by Wendell Tenison

Question No. 1

"Weren't the Ten Commandments as well as the Sabbath command given to Adam and Eve in the Garden? See Genesis 2:2-3; 26:5."

(Gen. 2:2-3; 26:5) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. . . Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Answer No. 1

The answer is "No." There is no relevance between the question and the two scriptures given.

The root problem with man on this subject is, man does not understand to whom the three law periods were given, and for the period of time given. It appears that the querist is completely void of the correct understanding of this question.

I. The Law To The Fathers (Patriarchs)

From the beginning to the death of the testator Moses, which marked the enforcement of his testament after his death, Heb. 9:16-18. This time frame was approximately 2500 years.

The age old question is: How did God speak to the fathers, since there was no written law? The answer is contained in the scriptures for our admonition.

(Gen. 15:12-16) "And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. [13] And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; [14] And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. [15] And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. [16] But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full"

(Job 4:12-17) "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. [13] In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, [14] Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. [15] Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: [16] It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, [17] Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

(Job 33:13-17) Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. [14] For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. [15] In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; [16] Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, [17] That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

First: God appeared to Abram in a deep sleep and imparted unto him his will.

Second: Eliphaz the Temanite, made the same statement, while deep sleep falls upon men, things are brought secretly to them.

Third: Elihu makes the same statement in deep sleep, but really reveals more perfectly how God spoke to the fathers. We have probably said to our children and others, "If I told you once, I told you a thousand times and it went in one ear and out the other." This is exactly what is meant by the phrase, "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not." Obviously the method of speaking to man while he was conscious did not work. There is absolutely no doubt that God gave his laws and instructions to the fathers while they were in deep sleep.

(Job 22:22) Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.

(Job 23:12) Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

The above verses show that Eliphaz and Job lived under the law to the fathers, in view of the fact that the words of God came to them by way of God's mouth and lips. This did not God to the children of Israel, because he spoke to them by his prophet Moses through the testament of Moses. Job is the first poet of record in the history of mankind.

We see a very close similarity between the giving of the unwritten law to the fathers or the world, and the giving of the written law of Christ to the world. Whereas God sealed his law and instructions in their hearts and minds by way of deep sleep, God through Christ, through the Holy Spirit, seals his law and instructions by writing them in our hearts and minds. Not by way of deep sleep, but by giving us a copy of the Testament of Christ, which is written in heaven. This is a vast departure from the way he approached Israel (Jer. 31:31-33; Heb. 8:8-10; 10:16).

We would do this study a great injustice, if we failed to quote the following verses, which are the key to understanding how God deals with law and sin.

(Rom 2:12) For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

(1 John 3:4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

(Rom 4:15) Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

(Rom 5:13) (For until the law [Law of Moses] sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed [or put to account] when there is no law.

God's law to the fathers was not a written law, but was sealed in their minds. They were under law, but the law was not put to account. Example: Suppose there are traffic laws which are given by acclamation but not recorded, and all drivers are aware of such statutes. As an operator of a motorized vehicle, I violate these laws on a daily basis, and a police officer records these violations by writing citations, but never stops me and gives them to me. I therefore, am a repeat offender, but am never called to acccount by those who are entrusted with the enforcement of the law. However, there will come a time when I will give an account for all of those violations and the price will be high.

The obvious conclusion is, the law was given to the fathers, but not written with paper and ink. All of those who were subject to those laws will be judged by those same laws, even though they were not in written form. According to what we have just read, if there is no law, there can be no sin.

Sin is sin, law or no law. The sin of Adam marked the beginning of man's most feared consequence in life, known as "the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). We should note here that Rom. 8:2 refers to the law of Moses, which was weak through the flesh and made no provision for the redemption of the soul. However, the law of sin and death had its origin in the Garden of Eden.

First, let's look at the progression of the sin of Adam and Eve. Adam was not without responsibility; therefore, we will list him first.

