Genesis History: The Sabbath - Question, Objections, Arguments & Answers

Genesis History: The Sabbath - Question, Objections, Arguments & Answers

Scripture: Matthew 11:28, Genesis 2:1-3
Date: 03/10/2001 
This study of Genesis focuses on the creation of Sabbath and its purpose.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good morning. I’d like to wish everybody a happy Sabbath. I want to thank Mrs. Nina and the fifth and sixth grade hand bell and choir team for bringing us our music today. It’s a blessing. And we’re glad those of you who are visiting today are with us. In fairness, I should let you know that the message that we’re sharing today is part 2 in a series that we’re doing on the Sabbath truth. As a matter of fact, it’s part of a whole series we’re doing on Genesis. It just so happens that we’re spending a couple of weeks dealing with the Sabbath subject. And the message today is dealing with some of the most common questions people have. The Sabbath questions, objections, arguments and answers. And I want you to pray for me today. Because what I’m trying to do…and I may not be able to do it. I might have to continue next week. But what I’m trying to do is to melt down and take the most popular questions and objections and arguments that people have brought to me that I’ve known the Sabbath truth, and to share it with people. And then we’re putting all of this in videotape. We’re going to make one 2-hour video that you can hand to anybody and they can understand why we believe the Sabbath from a Bible perspective. But today’s going to be a challenge. I promise not to keep you here until 2 o’clock. If I run out of clock, then I’ll be stopping. But this is part of a series that we’re doing called “The Sabbath, Sunday, and the New Covenant.”

And I want to begin by sharing with you that the information that we’re going to cover today is really for those who have already made a decision to accept Jesus. If you’re not born again, and you do not love the Lord, you may learn some interesting things today, but it won’t have the same effect on you as it will if you’ve already made a decision to believe the Bible, to accept Jesus, and to love His Word. And this is a very important subject. A lot of people are confused about the issue of the Sabbath and what day it is; and why do we keep it on one day above another; and if it’s been changed from Saturday to Sunday, where did the change come in.

Now I was doing some study on history. You know I always like to research these amazing facts. I don’t know if you know, but… I’ve written four books, but I only use two fingers when I type. Some of you have heard of the author Stephen King. I don’t recommend his books. But I watched him on the news one night, they showed him working. And I was amazed. This man is a prolific writer. He was typing with two fingers. I felt so much better when I discovered that. Because that’s how I type. And if I get excited one day and I’m really awake, I might use my pinky. Just throw it in there and feel really cool. But most of the time it’s like this. And people on airplanes…I’m embarrassed. I take my laptop. And you know, there’s all these executives and they’re just [makes fast typing sound] and I’m [makes slow typing sound]. And it’s a little embarrassing. You know what makes it even harder is I could never understand why they arranged the letters the way they do on the keyboard. There’s no rhyme or reason. And I was doing some research and I found out why.

There was a man in the 1860’s. He was a newspaper man named Christopher Sholes. And he built the first typewriter. At first he arranged the letters logically, alphabetically, on the keyboard. But the problem was, you know, they would press these levers and the little bars would slap the letters through the ribbon. You remember some of those old typewriters. And certain letters are used more often than others and the letters that were used frequently, if they were too close together, would jam. So the only solution was, he tried to figure out which letters were the most commonly used letters and he just spread them out. And that’s how we come up with what they call the QWERTY—quirky is what it should be—arrangement. Now the sad thing is, long after they developed electric typewriters, and especially today with our computer keyboard, we are still locked into this disconcerted, discombooberated arrangement of letters because, you know, once you get used to something it’s really hard to change. Right? I’d vote for a change. I think I’d be able to learn the new method faster than most people.

Well, a number of people still don’t understand why do we go to church on Sunday instead of the seventh day, which would be Saturday, and… First I want to ask you an important question. Do you want to know the truth? You can talk to me. You want to know the truth? Jesus makes a promise. He says in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.” Then again in John 17:17, Jesus promises that we are sanctified by the truth, “Sanctify them by thy truth.” Where do we find the truth? The Word is truth.

Now I’d like to go back to the beginning. The first reference to the seventh day being holy. And if you’d turn in your Bibles to Genesis 2:2, 3, you can find it there. A little of this is going to be review in case you weren’t with us in our last presentation. “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” Well, it’s very clear that the seventh day is the day that God blessed, sanctified, and rested on. If that’s clear say, “Amen.” What day of the week is the seventh day? Well, if you look in the dictionary the seventh day is Saturday. Seventh day of the week. Saturday is the seventh day. But the question is, if you open up a typical phone book and you look through the list of hundreds of churches, what day do most churches keep as their Sabbath day? It’s the first day of the week.

So why do most Christians go to church on the first day, when God only says He blessed the seventh day? There’s no record anywhere in the Bible where God says He had blessed the first day of the week. That’s interesting to consider. Nowhere, anywhere, in the Bible are we commanded to keep the first day holy. Nowhere is the first day called the Sabbath. Now when you start to study the Sabbath truth with people, nobody’s comfortable with change. Who here will admit it’s difficult to change? I’m still trying to change things I’ve been doing for years and it’s tough. And especially when it comes to something that’s so entrenched as a day of worship you may have had in your family for generations. So people…the natural reaction is to argue.

