It is without controversy that the greatest enemies of Christ and Christianity at the beginning of the Church Age were the most “devout” keepers of the “law”. They, without spiritual understanding, followed endless rules in an attempt to either create or simulate spirituality. Some engaged in many occultic practices of rule and worship, known as Jewish mysticism. Many in leadership were extremely hypocritical in practice, and bloodthirsty in their condemnation of all who disagreed.
Conversely, it must be acknowledged that prior to the day of Pentecost A.D. 33, the Hebrew religion was the only means to a covenant relationship with God, and there were many faithful adherents and leaders whose sinecerity was verified by the fact that they accepted Jesus’ ministry and later became the founding members of THE CHURCH.
This treatise is written in reference to the observance of the Sabbath, its origins, and relevancy today, or the first day of the week, in reference to Old Testament prophecy and also the historical implications of early church practice. In our study, we must be careful to remember the following:
“Wherefore, I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (I Cor. 12:3) According to the King James Bible, anyone who denies the name of JESUS (and replacing it with a Hebrew-only transliteration which denies the fact that Jesus grew up speaking Greek and answered to “Jesus” as well as “Joshua” or something similar qualifies as denying his NAME) is not speaking by the Spirit of God. This is critical to our understanding, as a large percentage of seventh-day proponents also deny the only saving name of the New Testament dispensation. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” I Cor. 2:12-16 HOW do WE have the mind of Christ? The inspired scripture, the baptism of the Holy Ghost; these combined elements are our source of direction amid the contest of voices in this world.
THE ORIGIN OF THE SABBATH OBSERVANCE
The first Sabbath observance mandated by God occured in approximately 1491 B.C. as recorded in Exodus 16 and coincided with the beginning of manna provisions for the children of Israel. At this time Moses found it necessary to explain to the children of Israel the concept and purpose of the Sabbath. Although history reveals that time was reckoned in seven-day weeks by the vast majority of ancient peoples (an interesting study with implications of a common understanding of creation), the Sabbath as defined by scripture was previously unknown. As creation has been dated by scholars at 4004 B.C. =/- we find that for 2513 years, no Sabbath had been commanded or observed. During the dispensations of Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, and Promise it was totally unknown and therefore not observed by Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph or Job.
Nehemiah 9:13 reiterates Exodus 16 beyond all doubt as the beginning of Sabbath observance in saying, “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven… And madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath… and gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger.” Two weeks later (cf. Ex. 16:1; 19:1), the fourth commandment was given on Mt. Sinai as recorded in Exodus 20:9-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: 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.” (cf. Gen.2:2-3)
The Sabbath was scripturally a day of rest (Ex. 35:2,3) and was strictly enforced as such, to the extent that God himself decreed a death sentence upon a man for simply gathering sticks to kindle a fire (Numbers 15:32-36). Other than special sacrificial provisions (Numbers 28:9), and the connection of the Sabbath to annual feast days (Ex.12:16; Lev. 23:2,8; Num. 28:25) the Sabbath was NEVER MADE TO BE A DAY OF WORSHIP OR RELIGIOUS SERVICE. It was a REST. Personal worship or sacrifices were brought by the common man to the temple on OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK. It was a day for rest, contemplation, an equalizer of humanity – the master and servant rested alike. It was indicative of God’s care for the animal world: even they had a day of recuperation.
Synagogue practice evolved during the 400 years of silence and was neither ordained nor condemned by God, but took place as corporate Sabbath observance unknown to Old Testament scripture. Jesus, the creator of the Sabbath, was held to be in contempt of the very day he had established when he declared, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” In Matthew 12:1-14 the issue of Sabbath observance is what incensed the Pharisees to kill the man they Knew to be their messiah. In verse 8 Jesus declared, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” It is interesting to note that the same God who once sentenced a man to death for picking up sticks in defiance to the commandment of Moses was now picking corn and even commanded a man to carry his bedroll home on the Sabbath day.
Therefore, it is is inconsistent, and indicative of scriptural ignorance to demand or practice strict worship on the Sabbath day. If you are going to observe the Sabbath, a commendable option for the new-testament believer, observe it scripturally: stay home and REST. Worship corporately any other day of the week, but do not drive across town, or the countryside for that matter, to hold a church service on the Sabbath day and then hypocritically condemn all other Christians for a lack of Sabbath observance. Tithes and offerings were not to be given on the Sabbath. Sacrifices (worship) should not be offered on the Sabbath. All labor, including excessive travel was prohibited.