Adam's sin:

<The conception of sin>

<The delivery>

<The reproductive cycle of sin now established. Sin begets itself.>

Eve's sin:

<The conception of sin>

<The delivery> <The reproductive cycle of sin now established. Sin begets itself.> Samuel the prophet told king Saul that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry (1 Sam. 15:23). The apostle Paul declares that covetousness is idolatry (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5).

The apostle John tells us in 1 Jn. 2:16 that all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Eve committed all three at one time, and as the result, man was set on a collision course with suffering and death. The next time that Satan made this same sales pitch of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, to the magnitude that it would keep man on the same collision course with death, was when he tempted the Savior (Matt. 4:1-11). However, his long range plan was to implement an insurance policy whereby man would be without any hope of reconciliation to God. Fortunate for us, our Lord did not buy it. Our Lord said that Satan is a liar and the father of it (Jn. 8:44). Would Satan have kept his promise to Jesus? I don't think so.

Several Laws to the Patriarchs:

II. The Law (Testament) Of Moses

This law to Israel was from the death of Moses to the cross of Christ. Moses was born, lived, and died under the law to the fathers. The law was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator (Gal. 3:19). The total of the law was, the Ten Commandments plus over four hundred others laws. The inheritance that God gave Israel was conditional provided they continued in his laws. However, they did not keep his commandments and God removed it from them forever (2 Chron. 7:19-22; 2 Kings 21:8).

The prophets Jeremiah and Micah foretold of the plowing of Zion as a field and Jerusalem became as heaps (Jer. 26:18; Micah 3:12). Terentius Rufus, a Roman commander left behind after the destruction to tend the army of the Romans, plowed Zion. See Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 7, chp. 2, footnote, p. 836.

As a result of the destruction of Jerusalem and all records of lineage, the Jews have no priests to this day. Therefore, they do not attempt to keep the law of Moses because they have no priests. They are governed by the Babylonian Talmud, which consists of thirty volumes. The United Nations gave to the Jews the State of Israel in 1948, which they now occupy. This was not a return to their homeland as an ordinance or favor from God, because he had taken it from them forever because of their wickedness. By their own admission, the Nation of Israel is seventy percent European.

Why are all of the Jewish writings from Genesis to Malachi called the Old Testament? Every bible of which I am aware presents only two testaments, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Since all editors and publishers for centuries have presented them in this format, we assume they are right. Testament or Will is a term found in law, whereby anyone before his death can write his testament, or as we say today, his last will and testament. Under no circumstance can it be validated until his decease.

All true spiritual law has its origin from God and him only. Regardless of what law period, even from the beginning of time, it is commonly referred to as the will of God. As has already been pointed out, God spoke to the fathers verbally so there was no written law. Then came the time when God decided to select one nation from all the rest, which would be very peculiar to all others. This nation God called Israel. Now this new nation would have its own law separate and apart from all others. It served as their spiritual and civil law with a priesthood to administer it. The law was called the testament of Moses, because God chose him to be the testator. It was given by the inspiration of God and ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

(Gal. 3:19) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

According to the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, a testament cannot be of force until after the testator is dead.

(Hebrews 9:16-17) For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. {17} For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. [See also Matt. 4:23; Heb. 2:3.]

While the testament of Moses was in force, it was called the Testament, law of Moses, Moses, and the Law. It did not become old until the new testament of Christ made it so. (Hebrews 8:13) In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

We must bear in mind that just because Moses recorded the book of Genesis and the first half of the book of Exodus, this did not qualify him as the testator of the law of God to the fathers. Moses was not born until the law to the Patriarchs had been in effect for 2500 years, and he did not arrive on the scene until the very end of that law.

The testament or law of Moses includes no more and no less than the last half of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The rest of the books called history, prophets, and poetry, were written by other writers. The books containing the law of Moses were not given like the new testament, in that Christ gave his testament while he lived, it was recorded in heaven, and after his death the Holy Spirit of God came and directed the writing of a copy. Neither the prophets nor any other Jewish writings were a testament, but they reminded the people of God's laws.

