Doctrine Six Continued
The Bible is the Foundation of the Church
CHRIST UPHELD THE LAW OF GOD
CHRIST UPHELD THE LAW OF GOD
"Jesus Christ was not a smart-aleck young man who came to do away with His Father's Law!" -- Herbert W. Armstrong
THE LAW OF GOD IS IN FORCE TODAY
"But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."'"
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus did not come to destroy the Law of God, but to fulfill Bible prophecy. Peter explained that Christ fulfilled some of the biblical prophecies at His first coming, but not all of them (Acts 3:18-21; I Peter 1:10-12). Jesus fulfilled the prophecies which predicted that the Messiah would suffer. The prophecies which remain will be fulfilled in conjunction with His Second Coming (Luke 21:22). Today we are living between the First and Second comings of Jesus Christ and the moral Law of God is still in full force -- it has not been abrogated.
There were two kinds of laws given in the Old Testament: 1) laws which defined sin, and 2) laws which instructed Israel how to deal with sin after it had been committed. Christ's sacrifice changed the second kind of law, but not the first (Hebrews 7:12; 9:10; 10:8-9). Sin is the flagrant defiance of the known will of God (Romans 5:12; 6:1-2, 12, 15; 7:22-23; I John 3:4-9; Hebrews 10:26). God and Christ never change (Malachi 3:6; 4:4; Hebrews 13:8).
As Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong with a multitude of counsel considered many important doctrinal subjects (e.g., military service and war, smoking, makeup). Mr. Armstrong would first ask, "Is it" -- the subject under consideration -- "sin?" After a thorough study of the Scriptures "the sin question" would be answered and the church would take a definite stand on the subject. Mr. Armstrong understood that only God can decide what sin is, but that God compels man to choose whether to sin (as in the garden of Eden). Sin includes the violation of the spirit of the law as well as its letter (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28; 19:16-21; Luke 10:25-28; 18:18-19; Romans 2:12-29; 13:8-10 James 2:8-12).
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
"Now behold, one came and said unto him, 'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' So He said unto him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.' He said to Him, 'Which ones?' Jesus said, '"You shall not murder," "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "Honor your father and your mother," and, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."'"
Notice that Jesus said, "keep the commandments" in the passage above. See also Mark 10:17-19 and Luke 18:18-20. It is true that the Old Covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), but God's Law is the basis of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16) as well as the Old Covenant (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13). The Sabbath is included in both Old and New Covenants. A thorough explanation of this will be given in the sections below entitled, "CHRIST UPHELD THE SABBATH" and "DID JESUS WORK ON THE SABBATH?"
CHRIST WILL GOVERN THE WORLD FROM THE THRONE OF DAVID,
ADMINISTERING THE LAW OF GOD OVER ALL NATIONS:
I Kings 2:1-4, 9:4-9; I Chronicles 22:10-13; 28:4-10; II Chronicles 7:17-22; Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 2:3-4
JESUS UPHELD THE LAW
" . . . I have kept my Father's commandments. . . ."
" . . . in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
" . . . holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. . . ."
". . . in Him there is no sin."
(I John 3:5)
" . . . He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us. . . ."
(II Corinthians 5:21)
"My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
" . . . blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Jesus came to destroy sin, not to abolish God's Law (I John 3:3-9). The following passages show that men worship God and Christ in vain when they substitute their own ideas and traditions for the commandments of God:
"He answered and said to them, 'Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
"'This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
"For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men. . . . All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. . . . making the word of God of no effect through your tradition. . . ."
(Mark 7:6-8, 9, 13)
"Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch”
JESUS UPHELD THE SCRIPTURES
"You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures. . . ."
"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me."
" . . . the Scripture cannot be broken. . . ."
WE ARE TO FOLLOW CHRIST'S EXAMPLE
"He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
(I John 2:6)
" . . . Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps."
I Peter 2:21)
CHRIST UPHELD THE SABBATH
There is more instruction regarding Sabbath-keeping in the New Testament than in the Old Testament!
The New Testament confirms that the weekly Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, not the first:
"Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment."
"Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began. . . ."
"Now when the Sabbath was past. . . ."
The Scriptures quoted above show that the first day of the week is the day after the Sabbath. The biblical Sabbath begins on Friday at sunset and ends on Saturday at sunset.
The women who prepared spices after Christ's crucifixion and then rested on the Sabbath included Jesus' mother and the mother of James and John, two of Jesus' disciples (Luke 23:55; Matthew 27:55-56; 13:55; John 19:25).
