The Good News in the Bible


Romans 14 (continued)
William Diehl


Dear Brother,

Thanks for your remarks to my posting on how to interpret the Apostle Paul's counsel in Romans 14 to those "weak in faith" who observe fast days and refuse to eat food offered to idols.

From the context of your response it is obvious that you believe the gospel of Christ and that your sins have been forgiven through faith in the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lived a sinless life of perfect obedience to the Law of God and died in our place for our transgressions and arose from the dead for our justification. This blessed faith I share with you and rejoice that we are brothers in Christ and the assurance that we have eternal life for Jesus' sake. With this in mind that we are brothers in Christ I would like to discuss with you some of the points that you raise.

Regarding how to interpret the Genesis account of creation and the Sabbath: your premise is that even though God rested on the seventh day and blessed it, it was only a day of rest for Himself and not Adam. In saying this you may have overlooked the statement of our Lord in Mark 2:27 that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" Our Lord in saying this certainly tells us that the Sabbath, when He made and blessed it after creating the world in six days, was not just for Himself to rest upon but was "made for Man" as well. Man was created to worship and give praise to his creator and rest in a special way each seventh day in recognition that he was a created being made in the image of God.

The fact that nearly all of the pre-Sinai world employed the seven day week gives witness to the fact that all recognized that the weekly cycle had its genesis in the seven day creation cycle which God initiated at the beginning. The yearly cycle of one revolution of the Earth around the Sun is a natural cycle. The monthly cycle of the revolution of the moon around the Earth is a natural cycle. However the weekly cycle of seven days is not any where to be found in nature. This cycle had its origin only in the revealed word of God that He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. To say that the loyal followers and worshippers of God of the line of Abel and Seth did not worship and rest on the seventh day because only God rested on the seventh day and not Man is to imply that they were unaware of the seven day week and did not observe that rest which you say only God observed.

You also imply that prior to Sinai God's law and especially the seventh day Sabbath was unknown to the world. Well, having made the point that the weekly cycle was certainly known prior to Sinai, I would point out also the we are told in Genesis 26:4-5 that God spoke to Jacob and promised to bless his seed "because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." This description is of Abraham as a man who kept the commandments and laws of God. Romans 4:9 tells us that God's covenant was with Abraham and that he was justified by faith. Righteousness was "imputed unto him" and he was the "father" of all of us who are justified by faith without the works of the Law.

But notice that even though Abraham was justified by faith alone, his faith resulted in obedience to God's commandments, statutes, and laws. The point I am making is two fold: That Abraham obeyed the commandments and laws of God prior to the giving of the Law at Sinai and that his obedience to the commandments of God was the fruit of his being justified by faith, just as obedience to God's commandments ought to be the fruit of our having been justified by faith alone in the perfect imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally I would call attention to the fact that before the giving of the Ten Commandments on Sinai, the children of Israel were commanded to gather the manna only on six days and not on the seventh day. On the sixth day they were commanded to gather a double portion so that they might observe the seventh day Sabbath and have enough food without gathering manna on the seventh day. "On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather food, but they did not find any. Then the Lord said to Moses, How much longer will you people refuse to obey my commands? Remember that I, the LORD, have given you a day of rest, and that is why on the sixth day I will always give you enough food for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day and not leave his home. So the people did no work on the seventh day." It is clear that the Sabbath was known to Moses and Israel prior to the giving of the Law on Sinai.

Finally brother we need to be very careful that we teach that we are saved only by the mercy and grace of God in giving our Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we may be forgiven and justified by faith alone. We must also be careful to teach that while we are justified by faith without the deeds of the Law, we do not mean to imply that faith does away with the Law. Paul clearly states that justification by faith upholds the Law. Rom 3:31 As John says in Revelation 1:10 "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day." Even John observed the Lord's day and also said that "Whosoever sins transgresses the Law for sin is transgression of the Law. 1 John 3:4

God bless you brother and lead you to stand in the last days with God's people who "keep the commandments of God and have faith in Jesus". These are the people who will stand and resist the "lawless one" 2 Thes 2.

Bill D.

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Message from Henry Randolph

Bill, I readily concede that the ISRAELITES were told by God, while heading toward the wilderness of Sin, to gather manna on 6 days and on the seventh not to seek it, for it would not be there.

I challenge you, however to point out in Scripture (other than God's rest from the work of creation) where the Japhethites and Hammites even knew anything about Sabbath laws. I have not found anything so far to demonstrate that fact. It has been said, but I haven't checked into it myself, the peoples of Egypt followed a 10-day cycle rather than a 7-day cycle. The Israelites dwelled in Egypt for 400 years, twice as long as this nation we live in existed, and I would dare say that they followed Egyptian custom. Joseph was the second in command in Egypt and certainly followed the Egyptian customs of the day...except for remaining faithful to God. Moses, himself was raised as a prince in Egypt for 40 years. I doubt that he followed Hebrew customs, if in fact they did follow the 7-day "week" that we know of today. I just can't seem to reconcile these things in my mind. Help me if you can.

Thank you!

Henry

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Dear Henry,
I guess I have already given the topic my best answer that I am able to come up with. The only thing I can say is that God has had a godly line of believers from Abel to Israel who I believe preserved and carried on the creation account of the seven days of creation throughout the generations of believers, passing the account on by pen and word of mouth. I cannot prove this but it seems logical to me.

The apostle James and John and Paul continually refer to the Law of God and the commandments of God. They sometimes use these terms as the 2d use of the Law and sometimes as the 3d use of the Law and sometimes to the Levitical laws of the Sanctuary Service which were replaced by the Priestly ministry of our Lord. If you do not want to believe that the Ten Commandments are being referred to by these apostles then there is no way I can convince you other than to repeat what I have already said in other posts.

How many times can I repeat the text "Sin is transgression of the Law." You seem to believe that this Law is limited to the "new" commandment of our Lord to "Love one another." If you prefer to not believe this refers to the Ten Commandments, then I can only say to you , go in peace. I don't think that the Reformers went down the road you are going down however. They all were Sabbatarian Christians, albeit Sunday Sabbatarian. All of the catechisms of the major divisions of Protestantism upheld ALL of the Ten Commandments as the literal written will of God for a rule of life for the believer. Law keeping does not justify any sinner but all justified sinners delight in the Law of God. God bless you brother in your walk with the Jesus of the Bible.



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