Those who tell us it is SIN to break the 7th day weekly Sabbath will point to the fourth of the Ten Commandments in Ex.20 together with the verses of 1 Jn. 3:4 and Rom. 6:1 to show us that being saved by GRACE does not mean we can continue to sin at will. When these same individuals are asked about the 7 annual Sabbaths God gave to Israel,and is it sin to not keep them as sabbaths, many will say, "no it is not sin to break them." When asked why they say this, an often reply is, "The 7 annual Sabbaths are not a part of the Ten Commandments, so we need not keep them." But is this reasoning of something not specifically being a part of or not being stated in the Ten Commandments, a valid argument ? God says to us, "come let us reason together." Let us be willing to look at ALL of God's word and also use common logic. It is surely indeed true that the Ten Commandment law does define what sin is ( 1 Jn 3:4; Rom.7:7 ). But, are the literal words of these commandments the all complete - beginning and ending, as to what is sin ? Or are they merely the basic foundation upon which the whole gambit of sin and what constitutes sin is built upon ? Surely even a casual reader of the Bible will come to see very quickly that God expounds and amplifies throughout His word, the meaning of sin - what constitutes sin, and various other thoughts, attitudes and actions of life that are not specifically worded in the Ten Commandments, but are nevertheless just as much sin as those specifics of the TEN. Let me illustrate. Because of a general wrong heart in the Israelites who would not look at the spirit and intent of the Ten Commandment law ( Deut.5:29 ) - God amplified for them those commandments with many specifics. The commandment to honor father and mother for example, was expanded to prohibit specific physical actions as well as a general disobedient attitude - punishable by death. "And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death" (Ex.21:15 ). "And he that curses his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death" (Ex..21:17 ). "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that when they chasten him, will not hearken unto them.......And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice, he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die......." (Deut.21:18-21). The simple command to rest on the Sabbath wasn't sufficient for a nation without the spirit and heart to obey God. In Exodus 16, the Israelites had to be told to stay at home after some went out looking for manna on the Sabbath (v. 27-30 ). They had to be instructed to keep the Sabbath in earing time and in harvest (Ex.34:21 ). In Ex.35:2 3 fires were prohibited on the Sabbath. Some commentators state that this prohibition referred only to industrial fires used in the construction of the Tabernacle (see the context of chapters 35-39 ). In any case, it is an example of a more specific regulation being added to the broad general commandment. The disregarding of this amplified instruction regarding the Sabbath carried the death penalty (Num.15:32-36). The 8th command against stealing did not always carry a death sentence, but one specific amplification of this command did, "And he that steals a man, and sells him, or if he be found in his hand (kidnapping ), he shall surely be put to death" (Ex.21:16 ). The command against murder was enlarged to include the death sentence for anyone who knew his ox was wont to attack people, but did not take protective measures and it had killed someone (Ex. 21:29 ). The command against idolatry was expanded to include the death sentence upon parents who sacrificed their children to pagan gods (Lev. 20:2 ), upon witches (Ex. 22:18), upon wizards, consulters with evil spirits, and those that used divination etc. ( Deut. 18:9-14 ). Adultery was punishable by death, but this law was enlarged to include incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality (Lev. 20:10-17). We could go on and on showing how God amplified His Ten Commandments in the first five books of the Bible, but the reader can do this for him/her self. The point is this: the Ten Commandments are not the all in all as to what is sin. They are the basic foundation and laconic form from which many other laws of God are covered and taken. The Ten commandments can be divided into two sections - love towards God (the first four) and love towards our neighbour (last six). When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, He did not fall into the trap of naming any one specific law, but said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your life, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbour as yourself." Jesus was not doing away with any of God s commands. He was just succinctly putting them all under two basic headings, namely, love to God and love to neighbour, for He finished His answer with, "On these two commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets" (the entire Old Testament - Mat.22:35 40 ). The TEN commandments are a concise form for ALL of God's laws, and the commands, "love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself " are an even more succinct way to state all of the commandments of God. ANOTHER ARGUMENT ANSWERED - WHEN HOLY? It is argued: The weekly Sabbath was made holy at creation from the beginning - the 7 annual Sabbaths were not. And from this reasoning it is taught we do not have to keep the annual