Is our Saturday, the Saturday of Sabbath?
aymon de albatrus
16 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in regard to meat or drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the sabbath days, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)
Through this site I have received this query: "You say that the Law is still valid today, then why the majority of churches does not keep Saturday as the Sabbath?"
This friend was referring to the fact that in my site I say that the Law is applied to all, but for the believer Jesus' Grace is interposed between their sins and the Law, thus they are justified in front of God for He "sees" the sinner through the Blood of Jesus, which is His Grace to them. Moreover, Jesus continually intercedes for their sins through His Holy Blood spilled once for all. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 ). The Law is written in the hearts of the believers (Eze 36:25,26,27) and they now have a new nature to satisfy Jesus' command: If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
The non believers do not seek God, at all, and the Law is applied directly to them and It is satisfied in their condemnation to Hell. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36 )
In brief, the Law is applied directly to the non believer whilst for the believer the wrath of the Law is quenched in the Grace of Christ.
This inquirer was referring specifically to the fourth commandments where God commands the Sabbath and thus, if the Law is still valid (and it is, as explained above), then Saturday has to be kept as the Sabbath. Under the large umbrella of Christianity there is a minority (where I guess this friend comes from) that has made an idol of Saturday and also the man for the Sabbath.
Which is the reason for living the Sabbath Holy?
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11 )
The principle clearly stated here is that God created for six days and rested on the seventh. This does not mean that God was tired and needed to rest as if He were a man. … Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28)
God did not create in the seventh day, but did not stop maintaining His creation alive for creation does not have life in itself, but it is supplied continually by God. God stopped creating on the seventh day to admire the beauty and perfection of His Creation. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (Genesis 2:1)
"wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" The Lord made of the seventh day a day of rest from normal work and commanded it to be a day of admiration of God and of His works, a day to be given to the worship of the Lord, a day of adoration, a day of repentance and of joy in the Lord, a day to contemplate God without the distractions of life, and a day of physical rest for the people.
The word "Sabbath" in the NT means:
The seventh day of every week where the Israelites were required to abstain from every work,
the fourth commandment to keep the seventh day holy,
Saturday or a high Saturday,
seven days, one week.
"Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work" For work it is intended those activities that require our complete attention to supply our material needs and that of our families. Those activities requiring all of our strength, not permitting us to venerate the Lord in an undivided way.
Does this mean that during Saturday we must not do anything, absolutely? Certain orthodox Jews have imposed on themselves certain additional laws for what constitutes "work". For example they cook the previous day using timers to warm up the food on Saturday, they place reading glasses next to the armchair to read the Torah for if the glasses where in another room, picking them up would constitute work. To me these interpretations seem a result of excessive zeal.
The spirit of what the Lord intends here is:
That one day in seven we shall give ourselves totally to the adoration of the Lord without interruptions (such as work) and to contemplate who God is for us and what He has done for our salvation, and
That one day in seven we rest physically from the hard work that we must do to maintain ourselves alive and to recuperate our strength.
As God kept alive His creation on the seventh day, so we must do the necessary things to keep us alive, but only those and dedicate ourselves with all our hearts to admire God.
We deduce then that the Saturday was given for the man and not the man made for the Sabbath, as attested by our Lord Jesus Christ: 7 And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27-28 AV)
When men began counting the day of Saturday?
In Genesis God worked for six days and rested the seventh.
First Earth and Light
Fourth Sun, Moon and Stars for time
I am not sure if these days were actually 24 hour day, considering that the Luminaries (Sun, Moon and Stars) were created the fourth day. But it is not a problem, for the length of the day is not an issue for the Sabbath and the principle is still valid.
On the seventh day God completed the work He intended and rested from the work He had done and He blessed the seventh day and hallowed it. It must be remembered that God has no need to rest as a man does, for otherwise He would not be God, He has no need of anything, besides He is a Spirit (Isaiah 40:28). But on the seventh day He desisted from creating to admire His creation. In our case, the Sabbath was given to us as a rest from physical work to allow us to admire God's work, to recognise who He is and to sanctify the day. As Jesus said, Sabbath is made for the man.
