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24/10/2007 / Test All Things

Questions For Sabbatarians

A Sabbatarian is a person who insists that one day of each week is to be reserved for religious observance as prescribed in the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, as follows:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 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 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-16)

There are two kinds of Sabbatarians.

[1] Strict or Literal Sabbatarians endeavor to obey the strict letter of the fourth commandment, and therefore they hallow Saturday, the seventh day of the week, as their weekly Sabbath.

[2] Semisabbatarians endeavor to obey the spirit, not the letter, of the same commandment, but they transfer its observance to Sunday, the first day of the week.

There are, however, Christians whose Sabbath, or Rest, is not in a day of the week — whether Saturday or Sunday or any other. Rather, their Rest is in Jesus Christ alone.

The following “Questions for Sabbatarians” is asked by such a person.

(1) Yahweh, in the Decalogue, expressly hallowed the seventh day of the week, Saturday (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Do you regard Saturday as your weekly Sabbath?

If you do:

[1] How do you respond to Paul the Apostle, who approved the man who does not, and who instead “esteems every day alike” (Romans 14:5)?

And [2] How do you respond to Paul’s admonition to Christians to “let no one judge you…regarding …sabbaths” (Colossians 2:16)?

If you do not regard Saturday as your weekly Sabbath, what scriptural warrant have you for disregarding Yahweh’s commandment?

——————–

(2) If you transfer weekly Sabbath observance from the seventh day to the first day, thereby regarding Sunday as the Christian Sabbath:

[1] What scriptural warrant have you for this change of days?

[2] Where in Scripture do you find the abrogation of the seventh day, Saturday, as the weekly Sabbath?

[3] Where in Scripture do you find Sunday equated with or identified as the Christian Sabbath?

[4] Where in Scripture is found any directive for the cessation of labor during the first day of the week?

——————–

(3) The cessation of labor during the Decalogue’s weekly Sabbath expressly prohibited lighting a fire, under penalty of death (Exodus 35:1-3).

Would you permit the violation of this prohibition and the, disregarding of its death penalty in order that, for example, meals could be cooked or that one living in a very frigid climate could heat his house?

If you would, what scriptural warrant have you for doing so?

——————–

(4) The cessation of labor during the Decalogue’s weekly Sabbath also expressly prohibited presumptuous acts even as trivial (in a manner of speaking) as gathering sticks, again under penalty of death (Numbers 15:32-36).

Would you permit the violation of this prohibition and the disregarding of its death penalty?

If you would, what scriptural warrant have you for doing so?

——————–

(5) The cessation of labor during the Decalogue’s weekly Sabbath furthermore expressly prohibited traveling (Exodus 16:29; Acts 1:12).

Would you permit the violation of this prohibition?

If you would, what scriptural warrant have you for doing so?

——————–

(6) The Decalogue’s weekly Sabbath required a specific burnt offering (Numbers 28:9).

Do you observe this requirement?

If you do , how do you respond to the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who declared that Jesus Christ has made “one sacrifice for sins forever,” and that “where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:11-18).

If you do not observe the requirement for the burnt offering on the weekly Sabbath, what scriptural warrant have you for not doing so?

——————–

(7) If you regard the fourth commandment of the Decalogue as being yet valid, who is to enforce its prohibitions and execute the punishment (even the penalty of death) of offenders?

And:

[1] If you assign these to civil government, would you assign the enforcement of the first three commandments also to the same civil government?

[2] If you assign these to ecclesiastical government, what scriptural warrant have you for doing so?

——————–

(8) If you disregard any aspect of the letter of the fourth commandment, even in its widest possible context, how do you respond to James, who declared, “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10)?

——————–

(9) If you regard the fourth commandment of the Decalogue as being yet valid (literally), and perhaps as being even an eternal moral law, how do you respond to Paul the Apostle’s declaration that the whole Mosaic legal code was temporal, “added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Galatians 3:19; Colossians 2:16)?

——————–

(10) How do you respond to the Christian who has found his Rest not in a weekly Sabbath, but in Jesus Christ alone? and whose Rest therefore is not carnal and temporal, but spiritual and eternal (Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:1-11; Colossians 2:16)?

By Daniel Parks

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