Jeremiah 17:19-27 touches on the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and what the consequences would be for the children of Israel if it was not kept holy. As I read these verses, I wondered why Christians did not keep this commandment when Scripture clearly says the Sabbath is the seventh day. We try to keep all the rest of the Ten Commandments. Why not this one? So I thought I'd do a little digging as to why we worship on Sunday rather than Saturday and if we are wrong to do so.
First off, we need to remember why the Sabbath was created in the first place.
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
We can see from the verse above that it was on the seventh day that God finished all His work, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work He had done. His work was finished. His accomplishment was complete, so He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Why? Because that was the day, He rested. Are you catching this? It was HIS DAY to rest. God's day, set aside solely for Him to rest. This was before the Ten Commandments. Before Moses, before Abraham, and before Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden. The seventh day was always holy to God. It wasn't until the Ten Commandments were given to Moses that God commanded His people to honour His Day, the Sabbath Day. How were they to honour it? By doing the same thing God did - rest.
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Who was allowed to work on the Sabbath Day? No one. Not even the animals or strangers within the gates of the Israelite’s camp (this was before Jerusalem) were allowed to work. And once again, we are given the reason why - because the Lord rested on the seventh day, blessed it and hallowed it (sanctified or made it holy). So, was this commandment only for the Jews? God did choose them to be His chosen people - to show the rest of the world how to honour Him. But the Sabbath was made for man, not just Jews (Mark 2:27). Yes, the Ten Commandments were given to the Jews, but they have been the basis for right and wrong for both Christians and Jews for centuries. Yet, out of all the commandments - do not kill, do not lie, do not steal, etc., we ignore the command to honour the actual Sabbath day. Why?
Nothing in the Bible indicates that the Sabbath was any other day but Saturday (the seventh day). The Jews have observed the Sabbath as Saturday for over 5000 years. It might not have been known as Saturday then, but it was always considered the seventh day. Jesus and his apostles observed it, so why don’t His followers?
The first Christians were Jews, so they kept the Sabbath holy as was their custom. And just as it was Jesus’ custom to preach in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, the apostles carried on this tradition. But it should be noted that when Gentiles began to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, some Jewish Christians believed they should obey Mosaic Law. So the apostles met and discussed the issue (Acts 15), and this was the decision given by the Apostle James (Jesus’ brother): “Therefore, I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:19-20). Oddly, Sabbath-keeping was not one of the commands the apostles felt was necessary to force on Gentile believers. Why? Because they were already observing it by following the Apostles’ example (Acts 13:42-44).
It wasn’t until after all the Apostles were gone that heresies and false doctrines crept into the church about how to observe the Sabbath Day. Mainly through the influence of Emperor Constantine when he converted to Christianity. His influence and growing antisemitism for the Jews created a division regarding the Sabbath that has lasted until this day. It was also because of Constantine that pagan festivals were introduced. It was to keep his primarily pagan nation appeased over his insistence that Christianity was the true faith. This is how the pagan celebrations of Christmas and Easter were brought into the church (but that’s a topic for another time). Today I want to address why Sunday is observed as the Sabbath rather than Saturday.
There are many reasons why Christians began to observe Sunday as a day of importance. Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday for one (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). He appeared to many of his followers on Sunday as well (John 20:11-18; Matthew. 28:7-10; Luke 24:34; Luke 24:15-32). The outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost (the feast of Unleavened Bread) was also on a Sunday (Leviticus 23:4-8). But nowhere in Scripture is there any indication that the Apostles suddenly stopped obeying the Law to honour the Sabbath Day and switched to making Sunday the Sabbath.
Yes, there are indications that the early believers met on the first day of the week to eat together (Acts 20:7). In fact, Scripture is clear, they met together every day in the Temple and broke bread together every day in each other’s homes (Acts 2:46-47). But the idea of them not honouring Saturday as the Sabbath was never an issue for the early believers because in this, the Apostles, like Jesus, honoured the Lord by keeping His Sabbath Day Holy.
Now many point to Revelation 1:10, where John states that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” as proof that the early Christians considered Sunday the Sabbath Day. But they fail to remember when quoting this verse is Jesus’ divinity and authority as God. He is not only the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) but also the one who created the Sabbath Day and made it holy.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
When writing the Ten Commandments, God called it the “Sabbath of the Lord” (Exodus 20:10). In Isaiah 58:13, God called the Sabbath “My holy day.” It is clear then that “the Lord’s Day” is and always has been the Sabbath Day (Saturday). The argument could be made that Jesus looks at the intent of the Law, not the letter of it. So, if we keep Sunday as our day to honour God, then God should be okay with that. Should He? By what right do we have to undo a day God specifically set aside for Himself - that He sanctified and made holy? Who are we to change the Laws of God? You might argue that Jesus abolished all the laws. But Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the laws but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). In fact, Jesus said that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments (John 14:15). Therefore, should the church repent and return to honouring the Lord on His actual day? Each Christian will have to decide and pray about this as we await the Lord’s return.
