Bible Studies/The Sabbath
QUESTION: Hi. I would like your thoughts on this, although I have prayed and asked the Holy Spirit-the Spirit of Truth-and feel a peace that He has led me to the understanding I now have. Having been raised by Christian parents, and accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord as a child, I have always attended church on Sundays. However, this past year I have been convicted regarding worshipping on the Sabbath, which is Saturday. I realize that Jesus is the new covenant, and the Mosaic laws are the old covenant, which no longer apply to those of us in Christ. But in study, I have prayed about the 10 commandments, which God wrote with His own fingers, and I don't see that He has given us leave to ignore them. Yes, as Paul wrote, the law was to show us it is impossible to become righteous in God's eyes by adhering to the law, because with our Adam-nature, adhering to the law isn't possible. I have become righteous through Jesus Christ and His shed blood and ressurection. But I still believe we should be obeying the commandments God gave us directly. I don't read that it's okay to disregard any of the other nine, so should we disregard the one about the Sabbath? I'm convicted that I shouldn't.
ANSWER: Greetings Rhonda,
Thank you for your question.
Approximately 2500 years before God gave the ten commandment to Moses and the Israelites God rested on the seventh day of the week after spending the first 6 days creating. This is, in our opinion, an excellent example to follow.
"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Genesis 2:2-3
Notice the key word is "rest". There is no mention of going to religious meetings, or what most people refer to as "church". When God gave the ten commandments to the ancient Israelites He was trying to teach them to look to and depend on Him. Keep in mind that after about 400 years living in Egypt the twelve tribes had multiplied into millions of people, most of whom had no knowledge of God. In bringing those millions of people out of Egypt God was trying to teach them about being part of His family and that they should live their lives by following the example that He set.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Exodus 20:8
"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." Exodus 20:11
God was trying to teach the Israelites the history of the world, the purpose for their lives. By reminding them that He, Himself, set aside a day to rest and remember, He was also trying to teach them that they had a purpose in their lives, to live God's way of life.
Christ came to the earth, living a sinless life as a human man, a righteous man in God's eyes. He was also setting the example that each individual since that time is supposed to follow.
Christ became our seventh day, our rest, as long as we choose to live God's way of life.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
Christ left us with two commandments to follow, part of the new covenant, the example of Christ's life that we are also to follow. God is still looking for individuals that will not reject Him and are willing to live His way of life.
“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:40
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:38-39
In everything we do and how we live our lives we should always put God first. We should always treat others as we would want to be treated and as we would want God to treat us. This is setting the right example for all and living God's way of life.
God's purpose, from the time He began creating was to have a family. He tried with Adam and Eve and they sinned and rejected Him. God considered Noah righteous and saved him and his family. God tested Abraham over and over and found him righteous, worthy to be part of God's family. Through out history there have been a few men and women that were found righteous, to be considered part of God's family. Those that did not reject God.
Christ gave up being like God to be born as His Son, to live and die as a human to prove to each and every individual since then that it is possible to have the peace and rest that mankind seeks but can only come from God and from living God's way of life. To become righteous.
"And He (Christ) came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father." Ephesians 2:18
The "peace" you mentioned can only come from God, through communication with Him, through wisdom, understanding. Through His sharing His Spirit with those that sincerely want the "rest" that comes from believing in God and Christ and being willing to listen to God.
It appears from what you have written that you are willing to listen to God and to learn from Him. We have always told anyone that had questions for us and that we answer, not to take our word for it but to prove it for themselves through talking to God and study.
The following is from Revelation and refers to the "seventh day rest", the beginning of seventh thousand years from creation when the Kingdom of God and Christ will be set up here on earth.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." Revelation 20:4-6
This is what God has been trying to teach mankind from the beginning. To live His way of life. To follow the example that He and Christ set, to be part of God's family. That by remembering the seventh day we are remembering that God and Christ will return to the earth, to love and rule over those that choose to live God's way of life now. The absolute seventh day rest.
There are many man made religions, and even a few man made religions that believe in keeping the seventh day to one degree or another. We have never found a man made religion, whether they keep the seventh day or not that truly teaches living God's way of life and follows Christ's own example and actually lives this way.
What you choose to do is strictly up to you, between you and God, but we do encourage you to continue to communicate with God, questioning everything and continuing to learn.
The world is rapidly falling apart but those that are willing to listen and learn from God have nothing to fear. God's Kingdom on earth, the ultimate seventh day rest is coming soon. Those that choose to live God's way of life now striving to become perfect, righteous, in God's eyes to be part of God's family will be part of this thousand year seventh day.
