Sabbath Keeping

Question
Did the early Christians [Gentiles] keep the Sabbath, Saturday? How can it be proven in the Bible?
and
If upon your death you go to heaven or hell, where do the people come from and what would the purpose of the great white throne judgment be? Surely you’re not pulled out of heaven or hell and judged again.

Answer
First, let me say that the early Christians were both Jew and Greek (Gentile). Secondly, Scripture was not given by God as a proof of anything. This is a purely Western need. We have been educated to find proof for our way of thinking and then convince others with our proof. Scripture stands outside of that tradition. Scripture is God’s story of his creation and redemption of a people that will be his light to the fallen world. We spend too much time trying to “prove something about” rather than learning how to enjoy living in the presence of a present God.

It is difficult to say that within the first century that the early church universally recognized a specific day, either Saturday or Sunday on our calendar, as the appropriate time for early Christians to gather. It may well be that the early Christians met on different days in different communities. There is no evidence in the NT that Sunday or “the Lord’s day” replaced the Sabbath as a day for believers to worship together. The significance of “the Lord’s day” was that it was the day of Jesus’ resurrection. We have chosen Sunday, for the most part, for a day for believers to worship. However, any day, or better yet, everyday would be an appropriate day for us to be attentive to God.

Second, there is no clear indication that at the death of a person that he goes directly to heaven or hell. Scripture is silent on what occurs between death and the end of time. Again our Western need for specifics is our downfall. We pull passages of Scripture together and arrange them so we can have an answer to a question that Scripture didn’t see the need to answer. When we apply ourselves to this process of pulling varied Scriptures together to prove a point we might find ourselves saying that we can do a better job than the Spirit in putting Scripture together, in so far as it is already in a form that has come to us.

In regards to the first question, it is helpful to choose a day in which to worship. Which day is not important! In regards to the second question, we simply don’t have an answer.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rob Borley November 21, 2005 at 2:56 am

As Jesus says in Mark 2.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”

It is a day of rest from work and for focus on the Lord (of course being a desciple of Jesus is a daily, relational thing). The day of rest is put in place because we NEED one.

God really does know best. *smile*

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