An Assessment of From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation, edited by D.A. Carson
Ryan Case perused the paper on the Sabbath at our site and decided it fell quite short of any scholastic value. He is pastor of Grace Community Reformed Baptist Church in Lethbridge. (There’s a mouthful – an attempt at perfection with “statement of faith” included! Do they think God is impressed?)
He suggested I read D. A. Carson’s From Sabbath to Lord’s Day with the hope, I suppose, of my being persuaded that Sunday, and not the Sabbath, is the day of the week Christians should observe as a day of worship and departure from mundane activities.
He expressed skepticism that I would read material written by men:
“(btw, read d.a. carson’s book on this issue…oh, wait, it’s written by a man, so you won”t, tho’ you expect me to read your website, which is also written by man (you)….hmmm, another inconsistent strawman…)”
Wherever he got that notion is beyond us. The Lethbridge Public Library network did not have the book, so I asked them to go outside the system, which they did and procured it for me. I mention this for two reasons:
One, the Ryan Cases need to know that true saints are not insecure about reading material that they disagree with, as is the way of so many hunkered, bunkered, clunkered religious groups, many of them well established, such as Catholics, Baptists, Mennonites, Hutterites, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the list goes on and on.
Two, we will even take the trouble to obtain such literature for others’ sakes. We take seriously the falsehood abounding everywhere in His Name about the Kingdom and the Congregation of God, and we are ever ready to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, even as Jude urged the saints to do.
Here, then, is what I find in From Sabbath to Lord’s Day. First, comments in general, then addressing of the subject matter.
Unlike my brief and simple paper, How the Lord Gave Us the Sabbath, Carson’s book is highly scholastic with an abundance of references and notations provided. It is impressive – at least to man! I grant all that. In that regard at least, my paper stands as a wilting poplar sapling beside an age-old giant California redwood.
The question is, “Are giant redwoods what it is all about in the Kingdom of God?”
“And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15 MKJV).
What about the simplicity in Christ Jesus? What did Jesus say about the very kinds of works as Carson’s?
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Your sight” (Matthew 11:25-26 KJV).
Jesus also said, “Truly I say to you, Unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:2-3 MKJV).
Paul alluded to this truth for the Corinthians:
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Do the wise of this world appreciate these truths? How can they, seeing they haven’t repented of their wisdom and of trusting in themselves?
Now to the subject matter. The book is subtitled A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation.
Is There a Theological Basis for Changing the Sabbath to Sunday?
According to the theological aspect, the authors bring forth defence of Sunday from the works of what are commonly referred to, in orthodox Christendom, as the church fathers – people like Augustine, Irenaeus, Ambrose, Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin, Clement, Origen, Athanasius, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Constantine.
They also refer to famous and revered reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin as defenders of Sunday-keeping. It is important to note that they do not consider the prophets and apostles worthy of mention, though these are the foundation of the Household of God:
“Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20 MKJV).
Could lack of attention to the prophets and apostles be because they cannot be relied upon to support Sunday-keeping? Just who are these “fathers” that they should receive so much more honorable mention and attention as authorities on things spiritual than do the writers of Holy Scripture, those hand-picked by Jesus Himself and appointed to sit on twelve thrones of judgment? Why, they are, for the most part, if not entirely (I haven’t checked), educated intellectuals, theologians, men who have highly impressed the nominal Christian church to this day.
They are men wise in this world, men of intellectual fame and power. But as such, they are loved by the world and are not true saints of God, as they and nominal Christendom would have us to believe. These are men who have never been born again. Intelligent, educated, knowledgeable, powerful writers and speakers, mighty men of renown, yes, but not children of the Kingdom of God, as judged by their fruits.
So then who are they to rightly divide the Word of Truth? Or who are they to tell anyone that God’s Law can or should be changed in so much as a jot or a tittle? Who are they to abolish the Fourth Commandment when the living stones of the foundation of the Church of God have established it?
Here is what R. J. Bauckham of the University of Manchester records in Carson’s book (p. 280-281):
“On 3 March, A.D. 321 the emperor Constantine promulgated a law requiring a total, public rest from work ‘on the most honourable day of the Sun.’ Only farmers were exempt. On 3 July, A.D. 321 a second law permitted the fulfillment of vows as appropriate on Sundays and, consequently, the legal transactions necessary for manumitting slaves. This legislation is the earliest clear reference to Sunday as a day free from work.
The question of Constantine’s motive is difficult. It is at least clear that his model cannot have been the Jewish Sabbath (on which agricultural work was especially prohibited) but rather the Roman pagan holidays. Constantine can hardly have chosen the Christian day of worship by mere coincidence; he must have intended to benefit the Christian population, to which he had already granted toleration. But he may also have had sun worship in mind.”
