Has the Sabbath Been Abrogated?
I. How Did Sunday Worship Come About, and When?
I am going to quote a little bit from the book “The SABBATH in the NEW TESTAMENT” to show how those who would desire to sincerely follow Christ, asking Christ into their lives, have through no fault of their own, fallen prey to some very false teachings about the Sabbath. The origin of these teachings are very old, going back to the 300s AD, giving them time to become firmly entrenched as accepted ‘Christian Dogma’ to all those who would seek to follow Christ. We will also see other ‘theologians’ in more recent times have refined and enhanced these false ‘dogmas’ about Sabbath vs. Sunday observance, re-enforcing these ancient false teachings. There are two main false dogmas which came from the 300s AD and slightly before. When it mentions ‘Early Fathers’ the author is referring to Roman Catholic Early Fathers, just to make that clear. The first dogma we will look at is what the author being quoted terms as the ABROGRATION OF THE SABBATH.
“I. Abrogation of the Sabbath”
“Origin of the View. The “abrogation” view of the Sabbath rests upon the understanding of a radical discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments. It can be traced back to some of the Early Fathers who taught that the Sabbath is a temporary ordinance deriving from Moses, enjoined exclusively upon the Jews on account of their unfaithfulness and abrogated by the coming of Christ.” [“The SABBATH in the NEW TESTAMENT”, p.18, par.2] What the author is saying here is those who would seek to successfully abrogate the Sabbath commandment in the eyes of unsuspecting believers (back then, but there are modern examples of this too), would have to find ways to disconnect or discredit the Old Testament, especially the Prophets and their prophecies. Why? Jesus as the pre-incarnate Yahweh very clearly prophecied that both the Sabbath and Holy Day observance would be fully restored as “days of worship” upon his return, his 2nd coming. Amillennialism started in the early Catholic church as their interpretation of all Old Testament prophecies (and New Testament as well). The proto-Catholic Church, under Constantine, was the first organized religious group to force people to abandon the Sabbath for Sunday (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm). Amillennialism makes this separation and discrediting of the Old Testament quite nicely by allegorizing away all the literal interpretations for the Old Testament prophecies. So out the window goes Zechariah 14:16-19 and Isaiah 66:15-23, where YHWH basically showed the Sabbath and Holy Day observances would be permanently restored on earth at the Messiah’s 2nd coming, setting all things right. Recently, in the final days of the Worldwide Church of God as a Sabbath-keeping denomination, Joseph Tkach Jr. pushed Worldwide heavily into Amillennialism, discarding all the literal interpretations of Old Testament (and New Testament) prophecies. Next step, he forced them all to switch over to Sunday, slowly at first, congregation by congregation. Our next quote will show how more recent ‘theologians’ enhanced and refined the doctrine of abrogation of the Sabbath. “Reformation Elaboration. This view was reiterated and elaborated in the sixteenth century by Luther and some radical groups such as the Anabaptists and Mennonites. The Augsburg Confession (1530) exemplifies this view when it states: “Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath-day; for it teaches that since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted.” Luther’s radical distinction between Law and Gospel was adopted and developed by Anabaptists, leftist Puritans, Quakers, Mennonites, Hutterites, and by many antinomian denominations.” [ibid. p. 18, par. 3] (Wikipedia gives a good definition for antinomian, so give it a read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/antinomianism ) Going further, into very recent church history, we have “Recent Redefinition. In recent years the abrogation view of the Sabbath has been reproposed and redefined in numerous studies, two of which deserve mention. The first is the work by Willy Rordorf which has been translated into several languages and has touched off a spate of books on this subject. Rordorf espouses the thesis that the Sabbath was a “social institution” introduced after the occupation of Canaan and annulled by Christ.” Let me stop right there. Boy, this guy really doesn’t know his Bible or Old Testament history very well. The Ten Commandments, all ten of them, including the Sabbath Command came in Exodus 20, during the first year of the Israelites stay in the Wilderness. It wasn’t for another 40 years until they entered the Promised Land in Canaan. And the Ten Commandments were hardly “social institutions.” They formed the backbone for the legal Constitution of Israel under God’s theocratic rule. Let’s continue, and see what else this yahoo has to say. “He bases his position especially on the provocative nature of Christ’s Sabbath healing ministry, by which he claims, “the Sabbath commandment was not merely pushed into the background…it was simply annulled.”” [ibid. p. 19, par.1] Yeah right. Jesus Christ’s healings on the Sabbath were one, out of mercy. Two they were to done to clearly and plainly correct the Pharisaic teachings (which were legalistic and myriad) about Sabbath observance, not to abrogate it. If Christ abrogated the Sabbath, by this guy’s warped logic, then why did the entire New Testament Church continue to keep the Sabbath throughout the Book of Acts, and historically up through the 300s AD, until they were driven underground? I think we’ve heard enough from Rordorf. The end of this next quote sheds some interesting light on when Sabbath-keepers were driven underground. “The second noteworthy study is the newly released symposium From Sabbath to Lord’s Day (1982), edited by Donald A. Carson and sponsored by the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research in Cambridge, England. Somewhat like Rordorf, but in a less radical fashion, the seven contributors to this symposium argue for the termination of the validity of the Sabbath with the coming of Christ…Like Rordorf, they emphasize the discontinuity between Sabbath and Sunday [and Old Testament and New? Probably]. Contrary to Rordorf, however, they trace the origin of Sunday not back to the resurrection/appearances of Christ but rather to the tail-end of the apostolic age. “We maintain,” writes M. Max B. Turner, “that first-day Sabbath observance [i.e. Sunday] cannot easily be understood as a phenomenon of the apostolic age or of the apostolic authority at all.”” [ibid. p.19, par.2-3, sel. parts] We see a glimmer of historic honesty there, at least. “Apostolic authority” was busy keeping the 7th Day Sabbath and Holy Days of Leviticus 23. This latter group is at least honest enough to admit that, if in somewhat veiled language.
