9-4-2 The Sabbath And Israel

  1. You claim that Gentiles could not be cursed by God for disobeying the law (ie sinning) in your previous statements. Yet God clearly states that He was driving the Canaanites out of their land because of their sins against laws that He binds Israel to obey: “9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. 14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.” How then can you say that the law and curses were not universal when God clearly is cursing Canaan for disobedience?

I said that the Gentiles could not have been driven out of the land because they disobeyed the Sabbath law, as you claimed, because that law had not then been given. You are arguing from silence. Scripture definitely says that the Sabbaths were given by God to Israel as a memorial between them and Him- not to the Gentile world. “I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments…moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled…my sabbaths they greatly polluted” (Ez. 20:10-13). “Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws…and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath…and a law, by the hand of Moses” (Neh. 9:13,14). The whole sabbath concept- and note that there is no difference made between weekly and ceremonial sabbaths- was “made known” to Israel by Moses. They didn’t know it before. So you can’t reasonably argue that the Gentiles knew about it before Israel did.

  1. God states that Israel’s law is to be an example and model for all nations, not simply for Israel: Deuteronomy 4:5 “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8 for what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” The statutes and judgments are righteous according to the Gentile nations, or in other words tell them how to keep from being wicked or sinful. How then can you say that this law is only for the Jews?

You have stated that the Decalogue was for Gentiles and Jews, but the rest of the Law of Moses was only for Jews. But now you are saying that Dt. 4:5-8 is speaking about the 10 commandments. But “statutes and judgments…that ye should do in the land whither ye go” are clearly not the ten commandments. They were to be obeyed a) by Israel b) in the land of Israel. Not by the Gentile world. Israel’s obedience to them would make their neighbours say “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people”. There is no statement in the above passage that the Gentiles had to be obedient to these “statutes and judgments”. The passage prophesies that the Gentiles would only come to know about God’s laws through seeing the example of those who had been obedient to them. This is proof positive that those nations didn’t know them beforehand- so it cannot be that they knew those laws before Israel did, and were expelled from the land for disobedience to them. The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon because she had heard of the wisdom and happiness of Israel as a result of their obedience to the law of their God- but she hadn’t been commanded by God to be obedient to the laws which Israel were obeying.

  1. You claim that whenever the Bible uses the word stranger it refers only to those people who have latched onto Israel and have decided to covenant with Yahweh, and that only these special people had to keep the Sabbath day. Yet this is not how the Bible uses the word stranger at all. In fact, God distinguishes those strangers who DO latch on and covenant with Yahweh, from those strangers that do not. Exodus 12:48 says “An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the passover of YAHWEH must have all the males in his household circumcised.” Notice carefully that in order to partake of the Passover the alien or stranger first had to want to do this, and then also have his household circumcised! The Sabbath commandment however is binding upon all strangers without exception, and even the animals. The stranger, even if he did not want to observe the Sabbath, nevertheless had to do so, even if he was not circumcised. The commandment is universal. Therefore how can you say that the Sabbath is like circumcision when the Sabbath is universally binding upon all Gentile visitors and circumcision is binding only upon those who wished to enter the Jewish covenant (i.e. go onto the Jewish side of the ‘wall of partition’ mentioned in Ephesians 2:14-15)?

If the Sabbath is a moral commandment, how can animals have to be obedient to it? Surely they are a-moral? Are they really going to be resurrected and judged and condemned for their failure to sit down and rest on the 7th day? The Israelite owner of animals was not to use his animals for labour on the Sabbath because he had to observe the Sabbath- not them. What evidence is there that God specifically requested all animals, fish, birds etc. not to work on the Sabbath? Did He beam it into their brain cells? Scripture is totally silent about this. You give no evidence at all that Sabbath keeping was obligatory upon Gentile visitors. If as you claim it was a moral requirement for the whole planet, then why did God not instruct His prophets to tell the whole planet about their duty to keep it? Israel were never commanded to go and tell the Gentile world to keep Sabbath, and there is no record of such instruction being given to Gentile nations before the time of Moses. All these huge assumptions, which have not the slightest Biblical proof, are required simply because a wrong proposition has to be ‘proved’.

  1. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-20 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Christ here clearly states that not the least stroke will disappear from the law until all is fulfilled and heaven and earth itself disappear. Therefore, He says if you teach others to disobey the very least of the Old Testament law, you will be called least in the kingdom. If you claim that fulfill involves doing away with our need to obey His law (not for justification but for sanctification, we are justified by faith alone), then you cause Our Lord to contradict Himself by calling us to obey it! How do you respond to this statement of our Lord?

Nobody was free at the time Jesus spoke those words to disobey the Mosaic Law- because the Torah was in force right up until Jesus “took it out of the way” through His death on the cross. Then the “heavens and earth” of the Mosaic system ended. This phrase must be symbolic because the literal earth and heaven will not be destroyed- God will not destroy His own abode, and His eternal Kingdom is prophesied to come here on earth (Ecc. 1:4). If you say that the ceremonial law has been done away but the 10 commandments haven’t been, then by quoting Mt. 5:17 you are forced to assume that “the law” meant only the ten commandments. And yet it is clear from the usages of the phrase “the law” in the New Testament that it clearly refers to the entire law. You are forced to conclude that sometimes “the law” refers to the 10 commandments, sometimes to the rest of the Law. How can you decide which definition to apply? There is no Biblical warrant for this. And you went further in your second paper to introduce yet a third compartment of ‘law’: “Nowhere does the New Testament do away with [God’s] civil laws and penalties”. You seem to be saying that the “Law” was divided into: 1) the 10 commandments, 2) the “civil laws and penalties”, and 3) the “ceremonial law”, and that only the last category of “the law” was done away. These legalistic distinctions are purely artificial and man-made. They cannot be sustained from the Bible text.

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