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BIBLE STUDY: Sabbath Opinions, Traditions, and Truths

Forget for a moment what the world says, what your church teaches, what your Pastor thinks, or even what you might want to believe to be true… then let’s open our Bibles and REMEMBER, then PROVE; what God The Father and Jesus Christ actually have to say about New Testament Christians keeping The LORD’s Sabbath Day!!!

Bible Study Instructions: One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us) publishes and distributes weekly Bible Studies, worldwide – free of charge, to anyone who requests them, in both printed and electronic formats. Our Studies are intended to be a simple and fun way to learn the Scriptures, and are very easy to follow! We adhere to Jesus Christ’s Biblical instructions to teach and feed the flock of God portions of meat in due season, on weekly Sabbaths, and on the seven annual Holy Days throughout each calendar year (Luke 12:42 / Isaiah 28:9-10 / Matthew 13:52). Using both the Old and New Testaments, our Bible Studies are designed to present a premise, make a statement, or ask a question – followed by one or more Scriptural references. Just look up and read from your Bible the Scriptures listed. Comments following questions elaborate on the Scriptures you just read. Pray always before beginning any study of God’s Word, asking God to open both your eyes and your mind to His Truth; then Prove everything you read, is in fact the Truth, by comparing it to The Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21 / 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Then use the Biblical System of Checks and Balances, and SEE if both Jesus Christ, and the First Century Church of God Apostles – also Did, Said, and Taught these SAME THINGS (Galatians 1:1-12, 5:25 / 1 Peter 2:21, 25 / 1 John 2:3-6)! That’s all there is to it! Our Bible Studies are based on the King James Version, unless otherwise stated. We will be praying for your eyes to “see” (Matthew 13:11-17); and we are always available to answer any of your questions! Be Blessed, in Jesus’ Name! - One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us).

In The Beginning…

The first five books of the Bible, also known as the books of Moses; were collectively called the Pentateuch, a Greek word meaning “the five-fold book”. The Jews referred to these five books as “Torah” (meaning The Law). Now the Jews called the first of the five books, “Bereshith” (meaning “In The Beginning”) because this is how the book begins; but most people today know the first book by its Greek name, “Genesis” (meaning “Creation”).

So today, let us open up our Bibles, and start our research of Sabbath Opinions, Traditions, And Truths right there; at the very first book of The Word of God: Genesis, or In The Beginning!

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His Work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His Work which He hath made. And God Blessed the seventh day, and Sanctified it; because that in it, He had rested from all His Work which God Created and Made!” (Genesis 2:1-3).

We can see from this Scripture that God:

  1.  Ended His Work which He had Made on the seventh day,
  2.  He rested on the seventh day from all His Work which He made,
  3.  God Blessed the seventh day,
  4.  God Sanctified (or set apart as Holy) the seventh day!

The original word for “rested” (above) is the Hebrew verb “sabat” (one “b”), meaning “to stop, or to cease”, which fits perfectly into the meaning of the first three verses of Genesis 2. From this word, evolves both the Hebrew and Greek noun “sabbat” (two “b’s”), meaning the seventh day of the week. It is from this Hebrew / Greek noun that we get our English word “Sabbath”. Sabbath always refers Biblically, to the seventh day of the week; although on occasion, it can also mean one or more of the seven annual Holy Days given to mankind by God (Leviticus 23:1-44 / Exodus 31:12-18). www.onug.us

So if God ended His Creation week by designating the seventh day as a day of reflection, and as a Memorial to His Creative Power; if God actually Blessed the last of seven days in each week, and He personally set that day apart as Holy (that’s what Sanctified means); why do most Christians honor the first day of the week instead? Some so called Christians even claim that they don’t need to honor any day of the week as special; they say that they worship God every day of the week! But are these concepts grounded in Scripture? Are they Sabbath Opinions, Traditions, or Truths?  

Is Sunday the Lord’s Day? What Does The Bible Really Say About Christians Worshipping On Sunday?

Although the word “Sunday” does not appear in historically honest or grammatically correct translations of the Bible; the phrase, “the first day of the week” is actually found eight times in the New Testament. If you want to see what God has to say about Christians observing the first day of the week, as their day of worship, we invite you to go to www.onug.us and read this excellent Bible Study:

What Does The Bible Really Say About Christians Worshipping On Sunday?                               

We should pause here, and rightly give credit where credit is due; and recognize for ourselves, just how and why most Christians today came to worship God on Sunday. That credit, my friends, is rightly due to the Roman Catholic Church! Indulge me for a brief moment, and allow me to take you back in time to the America of just over a hundred years ago, to the year 1893 to be exact. Let us read what the papacy in the United States said on the matter of the Christian observance of Sunday as a day of worship:

"The Catholic Church for over 1,000 years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day [of worship] from Saturday to Sunday… In the Old Testament, reference is made 126 times to the Sabbath, and all these texts conspire harmoniously in voicing the will of God commanding the seventh day to be kept, because God Himself first kept it, making it obligatory on all as 'a perpetual covenant.' Nor can we imagine any one foolhardy enough to question the identity of Saturday with the Sabbath or seventh day, seeing that the people of Israel have been keeping Saturday from the giving of the law 2514 BC to the present… Examining the New Testament from cover to cover critically, we find the Sabbath referred to 61 times. We find, too, that the Savior invariably selected the Sabbath (Saturday) to teach in the synagogues and work miracles. The four Gospels refer to the Sabbath (Saturday) 51 times. . . . Hence the conclusion is inevitable . . . that of those who follow the Bible as their guide, the Israelites and the Seventh-day Adventists, have the exclusive weight of evidence on their side, whilst the biblical Protestant has not a word in self-defense for his substitution of Sunday for Saturday. . . . They have ignored and condemned their teacher, the Bible . . . and they have adopted a day [instituted and] kept by the Catholic Church." – From The Catholic Mirror: Official publication of Cardinal Gibbons and the Papacy in the United States, published in Baltimore, Maryland, September 1893.                                                                                             www.onug.us