The most common arguments you’re going to run into when you present the Sabbath truth to somebody are somewhere in these five categories. We’re going to look at several today. One, it was changed to Sunday. They say, “Somewhere, some day, the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to the first day.” It’s been deleted from the ten commandments. It doesn’t matter what day, is another common argument. Another one is, we’re no longer under the old covenant and that seventh day Sabbath was part of that. And it’s a long-standing tradition and we shouldn’t try to change the world. God understands and He’ll just accept it. Who can change the keyboard, right? Once everybody’s trying to… You just try painting different numbers on your keyboard and see if it works.

So I’m going to begin going through some of these. We’re going to look at history. And I want you to participate if I ask you a question, alright? Popular objections to the Sabbath truth. Now here’s one of the most common. And we’re going to spend some time on this. The Sabbath has been changed to the first day of the week. How many of you have heard this before? You’ve heard this argument. Sabbath has been changed. Does it make sense to you, if we look at every reference in the New Testament—we already know in the Old Testament that God blessed the seventh day, and Moses and God’s people kept the seventh day Sabbath, and Jesus and the apostles kept the seventh day Sabbath—somewhere there should be a reference in the New Testament if there’s been a change. If we look at every reference to the first day of the week in the New Testament that ought to help us find it. Does that make sense? Alright. Most of them are simply historical references. We’ll move very quickly through some of these.

Matthew 28:1, “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn…” Now when did Jesus rise? Easter…what? Which comes after the Sabbath. What day is before Sunday? What day is before Sunday? Saturday, the seventh day of the week, right? And…that’s what I meant to say. So the Sabbath, it says, ended. The first day came. This is Sunday morning. Now, do you know, there are some people that try to make a new doctrine out of this. They say, “’Now after the Sabbath was passed…’ A-ha. This spiritually means that the Sabbath was over and done with. God is done with the Sabbaths.” Any of you ever heard this argument before? There’s a local man on the radio who does that. The word there used for Sabbath is Sabaton. That word, same word, is used in Greek in the New Testament 68 times. It always means the same thing. There is no hidden mystical meaning that the Sabbaths were done away with. I’ll prove that as we look at some of the other references here. It’s simply a historical statement that when the Sabbath was over, the first day began, early in the morning, Jesus rose. If that’s clear say, “Amen.” It’s just a historical record.

The next reference you’re going to find is in the gospel of Mark 16:2, “Very early in the morning on the first day of the week they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.” Now does this say the first day is now a new Sabbath day? Huh? Does it say it’s a new holy day? No. Is it just a historical record of what happened and what day it happened? Are we told that we are now to keep it as a day of rest? No. Another simple historical record.

Now you can go to Mark 16:9, “Now when He rose, early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven demons.” Same thing. It’s just in the context of history how this happened.

Let’s move along to Luke, and you’ll find another reference to the first day. It says here in Luke 24:1—and incidentally we’re on reference four, we’re halfway through—it tells us, “Now the first day of the week very early in the morning they and other women with them came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared.” Is this saying now the first day is a new Sabbath that Jesus now had commanded them to keep it holy? No. As a matter of fact I’m going to back up one verse. You know what it says just before this verse? Listen to what Luke says in 23:54, “That day was the preparation…” Friday, speaking of when Jesus died, “…the Sabbath drew near. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils and they rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” It’s telling us that, not only did Jesus rest from His work of saving the human race on the Sabbath, and He rose to continue His work as our High Priest on the first day, it’s saying the disciples, after following Jesus three and a half years, would not even finish the work of embalming His body because they knew how important it would be to Jesus. And this was written by Luke, a Gentile no less, 30 years later. If the Sabbath had been changed, this would have been a wonderful opportunity for Luke to say, “The old Jewish Sabbath back then when they were still keeping the seventh day.” He says nothing like that. He states it as an understood fact they were keeping the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments of creation.

Let’s go on now to the Gospel of John. And here’s how he puts it. “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, early while it was still dark, and saw the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” Does it tell us it’s a new Sabbath? The day is changed, we’re commanded to keep it holy? No.

There’s another reference people often go to. They say, “Well Doug, we can prove the early Christians met on the first day of the week. So we’ve got this circumstantial evidence that they somehow kept it as a holy day.” Did they meet on the first day? Yes. Did they meet on the fifth day too? Yes. The Lord ’s Supper was on Thursday. Is it a new holy day? They met all different days of the week. And it tells us why they met. “Then the same evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews…” Why had they assembled? To worship the Lord as a new Sabbath day? It tells us why. Because they had fear of the Jews. They thought they were going to be accused of stealing His body.

So now we’ve looked at the first six passages and it’s telling that there’s simply a historical record that He rose the first day of the week. The next ones are not as easy and they’re often seized upon by those who would like to say, “This is evidence that the disciples worshiped on the first day of the week.”

Please go in your Bibles to Acts 20:7. Acts 20:7. And I’m going to read through this very quickly. “Now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread…” Oops, stop right there. Break bread—communion service, right? They’ve gathered on the first day to break bread, this is a religious service. That’s the argument people say. That must have been Sunday. But pay careful attention. You’ll learn something new here if you haven’t heard this before. “Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Now this is an evening meeting. It goes on to say here there were many lamps in the upper room. It’s dark. When do the days begin and end Biblically? At sundown. We learned that in our last presentation. So if they’re meeting on the first day and it’s dark, when is it? It’s what we would call Saturday night. As a matter of fact in the New English Bible it simply says, “On Saturday night in our assembly for the breaking of bread.” And someone will say, “Well wait Doug, they’re breaking bread.

