Seventh-Day Adventists/Paul and Sabbath
Frank wrote at 2012-11-10 02:35:31
<<< The expert’s answer: >>>
Dear Brother Matt:
Paul’s attendance at the synagogue on the Sabbath did not mean that he believed Sabbath observance was a necessary practice for Christians anymore then Paul having Timothy circumcised meant he believed it was a necessary practice. It was performed so that Timothy could minister to the Jews.
“Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:1-3 ESV).
<<< SDA’s cannot agree with the expert’s statement that “Paul’s attendance at the synagogue on the Sabbath did not mean that he believed Sabbath observance was a necessary practice for Christians anymore.” There is no statement in the Bible from Paul that the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment is no longer to be observed. “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” (Acts 13:42 KJV) Even though the Gentiles sought out Paul to ask him to preach again the next Sabbath, never did Paul suggested that Sabbath observance had come to an end and that they should keep holy another day. >>>
Since Timothy’s mother was a Jew the Jews considered Timothy a Jew even though he had a Gentile father. Therefore, Timothy being uncircumcised would be a hindrance in his evangelization of the Jews. Likewise Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath to evangelize the Jews (as well as any Gentiles who were present). He accomplished two things with his attendance. One, the Jews could not dismiss his declaring Jesus to be the Messiah as being simply the ravings of a law-breaker, and two, he had a captive audience.
<<< “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:19 KJV) God spoke His commandments to the children of Israel at Sinai and wrote them in stone with His finger (see Deuteronomy 5:22). Since the cross, there is no significance to circumcision and the ceremonies of the Hebrew sanctuary. They are no longer a requirement (see Mark 15:38). But the principles of the Ten Commandments are being written in the heart and mind. They are being established. (see Romans 3:31) >>>
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ’” (Acts 17:1-3 ESV).
In accordance with the decision of the Counsel of Jerusalem (see Acts 15:22-29), Paul insisted that the Old Covenant Law, including the Sabbath, not be imposed on Gentiles.
<<< “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:”(Acts 15:24 KJV)
Since the moral law is eternal and unchanging, “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” (Psalms 111:7-8 KJV), Paul must be speaking of a different law. “The Law” at the time of Paul’s writing was the Law of Moses that had been complicated by the addition of many additional laws of the Jews designed to ensure compliance with the commandments, especially the 4th commandment. More importantly, the Law required ceremonial observances that were fulfilled by Christ when he made His atoning sacrifice on the cross and to continue them would be a denial of the sufficiency of His sacrifice. >>>
If one wanted to observe the Sabbath out of habit or just as a discipline this was acceptable (see Romans 14:5). Paul himself observed Old Covenant Law when it suited his evangelistic purposes (see Acts 21:20-26). When Paul judged it best to exempt himself or others from the Old Covenant Law he had no problem doing so. Paul observed the Law or did not observe the Law based on the particular circumstances in relation to his evangelization efforts.
<<< “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6 KJV) The subject of these verses is days set aside for fasting, not the Sabbath of the 4th commandment. If Paul was speaking of the Sabbath, instead of saying “He that eateath . . .” he would have said, “he that works, works to the Lord; and he that doesn’t work, to the Lord he doesn’t work.” >>>
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ESV).
<<< If Paul is being truthful when he says that he isn’t under the law, then by default he is keeping the commandments of God and that includes the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment. >>>
Thank you for the excellent question.
God Bless You,
<<< In Christ’s love,