(Daniel 9:10) Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

Just because men preach from the new testament of Christ does not qualify them as testators each time they preach. The same was true with the prophets. However, their message was by divine inspiration and was recorded.

After the testament of Christ came into effect, the testament of Moses began to be called the old testament (which only appears once in 2 Cor. 3:14), the first testament (which appears twice in Heb. 9:15, 18), and the first covenant (which appears twice in Heb. 8:7; 9:1). It appears to me that the testament of Christ is much more frequently called new instead of second (which appears twice in Heb. 8:7; 10:9) because the word "new" carries a far greater and deeper meaning.

I knew these things many years before my son, DeeWayne, gave me a copy of the Septuagint with the English rendering. But it wasn't until I got it that I understood why all of the Jewish writings are called the old testament.

Quoting from the Preface of the edition I have:

". . . the threefold division of the Hebrew cannon into the Law, Prophets, and Writings is not followed in the LXX;" (LXX = the Septuagint)

Quoting from the Introduction:

"Different opinions have been formed as to what is intended by Aristobulus when he speaks of the Law: some consider that he refers merely to the Pentateuch, while others extend the signification of the Old Testament scriptures in general: the former opinion appears to be favoured by the strict meaning of the terms used; the latter by the mode in which the Jews often applied the name of the Law to the whole of their sacred writings."

Other things written in the Introduction use the terms, "the Law, the prophecies and the rest of the books." Also reference is made to the New Testament writers as differing from this version, but supplied their own version of the Hebrew text. However, it is stated, the New Testament writers did use the Septuagint on many occasions.

Now we will see how our Lord, and the writers Matthew, Luke, John and Paul, refer to the Jewish writings:

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

(Matthew 7:12) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

(Matthew 11:13) For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

(Matthew 22:40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

(Luke 16:16) The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

(Luke 16:29) Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

(Luke 16:31) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

(Luke 24:27) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

(Luke 24:44) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. [my favorite]

(John 1:45) Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

(Acts 13:15) And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

(Acts 24:14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

(Acts 26:22) Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:

(Acts 28:23) And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

(Romans 3:21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Everything indicates the Hellenist Jews at Alexandria first began to call all of the Jewish writings, the testament, as they translated the Hebrew writings into Greek, 285 years before the birth of Christ. I will on occasion refer to all of the Jewish writings as the Old Testament as do all others. . . because that is what it says on the cover.

III. The Law (Testament) Of Christ

The Kingdom of Christ began at the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ and will continue until the end of the world. God has spoken to the world by his Son as did Moses to the children of Israel (Heb. 1:2; 2:3, 9:15-18; Gal.6:2). As opposed to the law of Moses which is a carnal commandment (Heb. 7:17), the law of Christ is spiritual, providing better things for its spiritual priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5,10).

The Testament of Christ could under no circumstance be valid until the First Testament was declared null and void. The apostle Paul makes this very clear in Rom. 7:1-4, where he reminded them that under the law of Moses, a woman who married another while her husband was still living would be called an adulteress, but if her husband be dead, she was free to marry again. He made that point to make this one: If while the law of Moses was in effect, Christ took to himself those who were married to God under the law, those taken would be called adulterers and Christ himself would be the most infamous spiritual adulterer the world has ever known. But now, Paul says, the law being dead, they were free to marry another, even him who should bring forth fruit unto God.

In answer to the question under consideration, the command to observe the sabbath did not exist until the giving of the law of Moses. Moreover, the sabbath was a sign only between God and the children of Israel forever. (Ex. 31:13-17; Ez. 20:20).

(Neh 9:13-14) Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: [14] And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant:

The first introduction of the sabbath into the world was to Israel by God. It was also a sign between God and Israel alone. Regarding Abraham's obedience to the commands and statutes of God, we have just named several, of which the sabbath was not one of them. The command did not exist until Moses gave it. Amen.

