I have posted three posts so far, but the second installment that will be in the printed booklet is a post I’ve already completed: “Tithing”. This places the Hebrew Roots series posts out of order, but if you want to revisit that teaching, follow the link!
The tradition for Christians is to meet Sunday morning and evening, and Wednesday evenings (usually called “prayer meeting” or “mid-week Bible study”). The tradition of the Hebrew Roots People is Saturday because they believe we have to keep the Jewish Sabbath. But I will tell you that both “Fundamentalist” Christians (really, the vast majority of Christians) and the Hebrew Roots Cult have wrong extremes when it comes to when people should assemble. I will even include the Seventh-Day Baptists in this list because, unlike the H.R.M., they believe in salvation totally by God’s grace; but, unlike most of Christendom, they insist Christians should meet Saturdays. People get very defensive and offended when it is discovered another church deviates from the norm, especially if the church decides to meet Saturdays (Seventh-Day Baptists). I will say that the church I attend meets Saturdays, but it is NOT because we are Seventh-Day Baptists, and it is NOT because we believe Sabbath keeping maintains our eternal salvation. Simply, WE UNDERSTAND OUR LIBERTY IN CHRIST.
To cite one popular Internet study resource, the Blue Letter Bible, we are given the general reason Christians meet Sundays. Please note that emphasis is added by underline, and I will intersperse commentary as we move through the article.
The passage in Acts has the Christians gathering together on the first day the week to break bread. The grammar here makes this out to be a regular occurrence. And so, this, if not the day during which the Church was observing the Sabbath, needs to be explained. Also, John, being in the Spirit on the Lord’s day demonstrates that the first day of the week bore enough significance to merit such a familiar nomenclature as “the Lord’s day” and John speaks of this day as if it were a normal occurrence. These are just some reasons.
The verses they reference are Acts 20:7 and Revelation 1:10. In Acts 20:7, the Bible reads, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” The phrase, “first day of the week” is used a total of eight times in the New Testament. Six times, it has reference to the resurrection (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2,9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1,19), and the other two times it is used to describe some sort of business taking place with the Apostles (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2). Revelation 1:10 reads, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as a trumpet.” This use of “Lord’s day” has become synonymous with Sunday. But as we continue, we will see this is unfounded:
Here are a couple more based upon Biblical Theological models for interpretation. The original Sabbath is based in the seven days of the Old Creation: God worked six days and then rested on the LAST day of the week. Whereas the Sabbath falling on the last day of the week was indicative of the Old Creation, the Christian practice of observing the Sabbath on the FIRST day of the week is a congruent with God’s New Creation. Christ rose on the first day of the week and he began his Sabbath rest then (cf Hebrews 4).
A few problems arise from these two portions of the article, which I will begin to address. First of all, to make the leap from “first day of the week” to “the Lord’s day is the first day of the week” is, at the very least, grasping at straws. Nowhere in the Bible is this connection made, except in the imaginations of Bible readers. Second of all, it is conceded that the “Christian Sabbath” is Sunday. So what have modern Christians done? They shifted the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Simply, they still observe the Sabbath but on the wrong day, which is according to tradition. This is the sleight-of-hand mind trick and cognitive dissonance that takes place today. The issue is that many Christians believe Sunday is the Sabbath and that if you do not go to church on Sunday, you are breaking the Sabbath. This is legalism repackaged, not the liberty of Christ that Paul spoke of (Col 2:13-17, 20-23). Here are the logical leaps and bounds that Christians make to keep their own law and tradition of men:
- First day of the week = Sunday
- (therefore…) Sunday = Lord’s Day
- (which is…) “Christian Sabbath”
- (therefore…) “If you don’t meet on Sunday, you aren’t actually assembled because Christians must meet Sundays”
The first point is unequivocally true, Sunday is the first day of the week. BUT, we cannot infer Sunday is the Lord’s Day; as Christians, we cannot and should not delegate any particular day as “the Sabbath” because we are not commanded to “rest” on a day, we are commanded to rest in Christ. Moreover, there is no such verse ever commanding God’s people to meet Sunday, so, therefore, there is no sin for not meeting Sundays. Perhaps the only defense for Sunday worship instead of Saturday worship is, “Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, but we’re Christians so we worship Sunday.” We will address these issues as we move on with the article.
Also of interest is the fact that the two versions of the Sabbath are typological of the two covenants that go along with each Creation. With the Old Creation, Adam was given a covenant of works whereby he would work for a time and then receive his heavenly rest. Adam failed in this and God uses the institution of the Sabbath falling on the first day of the week to demonstrate that with his New Creation, man begins his rest and the good works follow.
These are all fair reasons I think that we, as Christians, celebrate the Sabbath on the Lord’s day (i.e., Sunday).