Bauckham goes on to say that “there was scant theological justification for this and even long after Sunday rest had become a fact in the Roman Empire it had little theological backing.”
Whether there was backing or not, who cares? What does it matter? Are we to believe “church father” theologians and pagan sun-worshipping emperors, or are we to believe the saints and the Scriptures, Whose Author is God? Who was Constantine to impose a law on men contrary to the Law of God? (As a matter of historical record, he was a sun worshipper to his grave, as well as a nominal Christian, hedging his bets.)
So much for a theological basis for changing the Sabbath to Sunday.
Is There a Historical Basis for Changing the Sabbath to Sunday?
Carson and his cohorts argue that there is evidence of Sunday worship as early as the 2nd Century. And to that I say, “So what if there was evidence of it in the 1st Century?” Hear what Paul had to say about the danger of error in his days:
“For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also men shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them. Therefore watch and remember that for the time of three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:29-31 MKJV).
So what if there was evidence of whatever falsehood as early as in Christ’s days in the flesh? Does error’s early appearance justify and grant it authority to remain? Shall believers be respectful of age above truth and righteousness?
So much for a historical basis for changing the Sabbath to Sunday.
Is There a Biblical Basis for Changing the Sabbath to Sunday?
Carson concludes that Sunday is the “Christian Sabbath” (whatever that is supposed to mean); however, after much discussion, it seems these defenders of Sunday-keeping themselves are willing to concede that there is no conclusive Biblical substance to support a change from the Sabbath to Sunday as a holy day set apart from the rest of the week. Indeed, the words of the Lord quite conclude otherwise on this matter:
“Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19 MKJV).
Doesn’t that just about say it all? But devils will oppose, and carnal men steeped in tradition and given to man-pleasing will argue – case closed. So we are going to have to accept being one of the few to be called “great” in the Kingdom of Heaven while many, if they are recognized in the Kingdom at all, will be called “the least.”
“The Lord’s Day”
Only once in the entire Bible do we find the expression “the Lord’s Day,” and it is used by the apostle John:
“I came to be in the Spirit in the Lord’s Day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (Revelation 1:10).
A significant debate takes place about what John meant by the term. Carson says there are four possibilities:
– John could have meant the weekly Jewish Sabbath (Saturday).
– He could have meant Sunday.
– It is surmised by some that John could have been speaking of the anniversary of what they call the “Easter” resurrection. [Notice how these men expect to be credible in the things of God while naming such momentous days – Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, no less – after the abominable pagan goddess of sex, prosperity, and fertility? They use the name of the “queen of heaven” (Jeremiah 44:17-25), instead of the term “Passover” (translated from “pesach” – the original Greek word in Scripture). And those seeking truth are supposed to believe these people? I hardly think so. How about you?]
– Finally, there is the notion that John was speaking of “the Lord’s Day” eschatologically, referring to the end of days when the Lord is to return to the earth, destroy all the wicked, and reign, thus establishing a state of rest for all of creation.
What about “The Day of the Lord”?
There is an oft-used similar term, “the Day of the Lord,” which, it seems, they do not equate to “the Lord’s Day.” Why not, may I ask? What is the difference between “the Lord’s Day” and “the Day of the Lord”?
Consider that we have never red of the Sabbath or of Sunday (the first day of the week) referred to as “the Lord’s Day” or “the Day of the Lord” anywhere in Scripture. Sunday has historically been the day of the sun.
“The Day of the Lord” or “the Lord’s Day” is the momentous event of God’s judgment, whether on an individual, a nation, or the world:
“For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low…And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:12-17 KJV).
The Power of a Comma – On What Day Was Jesus Resurrected?
Though the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest physical event ever to have happened on earth, nowhere in Scripture do we find:
One, that His resurrection day is known as the “Lord’s day” or “the Day of the Lord.”
Two, that Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday or the first day of the week. Look for yourself. What it does say is that when Mary Magdalene came to His grave early Sunday morning at sunrise, He was not in His grave!
There are those who think the Bible emphatically states Jesus arose on Sunday (the first day of the week), as expressed in Mark 16:9 in these versions, for example (there are other versions as well):
(RV) “Now when He was risen early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven devils.”
(KJV) “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils.”
But there are other versions that give a different sense by adding a comma and causing the reference of the word “early” to pertain to the time of His meeting Mary and not to the time of His resurrection:
(CEV) “Very early on the first day of the week, after Jesus had risen to life, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. Earlier He had forced seven demons out of her.”
Was His resurrection on the first day of the week, or did He appear to Mary then, after He had risen?
Peterson puts it this way in The Message:
(MSG) “After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared early on Sunday morning to Mary Magdalene, whom He had delivered from seven demons.”
Do you see what I mean? Try other translations, adding another comma:
(EMTV) “Now having arisen[,] early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.”
