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The Christian Counter

   

Worship The Beast or Die
Study 6
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Were the Ten Commandments Abolished?

If you ask most Christians about the Ten Commandments, they will agree that nine of the ten are good. (The implication, of course, is that one is bad.) They will agree that it is wrong to steal, kill another human being, commit adultery, use God’s name in vain or worship idols. In fact, much of the Christian world will tell you that nine of the Ten Commandments benefit society. However, when you ask questions about the fourth commandment, you will hear how the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross and are no longer binding upon humanity. Why this contradiction?

For centuries, Catholic and Protestant clerics have said the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross. This explains why most Christians today see no reason to be concerned about the demands of the fourth commandment. If we reason from cause to effect, we would immediately recognize that our world finds itself in a dismal state today singularly due to lawlessness. Parents have not taught their children the importance of man’s laws, not to mention God’s higher laws. When the importance of law and obedience is neglected in childhood, moral absolutes evaporate and another law, the law of the jungle, prevails. In the jungle of evil, the strongest players rule by deceit and whim (machine guns, brute force, ect.). The United States has incarcerated more people than any other developed nation. Why is this? When the beauty and necessity of law is ignored in childhood, lawlessness takes over. Safety, virtue and nobility of character disappear when lawlessness rules. Painful suffering, broken relationships, greed, drugs, sexual depravity and needless deaths are evidences of lawlessness. When the beacon of moral law declines, decadence, chaos and misery overtakes society. This cause to effect progression explains why God has had to destroy civilizations from time to time. When the cup of iniquity becomes full, total destruction is the only solution.

Law and Grace

Many people are confused about the close harmony that exists between God’s law and God’s grace, even though we routinely apply these concepts in our lives. Law and grace are brother and sister – they are inseparably related. In fact, they cannot exist without each other. We need grace because law is present. If God had no law, God’s grace would not be necessary! Paul and John say that when there is no law, there is no sin! (See Romans 4:15 and 1 John 3:4-6.) However, grace does not lessen the obedience that laws demand either! (Romans 3:31)

If a judge pardons a speeding ticket, does this act of “grace” release the offender from the requirement to obey the speed limit in the future? Not at all. In this example, the law remains intact and grace provides forgiveness to the offender for that one offense. In practice, the harmony between law and grace is easy to understand. For example, when two people are united in love, there are certain nonnegotiable rules the couple must follow if they are to maintain fidelity within the relationship. Faithfulness is one nonnegotiable rule. Therefore, it is with our Creator. If we love Him, we have to abide by His nonnegotiable rules, not for the purpose of salvation, but to maintain that all-important relationship with Him. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3, KJV) A person cannot have a relationship with God without obeying Him. God is not our equal. “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord [Jesus] appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.’” (Genesis 17:1, insertion mine) Jesus is Sovereign God of the Universe. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command….You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 14:15; 15:14)

The world will soon hear the message that God’s Ten Commandments are nonnegotiable. Religious leaders have declared God’s commandments void, and many people, including Christians, are ignorant of God’s laws. However, Jesus will remove this ignorance with a display of powerful judgments and the preaching of the 144,000. God’s judgments are coming on the world because a majority of the world’s population does not honor the other nine commandments! God is justifiably angry with humankind. He owns a planet that is constantly at war. Humankind has little love or trust for one another. Instead, they prefer to kill, cheat, lie, commit idolatry and adultery, and steal from each other. On top of this, few people on this planet really love God enough to do what He commands. Each sin adds to the cup and when the cup spills over, God acts. God’s patience with sin has a limit.

Let me be clear, obedience does not bring salvation, for salvation is not based on a perfection obtained through obedience. Salvation is based on faith. Faith in God is expressed by our “willingness” to obey Him. Obeying God’s laws are for our benefit, not His. Think about it. Why would anyone reject the idea of having the seventh day set aside to rest each week? Disobeying God’s laws always reduces the quality of life. If we live in harmony with god’s laws, we can live life to the fullest, as God created life to be lived. If we ignore God’s laws, death and misery are the results. If we live according to God’s laws, we can enjoy the pursuit of happiness and the fullness of life that He wants us to have. If we ignore them, the consequences are self-evident. Magazines and newspapers print the horrible results every day.

