Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 14, 1959

Is The Sabbath Binding Today?

Jerry F. Bassett, Willits, California

Many people, particularly Seventh Day Adventists teach that the sabbath or seventh day of the week is the day upon which God commands his children to assemble for worship under the law of Christ. In this article it will be shown that the first day of the week and not the sabbath is the day God has commanded for the assembling of the saints; that the sabbath was given only to the Jews; and that when Christ nailed the law of Moses to the cross the sabbath observance was abolished.

Law Of Moses — Law Of The Lord

A basic error made by Seventh Day Adventists is in the distinction they attempt to make between the terms "law of Moses" and 'law of the Lord." By this distinction they mean that the ten commandments which contain the sabbath command compose the "law of the Lord" and are permanent, but that Jewish feasts, animal sacrifices, incense, etc., were ceremonial and composed the "law of Moses" which Christ abolished. If these assumptions are true, then the sabbath is binding today. However the Bible shows that these assumptions make a distinction where there is no difference, that they are unwarranted and untrue; and, therefore, that the sabbath day, was a part of the law Christ abolished at the cross when the Old Testament went out of force and the New Testament came in. (Hebrews 9:16-17.)

In proof of the fact that the phrases "law of the Lord" and "law of Moses" refer to the same law given to the Jew at Mt. Sinai when they came out of the Egyptian bondage, examine the following scriptures:

1. ". . .Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses." (II Chronicles 34:14.) Hence, the law of the Lord is Moses' law because God gave his law through Moses.

2. ". . . he (Ezra) was a ready scribe in the law of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given . . " (Ezra 7:6.) Hence, the law of Moses is the law which God gave through Moses which shows again that there is no distinction in the two terms.

3. Christ quoted from the ten commandments, . . . honor thy father and mother . . ." but said that "Moses said" it. (Mark 7:10)

Christ also referred to the sixth command of the ten commandments which is "thou shalt not kill" and said Moses gave that law. (John 7:19.)

The fatal impact of these quotations is that if there is a difference between the "law of the Lord" and the "law of Moses", Christ did not know it because he referred to them as the same law. Who will accuse Jesus the Christ of religious ignorance?

4. Luke makes it clear that the part of the Jewish law which dealt with animal sacrifices was part of the law of the Lord. "And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord. A pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:24.)

Other passages which bear on this point could be cited, but these are sufficient to prove that the Bible does not distinguish between the law of the Lord and the law of Moses. Consequently, admission that the law of Moses was abolished at the cross admits in the same breath that the ten commandment law is abolished because there is no difference between them. The two phrases refer to the same law.

Sabbath Given To Jews

From the creation of Adam to the giving of the ten commandment law covers a period of approximately 2500 years. Yet, there is not one reference in the Bible indicating that any man was ever commanded to observe the sabbath during all that time. Genesis 2:3 says " . and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." But God commanded no man to "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" until he gave such commandment to the Jews at Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 19:1-6, 20:8.) A few days before, and in preparation for the utterance of the ten commandments, and particularly the sabbath command, Israel had been warned there would be no manna on the seventh day. At this time, however, they were not told to "remember the sabbath day to keep it holy." Nehemiah makes it plain that the sabbath was not made known to Israel until God revealed it at Mt. Sinai. (Nehemiah 9:13-14.)

Moreover, the sabbath was given to no other people except the Jews. God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites ".. . . my sabbaths shall ye keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." (Exodus 31:13.) In repeating the ten commandments in Deuteronomy 5:1-3, ".... Moses called all Israel and said unto them, Hear, 0 Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day." Hence, the sabbath was given to the Jews throughout their generations. But the distinction between Jew and Gentile was taken away by the death of Christ and the coming of the gospel ending the generations of the Jews. (Acts 15:7-9, Eph. 2:14-16.) Therefore, observance of the sabbath passed.

Sabbath Abolished At The Cross Of Christ

Hosea prophesied that the sabbath would come to an end, Hosea 2:11, and Paul wrote in the New Testament that the law of ordinances or the ten commandments was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross. (Col. 2:14.) Because of this fact Christians were warned against keeping or being judged with regard to that old Jewish law including its meats, drinks, holy days, new moons, and sabbaths. (Col. 2:16-17.)

The objection is usually offered that Christ said he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, and that he kept the sabbath himself. Yes, Christ kept the sabbath because he was a Jew born under the law of Moses. (Gal. 4:4.) However, when Christ died on the cross the Old Testament went out and the New Testament came in. (Hebrews 9:16-17.) As for his not destroying the law notice that in the same place he said ". . . . till heaven and earth pass one job or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18.) When all things were fulfilled the law of Moses could and must pass away, and Christ told his apostles that all things were fulfilled in his death, burial, and resurrection. (Luke 24:44-49.) Thereafter, the old law including its sabbath was replaced by the preaching of repentance and remission of sins which is the gospel. (Acts 2:38, Mark 16 :15-16.)

First Day Of The Week

The sabbath having passed away with the old law, the new law provides for a new day; the Lord's day. (Rev. 1:10.) The Lord's day is the first day of the week. It is the day Christ rose from the dead. (Matthew 28:1-6.) It is the day he met with his disciples after his resurrection and until his ascension. (John 20:19, 26.) The Jewish feast of Pentecost came on the first day of the week and is the day in which the church was established. (Acts 2:1-4, 38-42, 47.) The first day is the day when Christians met in the New Testament. (Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:2.) We conclude, therefore, that the sabbath is not binding but that God expects Christians to meet on the tint day of the week.