Question #1: Hi Robert! A brother in Christ gave an in-depth article on Ark of the Covenant (attached) and I wanted your expert opinion. Let me know what you think.
Response #1: From what I can tell, the whole purpose of this piece you have sent is to support Sabbath worship. With that point I cannot agree. I certainly would agree that the Ten Commandments have not been abolished. Indeed, they are all restated as divine truth in the New Testament - except for Sabbath observance (see the link: The 10 Commandments (in part 5 of "The Satanic Rebellion"). Even here I would argue that it is not so much that the Saturday Sabbath has been abolished as that the "ceremonial" aspects of it (to use the terminology of this treatment you sent) have been fulfilled through Christ. As a result, instead of a once a week formal ritual, the Church is to maintain a moment by moment Sabbath, the reality of ever resting in the peace that Christ left us, not for one day a week but at all times.
Peace I leave for you; peace I give to you. Not as the world
gives do I give it to you.
So then there does remain a Sabbath observance (sabbatismos)
for the people of God.
I invite to have a look at these links as well:
Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?
Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.
True Orthodoxy and False Creeds
Question #2: Hello again Dr Luginbill, I've been reading many of the letters, and your replies, on your website, and was reading one on legalism, and whether it is dangerous to the person(s) that wish to stubbornly persist in it. This is very heavy on my thoughts because, coming out of SDA (many years prior to actually being saved) still having family in it, and recent dialogues with other SDA's and Sabbatarians, have refreshed my concerns about it. I got "into it" with a Messianic Christian and an SDA over the issue of whether it is Biblical to tell others they sin if they do not "keep" the Sabbath.
I brought up this text:
Exo 35:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
Exo 35:3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.
Because it easily reveals that none of us can keep the Sabbath according to what the OT says to do to keep it....whether a person goes to church on a certain day is not what was meant by the keeping of it according to the OT. Up to about 100 years ago, one had to light a fire to have light after dark, and to cook, or have heat in the home....now we can flip a switch or turn a dial (thermostat or stove, etc or even drive a car which would spark the spark plugs in the engine, these things being what the Othodox Jews still do to try to keep themselves in their observing of the Sabbath), so it (turning on lights, etc) no longer is the "work" that it used to be, but if we truly wanted to abide by the rules, we wouldn't even flip that switch or turn that dial, to truly "keep" the day holy in that literal sense. But these persons scoffed at this reality, thinking that they are perfect in their keeping....but the main point being, we cannot do any of these "keepings" perfectly, the Sabbath rest we have is in that Jesus completed it all on our behalf.
So, my problem is, the fact that these persons maintain that 1) they keep the Sabbath perfectly and 2) they feel it their obligation to warn others of their sin if they do not likewise keep the Sabbath, are they not in danger of failing to enter into the rest that we need to find in Jesus as per Hebrews ch 4? I know that the Lord will eventually make every crooked path straight, but the fact that these persons still place so much emphasis on their works and ability to perform what I see as imperfect and needing humble surrendering to Jesus perfection, that I fear for them not entering into "THAT rest".
I have tried to reason this out with them, to which they have ostracized me for being a child of the devil and heretic. I know that worrying is in itself another sin, and I need to come to that point of REST and trust, that Jesus will rectify this point in His time.
But my question is, can a person be left out of being truly saved from not surrendering on this point? It seems like they believe the cross was a down-payment for their salvation, but they need to continue with weekly payments in the way of "Sabbath-keeping" to stay saved. ....???