A Test of Faith

God has thoughtfully designed a final exam for Earth. He will grant Satan and his forces complete control of the world’s religious and political systems for a short time. Individuals who love God above all else will, on the pain of imprisonment, torture and death, obey His law! A watching universe will clearly see who would rather die than to obey the devil. The sheep will be separated from the goats. Consider the contest carefully. Circumstances will be so desperate during the Great Tribulation that obeying the Ten Commandments will be impossible, except through faith! In other words, the only way a person will be able to obey Jesus and keep His commandments will be through faith in God’s promises. This is why John identified the remnant of God’s people as follows: “Then the dragon [the devil] was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17)

Are There Reasons to Worship on Sunday?

During the Great Tribulation, the United States (and many other nations that have a Christian majority) will make and enforce laws regarding the sacredness of Sunday, even though there is not a hint of a command in the bible to worship God on Sunday. Sunday is not, nor has it ever been, God’s day of worship. Many God-fearing people mistakenly believe that Sunday is the Lord’s day. Eloquent scholars have produced volumes offering sophisticated logic to whitewash the error, but the Bible does not teach that Sunday replaced Sabbath as God’s day of worship after Jesus died on the cross. There are eight texts in the New Testament that mention the first day of the week. Therefore, direct biblical support for the sacredness of Sunday has to come from these eight verses. Here are the texts:


Matthew 28:1    Mark 16:2     Mark 16:9     Luke 24:1
 
John 20:1     John 20:19     Acts 20:7     1 Corinthians 16:2


The texts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John state Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week – a well accepted fact. However, none of these texts mentions anything about the sacredness of Sunday. In fact, Luke 23:56 points out that a group of women did not prepare the Lord’s body for burial late Friday afternoon, but instead rested on the Sabbath “according to the commandment.” Their behavior indicates that Jesus did not inform His disciples that the fourth commandment would be made void after His death. Since the first six texts say nothing about the sacredness of Sunday, we are left with two remaining verses:

Acts 20:7

Some people believe Acts 20:7 offers evidence to support Sunday worship. They use this text to prove the apostles worshiped on Sunday. But notice what the text says, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread, Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.” (Acts 20:7) In bible times, a day began at sunset and ended the following evening. Since Creation, the rotation of the Earth has produced this unchanging process. (See Genesis 1:5.) The Jews in Christ’s time regarded a day from evening to evening, and they observed the Sabbath from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. This practice remains intact among orthodox Jews today. (Compare Luke 23:50-56 with Leviticus 23:32.)

Therefore, the timing described in Acts 20:7 is as follows: Paul stayed with the believers at Troas for seven days. (Acts 20:6) On the evening of the first day of the week, at suppertime, the believers met to eat supper with Paul and to say good-bye to their dear friend. Remember, the first day of the week in Paul’s time began Sabbath evening at sundown, or what we call Saturday evening and of course, Saturday night followed. After supper, Paul preached until midnight, or Saturday midnight. A few hours later on Sunday morning, the first day of the week, he left Troas for Assos. Therefore, Paul met with believers for supper and preached until midnight, Saturday night. Does a farewell supper and Saturday night meeting change or abrogate the fourth commandment of God? No. Even if Paul chose to hold a worship service on Wednesday night, would his behavior make God’s law void? No. Only God can declare His law void.

Some Bible students claim that the term ‘breaking of bread” indicates Paul’s visit was a communion or worship service. This is not true. In Luke 24:13-31 Jesus “broke bread” at supper time with His disciples after walking more than seven miles to Emmaus with them on the first day of the week. The breaking of bread, even to this day, remains a Middle Eastern custom since bread is often baked so firm that it has to be literally broken in order to be eaten. We know that Jesus “broke bread” on Thursday night with His disciples at Passover and the road to Emmaus experience happened Sunday evening just as Monday was beginning. Why would Jesus conduct a worship service at sundown in Emmaus, as the second day of the week was beginning? Even if it was a worship service, where is God’s command to make void His fourth commandment? Certainly not in Acts 20:7.

