PART 3 THE 7TH DAY SABBATH

CHAPTER 4

The Incarnation of Christ

From the birth of Christ to the day of Pentecost:

     This period of time begins with the virgin birth of the Messiah of the Jews, who is called Jesus Christ, God incarnate. When Jesus was 30 years old, he began his public ministry. He chose twelve disciples to accompany him, and began to teach concerning a new kingdom, which involved a new way of life that was to come. He lived a sinless life; was rejected by the Jews; crucified on a cross; paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world; forgave these sins; rose from the dead after 3 days never to die again; was witnessed or seen by many after his resurrection as he abode on earth in his glorified body for 40 days; and then ascended into heaven. The Mosaic Law and all that pertained to it was still in operation during this time.

     When Jesus lived on the earth, what were his comments about observing the 7th day sabbath? Let’s find out by reading the scripture sections which follow. 

     A non-dispensationalist will look at the scriptures, in which observing the 7th day sabbath was mentioned, and will choose one or more verses that they believe support the perpetuation of this practice throughout human history.

     A dispensationalist will look at the scriptures, in which observing the 7th Day Sabbath was mentioned during the age at hand, and will determine as to whether this observance was to be kept during this time.

The 7th day Sabbath:

     The Jews were not allowed to work on this day, however, acts of mercy, worship, and of necessity were permitted. With the development of the synagogue the Sabbath became a day of worship and of study of the Law, as well as a day of cessation from all secular employment. It was during the period between Ezra and the Christian era that the spirit of Jewish legalism flourished. Innumerable restrictions and rules were formulated for the conduct of life under the Law. The beginnings of this elaborate definition of actions permitted and actions forbidden are to be found in the centuries immediately preceding the Christian era. The movement was at flood tide during our Lord's earthly ministry and continued for centuries afterward, in spite of His frequent and vigorous protests.

     Jesus and the Sabbath: Apart from His claim to be the Messiah, there was no subject on which our Lord came into such sharp conflict with the religious leaders of the Jews as in the matter of Sabbath observances. The rabbis seemed to think that the Sabbath was an end in itself, an institution to which the pious Israelite must subject all his personal interests; in other words, that man was made for the Sabbath. Jesus, on the contrary, taught that the Sabbath was made for man's benefit. If there should arise a conflict between man's needs and the letter of the Law, then man's higher interests and needs must take precedence over the law of the sabbath.

                                       

When Jesus said that he came not to destroy the Law, did this mean that it was to continually be observed not only by Jews, but also by Christians?

12. I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil:

Suggested Reading: Matthew 5:1-2, 17-18

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus was in Galilee near Capernaum teaching the crowds. The scriptures in Matthew chapters 5-7 are otherwise known as the Sermon on the Mount. One of the many things that Jesus said was that he came not to destroy (deny the divine authority of) the law, or the prophets, but to fulfill (to embody them in living form accomplishing what was intended in them). The Law of Moses contained many sacrifices and rites which were designed to shadow forth the Messiah. These were fulfilled when Jesus came and offered himself as a sacrifice to God. The prophets contained many predictions respecting his coming and death, and these were all to be fulfilled and fully accomplished by his life and his sufferings.

 

What was it that the disciples did that was considered unlawful on the Sabbath?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

13. Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day:

Suggested Reading: Matthew 12:1-8; 1 Samuel 21:1-6; Numbers 28:10

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? Jesus notes that the command for the priests to perform certain duties on the Sabbath outweighs the command not to work on the Sabbath. But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. (Mark 16:1-8)

The Pharisees are accusing Jesus disciples of violating or breaking the Sabbath, because as they walked through the barley fields on the Sabbath, they picked the barley and rubbed it in their hands, which was considered to be work. Picking fruit or barley from a neighbor’s field, as long as it was not picked on the Sabbath, was not considered stealing as long as the person satisfied their hunger, and did not carry any away. The Pharisees contended that it was not wrong to take the fruit, but it was wrong to take it on the Sabbath, because it violated their designated 39 main classes of work, the first three of which are listed as sewing, plowing, and reaping. Here, plucking would fall under the category of reaping.