That means it was a communion service.” The Bible says the first time they broke bread was Thursday. Does that make it a new holy day? As a matter of fact Acts 2 says the broke bread “from house to house daily.” So breaking bread sometimes means eating. It doesn’t always mean, “Oh look, a communion service.” You remember the day that Jesus rose, He went down the road to Amaeus with the two disciples and He broke bread. That’s the term they used for eating together. Furthermore, the main reason they’re telling this story is because a young man named Eudicus fell out the window, he died, and Paul resurrected him. That’s the reason the story is here. It’s not telling us it’s a new Sabbath day. Beyond that it tells us that Paul is going to make a journey the next day and so he’s simply talking to them every spare minute before he leaves. “Then we went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul onboard.” And it goes on to say, “For so he had given orders intending himself to go on foot.” He’s beginning a long journey. If Sunday was the new Lord ’s Day, would he pick that day to begin this journey across the country? Probably not. And so you really can’t use Acts 20:7 to say, “This first day gathering was the inaugurating of a new Sabbath day.

Now the next one, and this is our last reference to the first day of the week in the Bible, is in 1 Corinthians 16:1. And it says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so you must also do. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. This is verse 1 and 2. Now Paul is getting ready to take an offering down to the church in Jerusalem. There’s a famine. And he said, “I’m in a hurry. So there is no corporate collection. You lay aside by you in store.” It is saying the very opposite. It is not a church gathering, it’s not an offering being taken. They get their books in order on the first day of the week. They’ve already given their offerings the day before which is Sabbath. He says, “When you get your books in order, set something extra aside for the saints in Jerusalem, because I don’t have time to take a special collection.” Is this telling us this is a new Sabbath day? That they were to keep it holy and that God had changed the Ten Commandments?

And that’s another question that comes up. Why would God change the seventh day to the first? When God established the Sabbath, was there sin in the world? No, it was perfect. Was there anything wrong with it? No. It’s part of God’s perfect plan. Just like the other things the He made in the Garden of Eden. Everything was good.

Well, then someone else is going to raise this objection. Doesn’t the Bible teach that Sunday is the Lord’s Day? And this comes from a reference in Revelation 1:10, where John says, “I was in the Spirit,” when he had his vision, “on the Lord’s Day. And I heard behind me a great voice as a trumpet.” And a number of people assume, Lord’s Day, that’s… Everyone calls Sunday the Lord’s Day. But there’s not one shred of evidence anywhere in the Bible that the Bible writers called Sunday the Lord’s Day. As a matter of fact, the evidence is the opposite. John, when he had this vision, being a faithful Bible believer and obedient to the Lord—they had mines on the Isle of Patmos, they probably made him work with the other slaves for the Roman Empire—he was resting on that day and God gave him the vision on the Sabbath day. Which day is the Lord’s Day according to the Bible, if we let the Bible be its own interpreter? If we go to Mark 2:27, 28, “And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man…’” When God first made man in the beginning, the Sabbath was made to be a blessing for man. “…not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” What’s the Lord’s Day? The Sabbath Day. You could also go to Exodus 20:10, in the Ten Commandments, “The seventh day is the Sabbath…” of the Jews? Is that what it says? It’s the Sabbath of the Lord. So what day is the Lord’s Day? And if that’s not enough, go with me to Isaiah 58:13, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day.” Which day is God’s holy day? The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day.

And maybe I should pause at this point and talk just a moment about, what do we do on the Sabbath? How do we keep the Sabbath day? Well the Bible says it’s a day for rest. It’s a day for physical rest. We learned that. The Bible tells us, and you’ll remember in the last presentation, the Sabbath is a day for us to convene. It’s a holy convocation where we assemble to worship God. The Bible tells us, Jesus said it’s a day for doing good. He would heal people on the Sabbath day, and He taught people, and He visited people. It’s a day for doing good. It’s a good day to spend time with your family. You want to make sure and have that time for God. The Bible says it’s not a day to be buying and selling, according to Nehemiah. If you’re going to prepare your food, Moses says, “Bake what you’re going to bake and boil what you’re going to boil.” The idea is get everything out of the way your can possibly get out of the way. I filled my car with gas yesterday so I can go 300 miles today if I need to. Don’t plan on it, but just in case. I get it all out of the way so I’ve got that sacred time for God that’s not interrupted with the cares of life. And so that’s how we keep it holy. We treat it in a different way.

Now someone else will say, another common argument, “Sabbath was part of the old covenant.” Have you heard this one before? “We don’t keep the seventh day Sabbath, that’s part of the old Jewish covenant.” And some of the most popular Scriptures that are used for this, Colossians 2… Got your Bibles? Please turn, cause I’m going to have you especially notice a few verses here. In Colossians 2, and I want to start with verse 13. And it says here, “And you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he is made alive with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses.” Alive together with Him. “Having wiped out the handwriting…” Don’t miss the word handwriting. “…of requirements, ordinances…” Don’t forget ordinances. “…that was against us, which was contrary to us…” Don’t miss against us, handwriting, ordinances, against us. “…and has taken it out of the way, nailing it…” Catch that. “…to the cross.” And then you can jump down to verse 16, “Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink or in regard to a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow.” “Don’t let anyone judge you regarding Sabbaths—plural—which are a shadow.”