Question No. 2

"Isn't everyone is supposed to keep the Sabbath day because the Lord worked six days and rested the seventh?" See Ex. 20:11.

(Ex. 20:11) For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Answer No. 2

The lack of command in the verse to observe the sabbath overrides the opinion.

Most of the religious world believes that the law of Moses is still in effect. For the most part, they prefer Moses over Christ, because they do not have to keep all of the law, but only bits and pieces as they choose. Most religions of the world are based on the law of Moses combined with their own flavor and spices. They borrow from other churches and add their own innovations.

Exodus 20:11 is the prelude to the Ten commandments and as we have just seen, the sabbath was for the Jew and the Jew only. For the querist to make the statement is to prove it by book, chapter and verse, which he cannot do. The confidence of the querist rests solely on the law of Moses, of which the apostle Paul pulled no punches when he wrote, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace," (Gal.5:4). If the querist was ever in the grace of God, he certainly has fallen based upon his belief that we are justified by the law of Moses. Amen.

Questions No. 3 & 4

"When the New Testament tells us that the law was done away, doesn't this refer only to the ceremonial laws, not the Ten Commandments?"

"Isn't it true that when the bible says, "law" or "law of Moses", it refers to the ceremonial laws, whereas the "law of God" or "law of the Lord" refers to the Ten Commandments?"

Answers No. 3 & 4

It would be wise for the querist to have someone to expound to them more perfectly the way of God, as did Aquila and Priscilla with Appollos (Acts 18:26).

(Rom. 7:7) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet.

Just what was "Thou shalt not covet?" It was one of the Ten Commandments. Paul said, "the law said, thou shalt not covet." A child can understand this verse, but those whose minds are blinded by Satan are led around by the hand. Who is telling the truth? We shall see. But wait! Perhaps the querist is telling the truth and the Apostle Paul was confused as to what the law and commandments are. God Forbid!

(Rom 3:4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Moses wrote only one book which he called the law, which he also called the commandments and statutes. The writer Luke makes the querist a liar when the querist makes the statement, "The law of the Lord is only the Ten Commandments." Notice very carefully the next two verses:

(Deu 30:10) If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

(Luke 2:23) (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

Surely the querist is right when he says the" law of the Lord" applies only to the ten commandments. That being the case, obviously Luke is saying that there are 11 commandments instead of 10. God Forbid!

Question No. 5

"Shouldn't we observe the Sabbath since both Jesus and Paul kept the Sabbath?" See Mark 2:28; Acts 18:4.

(Mk. 2:28) Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

(Acts 18:4) And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Answer No. 5

Jesus observed the sabbath, but Paul did not. However, Paul did observe the sabbath before coming a Christian in obedience to Christ. It has already been pointed out that the sabbath was a sign between God and only the Jews. The Ten Commandments were a part of the law of Moses, and Paul says that if we seek to be justified by the law, we are fallen from grace. Furthermore, the apostle Paul tells us just what was the purpose of the sabbath.

(Col 2:16-17) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: [17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

(Isa 66:23-24) And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. [24] And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

The following commentary is presented by Paul Rommel Tenison, Palmer, Alaska:

Paul wanted to leave no doubt in anyone's mind that Christ is the creator and head of all things, the revealer of all mysteries, and the only means whereby man may be saved from sin. Early in his letter (Col. 1:15-19), he presents Christ as (1) "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature"; (2) the creator, sustainer, and head of all things; (3) the head of the church, his body; and (4) he in whom all the fulness of God dwells. Here, the emphasis is upon Christ's preeminent role in creation, both the material (universe and man) and the spiritual (the church). This emphasis upon Christ's role in creation is carried throughout the epistle, and is at the heart of Paul's admonition in Col. 2:16-17.

