In my previous video which was part 1 of this series on the Sabbath and the Mosaic law, we learned that Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath as ancient Israelites did. We are free to do so, of course, but that would be a personal decision. However, we mustn’t think that by keeping it, we are fulfilling a requirement for our salvation. Salvation does not come because we try to keep the law code. If we think it does, if we preach to others that it does, then we are condemning ourselves. As Paul puts it to the Galatians who also seemed to have this problem of thinking they must keep some or all of the law:
“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” (Galatians 5:4 NLT)
So, Sabbath promoters like exJW Mark Martin, or the leadership of the Seventh-Day Adventist church, are on very thin ice by preaching to their flock that keeping the Sabbath is a requirement for salvation. Of course, those men are also aware of the verse we’ve just read, but they seek to get around it by claiming that keeping the Sabbath predates the law. They claim it was instituted for humans at the time of creation, because God rested on the seventh day and called it holy. Well, circumcision also predated the law, yet it passed away and those who promoted it were condemned. How is the Sabbath any different? Well, I won’t get into that now, because I’ve already done so. If you have not watched the first video to see why the reasoning of Sabbatarians does not hold up to scriptural scrutiny, then I would recommend you stop this video and use the link above to see the first video. I’ve also put a link to it in the description of this video and I’ll add a link to it again at the end of this video.
All that being said, we are still left with a couple of questions which were not answered in that first video. For instance, when you look at the Ten Commandments, you’ll see that the Sabbath is included as the fourth commandment. Now, a scan of the other nine reveals that they are still valid. For example, we are still prohibited from worshipping idols, blaspheming God’s name, murdering, stealing, lying, and committing adultery. So why should the Sabbath be any different?
Some argue that the Ten Commandments are an eternal law and as such are separate from the other hundreds of regulations under the law code of Moses, but such a distinction exists in their imaginations. Nowhere in the Christian scriptures do Jesus or the Bible writers ever make such a distinction. When they speak of the law, it is the whole law they speak of.
What such people overlook is that as Christians, we are not without law. We are still under law. It’s just not the Mosaic law that we are under. That law was replaced by a superior law–the Ten Commandments were replaced by a superior Ten Commandments. This was foretold by Jeremiah:
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (Jeremiah 31:33 American Standard Bible)
How was Jehovah God going to take a law code written on stone tablets and somehow inscribe those laws on human hearts?
Even experts in the Mosaic law in the time of Jesus didn’t know the answer to that question, which is evident by this exchange between one of them and our Lord Jesus.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:28-34 NIV)
Love! Love of God and love of others. It all boils down to that. It is so important that when Jesus saw that this Pharisee got it, he told him that he was “not far from the kingdom of God.” The Law is summed up in two commandments: love of God and love of neighbor. Understanding that truth brought that particular Pharisee close to the kingdom of God. The first three commandments of the Ten will be naturally kept by us if we truly love God. The remaining seven, including the fourth, the Sabbath law, will be kept by any Christian following his conscience motivated by love.
The law that replaced the law of Moses is the law of the Christ, the law of love. Paul wrote:
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NIV)
What law are we referring to? Where are these commandments written down? Let’s start with this one:
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34, 35 NLT
This is a new commandment which means it wasn’t included in the law code of Moses. How is it new? Isn’t he telling us to love one another and isn’t that what we do naturally? When speaking about loving one’s enemies in Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus said, “if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary thing are you doing? Are not also the people of the nations doing the same thing?” (Matthew 5:47)
No, it’s not the same thing. First of all, in any group of disciples, there are those to whom you will feel a natural kinship, but others that you will only tolerate because they are your spiritual brothers and sisters. But how far does your love for them reach? Jesus doesn’t just tell us to love all our spiritual family members, but he gives us a qualifier, a way to measure that love. He says, to love one another “just as I have loved you.”
Jesus gave up everything for us. The Bible tells us that he took on the form of a slave. He even endured a painful death for us. So when Paul told the Galatians to carry each other’s burdens so that we can fulfill the law of Christ, we now see how that law works. It is guided not by a rigid code of written laws, because with any written law code, there will always be loopholes. No, he wrote it on our heart. The law of love is a law based on principles which can adapt to any and every situation. There can be no loopholes.
So, just how has the law of the Christ replaced the law of Moses? Take the sixth commandment: “You shall not murder.” Jesus expanded on that stating:
“YOU heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not murder; but whoever commits a murder will be accountable to the court of justice.’ However, I say to YOU that everyone who continues wrathful with his brother will be accountable to the court of justice; but whoever addresses his brother with an unspeakable word of contempt will be accountable to the Supreme Court; whereas whoever says, ‘You despicable fool!’ will be liable to the fiery Ge·henʹna. (Matthew 5:21, 22 NWT)
So murder, under the law of Christ, is no longer limited to the physical act of unlawfully taking a life. It now includes hating your brother, being contemptuous of a fellow Christian, and passing condemnatory judgment.
