How Keeping the Jewish Sabbath was Abolished in Christianity: Part 1

You know, sometimes when I write things, I have a feeling they are not going to be well received.

 

It is like teaching about something in the text and having someone accuse you of judging them by doing it. You respond back, “I didn’t write it, I just read it!” That rarely makes a difference though because you are easier (and safer) to criticize than the text itself.

 

History gives us large examples of facts to choose from that many seem to choose to twist or ignore, either on purpose, or out of ignorance.  When you bring these facts up, especially historical religious facts, the safety nets around a persons beliefs (a person’s ideology) are often shown to have holes in them.  Most people don’t seem to like their safety nets being shown as being unsafe, ie, they get angry.

 

So how does iron sharpen iron without someone getting cut once in awhile in the process?  Ignorance can be bliss without a doubt.  On the other hand, knowledge forces you to face some unpleasant facts sometimes. That old love your neighbor as yourself, or more succinctly, as Yeshua loved the church, seems to be the only answer here.  We need to love each other enough to share truth with each other, while at the same time, not sitting in judgment of each others intent or motives.  It is in this spirit that I present the following:

 

 

How Keeping the Jewish Sabbath was Abolished in Christianity:

Part 1

To uncover this, we have to go back in time – back to the time of the exodus – back to Moshe and Sinai. You remember how it goes:

 

  Exodus 20:8-11 (CJB)

8 ד‎ 8 “Remember the day, Shabbat (Sabbath), to set it apart for God.

9 You have six days to labor and do all your work,

10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God.

On it, you are not to do any kind of work —

  • not you,

  • your son

  • or your daughter,

  • not your male or female slave,

  • not your livestock,

  • and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.

11 For in six days,

Adonai made heaven and earth,

the sea and everything in them;

but on the seventh day he rested.

This is why Adonai blessed the day,

Shabbat,

and separated it for himself.

 

This commandment tells us that Adonai rested on the 7th day (Shabbat: Saturday).  This commandment tells us to remember that day and set it apart for God. Not to work on that day nor have anyone in your household do any work – not even your animals or your guests!  It tells us that Adonai blessed this day and separated it for himself.

 

However, we find with little effort, that this particular command was in force prior to the Sinai event. If we go back 4 chapters in Exodus, we find the following:

 

Exodus 16:22-24 (CJB)

22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread,

two ‘omers per person;

and all the community leaders came and reported to Moshe. 23 He told them,

“This is what Adonai has said:

‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai.

Bake what you want to bake;

boil what you want to boil;

and whatever is left over,

set aside and keep for the morning.’”

24 They set it aside till morning, as Moshe had ordered; and it didn’t rot or have worms.

Although the text doesn’t specifically tell us, I think these two verses imply that Shabbat was always in effect by the very fact that Adonai – God Himself – set this day apart (separated this day for Himself) and rested.  You will have to decide on your own whether you accept that premise.

 

Two questions begs to be answered,

  1. How did the Christian church go from worshiping on Saturday (Shabbat) to Sunday?”
  2. Does the commandment apply to me as a Christian?”

 

There is an avalanche of material written on this subject from all sides.  It is tough to sort through – a very daunting task!  Top apologists present all kinds of suppositions, ideologies and theological gymnastics and rationalizations to support the Lord’s day thesis as biblically sound.  What they can NOT produce and have NOT produced is a specific command from God abrogating the 4th commandment!  However, I am not here to argue the 2nd point about whether it applies or not, I am just here to present the 1st point: “How did the Christian church go from worshiping on Saturday (Shabbat) to Sunday?”

 

If you are not sure what the Lord’s Day thesis is, it is argument that Shabbat (Sabbath) in no longer in force based largely on the following 3 thesis statements:

 

  1. Yeshua (Jesus) was resurrected on the day after Shabbat (The 1st day of the week or Sunday)
  2. Yeshua doesn’t reiterate this commandment (Argument from silence: argumentum e silentio).
  3. A passage in Acts 20:7 that states that they got together on the 1st day of the week (Sunday) to break bread.

 

Acts 20:7 (NASB)

7 On the first day of the week,

when we were gathered together to break bread,

Paul began talking to them,

intending to leave the next day,

and he prolonged his message until midnight.

That is the basic thesis – these 3 points.  Some try to argue the 1st point away – I don’t. I haven’t seen any convincing evidence that Yeshua wasn’t resurrected on Sunday.

The 2nd argument relies on a hermeneutic principle . . . kind of.  The principle goes something like this:

 

Where scripture is silent, we should be silent.

 

Seems logical, even correct – doesn’t it?  Added to this is that all 10 of God’s commandments are reiterated in the Newer Covenant (New Testament) except “Keep the Sabbath” or “Remember the Sabbath,” and you have the “silent scripture argument” that I also stated above – kind of.  I say kind of because the logic supposes that as a result of not reiterating the 4th commandment (stayed silent), Yeshua (Jesus) abrogated it.  If that is indeed true, I guess Yeshua forgot to tell the two Marys about it if He had because if we look at the following in the text, we see something kind of disturbing in the 4 gospel accounts:

 

Matthew 28:1 (CJB)

1 After Shabbat, as the next day was dawning,

Miryam of Magdala and the other Miryam went to see the grave.

