In this article, I will give the few verses that pastors like Pastor Locke use. I will also use Holy Scripture to show that the commandments (all 10) are still relevant and give a short history on the Sabbath/Sunday issue.
And I’ll mention this in starting. There are more than just the Seventh Day Adventists that worship on God’s Holy Sabbath, although this is the best known. Sabbath Christian worship has been done through the history of the church. SDA came about from the Millerite movement in the 1800s. The Seventh Day Baptists trace their direct roots from the 1600s. The Spanish Inquisition was started because the queen (a Roman Catholic) despised ‘Judaizers’ (Sabbath keeping Christians).
There will be both Sabbath and Sunday worshipers in Heaven. There will be members from all denominations in Heaven. Because it is not about the denomination, it is about the personal relationship with Jesus that makes the difference.
Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1 all speak of the day of Jesus’s resurrection. Yet in these verses, there is no mention of making that day the new Sabbath. John 20:19 speaks of the disciples being in the upper room on the day of resurrection. They were not there in worship, but fear for lives and and disbelief in that Jesus would be raised from the dead. Mark 16:14, showing the same see, has Jesus chastising the disciples for their unbelief. Nowhere in these verses does Sunday sacred worship come into being.
Mark 2:23-28 is where Jesus was being rebuked by the Pharisees for doing good on the Sabbath. In this verse we see Jesus saying that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath. This harkens back to Genesis 2:2-3 and Exodus 20:8-11. In Genesis, after creation, God set the 7th day Sabbath as a day of rest making is hallowed (Holy). So the Sabbath was set before even man walked upon the earth. In Exodus, Jesus, being God, personally wrote in stone about the sacredness of the Sabbath. In the 4th commandment (3rd if your Catholic), two points were made. First, the 7th day Sabbath was set aside by God as a day of holy rest. Second, that it was meant for all men. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
There are various New Testament Scriptures that tell of meeting on the first day of the week. Acts 20:7,11,13 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. Yes, they did meet and expound upon the teachings of Christ. But, they also met on multiple days in the week as well (Acts 5:42). Nowhere in the entire New Testament did Jesus or His Apostles determine that that Sunday was to replace the Sabbath set by God. In fact, Jesus Himself, and the Apostles worshiped on the Sabbath. Jesus even went as far to continue to solidify the Sabbath and the commandments.
The need for the commandments.
Pastor Locke and most Christian preachers/priests speak on the grace of God through Jesus negating the laws of God. To be fair, they are partly right. The verse they use is a single verse spoken by Christ. Matthew 5:17 says that Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, not to abolish them. To correct part of the error of modern thought let us go to Deuteronomy. There were the laws and the Commandments, two separate things. We know that the 10 Commandments of God were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. However, the law was placed on the outside of the ark “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you” Deuteronomy 31:26. These were the ceremonial and civil laws (food prep, rules of cleanliness, etc. These are the laws that Jesus fulfilled. The commandments stayed in place. These are the laws that Jesus said that the Pharisees forgot the intentions of. All of these laws, pointed to Jesus’s sacrifice and death. That is why he linked them to the prophecies about Himself.
Jesus mentions the need to follow the Commandments of God. Matthew 5:18 says that they will not pass away until all be fulfilled. That was referencing the second coming not the cross, so the need of the commandments continue. In John 14:15, 21,23 specifically has Jesus saying to keep His commandments. Since He wrote them on Sinai, it is not hard to understand what He meant.
In Jesus’s message to John at Patmos (Revelation/Apocalypse), Jesus said this, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12” There are two parts in this statement. 1) Have the faith of Jesus (Salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ). 2) Keep the Commandments of God (the 10 given on Sinai). It is self explanatory. Both are needed.
History of Sunday worship
Through the Holy Scriptures, it can be seen that Jesus and His Apostles kept the 7th day Sabbath as commanded by God in Exodus and set by God in Genesis. So we must ask where the change came from.
It started as a civil law by Constantine in AD 321. During a battle, Constantine said he saw a the Cross of Jesus in the sky and that was the aid that helped him win that battle. So he made Christianity the main religion in his territory. Being that the area was still pagan, and worshiped the sun god on the first day of the week (SUNday), he stated that Christians would observe this day to better convert (so to speak) the pagan masses. ‘March 7, 321, however, Roman Emperor Constantine I issued a civil decree making Sunday a day of rest from labor, stating:
All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable day of the sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for planting the grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish.’
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church states here: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c1a3.htm about Sunday worship.
And here are Papal quotes that they think gives them ability to change doctrine and God’s rules.
The New York Catholic Catechism, under: Pope, says, “The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth…by divine right the pope has supreme and full power in faith and morals over each and every pastor and his flock. He is the true Vicar of Christ, the head of the entire church, the father and teacher of all Christians He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils; the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter of the world, the supreme judge of heaven and earth, the judge of all, being judged by one, God himself on earth.”
In his encyclical, “The Reunion of Christendom” (1885), Pope Leo XIII stated that the pope holds “upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”
The Council of Trent declared: “Sitting in that chair in which Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, sat to the close of life, the Catholic Church recognizes in his person the most exalted degree of dignity, and the full jurisdiction not based on constitutions, but emanating from no less authority than from God Himself. As the Successor of St. Peter and the true and legitimate Vicar of Jesus Christ, he therefore, presides over the Universal Church, the Father and Governor of all the faithful, of Bishops, also and of all other prelates, be their station, rant, or power, what they may be.”
The Catholic book, “My Catholic Faith” which is based on the Baltimore Catechism, on page 251, says, “The Pope can make and unmake laws for the entire Church; his authority is supreme and unquestioned. Every bishop, every priest, every member of the Church is subject to him.
One last verse to look at as I close. In the prophecies of Daniel on the last days we read this. “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 both a time and a law. The fourth Commandment (third for Catholics) is a law, Sabbath is a time. Worship on Sunday or the Sabbath is up to the person. But to call Sabbath day worship by Christians a Demonic Doctrine borders on heresy and could be seen as blasphemy.
Image borrowed from ‘Broken Adventist Ministry’