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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When is the Sabbath?

While on vacation this year, I picked up a free book from an old newspaper machine called "Sunday is Not the Bible Sabbath" published by Harvestime Books. Whenever there is a free book presenting a view that seems to be different from mainstream Christianity, it seems the writers and publishers go out of their way to not let you know up front which church they represent. Usually, though, it's not hard to tell. If it's published by Watchtower, for example, it's Jehovah's Witnesses. If it's published by Deseret, it's Mormon, etc. I noticed the last chapter of this book quotes from "The Great Controversy." That and the subject matter quickly let me know that this was from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

While most (myself included) would not come right out and call the SDA church a cult, they do have a couple of characteristics that make them suspect. First, in addition to the Bible, they add the teachings of their founder, Ellen G White, to almost scriptural status. Any church that says "In addition to the Bible, you need the writings of this person," or "You can't understand the Bible correctly, until you read what this person has to say," is one to be wary of. Also, any group that pushes one particular doctrine as most important (other than maybe the deity of Christ, or salvation by faith,) to the exclusion of all others is also suspect. In this case, the issue is Sunday worship. The writers of this book seem to be saying "If you worship on Sunday, you are going to Hell."

They claim that God never changed the Sabbath to Sunday. With this point I agree. But I don't agree with their assertions that the Catholic Church deliberately changed worship to Sunday so as to incorporate pagan worship. The book says if you worship on Sunday, you are worshipping the Sun God since Sunday was named for the Sun. What they don't mention is that Saturday was named for the pagan god Saturn. So if you worship on Saturday, are you worshipping Saturn? They also don't mention that in most languages, the day we call Sunday is named using some variation of "The Lord's Day." For example in Spanish, the day is called Domingo, not dia del Sol.

I am also not convinced of their arguments that because of Jesus, we don't have to obey the Mosaic law at all except for the Sabbath laws. While it is true that Paul and the other Apostles continued to go to synagogue on Saturdays, that was because that's where the people they wanted to preach to were. We also know that the early Gentile Christians (most of us in the world are Gentiles) met and worshipped on Sunday because it was the day of the resurrection.

It is interesting to note the first Christian council, the Council of Jerusalem, covered in Acts 15,  mentioned this issue. Specifically, the issue was whether Gentile Christians had to obey the Law of Moses. The decision reached by the church (by the Holy Spirit, verse 28) was no except for four things mentioned in verse 20. Interestingly, the Sabbath is not one of the things mentioned. Therefore, Gentile Christians were not required by the church, or the Holy Spirit, to worship on Saturday. Also, Paul specifically told the Colossian church "Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah." (Colossians 2:16-17)

That being said, That does not mean that Sunday is the Sabbath. The Sabbath always has been and always will be Saturday. (Or actually from Friday evening until Saturday evening.) But as Christians, we are free to worship on any day we please. If  "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," (words of Jesus himself in Mark 2:27) then man is greater than the Sabbath and is not bound by it. Don't let anyone tell you different. This is not an issue on which your salvation depends. If some groups choose to worship on Saturday, that is their option. But don't let anyone scare you into thinking that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast (Herbert W Armstrong, Worldwide Church of God "Who or What is the Prophetic Beast p38) or anything like that. The only thing on which your salvation rests is your relationship with Christ. See Here

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Posting Again Soon

I just got back from a 10 day vacation and am physically and mentally exhausted. Some of you may know I have had health problems stemming from severe asthma and anxiety disorder. Please keep me in your prayers. I am waiting for school to start so my daughter will be out of the house all day and I will have quiet times to post. (I love my daughter but anyone with an eight year old knows they can be a handful.) I am also finishing my second book. It will be a commentary on Genesis 1-4. (Look to the right to order the first book)
See you soon.