Now is anyone here aware that there were a number of annual Sabbath days that were completely separate and distinct from the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments? How many of you know that? You look in Leviticus 23, you’ll find that whole list. Those were called the annual Jewish Sabbaths. The Sabbath of the Ten Commandments, I want to ask you. Did it come before sin or after? It’s perfect. The annual Sabbaths, before sin or after? The Sabbath of the Ten Commandments, written on stone or paper? The ceremonial Sabbaths, written on stone or paper? Parchment, letter, something like that. The Sabbath of the Ten Commandments, was written by the finger of God or a scribe? The finger of God. The ceremonial Sabbaths, written by a scribe. Ten Commandments were placed where? In the Ark of the Covenant. The ceremonial Sabbaths in a pocket in the side of the ark. Now notice when you look here in 2 Chronicles 33:6, you can tell that the ceremonial Sabbaths are what Paul is talking about when he says, “Don’t let anyone judge you.”

First of all, let me just ask you. How many of you have heard somebody use Colossians 2 to say, “We don’t need to keep the Sabbaths, don’t judge me?” And they use this Scripture that’s talking about the annual Jewish Sabbath days to try to delete one of the Ten Commandments. “That’s the old covenant,” they say. But it’s talking about the ceremonial law. Notice here, “That they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them according to the whole law.” God is speaking. “All that I have commanded them. And the statutes and ordinances by the hand of Moses.” Can you see where the hand of Moses was responsible for the ordinances? It says handwriting, doesn’t it? God says, “There’s my commandments, and the statutes and ordinances.”

Furthermore, you can read on, where were the Ten Commandments placed? “Take this book of the law, the ordinances, and put it in the side of the Ark of the Covenant, of the Lord your God, that it might be there a witness against thee.” You remember Paul just says here in Colossians that these ceremonial laws and Sabbaths which were contrary to us, against us. It’s not the Ten Commandments, it’s the ceremonial law he’s speaking of. Not the seventh day Sabbath.

You can also go on here to Hebrews 10:1, “For the law of sacrifices,” you read the whole passage there, having a shadow of good things to come and not the very image of these things, can…never would these same sacrifices wash away sin. The shadows were the ceremonial laws and sacrifices. Not the Ten Commandments. The Bible tells us furthermore that these laws are nailed to the cross. Can you nail stone to anything? There are people trying to chisel away one of the Ten Commandments. And it seems strange to me that someone would try to get rid of and delete the one commandment that begins with the word remember. They say that’s the one you’re supposed to forget.

You go on here. And we know that there’s a distinction between the moral law and the ceremonial law. There are two laws spoken of in the Bible. In Romans 14 when Paul uses that Scripture and he says, “One man esteems one day above another and another man esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it to the Lord. He who does not observe the day he does not observe it.” Is Paul there saying, “If you feel like keeping the Ten Commandments that’s okay. It’s up to you, as long as you’re convinced. If you don’t, that’s up to you.” Is Paul saying that about the seventh day Sabbath, or is he talking about the annual holidays that the Jews had? He’s talking about the annual feasts. I do that with Christmas and Easter. Any command that we have to celebrate Christmas? No. I don’t get on to people if they feel impressed that they’d like to celebrate this day or Easter. But there’s no Bible command. If you’re going to do it, do it unto the Lord. Don’t do it unto Santa and elves, right? It’s the same principle. He’s not talking about the Sabbath commandment here. He’s talking about these ceremonial holidays and annual feasts.

There are two distinct laws that were given. You can find that right in Deuteronomy 4:13, 14, in the covenant of the Lord. “So He declared unto you His covenant which He commanded you to perform the Ten Commandments and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.” Very clear, Ten Commandments. You keep reading and it goes on to say, “And the Lord commanded me,” Moses says, “at that time to teach you statutes and judgments that you might observe them in the land that you cross over to possess.” The Ten Commandments that God declared, wrote them in stone, the covenant, and statutes and judgments. The ceremonial Sabbaths were part of those statutes and ordinances that were nailed to the cross. Furthermore read here in 2 Kings 21, “Only if they are careful to do all that I have commanded them and according to all the law My servant Moses commanded them.” Can you see… Say, “Amen,” if you can see there’s two separate laws that are mentioned here. Does that make sense?

Now if you don’t believe me, I hope you’ll believe Dr. Billy Graham. Here’s how he puts it. He has an article where he answers Bible questions in the paper and this is a quote from one that he did in the Dallas News. And here’s the question. “Some religious people I know tell me that the Ten Commandments are part of the law, and it does not apply to us today. They say that Christians are free from the law. Is that right?” And he goes on to say, “No, it is not right. And I hope that you’ll not be misled by these false opinions. It is very important that Christians understand what the Bible means when it says that they are free from the obligations of the moral law, or Ten Commandments of God, and are at liberty to sin. You see the word law is used by the New Testament writers in two senses.” How many? Two senses. “Sometimes it refers to the ceremonial law of the Old Testament,” this is Dr. Billy Graham, “which was concerned about the ritual matters and regulations regarding food and drinks and washings and things of this kind. The ceremonial law was of a passing character and was done away with when Christ came. From this law Christians are indeed free. But the Ten Commandment law, this law sets forth God’s demands on human life and man’s duty to God and his neighbor. That it definitely applies to the Christian is made clear in Romans 13:8-10. As it has been said, in Christ we are free from sin but not free to sin. If you love Me, He said, keep My commandments.” Dallas Times Herald. And then he goes on to say in concluding that, “The Ten Commandments are never out of date.” So when we hear about Romans 14 and Colossians 2, it’s talking about the ceremonial laws. The Sabbath was not part of that.

