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Was The Seventh Day Sabbath observed before Mt. Sinai?
(Pt. 2)

During the time when the Ark of the Covenant was on Earth, the Ten Commandments written on stone remained hidden from view. Whenever the tabernacle was moved, the Ark of the Covenant (the golden box containing the Ten Commandments) was covered with thick cloth (the temple veil – Numbers 4:5) and was kept more than a half mile away from the Israelites! (Joshua 3:4) For centuries, Israel’s high priests could not look at the Ten Commandments even though they entered the Most Holy Place once a year, on the Day of Atonement and stood before the Ark of the Covenant.  I believe the Ark of the Covenant was taken to Heaven more than 2,000 years ago. Consequently, no one on Earth will ever see the Ten Commandments (the two tablets of stone) again! A day is soon coming when the Ark of the Covenant will be shown to the whole world (Revelation 11:19) and although the Ark will be seen in the sky, the Ten Commandments will not!

God shows the Ark of the Covenant, but not the Ten Commandments, to the world at the seventh trumpet. When it sounds, Earth’s inhabitants will already be in two distinct groups. One group will have rejected the gospel of Christ and have received the mark of the beast’s tattoo, “666.” The other group will have accepted the gospel of Christ and have had their faith in Christ tested. The second group will have demonstrated their faith during extreme persecution. As a result, Jesus will remove their carnal natures and they will receive the seal of God. This group will rejoice when they see the Ark of the Covenant.  There is no need for them to see inside the Ark because the promise (the covenant) has already been fulfilled! The Ten Commandments have been written in their hearts and minds. Just like Adam and Eve before sin began, the saints will have sinless natures! Meanwhile, the wicked will see the glorious Ark of the Covenant in the sky with anxious foreboding. The contents of that box seals their doom. The two tablets, written with God’s own finger, defines love for God and man, the very laws which they have despised and rejected. God shows the wicked the Ark of the Covenant, clarifying for them the reason for their punishment and judgment. God will force everyone having the mark of the beast tattoo to experience His wrath and drink from the seven bowls (the seven last plagues).

Nine Commandments Are Not Enough

Most Christians acknowledge that the Ten Commandments are important and should be obeyed. However, when pressed about the demands of the fourth commandment (the holiness of the seventh day), the carnal nature pushes back, insisting that the fourth commandment was abolished at the cross and is no longer important.

Most Christians will agree that worshiping an idol is offensive to the Creator (per the second commandment), but do not believe that working on the seventh day (per fourth commandment) is offensive. Most Christians agree that committing adultery is morally wrong (per the seventh commandment), but maintain that resting on the seventh day (per the fourth commandment) is legalistic. Most Christians will agree that stealing is a sin (per the eighth commandment), but they ignore Saturday as a holy day (per the fourth commandment). Why do most Christians “cherry pick” the Ten Commandments?  Shouldn’t nine commandments be enough? For more than forty years I have been fascinated with the various arguments used by Christians to eliminate the demands of the fourth commandment. I will list five basic arguments I hear most often.

1.      The Catholic position: The Church received authority from Christ to transfer the sacredness of the seventh day to the first day of the week. This transfer was completed by Pope Sylvester I during the fourth century A.D.*

2.     The Sabbath is a Jewish ritual and it is not imposed on mankind before God gave the Ten Commandments.

3.     The Ten Commandments are part of the covenant God made with the Jews. This covenant was nailed (abolished) at the cross.

4.     Nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated by New Testament writers. The silence regarding the Sabbath proves it was abolished at the cross. 

5.     If a person insists on keeping the Ten Commandments, he is a legalist. Christians are not under any obligation to obey the Ten Commandments; instead, believers in Christ are now under the dispensation of grace. Keep in mind, however that these same people believe that obeying nine commandments does not constitute legalism.   

Noah’s Flood

Noah was a preacher of righteousness. (2Peter 2:5) For 120 years, Noah faithfully warned the people of God’s coming wrath. (Genesis 6:3; Hebrews 11:7) Did Jesus commit murder when He destroyed the world in Noah’s day or was there a judicial basis for His action which was based on righteousness, justice, and mercy?  According to the Bible, Jesus deliberately drowned tens of thousands of men, woman, and children. How do we justify this horrific action by a God of love? God has not changed since Noah’s flood! Remember, “I the Lord do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)  

Prior to the flood there was stealing, murder, lying, idolatry, improper use of God’s name, and disregard for God’s holy Sabbath. While the first six chapters of Genesis are silent about specific sins, the antediluvians did offend God and cause Him to drown them.  Remember this initial point in part one of this article was that Jesus never changes, so therefore we can ferret out the answer.  God never changes so He destroyed the antediluvians for the same reason that Sodom and Gomorrah, Israel, and Jerusalem were destroyed. Finally, God will burn the wicked up in the lake of fire at the end of the 1,000 years for the same reason He destroyed the antediluvians. Remember, the Lord does not change: “The Earth id defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore Earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.” (Isaiah 24: 5, 6)

The Full Cup Principle can be seen throughout the Bible. God’s cup of wrath is filled when a group of people reach a place where extended mercy does not have a redeeming effect. At that point, God’s wrath is aroused and He sends destruction. God destroyed the world in Noah’s day, and later destroyed nations and cities because they became defiant and degenerate. When a group of people knowingly and willfully reject God’s laws, lawlessness springs up like weeds after a Spring rain.  Consider Jesus’ words to Ezekiel:

“Her [Israel’s] priest do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common: they teach that there si no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them…Doom has come upon you-you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains. I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the Lord who strikes the blow.” (Ezekiel 7: 7-9; 22: 26, insertion mine)  

God removed Adam and Eve from Eden, destroyed the world in Noah’s day, removed Israel from their homeland and exiled them in Babylon, destroyed His people and the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and will destroy the wicked at the end of the 1,000 years for the same reason-lawlessness. Remember, faith in God does not eliminate His law. “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith [in Christ]? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:31, insertion mine)

Is There Grace When There Is No Law?