Not only does the Catholic Church hit the nail on the head, they (the Catholic Church) admit to changing God’s Sabbath Day to Sunday; they also correctly identify those ordained by God to keep the Sabbath Holy, as “the Israelites”, or “those who follow the Bible as their guide”. The Catholic Church correctly perceived that the Jews were only 1/12th of the tribes of Israel, or the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel), and the Catholic Church understood there were 11 other tribes, not just the tribe of Judah (or the Jews) who were also Israelites or Hebrews, and who also were commanded by God to keep the Sabbath (or the seventh day of the week holy). Unlike most Christians today, who believe anyone who keeps the Sabbath must be “Jewish”; The Catholic church knows that the “Biblical Protestant” (or those who protested against the Catholic Church in order to only follow Scripture as their guide) have a Scriptural mandate given to them by God, to keep the Last Day of a seven day week, holy to God (Daniel 2:20-22, 7:23-28 / Isaiah 66:22-23 / Exodus 31:12-18 / Deuteronomy 12:1-4, 28-32)!!! Do you understand that The Catholic Church KNOWS what the Bible says about the Sabbath Day? The Catholic Church just chooses NOT to keep God’s Day in favor of their own; and while they keep their own day, and follow their own traditions in opposition of what the Bible clearly teaches; they chastise “Protestant Christians” for copying their Catholic day of Sunday, and for ignoring the day, Saturday, which the Bible clearly teaches is the seventh day weekly Sabbath of God!!! www.onug.us

Can You Trust Your Conscience?

What a great question! This question was actually asked and answered (below) by a very well-known and syndicated Christian author and teacher. I am going to use his brief article to demonstrate to you, hopefully, that you can quote Scripture and even be correct in your premises; but if the initial source of your premise is NOT grounded in TRUTH (John 17:17), then you WILL ALWAYS reach a wrong conclusion – using nothing but the right information and reasoning – EVEN IF THAT REASONING INCLUDES USING SCRIPTURE!!! www.onug.us

A Little More Background First:

The Christian Evangelist, Author, and Teacher that I will be quoting from below is a doctor too! He uses the prefix of “Dr.” in front of all his published materials, which also gives him much more credibility to his listeners and subscribers than if he was only a Pastor, Teacher, and Author. People love titles don’t they?

Now the excerpt I am quoting from, begins with the following Scripture (1 Timothy 1:5-7); so let’s read that first, and then go directly to the Doctor’s message.

“Let your conscience be your guide. This bit of folk wisdom seems to make sense since our conscience is designed to help us discern right from wrong. However, people cannot always trust their internal radar to steer them correctly; this is the case particularly with unbelievers, who don’t have the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and offer guidance for wise decisions. And while Christians do have God’s indwelling Spirit, they should be careful not to harbor sin in their lives, as that can interfere with the way their morality sensor functions.

A trustworthy conscience is programmed with scriptural teaching. Believers build a stable and sensitive spiritual radar system by applying God’s truth to their lives. They are committed to thinking and acting in ways that honor and please the Lord. Then, when sinful thoughts or choices come across that radar, it will deliver a sharp warning.

A person with a reliable conscience will have a strong desire to obey God. He won’t settle for what feels right or looks good, but instead prayerfully seeks the Lord’s will. In other words, he does not rely solely on his conscience but incorporates all of the Holy Spirit’s tools into his daily life: Scripture, prayer, etc. Moreover, when his spiritual radar sounds the alarm, he is quick to draw back and reject unwise choices.”

“A conscience isn’t designed to be our guide; it is a tool of the Guide. The Holy Spirit not only convicts us of sin, but He also brings to mind godly principles and leads us on a righteous path. He uses a variety of tools to conform us to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8:29).”

Let’s turn now to Romans 8:29 and read the last Scripture that the good Doctor quoted.

Now I have to tell you, that I agreed with almost everything the Doctor said above. Almost everything, but NOT everything. First, when speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Doctor uses the pronoun “He”, which astute students of God’s Word, and certainly ALL members of God’s Church KNOW is not a personage, or an individual; but is Rather the Power of God Himself, given as a gift (small g) to those Christ Calls and to those who are Washed in Christ’s Blood at Baptism (Acts 2:36-39)!!! You and I at the First Resurrection are destined to become GREATER than The Power of God; we are destined and Promised to become The Very Sons of God – wielding the Very Same Power and Authority of God – Under Christ Jesus (Hebrews 2:9-10 / Daniel 12:1-3 / 1 John 3:1-3 / Revelation 5:9-10, 20:4-6, 21:1-7, 22:1-5)!!! www.onug.us

The Doctor writes above, that, “A trustworthy conscience is programmed with scriptural teaching. Believers build a stable and sensitive spiritual radar system by applying God’s truth to their lives. They are committed to thinking and acting in ways that honor and please the Lord. Then, when sinful thoughts or choices come across that radar, it will deliver a sharp warning. A person with a reliable conscience will have a strong desire to obey God. He won’t settle for what feels right or looks good, but instead prayerfully seeks the Lord’s will. In other words, he does not rely solely on his conscience but incorporates all of the Holy Spirit’s tools into his daily life: Scripture, prayer, etc. Moreover, when his spiritual radar sounds the alarm, he is quick to draw back and reject unwise choices.”