By the way, I used the New World Translation here, because of the irony. You see, the definition they give to “You despicable fool!” is this:
“It designates a person as morally worthless, an apostate and a rebel against God.” (w06 2/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers)
So, if you are so angry and contemptuous of your brother that you label him an “apostate,” you are passing judgment on yourself and condemning yourself to the second death in Gehenna. Isn’t it fascinating how the Governing Body has induced Jehovah’s Witnesses to violate this law of Christ, in effect to murder their brothers and sisters by hatefully condemning them as apostates just because such ones courageously stand for truth and oppose the false teachings of the Governing Body.
I know that’s a bit off topic, but it had to be said. Now, let’s look at one more example of how the law of Christ surpasses the law of Moses.
“YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say to YOU that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27, 28 NWT)
Again, under the law, only the physical act qualified as adultery, but here Jesus goes beyond the law of Moses.
How does the law of Christ replace the Mosaic law when it comes to the Sabbath? The answer to that question comes in two parts. Let’s start by analyzing the moral dimension of the Sabbath law.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 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.” (Exodus 20:8-11 NIV)
Notice that the only requirement was to rest from all work for a full 24 hours. This was a loving kindness. Even slaves could not be called upon to serve their masters during the Sabbath. Every man and woman had time to themselves. Time to relax mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Time for thoughtful meditation. Time free from wearisome obligations.
They had to keep it at a specific time because they were a nation. In Canada, we take two days off work. We call it the weekend. We all agree to do it on Saturday and Sunday, because otherwise it would be chaotic.
Time off from work is healthy and restorative to the soul. The Sabbath was a loving provision, but it had to be enforced under penalty of death.
And the LORD said to Moses, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31:12-17 English Standard Version)
Why would a loving provision have to be enforced with the death penalty? Well, we know from their history that Israelites were a barbaric people, stiff-necked and rebellious. They would not have kept the law out of a sense of love for their neighbor. But it was important that they keep the whole law, because the law, including the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, served a larger purpose.
In Galatians we read about this:
“Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” (Galatians 3:23-25 NLT)
The way of faith has now come. We are now saved, not by rigid adherence to a law code—a code no sinner could keep in any case—but by faith. The law code prepared the nation for a higher law, the law of the Christ, the law of love.
Think of it this way. If an Israelite landowner kept the Sabbath so as not to be condemned to death but worked his slaves to the bone the other six days, would he be condemned under the law. No, because he kept the letter of the law, but before God he did not keep the spirit of the law. He did not show love of neighbor. As Christians, we have no loopholes because the law of love covers all circumstances.
John tells us: “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:15, 16 NIV)
So, if you are going to obey the principle upon which the Sabbath is based, you would ensure you deal fairly with your employees and not overwork them. You don’t need a rule forcing you to keep a strict 24-hour period. Instead, love will move you to do what benefits those who work for you, and indeed, yourself as well, because if you were to work non-stop and never rest, you would lose your joy and harm your health.
This reminds me of my life as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We had to attend five meetings a week and were expected to participate in the door-to-door ministry in the evenings and on weekends. All this while caring for a family and holding down a full-time job. We never had a day of rest, unless we took one ourselves, and then we were made to feel guilty because we didn’t show up at the field service group or missed a meeting. Self-sacrifice, it was called, even though the Christian Scriptures speak nothing about such self-sacrifice. Check it out. Look up “self sacrific*” in the Watchtower Library program—spelled this way with the wildcard character to catch all variations. You’ll find over a thousand hits in Watch Tower publications, but not one single in the Bible, even in the New World Translation. We served harsh task masters who convinced us that it was Jehovah God that we were serving. The leadership of the Organization made God out to be a harsh taskmaster.
I find it very revealing that the final writings of the inspired Scripture are those of John. Why? Because those writings focus on love above everything else. It is as if, after providing us with the entirety of God’s dealings with humans, our heavenly Father inspires John to sum it all up by bringing us to the concluding realization that it really is all about love.
And this brings us to the real and wondrous truth that is revealed in the Sabbath, the factor that all the Sabbatarians miss, just like good little Pharisees who thrive on focusing on laws, rules and regulations for justification and miss the big picture of the full breadth, and length, and height, and depth of God’s love. In the letter to the Hebrews, we are told:
“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” (Hebrews 10:1 NIV)
If “the law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming,” then the Sabbath, which is a part of that law, must also foreshadow good things that are coming, right? What are the good things which the Sabbath specifically foreshadows?