We can assume that the Ten Commandments existed in Noah’s day because the Bible says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8) Where there is no law, there is no condemnation and need for grace. If a judge grants you grace and you are released from paying the penalty for speeding, this does not mean the speed limit no longer exists.

The suggestion that the Sabbath was unknown prior to the flood or Mt. Sinai is born out of the carnal rebellion, an attempt to cover up a glorious truth. Foolish arguments about law, grace, and faith have been imposed on God’s Word causing a great cloud of darkness and confusion about the truth of God’s Sabbath, which ironically, was made for man! The Sabbath is a gift from our Creator and the carnal nature hates it. This is why Jesus gave Sabbath observance the force of law at Mt. Sinai. He knew that man’s rebellion and Lucifer’s sophistry would soon combine causing the world to deny its accountability to its Creator.

Too many Christians today have convinced themselves that God’s grace has somehow eliminated His law. They stumble within this circular reasoning and conclude that everyone is free from the one command that requires rest from our works “just as God rested from His. Yet, they overlook one very profound truth, that there is no need for grace if there is no law.

Considering the following comparisons:  Obeying the law of the land does not make an illegal immigrant a citizen and neither does obeying the law of God make a sinner a citizen of the New Jerusalem. Those who seek to obtain a citizenry in God’s kingdom through obedience are under the curse of sin and their hope will be dashed to pieces. On the other hand, those who understand the covenant and want the laws of God written in their minds and hearts can see how law, grace, faith, and works harmoniously align to glorify God in every aspect of their lives. “When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word,” as the old gospel song reminds us, it is only a matter of time in this degenerate world until our faith in Him is tested. The biblical definition of faith means: Obeying God without regard for the consequences. (See Daniel 3.) Those who walk by faith know, “The  law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” (Psalm 19: 7,8)

There is enough evidence in the Bible to demonstrate that God’s Sabbath rest has been known and observed since Creation Week. He is a God of love and He has never imposed a harmful or inferior law on mankind. Those who plan to enter God’s “eternal rest” are wonderfully blessed once they discover and embrace the joy that comes with observing God’s seventh day rest with Him. Jesus made it for us – He meant it to be a gift accompanied with a tremendous blessing!

Larry Wilson

*Note on the Catholic position (insertions in bracket are my comments) : Rabanus Maurus (776-856), abbot of Fulda and later archbishop of Mainz, Germany wrote:  “Pope Sylvester (his papacy: 314-335) instructed the clergy to keep the ferlae [a weekday, other than Saturday, on which no feast occurs]. And, indeed, from the old custom he called the first day [of the week] the ‘Lord’s [day],’ on which the light was made in the beginning and also the resurrection of Christ is celebrated.”  Rabanus does not mean to imply that Sylvester was the first man who referred to the days of the week as ferlae or who first started the observance of Sunday among Christians. He means that, according to the testimony of Roman Catholic writers, Sylvester confirmed those practices and made them official insofar as his church was concerned.  Hence Rabanus says elsewhere in his writings: “Pope Sylvester first among the Romans ordered that the names of the days [of the week], which they previously called after the name of their gods, that is, [the day] of the Sun, [the day] of the Moon, [the day] of Mars, [the day] of Mercury, [the day] of Jupiter, [the day] of Venus, [the day] of Saturn, they should call feriae thereafter, that is the first feria, the second feria, the third feria, the fourth feria, the fifth feria, the sixth feria, because that in the beginning of Genesis it is written that God said concerning each day: on the first, ‘Let there be light;’ on the second,  ‘Let there be a firmament;” on the third, ‘Let the earth bring forth verdure;’ etc. But he [Sylvester] ordered [them] to call the Sabbath by the ancient term of the law, [to call] the first feria the ‘Lord’s day,’ because on it the Lord rose [from the dead]. Moreover, the same pope decreed that the rest of the Sabbath should be transferred rather to the Lord ’s day [Sunday], in order that on that day we should rest from worldly works for the praise of God.”  Note particularly, he says that ‘the same pope [Sylvester I] decreed that the rest of the Sabbath should be transferred rather to the Lord’s day [Sunday].’  According to this statement, he was the first bishop to introduce the idea that the divinely appointed rest of the Sabbath day should be transferred to the first day of the week.  This is significant, especially considering that it was during Sylvester’s pontificate that the emperor of Rome [Constantine] issued the first civil laws compelling men to rest from secular labor on Sunday and that Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, the first theologian on record to present arguments, allegedly from the Scriptures, that Christ did transfer the rest of the Sabbath day to Sunday.   

1 Rabanus Maurus, Liber de Computo  (a Book Concerning Computation), Chapter. XXVII (“Concerning Festivals”), translated from the Latin text by Robert L. Odom, cf Migne’s Patrogia Latina, Vol. CVII, col. 682.  

2 Rabanus Maurus, De Clericorum Institutione (Concerning the Instruction of the Clergyman), Book II, Chap. XL.VI, translated from Latin by Robert L. Odom, cf Migne’s Patrologia Latina, Vol. CVII. Col.361.   

3 The wording in the Latin text reads: “Statuit autem idem papa ut otium Sabbati magis in diem Dominicam tranferretur, u tea die a terrenis operibus ad laudandum Deum vacaremus.”

Web Source: http://biblelight.net/sylvester-I.htm

 

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