In the last month and a half I've encountered the discussion about the Sabbath and the laws of the Torah four times. I hadn't really thought about it until this morning and realized that either God was trying to say something to me about it or perhaps he wanted to communicate something through me or both.
February 5th, 2011 I received a text message from an old friend asking,
-"Y don't Christians believe in the law of Moses or the Torah which are the same?"
- My answer was that we do.
- His response was then, "Y do Christians violate the dietary, circumcision and burial laws?"
- Still texting, I said, "1) That's specifically for the Jew under the Old Covenant or Testament. 2) Jesus is the fulfillment of the law or Old Testament. When he shed his blood and became the atonement for our sins."
- He asked, "What does fulfillment mean?"
- My response: "Atonement for our sins, there was no other sacrifices needed. His death n resurrection instituted the New Testament. Everything in the Old Testament was prophesying and leading up to the Messiah and the new covenant."
-His response: "Who said? Did Jesus teach that? Didn't Jesus say the law shall not pass away or change?" Did Jesus establish the kingdom of god (God) on earth the way he was supposed to?"
- Yes, I replied. "Jesus himself taught this. I recommend you spend some time studying the teachings of Christ more than the OT. You'll get a full understanding faster."
The questioning continued and conversation continued but because it was all by text I recommended either we discuss it by phone or by email where we could address it better in more length. I recommended he start with Matthew chapter 5 and specifically 5:17. He read the scripture text I recommended and persisted via text to question and prod.
-"It doesn't mean stop following the law. That means all 610 laws such as dietary laws and the sabbath starting on Friday. So y don't Christians follow the law?" he said.
Due to time and location, I wasn't able to respond right away. So I emailed him the following day. I realize that it was going to take some time in discussion and study, however he wanted instant responses which I was not prepared to do without proper review of the Scriptures with references for him to look up.
A couple weeks later I entered a comment on some one's blog in reference to the importance of honoring the day Christians do hold as a Sabbath - Sunday. I shared that though we honor Sunday as the day of rest, many of us are failing to do just that, honor it as a day of rest. I fight to refrain from work and doing my own thing on Sunday and make it a day of rest and reflection on the Lord. Such was the tone of the comment.
Again, last week I met with an old acquaintance I hadn't seen in about 20 years. His conversation centered around keeping the 10 commandments with an emphasis on keeping the 7th day, the Sabbath Day Holy instead of the 1st day, being Sunday. I listened and inquired about how that conflicted with Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14. I don't really remember his answer except to give me his testimony of what God had said to him about keeping the Sabbath and that as my other friend said, "Jesus didn't come to abolish the law but to fulfill it." That Jesus himself kept the Sabbath and that the law was not abolished and should be followed even as a Christian. He also pointed out that out of the 10 commandments given that the law of the Sabbath was the longest and therefore the most important, or so I gathered by his emphasis. I didn't argue but I wanted to remain open. I was rusty, it had been a long time since I'd done a study on the Sabbath, law versus grace and what Jesus meant in Matt. 5:17. So I made a mental note to pray and study on it so that I would have an answer the next time the subject was broached. I had not gotten back with my friend that I'd had the text conversation with about it yet either.
Then last evening we had a former Jewish Rabbi, who was now a Messianic Christian Rabbi, well versed in both the Torah, Talmud and the New Testament come to our church to teach for the next three Bible studies and guess where he started? He started with the "Shabbat" or the Sabbath. It was fascinating and I look forward to the next few weeks. He prefaced the teaching by saying, before you can fully understand who you are, you need to know your history and where you came from. It is important for you to understand that God is a God of rituals and order and that the rituals prepare us for the reality or the realization of the leading of the rituals. This is the key.
In the next post I hope to explore further how that revelation of the Old Testament or Covenant laws and rituals were a preface or pointed to the Messiah and the New Testament and how it translates to some of our doctrine and rituals today. I welcome your comments and Scripture references supporting your stand even moreso than only your opinion if you don't mind. If you are fairly new to the study of the subject, below are some passages of scripture you can study/review for a good base on the subject:
Old Covenant: Exodus 20; Exodus 31: 12-13; Leviticus 23:3
New Covenant: Matt. 5:17-20; Mark 2:27-28; Colossians 2:16-17; Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31, Romans 2:12-3:31 (Chp. 4 is good to read too); Romans 5:13-21.
Peace and Blessings.