The Jews kept the Sabbath as a memorial of creation, but shouldn't we Christians keep Sunday in memorial of the Resurrection?
|The Jews kept
the Sabbath as a
memorial of creation, but shouldn't we
Christians keep Sunday in
memorial of the Resurrection?
Though the Jews were indeed entrusted with God's memorial of the Creation, the Sabbath was not made for the Jews alone, but for all of mankind.
'... The Sabbath was established originally in no special connection with the Hebrews, but as an institution for all mankind, in commemoration of God's rest after
the six days of creation. It was designed for all the descendants of Adam."
- Adult Quarterly, Southern Baptist Convention series, Aug. 15, 1937.
If the first Sabbath to be kept by a human being were just before Sinai (Exodus 16), and the Sabbath were merely a Jewish institution, as some claim, then why did Jesus say that the Sabbath was "made for man"? And, if no one was keeping the Sabbath, how then did generation after generation of human beings keep track of the weekly cycle for all those years? It is obvious from the book of Genesis, that the patriarchs used the seven-day week to count time (Genesis 2:1-3; 7:4, 10; 8:10, 12; 29:27, 28; 31:23; 50:10). Furthermore, the seventh day held special significance in many ancient cultures outside of Judaism. Take the ancient Babylonians and Greeks, for example:
Sabbath-rest was a Babylonian, as well as a Hebrew, institution.... The Sabbath was also known, at all events in Accadian times, as a 'dies nefastus,' a day on which certain work was forbidden to be done, and an old list of Babylonian festivals and fast-days tells us that on the seventh, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days each month the Sabbath-rest had to be observed."
- A. H. Sayce, The Higher Criticism and the Monuments, 1985, p. 74.
"But the seventh day is recognized as sacred, not by the Hebrews only, but also by the Greeks."
- Clement of Alexandria.
One would also wonder how the story of the creation would have been maintained from generation to generation - a story which places special significance on the
seventh day - if no one had ever observed the Sabbath during the 2500 years between creation and Sinai. The creation story itself testifies that the Sabbath belongs to all people:
"But after the whole world had been completed according to the perfect nature of the number six, the Father hallowed the day following, the seventh, praising it, and calling it holy. For that day is the festival, not of one city or one country, but of all the earth; a day which alone it is right to call the day of festival of all people, and the birthday of the world."
- Philo, "On the Creation," XXX (89).
the scriptures do clearly portray the Sabbath as being the memorial of God's create rest (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:11; Hebrews 4:4) and the early hours of the first day as the time when Christ arose from the dead (Matthew 28:1), nowhere do they identify Sunday worship as a commemoration of the resurrection (or as a replacement for Sabbath observance). Instead, they identify partaking of
the Eucharist (or communion service) as the commemoration of "the Lord's death" and the participation of the believer in baptism as the symbol of the
Lord's death and resurrection.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." 1 Corinthians 11:26.
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
- Sabbath Rest, Kevin Morgan, p. 80-82
|<< Return to list | Ask a Bible Question