The New Testament offers precedent for an appropriate day of worship - the first day of the week, what we know as "Sunday". The apostles came together to break bread on that day (Acts 20:7) a commeration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tithes and offerings are to be collected on that day (I Cor. 16:2). Even the apostle John, in exile on the Isle of Patmos, worshipped on that day in the spirit and in so doing received a personal visit from the Lord and a revelation for the church (Rev. 1).
QUESTION: IS THERE ANY SCRIPTURE STATING THAT THE SABBATH WAS LIMITED TO THE OLD COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND THE NATION OF ISRAEL?
ANSWER: YES! Exodus 31:16,17 “Wherefore the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout THEIR generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between ME and the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”
QUESTION: WAS THE SABBATH OBSERVED BEFORE MOSES?
ANSWER: NO! Exodus 16, Neh. 9:13-15
QUESTION: DID THE APOSTLE PAUL SPECIFICALLY MENTION THE SABBATH AS BEING NO LONGER BINDING – TO THE POINT OF COMMANDING GENTILES NOT TO LET ANYONE JUDGE THEM FOR NON-OBSERVANCE?
ANSWER: YES! Colossians 2:16-17 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, OR OF SABBATH DAYS: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” CASE CLOSED. This is not history or tradition; this is scripture.
QUESTION: DOES THE BIBLE SPECIFICALLY MENTION THE KEEPING OF A DAY AS BEING A MATTER OF PERSONAL CONVICTION, TO WHICH PARTIES ON EITHER SIDE SHOULD RESPECT THE PRACTICE OF THE OTHER?
ANSWER: YES! Romans 14:4-7 “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 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. …For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”
QUESTION: DID THE APOSTLES AND EARLY CHRISTIANS ATTEND SYNAGOGUE ON THE SABBATH?
ANSWER: YES! Acts 13:14,42; 18:4 In every case mentioned, it was to witness to messiahship of Jesus Christ, and never as a meeting of Christians.
QUESTION: DID THEY ALSO MEET ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK?
YES! I Cor. 16:2 mentions the taking of offerings on the first day of the week. Offering giving was always a part of worship, and was not connected to the synagogue, but the temple. Psalm 96:8,9 “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him all the earth.”
Acts 20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread (the breaking of bread was a custom established immediately in the primitive church (Acts 2); it does not refer to a custom established by Jews some 1000 years later known as “havdallah”), Paul preached unto them…” This is nothing more than old-fashioned church with dinner on the grounds and preaching past midnight. Holy Ghost church is the same in every culture.
QUESTION: WERE THERE JUDIAZERS IN THE CHURCH WHO REJECTED THE DECISION OF THE APOSTLES AND THE HOLY GHOST AND DESIRED TO KEEP THE CHURCH IN BONDAGE TO EXPIRED JEWISH ORDINANCES?
ANSWER: YES! Acts 15:5,19-21; 21:20-25 Galatians 2:3-5 Phillipians 3:1-3 Revelation 2:9; 3:9 I Peter 2 Consider this: Galatians was a letter written to former Jews who were being removed from the gospel (1:6) by Judaizers who compelled Titus to be circumcised, and were not tolerated by Paul (2:3-5,14-16). He REBUKES them because of their attempt to be justified by the works of the law (3:1-5) and specifically names what they were doing (4:9-10) – observing days (i.e. SABBATH), months (i.e. new moon), times and years.
QUESTION: EXPLAIN MATTHEW 24:20 “Pray that your flight be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath day.”
ANSWER: The twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of Matthew is a record of a private conversation between Jesus and his disciples (24:3) who lived in a Jewish nation. Whether the view of Mt. 24 is preterest (i.e. abomination of desolation occurring in A.D. 70, cf. Luke 21) or futurist (has not yet occurred), the location of the named scenario is Judea (West Bank), Israel. The jewish nation has and always will observe the Sabbath which would or will complicate any necessary evacuation which might or may occur. There is no endorsement of Sabbath keeping expressed or implied here (nor any condemnation of such), merely a warning based on practicality and concern; much as a man who would state, “There will be a future nuclear attack on St. Louis, MO; pray that it doesn’t happen at Christmastime or when Busch Stadium is full.” The inevitability of a future tragedy does not remove the compassion from the one giving the prophecy.
WE INVITE YOU TO SEND YOUR QUESTION(S) IN!!!