Sabbaths - it is not sin to break them. Is this using correct understanding and logic? When we recognize WHO and WHAT is God, this argument falls apart. God is the Eternal CREATOR of all that is visible and invisible (Gen.1:1; Eph.1:12-16).He is HOLY character(Lev.19:2 ). Wherever God IS in matter or time it becomes HOLY (Ex.3:4,5; 20:8 11). God's presence in matter or time makes that matter or time HOLY, whenever He chooses. For anyone to say God can not make a period of time HOLY whenever He decides to make it holy, has never yet come to understand who and what is God. Who is man that he should reply to God, "You only made the 7 annual Sabbaths at Moses time, so they are not holy or sabbath rest days" (cf.Rom.9:20 ). When God appeared to Moses out of the burning bush and told him to take off his shoes because the ground he stood upon was holy, it was holy at that time not before - because God's presence was now in that ground and as long as it was in that ground IT WAS HOLY!! That piece of ground was not holy at creation but became holy at Moses' time - God making it holy by His presence in it. There is some evidence that God established His FESTIVALS from the beginning, even ordaining them before He blessed and sanctified the weekly 7th day sabbath, but even if that were not so, He did bless and made holy 7 annual sabbaths at the time of Moses - seven annual holy days that His presence was in and is still in, for there is not one word from God in all His holy word the Bible, to say He has since Christ or at the start of the New Testament - abolished them. They are then still holy - still sabbath days - and still sin to break them. The man made arguments to abolish them by using Col.2:16; Eph.2:14,15 and Rom.14 are answered elsewhere in our studies CHRISTIAN FESTIVALS and LAW AND GRACE. SACRIFICES ON THE SABBATH Some people want to say that because annual sacrifices were performed on the annual sabbaths and as there is no longer a Levitical priesthood and a physical Temple in Jerusalem, as these have been "done away with" so also have the annual Sabbaths. This is incorrect on at least TWO counts: 1. Ask the Jews if they agree with this reasoning. 2. Animal sacrifices by the Levitical priesthood were done not only on the annual sabbaths, but on the weekly sabbaths and on each day of the week (Num.28,29). If the ending of physical animal sacrifices for this age "does away" with the annual sabbaths, then it must by the same reasoning and logic, put an end to the weekly sabbath and to all the days of the week. It is also worth noting that from Ex.12 we learn that God gave Israel TWO of His annual sabbaths BEFORE revealing to them which was the weekly sabbath (Ex.16), BEFORE the giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex.20) and BEFORE the introduction of the sacrificial system (Jer.7:22,23). Now it is time to see what is written in the law of God regarding the weekly and annual SABBATHS. THE WEEKLY SABBATH And on the seventh day God ended His work.....and He rested on the seventh day.....and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it..... (Gen.2:2-3). ......Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord.....for today is a sabbath unto the Lord.....So the people rested on the seventh day (Ex.16:22-30). Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.....But the seventh day is the sabbath to the Lord your God.....Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it (Ex.20:8-11). You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death.....Six days may work be done, but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord.....the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant (Ex.31:14-17). Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation - you shall do no work - it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings (Lev.23:3). 7 ANNUAL SABBATHS And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for festivals (seasons - Hebrew same as translated "festivals" in other places), and for days, and years (Gen.1:14). Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread.....And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy assembly to you, no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you (Ex.12:15, 16). In the first day you shall have a holy convocation - you shall do no servile work therein.....In the seventh day is an holy convocation - you shall do no servile work (Lev.23:5-8; Num.28:16-18, 25). Concerning Pentecost or First-fruits we read: And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be a holy convocation unto you - you shall do no servile work (Lev.23:15-16,21; Num.28:26). In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath - a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. You shall do no servile work....(Lev.23:24,25; Num.29:1). And it shall be a statute forever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day shall you afflicy your souls, and do no work at all.....It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you.....(Lev.16:29-34). Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement. It shall be a holy convocation unto you.....And you shall do no work in that same day.....And whatsoever soul it be that does any work in that same day, that same soul will I destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work.....It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest (Lev.23:26-32). The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation - you shall do no servile work.....on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you.....it is a solem assembly - you shall do no servile work.....on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath....