Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Word To Those Who Deny The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Peter in his second Epistle states that Paul is a “beloved brother” and that Paul’s writings are “Scripture.” Paul writes in I Timothy that “All Scripture is God inspired”: so why do you deny Scripture in proving a point? The foundation to any Gospel heresy is always rooted in the denial of Scripture. You claim that Paul’s message was different than Christ’s; however, Christ taught that the foundation of all things is Love; and likewise, Paul taught the same thing (I Cor. 13). Christ also taught us to deny and humble ourselves; and likewise, Paul taught the very same thing (Rom. 6; Eph. 4). There are many other likenesses, which speak of the very same message; however, your willingness to believe historical propaganda prevents you from seeing this.

Paul never denies Jesus Christ; in every way Paul esteems and glorifies Jesus our Lord. Paul never states that it is from him that he proclaims the Gospel, but consistently declares that it is only through Christ Jesus he declares the Gospel. The problem is that you biasness blinds your eyes to the truth in seeing Paul’s message in application to what Christ taught. Paul’s message of the Gospel was no different than the other apostles; however, the fact is--Paul’s words do not fit your religious rhetoric; so you must deny him to justify yourself.

Those of us who believe that Paul was divinely inspirited through Christ Jesus are not slaves to his words, as you imply. Paul's words are an inspired account of a man faithfully and lovingly following Christ's words, which is really why we trust Paul to begin with; because we see in his writing the requirements of the Gospel of Christ being lived out in the first century. Paul is no longer among us, but his words are still more powerful than any one of us, and they have influenced and continue to influence more people towards following Christ, in a positive way, than ours are ever likely to.

I know that through faith in Christ--works and word--that we find eternal life, and not through faith in Paul. Paul is a solid witness-a humble servant inspired by God's Spirit. However, it is Christ who preached freedom, the freedom we are all holding to, and it was Christ who preached life, love, mercy, and so many things that have enlightened our hearts and minds.

Whoever hears the word of Christ and believes Him who sent Him has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life, for the law and the prophets were until John, but whoever keeps Christ's word shall never taste death, and his word is not burdensome. I assure you that should you judge according to every jot and tittle, you shall be judged according to every jot and tittle yourself, for with the measure you use, it shall be measured to you--with extreme solemnity.

You deny Paul’s words and claim he is a “False Teacher”; but I am sure that many of you, like a lot of us, were lead by the Holy Spirit to the salvation of Christ through the very inspired words of Paul that you now deny--his words were good enough then, why aren’t they now. To deny Paul as an apostle of Christ Jesus is claiming Jesus a liar--the truth hurts, but it can also heal; so please, come back to the truth and stop denying our “beloved brother” Paul whose faithfulness to the Gospel lead multitudes to seek Christ Jesus.

**I want to thank my good friend and dear brother in Christ J.L. McKinney for his additional writing contribution in putting this blog post together.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Sunday Myth--Explaining The Sabbath

The Commandments including the requirement to keep the Sabbath day were “nailed to the cross” along with all the rest of the Law of Moses. God gave a covenant at Mount Sinai through Moses to the Jews, known to mostly today as the “Old Covenant.” The Ten Commandments are the visible representation of this Old Covenant which was replaced by a New Covenant called, among other things, “the Law of Christ.” No part of the Old Covenant remains in force since the resurrection of Christ.

No one prior to Moses--from Adam to Abraham--ever heard of the Sabbath law or much less kept it. The very first time that anyone was commanded to keep the Sabbath was in Exodus chapter 16. The word “Sabbath” is not even found in the book of Genesis. Genesis 2:2-3 was written by Moses to tell Jews the meaning behind WHY they were to keep the Sabbath, not when the Sabbath was instituted.

Notions of Errors concerning the Sabbath:

>Notion # 1--Constantine changed the Sabbath to Sunday in the 4th century AD.

Constantine’s decree--"On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed." (Constantine, March 7, 321. Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1)

In reading Constantine’s decree, you can see that there is nothing to say that Constantine changed anything. Constantine was actually making a civil decree because Christians were already meeting on Sunday, as they were doing since the first century, which Christians should not work on Sunday.

>Notion # 2--The Roman Catholic changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

Yes, the Catholic Church does outwardly claim that they changed the Sabbath; however, they also claim that the apostle Peter was the first pope. Interesting enough, those who emphasis that Christians should keep the Sabbath day, reject this Catholic claim that Peter was the first pope; therefore, they are in grave error for accepting the Catholic claim to changing the Sabbath to Sunday.

Furthermore, to insinuate, assume, or interpret that “He” in Daniel 7:25--“He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”--in relation to Revelations 13 represents the Catholic Church and/or the Pope is merely personal interpretation based on no foundation and nothing more. No one--I mean “NO ONE”--knows that for sure or can claim that as fact.

>Notion # 3--The Sabbath is called "The Sabbath of the Lord"; therefore, it is not simply the Sabbath of the Jews, but for all Christians to keep.

Exodus 20:10, “But the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”

The Old Covenant was an agreement between God and Israel, which Exodus 19:4-6 gives the fundamentals of that agreement between God and Israel. Let it be known that all the Old Covenant Commandments are commandments of the Lord; but, they were for Israel alone.

So was there anything set by God to mankind before the Commandments? Indeed there was; however, many Christian are unfamiliar with these “Universal laws” or better known as the “Noachian Laws”, which are binding to all mankind: Genesis chapters 2-9

1>Not to worship idols
2>Not to blaspheme the name of God
3>Establish courts of justice
4>Not to kill
5>Not to commit adultery
6>Not to steal
7>Not to eat the flesh that had been cut from a living animal

Notice that there is absolutely no affiliation to “religion” or religious rituals in these Laws, other than to honor the true God. In addition, note that these laws are quite comparable to the Ten Commandments, but with an exception--Honoring the Sabbath day.

