|Volume 21 Number 5 May 2019||
Mark T. Tonkery
In Exodus 20:8-11, God instructed the Hebrews to take a day off. It is in this passage that one learns that the Lord commanded the Sabbath because in six days He made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested (Genesis 2:3). For centuries, as seen in the Old Testament and till the time of Christ, Jews rested and observed the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath unto the Lord.
Yet, today biblical Christians meet on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week or Sunday, as they have since the beginning of the church in Acts 2. The shift in the calendar was monumental. Something catastrophic happened to effect this change in the day of worship from the Jewish Sabbath to the first day according to the Jewish calendar!
This monumental event that changed history was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we read in the Gospel records (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19), which are eyewitness accounts that Jesus Christ arose from the tomb on the first day of the week.
After His resurrection, we never find Christ meeting with His disciples on the seventh day or Sabbath. However, He especially honored the first day by manifesting Himself to the apostles and others on four separate occasions (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18-33; John 20:19-23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus appeared to His disciples (John 20:26). Nothing but the resurrection of Jesus Christ could change the day of honoring the Lord from the Sabbath to the first day of the week.
Many centuries before Christ, some tradesmen who resented keeping the Sabbath day came to the prophet of the Lord, Amos, and demanded to know, “When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances of deceit?” (Amos 8:5). Amos responded in Amos 8:9, “‘And on that day,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.’” Scripture confirms just as Amos prophesied that the Sabbath was abolished when God darkened the earth in a clear day and the sun went down at noon. This, of course, happened when Jesus was crucified; as a result, the Sabbath Day was nailed to His cross, as we see in Matthew 27:51ff.
Then Colossians 2:14-16 clearly states:
Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
[Editor’s Note: The change from the Sabbath Day to the first day of the week as a day of worship was divinely prophesied as well as accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and the commencement of New Testament Christianity. The Jewish system regulated the number of the days in a week, whereupon, God chose the seventh day for rest and for worship. Beyond the Jewish system, irrespective of any way in which mankind could manipulate his calendar, God now has selected the first day of the week for Christian worship. Every week on anyone’s calendar has a first day of the week. On that day of the week under Christianity, Christians are called upon through New Testament Scripture to worship Almighty God. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
When Our Faith Is Challenged
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). We find our faith challenged on a number of occasions as we go through life. Such is certainly the case in the process of growing up. Some become so unsettled by the problems that are raised that they begin to have doubts as to the correctness of their faith in Christ. During these difficult times of uncertainty and perplexity, we may wonder what we can do, and this is especially a concern for young people.
First, do not for a moment think that you are the first person who faced doubt. Such has happened in the lives of countless believers, but their faithfulness to God shows us that attacks do not have to destroy one’s faith (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Second, do not think because you have doubts that you are a wicked person. It is often the case that some doubts originate in the lower levels of moral living, but there are many perplexities that do not originate there. This prayer will help: “Lord, we believe, help thou our unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Third, do not think that your case is hopeless and that you will never settle your doubt. Be patient and give yourself some time to study the problem.
Fourth, do not throw overboard all you believe just because at the present time you are unsettled on this point or that point. Don’t give up. Hang in there, and things will work themselves out. Remember that God’s providential help is always present (Hebrews 4:11).
Fifth, do not fail to live by the highest principles that you believe. Act on that in which you have confidence. If a person will not live by the truth he sees, what good will additional truth do for him? He is not as serious as he ought to be concerning truth and righteousness (Hebrews 2:4).
Sixth, deal with it diligently. It may take study to solve the problem or to understand it, as is true in some cases, but the problem does not need to disturb faith even though that particular problem may never be solved (2 Timothy 2:15).
Seventh, regardless of the problem, it should be dealt with prayerfully. Prayer is not a substitute for study, and study is not a substitute for prayer (Luke 17:5).
Eighth, seek help from other sources—persons and books—as we have opportunity. It may be that a friend or a neighbor has just solved that problem. Do some study in the field of Christian evidences, for otherwise, we may let one problem outweigh a thousand solutions. Recognize that a thing can be proved even if we cannot answer all questions concerning the matter. Remember that somewhere there is someone who has the answer for which we are looking (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Ninth, have confidence in the Bible. At all times, the Bible has been found to be true and its critics false! Such will give a person confidence so that the next problem can be dealt with satisfactorily. Thus, a child of God does not become unsettled every time a new challenge is raised. Have the attitude, “God said it—that settles it” (Hebrews 11:6).
Remember as we go through life that our faith will be challenged on occasions. During these times of uncertainty and perplexity, be patient, work, pray, study and seek counsel from good sources.