“II. TRANSFERENCE OF THE SABBATH”
“Origin of the View. A second view sees the principle of Sabbath-keeping in the New Testament as transferred to Sunday rather than abrogated. This position basically derives from a recognition of the existence of a basic underlying unity between Old and New Testaments. The transference view was developed after Sunday legislation (A.D. 321) as an attempt to give theological sanction and binding solemnity to the imperial legislation demanding rest from work on Sunday. [So those who couldn’t swallow the other argument which sought to create discontinuity between Old Testament and New were fed this one. Same early period of time of origin.] This was accomplished by transferring the requirements of the Sabbath to the observance of Sunday. The theological justification for this transference was developed gradually during the Middle Ages and reached its classic formulation in Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1225-1247). Aquinas’ Contribution. Aquinas distinguished between a moral and a ceremonial aspect within the Fourth Commandment. The moral aspect consists in the principle of setting aside a regular time for worship and rest which, Aquinas believed, was in accordance with the natural reason (natural law). The ceremonial aspect, on the other hand, is determined by the specification and symbolism of the seventh day: commemoration of creation and prefiguration of present and future rest in God.” [ibid. p.20, par. 2-4] Hebrews spells out this “rest” and commands us to strive to enter into it. More on that later. So we see those who want to continue to recognize the basic underlying unity between the Old and New Testaments were encouraged to adopt “the transference of the Sabbath to Sunday” dogma. This dogma or doctrine is also very old, going back to Constantine in the 320s AD. The ceremonial aspect of the Sabbath was abrogated, as stated in the Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566) “at the death of Christ…at the same time when the other Hebrews’ rites and ceremonies were to be abrogated.” “Calvin’s Clarification. Calvin reproposed Aquinas’ distinction between the moral and ceremonial aspects of the Sabbath with new qualifications. The moral aspect, which according to Calvin, has been transferred to Sunday, is the pragmatic function of the day, namely, to allow God to work in us, to provide time for church services, and to protect the dependent workers. The ceremonial aspect is the symbolic significance of the seventh day: a commemoration of creation and a foreshadowing of the spiritual rest that was to be manifested in Christ. “There can be no doubt,” Calvin affirms, “that, on the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, the ceremonial part of the commandment was abolished.” [Or so he says.] To contend that the specification of the seventh day is a ceremonial element of the Sabbath, because it was designed to aid the Jews to commemorate creation and to experience spiritual rest, means being blind to the fact that Christians need such an aid just as much as the Jews; it means leaving Christians confused as to the reason for devoting one day to the worship of God.” [ibid. p.21, par. 2-4] To one degree or another, most modern Sunday observing Christian churches and denominations follow this basic dogma or the first one, the total abrogation of the Sabbath, with slight modifications here and there. Modern Calvanist writers are such people like Beckwith and Stott, This is the Day (1978), and The Lord’s Day (1971) by Paul K. Jewett. The transference dogma has been adopted in some form or other by these denominations: English Puritans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Baptists. Samuel Bacchiocchi’s conclusion on this particular dogma is: “In the light of the foregoing observations we conclude that the transference view of the Sabbath represents a noble effort to give a Biblical sanction and a binding solemnity to Sunday observance. Such an effort, however, rests on an artificial distinction between moral and ceremonial aspects of the Sabbath---a distinction which is not present in the New Testament and which has been largely rejected by recent scholarship.” [ibid. p.22, par. 5] For a good historic research paper about the Early Christian Church during the apostolic age up through the 300s AD, log onto and read through http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm.