The answer to that lies in the original Sabbath law.
“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.” (Exodus 20:11 NIV)
As shown in the previous video, these are not literal 24-hour days, nor is the Genesis creation account meant to be taken literally like some project plan for planetary terraforming. What we have here is a poetic description intended to help a primitive people understand the elements of the creative process and to introduce the concept of a seven-day workweek ending in a day of rest. That Sabbath is God’s rest, but what does it truly represent?
Jesus leads us to the answer in an account in which he again came up against rigid Pharisaical rulemaking.
One Sabbath Jesus was passing through the grainfields, and His disciples began to pick the heads of grain as they walked along. So the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” Jesus replied, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? During the high priesthood of Abiathar, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which was lawful only for the priests. And he gave some to his companions as well.” Then Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28 BSB)
Those last two statements are so heavy with meaning that I daresay it would take a whole book to explain them. But we only have a few minutes. Let’s start with the first statement: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Humans were not created so they could keep the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created for our benefit, but here Jesus isn’t referring to a single day of the week. The Sabbath day the Pharisees were getting all hot and bothered about was merely the symbol for something much bigger—the shadow of a reality.
However, the pharisaical tendency many humans suffer from quickly makes more of a symbol than of the reality it represents. Take as evidence of this, the rules made by the modern-day Pharisees who make up the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When it comes to God’s law on blood, they make more of the symbol than the thing it represents. Blood represents life, but they would rather sacrifice a life, then violate their interpretation of the prohibition against eating blood. Taking Jesus’ statement about the Sabbath to this band of Pharisees and doing a simple word replacement gives us: “Blood was made for man, not man for blood.” Jehovah God never intended humans to die for refusing a blood transfusion. You do not sacrifice the reality to save the symbol, do you? It’s nonsense.
Likewise, those ancient Pharisees, thought that obeying the law on the Sabbath was more important than alleviating the suffering of a human being, whether from hunger or from illness. Recall how they complained the many times Jesus healed the sick and restored sight to the blind on a Sabbath.
They missed the point that the whole purpose of the Sabbath was to alleviate suffering. A day of rest from our labors.
But if Jesus wasn’t referring to the literal 24-hour day when he said that the Sabbath was made for man, then what Sabbath was he referring to? The clue is in his next statement: “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
He’s not talking about days of the week. What? Is Jesus Lord of the Sabbath, but not the other days? Who then is the Lord of Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday?
Remember that the Sabbath was symbolic of the Lord’s day of rest. That Sabbath of God is ongoing.
I am now going to read a long portion from Hebrews starting in chapter 3 verse 11 and ending in chapter 4 verse 11. I could explain all this in my own words, but the inspired word here is so much more powerful and self-explanatory.
“So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’” Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn’t it the people Moses led out of Egypt? And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.” So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.” Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall. (Hebrews 3:11-4:11 NLT)
When Jehovah rested from his creative work, what was the state of the world? All was good. Adam and Eve were sinless and on the cusp of procreating the human race. They were all set to rule over all of earthly creation and fill the earth with righteous human offspring. And more than anything else, they were at peace with God.
That is what being in God’s rest means: to enjoy the peace of God, to be in a relationship with our Father.
However, they sinned and were evicted from the paradise garden. They lost their inheritance and died. To enter God’s rest then, we must pass from death to life. We must be granted admittance into God’s rest by means of his grace based on our faithfulness. Jesus makes this all possible. He is the Lord of the Sabbath. It is he who, as Lord, has the right to judge and to admit us into God’s rest. As Hebrews says, if we trust “God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.” This rest has been ready since God made the world of Mankind. “So let us do our best to enter that rest.”
The law code of Moses is a shadow of good things to come. One of those good things, foreshadowed by the weekly Sabbath day is the chance to enter into God’s eternal Sabbath day of rest. After God created a home for us, he rested. Humans were in that rest from the start and would have continued to be in it forever as long as they obeyed their heavenly Father. This brings us back to the fundamental truth about love.
“Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3 NLT)
“I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” (2 John 5, 6 NLT)
The commandment we had from the beginning was the new commandment Jesus gave us to love each other as he had loved us.
The devil split us away from God by telling us we could get along just fine without him. Look how that turned out. We have not rested since that day. Rest from all our labors is only possible when we turn back toward God, include him in our life, love him and so strive to obey his law given to us through Christ, a law that is not burdensome. How could it be? It is wholly based on love!
So don’t listen to people who tell you that to be saved, you have to keep a literal sabbath day. They are trying to find salvation through works. They are the modern equivalent to the Judaizers that plagued the first century congregation with their emphasis on circumcision. No! We are saved by faith, and our obedience is to the superior law of Christ which is based on love.
