Keith Hunt - SEVEN ANNUAL SABBATHS Restitution of All Things


Seven Annual Sabbaths
Is It A Sin If You Do Not Keep Them?

                                    
    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.

Written in 1987
by
Keith Hunt

 
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