IIa. The Sabbath as Found in the Four Gospels
We find the Sabbath as a strict command sort of soft-peddled in the four Gospels, except for several very clear statements made by Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:17-19 and Luke 6:5. This one aspect has led most serious Sunday-observing students of the Bible to believe the Sabbath abrogation argument of old is accurate, even though they are hanging their entire interpretation on two verses which many debate the true interpretation of, Romans 14:5-6. We will examine all of these Scriptures, one by one, from Gospel to Gospel. Some are repeats,.
Matthew 5:17-19, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” We find here one of the clearest statements by Jesus Christ in the New Testament that the Old Testament Law of God is not done away with, the Ten Commandment law of God, as exemplified in the rest of Matthew 5, verses 20-48. How do we know it’s the whole Old Testament Law? A “jot” or “tittle” were Hebrew punctuation marks found written in the Old Testament Law of God. Modern-day Christians looking to say “Christ fulfilled all the law, so we don’t have to,” are only reading as far as the end of verse 17. But when you include the next two verses, you see that this Law he’s talking about won’t become null and void, not even by the removal of a “jot” or “tittle” “Till heaven and earth pass.” When does that event occur? Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Now we know in Hebrews 10 that the ceremonial animal sacrificial laws which pictured Christ’s sacrifice have been superceded by Christ’s sacrifice. Physical circumcision was superseded by the baptism of the believer. But a careful search of the New Testament will find 9 of the 10 Commandments reiterated literally and also brought to their spiritual intent, as Matthew chapter 5 does. But Matthew 5:17-19 is clear enough, in context with Matthew 5:20-48, it is the whole 10 Commandment Law of God, found in the Old Testament, which is not done away, along with all the statutes and judgments that explain and modify those Ten Commandments. Some are not applicable outside an agrarian society, that is to be understood. The Holy Days found commanded in Leviticus 23 are statutes tying directly into the Sabbath Commandment, and the Sabbath is the first Holy Day mentioned in Leviticus 23, verses 1-3. The clean and unclean food laws of Leviticus 11 are in full force, and those who break them often die many years earlier than those who adhere to them. They’re for your good health. Medically it has been proven. So Jesus meant what he said in Matthew 5:17-19. Another important fact to consider, is when Jesus spoke the words contained in Matthew 5:17-19 the only Law of God was the Old Testament Law of God found in the first five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). There was no New Testament when Jesus spoke these words, so “the law” Jesus is referring to has to be the Old Testament Law of God containing the Ten Commandments. That’s our foundation Scripture for this study. There is one other, Luke 6:5, which we will cover when we get to it. This will be a chronological survey of the Scriptures covering the word “Sabbath” as found in the four Gospels and the Book of Acts.
Next turn to Matthew 12:1-8, “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn [grain fields]; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” If you study either in the Mishnah or Talmud you will find a myriad of tiny “do’s” and “don’ts” Sabbath commandments, regulating Sabbath observance. Rubbing the grains of wheat together was considered work by their Pharisaic code of extra laws they had heaped on the Sabbath command of God. Plucking the grain (even a handful) was considered “harvesting,” and rubbing it in your hands to get the husks off was considered “milling” the wheat or grain, two forms of labor. Jesus is showing several important things here. Each of these confrontations we see Jesus in over the Sabbath have to do with his correcting wrong laws and practices the Pharisees and their Pharisaic system had placed over the people’s Sabbath observance, nullifying the original intent of the Sabbath, one of which as he states here was the showing of mercy to those who are hungry or in need. The Sabbath was the first Feast Day mentioned in Leviticus 23, and you aren’t supposed to go hungry on a Feast Day (duh!). The second major point he makes here is that he, Jesus Christ, is Lord of the Sabbath. He’s not Lord of Sunday, Christmas or Easter, but the Sabbath. Those are Matthew’s words, not mine. Luke will repeat them in Luke 6:5. Christ is correcting their wrong practices in their Sabbath observance, he is not nullifying the Sabbath command at all. Let’s not have the Scripture say what it’s not saying, or more than it’s saying. The two major concepts seen here are to show mercy on the Sabbath, as we’ll see, we’re to show agape, as Christ did on the Sabbath. And the other concept is that Jesus is the boss of the Sabbath, the Lord of the Sabbath. How it should be kept, and how it shouldn’t be kept is up to him. And he’s showing that right here.
Matthew 12:9-14, “And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held counsel against him, how they might destroy him.” Just look at the Pharisees’ attitude. When you look at the way other’s are keeping the Sabbath differently than you, or not at all, i.e. Sunday observers, do you see yourself here? I see a lot of this attitude within the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God. Scary, because Jesus, the very one who got angry over this situation, must get just as angry when he sees us acting like this. Notice again, Jesus is correcting and spelling out “what is lawful” on the Sabbath. He’s correcting Sabbath observance, not Sunday observance. He is not commanding his followers to stop observing the Sabbath, he’s just showing them how they should be observing it, and how they shouldn’t be observing it. He is showing agape. Our outgoing concern for others is to be one of the keys to our Sabbath observance.