(HNV) “Now when He had risen[,] early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Miriam from Magdala, from whom He had cast out seven demons.”
Commas can speak volumes. Did Jesus rise early, or did He appear to Mary early, on the first day of the week?
Try the first two translations again, this time with a comma inserted after the word “risen”:
(RV) “Now when He was risen[,] early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven devils.”
(KJV) “Now when Jesus was risen[,] early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils.”
What a difference one comma added or subtracted makes! But while it can be anyone’s guess as to where commas should be (the original Greek text had none), we need to rely on the rest of the Scriptural testimony and godly reason, but primarily on gracious revelation from God, to know the truth.
Three Full Days and Three Full Nights – According to His Word
So when did Jesus rise from the dead? Does the Bible tell us? Not directly, but if we know when He died and was buried, and if we believe Him when He says He would be buried for three days and three nights, then we can know when He was raised up:
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40 MKJV).
Since Christ was buried just before sunset at the beginning of the Passover on Wednesday, He therefore rose from the dead just before sunset on Saturday, marking the completion of three days and three nights. Going longer would put Him into the fourth day. Therefore, Jesus rose near the end of the weekly Sabbath, just before sunset on Saturday evening. On the Jewish calendar, after sunset Saturday evening is when the first day of the week begins.
So either He rose towards the end of Saturday, or the Lord is a liar or misinformed; I don’t think we would be too wise to question the word or judgment of One able to raise Himself from the dead, do you?
You see, Jesus was not crucified on Friday, as is supposed by orthodox Christendom – He died on Wednesday afternoon and was buried before the Passover began. They cleared away His body before the Passover (ordained a Sabbath day according to the Law of Moses – Leviticus 23:7) Therefore He was buried before sunset on Wednesday. He was in the grave through Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, and Saturday (the Sabbath) until dusk, a full three days and three nights, no more and no less, exactly as He said.
Would a Sunday Resurrection Change the Law?
For argument’s sake, let’s say Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, as some argue.
So what? Who gives man the right to presume to change the Law of God, which Jesus said would not be changed one jot or tittle till heaven and earth pass away? God does not change, and His Law does not change – His Law is immutable. Only man changes, and he presumes to change God and His Law. Doesn’t this remind you of someone Daniel was speaking of?
“And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and plot to change times and laws. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one-half time” (Daniel 7:25 MKJV).
The Catholic Church blasphemously claims to have the power and authority to change God’s Law and to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday of its own volition, in spite of the Law of God and the Scriptures. It also scoffs at those called “Protestants” who claim to preach nothing but the Bible, yet keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath, following the lead and authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, the authorities of both the Catholic Church and the Protestants concede that there is no Scriptural foundation or justification for changing the Sabbath to Sunday!
So much for the theological grounds for changing the Sabbath to Sunday; so much for the historical grounds for the change, and so much for the Biblical grounds.
Tradition a Treacherous Traducer
The Catholic Church attributes equal authority to tradition and Scripture. Speak of quicksand! In other words, we believe both God and men! But does God agree with that approach? Let’s see:
“For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar. As it is written, ‘That You might be justified in Your words, and might prevail when You come into judgment’” (Romans 3:3-4 HNV).
Do you not see the foolishness and contradiction of such a policy? You either believe God or men – you can’t have it both ways.
The Sabbath Intended Only for Israel?
There is an argument put forth by Carson et al that the Sabbath was a covenant with Israel – only for Jews and not for the rest of mankind. That is such specious reasoning, and it is easily proven so by godly reason based in Scripture.
First, ages before there was such a one as a Jew out of the loins of Abraham, the Bible speaks of the seventh day in which God rested. Might that be a pre-Judaic Sabbath?
Second, Jesus said:
“The Sabbath came into being for man’s sake, and not man for the Sabbath’s sake” (Mark 2:27 MKJV).
“Came into being”? You mean it wasn’t invented or introduced by Moses, but was created? And was Jesus speaking only of Jews or of all men?
Third, keeping the Sabbath is One of the Ten Commandments, which are eternal, if we are to believe the Word of God:
“For ever, O LORD, Thy Word is settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89 KJV).
“Thy Word is true from the beginning: and every one of Thy righteous judgments endures for ever” (Psalms 119:160 KJV).
“Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18 MKJV).
Fourth, are the dissenters of the Law of God going to be consistent and tell us that the other Nine Commandments apply only to Jews? If that is so, are Gentiles free to kill, steal, and commit adultery because the Sabbath does not apply to them? What does James say?
“For whoever shall keep the whole Law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10 MKJV).
Dare we presume he was not including the Sabbath in his instructions to believers, be they Jews or Gentiles? I know that as a non-Jew, I was killing myself in not keeping the Commandments, and I know you are too, because God’s Law is everywhere:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them. For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20 MKJV).