To see this, first go to Heb. 10:1. There, the law is said to have a "shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things." Notice the distinction between shadow and image. An image can be clearly seen, as a reflection of the original. A shadow is merely a dark outline, which is evidence of that which casts the shadow. Continuing in Hebrews, the sacrificial laws (with the blood of bulls and goats) were the shadow of the perfect sacrifice of Christ. They were not an image, or reflection of Christ, since the blood of bulls and goats had to be offered continually and could not take away sins. But, since the law contained the idea of sacrifice as a means of escape from the consequences of sin, without revealing the true source of salvation, this aspect of the law was but a shadow of Christ.

Now, in Col. 2:16-17, Paul refers to several components of the law (feasts, sabbaths, new moons, holy days), but here says that these are a shadow of things still to come. Unlike the sacrificial laws pertaining to sin, these elements of the law pointed, not to Christ himself, but to his creation. Under the old law, these special days and times served as an "image" of God's material creation, a constant reminder to his people that he made all things by his own power. The sabbath directly reflected God's rest from creation on the seventh day. Each new moon celebration, commencing at the beginning of the lunar month (a division of time), served both as an acknowledgement of God's mighty works of creation, as well as a reflection (image) of the beginning of time. Likewise, other feasts and holy days were set in accordance with natural earth cycles. This applies also to pagan celebrations, all of which are geared to the cycles of nature.

Do these things (religious festivals geared to natural cycles) still serve as an image of God's material creation? No, with the revelation of the mystery of Christ, it is Christ himself, the "image" of the invisible God, who is our rest (sabbath) and our beginning (new moon). These festivals are of no spiritual significance to the Christian. On the other hand, their observance by the Christian is not forbidden, if it is done with the understanding that God does not require it, and that they do still serve as a shadow of things to come.

What are the things to come? Turn to Isaiah 66:18-24. Here, Isaiah prophesies of the establishment of the church. See outline. In verses 23-24, he speaks of the new heavens and the new earth which God would create, stating that then all flesh would worship him from one sabbath to the next, and from one new moon to the next. From 2 Pet. 3:13, we know the new heaven and the earth is still to come. John again refers to them in Rev. 21:1. I believe that God will create a new universe after he destroys this one. We will have perfect bodies to inhabit a perfect world. The nature of God's new creation is unknown, except that we know there will be no sun or moon, no sea, no harvest time, etc. In other words, the cycles of this current material creation will no longer exist. Just as the sacrificial laws, which embodied the idea of sacrifice for atonement of sin, were a shadow of Christ, any ritual celebration geared to earth cycles, which embodies the idea of creation, is a shadow of God's new creation to come. Since the new creation will have no moon, earth cycles, etc., these current celebrations and observances cannot be an "image" of that new creation, but only a shadow.

Christ's role in creation is further emphasized in the statement that "but the body is of Christ." Here, the distinction is between the shadow of something (creation of God) which is still to come, versus the reality of something (creation of God) which is here today. Christ's role in the spiritual creation of the church and the creation of the new heavens and earth are again stressed in Colossians 3:4,10. In other words, Christ was telling the Colossians that they had the best of everything in Christ. They had all the answers, all knowledge, all wisdom, and all life. No system devised by man could even come close.

Likewise God speaks to us today by his Son to make known to Christians his holy sabbath, which is our rest in Christ. Christ is "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev.3:14). He is also the end of the creation of God (or the sabbath), as he says "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Rev.22:13). When one comes to Christ, then God, by his Son and Spirit, creates the new man (beginning of the creation). And, in Christ, the new man has rest from his works (end of the creation). See Heb.4:3-11."

Thanks Paul.

(Luke 4:16-20) 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. [17] 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, [18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. [20] And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Jesus was born under the law, lived under the law, died under the law, being subject in all things of the law, including the sabbath.

The accusers of Jesus were extremely hypocritical in that they allowed and even did similar things that he did concerning work on the sabbath day. This same mind set prevails today in all walks of life, and especially in the church, where it ought not to be.

Jesus was heavily criticized by the Pharisees when his disciples became hungry and began to pluck the ears of corn and did eat. They said it is not lawful to do so on the sabbath day. Our Lord reminded them from the scripture how that David entered into the house of God and ate the shewbread which was not lawful for them to eat, but was for the priests only. Further, he added that the law said that the priests profaned the temple on the sabbath and were blameless (Matt. 12:1-5).