Mark 1:21-27, “And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit [a demon possessed man]; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.” Firstly, Jesus’ example, which we are told to follow in, 1st Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” Jesus kept the Sabbath and taught in the synagogues on the Sabbath day. Secondly, he taught with authority. As a pastor, if you can’t be sure of what you are teaching in the Word of God, then as J. Vernon McGee says, go sell insurance, go bag groceries, because you don’t belong in the pulpit teaching believers. Again, we see Jesus having mercy on a helpless soul who was demon possessed, which has got to be one of the worst states a person could find himself or herself in. The Sabbath was when Jesus set people free by what he taught, with authority, and by his actions of healing and mercy. We are seeing an overall theme running throughout all of these verses, and they all involve correcting a wrong perception and way of keeping the Sabbath. It’s not the Sabbath that was wrong, but the way people were being led to observe it.
Mark 2:23-28, “And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Here we find an almost exact repeat of Matthew 12:1-8. It just backs up what we learned in a previous Gospel, validating it’s authenticity (in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall everything be established).
Mark 3:1-6, “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he said unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their piece. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.” One of the key points of agape, is that when you are really angry at someone, do something good, not hateful, revengeful. Jesus was extremely angry here over the hardness of their hearts and their misuses of the Sabbath. He could have, as very God, said “Stretch out all your hands!” and then withered all their hands. He didn’t. He healed the man with the withered hand and left. Be sure to click on the Agape section and read all about these traits we as Christians should be exhibiting. The Pharisees were exhibiting and extremely judgmental attitude toward someone who was sincerely trying to correct their misunderstandings about Sabbath-keeping. Sadly, they never got the point. Do you get the point?
Mark 6:2-5, “And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” Jesus comes into his hometown, and again what does he do? On the Sabbath day he goes into the synagogue to teach. One key point throughout all these verses is that the Sabbath day is meant for the teaching of God’s Word, and for the teaching of the Gospel, as we’ll see with the apostle Paul. One interesting observation here, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country.” If your pastor has come up through the ranks in your own congregation, and God’s blessing him with knowledge and understanding to teach God’s Word, be sure to show him the respect due a pastor. Don’t be like Jesus’ carnal neighbors. This is a very real tendency of human nature, even amongst believers. Be careful to show honour where honour is due.
Luke 4:16-20, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And all the eyes of them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him…” This is the same story Mark told us about Jesus in his hometown. But Luke shares a few more details. Very interesting, the things he quoted out of Isaiah, which was a prophecy about what he as the Messiah would do. We find Jesus, as the Messiah doing a lot of these things on the Sabbath, and Peter, John and Paul followed in his example. Preaching both the Word of God and the Gospel on the Sabbath, healing the brokenhearted, he was healing the blind, and giving liberty to the bruised. Just an interesting observation. The Sabbath for Jesus was not filled with a whole bunch of legalistic do’s and don’ts, but was a time of dynamic activity aimed at preaching God’s Word and helping the poor and infirm, healing the sick.
Luke 4:31-32, “And [he] came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” Verse 44, “And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee. Jesus used the Sabbath days to teach God’s Word, and he taught it with power and conviction. Again, if you can’t preach with power and conviction, find another job. And that doesn’t mean you have to be a powerhouse of a speaker that knocks people out of their chairs. I know a pastor we nicknamed Gentle George. His delivery was very gentle and soft-spoken, but it was with power and conviction. Power doesn’t mean you always have to be booming over the microphone, pegging the gain meters on the amplifiers. It denotes a surety of what you’re speaking about, and a conviction. As we see, he traveled all around, preaching on the Sabbath in the synagogues of Galilee. You didn’t preach on any other day other than the Sabbath in a synagogue.
Luke 6:1-5, “And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” We looked at this one before. Again, notice, Jesus Christ, the Messiah is telling them he is Lord of the Sabbath. They’ve misinterpreted the Sabbath command, making it a bunch of legalistic do’s and don’ts. He as Lord of the Sabbath is straightening them out on what they’re doing wrong. Again, it does not read that Jesus is Lord of Sunday, he is Lord of the Sabbath. He has been showing the Pharisees, and yes, us in his Word how not to keep the Sabbath, and how to keep it. That is the context here. It can’t be taken any other way. Luke 6:6-11, “And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes watched him [like a bunch of judgmental vultures…know any Sabbath-keepers like that?], whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.” Again, this is a repeat of what we have read in Matthew and Mark, backing up the witness. The Pharisees concept of the Sabbath was a bunch of legalistic do’s and don’ts, multiple hundreds of them. They were also on a power-trip to control how everyone kept the Sabbath. Have you ever seen people like that? According to what we read here, they’re Pharisaic, and not living in the true spirit of the Sabbath. These Pharisees actually had murder in their hearts. Christ was trying to undo their entire legalistic Sabbath-code which they held over the people. There was no freedom in their Sabbath, it was being used to put the people into slavery and bondage. Jesus was trying to undo that, while maintaining the Sabbath for its holy intended purpose. They would end up killing him for that, because he was a threat to their “system” of bondage and control over the people.