That God had instructed Adam to observe the week can be safely assumed, even though there is nothing specifically written about it. We can also assume that this tradition would have been passed on by word of mouth from father to son for generations. But my point is this: "Are we absolutely sure that in all these years with wars and up evils, without written references, the day of the original Sabbath has remained intact?"
That is, the acid test is this: if we were to go back from our Saturday in enough periods of seven day, would we land exactly in the Sabbath of Genesis? Methinks not.
Some say that the Sabbath was already taken into account by the Hebrews in Egypt, others from when the Law was given on mount Sinai to Moses as the forth commandment. Even so, how would they have known which day the real Sabbath was falling in.
Can we be absolutely sure that our Saturday is in line with THE Celestial Sabbath?
In my opinion no one is so sure about this to put his hand over the fire, even though they say to be in no doubt. Even the "Worldwide Church of God" had a very stout dogma to keep Saturday as the absolute Sabbath, but since the death of Mr. Armstrong they quote this: The Christian Sabbath is life in Jesus Christ, in whom every believer finds true rest. The weekly seventh-day Sabbath, which was enjoined upon Israel in the Ten Commandments, was a shadow that prefigured the true Reality to whom it pointed – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us take, for example, the Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC and came into force in 45 BC. His year was composed of 365.25 solar days, but the real solar year is of 365.242195 days. With the passing of years this miniscule difference began to be noted to accumulate by the year 1582 to 10 days. Because of the error in the original Julian Calendar, over a period of time the extra minutes and seconds accumulate and the Spring Equinox.
In the 16th century the Spring Equinox was arriving 10 days earlier on the "old style" Julian Calendar date of March 11th instead of March 21st, because of the uncorrected error in the "Original" Julian Calendar. That is, the Spring Equinox was not occurring in March 20/21 as per the correct celestial calendar, but was retarding towards March 11 as a Julian day.
In the year 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered the advancement of the Julian calendar by 10 days with the issuing of the Gregorian calendar from the 4th of October 1582, that is, the day after became the 15th of October 1582, without changing the day of the week, see below.
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The sabbathists say the Saturday was still Saturday even after the change. Sure, as a name, but as celestial time the Saturday was different. In fact in the Julian Saturday the 6th, before the Gregorian correction, was celestially 10 days ahead i. e. the 16th, Tuesday (in red).
By the year 1582 there was 10 days discrepancy between the Julian calendar and the celestial one. That is one day discrepancy between these calendars every [(45 + 1582)/10] = 162.7 years approx.
If in 1627 years approx. 10 days were lost in this Julian period, it would mean that for every 162.7 years the discrepancy between the day of the Julian calendar and the celestial one would cause a weekday change. That is, if we start in 45 BC with a Saturday, 162.7 years later the celestial Saturday would have corresponded to a Julian Friday, and so on, because the legal Julian calendar was travelling slower than the celestial one, for the Julian year was composed of 365.25 solar days, but the real solar year is of 365.242195 days.
Let us align both the Julian calendar and the Celestial to any fixed particular Saturday in 46 BC, then that weekday progression over the years would be something like this table for the 10 periods (10 days lost) of 162,7 years each approx (from 45 BC to 1582 AD, numbers rounded off), assuming of course that the Julian calendar was in fact originally aligned with the Celestial calendar, a thing very much in doubt:
This would mean that in that period of 1627 years only in 2 periods of 162.7 years would the legal Saturday coincide by name with the celestial Saturday. Thus for at least 1627 years , those who religiously celebrated the Sabbath on Saturday (Julian calendar) were not in line with the celestial Sabbath at all, but with another day of the celestial week and not celebrating the true Celestial Sabbath as they claim.