I truly want to quit worrying about this but it really bothers me deeply,
Seeking that complete and secure place of rest in Jesus, for myself and others,
Response #2: I am sorry you are having such issues with this group. It is not my place to tell you what to do, but I can say pretty definitively based at least upon my own observation and experience and reading of the Bible that when one is confronted with an individual or group which absolutely will not budge on a point of truth (that is, will not listen to the truth but insist/s on doing what they see to be the right thing independent of what scripture actually counsels), there is really very little point in continuing to swim against the tide past the point where you now find yourself (i.e., it is a case of "pearls before swine" with the real danger that they will "turn and tear" you). Hebrews was written to a very much like-minded group of people (though perhaps not so far gone as SDA who have invested everything in being "right" on this particular point). In the concluding chapter of Hebrews, Paul makes a powerful appeal for the believers at Jerusalem to leave off the legalistic rites into which they have regressed by reminding them that Christ suffered "outside the gate" and therefore to truly follow His example we too must go "outside the camp" if we really want to serve Him in truth (Heb.13:11-14). This requires parting with all tradition which is contrary to scripture, and the fact that the believers in Jerusalem were being told to part with the Mosaic Law, that is, that actual biblical regime for worshiping God before the coming of Jesus Christ, leaves no doubt that any attempt on our part to re-institute some second-hand latter-day gentile version of the Law (like "Sabbath observance") is therefore wrong-headed on two counts: 1) it is by definition not the real Law (there's not even a temple any more), and 2) since the real Law was abrogated, how could a partial man-made approximation ever be seen to measure up or ever be seen not to conflict with the very clear guidance given in Hebrews, and in the rest of the Epistles, and not least by our Lord Himself. For it is well to recall that our Lord, over and over again ran afoul of the Pharisees for deliberately "breaking the Sabbath" (e.g., Jn.5:18), and indeed went out of His way to do the Father's work on the Sabbath. No clearer role model could be wanted for how things really stand now than our Lord, who was "always working" for the Kingdom (Jn.5:17). If we are truly making an honest effort to enter into the moment by moment Sabbath of Hebrews 4, the "peace" which Jesus has left us (John 14:27), then we are indeed acting on behalf of the kingdom and our Lord by walking, growing, and working for Him by helping others do the same – all the time. No ritual, no rite, no tradition, no self-described, self-appointed, self-evaluated sanctimoniousness deserves to be compared to such a Sabbath. Whether those who are intent upon making such things the litmus test for spirituality and the end-all and be-all of the Christian experience are "saved" or "will be saved" depends upon many things in the heart of each individual so involved, and upon much to come in the future as well. It is very clear – at least to anyone making a careful study of Revelation et al. – that in the very near future any and all false foundations of faith will at the very least predispose those who have chosen to rely on anything other than pure faith in Jesus Christ and the building up thereof through study and practice of the Word of God to being subject to the Great Apostasy when the severe pressures of the Tribulation hit and antichrist's extremely persuasive false religion begins to infiltrate all traditional groups. I can only say that no matter how much I love my friends and family and am concerned for other acquaintances, I am putting first things first: first seek the kingdom yourself, then you may be able to help and/or intervene on behalf of others, to the extent that they are willing to hear and receive the truth. But it is a mistake to risk apostasy ourselves, no matter how good our intentions may be when first we begin to compromise what we know to be the truth. This, after all, was the one big mistake Paul had made (well before writing Hebrews). For, "wishing to be accursed" on behalf of his fellow Jews, he made the mistake of going to Jerusalem to minister to them (even though the Spirit specifically told him not to do so: Acts 20:23; 21:11), and quickly fell into participating in the temple rite – the very instrument used by the Lord to bring about his multi-year ordeal of captivity. We know from Hebrews (and of course all of the other prison epistles) that Paul's lapse was temporary, but it serves to show that no believer, no matter how great he or she may be, can ever afford compromise on this score.
Please do feel free to write me back about any of this. I am still in a bit of "shell shock" over the website problems, and fear I may not have gotten to the nub of your question.
In Jesus who is our Lord 24/7.
Question #3: Thank you for your time and efforts, your answer pretty much covers it. I guess we are all responsible for ourselves, I cannot force others to see it, just as they cannot force Sabbath "keeping" in the OT old covenant sense, onto me... the fact that Hebrews ch 4 specifically says to be sure to enter into THAT REST (speaking of the rest that we find in the finished work of the cross) and this passage belabors the fact that we need to be sure we enter into THAT rest (SDA says this is talking about the Saturday Sabbath rest, but that tortures the text) that it concerns be that many are not entering into THAT rest, because they still strive to perfect themselves.