Paul did not conduct a Sunday worship service in Troas because the day of worship had been changed. Actually, Paul held a farewell meeting on Saturday night – the first part of the first day of the week – after resting on the Sabbath. This story confuses many people today, because we reckon a day from midnight to midnight. Therefore, if Christians want to follow Paul’s example as to “when” they should worship, they need to worship on Saturday night (sundown to midnight). The question remains – where is the authority in this text for Sunday observance?

1 Corinthians 16:2

Some Christians argue that Paul insisted on taking an offering for the poor on the first day of the week. Notice: “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-3)

In Paul’s day, money as a medium of exchange was not as common as it is today. Instead, trading was done through a barter system. For example, a person might trade a chicken or some item for cloth or pottery. Therefore, Paul instructed the church in Corinth to start early – begin the week with an attempt to exchange items for currency since it might take six days to do so. Paul wanted to carry money with him to help persecuted believers in Jerusalem. Paul did not want to travel with rooster, goats, pottery and other things of value, so he asked that they take care of this matter, “first thing after the Sabbath.” (Compare with Nehemiah 13:15.) Again the question has to raised, does Paul’s instruction change or make void the fourth commandment of God? The answer is “No.”


Thought on Romans 6

Many Christians, without offering any biblical support, claim that Sunday worship is God’s will because Jesus arose from the dead on Sunday morning, the first day of the week. Yes, Jesus, rose from the dead on Sunday and the resurrection is very important, but the Bible provides a celebration of the resurrection and it is not Sunday worship! It is baptism. Notice what Paul says, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:1-4) Paul makes a beautiful analogy of baptism by comparing the resurrection of Jesus from the dead with the experience of being resurrected from the deadness of sin through being born again! Baptism is a public statement that life in Christ has begun. Still we have to ask, does baptism change or abrogate the fourth commandment? Not at all. In fact, not one of the eight texts in the New Testament says that the holiness of the seventh day was transferred to Sunday! There is no text in the bible indicating that Sunday is a scared day! In fact, the fourth commandment says Sunday is a workday!

Herein lies a big part of the coming controversy over worship, Satan has duped the religions of the world on the subject of worship and when god’s truth shines upon humanity, reinforced by overwhelming destruction everywhere, what will people do? The current mind set goes like this: If the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross, and there is no command from God in the New Testament to worship God at any particular time, then God cannot be offended by man’s diversity in worship. This mind set will be reversed when God’s wrath spills over.


What Was Nailed to the Cross

Many Christians argue that the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross. Yet, this argument does not solve the problem. Whatever happens to the fourth commandment happens to the other nine!  If we do away with the fourth commandment that declares the seventh day to be a holy day, we must also do away with the commandment that says adultery is wrong. About 30 years after Jesus ascended, Paul wrote, “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’” (Romans 7:7) To what is Paul referring when he says, “ if not the Ten Commandments?

So, what was nailed to the cross? When Jesus died, the Levitical system ended. The ceremonial system was terminated. Many Christians do not realize the ceremonies under the Levitical system were a shadow or illustration revealing the plan of salvation. The key word is shadow. These shadow services pointed toward realities! (Hebrew 7 and 8) Paul writes, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. …When you were dead in your sin and in the uncircumcision of the sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with all its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross….Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat and drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day [feast]. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize….” (Colossians 2:9-18, insertion and italics mine)

If you look at these verses carefully, you can see that Paul is discussing things that were shadows of things to come. Of all the concepts taught in the Bible, the services in God’s temple are among the most profound, intricate and beautiful. A proper understanding of these services ties all Bible themes together, they provide a backdrop against which all conclusions about God’s will, and ways can be tested and verified. This is a crucial point. God commanded Moses to set up a careful parallel or shadow of the plan of salvation so human beings could study, test and validate the shadow. God warned Moses to follow the pattern that God gave him. This makes sense because if the model were flawed, our study of Heaven’s temple would also be flawed. Notice this verse: “They [the priests] serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’” (Hebrew 8:5, insertion and italics mine)

