Freedom from Sabbath Keeping

Hey All,

Just spent a few days writing a new article which is a point-by-point response to an article by Ray Comfort that he titled Freedom From Sabbath Keeping. It took a while, because the article is filled with a lot of, shall we say, less than biblical information.

Ray is a good guy as far as I know, and has a lot of good teaching. I have quoted from him, and use some of his material in my conversations with atheists. However, there are a number of areas where he falls short of biblical truth, and a bunch of them are in this article. So I went through it and inserted my comments directly into his text. I included Bible verses and commentary all with a whole Bible perspective. You’ll find a nicely organized selection of responses to what are also typical Christian arguments against observing the Sabbath. Why people would reject a day off from God is beyond me, but they do. So this article should help you with standard Christian objections to observing the whole of the Word, not just the Sabbath.

An excerpt from Point by Point through the Ray Comfort article Freedom from Sabbath Keeping. His words are in red, my comments are in square brackets and in blue (on the web page they are just in a different font).

Let’s briefly look at their arguments. First, nowhere does the Fourth Commandment say that we are to “worship” on the Sabbath Day. [True. Worship was every day. The act of resting on the Sabbath is worship. Worship has taken on an inadequate meaning in the intervening centuries, and it used to be that worship included sacrifices. But worship has always been obedience at its root.] It commands that we rest on that day: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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). [Notice that he does not answer the issue he raises: why does the church not “rest” on the Sabbath?] Sabbath-keepers worship on the Saturday. [No. Sabbath keepers might MEET on Saturday, but worship is obedience and for every day.] Do they know where the word “Saturday” comes from? It’s from the Latin word “Saturnus–Saturn + Old English dæg day.” Obviously Saturday is from the pagan day of worship of the planet Saturn (astrology). [In spite of the attempt at sarcasm, I can agree here. However, Saturday is also the seventh day, and therefore the Sabbath. The name of the day is not important. But the Sabbath is.

And another excerpt.

The Scriptures tell us that at one point, the Apostles especially gathered to discuss the attitude of the Christian to the Law of Moses. [This is biblically incorrect. The council in Acts 15 met mainly to discuss salvation by circumcision (verse 1). This was proved to be wrong. Salvation was coming to Gentiles without circumcision and by grace through faith just as Abraham and JUST AS THE JEWS (who had the Law). Verse 5 also asks a question about following the Law, which was answered in verse 21 (Moses is read in the synagogue every Sabbath.) This meant 1) Moses is read. 2) Moses is read in the synagogue where all believers met at the time. 3) They met every Sabbath.] Acts 15:10-11, 24-29 was God’s opportunity to make His will clear to His children. [Biblically incorrect. God had been making His will clear to His children for a long, long time.] All He had to do to save millions from damnation was say, “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy,” and millions of Christ-centered, God-loving, Bible-believing Christians would have gladly kept it. [Not so. He already said many times to remember the Sabbath, and just about as many times was ignored. He is still being ignored today as is evidenced by this article by Ray. Many Christians do not want to obey God’s commands. Mostly because we do not want an objective, absolute standard. We want to give ourselves permission to sin.

Enjoy the article.
Shalom,
Bruce

A Whole Bible: The Acts 15 Council

A favorite tool for part Bible Christians to hammer God’s Law back into insignificance is Acts 15. It is claimed that this council met to eliminate the Law once and for all. We have a choice: we can listen to the rhetoric, or we can read it to see what God really says. Wow, what a concept, huh?

If the Law was eliminated, then why give us four laws right from The Law? And if only the “moral” laws were passed through, then why give us three laws that are ceremonial and a fourth that could be related to ceremonial? Why does James say that Moses is taught in the synagogues every Sabbath, showing that the Law is still going to be taught, that it is going to be taught on the Sabbath, and it will be taught in synagogues?

Nothing about the modern teaching makes any biblical sense. What does make sense is our video that discusses the actual contents of Acts 15 and the biblical context. Instead of eliminating the Law, the Acts 15 council unquestionably reaffirms and establishes it.

Shalom
Bruce

Distractions, Part Four, Boring stuff

Boy there are a lot of distractions from the Word. I may run out of numbers eventually.

 

This distraction is kind of a reverse distraction. It is a distraction because it is not distracting. What I mean is, God’s message is simple. Easy to understand. Repetitive. And boring. It does not have bells and whistles, dramatic lighting, big screen TV’s, shocking YouTube videos, celebrity endorsements, titillating gossip, vampires, salacious tweets, soap opera story lines, or Oscar winning computer graphics. It’s pretty mundane on the surface. Right up until you try to do it.

 

I’m speaking of abiding in His Word. Doing what He says. That’s it. It’s just not enough for a Hollywood party.

 

Obey is the original four-letter word.

 

It doesn’t appear sexy, or exciting. Unless you actually try it on for size. Take His Word out for a spin and you’ll find out just how stimulating it really is. That is, if you truly intend to follow God with a whole heart of flesh.