In this last paragraph, more reasons are given but without significant Scriptural support. The writer is relying on the laziness and ignorance of the web surfer. Note that this dispensationalist teaches Old Testament saints were saved in a different way than New Testament saints. According to this heretical dogma of popular Christianity, people used to be saved by works—this is convenient for why the “Old Creation Sabbath” was Saturday. Rather, the Bible uses the “Old Creation Sabbath” as a type of God’s redemptive work and then need for our ongoing sanctification, not man’s obligatory works-based, Old Testament salvation. In the previous paragraph(s), the writer cites Hebrews 4. Let us look at that chapter closely:
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
First, notice that the writer (presumably Paul), says it is possible to come short of his (Jesus’) rest. He also says the gospel was preached unto them, but the word preached was not mixed with faith. In other words, they did not receive it. According to dispensationalists, the Old Testament gospel was one of works. But we need to keep reading to understand what purpose the gospel plays in the lives of people who are ALREADY SAVED.
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter not my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
The writer is asserting that believers have, presently, entered into that rest. Take note: “the works were finished from the foundation the world…And God did rest the seventh day from all his works…If they shall enter into my rest…” Therefore, in context, this is not establishing reasons why Christians rest on Sunday—a day of the week. This is explaining how God’s redemptive plan was typified in that first creation week, how that he would labour for us and rest on the Sabbath so that we can find rest in him by faith. No Christian would worship and assemble Sundays for the purpose of obtaining salvation; but to even suggest one particular day of the week must be observed as a Sabbath is wrong in that it diminishes God’s whole plan of working on our behalf and resting on our behalf: so that we would not have to work at all! But, as we will see, in Hebrews 4, the focus is not only eternal salvation, but an ongoing striving to enter into a daily rest found only in the mercy and grace of God. What does this mean? We limit ourselves when we focus on one “day of rest” when God desires we always rest IN HIM:
4:11 – Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
In all actuality, the writer is using the Hebrew’s wilderness wanderings as an example of never resting in Christian maturity. Today, far too many Christians are unstable and undiscerning in their walk with Christ because they neglect the milk of the word (Heb 5:11-14). A person who is “unskillful” in the milk doctrines have not labored to enter into the “rest” we have as we develop a closer, more intimate, walk with Jesus (Heb 5:11,13; Her 6:1,3-12). The rest that “remains” (Heb 4:9) is above and beyond first-faith, but is the ongoing, sanctifying faith required to “obtain” mercy and grace (mercy and grace indicative of God’s rest). We need rest everyday, not just Sunday, because this life is hard. God’s mercy and grace is fresh everyday so we can navigate, more easily, the paths of life. Without rest we work against a strong current. This is the counter-intuitive instruction of God: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov 3:5-7) and, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psa 46:10).
So what can we learn from closely examining what Popular Christianity dictates, regarding the Christian [Sunday] Sabbath? No Scripture supports that Sunday is the
Lord’s Day; no verse exists that commands us to meet specifically on Sundays; dispensationalism has soiled Bible doctrine and has prevented Christians from exercising any right division—they say God’s Old Creation Sabbath was an example of man’s obligation to work for salvation and the New Creation Sabbath is an example of God’s sudden desire to give man a “new gospel” of grace. Also, our study of Hebrews 4 leads us to the following conclusion: our Sabbath is a daily, ongoing rest we strive to enter into by faith. This is not eternal salvation; this is sanctification. But to further prove that Sunday IS NOT a mandatory Christian Sabbath, we will look at an abundance of Scripture.
WHAT THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAYS
Sunday Sabbatarians vehemently mandate Sunday worship. But, the Bible actually tells us the Apostles and those early churches met EVERY SINGLE DAY for fellowship (not just Sunday and Wednesday nights); moreover, the Bible gives men great liberty as to what day, or days, they will or will not worship the Lord! Sunday Sabbatarians violate BOTH principles because they have been compromised by Judaizers.
Acts 2:46 – And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking of bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.
Acts 5:42 – And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
If we are going to be sold-out, zealous followers of Jesus Christ, why would we limit our assembling to one day a week (whatever that day may be?) “The Apostles met on the first day of the week. So, that’s why we meet Sundays, and if you don’t you’re not right with God.” I would suggest that YOU are inconsistent, for the Apostles met EVERY DAY. So, how signifiant is Sunday now?
Col 2: 13-22 – And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Remember the Blue-Letter-Bible article and how the writer correctly stated that the “Christian Sabbath” is Sunday. Now, following their train of thought, Paul is encouraging the Colossians to not be dismayed when Jews judged them for not keeping the Sabbath (Saturday). But according to Sunday Sabbatarians, the Sabbath has been changed from Saturday to Sunday. So why do they judge men in respect of holidays and sabbaths? (keep in mind, the CONTEXT and focus is specifically on JEWISH holy days and sabbaths, which, according to Sunday Sabbatarians, has been shifted from Saturday to Sunday).
