Series: ‘The Sabbath’ (Part 1 of 4) (Exod 20:8-11)

In the past, I wrote a post focused on the Ten Commandments as the culminating Law of ‘righteousness’ teachings as detailed from Genesis chapter one to Exodus chapter 19.

The Ten Commandments constitute the foundational teachings that comprise a part of the prevailing Will of God for believers today and is the formative basis and embodiment of the Old Covenant which acted to formally reveal that all of Humanity have sinned against the Creator (Rom 3:20).

The past post also highlighted that there exists a major contention by the majority of the Church of God towards one of the Ten Commandments. That the majority believe that the Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath, has been abolished ‘at the Cross’. This series will show that this belief is error, and consequently that not keeping the Sabbath Day is sin. The primary text that will be used to explore this assertion is Colossians 2:16-17.
|| Is The Church Majority Sure That Colossians 2 Verses 16-17 Includes The Fourth Commandment Sabbath in Exodus 20?

16 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Col 2:16-17).

People of God, are we absolutely sure that the ‘sabbath day’ in verse 16 above and below includes the historical 7th Day that was established by God in Creation Week at the Beginning in Genesis 2, and in Exodus 20?

Are we absolutely sure that the ‘sabbath day’ (‘rest’) is not referring to the ‘sabbaths’ connected with for instance the festivals/feasts in Leviticus chapter 23?

Regarding these questions, if Colossians 2:16 does not include the 7th day Sabbath but only the ‘Lord’s ‘sabbaths’ connected with His Leviticus chapter 23 festivals and other non-Creation Week sabbaths, then wouldn’t that mean that all this time the overwhelming majority of the Church of God has been dismissing and contravening one of God’s Commandments in the TEN (Exodus 20) by believing that it was abolished?

Are we absolutely sure that our pastors, teachers and leaders have been teaching us the right thing all these decades or that we have been interpreting verses 16-17 properly ourselves?

(Colossians 2:13-17):

13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day”. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ”.

In all honesty and Truth, can the historical Sabbath REALLY be ‘a shadow of the things that were to come’ in verse 17, when in truth it was established at Creation Week and would have naturally continued until the present and for eternity if sin had not entered humanity?

That is, wouldn’t that then mean that the seventh-day Sabbath should be continuing as normal from the Beginning because it was established before sin first affected humanity? Why would the Lord’s Coming and Redemptive Work affect in legal terms the Establishment of the historical Creation Week elements by God which appeared before sin occurred and continue to this day by God regardless of sin? It doesn’t.

The historical first Sabbath day at Creation is not in a human Redemption context affected or “moved” ‘legally’ in terms of abolition by the presence of sin and Redemption. This is because it was pre-determined by God to last forever beyond the first Sabbath Day at Creation and therefore logically as said it would still be ‘functioning’ if no sin had been committed by humanity.

In saying this, God will create a new heaven and earth for the purpose of restoring His Created Work and Plan (Rev 21:1) though in this respect the Word appears unclear as to whether a ‘new’ Sabbath day will be established at that time. If so, as pointed out above, it would obviously last forever alongside God’s Plan for believers which of course is to live forever with Him (Rev chaps 21-22).

Critically, the ‘sabbath day’ that Paul the Apostle is referring to in verse 16 above speaks of specific days of ‘rest’ (‘sabbath’ days). These were instituted for instance at three particular Old Testament Festivals/Feasts among seven.

These are the Feast of Trumpets (Lev 23:24), the Day of Atonement (v 32), and the Feast of Tabernacles (v 39), which occurred upon ‘sabbath days’ and which fell on different days of the week as further details of the Festivals reveal in the passages. These are among what Paul the Apostle is referring to in Colossians 2:16 and not the Fourth Commandment and Creation Sabbath Day which clearly is ‘independent’ in that it is not connected with what was to come after it in terms of the unfolding ‘processes’ across both the Old and New Testaments that relate to the Salvific Work by Jesus Christ.

In this regard, the Church has erred and been misled by wrong interpretations and approaches of what the ‘sabbath day(s)’ relates to in verse 16.
To iterate, the Colossians 2:16 ‘sabbath day’ does not, and cannot include the Fourth Commandment stemming from Creation unto the present time. That is, it is ‘untouched’ by way of the need to Remember it (Exod 20:8; Exod 16:23) from ‘Friday’ evening to ‘Saturday’ evening each week (Gen 1:3-5; 2:2-3), and which was formalised in Exodus 20 as also a reflection of its natural observance at the Beginning from the first two people who were of course perfect (though later sinned) and therefore would unfailingly have recognised the need to Rest on each seventh day in following what God originally did.

Importantly, obeying the Fourth Commandment Sabbath is no different than naturally obeying and being mindful of the other nine Commandments in Exodus 20 which no genuine Christian would argue about the need to do the latter. Remembering the Sabbath Day by proactively keeping it holy (Exod 20:8) was intended by God to be a normal thing in the same way as observing the other nine Commandments.