Mark 16:1 (CJB)

1 When Shabbat was over, Miryam of Magdala,

Miryam the mother of Ya‘akov,

and Shlomit bought spices in order to go and anoint Yeshua.

Luke 23:54-24:1 (CJB)

54 It was Preparation Day, and a Shabbat was about to begin.

55 The women who had come with Yeshua

from the Galil followed;

they saw the tomb and how his body was placed in it.

56 Then they went back home to prepare spices and ointments.

On Shabbat the women rested, in obedience to the commandment;

1 but the next day, while it was still very early,

they took the spices they had prepared, went to the tomb,

John 19:31 (CJB)

31 It was Preparation Day,

and the Judeans did not want

the bodies to remain on the stake on Shabbat,

since it was an especially important Shabbat.

So they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies removed.

Obviously, the Marys didn’t want to break Shabbat by these accounts – By their actions, they didn’t understand it to be abrogated!.  Luke tells us that they rested in obedience to the commandment.

 

THIS IS SIGNIFICANT!

 

Do you understand why?  Luke didn’t write this that day.  He wrote it in 75-100 AD – 45 to 70 years after Yeshua was crucified!  Why would he write “in obedience to the commandment” if it was no longer a commandment?

 

We will take a look at the 3rd point (Acts 20:7) in part 2 of this post next and then delve into the historical areas that are NOT silent concerning why the Christian church went from worshiping on Saturday (Shabbat) to Sunday.

 

Blessings to you all and Shalom!

 

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About Even If Ministries

Dani'el 3:17-18 (CJB) 17 Your majesty, if our God, whom we serve, is able to save us, he will save us from the blazing hot furnace and from your power. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will neither serve your gods nor worship the gold statue which you have set up.”
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4 Responses to How Keeping the Jewish Sabbath was Abolished in Christianity: Part 1

  1. jmbannister says:

    Very convincing or should I say convicting? Waiting patiently for the next installment.

  2. mimisuze says:

    Really good “points”. I had never heard the “silence” thing before…………it kind of un-nerves me……..that could be a dangerous approach to understanding Scripture.

  3. Daveed says:

    The Acts 20 was about the celebrating the ending of Shabbat, Havdalah 1st day of the Jewish week (not the Gentile 1st day)

    • Thanks for the comment Daveed!

      I am aware that many feel it was Motzaʾei-Shabbat such as David Stern. I am also aware that 1st Corinthians 16:2 is believed to be Motzaʾei-Shabbat as well by some.

      The problem for me is reading into the text (eisegesis) can lead to error. We need to be pulling out (exegesis) what is there and not be dogmatic on what isn’t.

      I am not saying you are wrong, and I am not saying you are right. It is speculative either side of the argument.

      The reason I say this as you will see in part 3 of this series, there is some history that can’t be ignored. One point that seems to be overlooked is that Luke was not Jewish (maybe he was a proselyte, maybe he wasn’t). He more than likely used Greek timekeeping that his Greek readers would understand instead of Hebrew timekeeping that many of his reader would not understand . . . remember how this letter starts out:

      “Dear Theophilos,”

      Jew , Roman official or title? No one really knows but the concensus seems to be Roman or Greek.

      That being said and regardless, we have to remember that there are strong indications that Yeshua rose on day 1st based upon what we know about shabbat, how it was observed and why they hurried to take him down. Otherwise, wouldn’t there have been outrage when shabbat was outlawed at the council of Laocedia? – wouldn’t there have been extant writings about that outrage?

      We also understand that Sha’ul was hurrying to get from Troas to Yerushalayim for Shavu’ot.

      When we look at the big picture – the context – I see nothing convincing that this was a Havdalah celebration.

      Either way – Havdalah on Shabbat or the evening of Sunday until Monday – it still can’t be on Shabbat because Shabbat ends at havdalah and the Greek text tells us it was “mia ton sabbaton” or first of the week where as when Sha’ul would go into the synagogues to persuade Jews and Greeks, it was just sabbaton. We can’t ignore the distinction.

      If they broke bread for havdalah as you have indicated, then they wouldn’t be meeting on the 1st day, they would be meeting ont the 7th day because the shabbat would not be over.

      The only way you can make this work is if you believe the text is corrupted. Problem with that is, then which part is and which part isn’t? Problem with that is . . . .

      We have to believe that the text is not only words put on papyrus and vellum, we also have to believe that Adonai is bigger than all of this and His word is not corrupted. There were many arguments from the orthodox that Christians had corrupted the text – then the finds at Qumran happened and stopped that argument . . . there was uncanny accuarcy – which, also proved that there was some attempts to rewite history on the accusers side.

      I didn’t mean to make this response this long – Since I attend a Messianic congregation, I have heard this argument many times . . . The Qumran counter-argument is always the trump card . . .

      Be Blessed! 🙂

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