(Lev.23:34-39; Num.29:12, 33). ANNAUL SABBATHS - ARE THEY HOLY? Even with all the above evidence and words of the Lord concerning His weekly and annual sabbaths, some will still argue that somehow the annual sabbaths are not really holy sabbaths, not holy as was and as is the weekly sabbath (if they still believe the weekly 7th day sabbath is still holy, which many that once did have now discarded). They want to argue that the word "holy" is not used with the annual sabbaths in the same direct way it is used with the weekly sabbath. The answer to this clever but weak argument was anticipated by the Lord, hence He inspired the priest Ezra to give the truth of the matter. Please turn to the book of Nehemiah, read it for yourselves, mark it well, never forget it, for the first day of the seventh month, the day and feast of Trumpets, it is written: "......This day is HOLY unto the Lord your God......for this day is HOLY unto our God...." (Neh.8:9,10). This section of Scripture, together with the ones quoted above prove: 1) The annual sabbaths are Sabbaths. 2) The annual sabbaths are Holy to the Lord. 3) No regular or servile work is to be done on the annual sabbaths. 4) Like the weekly sabbath, the annual sabbaths are holy convocations. A LOGICAL QUESTION ANSWERED It will be asked: If we have not had this truth of God s word and commands revealed to us, or if we do not know when these seven annual sabbaths are on the calendar, if there are no Jews around to give us this information. If we are in ignorance - surely we are not sinning? Does pleading "ignorance" disqualify you from the penalty of breaking man s laws? NO! But you may be dealt with in a more merciful manner. If you are not aware of God's law against stealing and you steal, are you then not a thief? If you are ignorant of God's law against fornication and you have sexual intercourse before marriage, are you then free from any guilt or sin? If you are unaware God says that you should not be a liar, and you lie, does that mean you have not lied? Let us see what God's word teaches regarding IGNORANCE. Notice the account of ABTIMELECH - the King of Gerar - Gen. 20: 1-18. Because Abraham had said that Sarah was his sister and not his wife, Abimelech was going to take her as his wife. God revealed in a dream to the king that Sarah was Abraham's wife (v.2,3). King Abimelech was doing this in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands (v.5). God acknowledged this was so. He showed extra mercy on him because of this (v.6), but notice - if Abimelech had touched her in sexual union he would even in ignorance, have sinned! For God said,".....I also withheld you from sinning against me - therefore suffered I you not to touch her." When God introduced the sacrificial system to Israel under Moses, one section covered sacrifices for IGNORANCE! You will find this in Leviticus, chapter four. Note verses 2, 13, 22, 27, 28. Breaking ANY of the commandments of the Lord, even in ignorance, is still SIN! That sin must still be covered by blood (the blood of animals represented the shed blood of Jesus) - the penalty of sin - death - still had to be atoned for. Sins through ignorance were still sins, during the age from Adam to Moses, and during the age from Moses to Jesus. What about this age then? Here is what Christ taught, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom His Lord shall make ruler over His household.....Blessed is that servant, whom His Lord when He comes shall find so doing (see Mat.7:21-27)......And that servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall BE BEATEN with many stripes (he's in real bad shape - Heb.10:26 31). But he that KNEW NOT (ignorant ), and did commit things worthy of stripes (being ignorant did not mean he was guiltless), shall be beaten with few stripes (the penalty is still there). For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:42- 48). What a privilege to be granted to know the Lord's will - to be given His truths. But with that knowledge comes responsibility and the cross-roads of life. We then must CHOOSE - death on the one hand - eternal life, and the first resurrection on the other. To know to do "according to His will" and to do it not is to DIE in the SECOND death (Rom.6:23; Rev.2:11; 20:6,14; 21:7,8). For those not called in this life (Jn 6:37, 44, 63-65; 1 Cor.1:26) - for those ignorant of sin - those who do not know the commandments of God - for those whose sins have not yet been covered by the blood of Christ - for those who have not been granted repentance (Rom.2:4; 2 Tim.2:24-26 ) to the forgiveness of sins. For them is more grace and mercy shown. They shall be raised in the SECOND resurrection - the JUDGMENT period of Rev.20:11-13. Then God's books (the Bible ) will be opened to them - the book of life also. They will come to see what sin IS. Most will repent - have their sins forgiven, covered by the blood of Jesus - receive the Holy Spirit and enter the very family of God for all eternity. How great and wonderful are the ways of the Lord and His plan of salvation as shown to us through His 7 Annual Sabbaths. They are indeed HOLY - let's keep them that way.