This is also because it seems inconceivable that the first person on earth and for that matter the second who were perfect would sinfully continue to work throughout a ‘Friday’ evening or on a ‘Saturday’ before a holy God at the Beginning. Though, to be properly precise, if the first people had not kept the weekly Sabbath Days at least before the first sin of eating from the tree then obviously the sin of not keeping the Day would have been ‘called out’ by God as the actual first sin. In any event, this writer is not saying that there is not a possibility that the first people did not continue to keep the Sabbath, because of their consequent corrupted nature. This, of course is unknown. However, as above, it is certainly possible that they kept the Sabbath until at least the initial sin was committed. Though, it would of course have to mean that the first sin was committed after an actual Sabbath Day or Days were kept and obviously not before and we of course do not know when the initial sin took place.

In moving on, let’s ask ourselves this question:

Can the historical 7th day Sabbath of Creation Week really be ‘a shadow of things that were to come (Col 2:17)?

If so, then this must mean that everything else that God created from day one to day six such as ‘light’, the heavens, the moon, animals and man etc are equally ‘a shadow of things that were to come?’ No, of course not. Of course the Creation Week Sabbath day is not ‘a shadow of things that were to come’. Hence, verses 16-17 are not talking about the 7th day Sabbath at Creation and Exodus 20.

At the same time, it is impossible that this “fixed” and “constitutional-like” 7th day Sabbath Event that God established at Creation Week, and ‘blessed’ and ‘made holy’ (Gen 2:2-3), can be ‘cancelled’ or ‘nailed to the cross’ (Col 2:14) as erroneous interpretations of this verse conclude. Such falsity is made much worse by prevailing and misleading teachings established by the Church majority and teachers concerning the Sabbath and its false relation to actual abolished laws in the Old Testament.

That is, the effect of this is that most believers have falsely and unfortunately believed that seeking to ‘Remember’ and keep God’s eternally-minded ‘Rest’ Day (Exod 20:8) is ‘under the law’ in the age of ‘Grace’. Therefore, by ignoring the specific weekly and unchanged ‘Rest’ day established for all of man (Mark 2:27), and not just for Jewish people, they are sinning greatly against God.

No, we are to Not forget, but rather to actively ‘Remember’ (Exodus 20:8) the specific and recurring 7th day ‘Rest’, as God commanded for all people (Mark 2:27 – ‘Sabbath made for (all) of Man’).

Further still, again, we are to practice it (‘to keep it holy’ – Exod 20:8), just like the other nine Commandments, and, as stated, only from ‘Friday’ to ‘Saturday’ sunsets, and not on our ‘own day’ of choice which is thoroughly unbiblical and which this series will address later.

Moreover, if one is intellectually and biblically honest, God’s establishment of the seventh day ‘Rest’ can never be ‘a shadow of things that were to come’ (Col 2:17). This is because the Fourth Commandment, which as emphasised is the seventh-day ‘Rest’ at Creation, cannot in any way possible be diminished or negated through the Work of human Redemption by the Cross as shown above.

Once more, this is because it was established by God at ‘the Beginning’ before sin, as an essential element of ‘Creation Week’, to last forever. Therefore, it is a “fixed” ‘entity’ pertaining to a physical ‘Day’ that is not ‘legally’ changed by the Redemptive Sacrifice which separately and differently pertains to the Salvation of a person’s soul.

That is, the Salvific Act on the Cross by Jesus Christ does not at all cause a changing of established practices stemming from Creation Week that involved the need for humans to Rest on one particular and specific Day of the week, as God Himself did so and which continuing need for humans is clearly affirmed and implied in Exodus 23:16, Exodus 20:8-11, Mark 2:27 and many other places in the New Testament ‘after’ the Cross including the Book of Acts.

Therefore, such truths can rightly deduce that Colossians 2:16 is simply not relating to the Creation Sabbath at all. Rather, as earlier asserted, it plainly and unequivocally relates to the Feasts’ ‘sabbaths’ in Leviticus chapter 23 as these are a part of the actual ‘handwriting of requirements’ or ‘regulations’ stated in Colossians 2:14 earlier above and importantly are the actual ‘shadows’ (the Feasts – Col 2:17). This makes all the difference and puts the matter of the ‘continuing’ Creation Sabbath (to ‘Remember’ – Exod 20:8) in perspective and in reflection of the enshrined and continuing and “constitutional” nature of the Ten Commandments.

With this in mind, therefore, when God’s standing and unaffected Sabbath Commandment (Exod 20:8-11) is not obeyed, then, plainly, just like the contravening of any of His other Commandments and His Word in general, it is sin requiring repentance.

Pertinently, a long held belief or teaching or a majority teaching may not necessarily be the Truth and especially with those subjects that are very contentious like the Sabbath. Consequently, it behoves a believer to the need to thoroughly check the Scriptures for oneself in order to not be unduly influenced by false ‘majority teaching’ which in this case does not stand the test of truth in the face of the full Scriptures and its proper reading and interpretation.

Therefore, this series will further examine and reinforce the need for believers to ‘rightly divide the word of truth’ (2 Tim 2:15) in relation to this subject and other related areas of contention, and which evidently involves a very different but proper examination of them.

