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If my people, who are called by my Name, humble themselves and pray (Part One)

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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

If Jesus was so Jewish, why do Christians worship on a Sunday?

Actually, it's not anti-Semitism; although it became a distinguishing mark in the same way as the Sabbath was for Jews. 

Did you know that "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is not repeated in the New Testament? That should keep some Christians busy for a little while. I have put the references below this post but without links.

And don't take this out of context, Jew or Gentile, and use this to have ago.

Nevertheless, it does seem strange that a faith that is certain that the Jew Jesus is the Christ (Yeshua ha Moschiach) doesn't worship on a Saturday. What happened to change things; when and why did this happen?

I will explain, but firstly, I want to deal with the Christian variations on this issue.


This has got to seem offensive to Jews, but it is about our attitude to God's Law and not about having a dig at Jewish custom and practice. It refers to those Christians, Jewish and Gentile, who are convinced that it is necessary for Christians/Messianic Jews to observe the Sabbath with varying degrees of strictness and, in some case, rivalling the ultra-orthodox.

The Seventh Day Adventists are the best known example of this, but recently there have been those who have made Sabbath Day observance a condition of salvation. They are no longer saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone but also by the addition of earning your place in Heaven through Sabbath day observance.

If we could perfectly keep the Law we could enter heaven freely and without hindrance. We cannot. In the Old Testament, God provides a whole system of sacrifices to deal with our sin and failure. In the New Testament, the Perfect Sacrifice has arrived. But we still need the sacrifice because we cannot keep the Law in this fallen body of ours. We still need the Grace of God, a true faith (read the prophets) and the Messiah.

They have forgotten that the Sabbath seems to be strangely missing from the New Testament.  

Some Sabbatarians focus on Sunday as the Sabbath! Yes, really.

Lord's Day Observance Society

The LDOS are not as misguided as the Adventists and others. When they argue for the blessings and benefits of observing a day for worship, rest, family and fellowship they do well. When they move towards a requirement of faith, albeit for Sunday, they are mistaken.

Keep Sunday Special  (Not an aberration)

Keep Sunday Special are arguing for a special day of worship, by custom and practice, Sunday. They are not legalists but advocate a practical application of Christian understanding and witness. They are witnessing to the need for worship, rest , family and fellowship. Many atheists and agnostics can support most of the aims of KSS - apart from the religious stuff.

Christians recognise that it is practical and godly to have one day in seven set aside for worship, rest, family and fellowship. 

So what happened to Saturday?

Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. It was the barley harvest on the 16th Nisan. Being a good Jew he rested on the Sabbath and began the New Creation on the same day as the old creation began. Sunday. The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost/Shavuot; again, a Sunday. These are days of New Creation.

As He was the Perfect Sacrifice, all those who put their faith in Him, a believing and transforming faith, enter into the Sabbath rest. The New Creation is the ultimate fulfillment of ALL the promises and covenants in the Tenach. However, it is not yet fully realised. God has begun the process of forming His New and Perfect Creation from the Remnants of the Old. This is not to say that the Church is perfect, far from it. It is to say that the greater Sabbath Rest of which the Sabbath is picture, has been obtained for us by faith in Jesus, the Perfect and acceptable sacrifice Who rose from the dead.

Sunday is NOT the Christian Sabbath. The Sabbath day looks forward to the perfect  Sabbath Rest which is given to those who put their faith in God's Messiah. Sunday celebrates the new creation and the achievement of that rest by Jesus. All days are part of the Great Sabbath, but while we wait for the full establishment of the Kingdom, Sunday is a good day for worship, rest , family and fellowship.

There was also a practical matter for the nascent gentile church. A lot of its members were found among the poor, the outcast and the slaves.A day of rest on any day was never going to be easy. The churches met before or after work, sometimes in secret and in hiding, whenever they could.

How we got the weekend.

Over the course of time, as the number of Jews who were followers of Jesus dwindled, then Sunday turned into a quasi-Sabbath for the Church. It then served as a distinguishing mark and a means of separation from the very nation whose Messiah had won salvation for us and brought the light of the gospel to the gentile world. 

Sunday became a day of rest for the Christian world. 

Usury laws applied to the Christian as much as to the Jew. The work-around for this was to encourage the Jews to lend to the Christians, by fair means or foul. This form of casuistry worked for a Church that had lost sight of the gospel as well as for the Jew - at least some of the time. This gave rise to the banking houses such as the Rothschilds and others, as well as to the myth that the Jews ran everything. Of course, it didn't stay that way, but the banks closed on Saturday and that tradition continued until, eventually, we had a weekend for the upper classes which slowly, very slowly, percolated down to the masses, partly through the influence of schools. Of course, there were many other factors as well but this is where it all started.

This unwitting collusion by Jew and Christian gave us the great blessing of the weekend. How much greater would the blessing be if we could actively work together? It would mean life from the dead, according to Paul.

Where to find the Commandments in the New Testament.

The truth is 9 of the 10 commandments Ex.20:3-4 are repeated and incorporated in the New Testament epistles but the 4th one is not.

The 1st and 2nd commandment- which prohibit the worship of other Gods (50 times) and idols are repeated (12 times) Acts 15:29, 17:16: Rom.1:25; 1 Cor.6:9-10, 10:14: 1 Jn.5:21: Rev.21:8, 22:15.
The 3rd commandment of reverencing his name not to take it in vain (4 times ) Ex.20:7 is also repeated in the New Testament  Mt.5:33;  James 5:12.
The 4th commandment- ? Where do the apostles teach to keep the Sabbath? Its missing even for the Gentiles who had no concept of the Jewish laws would need to be instructed.
The 5th commandment- to respect your parents is also repeated (6 times) Mt.15:4-9: Eph.6:1-3 and Rom.13:1-7.
The 6th commandment- of forbidding murder Ex.20:13 is in the New Testament (4 times). Rom.13:9; Mt.19:18 and the true intent is explained in Mt.5:21-22
The 7th commandment- prohibiting adultery and any sexual sin Ex.20:14 is also found ( 12 times) in Acts.15:20; Rom.2:22, 13:13: 1 Cor.5:11, 6:9, 13,15, 18: 10:8: Eph.5:3,11-12.
The 8th commandment- forbids one to be dishonest, stealing,Ex.20:15 is found in the New Testament (6 times) Rom. 2:21 Eph. 4:28: 1Thess.4:6: Jms.5:4; Mk.10:19; Lk.18:20.
The 9th commandment- condemning a false witness, to lie Ex.20:16 is found in the New Testament (4 times) Mt.15:19,19:18; Lk.3:14 and 1 Tim.1:9-10.
The 10th commandment- tells us not to covet Ex.20:17 is repeated (9 times) in Mk.7:21-23; Lk.12:15,33-34; Rom.1:29, 13:9 1 Cor.5:11; 6:10; Eph.5:3.

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