A new sound has filled the land, and the ministry is strangely silent. Music and singing are reflections of the soul, and the manner in which words are expressed speak just as loud as the words themselves. This is true in common speech as well as in music, and this untoward generation has taken it upon itself to offer new sounds and new ideas as worship to a holy God. In today's contemporary church music we hear the vocal intonations associated with drunkenness, rebellion, foolishness, and witchcraft.
THE SOUND OF WAR
As Moses and Joshua descended the mountain after receiving the commandments of God, their ears were greeted with a sound that was at first, undiscernable. Who can deny that much of the music of this day would fall into the same catagory? They had just left the presence of a holy God, and were still basking in the glow of his glory, when they were confronted with noise that at first sounded like a giant brawl.
In Exodus 32, Joshua rightly described the music and revelry that could be heard from their descent on the mountain as, "There is a noise of war in the camp." Moses' response was found in verse 18, "It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome but the noise of them that sing do I hear." Modern religious music is war. It is a war against western civilization, against Christian values, against traditional mores, against decent thought, a war against the peace of mind promised to the believer as a gift from God to insulate him from the noise of this world.
I, personally, am repulsed by the concept of "Christian leaders" using the very music that aided in unravelling our society in the 1960's and 1970's to control the minds of unsuspecting worshippers and lead them into a perverted worship of a foreign Jesus under the influence of an evil spirit, all the while professing to "worship the Father in spirit and in truth." This is a war. It is a war of religious beatniks claiming access to a "move of the Holy Ghost" through beat-oriented musical gimickry versus the true Christian church who sings the new song: new in contradistinction to the old song of worldliness, honky-tonking, fornication, and drug abuse. It is a war of good versus evil. It is a war of definition. It is a war of expression. The song of Moses and the Lamb will ultimately prevail, but how many spiritual casualties will fall before this happens?
THE SOUND OF DISTRESS
Probably the greatest indication of distress is the expression which involuntarily escapes the lips as a moan. It is uttered when someone is subjected to extreme pain, whether physical or emotional, or as an expression of sensual pleasure. We live in a day of desensitization. Most desensitization takes place when the human mind is subjected to overexposure or extreme overstimulation.
The combined ingredients of repetition, accentuation of beat, loud and/or synthetic sounds, excessive musical tension are the staples of mind-control, demon worship, orgies, modern rock music, and now, Pentecostalism.
THE SOUND OF SORCERY
Haunted houses are known for providing thrills to those who seek pleasure through the titillation of fear. Christian music does not cater to the desire for creepy sensations, goosebumps, hair raising excitement, rather it is constructed to usher people into the presence of God. Witchcraft has its own music, Christianity does too. The beating of the drum is an appropriate backdrop for rituals in voodoo, conjuring up evil spirits, and out of body experiences, and has been for millennia. Christian music possesses harmony, melody, reverence, and meaning, and therefore is often called sacred music.
THE SONG OF FOOLS
Music is a language. It, without words, conveys emotions, attitudes, moods, and spirits. A great example of the use of music in these ways is the theatre. Some musical scores heighten suspense, some create a backdrop of peacefulness. A certain sound tells the audience that this actor is a Gillian; another musical flourish indicates the hero is coming and help is on the way.
While we feel it is in the best interest of Christians to avoid the majority of theatre, even playing a record of children's stories can illustrate this point.
Satan is hunting for the souls of men, and will employ every tactic at his disposal. Today's religious world is full of "praise and worship" music, repeating the same word or phrase almost endlessly, with sappy passion, feigned intensity, disregard for the hymns of the faith, full of meaning, doctrine, thought. Simplification to the point of stupidity seems to be the rule for public education, assembly instructions, and now, yes, religious music.
A decision to be a Christian must be a careful , purposeful, informed decision. The study of scripture should be diligent. Worship must be according to the Word of God.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; fear before him all the earth. Psalm 96:9
For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Phillipians 3:3
Old Paths Bible Church
P. O. Box 65
Bowling Green, MO
Phone: (573) 324-6720
This website is a means of connecting with people on the basis of truth, fellowship, spiritual edification or to instruct those who are just curious about the concept of "God". The Old Paths Bible Church is a home for people who are longing for non-contemporary, old fashioned church . We are seeking to be more scriptural, more Spirit-led, and therefore more truly relevant. If you are a distraught Christian tired of production, amplification, and showmanship, a seeker of sound, simple Bible teaching, or a non-Christian with an open mind to Christianity and a desire to find purpose, we invite you to come seek out the "old paths, where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls".
Pastor Tommy Schultz