Trying to let it rest, in Jesus,
Response #3: It's hard to let things like this go, believe me, I know. Time and truth and the Lord can produce results that no one could ever anticipate. As Jesus told the disciples, "one sows, and another reaps". The fact that you have been diligently sowing the truth with nothing but the best of intent is something that is not to be disparaged. Indeed, it may just be that the Lord will use these seeds to produce a crop for Himself later on. The men of Sychar wouldn't listen to the Samaritan woman who talked with Jesus at the well, but they did go to hear Jesus for themselves as a result of her witness about Him. There is a time for everything, and just as there is a time to pick up a burden of this sort, there is a time to put it down again and let patience do its perfect work. I can only hope and pray what I hope and pray for all of our Christian brethren who are, in my estimation at least, sailing in very perilous spiritual straits, that they will wake up from their stupor before the real trouble begins. In the meantime, sometimes all we can do while setting a good example ourselves is to wait, and pray, and leave things in the Lord's hands. After all, He knew about all of this before He created the world, and we can be confident that He is working absolutely everything out for the best.
In confident reliance on Him who is our Rock, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Question #4: Hi again Doc!
Someone who wrote me this and I wanted your opinion because it seems to line up with what you have written on the site:
"It is also true that the Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, i.e. Saturday. However, and this is the part that is never taken into consideration, the Sabbath is part of the Mosaic law. No one even attempts to keep observe, for example, the parts of the Mosaic law such as what to do about your house when it has mildew, or whether to stone to death disobedient children. What Christianity has done is to take the parts of the Mosaic law they want to observe and leave the rest for Israel. But we cannot escape the fact that the Mosaic Law was given to Israel and not to the church, which is His body. Therefore, because the Sabbath is part of the Mosaic law which was not given to the church, the Bible does not name a specific day of worship for the church. I realize that most people won't like this conclusion, but I prefer to live by the Word of God rather than to make up what I want to be true."
Response #4: Yes, this is good as far as it goes. A couple of things I would say about this however are
1) Sabbath Observance is a commandment, not just part of the details of the Law, and it is in fact the only one of the ten commandments that is not currently to be observed as it was in the past (i.e., after the cross we are to be observing a "moment by moment Sabbath rest", trusting God at all times). So it's not really quite telling the whole story to say it's part of the Law and the Law is out so the Sabbath is out" – think what would happen if we chucked the other commandments!
2) As I have said before, this notion that the Church is somehow radically different from Israel is a Roman Catholic construct that most Protestant groups have adopted as well – but it is nowhere in the Bible. Paul is pretty clear in Romans chapter 11 that we gentiles have been grafted as a mere branch into the main plant, Israel. As I have often pointed out, the time will come when Israel will reassert her role in the Church though at present the number of Jewish believers may be small. Failing to understand that all believers from Adam and Eve to our Lord's return are "the Church" has been the cause of much misinterpretation. Please see the following links:
Israel the Ultimate Measure
The Uniqueness of Israel
The Two Witnesses
Question #5: I got this sent to me on 7th day Adventist and I really don't know if he's right or wrong on this. I want to be careful in accepting what is true which can be proven biblically, because you and I both know that there are lot of false teachings out there. Do you agree with his view on the Sabbath?
"I've also found hundreds of non-Seventh Day Adventist quotes of other denominations of Christians which all fully admit that there is no verse in the Bible that changes the Sabbath to Sunday, and it was a manmade tradition done by the Roman Catholics. For many centuries the Romans tried to kill for example what they called the Waldensians, a movement that kept the Sabbath all over France, Italy, Germany and Spain. In Scotland and much of England for example they had always kept Saturday as the Sabbath until the 1600s that the state church of Scotland made Presbyterianism & Sunday the national law. Many of these things I don't think anyone on the internet is really discussing, if you want to do a search for the text , feel free! That doesn't make it wrong if you find someone else who said something similar either, I've studied it the last 15 years in depth and had been a Sunday keeper for 20 years prior."