May God bless your understanding
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your insight. I am praying God give me illumination of His Word through the Holy Spirit, and understand the "rest" you are speaking of. I too believe man has created denominational division lines, but am married to a husband that insists we worship in the corporate sense on the Sabbath. I personally worship God daily in my prayer life, and I pray my daily walk in the power of the Spirit be one of continual worship, but my wanting to attend fellowship with other believers on the traditional day of Sunday has caused much contention between us as he is not even willing to discuss anything other than Sabbath worship (he was not raised in that mode of thought however, it has occurred over the last couple of years). I do believe the peace I've felt is in part due to my willingness to submit to him as the spiritual head of our household. Your answer somewhat leads me to think that "church" as we know it is not necessary, but isn't it important to come together with fellow believers, whether it be on Saturday or Sunday or any other day? I participate weekly in a Bible study-we are now discussing the power in the blood of Jesus-but still feel the need to come together as a group of like-minded individuals for a more formal worship of our King. I know there are no perfect churches, other than Jesus's, the Bride of Christ, but I feel as long as the Word of God is
accurately preached, I can deal with the other aspects I may not personally agree with. Case in point, the "seeker-
senstive" model, or as I call them, the "feel good" churches. I've always believed that a family, God's family, should
want to spend time together. Your thoughts?
Please forgive me if I sounded overly negative in pointing out the lack of those that do not believe in "corporate" worship or as you accurately put it "feel good churches". I like that. :)
It isn't avoiding getting together with others to study God's word, just that we have not found anyone near that believes or has even similar beliefs.
Example: My Mom and sister live about four hours away and attend a small (approx. 100) Sabbath keeping congregation that keep the Old Testament holy days, dietary rules and tithing laws.
While I do not believe that God will condemn this group for their beliefs, it does feel as though they are stuck or stagnant. Years ago Mel and I talked about how Paul frustrated must have felt at times with different congregations that became stagnant.
"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe." Hebrews 5: 12-13
And it isn't that we are unwilling to teach others in person, just that we have not found anyone that is interested outside of allexperts or occasionally sending an article or bible study that we have written to an individual that lives far away.
Individuals that are willing to get together to study and discuss God's way of life, regardless of the day, is wonderful.
Christ taught others regardless of the day of the week and it is His example that we are to follow.
But to us, setting in a congregation listening to someone that is there for the paycheck or the power is wrong and frankly, boring. Christ had huge numbers of people following Him around, in part because of the miracles He preformed, but also because He was teaching them about true freedom, about God's way of life and about God's coming Kingdom on earth.
Christ did all this with humility, and without collecting tithes or passing an offering plate. This is why the rulers of His time hated Him. Christ was changing their rules, threatening their traditions and their way of life. Most were not willing to listen or to change, or to afraid to publicly acknowledge that Christ was speaking the truth.
This is why there are so many different religions today. Catholics, Protestants (Baptists, Methodists, Evangelicals, etc) Muslims, Hindus and on and on, all have their own beliefs, thinking they are "the" only true religion. People depend on their own understanding, their own selfishness rather than asking God for the truth and being willing to listen to Him.
Regarding the differences between you and your husband:
It has been our experience that each individual that is willing to truly listen to God, learns at their own pace. The best thing that someone that is learning at a more rapid pace can do is be patient and set a good example, especially when one is dealing with a spouse or family member.
There were a number of things that God taught me head of Mel, in the beginning. I would get excited by what I learned and would explain it to Mel. When he didn't understand it immediately and even resisted what I was trying to teach him, I would get very frustrated. And while it did challenge him to prove what I had learned, my lack of patience did make for some very strained and silent days in our home. I knew that what I was hearing from God was correct but WOW my lack of patience was a huge problem
Just a suggestion: If there is a difference of opinion between the two of you, try writing your understanding down as well the scriptures backing up your understanding. Be as concise as possible. Ask your husband to read it. It is often easier for men to understand a topic when they can do so without hearing the emotion that comes with a verbal explanation. The emphasis is then on the logic and not the emotion.
Marriage is a partnership, not a master-servant relationship. Just as Christ's relationship with God's people is not one of master, but of friendship.
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:15
As long as someone is not asking you to go against God and His way of life then it is best not to be a stumbling block for others.
"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak." 1 Corinthians 8:9
As always, God's way of life comes back to putting God and His way of life first, and treating others as you would want them (and God) to treat you.
In Christ's Name,