Next question. “How could the majority be wrong? How could all of these religious leaders and doctors and intelligent spiritual heads of the world be wrong on this?” Have you ever wondered that? First of all, let me ask you. When Jesus came, was it the religious leaders and the lawyers and the scribes and the doctors that accepted His message? Or rejected it? Did the majority accept Christ of His own people with the Bible? Or was it the majority of those who still had the Bible that rejected Him? So that’s evidence in itself that the Sabbath truth probably is still intact. The Bible says, “Follow not a multitude to do evil.” Jesus told us, “Because narrow is the gate and straight is the way, difficult is the way, that leads to life and there are…” most or few? It’s the minority who find it. As a matter of fact, there was a time when the church taught that the world was flat. Remember that? You can’t always go by what the crowd says because the crowd cannot always be trusted.

Someone else is going to say, “Well, is it okay then to just keep one day in seven? What makes us think it has to be the seventh day? Just keep one in seven.” You know I’ve heard a lot of people have said, “As long as there’s a sequence of seven days.” Keep in mind in the Bible the Jews did not have days named like you and I do. Their name for Monday was 2. They had numbers. So when God said, “Keep the seventh day holy, the seventh day is the Sabbath day of the Lord,” it would be just the same as if He had names and He said, “Saturday is the Sabbath of the Lord.” That was the name for that day, the seventh day. And God doesn’t say, “A seventh day.” That would have been different. If you look in the Ten Commandments it says in, of course, the fourth commandment, “Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. Six days thou shalt labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.” The word the is a definite article. It doesn’t say, “A seventh day,” it says, “The seventh day.” If I were to ask you, “Please toss me a pen.” You’d all hurl a hail of pens at me, right? Because any pen will do. A pen. But if I said, “Could you please give me the pen,” you’d look around and say, “Who has the pen?” There is a specific pen here that Pastor Doug is looking for. And that’s how distinct it is. So people who say… And what would happen to the church if everyone said, “My seventh day is Thursday. What’s yours?” Kind of be difficult to get together for corporate worship, wouldn’t it?

Do numbers matter to God? When the Lord told Naaman, “You wash seven times and you’ll receive a miraculous blessing,” when he obeyed and did what God told him, he was healed. Did Naaman have his leprosy washed away after the first time? Second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth? No. He received the blessing when he did it the number God told him to do. When God said to Joshua, “You march around the city six times, one time per day, on the seventh day march around it seven times and then you blow the trumpets and then you’ll get the victory.” The walls didn’t fall after the first time. The walls fell after they went seven times on the seventh day. Amen? Incidentally, some people say, “Doug, does that mean they were marching around the city of Jericho on the Sabbath day? No. They marched six days and they stopped and rested. The seventh day of marching they went around it seven times, which would have been the first day of the week. That’s when they got the victory. And so, numbers do matter to God.

Argument number 392, “The calendars have been changed.” Have you heard this one before? “You can’t tell what day is the seventh day because the calendars have been changed.” I actually went and pasted this month up just so you can see how this works. People get confused. There are three distinct ways we measure time that do not touch each other. You can change them without affecting the other. The clock, the days of the week, and the months of the calendar. Some people get confused because they see the days of the week listed there in the calendar—you can see Saturday is the seventh day of the week in a normal calendar—and they think the calendar’s been changed by the week days are up on the calendar, they’ve been changed too. But that’s not how it works. Watch. I’m going to get ready now to change the calendar. This is the correct calendar. No it’s not, that’s the wrong one. This is the incorrect calendar. Now it’s correct. I just changed the calendar, but did I change the days of the week? They don’t move. It’s true, we’re under the Gregorian calendar now. And Pope Gregory the 13th in 1582, Thursday the 5th was followed by Friday the 15th. They added 10 days. They changed the calendar. But Thursday was still followed by Friday. It doesn’t affect the days of the week. We still know what the days of the week are. Someone wrote a letter to the U.S. Naval Observatory asking about this and in a response the director there said, “There has been no change in the continuity of the weekly cycle since long before the Christian era.” They can study astronomy and tell you that. There’s so much history that backs that up.

Next argument. “You know, Jesus broke the Sabbath so it must not be important.” Now some of you are shocked to hear this. But there is a place in the Bible, I want you to know about, where He was accused of breaking the Sabbath. You can find that in the Gospel of John chapter 5. And it says, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, Jesus, because not only had He broken the Sabbath, but He said also that God was His Father and making Himself equal with God.” Have you seen this before? I remember a pastor saying, “Doug, Jesus broke the Sabbath.” I said, “Whoa, watch where you’re going there.” Because you know, the Bible tells us that Christ was sinless and sin is the transgression of God’s law. And that would be a very dangerous thing to conclude. You find some answers in Luke 11:15. They also accused Jesus of being demon possessed. How many of you believe Jesus was demon possessed? It says here, “Some of them said, ‘He cast out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.’” And John 10:20, “And many of them said, ‘He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?’” Was Jesus demon possessed? Was He casting out devils? Furthermore they went on to say, “He’s a glutton and a wine bibber.” Was Jesus a glutton and a wine bibber? It’s simply recording that the Jews accused Him of breaking their Sabbath because He healed a person. Where in the Ten Commandments does it say you can’t heal a person on the Sabbath? That wasn’t part of the law. That was something they had attached to it. The Bible tells us Jesus said He did keep the Father’s commandments. “I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love,” John 15:10. If that’s clear say, “Amen.” Elbow the person next to you in case I’m losing them. I want to make sure everybody hears this.