 

Sabbath, for instance, is not as easy as it looks. Sounds great – just take Saturday off. No work. No chores. No sweat. But just try to do it out of love for God. You would not believe the stimulation in just resting. It goes against the world. It goes against commerce, because Saturday is a big “buying and selling” day for the unbelievers. It goes against our own natures. It looks tame, but fireworks really go off when we try to actually do what the Father says. We can feel His life flowing through us when we allow Him to write His Word on our heart with the Spirit, and actually do what Jesus did.

 

Or try to avoid pork and shellfish. Think it’s just another diet gimmick? Try it and you’ll think again. You will be amazed at the tremendous amount of this trash in a worldly meal you didn’t know was there. When love for God drives you to eat His body and drink His blood (His Word and will) instead, it charges up your walk with energy from the Spirit you didn’t know you had at your disposal. It’s like removing sticks from a dam across the flow of a stream. Soon the dam gives way and all that pent up power can move through your soul.

 

His feasts (Leviticus 23) are beautifully timed to regenerate your enthusiasm and bring biblical teachings right into your living room. The reality of His grace, mercy and justice is driven home with concrete practices right from His heart to yours. We remember the past, remind ourselves of His presence and promises while teaching our children about them, and reinforce hope for our future deliverance. What a blast. We are invited to regular parties by the King of Kings, and He really knows how to throw a bash. Get high on the Spirit with no hangover. And you remember every detail.

 

On the surface, viewed with a heart of stone, His Word can appear boring. The benefits are hidden to those who are so easily distracted by the ear-tickling shiny baubles of emotional detours. Try following every part of His living oracles as much as you can, however, and that’s when the excitement truly begins. If His Word appears boring, perhaps it’s not the Word that is the problem at all.

Hypocrites and Passover

5273 ὑποκριτής [hupokrites /hoop·ok·ree·tace/] n m. From 5271; TDNT 8:559; TDNTA 1235; GK 5695; 20 occurrences; AV translates as “hypocrite” 20 times. 1 one who answers, an interpreter. 2 an actor, stage player. 3 a dissembler, pretender, hypocrite.
ESL

5273. ὑποκριτής hupokritēs; from 5271; one who answers, an actor, a hypocrite:—hypocrite(2), hypocrites(16).
NASB Dictionaries

), corresponding to the above, primarily denotes one who answers; then, a stage–actor; it was a custom for Greek and Roman actors to speak in large masks with mechanical devices for augmenting the force of the voice; hence the word became used metaphorically of a dissembler, a hypocrite. It is found only in the Synoptists, and always used by the Lord, fifteen times in Matthew; elsewhere, Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; 11:44 (in some mss.); 12:56; 13:15. HYSSOP HUSSŌPOS (ὕσσωπος , (5301) VEDONTW

Also means men of falsehood 26:4, evil doer Is. 9:17, godless, deceitful men, pretenders, vain persons, and profane.

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (Mark 7:6–7, ESV)

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” (Acts 7:51–53, ESV)

Those who receive the Bible as the Word of God yet do not keep it? Eating ham with leavened baked goods ignoring Sabbaths on Easter Sunday directly opposite what God teaches? Honoring with lips but hearts are far away, perhaps?

I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks; who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels; who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long. (Isaiah 65:2–5, NRSV)

Teaching Children

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 8 The Whole Purpose of the Law – Teaches Children

A few years ago a good friend in a Sunday school asked how he could help keep his kids in the faith. It seems his teenagers were starting to drift away, and he was concerned. I listened in some amazement as another friend took ten minutes to advise the first friend to keep his kids from watching ‘R’ rated movies and make sure they went to church every week. My response to both friends was to teach the Word through God’s traditions, especially the feasts (Leviticus 23). I told them how we observed Sabbath with a family meal as a kick off on Friday night, and how my daughter who went to college in Hawaii for a while still participated even though she was far away. She would call on Friday nights and we would put her on speaker phone. Then we would say blessings and eat together.

Later her fiancé, a Marine training in North Carolina, would call too and we had to find a second speaker phone for him (we already had two phone lines). It was a lot of fun, and helped keep our kids involved in and connected with the family and with the Word. The key to this of course was to practice God’s Word all the time, not just after they left home. I lost touch with that friend, so I don’t know if he ever took me up on my advice. I don’t think so. I think he was too indoctrinated by standard church teaching to accept the whole of the Word.

Practicing the whole Bible has made a huge, wonderful difference in our lives. We still have a family meal once a week, even though my daughter and her husband have been married for ten years. My children (and now grand children) have been taught the Law and they are still following its precepts. They tell me that the Word is much more meaningful to them than ever before. God’s Word is guaranteed to work because it is backed by His authority and power. We don’t always cooperate, but the Word works. If we follow His directions, we will end up right where He wants us.