As a consequence, believers may find themselves in a situation where they are no longer believing the traditional and false position on a topic but rather have an understanding which embraces both the ‘spirit’ of the Scriptures and in turn the intrinsic intention of its Writer the Almighty God. Part 2 and subsequent Parts will further explore this and other Sabbath-related and connected concepts as well as the false belief and view that Jesus Christ is the actual ‘Sabbath’ or ‘Rest’.

Series: ‘The Sabbath’ (Part 2 of 4) (Exod 20:8-11)

The previous post introduced the topic of the Sabbath and examined several bases upon which the asserted biblical position that Sabbath obedience is required today was advanced.

This part 2 will build upon those bases and will show through further Scripture that the Sabbath was not abolished at the Cross but rather was affirmed by it in terms of illuminating its status as part of the embodiment and expression of the continuing moral Law of God. This ‘part’ will also present various positions that advance not keeping the Sabbath and will be followed by responses that examines such claims.

‘A Critical Word For Believers Concerning The Fourth Commandment’

The video is correct in regards to the need for all believers to naturally ‘Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy’ (Exod 20:8; 9-11)(Fourth Commandment).

In saying so, the important Colossians 2:16-17 and Leviticus chapter 23 are not mentioned in the video which by observation is at times an unfortunate exclusion by those that support Sabbath keeping according to the Scriptures. This series necessarily examines these important Scriptures which speak to the very heart of the nature and status of one of the Ten Commandments as well as those practices in scripture that do not carry the same weight in terms of eternal imperatives.

Firstly, Jesus Christ says in Mark 2:27 that ‘the Sabbath was made for man’ (all man), not just for Israelites. Thus, the argument that only Jews keep the Sabbath is error.

Importantly, it should be said from the outset that the average believer is ‘forgetting’ to ‘Remember’ (Exod 20:8) the Sabbath Day which means that, like the breaking of any of the Ten Commandments, he or she has broken all of them “in one go”. Even so, this writer asserts that many believers are not aware of this. However, though, James 2:10 states, ‘ “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker” ‘ (Jam 2:10).

Also, Jesus Christ says to believers that we prove our love for Him by ‘keeping His Commandments’ (John 14:15).

This should be seen as a normal thing for the believer and is in keeping with Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 5:17 that He did not do away with them with His Coming but that all are to be obeyed. For instance, no true believer would say that for example the first of the ‘Ten Commandments’ in Exodus 20 (‘you shall have no other gods before Me’ – v. 3), and ‘you shall not murder’ (sixth – v. 13) have been abolished.

Rather, in truth, the Ten Commandments are ‘natural laws’ in that they are current and universal laws that God desires all to obey not just non-Christian Israelites and believers. It therefore is the task of the believer to communicate the full truth of God’s Word to all men (Acts 20:27).

As stated in part 1, the ‘sabbath day’ mentioned in Colossians 2:16 is referring to the ‘sabbath day(s)'(‘rest’) in Leviticus chapter 23. These sabbaths are an aspect of the actual ‘list’ of the ‘shadow of things that were to come’ (Col 2:16-17) and which were observed in the three annual feasts/festivals called ‘trumpets’ (v. 24), ‘day of atonement’ (v. 32), and ‘tabernacles’ (v. 39), of which, critically, the Fourth Commandment ‘Sabbath day’ in Exodus 20 is not included in the seven feasts mentioned in this chapter.

That is, it is not possible that the Fourth Commandment is found in Leviticus 23 because it is the same Sabbath Day at Creation which was established and “fixed” by God at the Beginning before sin and is therefore ‘independent’ and unaffected by the existence of sin following it and thus continues for all to obey until God makes all things new (Rev 21:1). Furthermore, and critically, Colossians is written to believers, and many years after ‘the Cross’, and is thus directly relevant and applicable to both Jewish and non-Jewish believers.

Therefore, by Biblical and Legal Convention, this later Word concerning the reality that the Fourth Commandment is not contained in Colossians 2:16, as asserted earlier, and such being revealed to all believers after Jesus’ death and ascension, but are those Sabbaths mentioned in Leviticus chapter 23, means that it is an existing and ‘binding’ Commandment that evidently in no way has been overturned by God or any later Scripture.

In saying so, at this point, this study will now examine some positions that support not keeping the Sabbath.

Firstly, it is often said by many believers both casually and officially that Jesus Christ is their ‘Sabbath’ or their “Rest”. However, this is not correct and is not supported in Scripture. Rather, Jesus Christ ‘gives rest’ (Matt 11:28-30) and is not the ‘Rest’ as if to say that He is a ‘Day’ or entity, as in the Sabbath, and particularly because the original words for ‘give rest’ and Rest are not related and mean different things as is evident.

Furthermore, those who take this position sometimes cite Hebrews chapter four that expresses a ‘Rest’ that the people of God are yet to enter into. However, a careful examination of the text reveals that the ‘rest’ written of in the chapter is clearly referring to the 1000-year ‘rest’ period for believers upon the return of Christ and therefore depicting a rest for them that extends into eternity. The 1000 years (‘the millennium’) is a ‘Rest’ that is a reward for the faithful believers and represents the ‘Rest’ day on the seventh day of the Creation Week and as understood by the 1000 years that remain for human history amid the approximately 6000 years that Creation has been in existence. The seven days of Creation thus represent approximately 7000 years of human history before God ultimately creates a new heaven and earth as written in Revelation 21:1.

