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 Vol. 6, No. 9 

September 2004

~ Page 18 ~

Is the command to keep the
 Sabbath day holy still binding?

By John Paul Lewis

[Brother Lewis is a 14-year-old who plans on devoting his life to the service of God as a Gospel preacher. The following article evidences the good beginning he has already made in his community and through the printed word. ~ Editor]

Today in the 21st century, people are divided on which day they ought to worship God. One group, Sabbath Keepers, keep the seventh day or Sabbath. Others worship on Sunday. Now the question is simple: Is the command, "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy" still binding on us as Christians? If we can show that the command to keep the Sabbath day is no longer in place, we then have to come to the conclusion that the first day of the week is the required day of worship for God's people in the Christian Age. We are going to examine two main points why we are not to observe the command to keep the Sabbath.

1: The 10 Commandments were
given to the children of Israel.

"There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when Jehovah made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 8:9). What were the two tables of stone that Moses received at Horeb? The 10 Commandments. But the covenant made, was with the children of Israel (1 Kings 8:9b). The covenant was not made with their fathers, but with those who were alive then. The covenant was for the Jews. Being that we are not Jews, and we are living under the era of Christ, we are not obligated or bound to keep the 10 Commandments in any way. Exodus 20:10 says to the children of Israel that they are not to do any work on the Sabbath, neither is the stranger (Gentile) within their gates to do any work. We can most easily infer from this statement that when a Gentile was in a Jew's gate he was obligated to keep the Sabbath. Also, we can infer that when a Gentile was not in the gates of a Jew, he did not have to keep the Sabbath. Why did they not have to keep the Sabbath? Because the covenant was not made with or for them.

2: The 10 Commandments have become obsolete.

In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. (Hebrews 8:13-9:4 NKJV)

The Hebrew writer plainly tells us that a new covenant has been established, making the first covenant (1 Kings 8:9) obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). Now we know from the context of 1 Kings 8:9 that the 10 Commandments are being addressed, but let's observe very briefly what the Hebrew writer has to say about the first covenant.

The main topic of Hebrews chapters 7-10 is that there was a change from a "first" covenant to a "new" and "better" covenant. Hebrews 10 tells us that, "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." But what was in that first covenant? What is significant about this section of Scripture that tells us that the 10 Commandments have been taken away or become obsolete?

Hebrews 9:1-4 explain what was contained in that first covenant, which has become obsolete. Various objects are listed explaining what was contained: the manna, the showbread, Aaron's rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant. The tablets of the covenant were the 10 Commandments. There is not a man in the world who can get over this argument. The writer tells us that the first has become obsolete (8:13) and that part of what became obsolete was the tablets of the covenant. In other words, the 10 Commandments are obsolete today.

From the two reasons, and those two reasons alone, we can understand that the 10 Commandments are not binding on us as Christians today. We can infer from this that being that the 10 Commandments have become obsolete, that the command to keep the Sabbath has also become obsolete. Now we are left with the New Testament apostolic direction of worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2).Image

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