Well, the good Doctor we quoted from above, is a Sunday keeper, and believes in the trinity, and in keeping Christmas, and that at death, we immediately float off to heaven to be with our lost loved ones; ALL of which can be proven from Scripture to be NOT true, nor even remotely The Plan of an Almighty Creator God, which Jesus Christ came to Teach an Preach to us!!! www.onug.us

Starting with the wrong information will always get you to reach an incorrect conclusion! These people RUN from God’s True Sabbaths, and from God’s Real Plan; because they were indoctrinated with a lie at the beginning, and only use Scripture, Truth, and Wisdom in a way to support that lie!!! Let me show you How they “Miss The Boat” so to speak!

Here are a couple of Bible Translations of Matthew 28:1

New International Version

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

New Living Translation

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

English Standard Version

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Berean Study Bible

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Berean Literal Bible

And after the Sabbaths, it being dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

New American Standard Bible

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

King James Bible

In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

Notice ONLY the KJV says “in the end of” the Sabbath, all the other versions with the exception of The New Living Perversion which says nefariously, “Early on Sunday morning”; THEY ALL SAY, “After the Sabbath”. Interestingly, The Berean Literal Bible says, “And after the Sabbaths”.

IT WAS NOT AFTER THE SABBATH THAT CHRIST AROSE FROM HIS TOMB – IT WAS DURING THE SABBATH – TOWARDS THE END OF THE SABATH – OR AS THE KJV SAYS, “IN THE END OF THE SABATH!!!” www.onug.us

If I told you we are planning to have a Bible Study sometime “in the end of” the week; You should know that it has to happen sometime after the middle of the week. Sunday being the first day of the week, Wenesday at noon being the middle of the week, and Friday / Saturday being the last two days of the wek – with the week coming to a Scripturally defined close, at sundown on Saturday!!! So the Bible Study would have to happen sometime BEFORE sundown on Saturday or Sabbath in order for it to happen “in the end of the week”. Likewise, Christ arose three days and three nights from a late Wednesday or Passover afternoon burial, on a late Saturday or Sabbath afternoon BEFORE sunset – or as the KJV SAYS, “IN THE END OF THE SABBATH”!!! www.onug.us

So many own different PERVERSIONS of the Word of God! They start their journey of Truth in a LIE (John 8:44)!!!

The Right Day, But The Wrong Way!

From Creation, nearly six thousand years ago, those obedient to God have always known what day was the seventh day of the week, and that it was God’s Sabbath Day, and how to properly keep it. Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) and brought an unchanging God’s Sabbath and Holy Days to the other side of the Great Flood. Abraham was also chosen by God, and taught Isaac God’s Sabbath and Holy Days (Genesis 26:1-5). Jacob and the original children of Israel also passed this knowledge onto their children, for many generations while they were in Egypt – until there came a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph (Exodus 1:1-22). www.onug.us

It was necessary after 430 years in Egypt, the last 215 years being very harsh slavery, for God to re-introduce the Hebrews to His annual calendar and Holy Days again, which He began during the Creation Week (Genesis 1:14-19 / Exodus 12:1-28, 40-42 / Acts 7:6-8 / Galatians 3:16-29, 21). It was even necessary to help them “Remember” the weekly Sabbath, which they had forgotten, by the miracle of the manna (Exodus 16:1-36).

Note: An omer is about the size of a large bowl, or about two quarts. Not only did God regulate how much bread and meat his children were fed, Jesus also did so with the miracles of the 4,000 (Matthew 15:29-30 / Mark 8:1-10) and 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21 / Mark 6:30-44 / Luke 9:10-17 / John 6:1-15). Do you see how Jesus sent His Disciples out in each of these accounts to preach and heal and cast out demons? They were then coming back to Jesus, their Source, to learn more, rest, and rejuvenate. Do you see how the multitudes followed the Disciples back to Jesus (Luke 9:10-11 / John 5:16-47)? In each case, Jesus knew how much physical bread and meat to give the people; and Jesus knew how much spiritual food to give the people (Luke 9:12-17)!!!

This is same system God uses today, as taught by Jesus, to both teach and preach the Word! We come before CHRIST (Matthew 18:20) each Sabbath and Holy Day (52 / 7), we look up to heaven to Bless and give Thanks to God’s Word; then Christ breaks that Word or that Bread down for us, into meat in due season. Jesus then gives The Word first to His Disciples, to then give to the others in the world who are hungry (Matthew 4:4 / Luke 4:4 / Deuteronomy 8:3)!!! In each case there is an exponential increase in the yield, dividends, or return for doing what Jesus directs us to do (Matthew 25:14-46). We must learn from Christ on Sabbath; and we must also learn to feed His Lambs on Sabbath – for that is where the Real Power is (John 21:15-19)!!!