To illustrate how his brethren thought more of their animals than they did of their own brethren, again he was criticized for healing a woman on the sabbath day, who had an issue of blood that had her bound for eighteen years. His reply was, you loose your animals from their stalls and lead them to watering on the sabbath, but you do not want to have this woman, a daughter of Abraham, loosed from this bond in which Satan had bound her for these eighteen years (Luke 13:10-16).

Again, our Lord asked the Pharisees and lawyers, is it lawful for me to heal this man who had the dropsy on the sabbath day? After hearing no response, he took the man and healed him. He then asked, which of you having an ass or an ox fall into the pit will not pull him out on the sabbath day? They could not answer (Luke 14:2-6).

The law to observe the sabbath was not without some problems. It seems that because our Lord did much healing on the sabbath day, it provoked the wrath of the Jews against him to extreme levels.

(John 7:22-23) Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. [23] If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?

(Gal 5:1-4) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. [2] Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. [3] For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. [4] Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

(Ezek 20:23-26) I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; [24] Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols. [25] Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; [26] And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.

Our Lord states that the law should not be broken regarding circumcision, even if it falls on the sabbath day. However, the law was very strict concerning the sabbath day. Could the sabbath be broken that circumcision might be fulfilled? What were they to do? They went ahead and circumcised on the eighth day even if it fell on the sabbath, doing what they felt to be the lesser violation.

The Apostle Paul states in Col. 2:14 that the handwriting of ordinances was against us and contrary to us. Therefore, he (Christ) took it (the law) out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Note Ezek.20:25, where the writer informs us that God gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live. Many would take this verse as contrary to Rom. 7:7,12, where Paul said the law and commandment was holy, just, and good. The "statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live," referred to in Ezek. 20:25, were a part of the Law of Moses. Therefore, they were just and good, but not good for the children because of their rebellion in refusing to forsake their idols. Based on the verses we have just read, we can only conclude that the law of circumcision was a yoke about their necks, being called a yoke of bondage. It is no wonder that Paul said if ye seek to be justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.

The scriptures point out seventeen ways in which Jesus was made. We are looking for one in particular, made under the law.

The apostle Paul simply found a very convenient place to preach the gospel-when the Jews were all gathered in the synagogue on the sabbath. The verse indicates nothing as to Paul going to the synagogue to worship. Amen.


We might be amazed if we knew just how much influence the law of Moses has among church members today. No more than a few decades ago, it was believed that the church building is holy and that work on Sunday was forbidden (except for cooking and a few other inside chores, but not the high profile stuff outside). The law of Moses (Testament of Moses) the Prophets, Psalms, and the rest of the books were written for our learning (Rom. 15:4). There is a mammoth difference in learning and obeying the scripture. Without a good working knowledge of Genesis through Malachi, we will be very limited in our understanding of the New Testament.

Those who believe that we are to observe the sabbath on Saturday, or those who believe in the moral principles of the sabbath to be observed on Sunday, are as those hypocritical Jews who said in effect, "Do as I say, and not as I do." They pick and choose as did the Jews, and refrain from the weightier matters of the law as it pertained to the sabbath. I am convinced that no one on this earth attempts to observe the sabbath according to the law in a strict absolute sense. But rather, manifest themselves as those who pervert the scripture, which is an abomination in the sight of God.

It appears that this raging battle between the religious world and God will never cease. God says that the tenure of the sabbath has ceased with the termination of the law of Moses, but the religious world bitterly denies it, by maintaining that the sabbath is forever.

Hopefully, there are none in the churches of Christ who believe the original sabbath observance has now evolved into the Christian sabbath, to be observed on the first day of the week.

Key verses in the study:

P. S.

May the God of heaven bless and keep us in the knowledge and revelation of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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© 1999 by Wendell Tenison