Believer, as these examples above demonstrate, it is biblically mandatory that we keep the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset Sabbath day (subject to any ‘essential’ acts as “exceptions” -for e.g. Matt 12:1-14), as commanded in Exodus 20:8-11. Otherwise, if not, we are sinning gravely against God every week in this respect requiring repentance so that God would not have it against us (Rev 2:4-5; 14).

In this regard, it’s high time that we as Church unlearn the long-time false teachings and beliefs concerning this subject and Walk ‘naturally’ in the Sabbath day as commanded by God and not misconstrue such Walk with legalism. Rather, believers need to be understanding (Prov 4:7) and know that is a part of the natural and “accompanying righteousness” of God’s kingdom that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:33 and is implied in the ‘post-Cross’ Colossians 2:16-17 through the non-inclusion of the Fourth Commandment in Leviticus 23 and which therefore rules out the ‘Creation Sabbath’ from being ‘a shadow of things that were to come’ (Col 2:17) like the Leviticus 23 ‘shadows’.

Another important area to address is the wrong belief that the Sabbath is only for Jewish people. This belief stems mainly from the words in Exodus 31 verses 13 and 17 where God states that the ‘Sabbaths’ in these verses were ‘a sign’ between Him and Israel.

Exodus 31:12 states, ‘God says to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, You must observe my sabbaths. This will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy”.

Exodus 31/16-17: “The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. 17 It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested”.

Firstly, it is important to say something about the ‘sabbaths’ in verse 13 and ‘the Sabbath’ in verse 17. There is a distinction to be made which is the assertion by this writer that the sabbaths in the former are not the same as the latter. That is, the verse 17 Sabbath refers to the Sabbath-Rest established at Creation.

This is important to note because there is much debate about whether the sabbaths in verse 13 include the Sabbath-Rest in the Exodus 20 Ten Commandments. As noted in this series, the sabbaths in verse 13 were only to be observed by the Israelites because those were contained in the written code’s regulations in Leviticus 23 which represented three of the Feasts of Israel namely the Feasts of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. Therefore, upon this basis, this section will proceed in addressing the Fourth Commandment Sabbath in verse 17 above which is the correct focus in its reference to being a ‘sign’ that illuminates the week of Creation.

As stated earlier, there are believers that view the Sabbath in verse 17 above as commanded for only Israelites to keep. The reason for wrongly believing such is because the meaning of ‘a sign’ in verse 17 has been misunderstood to mean that the act or thing described or to be done is exclusive to the party that God names in a statement.

In stating that the Sabbath was a sign between Him and Israel in verse 12, God was revealing that it was only Israel in the Old Testament that He established a personal relationship with by Covenant and made holy. Therefore, that, the giving of the Sabbath Commandment could necessarily only be communicated to Israel in the same way that the remaining nine Commandments were revealed to Israel.

In saying so, it is clear that the Ten Commandments are the moral law of God given first but not exclusively to Israel to obey but all of humanity. That is, the Sabbath ‘sign’ equally extends to all of creation to observe and most outstandingly because it is a memorial of Creation before the Law was given but was later formalised in Exodus 20 through Israel to be observed perpetually. In this regard, verse 17 states, “It (the Sabbath) will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested”.

This means that this ‘sign’ is not to be seen as representing a limitation on who is to observe the Sabbath. Rather, God in the Scripture is clearly saying that Sabbath keeping is a representation of how He Himself ceased from His Work on the original Rest Day which is a feature of Creation Week and which occurred and before the presence of sin.

Therefore, then, the wider reality is that the Sabbath was made equally for all men and is unaffected by the presence of sin in a Redemption context. We find this truth in Mark 2:27 where Jesus Christ states in His ongoing expressions of righteousness teachings that were to premise the New Covenant establishment that the Sabbath was made for man. Importantly, Jesus Christ here is not saying that the ‘man’ in verse 27 represents only the men and women of Israel but all men on earth because of the Sabbath’s status as being the seventh day that God rested on which He desires all men to forever ‘copy’.

This is a reason why God includes it as a Commandment in His moral Law of Exodus 20. In verse 8  He tells the Israelites, as His example nation to the world, to ‘Remember’ to keep it because He knew people would forget to or ignore it.

In keeping the Sabbath, we specially memorialise God’s Creation Work (Exod 31:17), which the other 9 Commandments do not do. God’s Sabbath Commandment for all men in His moral law says, 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in the six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Exod 20:8-11).

The above has canvassed two reasons that opponents of Sabbath keeping have in arguing their position. At this point, we will look briefly at several other reasons that those who may not necessarily be opposed to the Sabbath have in advancing a position in not needing to keep the Sabbath on ‘Saturday’.