The Jews Changed How The Sabbath Was Kept! www.onug.us

By the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, however, the Jews or the remnant of the House of Israel, still living in Samaria, had forgotten the simple Blessing of Sabbath, and made it quite burdensome on the people. That was NOT God’s intent (Exodus 20:8-11)! Although they were still keeping Sabbath on the correct day, it would have been very difficult to call the weekly Feast Day a delight (Isaiah 58:13-14). The temple leaders, in an attempt to keep people from breaking the Sabbath, had in turn loaded it with a tremendous amount of requirements that put a great burden upon the Jews of Jesus’ time (Matthew 23:1-4).

Today, there are still some who teach it is wrong to drive a car on Sabbath; to turn on a light switch with your finger, open a garage door, or that cooking your own breakfast is breaking the command to do no work. But is this what Jesus did, said, and taught (Mark 2:23-28 / Matthew 12:1-14 / Luke 14:1-6)? It is not the effort we expend, on Sabbath and Holy Days, that is the issue; it is the specific action and the intent behind that effort that matters to God! Helping a brother rescue his home by sandbagging it on Sabbath, as the flood waters are rising; or helping to fight off a brush fire as it comes near to a sister’s home on the Sabbath day, are both oxen in the ditch! A doctor being called in to save a patient having a heart attack; or a cop going to rescue hostages from a barricaded suspect; these are sheep fallen in a pit (Matthew 24:19-21)! Painting your house, or cutting your grass, going fishing or running a marathon on a Sabbath or Holy Day, are a much different and very disobedient matter altogether! Your motivation for doing what you do is what matters to God! Sabbath is NOT your “do whatever you want to day”!!!

The LORD of The Sabbath (Luke 6:46)!!!     www.onug.us

God as The Creator of heaven and earth, “rested” (which is a poor translation of “sabat”, meaning “to Stop, or to Cease” from one’s efforts and work) at the end of His Creation Week. When we understand the real meaning of the word, and what God actually did, we begin to understand God and His Purpose for Sabbath more fully! God does NOT get tired, so He doesn’t need to “rest” (Isaiah 40:28-31). God set apart the last day, the seventh day, for a specific purpose; and as an Example for us to follow! Those who follow God, and Christ’s actual example on Sabbath, by ceasing from their labors, convocating or gathering with other brethren, and who Study the Word of God on the seventh day; they are also set apart as Holy to God, or are Sanctified for a Holy Purpose in God’s eyes! God is Sanctifying them 52 Sabbaths a year, and seven times additionally on His Annual Holy Days (52 / 7 Sanctification)! God is refining and shaping the clay, He is Creating Sons of God, Kings and Priests for His soon to rule Kingdom – and He is doing that a little bit each Sabath, and a little bit each holy Day! Those who miss a Sabbath here or a Holy Day there, are missing essential subjects and necessary refinements needed to rule with Christ at His return. Each Sabbath day that we keep Holy, we are proclaiming the Return of Christ, and the Millennial Rule of God’s Kingdom on earth! www.onug.us

Thou Shall Not Steal (Exodus 20:15)!!!

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the Owner of the Sabbath, it is His Personal Sign as Creator God of the whole Universe! How could anyone believe it belongs to them? From the moment the sun sets below the horizon on Friday, until it sets on Saturday, is God’s Holy Time – and it should be ours too! Just as Moses had to take his sandals off on Mount Sanai, so we need to treat with reverence God’s Holy Time (Exodus 3:1-6 / Isaiah 58:13-14)! Sabbath and Holy Days are NOT ours to do with as we please; if we disregard God’s instructions on the Sabbath, by working, entertaining ourselves, playing or watching sports, and by NOT keeping that time reverently; we are STEALING from God!!! Used properly, the Sabbath will Bless us, and actually Enhance our relationship with our Father God! Used improperly or ignored, and we will be Cursed (Malachi 3:1-12)!!! When we tithe, we decide we will submit to God and follow His direction. It is the same with free will offerings given on God’s Holy Days. Once we make the decision to follow God, we give up all claims to the money God requires of us. If we start "deciding" that money is ours to use, we also choose not to submit to God. Similarly, once we decide to follow God, we give up all prior claims to the 24-hour period of the Sabbath, to the extent that God requires us to monitor our speech and even our thoughts in submission to Him!

Jesus, The Lord of the Sabbath, requires that we recognize our stewardship responsibility to Him, in both TIME and MONEY when we keep His Days Holy! We must realize our money is not our own, but belongs to God, If we will give Him back ten percent; God will become our business partner and Bless the 90 percent He allows us to keep! Holy Day offerings give us a unique opportunity to demonstrate to God how we perceive that He has Blessed us, since we obediently appeared before Him on the previous Holy Day! Likewise, God watches our stewardship over His Holy Times, and our understanding of their proper use! The Sabbath is NOT our time, but His! It belongs to the Creator, and He entrusts us with the responsibility to both keep it Holy, and to teach this concept to others. We must handle both our finances and God’s Times with extreme care!

For more information on the Biblical concepts of Tithing and Offerings, we invite you to go to www.onug.us, and read our insightful Bible Study:

The Truth About Tithing

Christ’s attitude toward Sabbath:            www.onug.us

Nowhere in the Bible is the Sabbath annulled by a command or example of Jesus Christ or the apostles. If we carefully and honestly study the most controversial and difficult of Paul's statements, we will see that he never used his authority to abrogate the keeping of the Sabbath!!!