     It’s interesting to note that this particular Sabbath occurred during the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which lasted for seven days. This feast began on the following day after the Feast of the Passover was observed. The first and seventh days of this feast were each considered as a Sabbath. No servile work was allowed. This refers to work you usually do every day, labor at some definite occupation, i.e. farming, trading, etc. However, other kinds of work were allowed that was considered as non-servile work, such as the preparation of food, the gathering of sticks, and the making of a fire.  

     According to Jesus, the picking of the barley and the rubbing of it in their hands was considered non-servile work and therefore should be allowed on the Sabbath. In response to this charge Jesus gave two counter examples to illustrate what else was allowed to take place on the Sabbath.  

  1. David and his men are on the run from King Saul. David asked Ahimelech the priest for five loaves of bread. Ahimelech responded by saying that the only bread he had available for them was shewbread. On the Sabbath, the priests were commanded by the Mosaic Law to make shewbread. Even though the making of shewbread was considered work, the Sabbath mandated that this must be done. Twelve loaves of this bread would be laid on a table in the tabernacle to be offered to the Lord on the Sabbath. On the following Sabbath, it became the sole possession of the priest, who was required to eat it in a holy place. The priest responded to David that he and his men were allowed to eat the shewbread as long as they didn’t have relations with a woman.

The giving of the shewbread to David and his men could be considered as an act of necessity. It was possible that they couldn’t stay in this geographical area for too long, because they were being hunted down by King Saul. 1 Samuel 21:1-6

  1. The next example concerned the priests themselves. On the Sabbath, they were commanded by the law to offer sacrifices. The animals, which were to be offered, were killed and then burned by fire. Even though this was considered work, the priest did what was necessary and what was commanded by the Mosaic Law. Because these sacrifices were done out of necessity, therefore an allowance was made. Numbers 28:10

     The plucking, rubbing, and subsequent eating of the grain seemed not to be a violation of breaking the Sabbath, because non-servile work was allowed on certain Sabbaths, which were associated with various feasts or festivals. What was allowed to take place on the Sabbath and what was not allowed to take place on the Sabbath became a contentious issue between Jesus and the Jewish religious establishment.       

                         

In relation to the Sabbath, what does the first day of the week mean?                                                                                                            

14. On the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre:

Suggested Reading: Mark 16:1-11

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. (Mark 16:1-2)

Mary Magdelene, Salome, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, purchased anointing oil following the close of the Sabbath. Well before sunrise, on the first day of the week, they left the town of Bethany and proceeded to Jerusalem, where the tomb in which Jesus body was placed in, was located. They arrived at the tomb just after sunrise and noticed that the stone, covering it, had been removed. So, they decided to enter the tomb, and when they did they saw a young man dressed in white, who told them that Jesus was risen. He conveyed to them they were to let the disciples and Peter know that He will meet them in Galilee.    

     Jesus was raised from the dead before sunrise on the first day of the week. 

     Is the first day of the week considered Sunday?

     Is the first day of the week considered as the day, which followed the 7th day Sabbath?

     The Jews referred to the days of the week as the first of the week (of the Sabbath cycle, the second of the Sabbath cycle, etc.). The seventh day was known as the Shabat (Sabbath), the day of rest. The Sabbath began at approximately 40 minutes after sunset, when a minimum of 3 stars were able to be seen in the sky, which would be considered to begin at the close of the sixth day. Each of these days began and ended at sunset. Therefore, the first day of the week is the day following the Sabbath, beginning at sunset.

     Some would say that this rendering is not correct, because they would allege that Sunday is the first day of the week, the day Christ was raised from the dead, which proves that Christ was crucified on a Friday. Is Sunday referred to as the first day of the week in this context? Was Jesus crucified on a Friday?

     These are interesting questions. Let’s finish our study on the Sabbath in this dispensation and then seek to answer the question, on what day was Jesus crucified?

                                                                            

Does the fact that Jesus consistently attended the synagogue on the Sabbath serve as the basis for concluding that Christians should observe the 7th day Sabbath as their day of assembly worship?