Luke 13:10-17, “And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which man ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.”---I’ve been in churches where that attitude is pervasive. It is a legalistic attitude, and it drives those who might consider keeping the Sabbath away from any that exude this attitude. This must stop, if you are to follow Christ. Don’t stop keeping the Sabbath, stop being a Pharisee.---“The Lord then answered him, and said Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said those things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done.”
John 5:1-13, “After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the waters: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”---can you begin to see the hard-heartedness of these Pharisees? They knew this man, he’d been waiting on his cot there 38 years! They don’t cut anyone any slack when it comes to their Pharisaic yardstick to Sabbath obedience.---“He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up they bed and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.” John 9:1-16 shows a similar event. Same lesson can be drawn from it. I think it is clear to all who are of sound mind by now, that these verses we’ve gone through show Jesus most definitely keeping the Sabbath. He is also strongly correcting the wrong way the Sabbath command is being kept and enforced by the Pharisees. Christ is replacing their wrongly added hundreds of legalistic do’s and don’ts with the spiritual principles of living by agape, showing mercy to people, helping them in their distress, using the Sabbath to boldly preach the Word of God and the Gospel. Now we need to look at the early New Testament Church, and see if they continued to observe the Sabbath, and in this manner specified by Christ.
IIb. The Sabbath in the Book of Acts
Acts 13:14-19, 28-33, “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he divided their land to them by lot…” Watch out when you give the apostle Paul the floor. Paul used the Sabbath in all his missionary evangelistic campaigns, preaching the Gospel on the Sabbath in the synagogues of the Jews throughout Asia Minor. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm for a more comprehensive historic treatment of this subject. It will amaze you. These next verses finish up Paul’s Gospel presentation. “…And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee…”
Now this next set of verses in Acts 13 is very interesting, in light of the fact about who wants to hear the Gospel, and on what day. Get a load of this. Verses 42-44, “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them, the next sabbath. Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”---You have a group of Jews and “God-fearing Gentiles” who had heard the Gospel preached by Paul in this synagogue, and they’re now the beginnings of a Judeo-Christian congregation right there, due to Paul’s evangelism on the Sabbath in their synagogue.---“And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” When? On the next Sabbath. Many of these Gentiles were “God-fearers,” a special group of Gentiles the Jews had won over into believing in the One True God of the Bible. They would attend Sabbath and Holy Day services in the local synagogue with the Jews. The churches that would form out of Paul’s evangelism would be Sabbath/Holy Day observing Judeo-Christian, probably with a Jew-to-Gentile makeup of around 50/50. That link above gives a more complete history of these events, both out of Acts and secular history sources.
Acts 14:1, “And it came to pass in Iconium, that they [Paul and Barnabas] went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.” Again, these Greeks would be God-fearers. This was taking place on the Sabbath, in the synagogue. The only Greeks “in the synagogue” were God-fearers, this special class of Gentiles. This truth about the God-fearers, who they were, is commonly understood by most historians, but not widely taught or acknowledged in Sunday observing churches, for obvious reasons.
Acts 15:19-24, “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath. 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: 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: 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…” Now let me explain. The whole Book of Galatians was written about Paul having trouble with these Judaizers who had come into these cities, telling the converts they had to adhere to the ceremonial laws, including circumcision. This forced Paul and Peter to come together for a doctrinal council in Jerusalem. They ruled circumcision and other ceremonial laws didn’t apply anymore (cf. Hebrews 10), and it is seen in other places that the ordinance of Baptism and receiving of the Holy Spirit as a result superseded physical circumcision, which was supposed to be of the heart originally. Receiving the Holy Spirit is circumcision of the heart. Many Sunday-observing denominations and theologians, not taking this in historic context believe this passage is abrogating the Sabbath command, and they like to couple this to Romans 14:5-6. But it must be remembered that 99.99 percent of all the Gentile believers in Asia Minor under Paul’s administration were Sabbath/Holy Day observing God-fearing Gentiles. Note the underlined portion, “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath.” This verse has to be applying to those Gentiles God had called in the synagogues through Paul and Silas. Or else why is it stuck in there. It can’t apply to ordinary pagan Gentiles. He’s saying here that the God-fearing Gentiles God has called already know about the Sabbath. For the most part they’re adhering to most of the Ten Commandments, but they have a problem with sexual immorality (which was rife in those parts of the Roman Empire, look at Corinth), and eating things sacrificed to idols, which would be offensive to the Jews. Taking this letter sent from this Jerusalem council and saying it is abrogating the Sabbath is taking it right out of historic context. For more proof on that log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm and read through that and its historic links. The Sabbath command wasn’t an issue for these folks, they were already keeping the Sabbath, and even the Holy Days.