The first reason is the belief that Sunday is “the Lord’s day”. That is, the day of the resurrection. However, this is incorrect. The Bible nowhere attaches any significance of the day of resurrection to a need to somehow make this first day of the week as in effect the ‘Sabbath Day” which consequently would mean that the seventh Day Sabbath was replaced by the first day as now being the seventh day of the week. This idea is wrong and acts to undermine the historical significance and place and day of the Sabbath from Creation and therefore it must be dismissed.

A further idea that opponents purport for Sunday being ‘the Lord’s day’ and thus as specially significant comes from John the Apostle’s mention in Revelation chapter 1. In this account, John was on the island of Patmos and said that he was in the Spirit on the ‘Lord’s day’ in receiving his revelation of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the Revelation was given to John on the first day of the week and, in any event, the mention of ‘the Lord’s day’ is either referring to the days of the unfolding judgments by God in the ‘end times’ or the actual Day of the Lord’s second Appearing.

In this regard, a thorough study of the Bible does not equate ‘the Lord’s day’ as merely representing an actual day of the week but rather a Day or Days where God executes His judgements.

Another basis that those advocating for a significance of the first day of the week as the official meeting day of the wider Church is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 16. On this day, Paul the Apostle sought to meet with the disciples on the first day of the week and therefore some in the Church hold that this is cogent evidence that the first day of the week or Sunday is the actual ‘Church Day’ today and was in the early church.

This is not accurate nor correct. The people as evident met simply for fellowship and doubtless prayer and study of the Word and evidently for giving purposes and whatever other reasons they had for meeting. Furthermore, it would have been entirely improper for the early believers to in effect assign the first day of the week with the same Standing as the Sabbath in their meeting together especially when the first day itself did not involve activities relating to Synagogue or temple activities but rather the dynamics of a smaller and more focused gathering.

Rather, such meetings were clearly in modern terms like a fellowship meeting or even like a “cell group” of sorts where ‘parts’ of the Church came together on the day after the Sabbath (‘Church Day’) for continued fellowship, breaking of bread, and to encourage and strengthen one another. Significantly, as alluded to above, such getting together occurred on a working day and not on a ‘Synagogue’ day where a general assembly of believers gathered to hear the Word of God. Therefore, it goes without saying that the nature of a working day itself was such that a larger gathering of people in Synagogues across different locations would not have been present in observing the usual practical matters and duties that related to meeting at the Synagogue or the temple courts on the seventh day.

Lastly, a further reason for believers against the exclusive ‘Saturday’ Sabbath is that they believe one can assign the official Day to any day. They typically base this argument on the Scripture in Romans chapter 14 verse 5 which states that each person esteems one day above another and another regards everyday as alike and therefore in actuality one can choose their own ‘Sabbath day’ to obey.

In response, firstly and most importantly, the context of these passages is in no way connected to the practice of keeping the Sabbath and certainly does not advocate for assigning a ‘fixed’ and recurring seventh day of the week on any day. Rather, the entire Romans 14 teaches that every believer is at different ‘points’ across diverse aspects of their faith and general functioning and that therefore this should be accepted by all except if a thing that is done will cause undue detriment or stumbling for brethren.

The use of Romans chapter 14 is typically seized upon by many believers to seek to justify their obeying the Sabbath on a day of choice. However, what many believers consistently ignore is that such position fails to recognise that the entire functioning of the universe revolved around God making each element of Creation on different days of the week. This act on God’s part included the making of the seventh day ‘Rest’ in completing the cycle of the week and month and year etc and therefore an “obeying” of the Sabbath on any day except ‘Saturday’ is in a Creation context a re-ordering of the Creation Week and the Universe as made by God.

Thus, the biblical position is that the “fixed” Sabbath Day entails a holy convocation or a sacred assembly of the Israelites on the recurring seventh Day stemming from Creation. This is found in Leviticus 23:3 in the introduction to the seven annual Feasts of the Lord and which Feasts necessarily and evidently contain the ‘sabbaths’ that the Israelites observed.

The Leviticus 23 Feasts are the subject of the Feasts stated in Colossians 2:16 and which the Fourth Commandment Sabbath is clearly not a part of. This is to mean that the sacred assembly gathering of God’s people or Church today on the “fixed” Day Creation Sabbath could therefore not occur on any other day of the week which is different to the sabbaths in the Leviticus 23 Feasts which fell on any day of the week in accordance with the timing of the Feasts within a given month.

Series: ‘The Sabbath’ (part 3 of 4) (Exod 20:8-11)

‘Further and compelling evidences that shows why the weekly Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11) must be kept by Christians and all’

In undertaking a study like this that involves practices that may or may not be current for Christians today, it necessarily and naturally calls for thorough examination of Scripture accounts that inform a position. Ezekiel 45:17 is one such further and compelling account that advances the position that the Sabbath Day observance is not a temporary practice that was to be abolished at the Cross.

Ezekiel 45:17:
17 “It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths—at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel”.

Notice in Ezekiel above that the passage contains the four practices listed in Colossians 2:16 below which are:

  1. Food and drink
    2. The (annual) festivals/feasts
    3. New Moon celebration
    4. Sabbath day
    16 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).
    Note here that “do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink,…” should be taken to mean that, in regards to a sabbath day for instance, ‘do not allow anyone to tell you to keep a ‘sabbath day’. This is correct.