The Noachian Laws were well understood by the Jews in Jesus’ day; and for that matter, by the disciples of Jesus--Acts 15 speaks to this. Of course, the Sabbath is the “Sabbath of the Lord”; however, God was not addressing all of mankind when He gave the Commandments including, of course, to honor the Sabbath day--He was addressing only those He brought out of Egypt from their bondage--the Israelites.

While the Ten Commandments remain as good and sound fundamental rules for Christians to follow, many are intended as religious laws for Israel, never intended for Gentiles, which that includes the Sabbath day command. While it is not wrong for Christians to worship on the Sabbath day, doing so may detract from the freedom we have in Christ; but if one begins to judge other Christians for not keeping the Sabbath that strict religious adherence to the Sabbath then becomes wrong.

Lastly, I have included below documentation and historical writings by Christians which all--but one--date before the time of the supposed Constantine--“changed the Sabbath”--myth; and they clearly prove that Sunday has been observed by Christians since the first century.

Jeremiah 17:10, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”

>HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: The celebration of the Lord's Day in memory of the resurrection of Christ dates undoubtedly from the apostolic age. Nothing short of apostolic precedent can account for the universal religious observance in the churches of the second century. There is no dissenting voice. This custom is confirmed by the testimonies of the earliest post-apostolic writers, as Barnabas, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr. (Philip Schaff, , vol. 1, pg. 201-202)

>HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: Hence, the first day was already in the apostolic age honorably designated as "the Lord's Day." ...it appears, therefore, from the New Testament itself, that Sunday was observed as a day of worship, and in special commemoration of the Resurrection, whereby the work of redemption was finished. The universal and uncontradicted Sunday observance in the second century can only be explained by the fact that it has its roots in apostolic practice. (Philip Schaff, , vol. 1, pg. 478-479)

>220 AD Origen "Hence it is not possible that the [day of] rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh [day] of our God. On the contrary, it is our Savior who, after the pattern of his own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of his death, and hence also of his resurrection" (Commentary on John 2:28).

>200 AD TERTULLIAN: Let him who contends that the Sabbath is still to be observed a balm of salvation, and circumcision on the eighth day because of threat of death, teach us that in earliest times righteous men kept Sabbath or practiced circumcision, and so were made friends of God. .. ...Therefore, since God originated Adam uncircumcised, and inobservant of the Sabbath, consequently his offspring also, Abel, offering Him sacrifices, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was by Him commended... Noah also, uncircumcised - yes, and inobservant of the Sabbath - God freed from the deluge. For Enoch, too, most righteous man, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, He translated from this world... Melchizedek also, "the priest of most high God," uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was chosen to the priesthood of God. (An Answer to the Jews 2:10; 4:1, Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, page 153)

>150 AD JUSTIN: "And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. (First apology of Justin, Weekly Worship of the Christians, Ch 68)

>150 AD JUSTIN: We are always together with one another. And for all the things with which we are supplied we bless the Maker of all through his Son Jesus Christ and through his Holy Spirit. And on the day called Sunday there is a gathering together in the same place of all who live in a city or a rural district. (Apology, 1, 67:1-3, 7; First Apology, 145 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , Vol. 1, pg. 186)

>155 AD Justin Martyr "[W]e too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the Sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined [on] you--namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your heart. . . . [H]ow is it, Trypho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm us--I speak of fleshly circumcision and Sabbaths and feasts? . . . God enjoined you [Jews] to keep the Sabbath, and impose on you other precepts for a sign, as I have already said, on account of your unrighteousness and that of your fathers" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 18, 21).

>225 AD The Didascalia "The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation, because on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven" (Didascalia 2).

>250 AD IGNATIUS: "On the day of the preparation, then, at the third hour, He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried. During the Sabbath He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathaea had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord's day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." The day of the preparation, then, comprises the passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord's Day contains the resurrection." (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, chapter 9)

>300 AD Eusebius of Caesarea "The day of his [Christ's] light . . . was the day of his resurrection from the dead, which they say, as being the one and only truly holy day and the Lord's day, is better than any number of days as we ordinarily understand them, and better than the days set apart by the Mosaic Law for feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, which the Apostle [Paul] teaches are the shadow of days and not days in reality" (Proof of the Gospel 4:16:186).

>345 AD Athanasius "The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord's day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord's day as being the memorial of the new creation" (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3).

>597 AD Gregory I "It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these [men] but preachers of Antichrist, who when he comes will cause the Sabbath day as well as the Lord's day to be kept free from all work. For because he [the Antichrist] pretends to die and rise again, he wishes the Lord's day to be had in reverence; and because he compels the people to Judaize that he may bring back the outward rite of the Law, and subject the perfidy of the Jews to himself, he wishes the Sabbath to be observed. For this which is said by the prophet, 'You shall bring in no burden through your gates on the Sabbath day' (Jer. 17:24) could be held to as long as it was lawful for the Law to be observed according to the letter. But after that the grace of almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, has appeared, the commandments of the Law which were spoken figuratively cannot be kept according to the letter. For if anyone says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered. He must say too that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained. But let him hear the apostle Paul saying in opposition to him: 'If you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing' (Gal. 5:2)" (Letters 13:1).