In the gospels the controversy is always how, not whether, to keep the Sabbath. Jesus never says it no longer matters, and that we therefore no longer need to observe it. He very obviously kept it, or the Jews' attacks against Him would have specifically addressed why He was not keeping Sabbath! Instead, they attacked His manner of HOW Jesus observed it (John 13:12-17)!!!

Some will argue that the only reason Jesus kept Sabbath was for the sake of tradition, because He was a Jew. Jesus answers this Himself when He observes that the Sabbath was made for man, not just for the Jews, and that He is Lord of it (Mark 2:27-28)!!!

Also, Christ is our example, and we are to walk as He walked (1 John 2:4-6). If we wish to follow Him closely, then we will keep the same days He did!!! The Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) enables us to worship God the Father, the One True God, better – in the Way that BOTH God and Christ Command us to (John 4:23-24)!!! It provides us with the time to fellowship with Him and understand Him, ourselves, and our place in His purpose, and in His soon coming Kingdom!!! How to use this time, then, becomes of paramount and of eternal importance!!!

Some believe that Christ did not annul the Sabbath. Others feel that He annulled it, but they will keep it because of tradition. However, many in both of these camps have so liberalized their teaching on it, that their observance of it turns out to be little different from how the world keeps Sunday. I know of many who try to keep Sabbath, but in a worldly church; and they keep it after sundown on Saturday! They are totally missing the boat to God’s Blessings on Sabbath!                                      www.onug.us

The Circle of the Earth:

Sabbath begins when the sun sets where you are; not in Israel.

God sits on the circle of the earth: “Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” (Isaiah 40:21-22).

The circle of the earth is the moving line between day and night that covers all the earth each 24 hour period. So God ushers in Sabbath worldwide as the sun sets, each Friday, in each nation, at different times over a 24 hour period (Genesis 1:3-5)!!! God is GOD!!!

Therefore a new month begins on the same day around the world, over a 24 hour period at sunset. And so, Passover begins at sunset wherever you are in the world when the sun sets at your location.

The Bible Commands us in Leviticus 23:4-5: “These are the Feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month, at even (or sundown), is the Lord's Passover.”

Jesus Christ, the unchanging God of the Old Testament (Malachi 3:6 / Hebrews 13:8 / 1 Corinthians 10:1-4), the Same One who had given Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham the Ordinance of Passover in their days; was now fulfilling a promise He made to Abraham on the night of Passover, 430 years previously – by returning the SAME ordinance of Passover to Moses and Abraham’s children (the enslaved Hebrew nation of Israel) – on The Night Of The Exodus Passover: Sundown, the 14th day of Aviv, in the year 1487 B.C.!!! This is HOW we keep track of time and of Sabbaths today, by COPYING CHRIST (John 13:12-17)!!!

Society's Attitude Toward Sabbath:                                                        www.onug.us

Ezekiel 20:21 appears in the midst of God's charge that He was sending Israel into captivity because of idolatry and Sabbath breaking:

“Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, "which, if a man does, he shall live by them"; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness.”

There are three possibilities regarding Israel's Sabbath breaking:               www.onug.us

1. They rejected God's Sabbath for another day entirely;

2. They polluted what they did have of God's true Sabbath by careless, self-centered observance; or

3. Most likely, it was a combination of both. Some completely rejected it, while others treated it carelessly (looks a lot like our modern world)!

Whichever it was, it resulted in their captivity. Keeping the Sabbath day properly is a serious issue to God!!! www.onug.us

If we look to society and history about how to keep the day, we are faced with a mixed bag. On the surface, the New Testament describes rigorous legalism in the Pharisees or physical asceticism (severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons) in the Gentiles. Today, most people do not have even the foggiest notion about how to keep God’s Sabbath Holy!!!

The commonly observed cycle of six work days and one day of rest and worship is a legacy of the Bible. But from our earliest days, the emphasis has been on a day (Sunday), which no one can keep holy, because God NEVER made it Holy!!!                                www.onug.us

Because of our scientific, industrial and technological advancements in recent years, society has undergone a radical transformation. Shorter work weeks give almost everybody more leisure time; yet business institutions make every effort to utilize that extra time and maximize production - by programming work shifts so that the weekly cycle is just a blur (1 Timothy 6:10)!!!.

We have also come to think that time belongs totally to us, so we can use it as we please. This makes us very cognizant of what free time we have; and so we use it as businesses do – all of it to our own self-gratification! We steal the day from God! For the world, Sunday has come to contain the "hour" of power, or worship, as they see it. People, in good conscience, spend the rest of their time on that day either making money or seeking pleasure in entertainment, home maintenance, or their hobbies. Meanwhile, they ignore or even ridicule the true Sabbath. This is the situation that confronts us when we attempt to keep the Sabbath, and to teach it to others!

Applying Principles:                                                                                    www.onug.us

God gives us few specifics in the Bible about how to keep the Sabbath. Instead, He presents broad principles and expects us to consider how to apply them. Where do we look for these principles? Almost automatically, most of us associate the Sabbath with the Old Testament. Surprisingly, though, we find much of the instruction regarding Sabbath keeping in the New Testament.

Isaiah 42:21 contains an important principle for understanding Christ's ministry: "The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will magnify The Law and make it Honorable!!!"

Magnify means "to enlarge." We often focus on Jesus magnifying the law in the Sermon on the Mount, where He taught that anger and hate are the spirit of murder, and lust, the spirit of adultery. However, throughout His ministry Jesus deliberately and frequently focused attention on the Sabbath to magnify its intent.