How God Views Pride
As I carry on with my study of Jeremiah, I was struck by how timely today's verses were. I didn't want this post to be political, but this post is about pride. And if there is one person in the world who is an excellent example of someone who has an excessive amount of it, it is Donald Trump. His type of arrogance seems to be precisely what Jeremiah 9:23 is referring to.
Pride is a finicky thing. It can be exhibited as a feeling of well-being, like when you graduate from high school or college, for example. It can also be a feeling of joy, like when we take pride in the accomplishments of others - like our children. Every milestone they achieve makes us happy and excited for them and, yes - proud. These types of pride are not evil or sinful of themselves. One is based on completing something after working hard. It is a mixture of relief and satisfaction in getting the job done. The other is based on love and wanting the best for someone.
The type of pride God frowns on, however, is based on something totally different. We see and hear it almost every time Donald Trump speaks. It is a combination of arrogance and haughtiness. And yes, I realize the two are practically identical in meaning, but arrogance is excessive pride in oneself, combined with contempt for others. While haughtiness is a feeling of superiority over others, which is often exhibited by a person's demeanour and disdain for others.
The Weeping Prophet
Oh, that my head were waters,
Today while studying Jeremiah 9, I was struck by a few things. First was Jeremiah's obvious distress. He basically says that his eyes would be like a fountain of tears if his head were full of water. That's a lot of crying. He was known as The Weeping Prophet for a reason. This tells me a lot about Jeremiah, the person:
We looked for peace, but no good came
Today as I finished up my study of Jeremiah 8, I was struck by several things that made me feel the grief and agony Jeremiah felt when God warned him judgment was coming upon his people. He warned the people that God would deal with them harshly and soon if they didn't repent. However, the priests and false prophets were telling the people the exact opposite. They kept assuring them everything was fine. God would not judge them or harm them in any way because He loved them too much. This is the refrain of many modern-day prophecy teachers who say that God is a loving God and no one on earth will go to hell. They reject all verses in the Bible that say otherwise because they simply cannot accept that God is capable of divine wrath. By teaching this "no one goes to hell" or "there is no hell" theory, they are taking Jesus off the cross and making His death insignificant. Why? Because it was due to God's wrath over disobedience and sin that Jesus came in the first place. If there is no hell or no punishment to come in the hereafter, then why did Jesus come? So now these modern preachers say, Jesus saved us from all that. We no longer have to fear God because everyone is saved, and everyone wins. By doing that, however, no one feels the need to repent and turn back to God. Life just got easier - eat, drink and be merry - because it really doesn't matter what we do - God is a loving God who would never harm anyone, anyway.
In his day, Jeremiah was dealing with priests and prophets who said the same things. They were probably even telling people not to listen to Jeremiah as he stood at the gates of the temple every day, warning of impending destruction. To them, Jeremiah was just a crazy man preaching about the end of the world. And what does the world do with people like that? They tune them out and continue on their way - much to their detriment.
But what does the Bible say about people like that?
The Perils of False Teachings
My study of Jeremiah seems to be developing a theme that centers around false teachers and bad politicians, and yet this is not the theme of the study guide I'm following. I believe I already mentioned I'm following Kay Arthur's study on Jeremiah, titled Listening to God in Difficult Times. And I am once again amazed as to what God is showing me. True, the people in Jeremiah's time were not listening to God at all, but it was their complete and utter disregard for God and His ways that made it impossible for them to hear Him. This is why He sent Jeremiah to them. To warn the people of their wickedness.
I am currently looking at Jeremiah 8, and today while reading, I paused and reflected on several different verses that got me thinking about Joel Osteen and his power of positive thinking and the false prosperity gospel he preaches. I also kept hearing in my head that song from the Lego Movie called "Everything Is Awesome." I have talked about false doctrines and false teachers before, and in my book He Who Has an Ear, I even have a chapter on who the wolves in sheep's clothing are today. But today, a series of verses seemed to strike a chord with me about these types of preachers. They preach that everything is awesome, and Christians who listen to them and accept what they're saying without checking their bibles to find out if it's true are doing themselves no favours.