15. Jesus went into the synagogue on the sabbath day:

Luke 4:16-17

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

Jesus consistently attended the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day. On this particular Sabbath, he was about to enter the synagogue and read from the book of Isaiah. When a young Jewish boy reached the age of 13, attending the synagogue became a part of his legal life.                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                            

Summary

● Jesus didn’t come to destroy (deny the divine authority of) the law or the prophets, but to embody them in living form accomplishing what was intended in them. The Law of Moses contained many sacrifices and rites which were designed to shadow forth the Messiah. These were fulfilled when he came and offered himself as a sacrifice to God. The prophets contained many predictions respecting his coming and death. These were all to be fulfilled and fully accomplished by his life and his sufferings. Matthew 5:1-2, 17-18

● According to Jesus, the picking of the barley and the rubbing of it in the disciples’ hands on the Sabbath was considered non-servile work and therefore should be allowed. Matthew 12:1-8; 1 Samuel 21:1-6; Numbers 28:10

● According to the Jewish reckoning of the days, Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, the day following the Sabbath. Mark 16:2

● Jesus consistently attended the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath. On this particular Sabbath, he was about to enter the synagogue and read from the book of Isaiah. Luke 4:16-17

     The dispensationalistwould not use any of the ideas concerning observing the 7th day Sabbath as mentioned above as a basis for observing the Sabbath as a practice to be instituted in the Church Age, the age in which we live.

     During this time period of His incarnation, the Mosaic Law was still in effect. However, Jesus began to teach about a new kingdom that was forthcoming. This kingdom involved a new way of life, which was to be Spirit directed and not Law subjected. Observing the 7th day Sabbath in this dispensation was for the Jews only. Jesus did attend the synagogue on the Sabbath day as he probably did throughout his younger years. However, this didn’t mean that this observance must continue during the Church Age.

     The non-dispensationalist would try to make the case that a Christian is to keep the Sabbath due to the facts that: the observing of the 7th day Sabbath was forecast prophetically in the book of Genesis, when God rested on the 7th day; the Jews observed this day during their wilderness wanderings and entrance into the Promised Land of Canaan; this practice was continued to be observed by Jesus during his incarnation. Because Jesus continued to keep the Law, he was himself the evidence that all of the aspects of the Law should be continually observed by the Jews along with Christians in the following age.

     As you can see there are two opposing views in regard as to whether a Christian (Jewish or Gentile) is obligated to observe the 7th day Sabbath. We have one more dispensation to look at, but before we do let’s try to answer the question, on what day was Jesus crucified?

 

CHAPTER 5

On What Day, Did Christ Suffer and Die on the Cross?

This is a question that I thought the answer had been provided to me when I was a member of the Catholic faith. According to them Jesus was crucified on a Friday. This day is otherwise known as Good Friday. Why is it called Good Friday?

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?  which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. (Mark 15:33-34, 37)

     On this day, it is alleged that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, shedding his blood for the forgiveness of sins. The shedding of blood signifies Christ’s death. Therefore, on this day the participant should be occupied with this reality. If someone was to kill any animal on this day, thus shedding its blood, this could take away from their reflection on Christ’s sacrifice. This leads us to the next question. Was Jesus crucified on a Friday? This will require some investigating. So, put on your detective hat and let’s try to find out the answer.

     The first thing we should know is how was time reckoned during the incarnation of Christ? The Jews had their own way of describing each day of the week and the times of the day. Each day was described as to its relation to the 7th day Sabbath. The Sabbath was known as the Shabat (Sabbath), the day of rest. The other days are called the first day of the week or the first day of the Sabbath, the second day of the week or the second day of the Sabbath, etc. Each day consisted of 24 hours, which began and ended at sunset (6:00pm).

     There was another way of reckoning time during this age. This was instituted by the Romans. The Romans adopted their days of the week from their mythical gods. Saturday was named after Saturn, the god of crops and harvest, and was initially considered the first day of the week. The second day of the week was called Sunday, which was considered as a day sacred to the sun. The third day and so on is as follows: Monday was named because it was sacred to the moon. Tuesday was named after Tiw, a god of war. Wednesday was named after Woden, the leader of the gods. Thursday was named after Thor, the god of thunder. Friday was named after Frigga, the wife of Woden. Each of these days began and ended atmidnight(12:00am).