However, as explained in parts 1 and 2 concerning the need to naturally keep the Weekly Sabbath day, as with the other nine Exodus 20 Commandments, the error made by most pastors, teachers and Christians alike is that the ‘sabbath day’ mentioned in Colossians 2:16 does not relate to the Fourth Commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 (‘Remember the Sabbath day, by keeping it holy’). Rather, it clearly concerns the annual feasts which come together in forming a part of the practices in the Old Testament stated in Ezekiel 45:17 that pointed to an obedience to God in representing the Coming Christ ‘at’ the New Testament.

That is, what Paul the Apostle is actually saying is ‘do not allow anyone to tell you that it is mandatory that you continue to keep the (annual) feasts’ ‘sabbath days’ and the festivals and the eating and drinking and New Moon rituals being that these are ‘shadows’ (Col 2:17)’. Thus, Paul is not at all meaning and including the ‘Weekly’, “fixed”, and recurring Sabbath Day from Creation, which Ezekiel 45:17 clearly reveals, which cannot be a shadow.

Relevantly, and as mentioned in the earlier posts, we see these ‘sabbath days’ (days of ‘rest’ – the Hebrew words for ‘sabbath’ are used) that Colossians 2:16-17 above is referring to are a feature of the annual feasts of ‘trumpets’, ‘day of atonement’, and ‘tabernacles’ in verses 24, 32 and 39 respectively as found in Leviticus 23:
Feast of Trumpets

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the Lord by fire.’”

Day of Atonement

26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”

Feast of Tabernacles

33 The Lord said to Moses, 34 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present offerings made to the Lord by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work. 37 (“‘These are the Lord’s appointed feasts, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the Lord by fire—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the Lord). 39 “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of rest, and the eighth day also is a day of rest”. 44 “So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed (annual) feasts (7 stated in Leviticus ch 23) of the Lord”.

* With respect to the Bible’s mention of New Moons, below are three references where ‘New Moon’ appears in the Old Testament as the occasion where the ‘shadow’ of sacrificial burnt offerings pointing to the Person of Christ (Col 2:17) occurs:

10 “Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed feasts and new moon festivals—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the Lord your God” (Num 10:10).

14 “With each bull there is to be a drink offering of half a hin of wine; with the ram, a third of a hin; and with each lamb, a quarter of a hin. This is the monthly burnt offering to be made at each new moon during the year” (Num 28:14).

5 “So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the new moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow” (1 Sam 20:5).

At this point, it is important to further but briefly examine the significance of Leviticus chapter 23 in its outlining of the annual feasts/festivals. In doing so, and as advanced above, one can clearly see that none of them contain the Fourth Commandment weekly Sabbath as an ‘addition’ to the other sabbath days stated within the chapter.

This is because, and as expounded throughout this series, the weekly Sabbath cannot fall in the same category as the four ‘items’ (points 1-4 above) of observance stated in Colossians 2:16.

Why again? Well, unlike these four events that are ‘a shadow of things that were to come’, the Sabbath Day at Creation is not a temporary ‘ritual’ or regulation (Col 2:14) but was established by God at the Beginning as “independent” and before sin and therefore to last ‘forever’ and which means that it is not possible for it to be merely a ‘shadow’ of the ‘reality’ being Christ. That is, God obviously did not establish the ‘fixed’ seventh-day of Creation Week for the purpose of it later finding its ‘reality’ in Christ (v. 17) which would be nonsensical because the four practices in Colossians 2:16 and Ezekiel 45:17 were instituted as a result of human sin and as a ‘shadow’ of Christ (v. 17) whereas the weekly Sabbath was to be Unaffected by the existence of sin.

Given the above, this is the reason Colossians 2:16 does not in any way imply that the weekly and historical Sabbath day is among the four practices stated in it nor is it found among those days of ‘rest’ in the stating of the 7 annual feasts in Leviticus 23 above.

And, clearly, as highlighted above, these four practices in Colossians 2:16 all come together in Ezekiel 45:17. This unfailingly shows that they were regulations commanded by God until such time as the Lord Jesus Christ came to Earth to fulfill them as the ‘Reality’ (Col 2:17) of God’s Salvific work through Christ by the Cross.

In this regard, Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:17 that He had not come to do away with the Law and the Prophets but that everything that was said in them needed to be fulfilled. Therefore, as explained above, the four Ezekiel 45:17 practices were fulfilled by the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ but as shown above the Fourth Commandment Sabbath was clearly and irrefutably not one of those practices in the Old Testament that ‘needed’ to be per se fulfilled by Christ.

In saying the above, at this point, this study will briefly state further evidence that reveals that the Fourth Commandment Sabbath was not a temporary establishment by God. It will state this in point form:

*It was the custom of Jesus Himself to preach on the Sabbath Day in the Synagogue (Luke 4:16).

*In the Book of Acts Paul the Apostle reasoned with the Jews every Sabbath in the Synagogue in trying to persuade Jews and Greeks that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 18:4).