Acts 16:11-15, “Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course [Paul’s sailing in an ocean-going vessel] to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.” We see that no matter what, if Paul had an opportunity to evangelize on the Sabbath, he’d do it. He also is seen here, just looking for a place to worship God on the Sabbath, “where prayer was wont to be made.” Prayer was an integral part of their Sabbath services, group prayer. That’s something we’ve ignored in our Sabbath-keeping congregations. But that’s another subject for another time. If you look up in Strongs “Feast days,” “Pentecost,” “the fast,” the “Feast of Tabernacles,” and “Passover,” you will see that Jesus kept all these days, and they are also mentioned throughout the Book of Acts, almost as in passing, like it’s understood ‘we’re keeping these days, so we don’t need to make much mention of them.’ But they are mentioned, and you can find them if you do a careful search. This paper is about the Sabbath not being abrogated, so I’m going to stick to that theme.
III. The Physical Sabbath is a Shadow of a Powerful Spiritual Reality
Now we know that Paul said the Holy Days and Sabbath were a shadow of powerful spiritual realities. We also as the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God know what all the Holy Day shadows represent. Passover is a shadow of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind. The Days of Unleavened Bread symbolize us living off the Word of God, Jesus Christ, eating the Unleavened Bread of Life (cf. John 6). Pentecost represents the beginning of God’s first harvest of saints, which started on the day of Pentecost (31 or 30 AD, it’s debated), and wraps up at the blowing of the 7th Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-18) and the 1st Resurrection to Immortality (cf. 1st Corinthians 15:49-54). The Feast of Trumpets symbolizes Jesus Christ’s 2nd Coming (cf. Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-15). The Day of Atonement is when the whole world will eventually come under Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice (cf. Zechariah 12:10-13; Revelation 20:1-3). And finally, the Feast of Tabernacles represents the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth by Jesus Christ, where he and the resurrected, immortal saints will rule over the earth (cf. Zechariah 14:16-19; Revelation 20:4-6). I just typed that from memory. We all should be well-versed in what the Holy Days represent, which Paul said are shadows of great spiritual things, shadows of things to come, things we have in Christ. But there is one shadow we in the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God tend to ignore, most of us at least. And that is the Sabbath. The physical Sabbath, just like the Holy Days, is a shadow of a powerful spiritual reality. Why do we ignore it, or at least some of us do? It is because the Sunday-observers use it as an excuse for not having to keep the physical Sabbath. What is this shadow the physical Sabbath represents? Turn to and let’s read Hebrews 4:1-11, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them [i.e. those in the Wilderness of Sinai], not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest on the seventh day from all his works. [So the subject here is the Sabbath, folks] And in this place again, If they shall enter my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest [as Yahweh, God of the Old Testament], then would not he afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”---That is not the accurate Greek. The accurate Greek for that verse if given in the margin, and it reads---“There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God.” Isn’t it nice, how the King James translators put the accurate rendering in the marginal rendering? Why? Because it was not a popular teaching in 1611 England, when Sabbath-keeping believers were hunted down and persecuted severely. Lets finish up with verses 10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” If the Sabbath is a shadow of a powerful spiritual reality within us, and it is described here as entering into God’s rest, what is that rest? We rest in the Lord when God’s Holy Spirit enters into us, to an extent. But it says we cease from our own works. That’s a key hint. Our own works are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). God’s rest is found in the fruits of his Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance [self control]: against such there is no law.” A lot of these fruits of the Spirit are also described in the 7 traits of Agape, Paul spelled out in 1st Corinthians 13:4-7, “Charity [Greek, Agape’] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly [i.e. isn’t rude], seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things…” How is it possible to have God’s agape love? It is developed within us by the combination of having God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, coupled to our life’s experiences. In John 14 it says Jesus and the Father dwell within us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. John 14:15-17, 21,23, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. [Matthew 5:17-19 anyone?] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him…Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” So to enter into the Sabbath rest spiritually is a lot more involved than just observing the physical Sabbath, that’s kindergarten stuff folks. To enter into God’s Sabbath rest spiritually is to develop God’s agape love within us. (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm for a whole section on how this is done) This dwelling in God’s Sabbath rest spiritually is a 24/7 deal, not just on the Sabbath.
What Have We Seen In Christ’s Sabbath Observance?
