The Sabbath Day

Part 2

The Sabbath day still continues to be a subject of much controversy, even within the 'Messianic' circles. I intend to use the quotes from the Dakes' bible as a spring board to cover all of the controversies, including the lunar sabbath issue.

The claims that Paul's letters summarily did away with the 'Jewish Sabbath' will be addressed as they come up in the rest of the Dakes' bible quotes. The last line of the first quotes must be addressed before moving on.

"... 321 A.D. Constantine made the Christian Sabbath, Sunday, the rest day for the Roman Empire, but it was observed by Christians for nearly 300 years before it became a law by Constantine."

What? Surely this man has a different definition of 'nearly' than I do. 300 years puts the 'Christian Sabbath' at approximately 10-12 years before the crucifixion of Y'shua. What evidence do we have that 'Christians' observed Sunday as the Sabbath in the New Testament? Nowhere, I mean nowhere, is there any evidence of Sunday being observed as the Sabbath, or the sanctioned day of worship in the 1st century. On the contrary, the book of Acts has the followers of Y'shua meeting, worshipping, and hearing the word of God on the seventh day (Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44, 15:21, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4). Today, we all must choose whether to follow Paul as he followed the Messiah (1 Corinthians 11:1) or to follow the teachings of the early church fathers.

The Christians that Dakes' commentary refers to, in this slightly exaggerated statement, are among an increasing amount of gentile believers who, beginning in the 2nd century A.D., began to depart from anything that smacked of 'Jewish' origin or the Old Testament. God, behaving ever bit the prophetic Creator that He is, foretold of just such behavior through Rav Sha’ul, once again in the book of Acts.

Acts 20:27-31
"For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. so of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to DRAW AWAY disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears."

The earliest references to Christians observing Sunday as the Sabbath, or the day of worship, is the mid 2nd century. This, of course, was prophesied by Paul. The idea of proving something to be true by providing evidence that people, even a large majority of people, observed it or did it, is, well, nonsense at best. The very first statement of so-called facts, had not one single fact in it. Now to address the next section of 'facts'.

"The New International Encyclopedia on Sunday says, "For some time after the foundation of the Christian church the converts from Judaism still observed the Jewish Sabbath to a greater or lesser extent, at first, it would seem concurrently with the celebration of the first day, but before the end of the apostolic period, Sunday, known as the Lord's day, had thoroughly established itself as the special day to be sanctified [set apart] by rest from secular labor and by public worship. The hollowing of Sunday appears incontestably as a definite law in the Church by the beginning of the fourth century, and the Emperor Constantine confirmed the custom by a law of the state".

I will take issue with the first part of this long statement right out of the blocks. Only the converts from Judaism were observing the seventh day?

Acts 13:42-44
"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God."

The decision here is simple. Shall we follow the words of God, Paul, the early disciples, and the Messiah, or do we conform to the disobedient history of the early church? Where is the evidence of the phrase 'it would seem concurrently with the celebration of the first day...'? Once again, I see so many assumptions and so much faulty foundation here, I hardly know where to stop or start. I would disagree with the term 'apostolic period'. Where in the scriptures do we find such an idea? Even if we all collectively decided, contrary to scripture, to call the time frame of the first disciples the 'apostolic period', we still have to rationalize that with the fact that apostles did not cease nor were they supposed to.

Ephesians 4:11-12
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Messiah:"

It would be a waste of ink to have to spend 5 minutes explaining this no-brainer. The whole idea of an 'apostolic period' is just another dispensation to place sin and disobedience conveniently into. I am starting to laugh out loud now. "... Sunday, known as the Lord's day, had thoroughly established itself as the special day to be sanctified ..." This guy has the conclusion as the premise and the premise as the conclusion. Where is this established? The Lord's day is a possessive term. The Lord's day is the 'Day of the Lord'. A day that is firmly established in the Tanakh. The seventh day is the only day that is sanctified by YHVH in the scriptures. It is the only day referred to as HIS day (Sh'mot 20:10). It is the day that is the SIGN between Him and us.

Sh'mot 31:17
"It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."

Here is where it is very imperative to understand the teaching of the two houses of Israel, for it is here that, for those who do not understand the New Covenant, the discussion ends. For any mention of the 'children of Israel' to the uninformed, means the Jews and not the church. So we simply, theologically, and conveniently remove ourselves from the text. This is why it is sometimes difficult to teach on subjects in which we have to go back to the alphabet in order to teach what the Bible says and not what religious organizations teach. As we read God's words we must all choose whether the will and desires of our Creator pertain to us or not. Whatever is chosen, we must live with and ultimately face Him in the end, for we will all give an account in the day of judgment for every word that proceeds out of our mouths (Mattityahu 12:36-37). We will cover what God thinks of this day later in this teaching.