Moreover, from history, we understand that Julius Caesar had a month named to his name, July. Augustus wanted one to his name also and the month Sextilis was renamed August to his name. Since Augustus considered himself as good as Julius Caesar, at least, he added to that month one day, (making August of 31 days, as per July) by borrowing one form February. Without changing the position of Saturday?? So they say. But to do that, all the legal Saturdays had to be moved in respect to the celestial one. Have we escaped from reason?
Another example of faulty dating: let us take Jesus' presumed date of birth, it appears that Jesus was actually born 3 years before Christ (year zero not counted). A study made by a Messianic Jew establishes that Jesus was born on the 12th of August 3 BC, Monday at 4 am approx and his death on April 25th in 31 AD Wednesday at approx 3 pm, he was crucified around 9 am that day. Jesus lived 11,944 days that are 32 years, 36 weeks and 4 days.
We see that the keepers of time made a mistake of at least 3 years and that our current year (2003) ought to be 2006, our calendar being behind of 3 years, zero year not counted.
Who can then assure me that the Saturday has not suffered misalignment with the celestial Sabbath in all these long and many unreliable years, without using fabulous fantasies? After all, "today is Sabbath" is not written on the skies, or it is?
What day the Apostles celebrated as Sabbath?
We read in the Word that the disciples gathered the first day of the week to partake in the Communion in the day commonly called "the day of the Lord". The first day of the week was our Sunday, "the day of the Lord" was also Sunday. It was called like that for Jesus resurrected in that day, Sunday, during the night. The Biblical day ended with sunset, around six pm, thus Jesus having resurrected well after 6 pm was in the following day, Sunday, "the day of the Lord", the Christian Sabbath.
Even today some Messianic Christian (Jews converted to Christianity) celebrate both Saturday and Sunday and keep the festivities of the OT as well. They keep Saturday and the OT festivities because of their Jewishness, and Sunday for their Christianity. The primitive church was composed by both Jews and Gentiles and it is evident from the Bible that they met Sunday in the day of the Lord, but some of the Jews attended the Temple on Saturday, as well.
Interesting to note that of the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20, the six towards man can be found specifically in Rom 13:9 and Mat 19:19 whilst the four towards God are summed up in the words of Jesus: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew 22:37)
Regarding the Sabbath, there is that famous reference by Jesus: «And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:». (Mar 2:27) With this Jesus testifies that He is the Lord of the Sabbath and also our Sabbath meaning our rest. Clear references in the NT to keep Saturday as Sabbath there are none.
In the OT the Law required the maintenance of the Sabbath as part of the moral, legal and sacrificial system for the Jewish people to cover their sins. In the NT, Jesus Christ is our Sabbath whose Divine Blood is spilled for us Heb 7:25, forever interceding for His people.
Interesting to note in the NT where some Jews wanted to force the rabbinical laws on the converted Gentiles, including no doubt the Saturday question, a delegation was sent to the counsel of Jerusalem (which included the Apostles) to clarify the matter, their answer was: 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; [namely], Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell [you] the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye"shall do well. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:22-29)
The context here speaks of circumcision and observance of the Law (rabbinical interpretation, no doubt) and if Saturday were essential thing, the Spirit and the Apostles would have included it with the 4 things designated as necessary things between the gentiles.
As far as I am concerned my trust is in Jesus' words: «And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:». (Mar 2:27) To me this means that I need not concern too much if the legal Saturday is the same as the celestial Sabbath, but rather keep the principles of the Sabbath, that are: one day in seven abstain from normal work and to bless and sanctify that day in admiration of the Lord, adoring Him with a pure heart, for who He is, and for all He has done for me.
Therefore, for me Christ is my Sabbath, every day, Amen.
Let anyone maintain the Saturdays he wants, judging not others regarding sabbaths and be fully persuade in his mind of what he is doing, as Scripture says: 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 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. (Romans 14:5-6)
The principles that should guide our Sabbath are these:
A pure heart in front of God,
Be fully convinced in our mind of what we are doing,
Do everything for the Lord giving thanks to God,
Let no one judge others in regard to meat or drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath days,
Work for six days and rest the seventh,
Rest in the day of the Lord does not mean to go see a football game, but to abstain from normal work to restore our bodies and charge it up spiritually in the adoration of the Lord, privately an in communion with the brethrens also,
Sunday has been assigned by the Apostles as the "Day of the Lord" to honour the day in which the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected and the fourth Commandment has not been abrogated, rather it is affirmed by us in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When was Jesus Born?