Jesus, His family and His disciples all respected the biblical Sabbath, which was made holy by God at the time of creation (Genesis 2:1-3) and spoken of by God in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 4:9-13). Jesus taught His disciples how to observe the Sabbath properly, and set an example for them in doing so. Both Jesus' teaching and the Ten Commandments reflect God's original intent at the time of creation (Matthew 19:3-9, 16-19).
"So 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 He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.'"
"For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. . . . Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
(Matthew 12:8, 12)
Notice the word "lawful" in the passage quoted above -- Christ upholds lawfulness.
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance; not to abolish God's Law; not to condone sin (John 8:11; 5:14). On one occasion He quoted Hosea 6:6 ("For I desire mercy and not sacrifice") in the context of Matthew 9:10-13 and 12:1-13, and said that people should learn what that means (see Mark 12:28-34). Although the New Testament abolished animal sacrifices, Christ taught that human beings should learn to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4). God says that His Law is "GREAT" (compare Hosea 6:6 and 8:12)!
"And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."
The Scripture quoted above indicates that the Sabbath will be in effect right up to the end of this age -- as well as in the World Tomorrow (Isaiah 2:3; 66:23).
" . . . and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
"And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, 'Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?' So they were offended at Him. . . . Now he could do no mighty work there. . . . And he marveled because of their unbelief."
(Mark 6:2-3, 5, 6)
"Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority."
"Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, 'Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.' And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
"But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, and he said to the crowd, 'There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.'
"The Lord then answered him and said, 'Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound -- think of it -- for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?' "
Satan has held the world captive for almost 6,000 years. Just as this woman was loosed from her bondage to Satan on the Sabbath day, even so shall humanity be freed from its captivity to Satan during the Seventh Millennial Day when Satan himself shall be bound for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).
"And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, 'Is is lawful to heal on the Sabbath?' But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, 'Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?'"
God gave specific instructions to Israel regarding the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-17; Numbers 15:32-36). God's dealings with Israel on their journey to the Promised Land are examples for our admonition today (I Corinthians 10:1-13; Hebrews 3:7-4:11). When God gave Israel manna six-days-a-week for forty years, causing them to rest every Sabbath, He was teaching them not to live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Exodus 16:4-35; Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4).
DID JESUS WORK ON THE SABBATH?
" . . . are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
The following story describes the incident which Jesus was referring to in the passage above:
"And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, 'It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.' He answered them, 'He who made me well said to me, "Take up your bed and walk"'. . . . Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, 'See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you'. . . . For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, 'My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.' Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making himself equal with God."
(John 5:9-11, 14, 16-18)
Did Jesus sin by healing this man on the Sabbath? Certainly not, because Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22; I John 3:5). In the New Testament the weekly Sabbath and annual Holy Days were times when much of God's Work was accomplished. Christ taught and healed people on the Sabbath days. He fulfilled Passover and Pentecost (two of the annual festivals ) by dying on the cross for the sins of the world and sending the Holy Spirit to the New Testament Church on those very days. These fulfilled major steps in God's Master Plan for the salvation of mankind. Jesus explained there is a great difference between the spiritual Work of God and the physical work of man (John 6:27-29). Jesus was both God and man. As a human being, He never sinned; as God, He was Lord even of the Sabbath and did the Work of God on it.
Here is another story from the book of John relating to Jesus' healing people on the Sabbath, and important lessons to be learned:
"Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. The night is coming when no one can work'. . . . Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. . . . Therefore some of the Pharisees said, 'This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath'. . . . 'We know that this man is a sinner'. . . . And Jesus said, 'For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.'"
(John 9:1-4, 14, 16, 24, 39)
Jesus' stand regarding the Fourth commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8), was absolutely identical to His stand regarding the Seventh commandment, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). He restored God's original intent with regard to both. God created 1) marriage, and 2) the Sabbath on the sixth and seventh days of creation. Both were made for mankind. It was a perfect creation (Genesis 1:31) until sin entered into the world (Romans 5:12; Genesis 3). When Jesus taught that it is an act of adultery for human beings to divorce and remarry (Matthew 19:3-9), He was superseding an OT law of Moses while at the same time completely upholding the Ten Commandments (verses 16-19, same chapter).
The Ten Commandments reflect God's original intent at the time of creation. They are to be written on our hearts and in our minds today (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16). The Sabbath remains holy time for man to draw near to God. At His first coming Jesus kept it, upheld it and restored His own original intent in creating it!
Those who say that they know God but do not keep His commandments are liars (I John 2:4), and God says that no liar will enter His kingdom (Revelation 21:8; 22:15). On The World Tomorrow program Herbert W. Armstrong declared that there is one commandment most churches refuse to obey -- the Sabbath commandment.
Did Jesus Work on the Sabbath?
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