With inconsistent Christians, it suddenly becomes okay to mandate a day of worship simply because the day is different? What justification do they have except eight verses that DO NOT mandate such worship? They demonstrate the same ignorance of the Jews who loved their subversion of Christ rather than the simplicity of Christ. We have this same liberty explained in Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews. Speaking of the “first tabernacle” (Heb 9:8), “Which stood only in meats, and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation” (Heb 9:10). This passage teaches us that everything having to do with that first tabernacle made with hands—the sabbaths, the instruments, the animal sacrifices, the priestly washings and garments, the meats and drinks, etc.—were all signified but he Holy Spirit, or illustrative of the New Testament realities. These things were fulfilled and done away with in Christ who is our High Priest. But if you are still not convinced, consider this passage:
Rom 14:5,6 – One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
How simple! One man worships on one day, and another regards EVERY day alike, meaning the same in significance. This is a matter of liberty, according to Paul. We would all do well to have the same mind of humility in this matter.
HEBREW ROOTS SABBATH
On torahbabies.com, a go-to-site of Hebrew Roots doctrine for those who are “babies” or “newcomers” to the “roots” of the Messianic-Christian persuasion, the question is asked about the Sabbath, and they provide several crafty answers as follows:
Romans chapter 14 is often used to suggest that the Sabbath has been changed, but in reality, it is all about weak believers and strong believers debating over what days to FAST on…the issue at hand was what day to set aside for fasting.
The whole time, the Hebrew Roots writer is lambasting Christians for wresting Romans 14 out of context, but if you read the whole chapter for yourself, not one mention to FASTING is given by Paul. He is talking about the relationship between weak and strong believers concerning meats and days, but this is NOT in direct reference to fasting. Instead, it is between eating meat and herbs (vv. 1,2). This is going to be talked about in greater detail in the next chapter because Hebrew Roots Judaizers still want to keep the dietary restrictions, which Romans 14 addresses. The references to one day over another, etc., in Romans 14 must refer to the Hebrew’s strict observance of feast days and other sabbath days because the Romans were, apparently, being judged by Jewish believers for not being kosher enough on those topics. This is what Paul dealt with in nearly every epistle.
Interestingly enough, the church at Jerusalem already wrote to the Gentiles about certain things they would have the Gentiles to do (abstain from meats sacrificed to idols, from blood, strangled meat, and fornication). This is recorded in Acts 15. The concern was that the Gentiles were being a stumbling block to Jewish brethren, but the Jewish believers wanted the Gentiles to abide by Mosaic law, which developed into an issue about salvation, and this greatly confused the Gentile believers. The request of the Gentiles to abstain from meats sacrificed to idols, from blood, and things strangled, was a matter of strengthening the WEAK JEWS and NOT imposing Mosaic law on them. Notice, nothing is mentioned of Sabbath keeping, and NO restriction is made regarding the myriad of unclean animals. Instead, the animal was regarded as “unclean” if it was strangled or offered to an idol. But, Paul even clears that specific matter up later (Rom 14, 1 Cor 8:6-13). The H.R.M. writer on torahbabies.com continues:
Colossians 2 is very similar to Romans 14. Again, Paul is not saying that we are free to worship God in any way we see fit. If you just read verse 16, it seems like that is the case, but you have to look at it in context. There were false teachers in Colossae that were trying to get the new believers to revert to pagan ways.
The craft this writer employs in wresting everything out of context is astounding. Unfortunately, for any person who is truly a BABY, this would appear true. The Jewdaizer author of this article makes the claim that we—Christians—think we can worship God in “any way we see fit,” which is a lie. We worship God in Spirit and in truth, and decently and in order (1 Cor 14:40). So, we do not cherry pick and do things our way. Secondly, the writer says the false teachers were trying to bring believers into “pagan” ways. First of all, the passage gives us the following warning: “Beware lest ANY man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit…” (Col 2:8)—also, “And this I say, lest ANY man…” (v. 4). Sadly, “any man” is not restricted to just a pagan. Furthermore, as we read on, we move from the pagan “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world” (v. 8) to the “…handwriting of ordinances…holy day, new moon…sabbath days” of the JEW’S religion. Why is this reference to the JEW’S religion? Because the word “sabbath” is strictly Hebraic, and in verse 17 we learn those specific things mentioned (ordinances, holy day, new moon, sabbaths) were a “shadow of things to come.” NO PAGAN RELIGION or philosophy was ever a shadow of Christ, only those things pertaining to the law of the Jews. Paul therefore is admonishing the Colossians to resist pagan philosophy and traditions as well as the enticement and fear-mongering of the Jewdaizers who insisted Gentiles observe the law.
The insistence that Christians abandon sound, Bible exegesis for any tradition of any man is a virulent, Satanic ploy to bring God-fearing people into legalism and stifle maturity. The idea that God needs us to worship on a specific day before he can receive glory and honor in his churches is an evident token of immaturity, laziness, and arrogance on the part of those who hold to stern, unscriptural dogma. Dogma is good when it is founded on actual Biblical proof. But, as is the case (yet again), both camps of Sabbatarianism have gone to unnecessary, heretical extremes. The Hebrew Roots, especially, are gaining a foothold in many congregations today. Why? Because people have been lulled to sleep by one tradition, ripening them for the taking by another.