Jesus did things right. So we must look to Him and how He kept the Sabbath for examples of these principles. To keep the Sabbath properly, we must first understand its purpose, and the very beginning of Jesus' ministry provides ample information on this vital subject.

The Sabbath is so significant that Jesus' ministry formally began on a Sabbath and ended on a preparation day just before another Sabbath (John 19:31)! We see Him open His ministry in Luke 4:16-19, where He gives His mission statement:

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the LORD."

By quoting Isaiah 61:1-2 in His inaugural sermon, Jesus identifies His mission as setting people free from bondage. He specifically mentions freeing the poor (weak, without power), brokenhearted, captive, blind and oppressed.

"The acceptable year of the LORD" is not when God is acceptable to us, but when God, in His sovereign mercy, moves to make us acceptable to Him!!! It is a time when He chooses to deliver people. More specifically, it refers to two Old Testament institutions, either the seventh year land Sabbath or the Jubilee year. Israelites considered these years liberators of the oppressed. During them, the land lay fallow and what food it produced on its own went to the poor, dispossessed and animals. Slaves were freed and debts remitted. During Jubilee years, debtors received back their land lost due to mismanagement.

Jesus says in Luke 4:21, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." It was a Sabbath, and through the typology, Christ is clearly showing that His redemptive mission included the liberating intent of the Sabbaths, weekly and annual. In Mark 2:27, Jesus says, "The Sabbath was made for man." God made it to equip us to come out of spiritual slavery, and even more so, to help us in staying out of bondage.

Genesis 2:3 says that God blessed the Sabbath day, something He did to no other day. This blessing falls on the heels of the obviously physical blessings God pronounced on animals (Genesis 1:22) and man (Genesis 1:28). The Bible shows a blessing to be something given or conferred to produce a fuller, more abundant life. The Sabbath blessing, conferred upon the whole creation, acts as the capstone of Creation week. By blessing a recurring period of time, God promises to be man's benefactor through the whole course of human history! The blessing invokes God's favor, and its primary intent is that God will be our spiritual benefactor. It does, however, include the physical as well. Thus, Jesus clearly ties His ministry to the Sabbath concepts of blessing, deliverance, liberty and redemption.

In the New Testament, there is a third meaning to the term, "The acceptable year of the LORD"! We should still Honor ALL Three; and when Christ Returns, The Whole World WILL!!! www.onug.us

  1. The Seventh year land Sabbath
  2. The Jubilee year (every 50 years)
  3. The annual cycle of Meat in Due Season to teach The Plan of God, or what we call being 52/7 Sanctified” (Luke 12:42).

The Sabbath Memorial:                                                                                    www.onug.us

Comparing the Sabbath commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 reveals a significant alteration in the wording about what God wants us to remember on it. Exodus 20 ties remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy to God's acts of creation. Deuteronomy 5 tells us that the Sabbath reminds us we were slaves in Egypt. Each Sabbath should remind us that God is Creator. However, that does not always answer immediate concerns because Creation happened in the remote past. But each Sabbath should also remind us that God is Liberator. We keep the Sabbath because we are, and want to remain free!!!

Throughout His dealings with Israel, God has used His Sabbaths to perform acts of liberation. Israel left Egypt on a Sabbath and crossed the Red Sea into the wilderness one week later on a Sabbath. He gave His Ten Commandment Laws, led Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land and broke down the walls of Jericho on Sabbaths. God requires His people to keep the Sabbath to sustain their liberty. When Israel rejected the Sabbath, they lost their freedom and went into captivity!!!

Nations establish memorials like Independence Day because the leaders want the people to have a periodic reminder of their heritage. They want them to review why they have what they do. They want to instill admiration for the ideas that undergird their way of life and inspire the people to hold dear and strengthen those principles. God's Sabbath memorial, His Independence Day, is so important to His purpose that He has it recur every week, not merely once a year. It serves as a constant renewal of our spiritual heritage from Him and of our original release from sin. It reorients us in any area where we may have turned aside. In addition, Hebrews 4 reveals that the Sabbath points to the Millennial reign of Christ, when He will remove Satan's liberty and restore mankind's!!!                   www.onug.us

Restoring Original Intent:

Jesus' healing of the man with the withered hand (Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6) reveals a fundamental difference between Jesus and the Pharisees in their approach to the Sabbath. The Pharisees had not entered the synagogue to worship, nor did they ask Jesus their question, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" out of loving concern. No, they were an accusing authority attempting to judge Christ by their regulations.

It helps to remember the historical context. The Jews were developing specific regulations to cover any and every possible circumstance to keep them from sinning. Eventually, they compiled 1,521 regulations covering Sabbath conduct alone. By Jesus' time, they had already turned their observance of the law into a legalistic ritual rather than a loving service to God and man. They did this sincerely in a vain effort to become holy, not understanding that this is not how a man becomes spiritually holy.

In this story, does Christ do away with the Sabbath, or restore it to its original divine value and function, as He did with marriage and divorce in Matthew 19:8? He gives no indication that He intended doing away with it. He merely broke their misguided perception of how to observe the Sabbath.     www.onug.us

We also need to recognize that the liberating healing He performed was not done to a man whose life was in immediate danger, but to one who was chronically ill. So are we spiritually; as Jeremiah 17:9 says, our heart is "incurably sick" (margin). God gives us the Sabbath day to help free us from the chronic problems of human nature.