But getting back to the Sabbath, what have we seen so far in this study? One, we have clearly seen the Sabbath command has not been abrogated, nor has it been transferred to Sunday. Also, Jesus by his very example, was showing us how to keep the Sabbath, he was essentially showing us that we need to be showing God’s agape love on the Sabbath, instead of getting all hung up on the do’s and don’ts of the physical observance. One outweighs the other. Focus on entering God’s spiritual rest, and love others on God’s Sabbath, instead of judging them. Jesus was up against a legalistic/Pharisaic mindset which had created multiple hundreds of “Do and Don’t” laws regulating the physical observance of the Sabbath. These regulations took the poor Sabbath-keepers’ mind off the real intent of the Sabbath---to commune with God and show agape love to one’s neighbors---how?---by entering into the spiritual rest of the Sabbath. Next, we need to examine ourselves (I’m writing this just before Passover time, so this is timely). Ask yourself, are you being a Pharisaic jerk about your Sabbath-keeping toward others, especially Sunday-keeping Christians who don’t know any better? Don’t forget, those Sunday-keepers who are sincerely trying to follow Christ have been fed a line for 1700 years, they don’t know that they don’t know, think about it. The first thing we tend to do, as the Pharisees did toward Jesus, is tell our poor Sunday-observing friends “The Sabbath is a COMMAND, and if you don’t keep it YOU’RE GONNA FRY!” or “You’re not a Christian!” This has been the attitude and general mindset of most Sabbath-keeping believers, and this must change. If we make the Sabbath look like a “Commanded legalistic burden” to others, we are not encouraging others to keep it, and fall under the condemnation of Christ against the Pharisees. So, are you a quiet light, doing good to others on the Sabbath, as Jesus did? What kind of “light” does your Sabbath-keeping shine? Is it noisy and raucous, like some guy or gal you’d find in a bar-room?---or quietly and godly, as Peter told us to be? I remember when my Dad was in the final stages of dying from cancer. Because his case was terminal and hopeless, they had moved him to a hospice where he could be kept as comfortable as possible and have his medical needs (morphine doses) met. Due to my prior example of very strict (to a point of being Pharisaic, which I learned from Worldwide) adherence to the Sabbath command, he never expected to see me showing up on Saturday to visit him. That is what my Sabbath-keeping had trained him to expect. So it was quite a pleasant surprise to him and my mother when I showed up every Saturday afternoon after services to spend the afternoon with him. In a small way, I had started to shed a proper light on the Sabbath in his eyes, as Christ had done in opposition to the Pharisaic Sabbath “requirements.” Now to those Sunday-observing believers who are sincerely following Christ and his commandments to the best of your ability and understanding, I must apologize for the way most of us Sabbath-keepers have been treating you, both to your face, and behind your backs. I sincerely hope the information in this study can help you come to a better understanding of why the Sabbath command has not been abrogated, or transferred to Sunday. It is well worth the research. Historically, it is now becoming pretty evident that the early apostolic Christian Church up into the 300s AD was a Sabbath-keeping, Holy Day observing Church. I hope this article has been enlightening for all.
Sabbath-keepers have been scratching their heads for centuries at the fact that they have been witnessing clear evidence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit within some Sunday-observing Christians and groups. All of us within the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God understand that the Sabbath Command has not been abrogated or transferred to Sunday. (Although it’s nice to be able to put all of the Scriptures together on this subject into one neat package.) Because we “know” this is true, we tend to interpret Acts 5:32, “And we are his witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him” as telling us that anyone not keeping all of God’s Commandments (including the Sabbath Command) “does not and could not possibly have God’s Holy Spirit indwelling them.” This supposed “doctrine” that we’re so used to spouting off is based upon one Bible verse, and has apparently prevented us from recognizing something very important.
Spiritual Evidence of God’s Holy Spirit
I think we’d all have to agree that the Holy Spirit creates unmistakable evidence within whomever is indwelt with the Holy Spirit. 1) One such evidence is that the Holy Spirit imparts a clear understanding of God’s Word within the people who have the Holy Spirit indwelling them (cf. John 14 & 16). This evidence usually manifests itself at the time of a person’s conversion and thereafter. 2) A second and even more stunning evidence of the Holy Spirit is manifested within believers by their ability to overcome longstanding sins and addictions people in the world don’t normally have the power or will to overcome. 3) A third evidence and manifestation of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the long-term spiritual growth of a believer, the believer’s ability to develop God’s Agape-love for all others, including love for their enemies. Now for the evidence I have personally seen and been witness to (whether you choose to believe me or not---some of the evidence can be seen by reading the connective expository sermon transcripts going through the Gospels and Epistles on this website). I have seen all three forms of spiritual evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit I’ve just listed, all within a specific denomination of Sunday-observing Christians. It all came about when the Worldwide Church of God (which I had been a member of for 30 years) was going through a huge instability in what they taught, before they self-destructed as a Sabbath-keeping Church of God (timeline, 1995-96). I was searching for spiritual nourishment, understandably. Hungry sheep do that, it’s normal when a pasture goes dry. I came into contact with a tiny Sunday Bible study hosted by a young Calvary Chapel pastor (it had 12 members attending). Within 2.5 years they were a Sunday-observing church congregation of 125 members. Four years later their membership was 400 + members. I was being spiritually nourished in God’s Word by their sermons and in Christian fellowship, in a way Worldwide had ceased to provide. Their understanding of God’s Word, teaching it in expository format, going verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book through God’s Word was exemplary (minus a few doctrines I and we would disagree with. No one person or group has perfect understanding of God’s Word.) I also witnessed the second level of spiritual evidence for God’s Holy Spirit. As their membership grew I came to see and know people who were genuinely walking away from longstanding sins and/or addictions. And finally, as I attended on and off again over a seven year period, I came to see and witness people I knew personally, growing in God’s Agape-love for others, even their enemies.
