Catechism Question

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#64

Weekly Catechism Q&A with Elder John. #64

Good day brothers and sisters,
May the grace of God lead us in all our practices for His glory. Well Trinity, it is time for our weekly catechism and today we are considering question number 64 of Keach’s Catechism. It reads as follows:

Q. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?

A. Before the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath (Exo 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-14); and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath (Psa 118:24; Mat 28:1; Mar 2:27-28; Joh 20:19-20, 26: Rev 1:10; Mar 16:2; Luk 24:1, 30-36; Joh 20:1; Act 1:3; 2:1-2; 20:7; 1 Co 16:1-2).

The catechism question for today focuses on which day of the week is to be considered the Sabbath. In our discussion on catechism question # 63 we stated the major Christian views concerning the observance of the Sabbath and we stressed that our unity is in Christ. We are to be gracious and mindful of one another when we differ in our understanding or application of third order doctrines/opinions because Christ died for us. With this in mind let’s begin.

  1. Because in 6 days God finished His work of creation and ceased from His work on the 7th day. He blessed the day and set it apart as a day of rest.
  2. God also commanded the observance of the Sabbath rest for His people, their servants, and the livestock because he delivered them from the bondage of the Egyptians.


In the Old Testament the day which was commanded to be observed as the Sabbath was the 7th day (our Saturday). The reasons given are:This idea of ceasing from work is begun in Genesis and further developed in the Holy Scriptures. Not only is this to be a day of rest but it is also to be a day for a “Holy Assembly” to the LORD (Leviticus 23:1-3). During the intertestamental period, the prohibitions of activities were expanded to the point where evasions of the commandment were invented, and the purpose of the Law was lost.[i] The intent of the commandment was for the people of God to cease on one day of the week from all their routine labors and to gather and worship the LORD. There are three more observations that I think are worth noting.


The fourth and the fifth commandment are stated in a positive way: “Remember and keep” and “Honor.” The other commandments are stated in a negative way as bans “You shall not.” The fourth commandment is unique because it was also the sign of the Sinai Covenant (Exodus 31:12-17). Finally the penalty for violating the Sabbath was death (Exodus 31:14). The violator of the Sabbath commandment was breaking the covenant relationship between the LORD and His people.[ii] We should also keep in mind that this cessation from labor is a foreshadowing of the rest that is to be found in Christ (Hebrews 4:3-6). Why Sunday?


In the New Testament the observance of the day of worship and rest has changed from the Jewish Sabbath day of Saturday to the first day of the week Sunday also known as the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).
The significance of the day is related to the day of the resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord (Luke 24:1-12; John 20:19-23). This was the day on which the early church gathered for worship (Acts 20:7-12) also recorded for us early in the second century by Ignatius (ca. 110-117 A.D.) in his Epistles to the Magnesians.[iii] What is the takeaway?

Hebrews 10:23–25 (NET)
23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,25 not abandoning our own meetings[iv], as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.

However we may understand the Sabbath commandment one thing is abundantly clear. The people of God are to assemble together weekly to worship. This is not an option, and it was clearly the intent of the Sabbath commandment in the Old Testament, which practiced by our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16), it is the practice carried out by the early church (Acts 2:42) and is documented as early as 110-117 A.D (see above).


Well Trinity until our next appointed time be strong and courageous in our Lord Jesus Christ.
your brother in Christ
John a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ

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Definitions

Intertestamental Period The time after Malachi (ca. 450 b.c.) and before the birth of Christ (ca. 4 b.c.) which is also known as the silent years (approximately 400 years).

Lord’s Day “Designation for Sunday, the first day of the week, used only once in the NT (Rev. 1:10). The Greek word for “Lord’s,” however, is precisely the same as that used in the term for “Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:20). In fact, the Didache, an early Christian manual for worship and instruction, links the two terms together, indicating that the Lord’s Supper was observed each Lord’s Day (14:1). Herein may lie the origin of the term. Because the first day of the week was the day on which the early Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper, it became known as the Lord’s Day, the distinctively Christian day of worship.
The earliest account of a first-day worship experience is found in Acts 20:7–12. Here Paul joined the Christians of Troas on the evening of the first day of the week for the breaking of bread (probably a reference to the Lord’s Supper). The actual day is somewhat uncertain. Evening of the first day could refer to Saturday evening (by Jewish reckoning) or to Sunday evening (by Roman reckoning). Since the incident involved Gentiles on Gentile soil, however, the probable reference is to Sunday night.”[v]

Sinai Covenant (also known as the Mosaic Covenant) This is the covenant that the LORD made with the Israelites at Mount Sinai (Horeb) after he delivered them from the slavery of the Egyptians. Moses was the mediator of this covenant. The account of this covenant is found in the book of Exodus.

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Scriptural support for Keach’s Catechism # 64

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update
Scriptural evidence given to support the catechism answer:


Exodus 20:8–11
8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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. 11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.


Deuteronomy 5:12–14
12 ‘Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 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 or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.


Psalm 118:24
This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Matthew 28:1
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.


John 20:19–2
19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.


John 20:26
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”


Revelation 1:10
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,


Mark 16:2
Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.


Luke 24:1
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.


Luke 24:30–36
30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.”


John 20:1
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.


Acts 1:3
To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.


Acts 2:1–2
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.


Acts 20:7
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.


1 Corinthians 16:1–2
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.

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Additional Scriptures cited in the document:


Leviticus 19:30
‘You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the Lord.


Genesis 2:3
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.


John 20:19
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Endnotes:

[i] Harrop, Clayton. “Intertestamental History and Literature.” Edited by Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England, Steve Bond, E. Ray Clendenen, and Trent C. Butler. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.


[ii] “The structure of the pericope is repetitious, especially in the way vv. 16–17a echo vv. 13–14a. This can be seen in the table on page 655, which demonstrates that the repetition is not absolute or dittographic but stresses internally the lasting nature of the Sabbath requirement and the fact that failure to keep this important covenant sign would represent a very serious breach of covenant relationship between Yahweh and his people.” Stuart, Douglas K. Exodus. Vol. 2. The New American Commentary. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), 653.


[iii] “9. If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the Lord’s day, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny—a mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher—2if this be so, how shall we be able to live apart from Him? seeing that even the prophets, being His disciples, were expecting Him as their teacher through the Spirit. And for this cause He whom they rightly awaited, when He came, raised them from the dead.” Lightfoot, Joseph Barber, and J. R. Harmer. The Apostolic Fathers. London: Macmillan and Co., 1891.

[iv] Bolded by me for emphasis.

[v] Naymond Keathley with Grissom Fred A., “Lord’s Day,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1048.