Biblical Myths - Part 4

Scripture: James 2:10-12, Romans 7:7, Matthew 24:15-20
Are all 10 of God's commandments still binding? Doesn't the New Testament not speak about one? What does the Bible teach? There is one commandment that mankind seems to push away, the Sabbath commandment. Can we set aside just one of God's commandments and be free to break it?
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Today we are going to explode one of the most common myths that church members are hung up on, and it is one of the most serious misconceptions, also. It is serious because it relates to the authority of God's great moral law of the Ten Commandments. Have you ever heard somebody say that all the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament except one? I suppose there are hundreds of thousands of Christians who have been taught this fallacy by their religious leaders. And do you know which commandment they claim to be left out of the New Testament? You guessed it, the fourth commandment, the one about the Sabbath of the Lord.

Friends, I am going to read a text right now which proves that all ten of the commandments were just as binding in the New Testament as they had been in the Old. All of those great moral laws are equally valid and have been right down through the centuries. God did not write small, little local rules when He penned the Ten Commandments on tables of stone. He was putting down the great eternal principles of life for all mankind, and He wrote them upon imperishable tables of stone. But let's get to that text now which shows that one could never be eliminated from the ten. James 2:10-12 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all; for he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye and so do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."

Friends, please notice that this whole law James is talking about is the Ten Commandments. He quotes two of them to make sure we understand that point. Now the whole of ten is ten, isn't it? And if we break any one of the ten, we become transgressors or sinners. In fact, James even adds the vital information that everyone will be judged at last by that Ten Commandment law of God. That law is like a chain with ten links, and if we break one link, we have broken the chain.

With that truth before us, how could we believe that any one of those ten could be left out in the New Testament? James was a New Testament writer. Did he disagree with other writers of the same Bible? No indeed. The truth is that all ten of the commandments are repeated, in one form or another, in the New Testament. Paul indicated his belief that it would be sin to break that great moral law of the Ten Commandments. In Romans 7:7 he said, "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not know sin but by the law. For I had not know lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." does this reveal any tiny intimation that Paul looked lightly upon that law, or that he felt any of them could be broken? There is not a trace of any such heresy in any of Paul's writings. He consistently upheld the law of God as the great schoolmaster which gives a knowledge of sin and which leads us to Christ for forgiveness.

So much for the law as a whole; and there is no controversy over the law except for that fourth commandment which talks about the seventh day Sabbath. Is it upheld in the New Testament? First look at Christ's teaching on the perpetuity of the Sabbath. In Matthew 24:15-20 Jesus was describing the destruction of Jerusalem which would take place in 70 A.D. It was still 40 years in the future, but Christ gave this counsel to His disciples about that terrible occasion: "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." Did you get that, friends? Christ told His disciples to pray for 40 years that the Romans would not besiege Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Now, if the Sabbath had been changed or cancelled, why would Jesus tell His followers to pray about it 40 years after He went back to Heaven. Does that sound as though the fourth commandment was not carried over into the New Testament?

Now I want to read another test about the Sabbath that has been largely overlooked, and which completely shatters the myth about it being left out of the New Testament. It is found in Hebrews 4:1-9. But before reading it, I want us to look at three other texts in the Old Testament which will help us to understand it better. First, let's read Ezekiel 20:15,16,23,24, "Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into a land I had given them flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols."

Now friends, what I want you to see here is why God destroyed the children of Israel in the wilderness. One of the reasons that some of them were destroyed in the wilderness and were dispersed throughout the countries was because they broke the Sabbath Jesus made. Later, we are going to notice that the Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, also mentions the reason they were destroyed in the wilderness.

Now let's turn to the book of Jeremiah and notice the reason that there is no king on David's throne today, and why Jerusalem was destroyed by fire. In Jeremiah 17:24,25 and 27 we read this: "And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever." Now we can see that this was lack of faith, wasn't it? If they had continued to do what the Lord had told them in keeping the Sabbath holy, there would always have been someone on David's throne and the city would have remained forever. In other words, by their actions they said, "How can I make a living and keep the Sabbath?"