A Dichotomy Exists Between Our Interpretation of Acts 5:32 and Observed Evidence of the Holy Spirit
How do we deal with this dichotomy? We have plainly seen the historic evidence at the beginning of this article that most of those who have genuinely sought to follow Christ have been fed a big fat lie that God’s Sabbath Command has either been abrogated or transferred to Sunday observance. Many of these believers have sought to obey God’s commandments to the very best of their ability and understanding, in spite of the lie they have swallowed, hook, line and sinker about the Sabbath’s abrogation. Then how do you explain the visible and viable evidence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit being present in Sunday-keepers? Personally, and you don’t have to agree with me on this, in my opinion the jury is still out on this one, but I believe the solution to this dichotomy lies in just two words: “God’s Sovereignty.” God won’t be put in a box to suite how we look at things. i.e. Those Sunday-observers God has chosen to bless with his Holy Spirit are the ones who are striving to live righteous, obedient lives to the very best of their ability and understanding. God, in his sovereignty, has apparently chosen to “overlook” the very real fact that they do not realize the Sabbath Command has not been abrogated. They don’t know that they don’t know. And whose fault is that? Yes, they’ve been deceived, going back to the 300s AD. But part of the blame lies with us, though. 1) We have not done a good enough job of teaching Sunday-keepers that the Sabbath Command has not been abrogated. 2) Our Pharisaic, legalistic attitude toward all Sunday-observers has turned them all away from us. And in some very real instances, they exhibit more of God’s Agape-love in their lives than we Sabbath-keepers do.
Taking all the spiritual “evidence” of the Holy Spirit indwelling some Sunday-keepers and Sunday-keeping groups, let’s look at this from the point of view of the spiritual application of the Sabbath command. The minute God calls a person into the Body of Christ through the evangelism of a Sunday-keeper and/or group, and he puts his Holy Spirit into that person, that person via the indwelling Holy Spirit is now instantly in God’s Sabbath-rest 24/7, the symbolic spiritual application of the Sabbath (which by far is the more important aspect of the command than the letter of the Law in this case). I mean, really folks, if rejecting the Holy Spirit brings eternal death, the second death, as Paul explained in Hebrews 10:26-31 (especially verse 29), and breaking the Sabbath in the Old Testament only brought physical death, which is more important, the spiritual application of God’s Sabbath rest within us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the physical observation of the day? In all honesty, I have seen and proven for myself that the Ten Commandment laws of God have not been abrogated. So, should a Sunday-observing person realize that the literal 10 Commandments have not be abrogated (including the Sabbath command), he or she is then responsible for observing the physical Sabbath (in the letter). Obviously, if a Holy Spirit indwelt person does not come to realize the physical Sabbath command has not be abrogated or transferred to Sunday, God (by direct observation of the Holy Spirit within Sunday-keepers) has not required them to keep the Sabbath in the letter of the law. I honestly can’t see any other explanation that fits my observations within both groups of believers, Sunday and Sabbath observing, and I have spent a good number of years attending within both groups (25 within one, 10 within the other).
There are significantly differing interpretations for how Romans 14:5-6 should be interpreted within the Body of Christ (each different commentary you look at has a different interpretation), enough so, that these two verses should be taken out of the realm of being a solid proof text for abrogation of the Sabbath Command. And knowing that no Bible doctrine should ever be based upon one or two stand-alone verses, we can basically scratch these two verses out of the Sabbath-abrogation argument.
New Covenant Supercedes Old, Does That Abolish God’s Law?
If your argument is that the New Covenant has superceded the Old Covenant and thus abolished the Law of Moses, I highly recommend the United Church of God’s excellent new booklet THE NEW COVENANT, Does It Abolish God’s Law?” It is available at: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/
Early Apostolic Church:
Period of Constantine, and just before:
Entering God’s spiritual Sabbath-rest:
To read an excellent article which makes the various covenants of God clear and easy to understand, log onto: