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 Vol. 5, No. 2 

February 2003

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

typewriter New Sins

By Louis Rushmore

Ref. Page 20 "Will One Go To Hell For Using Tobacco?" 2002/nov/page20.htm "Though deduction from valid implications is a proper use of biblical hermeneutics (e.g., Hebrews 7:12-17; 8:4), we must be careful that we do not categorize new sins that are conspicuously absent from the several lists of sins throughout the New Testament (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-6; Revelation 20:8)." Question; Are you trying to say that anything not specifically listed as a sin cannot be a sin? That is the impression your statement leaves. Please clarify. ~ Grady Duncan, North Jefferson Church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas

When I was growing up as a Catholic, I was told that it was a sin to eat meat on Fridays. Later, I was instructed that the breadwinner could eat meat on Fridays because he needed to keep up his strength for manual labor, but his family was still prohibited from eating meat on Fridays. Still later, Catholics were permitted to eat meat on Fridays without restriction. The residual remains of that Catholic doctrine is a menu emphasis on Fridays for fish and macaroni and cheese. The truth of the matter is that it either was a sin to eat meat on Fridays or it never was a sin to eat meat on Fridays, but it is certain that God's Law for the religious age in which we live has not changed in about 2,000 years.

Likewise, members of the churches of Christ were taught and believed in bygone years that it was a sin to work on Sunday, or that it was a sin to play cards. It has either always been sinful to work on Sunday (associating it with the Jewish Sabbath and Judaism) or play cards, or it has never been sinful to work on Sunday or play cards (unless there were other sinful reasons involved).

The Pharisees of Jesus' day had altered the God-given Judaism about which anyone can read in the Old Testament by adding to it their own do's and don't's. Our Lord condemned them for this. "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).

I am not trying to say anything! Many activities are clearly enumerated in Scripture as sinful. In addition, clearly understood biblical principles make any number of other activities also sinful. Yet, if over zealous, strongly opinionated, biblically inept or maliciously arrogant, one can make new sins where God did not designate, explicitly or implicitly, that certain things are sinful. For instance, just because the Judaizing teachers of the first century believed that Gentiles had to proselyte to Judaism before becoming Christians did not make it so (Acts 15).Image

Sabbath for Gentiles, Too?

By Louis Rushmore

Image I was reading the information on your website and I read the article entitled "Three Objections Concerning the Sabbath" and it states something that I would like more information on. One of the point that was listed was - "The Sabbath was never intended for the Gentiles. It was given to the Jews (Exodus 31:17). Nowhere is there a command for the Gentiles to keep the Sabbath." Upon on reading and searching I found that in Genesis 2:2-3, "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 that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Is this talking about something different from the Jewish Sabbath? ~ Brian Watson

The first five books of the Old Testament were written by Moses, well after creation and after Judaism was instituted. Hence, these volumes record historical information that occurred both under Patriarchy and Judaism. There is no record of the implementation of a Sabbath keeping under Patriarchy. However, at the time of the institution of the Jewish Sabbath, one of the reasons given for selection of the seventh day as the Jewish Sabbath is that after six days of creation, God "rested" or desisted from the exertion of creation; God was not tired and in need of rest, but he simply stopped creating.Image

Image Image When Was the Book
of Hebrews Written?

By Louis Rushmore

Dear Sirs, When was the book Hebrews (As part of the New Testament) written? Thank you for your co operation. Sincerely yours, Limor

Assigning a date to the writing of the Book of Hebrews depends on whether one supposes that it was written before or after the catastrophic destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and whether one supposes that the apostle Paul is the author of it versus someone else. Since the Book of Hebrews does not mention the destruction of Jerusalem, it is supposed to have been written some time before or a considerable time after that notable event. If the Book of Hebrews is attributed to the pen of the apostle Paul, obviously it must have been written before his death in about A.D. 68.

Nothing is mentioned concerning the conflict, the Temple, or the destruction of Jerusalem. Because of this silence, the letter is considered to have been written before 68 or after 80. The earlier dating is preferable... ("Hebrews," The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Barnes' Notes (Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft) lists several arguments supporting the Book of Hebrews being written in A.D. 63 by the apostle Paul following his release from his first Roman imprisonment and before his second Roman imprisonment and subsequent death. Likewise, Adam Clarke's Commentary (Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft) enumerates several arguments favoring the apostle Paul as the author and a date of writing either during his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 61) or upon his release from that detention (A.D. 63).

The Book of Hebrews is a general epistle written primarily to Jews and Jewish Christians in Palestine. It was apparently written while the animal sacrifices in the Temple were still ongoing. The fact that Paul's name, if he was the human penman, is not attached to the volume may be to avoid prejudicing the epistle before it had a hearing. Yet, one could hardly imagine anyone else among the early disciples who was better equipped (aside from inspiration, which the apostles and others enjoyed) to detail the intricacies of Judaism and its fulfillment in Christ to a Jewish audience than the apostle Paul.

Though it cannot be stated definitively that Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews or that it was written in a specific year, this can be said: The Book of Hebrews bears the internal marks of a genuinely inspired epistle. Further, it is plausible that the apostle Paul penned the epistle of Hebrews during or immediately after release from his first Roman imprisonment (A.D. 61-63).Image

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