     As the worshiping of the Sun increased, the Sun's day (Sunday) advanced from position of the second day to the first day of the week (and Saturday became the seventh day). It was not until Christianity took hold throughout Europe that most calendars marked Sunday as the first day of the week. It is a little known fact among most Christians, that the Romans first adopted the seven-day week in the first century and that they borrowed it not from the Jews, but from the Egyptians.

     As you can see, the first day of the week is referred to differently by the Jew and Roman. Is there a way to somehow combine these in a manner that can be understood? I’ll try. Let’s take a look at Friday. Both the Romans and Jews would designate this as being the 6th day of the week. However, the times associated with this day would be different. For the Jew, this would be termed the 6th day of the week and it would begin at sunset (6:00pm) and end at sunset (6:00pm) the following day. For the Roman, Friday would begin at midnight (12:00am) and end on midnight (12:00am) the following day.

     How would the Roman and Jew describe 9:00am on Friday? The Jews would describe this time as the 3rd hour of the day or the third hour after sunrise. Sunrise in Roman terms would be designated as 6:00am. The Romans would simple say 9:00am or 9 hours after midnight. How would 9:00pm be expressed? The Jews would describe this as being the third hour of the night after sunset (6:00pm) being close to the beginning of a new day. In Roman terms, this would signify 9:00pm on Friday indicating that this day was drawing to a close, when it reached midnight. Interesting! If we don’t interpret these times correctly, then we might misunderstand their relationship to the following day.

     Like a detective, we hopefully will have some facts of this case to start out with. What do we know? The first thing is that in the Gospels times were written in respect to the Jewish day. So, when we talk about the first day of the week, what is meant is the day following the 7th day Sabbath (Shabbat). In Roman vocabulary, this would be from Saturday at 6:00pm to Sunday at 6:00pm. Shabbat, the 7th day, in Roman vocabulary would be from Friday at 6:00pm to Saturday at 6:00pm. Likewise, the 6th day in Roman terms would be from Thursday at 6:00pm to Friday at 6:00pm; the 5th day would be from Wednesday at 6:00pm to Thursday at 6:00pm; the 4th day would be from Tuesday at 6:00pm to Wednesday at 6:00pm; the 3rd day would be from Monday at 6:00pm to Tuesday at 6:00pm; and  the 2nd day would be from Sunday at 6:00pm to Monday at 6:00pm.

     Do we know when Christ was crucified, when he died, and when he was buried?

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. (Mark 15:25)

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)                                                                                             

When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (Matthew 27:57-60)

And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! (John 19:14)

     These scriptures tell us that he was placed on the cross at the 3rd hour (9:00am) after sunrise and gave up his spirit at the 9th hour (3:00pm). This particular day was special in that it marked the feast of Passover, which is considered as a Sabbath. Feast of the Passover occurred on the 14 day of Abib and commemorated the final plague, which God initiated in the land of Egypt. In each house that the Jews were dwelling in, a lamb was killed and blood was applied to the doorposts. Any house on which no blood was applied would have the firstborn male and animals killed. As a result of this plague, Pharaoh finally decided to let the people go.

     What about the time when he was buried? After it was confirmed to Pontius Pilate that Jesus was dead, Joseph of Arimathaea approached him asking for the release of His body so that he could place it in a new sepulcher, which was located nearby. Seeing that the following day was soon approaching at 6:00pm and was considered as a Sabbath, it was imperative that His body be prepared and placed in the tomb before the new day began so that the Sabbath was not violated. Some commentators state that anyone who died being a malefactor (criminal) would be buried before the beginning of the following day, if that day was a Sabbath. The words referring to when Joseph approached Pilate “when the even was come” could refer to one of two evenings, the former beginning at 3:00pm and the later at 6:00pm. Based on context, we can infer the former, 3:00pm. From this, we can deduce that Jesus was placed in the sepulcher (buried) after 3:00pm and probably closer to 6:00pm (the beginning of the next day). Is there anything else we should know about Christ’s burial?