Mark 3:3-4 reinforces Jesus' attitude toward Sabbath activity. "Then He said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Step forward.' And He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' But they kept silent." By Jesus' example, His reaction (anger, verse 5) and His words, God very clearly not only intends us to do good on the Sabbath, but also to fail to do good when the opportunity arises implies evil and killing (John 10:10)!!!

Jesus does not appear to have gone out of His way to find people to heal on the Sabbath, but these were incidental occurrences as He went along His way. If a sick person came to His attention, He healed him. But someone unconcerned for the physical and spiritual salvation of others on the Sabbath is automatically involved to some degree in destructive efforts and attitudes, for failing to do good when we have opportunity is sin (Proverbs 3:27-28; James 4:17). God is preparing us to assist in the salvation of others, and it behooves us to begin thinking along these lines.                                       

SABBATH - A Day for Doing Good:          www.onug.us

As it reads in Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the commandment explains that God ordained the Sabbath that we might show compassion toward the needy and defenseless. Exodus 23:12 reinforces this idea: "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your maidservant and the stranger may be refreshed." The idea of doing good on the Sabbath arises from principles like these.

The New Testament shows two types of Sabbath keepers:

  1. Christ, who looked for ways to lighten burdens and save lives; and
  2. The Pharisees, who used it to look for faults and think of ways to trap Him. Like Christ, we must be concerned for people's potential. He freed them from burdens, no matter what day it was, that they might produce more. Such work honors God. Redemption, the spiritual creation and love of neighbor are the essence of Sabbath keeping. www.onug.us

In Luke 13:10-17, Christ heals another chronically ill person on the Sabbath. This time, though, He did not wait for anyone to ask Him questions. The episode plainly discloses the redeeming and liberating intention of God's Sabbath. When Jesus says, "You are loosed," the ruler of the synagogue reacts immediately because to him the Sabbath meant rules to obey rather than people to love.

Jesus replies in verses 15-16 by emphasizing the Sabbath principle:

“The Lord then answered him and said, "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?"

Christ makes a play on words here. He uses the same verb, "loose," to describe the ox and donkey as He does the woman being "loosed" from Satan through healing.

So Jesus acts against their tradition but nowhere challenges the binding obligation of keeping the Sabbath. Rather, His example shows that we should make merciful evaluations to help others cast off their heavy burdens. He argues for living the true values.

Working for Salvation:                                                                                  www.onug.us

We can consider John 5:1-18 and John 9:1-41 together because their common themes show the relationship between the Sabbath and the work of salvation. Both people Jesus heals are chronically ill: one for 38 years, the other blind from birth. He tells both to do something: "Rise, take up your bed and walk" (John 5:8), and "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (John 9:7).

In both cases, the Pharisees accuse Him of Sabbath breaking (John 5:16, 18; 9:16, 24). Christ repudiates the charges against Him by arguing that His works of healing are contemplated by the Sabbath command and are equivalent to the works of God (John 5:16-18; 9:4, 14). His argument is that, unlike men, God does not break the Sabbath. Therefore the work God does on the Sabbath does not break it; His works, types of His salvation, free people from burdens.

"My Father has been working until now, and I have been working," Jesus says (John 5:17). What work is the Father doing? He is "working salvation in the midst of the earth" (Psalm 74:12)!!! www.onug.us

God is always working toward the completion of His purpose—the salvation of mankind. Jesus works within the same process and pointedly makes an issue of this on the Sabbath days. God's work is creating sons in His image. Thus, healing, forgiving sin and doing good are part of Christ's work as Savior and High Priest that He might be "firstborn among many brethren"!!!

John 7:22-24, an echo of chapter 5, shows how far out of proportion the Jews' judgment was, relative to the value of circumstances. In their judgment, not carrying a pallet and making clay on the Sabbath were more important than healing someone. Jesus, therefore, tries to correct them:

“Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it was from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The Jews considered circumcision a lawful Sabbath activity. The Bible never directly says why because everyone understood. They considered circumcision a redemptive act, even as we consider baptism a redemptive act and baptize on the Sabbath. The Jews judged it proper to excise one of the 248 body parts to save the whole man.

Christ reasons that the works of salvation are accomplished, not only by the Father, but also by His servants (for example, the priests who performed circumcisions). To Christ, God's true Servant, the Sabbath is the day to work for the salvation of the whole man, physically and spiritually. If it is legal to cut off part of a boy's body on the Sabbath to satisfy the Old Covenant, they have no reason to be angry with Him for mercifully restoring a person to wholeness on the Sabbath.

A Day of Mercy:                                                                                       www.onug.us

Matthew 12:1-8 adds yet another example of Sabbath encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees:

“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" Then He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

According to the Pharisees, the disciples reaped, threshed and winnowed the grain; they were guilty of preparing a meal. What was the disciples' motivation? They were traveling, hungry and had no place to prepare a meal. They were young and strong and could have fasted without harm, but because it was a Sabbath, Jesus drew attention to one of the Sabbath's main purposes. It is a day of mercy.

Christ draws his justification from 1 Samuel 21:1-6. He reasons that, if David under unusual circumstances could allay his hunger by eating bread consecrated for holy use, then the disciples could also legitimately provide for their needs in unusual circumstances. The emphasis here is on "unusual." How many times did David flee for His life and find himself hungry near the Tabernacle? It happened at least once, but even for a man of war like David, such situations occurred only rarely.