There were three things they were guilty of that God will not tolerate: 1) A lack of faith -"How can I make a living and keep the Sabbath?" 2) Unbelief in what God said would happen if they broke the Sabbath. 3) Willful disobedience in braking the command that says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." In a moment we will see that Paul brings this out in the New Testament.

Now let's find out why Jerusalem was destroyed by fire, in verse 27. "But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched." Friends, this prophecy was fulfilled twice, once in the days of Jeremiah, and the second time forty years after Jesus went back to Heaven when the Romans came and took Jerusalem and burned it with fire and took the gold down to Rome. This was the reason Jesus said, "Pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." Matthew 24:20. The disciples prayed this prayer for forty years.

Now with this little background we will read the New Testament verses which are so often overlooked, and we will be able to understand them. I will begin reading Hebrews 3:17, and you will immediately see that Paul is talking about the verses in Ezekiel that we have just read; and the reason the Israelites were destroyed in the wilderness. "But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?" Verse 17. Please notice here that they were destroyed in the wilderness because they sinned! 1 John 3:4 states that "sin is the transgression of the law." We read in Ezekiel that this happened to them because they broke the Sabbath Jesus made.

Now, should I be afraid today if I break the Sabbath? Read the answer in Hebrews 4:1,2. "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." Notice it says, "Let us..." It is talking of Christians in the New Testament times, and Paul included himself. And he was a born-again Christian. Further, we notice that Paul states the gospel was preached unto us as well as unto them.

Paul states it was lack of faith that caused them not to keep the Sabbath. Let me ask you something, friends. Was Paul talking about the seventh-day Sabbath? Read the answer in verse 4, "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." No one can be confused there. Paul said he was talking about the rest of the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week. He quoted right from the fourth commandment to establish the point.

Now I have another question, "Does the Sabbath remain for us to keep today?" That is one of the most important questions we could ask. And here is Paul's answer in verse 9. Please get every word of this: "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." Please notice that by the word "rest" in your Bible you have a little number. It refers you to the margin. What does it say in the margin of your Bible? It says, "keeping of a sabbath." In the actual Greek text the word "sabbatismos" is used, and it means literally "sabbath-keeping". So translated directly into the English, the verse reads, "There remains Sabbath keeping for the people of God." And the next verse explains further: "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."

Now let's see how simple we can make it. What day did God rest from His work? The last part of the fourth verse said, "God did rest the seventh day from all his work." So if I enter into His rest, I am going to keep the seventh day just as God did. And verse 11 urges us to do that very thing. "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." Again we notice he said, "Let us" thus including you and me with himself. Let us enter into THAT rest. What rest was he talking about? He had already mentioned the seventh day Sabbath rest, so he is telling us to enter that rest, the seventh day rest.

Furthermore, he says, "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall." Whether I am a Jew or a Gentile, if I don't enter into that rest, I will fall. And he continues, "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall, after the same example of unbelief." The Jewish people were destroyed in the wilderness because they broke the Sabbath, it was because of their unbelief, or lack of faith. Notice by the word unbelief there is a little number, and it refers you to the original reading: in other words, what that word was in the original Greek. What does the margin of your Bible say? It says, "disobedience." So, supplying this word, the verse would read, "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of disobedience." What is disobedience? Disobedience is going against a direct command. So here is a direct command to keep which day? Notice verse 4: "The seventh day."

Here we see three things that God will not tolerate: 1) Lack of faith. Hebrews 4:1,2. 2) Unbelief and 3) Disobedience. Hebrews 4:11. So God says if I have a lack of faith, or I don't believe what He says, or I am disobedient in regarding the keeping of the Sabbath, the same thing will happen to me that happened to the Jewish people in Old Testament times.

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