Some people say, “Well, we don’t keep the Sabbath because the Sabbath commandment is in the Old Testament, but it’s never repeated in the New Testament.” Have you heard that before? That’s the next argument. “We don’t keep the Sabbath because you can’t find it in the New Testament.” The fact is, there is one commandment, one of the Ten Commandments is not repeated in the New Testament. You know which one it is? Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. Show that to me in the New Testament. How many here believe it’s okay to break that commandment? Well, obviously God wouldn’t want us to break that commandment. If it’s so clear then why would someone think that just because you don’t see the fourth commandment in the New Testament you can break it. And you do. As a matter of fact, of all the Ten Commandments, you know which one is referred to more than any other in the New Testament? It’s the Sabbath. There was a lot of struggle over it and never did Jesus say, “It’s done away with.” Never did Jesus say, “I’ve changed it to another day.” As a matter of fact, if you look at the evidence—and that’s what I want you to do, weigh the evidence—in the New Testament, or in the Bible actually, there are 171 references to the Sabbath. And Sunday there are zero references that tell us that it’s a holy day, the first day of the week. We’ve looked at every one of them. And all these references in the New Testament tell us that it is still holy. So count the evidence up and it’s clear.

Now we’re going to look at the history. I know what you’re thinking. “Alright Doug, you’re dealing with some of the arguments but the fact is that people are going to church on Sunday. There might be something that God did that we don’t know about. How come so many Christians…” And I want to tell you right now, I believe the greatest part of Christ’s true followers are in the fellowship of churches that go to church on the first day of the week. How many of you agree with that? Yeah, we’re not saying that only those that go to church on the seventh day are going to heaven. Because there’s going to be a lot of people in heaven that went to church on the wrong day. There’ll be people in heaven that had too many wives. Right? But do you think that God endorses polygamy? God winks at our times of ignorance, but now that we see He commands people to repent. And we’re trying to help you see. Not because the Sabbath truth is a burden, but it’s supposed to be a blessing.

So let’s take a look at some of the history. The history mystery. How did it seem to change from Sabbath to Sunday? Keep in mind in Daniel 7 there’s a prophecy that this beast power would arise that would think to change times and laws. This religious political power. Now looking quickly at some of the history, you’ll find in the first century the Christians there, this is a quote from the Ecclesiastical History, “Then the spiritual seed of Abraham fled to Pella, on the other side of Jordan, where they found a safe place of refuge and can serve their master and keep His Sabbath.” All of the early Christians met on the seventh day of the week. They met on what we would today call Saturday, the Sabbath. Things slowly began to change as things sometimes do and compromises were made. Here’s another quote from history and the references are there if you want to jot these down. Those of you who are watching the video obviously they’re on the screen. “The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews. Therefore the Christians, for a long time, together did keep their convocations upon the Sabbath in which some portions of the law were read. And this continued to the time of the Laodicean council.” Now the council of Laodicea was over 300 years after Christ. Don’t forget the council of Laodicea.

What was going on is, all of the early Christians were worshiping on the seventh day of the week, the same day the Jews kept. The Jewish religion began to be very unpopular. It was declared religio ilicitae. And Christians were being persecuted right along with the Jews, because it was a forbidden religion. Because they met the same day. And gradually, some of the Christians began to want to be politically correct that they wouldn’t have to always be under the gun and run for their lives. They started to compromise. They tried to find anything they might find in common with the Pagans in Rome so they could make friends. During this time, sun worship of course was a very popular thing. This was the age of compromise. And the Pagan’s day of the sun, called the first day of the week, or Sunday, gradually began to replace the Bible Sabbath.

Here’s some of the history from a Bible encyclopedia. “Sabbath, a Hebrew word signifying rest, Sunday was the name given by the heathen to the first day of the week because it was the day on which they worshiped the sun.” The Pagans worshiped the sun on the first day, it was a special day for them. We could go on here. If you read then in the Catholic World, March 1994, “The sun was a foremost God with heathendom. There is, in truth, something royal, kingly, about the sun, making it a fit emblem of Jesus.” Now I don’t agree with this, this is what the Catholic World magazine said. “A fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun of Justice.” Hence the church in these countries would seem to have said, “Keep that old Pagan name. It’ll remain consecrated and sanctified.” Gradually the church tried to make something special out of Sunday, and attach it to Jesus somehow that it might be more, Christianity could be more attractive to the Pagans. This is in history. None of these quotes are from my church. You could also read the History of the Eastern Church.