The overall lesson is that God does not intend His law to deprive but to ensure life. If the need arises, we should not feel conscience-stricken to use the Sabbath in a way that would not normally be lawful. Christ admits David's actions were not normally lawful, and neither were the disciples'—except for the circumstances. In this case, they were blameless BECAUSE A LARGER OBLIGATION OVERRULED THE LETTER OF THE LAW. In this circumstance, mercy is more important than sacrificing a meal. Holy bread or holy time can be used exceptionally to sustain life and serve God.

Christ takes advantage of the situation to teach another connected lesson. He draws attention to the extent of the priests' Sabbath labors in the Temple. Their work actually doubled on the Sabbath because of the number of sacrifices God required, yet they were guiltless. Why? They were involved in God's creative, redemptive work, as Christ explains in John 5, 7 and 9. They fulfilled a purpose of the Sabbath that someone had to do.

As the Head of God's spiritual Temple, the church, Jesus Christ is greater than the physical Temple. He is its High Priest and the twelve disciples were His servants, so their Sabbath ministry intensified along with His. The same holds true for God's ministry today. Our Sabbath labors equal or exceed those of the common days.

Because of the disciple's involvement in the work of God, circumstances dictated a profaning of the Sabbath. From this, we can understand that LOVING SERVICE IS GREATER THAN RITUAL FULFILLMENT. What is mercy? It is a helpful act where and when it is needed. It is an act of loving encouragement, comfort, pity and sympathy for the distressed. It is the relieving of a burden.

Made for Man:                                                                                            www.onug.us

Mark 2:27-28 says the Sabbath was made for or on account of man. God made it after man's creation, not to make him a slave of rules, but to ensure his physical and spiritual well being. Though we must rest from the labors of earning a living, it is still a day of intensive work that leads to salvation, of becoming prepared for the Kingdom of God. It is not intended to be a day of passive idleness, but of active, loving service, as circumstances arise, to help others.

The Scriptures show that Jesus kept the Sabbath by attending services, fellowshipping, teaching God's truth and doing acts of kindness that brought liberty, joy and peace to others. These establish very clear patterns. What does ordinary entertainment have to do with them? Resting from these expresses our complete commitment to God's way. It shows where our interests lie. Situations will arise that require a measure of knowledge of the Scriptures for guidance and discernment to determine whether an activity lies within the framework of obedience. With the guidance of Jesus' attitude and acts, though, we should have a good foundation for making righteous judgments.

The Sabbath is a wonderful gift of God, given to help us produce an abundant life. Let's all thank Him for it and strive to glorify Him in using it (Hebrews 4:1-16).

The Original Seventh Day Sabbath is God’s TRUTH! www.onug.us

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light!!!” (Matthew 11:25-30)!!!

    

For more information on God’s Sabbath Day, we invite you to call us at: (239)353-1303, read our BIBLE STUDY: Do You Have The Sign Of God? located at www.onug.us, or simply follow this link:

http://onug.us/content/bible-study-do-you-have-sign-god

 

The First Century Church of God is still alive and well; and we are still about our Father’s Business! Thank you for joining One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us) today in the Study of God’s Word! We so enjoyed having you here; and we hope to see you again next Sabbath!!! Please stay in touch! In Jesus Christ’s Mighty Name, Peace!

                                      - submitted by R. C. Brown III

One Nation Under God Ministries                                                                             www.onug.us           

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The sad state of affairs today is that the vast majority of Americans are Bible illiterates (Hosea 4:6). They simply have never read the book which they profess to regard as the “Word of God”. If we are to change this, we must begin using the Bible as our primary source of education, to learn about God and His teachings (Matthew 6:33).

If you have never faithfully kept God’s seventh day Sabbath holy or God’s Holy Days, the way Jesus Christ did – in the flesh, and in the fellowship of other followers of the Son of Man (Hebrews 10:25); we invite you to obediently enter into God’s rest today, and to keep the Feasts of the LORD (Hebrews 4:1-11 / Leviticus 23:1-44)! Contact us to find out where we fellowship and worship God, in your area, on His Sabbath Days (Exodus 31:12-18). We would love to hear from you and help get you started!

Join us on-line each Sabbath and Holy Day at www.onug.us where you can download our Bible Studies, or join us on facebook to listen in to our live webinar each week.

You may write to us at:

One Nation Under God Ministries

P.O. Box 111960

Naples, Florida 34108 U.S.A.

You can telephone us at: (239) 353 – 1303

Or e-Mail us at: one_nation_under_god_usa@msn.com

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”But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one” (John 10:26-30).

Christians must learn to read the Bible, interpret the scriptures according to Biblical principles (Isaiah 28:10, 13), and begin to apply the precepts they learn in their walk with God. Individual study is essential; coupled with fellowship times of group study, worship, and discussions of personal insights and observations.

We strive, each Saturday, to foster an open and welcoming atmosphere where Spirit led confirmation, clarification, questions, and correction can be made in the fellowship of other students of God’s Word.

One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us) is working to unify the body of Christ in the worship of God the Father, in the way Jesus showed us to - in Spirit and in Truth! We strive to promote rediscovery of American History, and renew in current generations the Vision and the Covenant of our Founding Fathers.

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“And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease… And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.  Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat”                     – Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:1, 7-10).

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We Pray Daily for all of you who come alongside us and continue to support this work; and we ask that you to join us in also Praying for all those around the world, to whom God’s Word will be sent - by our collective efforts! Please Pray with us; and Please Pray for us!

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