The last statement in this section I would heartily agree with, except for one small change. Dakes' states that the hallowing of Sunday appears incontestably as a definite law in the Church by the the beginning of the fourth century. Two comments about this. I would only change 'Church' to Christian Church. It is true that the overwhelmingly dominant gentile church had indeed hallowed Sunday as the 'Christian' sabbath by the 4th century A.D. As I said before, Paul foretold of this event in the book of Acts. It is also interesting to me that the same people who condemn the seventh day as irrelevant because, after all, Paul taught that all days are the same now, are the same people who have HALLOWED Sunday as the new Christian sabbath. As I have stated before, religious people who claim that 'Jesus' freed them from the law, have really only substituted God's laws for their own laws. It is my experience that Christianity sure has a lot of rules for a religion that is freed from the bondage of the law. Let's move on to the next section.

"The Catholic encyclopedia on Sunday says, "Sunday was the first day of the week according to the Jewish method of reckoning, but for the Christians it began to take the place of the Jewish Sabbath in apostolic times as the day set apart for public and solemn worship of God." This volume quotes a number of early Christian writings of the first, second and third centuries to prove that, Sunday was kept by Christians from the earliest times."

Once again, we have Christian writings confirming Christian doctrine. Hmmmm. I think this is the most honest report I have heard so far and it speaks for itself. Except for no evidence of even Christians observing Sunday as the sabbath in the first century, this is a profession I cannot disagree with. Let's move on, it gets more exciting.

"The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on "The Lord's day" says, "The Lord's day in the New Testament occurs only in Rev. 1:10, but in post-apostolic (another Disneyland term) literature we have the following references: The epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, IX, 1, "no longer keeping the Sabbath but living according to the Lord's day, on which also our light arose ... Acts 2:46 represents the special worship as Daily." But this could not continue long ... A choice of a special day must have become necessary and this day would, of course, have been Sunday ... Uncircumcised Gentiles, however, were free from any obligation of Sabbath observances" ... No observance of a special day of rest is contained among the 'Necessary Things' of Acts 15:28,29 ... A given day as a matter of divine obligation is denounced by Paul as forsaking Christ {Galatians 4:10}, and Sabbath keeping is condemned explicitly in Col. 2:16. As a matter of individual devotion to be sure, a man might do as he please {Romans 14:5,6} but no general rule as necessary for salvation could be compatible with liberty where with Christ has made us free {Gal. 2:1-21; 3:1-14;5:1-4,13}"

Wow! We can clearly see the task that is before us saints of God. Every section seems to out-nonsense the one before. Let me first say that once again we have Christian writings verifying Christian teaching. This would be no different than if we were Mormon and set out to verify Mormon teaching by quoting Mormon leaders. Let's go to the biblical 'prooftexts' that they have sighted first, the rest being a repetition of circular reasoning.

Acts 2:46-47
"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

Might I first point out that they are with one accord 'in the temple'. Hmmmm. Secondly I would like to suggest that the supposedly 'new' idea of worshipping and praising God on a 'daily' basis is nothing new. However, it would be if when you were saved you were told to go home and read your Bible starting in the book of John. I would imagine that anything and everything would be new. Here are a few examples of that 'old way' of worshipping YHVH.

Mizmor 72:15
"And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised."

Mizmor 88:9
"Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: YHVH, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee."

Yesha'yahu 58:2
"Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

Mizmor 145:2
"Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever."

I once had a good Christian friend say to me that because of 'Jesus' he was not bound to 7 feasts a year, but he was now to praise God every day of the year. Sounds humbling, does it not? The seven feasts of YHVH are God's directive for the gathering of all the saints of God in one accord during these times of the year. Personal worship and local gatherings to praise and worship God have ALWAYS been a daily priviledge. Scriptural error is always in tandem with hypocrisy. I could just as easily say that I am not bound to a handful of family celebrations every year such as Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving, but I am now free to celebrate every day with my family. Sometimes our little cliches are self deceptive.

Acts 15:28-29 are quoted here as if the four 'necessary things' listed in verse 20 is all that is required of new gentile converts. I find it interesting, considering our subject matter, that the very next verse, speaking to the same new gentile converts, states that they will learn of Moses in the synagogues every Sabbath day. In other words, they will learn what is right and wrong, clean and unclean, holy and unholy as they are taught every Shabbat. Does this same writer actually believe that gentiles are only restricted to these four prohibitions? Will the new gentile converts not learn each Shabbat that stealing is wrong, murder is not productive, or that lying and armed robbery are not beneficial? Next time, we will continue with the statement made by the sacred text of the International Bible Encyclopedia that those who observe the Sabbath are forsaking Christ.

Shalom Alecheim!