It says, “The retention of the old Pagan name of Dius Solace for Sunday, in a great measure owing to the union of Pagan and Christian sentiment, with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his Pagan subjects and Christians alike as the venerable day of the sun.” Now right in my house I have Collier’s Encyclopedia. I just pulled my encyclopedia off the shelf and this is what it says if you look in page 212, go to your encyclopedia and look up Constantine the Great. It says, “Constantine in 313 A.D. published the Edict of Milan granting freedom of religion in the empire and establishing…” don’t miss that word. It doesn’t say allowing. “…establishing Sunday as a day of worship.” When did that happen? 300 years after Christ. This is 313 and here’s an actual quote of what that decree said, “On the venerable day of the sun,” s-u-n not s-o-n, it has nothing to do with Jesus, it was a day they worshiped the sun, “let the magistrates and the people residing in the cities rest.” They began to declare the first day a day of rest. It was established by Constantine and later baptized by the church, you might say. “And let all the workshops be closed.” Somebody sent me this picture. I thought it was kind of interesting the way it’s worded. It’s just on the street somewhere. “Sun worship. 9:00 am.” You’re so used to seeing it that way, but that’s where it comes from. Sunday worship originates with sun worship.

Let’s go back to history and we’ll find out what was going on. You’ll notice between 335 and 375 the Christians in Persia under the 40 year persecution under Shapar the 11th, the popular complaint against the Christians was, “They despise our sun God, they have divine services on Saturday, they desecrate the sacred earth by burying their dead in it.” They used to cremate like in India. You can go now to the actual decree at the council of Laodicea. By 365 A.D. the church ratified the decision of Constantine. And then by 538, it was universally adopted. Took 200 years. A lot of Christians fled into the mountains. Here’s what it says, “On Saturday,” this is Canon 16, “the Gospels and other portions of the Scriptures shall be read aloud.” Canon 29, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday.” Not only were they now holding forth Sunday, they were threatening to persecute those that kept the seventh day. “But will work on that day.” Why would the council of Laodicea have to say this if no Christians were observing the seventh day? It’s because they were that they had to put it into a law. “But the Lord’s Day,” they began to call the first day the Lord’s Day, “they shall especially honor and as being Christians shall, if possible,” if you have to mow your lawn or go watch a football game that’s okay. But, “if possible, do no work on that day.” You notice people who keep Sunday don’t keep it the same way Sabbath keepers keep Sabbath.

Now you’ll find out gradually the church in Rome, the headquarters of the church moved to Rome, they began to universally embrace this. And the Roman Catholic church, which of course is the biggest Christian church, freely admit that they’re responsible for the change. And they say that’s proof of their authority. These are some quotes from their references. The American Catholic, in 1883, “Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the church, has no good reason for it’s Sunday theory, and ought logically to keep Saturday with the Jews.” In other words, they’re saying if you’re going to go by the Bible, Protestants really ought to be keeping the seventh day. Let’s go on here. In the Doctrinal Catechism of Stephen Keenan, “How do you prove that the church has power to institute festivals?” Answer, “Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her.” Not all of them. “She could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day of the week, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.” Right in the Catholic Catechism they freely admit there’s no Bible reason. And I’m not here to condemn people for what they believe.

I’m just saying I believe I should go by the Bible. How about you? If you go by the Bible and not the decrees of man, there’s really only one day. Let’s go on here, I’ve got a couple more. I think we’re going to make it on time. “You might read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you’ll not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday.” This is Cardinal Gibbons in Faith of Our Fathers. If you go by the Bible, that’s the only day. I like this quote here. “The authority of the church therefore could not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday…” Does it say Jesus? Does it say the Bible, the apostles? No. It says the church did it. And it was hundreds of years after Christ. “…not by the command of Christ but by its own authority.”

So the issue is, who are we going to obey? The commandments of men or the Commandments of God? This is a big issue in the last days. “Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the church ever did happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. Not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the church’s sense of its own power. People that think the Scriptures should be the sole authority should logically become Seventh-day Adventists and keep Saturday holy”. I really appreciate this Catholic magazine that published that, St. Catherine’s, 1995. Furthermore, I think it’s interesting that in the Catholic record you read Sunday is “Our mark of authority, the church is above the Bible.” I don’t believe that. I believe the church is to be subject to the Bible. The Bible is the foundation. And this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact.

Now we’ve got a couple of final arguments. You understand the history of how it slowly changed? No command of Christ or the apostles or the Lord. But it was done as a politically correct maneuver to try and make the church more popular. But you know what happened? Instead of the church reaching the world, Paganism reached the church. And we’re still not beyond that danger.

“Maybe we should worship God every day.” Have you heard that one before? I love it when people come up to me and they look very sanctimonious and pious and they say, “Well, I know Doug that you believe in the seventh day Sabbath. I worship God every day.” Does the Bible tell us that’s what we’re supposed to do? Yeah, we should worship God every day. But is the Sabbath commandment telling us to worship God every day only? I don’t believe you can even find the word worship there. It says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work. You or your son or daughter or your male servant nor your female servant nor your cattle nor your stranger who is within your gates.” If a person is resting seven days a week, they’re not holy they’re lazy. Right? There’s nothing pious about that. So I hope you aren’t fooled by that argument.

Another one, “We should just keep one day in seven, it doesn’t matter what day.” Well, we’ve already talked a little bit about that. It does make a difference what day because God said the seventh day is the one to keep.