*In speaking of the ‘end times’, Jesus warned that people should not flee on the Sabbath (Matt 24:20) amid the judgments that would be taking place at that time (Matt chaps 24 & 25).

Clearly, Jesus here is talking about events that are yet to take place and therefore it is clear that He advanced the continuation of the Sabbath and did not abolish it. This is plain to read in Matthew 24 above.

Finally, here, Jesus’ mention of the Sabbath in Matthew 24 was not merely an acknowledgement that Jews or Sabbath keeping believers would be keeping the Sabbath at that time but rather it was also a Statement which affirmed that the Sabbath is an ongoing Commandment as with the other Nine in Exodus 20 which obviously were to be obeyed ‘beyond’ the Cross.

Series: ‘The Sabbath’ (part 4 of 4)(Exod 20:8-11)

‘Faith In Jesus Christ, And The Commandments Of God: The Critical Need To ‘Do’ ’ (A critical and reminding Message for the ‘end time believer and unbeliever)

People, let’s dig deeper about what ‘the Truth’ is, in terms of what the Will of God is and currently, in order to avoid deception and to make Heaven.

I came across some very timely words of scripture below that are critical and encouraging reminders of God’s Will, and especially in these developing and changing ‘end times’ periods.
I was moved to share it as a way of encouraging the Church about answers in God and His revelation of how one can be a partaker of Heaven.

Take heart people that the Word of God is very clear about what sort of Church we are to be at any given time, which reflects a God that loves us with His truth, a God that doesn’t change (Mal 3:6).

This 4-part series on ‘the Sabbath’ has sought to show that this Fourth Commandment in Exodus 20 is very much ‘in play’ in terms of how we may present ourselves overall before God in a fullness of understanding of Him in these end times and ordinarily throughout our Christian Walk.

The small section below is a copied excerpt concerning the place of God’s Commandments in the current and progressing end times. These comments will form a basis of comments from this writer that relate specifically to the Sabbath Commandment that has been examined and advanced in this series so far.

It’s my sincere hope that the below will be insightful and useful in understanding how God’s Word necessarily guides and instructs believers and the world in how to live for Him and more specifically what He wishes us to do (Luke 6:46) so that we do not miss Heaven (Matt 7:21-23).

Copied article excerpt below:

“””””Most “professing” Christians will easily dismiss the idea that Christians today need to keep the commandments of God. The primary reason they will tell you is “Law-keeping will not earn your Salvation”.

While this statement is true and I absolutely agree with it, does this free us from keeping the commandments of God?

This question needs a serious look. After all, if we are really free from any law, would it mean that we can all just go our way and be a “Christian” according to our own standards?
Surprisingly, there are many indications in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, which reveal that commandment keeping is still reinforced and should be observed by true and genuine Christians today.

In this post, let us go to the Book of Revelation and see what it says about commandment keeping. Here are 2 key scriptures from the Book that reveal a lot about the characteristic of the end-time Church.

Scripture #1
Revelation 12:17 – “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

Scripture #2
Revelation 14:12 – “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”.

Firstly, I would have to disagree with the word ‘surprisingly’ used above.

This is because the Scriptures always demand obedience to God’s commandments and commands. Though, at the outset, it is important to state that the Scriptures reveal that principally believers are to maintain a profession of faith in Jesus Christ (KJV) and concurrently to keep His faith (or ‘remain faithful to Him’ – NIV 1984) and to trust Him in order to remain Saved (Matt 24:13).

In saying so, it is equally important to note that the two Scriptures in the Book of Revelation above in combination reveal that the end-time believers should also be carefully mindful of the need to keep God’s Commandments as the evidence of one’s love for Jesus Christ and profession of faith.

Critically, this knowledge should not be lost in a believer’s journey of faith and particularly because there is a significant portion of the Christian community that holds a skeptical and even dismissive view of the need to ‘do’, specifically, to obey the ‘full’ Ten Commandments, as partially determinative in maintaining Salvation.

Yet, the Commandments are directly ‘tied’ to Salvation, and ongoing sanctification (Col 2:6; Eph 5:27), and Heaven, which will further be seen below.

Indeed, Jesus Christ instructs believers that a believer who truly loves Him is one that keeps His Commandments. He says, in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My Commandments”.
Jesus here shows that it is not only a believer’s profession of faith or even a faithful and enduring love for Him that places one in Heaven but rather it is the practical ‘doing’ of the things of God that fulfils all righteousness (Matt 3:15) and ultimately enables eternal life (Matt 7:21). ‘Doing’ is another word for ‘obeying’.

The ‘righteousness’ of God’s kingdom (Matt 6:33) can be summed up in the first and second greatest Commandments respectively (‘love God with all your heart…’, ‘love your neighbour as…’), and the Ten Commandments (Exod 20), which, the obeying of them reveals a godly love for Christ and evidence of a believer’s loyalty to Him come what may.

In this regard, we see Jesus in His interaction with the rich young man in Matthew 19:16-22 communicating the importance of ‘doing’ the Commandments in response to the question of how to inherit eternal life, or how one can be Saved.