It is common knowledge that when the calendar we use today, based on the BC/AD system, when developed, it contained a known 4-year error. In the 6th century AD, a dispute in the early church as to the correct date of Easter resulted in the development of this calendar. Prior to this, the early Roman calendar was in use. This was based on dates as occurring relative to the founding of Rome, AUC,- "ab urbe condita", which means "from the founding of Rome".
Dionysius Exiguus, a Sythian monk, invented our current calendar which relates all events in years prior to or after Christ’s birth- BC, (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, which means, "in the year of our Lord"). By studying the old records, Exiguus reckoned the date of the birth of Christ to have occurred in 754 AUC, but this proved to be in error. In fact, based on the earlier calendar, Christ’s birth is proved to have occurred at the latest in 750 AUC because of the fact that Christ was born during the time of Herod the Great, who died in this year.
Therefore in the new calendar, Exiguus placed all dates in relation to Christ’s birth, which he called year "1 AD". Events one year prior to this were called 1 BC (1 year before Christ). There was no year "0", reducing the error by one year. However, because of this miscalculation of the date of Christ’s birth, our calendar does not present an accurate picture:
This information relating to the true reckoning of the calendar to the birth of Christ is based on the solid evidence known about the death of Herod the Great. The error in time was discovered soon after Exiguus developed the calendar, however it still went into effect uncorrected. The following information on Herod the Great is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, under "Chronology": "Somehow Dionysius reckoned the birth of Christ to have occurred in 754 AUC; but the Gospels state that Christ was born under Herod the Great-, i.e., at the latest in 750 AUC .... Nevertheless, it has continued in use to the present day, and as a result, the Nativity is reckoned to have taken place in or shortly before the year 4 BC, when Herod died."
As for the knowledge of the date of death of Herod the Great, his life is extremely well documented, especially in the detailed information furnished in the Jewish History of Josephus. Herod’s association with other well-know and well documented historical figures, such as his life-long friend, Mark Antony, give us precise information as to the dating of his life events and his death. Encyclopaedia Britannica, under "Herod the Great" as says: "In his last years, Herod suffered from arteriosclerosis. He had to repress a revolt, became involved in a quarrel with his Nabataean neighbors, and finally lost the favor of Augustus. He was in great pain and in mental and physical disorder. He altered his will 3 times and finally disinherited and killed his firstborn, Antipater. The slaying, shortly before his death, of the infants of Bethlehem was wholly consistent with the disarray into which he had fallen. After an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, Herod died at Jericho at the end of March or beginning of April in 4 BC. His final testament proved that, subject to Augustus’ sanction, his realm would be divided among his sons. "
But there is more to this matter, when the Gospel refers to Jesus as a child, in the Greek that word can mean infant as well as child of some age. Moreover Herod had boys of two years and under killed, implying that the age of Jesus was not precisely known even though he had diligently enquired on the time. There you have it, another two years of uncertainty on the birth of Jesus. In fact it was the shepherds that saw Jesus in the manger, not the Wise Men. The Wise Men, coming out of King Herod (still alive), saw Jesus later, how much later it is not known, for He was not in a stall or inn, anymore, but in a house and was referred to as a young child. This could mean that Jesus could have been born before 750 AUC, when Herod died. Indeed Herod commanded that children under two years be killed, not onlyinfants (Mat 2:16).
And they (the shepherd) came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (Luke 2:16 )
And when they (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. (Matthew 2:16 )
With all this messing around legal calendars, not being able to get a year right (let alone a day of the week), can anyone honestly guarantee that our legal Saturday is the same as the Celestial Sabbath? Honestly?