Probably one of the largest transformations that has occurred during my time in Germany has been my faith. What started out as an attempt to prove someone wrong, has turned into an enormous journey of me reading the bible cover to cover for myself, attempting to understand the concepts and the love that are written beneath its pages.
I met someone last year who had an enormous impact in my walk with Christ. They challenged me in every way possible to think about how I viewed the bible. Our first argument was actually about scripture; the Sabbath, to be exact.
He told me the Sabbath was still relevant. I told him he was wrong. And by golly, I combed the bible front to back to prove him wrong, mostly because I like to be right and was looking for scripture to back up my point of view, not because I had any intention of actually figuring out what the bible was saying to me.
Months and months we went back and forth. He picked a verse and I picked a verse.
I said something along he lines of wanting to be like Jesus, and he responded, “Excellent point… Jesus kept the Sabbath.” To which I proudly touted, “Yes, but Jesus was a Jew and I am not a Jew, because he died and rose again, we are no longer under the old law.” And on and on it went until he asked me, “When was the Sabbath created?” and I replied, “At creation, but what does that have to do with anything?”
He replied,” If Jesus was there at the beginning of time, and he is holy, and we are to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), then we should keep the day in scripture that he designed as holy.” Well, that one stopped me dead in my tracks, and my usual ability for a quick retort was stopped cold.
I had really always associated the Sabbath with the Jewish laws. I had considered myself well-read on the subject. Frank Viola wrote a highly convincing article here entitled, “Rethinking the Sabbath“ He bases his argument around Colossians 2:16-17
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink , or regarding a festival, or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shaddow of things to come; but the substand is of Christ.”
I had all these additional blockers I would throw out: Works don’t save you, We’re not supposed to hold one day above another, and so on and so forth.
Taking A Closer Look:
But my understanding of what the Sabbath was, what I had created in my head, was wrong. It’s not a Jewish Sabbath. It’s not a work that leads to salvation, no more than a man who hasn’t committed adultery is guaranteed a spot in heaven. It was created as a blessing at the beginning of time before sin ever came into the world.
What I’ve come to realize, is that the Ten commandments aren’t a checklist, but rather a way for me to honor God because I love him and his way is perfect and unchanging. (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6). I concluded if God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there at the beginning of time before sin, and if God’s word is unchanging, then his Holy Day must also be unchanged.
Another verse I had often used to demonstrate that the Sabbath had been abolished was Romans 14:5.
“One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
After some study reading countless commentaries found here: Commentary on Romans 14:5, the general consensus being that this verse cannot be applied to either the Jewish Sabbath or the Christian Sabbath, but rather only to fasting days.
This brought up the question to me, what is the Jewish Sabbath or the Christian Sabbath? As far as I’ve read, there is no such thing. Just the Sabbath is mentioned in the bible. For a whole year I’ve studied and studied. What began as trying to prove my friend wrong, turned to searching for answers, and eventually wanting to know plainly what the bible said, and not once in the bible can I find an example that the Sabbath was abolished or that the day was changed to Sunday.
In fact, I found the opposite. I found that, in fact, it was Constantine via the Catholic Church in 321 A.D. who changed the day from Saturday to Sunday, because Constantine, a former Pagan, thought it would be easier to convert more Pagans to Christianity if they changed the Sabbath to a day that the Pagans already worshiped on: The day of the Sun. If you’re interested, you can read more about it Here.
From almost every denomination, I’ve found articles that state from multiple church leaders that the Sabbath was never changed in the bible.
“There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week.” ~Baptist Manual.
“I do not believe that the Lord’s day was changed from the seventh to the first day.” ~Alexander Campbell – Founder of the Church of Christ.
“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you’ll not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday.” ~ James Cardinal Gibbons, – Catholic Church.
“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant church by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. ~The Catholic Mirror.
Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of the weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None!” ~Manual of Doctrine – Episcopal church.
“Take the matter of Sunday…there is no passage telling Christians to keep the day.” ~Harris Franklin Bell – Methodist.
“The observance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday,) is not founded on any command of God.” ~Ausburg Confession – Lutheran.
“The Christian Sabbath (Sunday,) is not in the scriptures.” ~ Timothy Dwight’s Theology – Presbyterian.
But perhaps the most convincing question I was ever asked, was this, “If Jesus knew the Sabbath was about to be abolished, why did he spend so much time instructing people on how to live on the Sabbath?”
Woah. As I’ve come to understand it, it was never supposed to be this Pharisaical checklist that marks you as a good Jew or Christian or gives you salvation, but rather a day set aside to keep holy as God is holy and as Jesus is holy. For if Jesus was there at the beginning and Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27-28,) to spend time in communion with Him and with the Father in a time pre-sin, I find great peace in honoring that which he has given. I love this quote from David Asscherick:
“Nothing Jesus said here or anywhere else in regard to keeping the Sabbath lessened in any way the divine command that we keep it. He was trying to break them free, not from the Sabbath, but from meaningless rules that hid what the Sabbath was supposed to be about, and that is an expression of the rest that we have in Christ as our Creator and our Redeemer”
If you’re interested, there are two videos below that I would recommend watching to learn more about why some people, including myself, have decided to keep the Sabbath, as well as another article.
The first is from my very favorite speaker, David Asscherick: History of the Sabbath,
And here is one from Doug Batchelor: History’s Holy Hoax
An article on how the Moral and the Ceremonial law are intertwined and why it’s valid today: Expansion on Colossians 2:16
For me, the Sabbath hasn’t been binding or restrictive or legalistic, it’s been a blessing. The blessings I’ve reaped have been innumerable, both physical and spiritual. I used to get sick ALL the time. Since observing the Sabbath, I haven’t had one sinus or upper respiratory infection. I now have a day with no distractions that I can just honor God with service, and prayer, and songs, and fellowship and it has been such a joy to me!
I have friends who read this blog all over the world with different life perspectives, views on scripture, and walks with Christ. I’ve been blessed to have this discussion with family, friends, Atheists, Christians, Muslims, and so many others.
It’s a discussion that I want to encourage more among Christians, among friends and family. While an exceptionally long post, this is by no means exhaustive in all that I’ve been able to study and find!
Perhaps not as eloquently stated as could be, however, I hope this gives insight into the most important aspect of my time here in Germany. I write this because it’s been on my heart, because I want to share, and because I enjoy and want to continue having discussions to talk about the bible with as many people as possible. Because only through discussions, which prompt more study, can I learn more about God, which is the ultimate goal!
Happy Sabbath! Much love and so many blessings to each of you and 47 days til I can hug you in person! I’m as excited to see you as I was this piece of chocolate cake!