Sabbath Keeping #4

When it is pointed out that the Sabbath observance, along with the entire law of Moses, was abolished, the Sabbatarian will sometimes respond by saying the Sabbath is “eternal” or “perpetual.” He may quote Exodus 31:16: “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” Notice it says “throughout their generations,” that is, as long as the Jewish system was in force. If this is not the case, then the Sabbatarians are also obligated to burn incense and offer burnt offerings, because Exodus 30:8 says, “And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” Also, Exodus 30:10 states that the day of atonement was to be kept “throughout your generations. It is most holy [sanctified] to the Lord.” If the Sabbath is “perpetual” so are the burning of incense and the day of atonement with its sacrifices.

Further, the Spirit revealed, “Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel” (2 Chron. 2:4). If the Sabbath is “perpetual,” then certainly “sweet incense,” “showbread,” “burnt offerings,” “new moons,” and the “set feasts” are as well. Will the Sabbatarian accept this?

Christians are not obligated to observe the seventh day but are commanded to keep the first day of the week. Upon it, they are to observe the memorial feast of Christ (the Lord’s Supper) and study God’s word. “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7). Likewise, they are to give of their means upon the first day of the week. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Cor. 16:1-2). When they gather for these things, they are also authorized to pray and sing (cp. 1 Cor. 14:15). “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col. 2:16-17).

Steven F. Deaton