Jesus responds to him, 17 “… If you want to enter life (eternal life/heaven), obey the commandments”. In verses 18 and 19, Jesus then proceeds to ‘summarise’ the Ten Commandments as well as mentions the second ‘greatest’ commandment when asked which ones should one keep. In the same interaction in Mark chapter 10 Jesus includes ‘do not defraud’, which is also found in Leviticus 19:13.

Jesus’ response intrinsically and evidently reveals that a believer who obeys God’s Commandments in his or her faith journey post initial Salvation is one that loves God and therefore gains eternal life.

Thus, obeying God’s Commandments is inextricably linked with Salvation and maintaining it and, importantly, doing so is an expression of the ‘righteousness’ conduct that “accompanies” a believer that is seeking God’s kingdom beginning with Salvation in Jesus Christ (Matt 6:33).

Similarly, although they are not “Commandments” as such, we see a practical example of the importance of ‘doing’ God’s commands and instructions as a whole when Jesus in John 21:15-19 asks Peter three times whether he loves Him.

In doing so, Jesus was teaching Peter and all that the evidence of Peter’s love for Him must also be found in his obeying of Jesus’ commands for his life which was to ‘pastor’ the believers in ‘feeding’ and taking care of Jesus’ sheep (believers) as part of his position as an Apostle. If Peter had not obeyed this command from Jesus then he would obviously be in sin thus greatly risking his salvation if he did not later remedy this by repentance (Matt 18:3; Luke 13:5).

Saints, the scriptures in Revelation above clearly reveal that ‘end-time’ Christians are those that genuinely profess Jesus Christ and actively obey God’s Commandments and therefore they do not dilute the critical need to do so and the importance of communicating such to others.

As earlier stated, the need to obey Jesus’ and the Word’s Commandments should never be lost on Christians. This is particularly becoming more evident because the mark of a true Christian in these changing and rapidly unfolding ‘end of days’ times will increasingly be distinguished by those believers who understand the need to obey God’s fundamental truths fully as followers of Christ and love and strive to do so without hesitation.

Again, let us look at these verses below that identify the true ‘end time’ believers according to the Word of God:

Scripture #1
*Revelation 12:17 – “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

Scripture #2
*Revelation 14:12 – “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”.
To reinforce, the Scriptures above say much about what God is always expecting from His people, and especially as His Son’s return nears. Also, the verses are very profitable in cutting through with the Bible’s message of the need to work out one’s own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13) in order to endure for Heaven (Matt 24:13) by ongoing obedience to God’s Word and Will.

In this context, God’s Word reveals that obeying it is so critical that for instance if we disobey one of the Ten Commandments, we disobey them all, according to James 2:10. Such is the profound seriousness and consequences of “just” one unrepented sin in the sight of God and which is soberly represented in the initial sin of man in the Garden of Eden which brought death and judgment to humanity.

In regards to the Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath, there is much at stake for the end-time believer in the context of all the above. That is, it is important that the Fourth Commandment is understood and obeyed from, for instance, a perspective of the ‘fundamental’ nature, and Plan of God (at Creation – Gen 2:2-3), and, a proper comprehension and examination of key Scriptures such as Colossians 2:16-17, Leviticus 23, and Ezekiel 45:17, which have been examined in this study as well as others.

In this respect, it is with great care to say that, it cannot be overstated that a believer who, perhaps by false tradition and teaching, or a non-reading or misunderstanding of the Scriptures, or inadequate, independent study, or otherwise, fails to understand that God’s full Commandments intrinsically represent and reveal Himself and His nature, is putting one’s Salvation at very great risk in being found in unrepented sin (Matt 18:3; Heb 10:26-27), as with any other sin, with respect to disobeying a fundamental, ‘enshrined’, and “constitutional-like” Commandment, the Fourth Commandment, as like the remaining nine in Exodus 20.

This is a very serious predicament for one’s soul.

And, it must be said that, there are much deeper, underlying reasons why this Commandment is contended with greatly, which many believers are unaware of.

One major reason is that the Enemy cunningly and continuously works at keeping believers in any unrepented sins due to for instance false teachings and wrong interpretations and understanding of scripture and ignorance. This is in order that deceptively there would be a ground(s) against them for disqualification from Heaven according to Hebrews 10:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, which of course God Himself cannot overlook according to His Word and nature.

In closing, Jesus Christ states the importance of ‘doing’, which is ‘obeying’, in Luke 6:46:

“Why do you call Me ‘Lord’ ‘Lord’ and do not do what I say?”

Also, He states in Matthew 19:17:

“If you want to enter life (eternal life/heaven), obey the commandments”.

Saints, may we be encouraged and mindful that God’s Word reveals what we need to remain true to in the profession and journey of our faith.

Keeping the full Ten Commandments of Jesus Christ is a critical and essential part of it in order to ultimately make Heaven by ongoing faithfulness as above according to the Word of God (Luke 18:8). The other ‘part’ is obeying the full Will of God stemming from His Word and His ways (Acts 20:27).

Again, ‘the Truth’ for the ‘end-time’ believer:

Scripture #1
(Revelation 12:17) – “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ”.

Scripture #2
(Revelation 14:12) – “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”.
“Work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:13).