2010-04-04 - Fourth Commandment
The Ten Commandments, Part 21
The principle of general versus specific application found here is similar to that seen in baptism. Baptism was something practiced by the Jew before the time of the New Testament. This is why we find John the Baptizer practicing it prior to Christs appearance on the scene. But, after the resurrection, Christ takes this rite and makes it a picture of both His death and resurrection. This made it a unique ritual for the Church. In this same way, the general rule of a day of rest is taken by the Lord, and given a specific role for the Hebrew people.
Keeping all this in mind, it is clear why Christ did not reinstitute the necessity of keeping the Sabbath to those who would follow after Him. The Sabbatic command was the only command of the Decalogue specifically given to Israel.
Nowhere in the New Testament are believers called to keep the Sabbath. The early church did, for a short time, continue Sabbath worship. But this was because of the Jewish makeup of the church. The Jewish believers continued to go to the Synagogue, and so they kept the traditional holidays.
As the church grew, and Gentiles came in, worship moved to the first day of the week, Sunday, in recognition of the Lords resurrection. Worship was then on the Lords Day. We must understand that the Sabbath was never changed from Saturday to Sunday. Instead, the day of worship was moved from the day kept under law, to the day that represented salvation, Resurrection Day, Sunday.
For those who today demand Sabbath worship, we should ask if they call for death for those who fail to follow this. We find those who still follow the law, Seventh-Day Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists. Some even argue that Sunday worship is the sign of Antichrist.
We can see, then, that God called for honoring the Sabbath as first a fulfillment of the principle of a day of rest, as identified in vs. 11. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
First, during the Sabbath none in the nation were to work, even those who were not citizens. Second, the Sabbath itself was to be unique to the nation of Israel. It was intended to show the relationship of the Hebrew people to their God, in a way that would be visible to those nations around them.
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