New Moon observances and Sabbath day feasts were shadows required under the Levitical system. The “Sabbath day” that Paul is referring to is not the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Rather, the term “Sabbath days” applies of feast days, such as the Passover, Pentecost or the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 16:30-31) Certain feat days fell on different days of the week (like our birthday) because they occurred on the same date each year. These feast days were considered special Sabbaths of rest (or Sabbath days) that pointed forward to different aspects of the plan of salvation. For example, the Passover not only reminded the Jews of deliverance from Egypt, it also pointed forward to the time when the Passover Lamb – Jesus Christ – would die on the cross so the blood of God’s firstborn Son could be applied to the doorposts of our hearts.

The Jews confused the Ten Commandments law of God with the laws of Moses much like Christians to today. The Jews did not understand the vibrant relationship between the covenant (written by God’s finger) and the ceremonial laws (written by Moses’ hand). One law was permanent, and the other temporary. The greater law, the covenant or Ten Commandments written by Jesus Himself, was kept inside the ark. (Hebrews 9:4) This is why the ark was called the ark of the “covenant.” The lesser law of Moses, containing the shadow rules, was kept in a pocket on the outside of the ark. (See Deuteronomy 10:1,2; 31:26.) When Jesus died, the ceremonial rules, which were shadows of realities from their inception, ended. The relationship between the Ten Commandments and the laws written by Moses can be compared to the lesser/ greater relationship that exists between state and federal laws in the United States. A state law will eventually terminate a state law. This feature is necessary to preserve the union of the state.

Other Objections

Some Christians use Romans 14 to prove that it does not matter which day of the week we use to worship God. Notice the text: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God as accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that we might be with the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” (Romans 14: 1-10)

These verses do not imply that we can worship God whenever we want. No, this text addresses a specific problem that early Roman Christians had to deal with; namely, the religious customs of newly converted Jews. In other words, if a new believer in Jesus felt he needed to continue to observe Passover, Paul did not condemn the new believer except to say that his faith was weak. In addition, if the new believer could not consciously eat meat purchased in the marketplace for fear it had not been killed correctly or that it had been offered before idols, Paul’s counsel was to leave him alone! (The Jews could not purchase nor eat meat unless it was killed according to Mosaic code. Leviticus 19:26) Today, many Christians use this text to support Sunday worship, although it says nothing about Sunday! I seriously doubt religious leaders will offer the freedom mentioned in these verses when they seek the exaltation of law during the Great Tribulation.

Sabbath Restated In New Testament

Some Christians claim that nine of the Ten Commandments are mentioned in the New Testament, but the fourth commandment is not restated. Therefore, because the fourth commandment was not mentioned in the New Testament, it proves the Sabbath commandment was voided when Jesus died on the cross. This statement is blatantly false because the fourth commandment is clearly affirmed in the New Testament! Paul wrote, “There remains then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9,10) Believers in Christ will rest from their works “just as God did.” When did God rest from His labors? Genesis 2:1-3 says He rested on the seventh day. Can the obligation of the seventh day Sabbath in the New Testament be any clearer? Paul faithfully observed the seventh day Sabbath during his lifetime. (See Acts 13:44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4,11.) Even more, Jesus Himself, called attention to the fact that the seventh day Sabbath would remain sacred long after His ascension! (Matthew 24:20)

God’s Law

The apostle Paul knew the Ten Commandments were intact after the cross. He said, “For I would not have known what it was to covet if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet.’” (Romans 7:7) Likewise, James knew the Ten Commandments were intact after the cross. He wrote, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right! But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘Do not commit adultery, ‘ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” (James 2:8-11) If the royal law includes “Do not commit adultery” and “Do not commit murder,” the royal law has to include “Remember to keep the Sabbath holy.” James highlights an important point about God’s law we have to understand. James says that we are guilty of breaking all of the Ten Commandments. If we break one, we are guilty of breaking them all because the King’s law is fulfilled through total submission to a God of love. Our love for God must be unlimited – with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor should be equal to the love we have for ourselves. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)

 

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