Thank you for listening. Thank you also for continuing to support this work.
This video does a great job. But I have a couple of questions for clarity. Is the message of Jesus’ gospel equal with our love of our neighbors? Is obedience of the law of Christ the gospel? Can anyone perfectly obey the principle of love on which the Sabbath is based? We are saved by faith, but faith in what? The New Testament church in Acts was clearly gathering for worship, which in a way is like keeping a Sabbath. Just not legalistically. Today, Christian churches have worship services on many different days. Do those who attend Beroean Pickets on line… Read more »
Why don’t you visit one of our BP meetings and ask them for yourself?
I have in the past, quite some time ago. Didn’t stay long. I will see about the timing of visiting one of the meetings. I don’t know about participating in the conversation, not being an ex-JW. When I was invited to ZOOM Kingdom Hall Mtgs I would do so but didn’t try to participate there. I felt it would be rude and disruptive. Thanks,
1. Are you saying we are allowed to receive blood transfusions?
2. Question about militry service: Should we refuse to serve in the army if there is a law that requires us to service?
3. What about smoking ciggarates?
I think that is really something you should find out for yourself. There are -some- hard boundaries given to us, but for most decisions we have to weigh up various relevant principles based on love and respect for our heavenly Father. To give a personal example: I started smoking again some months after I was disfellowshipped in 2021. That wasn’t entirely intentional, and I know I shouldn’t really based on 2 Corinthians 7:1, which directs us to “clean ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit“. On the other hand, there is 2 Peter 1:5-11 where Peter urges us to… Read more »
1. The symbol of a certain thing cannot be more important than the thing itself.
2. In no case. Love your enemies. War is pure evil.
3. Stop smoking to save both your health and money.
Merci pour ce bel article. Je trouve très beau quand YAH nous dit qu’il écrira la loi sur notre cœur. D’une part c’est très poétique, d’autre part la loi est donc accessible à tous les humains. Pour un sourd, un muet, un aveugle, un illettré, un pauvre, un esclave, la loi écrite pouvait lui être difficilement accessible. Mais le coeur ? Nous avons tous un coeur ! La vraie loi est en nous, nous pouvons tous l’appliquer si nous le désirons. Vraiment la loi de l’Amour est au-dessus de tout, de tous et pour tous. Merci au Christ de nous… Read more »
Dear sister Nicole, these are beautiful words from your heart. Frankie.
Ma chère Nicole,
Je me souviens des paroles de Paul en Actes 17:27,28. L’amour de Dieu est la force la plus puissante qui existe.
Certains jours, nous sentons que Lui et notre Christ bien-aimé sont très proches de nous.
D’autres jours …
Je ne trouve pas cela facile parfois, mais les frères et sœurs que j’ai rencontrés sur ce site – l’amour qu’ils montrent tous – m’ont aidé à régénérer mon propre désir de continuer à mener “le beau combat”.
Good morning all, Awhile ago I kept a note concerning the law of Moses and how Christian brothers in Jerusalem were struggling with it: In the book of Acts 21:20-22: 2. (20b- 22) Paul learns of his bad reputation among some of the Christians of Jerusalem. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor… Read more »
Paul’s motive is shown in verses 22 & 23. Like Jesus who on occasion went outside the law to save non Jews
Excellent. Also Matt 15:24 >>> John 4:40-41; Matt 15:28.
I remember explaining the Sabbath during a Bible study, to someone who was troubled in his conscience for keeping it. I explained that the Sabbath is there for Man (as mentioned in the video), but then turned to Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 in the NWT: “I have concluded that there is nothing better for them [mankind] than to rejoice and to do good during their life, also that everyone should eat and drink and find enjoyment for all his hard work. It is the gift of God“. I explained that God has given the Sabbath for our sake, so that we might… Read more »
Hi Eric. Enjoyed that article. Really appreciated the application of Mark 2:27 – “The sabbath came into existence for the sake of Man” – to so many things, and in particular to blood transfusions. That is just an example of an organisation abusing its power, trying to speak for God words that God has not spoken.
I have come to similar conclusions about gene therapy. A former neighbour suffers with a degenerative muscular disease, which would mean that ultimately she wouldn’t even be able to breathe any longer. Her boyfriend recently told me that gene therapy can be used nowadays to stop the degeneration. It’s hard to say that it’s wrong, although as he recognised, I am square against the mRNA injections that have become commonplace in the past 2 years. To me, it’s not as much about the technology as it is in the way it is pushed onto people. As I explained, the evil… Read more »
This makes total sense (I think) but I’m still going to keep my “rest day” & switch off my mobile phone and enjoy the association of my Brothers & Sisters each Sunday.
I need to start keeping a rest day myself for my own sanity.