Response #5: Beyond all argument, Jesus rose on Sunday, and thus Sunday is called "the Lord's day" in Revelation 1:10 (compare Acts 20:7 and 1Cor.16:2 where the first day of the week is the day when the Church formally gathered). But since scripture in my view does not re-authorize any day as a specific day-Sabbath for the Church after Pentecost but instead commands a moment by moment Sabbath-rest which we believers are to engage in at all times (Heb.4:1ff.), this is a question of little moment. So while many people want to "go to war" on this one, if they were paying attention to the weightier things of scripture they would see that there is no spiritual value in picking Saturday over Sunday or Sunday over Saturday. In fact, to the extent that a person thinks they are more spiritual because of the day picked for worship, to that extent their spirituality is harmed:
So don't let anyone judge you in regard to food or drink, or
in the category of festival observances, be it of new moons or
Sabbaths. All these things are shadows of what was to come, but
the reality has to do with Christ.
We should not be Christians only Saturday or only Sunday, but we should walk with Jesus everyday, carrying our cross daily in emulation of Him in the peace of the daily Sabbath-rest He left us.
(6) Don't worry about anything, but in everything let your
requests be made known to God in prayer and in petition with
thanksgiving. (7) And the peace of God which
surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and your minds in
Peace I am leaving to you –
my peace I am giving to
you, [and] not as the world gives am I giving [it to you] (i.e.,
it is yours to keep and treasure).
In the One in whom we rest at all times, our dear Lord Jesus.
I understand that Christ is our Sabbath. Did the RCC change the Sabbath day? Here is what a Pastor wrote regarding this.
"Saturday (this week), due to date changes in the calendar, isn't necessarily "saturday" + (6000 *52) saturday's ago to creation. People try this all the time... someone had it calculated the exact day and time that creation week happened... it's not possible to know. You can't count backwards and assume that there hasn't been a date missed in calendars. Example: According to the Jewish calendar today is: 16th of Kislev, 5768. Of course the Jewish year in the OT consisted of only 360 days... But to assume that today is "monday" and exactly (xxx amount of weeks since creation) is a little bit strange. And the whole point of that exercise is that if the "day" is so important... we could never be CERTAIN that we are observing the "REAL" Sabbath. In other words... the day don't matter.Look up "The missing years" in the Hebrew Calendar if your not sure."
Do you agree?
Response #6: On the day of the Sabbath, while I would say that it is certainly clear that God knows which day is which, I also think it is very clear that human beings have historically had problems keeping track of things so precisely. For one thing, Jews did not even exist until the circumcision of Abram becoming Abraham, and the Sabbath did not exist as a day to be remembered and revered until the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. Additionally, we all know that a solar year is not perfectly divisible into even weeks (it is even necessary to add an extra day roughly every four years), and that in ancient Israel 30 day lunar months were one of the main measures of yearly chronology (and these too do not square perfectly with weeks). Additionally, many of the Jewish festivals had additional "Sabbaths" and occasionally, there would be a number of Sabbaths in a row as a result of the intersection of the festival calendar and the weekly calendar. On top of all that, there is evidence that there was even in the Jewish calendar "intercalation", that is, the addition of days into the calendar to make the monthly cycles fit the solar year, and that this intercalation required moving the week around at times (see the link: in SR 5, "The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar"). There is also the question of how far back our current lining up of the week goes, and where exactly it came from in terms of squaring up what day of the week to consider which – i.e., the very first Sabbath / Saturday according to our present calendar is very likely to have been an arbitrary choice.
So while God knows, we can't know whether the current week lines up with the original week of re-creation following God's judgment on the devil in between Gen.1:1 and 1:2. But inasmuch as we are given one day at a time by the Lord and the opportunity to walk with Him, to draw closer to Him through His Word, and to serve Him by helping others to do the same day by day, resting in Him every day, such calculations are really not much more than an impossible exercise to little purpose. They only really matter to the extent that people begin to base their spirituality upon them instead of upon drawing closer to Jesus day by day through the Word of God.
In our Lord Jesus Christ,