Furthermore, “Keeping the Sabbath is legalism and represents salvation by works.” I like it when people come to me and they say, “Doug, you’re putting this legalism on people, bondage. Telling people they’ve got to keep the Sabbath.” And I say, “I’m telling them to rest, you’re telling them not to rest. You’re telling them to work on God’s holy day and you’re calling me salvation by works. No, I believe in rest. You’re the one who is responsible for works.” It’s not legalism. It’s the very opposite. Sabbath keeping represents not performing works, trusting in Jesus and His works. Amen? So that’s a clever diversionary tactic, but it’s not a good argument. You’ve probably heard it before. Jesus said, “Come unto Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Coming to Christ gives the spiritual rest, but beyond that there’s also the physical rest. Hebrews also tells us, 4:5, “If they will enter into My rest.” The Lord wants us to have that peace and that rest.

And then, of course, others will say, “Well Doug, why are you trying to turn a train around on its track while it’s standing still? The whole world is acknowledging the first day. Don’t you think that God is ready to just let it slide and say, “Why don’t those who are being obnoxious and holding out for the Ten Commandments, why don’t they go along with everybody else? Follow the popular tradition. Don’t think that you’re so special. Just go with the flow. You’re swimming upstream.” What did Jesus say about that? How many of you believe what Jesus says, that He’s the final word? The Bible tells us, this was our Scripture reading today, Mark 7:7,8, “In vain they worship Me…” Some people are worshiping God in vain. They claim they’re being holy. But they’re worshiping Him teaching the doctrines and the commandments of men. They lay aside the commandment of God and hold the tradition of men. They’re going by man-made traditions in place of the commandment of God. And how does the Lord view that? He says, “In vain they’re worshiping Me.” Well, the bottom line is what’s going to be your guide? Popular tradition or the Word of God? The laws of men or the law of God? The Bible says you are the servant to the one who you obey. Are we going to obey Caesars, Popes, and prelates? Or are we going to obey Jesus? You cannot serve two masters. Amen?

Jesus tells us, speaking of those that will ultimately be in the kingdom, “Here is the patience of the saints. Here are those that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” There are two outstanding characteristics among God’s people in the last days. They obey God’s commandments and they have faith in the Lord. Now we are not saved by keeping God’s law, but we prove that we do have faith by trusting the Lord enough to obey Him. God will never ask you to do something without giving you the power to obey and to perform. How many of you believe that?

And there are hundreds of other little arguments. These are the primary ones that I could talk about. But the main thing I want you to know friends, is that God has not changed. The Bible says, “I am the Lord. I change not.” The Sabbath has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And He wants you to know these things. He’s sharing these things with you because He wants you to have that rest. If you really do love the Lord, if you do believe, we show our faith by obeying Him. It’s one thing for a person to say, “I love you Lord.” But it’s another thing to say, “I love you enough to do your will.” It’s not going to be everyone that says, “Lord, Lord,” that will be in the kingdom, but “those that do the will of My Father in heaven.” And the law of God, including the Sabbath, is His will. He wants you to come to Him and have rest. How many of you would like to have that rest?

You know, I’ve chosen as our closing hymn that song Trust and Obey. The faith of Jesus and the commandments of God. So why don’t you turn with me to 590 and let’s sing that together. Let’s stand as we sing. 590 in closing.

[Singing]

Hopefully today in our study—it was a rapid presentation, but I tried to quickly cover as much territory as I could to try to take away some of the wrinkles that clutter people’s clarity about what truth is. You know, it’s important that we’re not always being beaten around by every wind of doctrine. I think especially in the last days when we need to be willing to take a stand even if it means we go to the furnace. We’d rather die than disobey God. We need to be rooted in the truth. Amen? We need to know. Not be apologetic or ashamed about believing that it’s good to keep the commandments of God. I think it’s a shame sometimes. I meet Bible Christians who are apologizing that they believe in the Ten Commandments. The law is just and holy and good. And it’s not something to be ashamed of. We need to get to the place where we are rooted into the word because a storm is coming. And those trees that don’t have their roots down deep and wrapped around the Rock of Ages are going to get blown over. Amen?

So I’m doing everything I can friends to help us to know why we believe what we believe. And to give you the tools and the ammunition that we need to share our faith. The Bible says we ought to be ready to give an answer to others that ask us. Probably the most important thing is the Lord wants us to have that peace and rest. Sabbath is not meant to be a burden, it’s meant to be a blessing. And it comes when you say, “Lord, You’ve promised to bless this day. I’m going to trust You and obey You.” And then He activates that blessing in your life. Would you like to say to the Lord now, “Lord I want that blessing. I want that rest.” Is that your prayer? And in acknowledging that He will do it for you. Let’s sing the last verse in Trust and Obey. Verse 5.

[Singing]

Father in heaven, we thank You for this time we’ve had together this morning as we’ve gathered together on this holy day in this holy place to hear Your holy Word. Lord, I pray the things that we’ve learned will take root in our hearts. I pray the Holy Spirit will be available to bring them to our remembrance as opportunity arises to share these principles. And most important Lord, I pray that it will not simply be a philosophy on the outside, but a deep and abiding faith and belief on the inside that will help guide our boats to that haven of rest. Lord, please bless each of these people. I pray You’ll give us the grace and courage to follow Jesus and not the crowd. To go with the commandments of God and not the traditions of men, and to have Him seated on our hearts. Thank You for Your presence here this day. And we ask that we may continue to abide in Your rest. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.

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