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. (Matthew 27:62-66)

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)

     On the day following Christ’s death (after 6:00pm), the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate relaying to him the words of Jesus that after three days he would rise again. So, they requested permission to seal the tomb and set a watch over it. The seal could refer to the fastening of the stone with cords that were united by wax and pressing upon it the seal of the governor. As for the watch, it probably consisted of a few soldiers. Some might say that this marked the official burial of Christ.

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)

So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. (Matthew 27:66)

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (Matthew 28:1)

     Another question, which needs to be answered, was the day following Christ’s death on the cross the 7th day Sabbath? What we do know is the day following the Passover is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was considered as a Sabbath, as an high day. This feast signified that the children of Israel had to leave the land of Egypt in haste, and because of this they couldn’t wait for their bread to ferment. There was not enough time to allow the yeast to cause the bread to rise. The unleavened bread, which was likened to flatbread or a cracker, was sour, unpleasant, and unwholesome, and served to remind them of their Egyptian misery or slavery. Some say that this was also the 7th day Sabbath, because scripture seems to suggest that the day on which the tomb was sealed and a watch set over it was followed by the first day of the week. Could the words “In the end of the Sabbath” refer to the 7th day Sabbath that occurred after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread? We’ll come back to this question at a later time.

     Is there any other clues that can help us determine on what day did Christ suffered and died?

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. (Mark 16:9)

     Scripture tells us that Christ was risen from the dead early (before sunrise – 6:00am) on the first day of the week.

     Let’s gather these clues together and see if we can determine on what day Christ suffered and died.

~ Jesus was crucified at 9:00am and gave up his spirit at 3:00pm. (Mark 15:25) (Matthew 27:46)

~ He was crucified on the feast of Passover, which was considered as a Sabbath. (John 19:14)

~ The following day was considered as a high Sabbath, the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread. (John 19:31)

~ His body was released by Pilate and given to Joseph of Arimathaea, who could have buried him just before the beginning of the following day (before 6:00pm) (Matthew 27:57-60)

The chief priests and Pharisees met with Pilate at the beginning of the next day (after  6:00pm), the first day (Sabbath) of Unleavened Bread, asking and receiving permission from him to seal the stone and set a watch over it. Does this signify the official burial day of Christ? (Matthew 27:62-66)

Some consider the first day of Unleavened Bread as the 7th day Sabbath, while others do not. (Matthew 27:66; 28:1)

~ Jesus was risen early, before sunrise (6:00am) on the first day of the week, the day following the seventh day Sabbath. (Mark 16:1-9)

     With this information, we should be able to answer the question did Jesus suffer and die on Good Friday? We know he died at 3:00pm and was probably buried just before 6:00pm. Let’s say, he was buried at 5:30pm. According to scripture he would rise from the dead after three days. This would take us to Monday at 5:30pm, which would correspond the 2nd day of the Jewish week from Sunday at 6:00pm to Monday at 6:00pm. Jesus didn’t rise on the second day. Therefore, he did not suffer and die on Good Friday.

     What about Thursday? This would take us to Sunday at 5:30pm, which would correspond to the 1rst day of the Jewish week from Saturday at 6:00pm to Sunday at 6:00pm. This appears right, right? There is a problem with this. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day before sunrise (6:00am). According to this, he would have risen after 5:30pm meaning that the morning of this day had already passed. If he rose after 6:00pm this would take us to the beginning of the second day. What about Wednesday?

     Wednesday would take us to Saturday at 5:30pm, which would correspond to the 7th day of the week, from Friday at 6:00pm to Saturday at 6:00pm. Likewise, if he rose after 5:30pm he couldn’t have risen on the morning of this same day. However, if he rose after 6:00pm the beginning of the first day of the week, then the morning of this day would be in play.

     It appears that Jesus was crucified, suffered, and died on a Wednesday. It also seems likely that the day following Christ’s death was not the 7th day Sabbath.

     We have one more dispensation to look at in trying to answer the question, should a Christian observe the 7th day Sabbath?

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Synopsis
Were those saints who lived during Christ's incarnation obligated to tithe?
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