Is it not apparent that we all need a day off to rest from our work? I have met people who do servile work seven days a week. They are visibly dozy and listless – they really are. What does that tell you? How would you like to do servile work seven days a week, month after month and year after year? “All work and no play [or rest] makes Johnny a dull boy”?
Which Day Did God Bless and Sanctify?
I tell you, I very much appreciate the Sabbath to refrain from mundane activities. I kept Sunday for years, but I never experienced rest or blessing on that day like I do on the Sabbath. I thought, “What is the difference between one day and another? How is it I have that fulfillment on the Sabbath I never had when I set Sunday apart?” Then the Lord quickened these words to me:
“And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He had rested from all His work which God created to make” (Genesis 2:3 MKJV).
Sunday keepers do not rest, except in limited physical and mental terms. There is no rest for those who honor the sun, whether they do so wittingly or ignorantly, even if in their minds, they honor not the sun, but God. Sunday is not sanctified by God.
Neither is it blessed. I know this for two reasons: one, I was once a Sunday keeper and know the difference; two, the Word of God declares that the Sabbath is blessed.
And God will not change His Law and bless Sunday as the Sabbath just because we decide to keep it in His Name. There is only one way to honor God, and that is not by substitutions, which He hates, but by obedience:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21 MKJV).
Does the Sabbath Save Us?
Does this mean that all who keep the weekly Sabbath are in good standing with God and blessed? No way! Didn’t the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes “keep” the Sabbath? Were the Pharisees not rather meticulous about it? What good did it do them?
No, it is not about keeping the Sabbath at all; it is about worshipping the Lord. In fact, worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth is the Sabbath.
What spiritual good does it do the Seventh Day Adventists to keep the Sabbath? Or the multi-fragmented WWCG? Or the Jews? No, the Law never made anyone right with God or free and at peace; only Jesus Christ can do that. But when we believe and obey Him, and He gives us the weekly Sabbath as a gift for our sakes (He is the Lord of the Sabbath), then we enjoy its great benefit in body, soul, and spirit.
What Did Jesus Do with the Sabbath?
Some argue that Jesus never kept the Sabbath, that He deliberately worked on it, to demonstrate to the erring, legalistic Jews that the Sabbath was about to change in its nature and application. This is not so at all, except that the ceremonial sacrifices and the Levitical priesthood would cease, their purpose fulfilled.
The day was approaching when saints would have that rest within as well as without, made possible by His death, resurrection, and the giving of His Spirit. The partial purpose of His healing people on the Sabbath was to demonstrate that the Sabbath is made for man, not to be worshipped, and that it is a day for doing good, as are all days.
The Sabbath a God
I have perceived that the SDAs worship the Sabbath. They are also prolific with their images. They presume to keep the Fourth Commandment, but blatantly disregard the Second. According to James, offending in one point, they are guilty of offending in all. Therefore they do not keep the Sabbath at all, and they murder, steal, and commit adultery. But oh, how proud they are that they keep the Sabbath! Better to keep Sunday and be honest about breaking the Sabbath.
The Sabbath Questioned
It is believed by some that the purpose of the Sabbath is to represent the day when Christ will appear and bring all of creation into rest. Fine, so He will, and He is even now. But must we complicate matters? Why question its present-day validity? Why not ask the purpose of all the other commandments as well?
What, for instance, is the purpose of, “You shall not steal,” or, “You shall not commit adultery,” or, “You shall not murder”? Is it not to have peace and goodwill among men by living lives ordered wisely by God? So it is with the weekly Sabbath; it is set aside to remember the Creator and His provision for us. It is a time of acknowledging that it is He Who orders all things and provides for us, and not we ourselves.
Was Carson’s Book Worth Reading?
For my part, I am thankful to have red From Sabbath to Lord’s Day. Ironically, in a book promoting Sunday-keeping, there were several points that served to confirm the validity of keeping the Sabbath. These men are like Islamic suicide terrorists. While destroying others, they destroy themselves.
One suicidal point they present is that of an historical, social, political, legal, religious motive for changing over to Sunday. The “troublesome Jews” were despised by the Romans. They were considered a pain in the eagle’s tail feathers. Consequently, all who were identified with the Jews suffered ignominy and reproach. That meant keeping the Sabbath would expose one to danger.
It was quite tempting for those lacking true faith to accept any excuse to change to another day of public worship and abstention from work, particularly to Sunday, which the predominant Roman society kept in honor of their gods. So when the excuse of the Lord’s resurrection was suggested to keep Sunday, one can imagine the popularity of the notion, if not immediately, certainly gradually. What could better serve those who were Christians in name only?
How Controversial Would a Change of God’s Law Be?
Here is another excellent point in the book. Max Turner of London Bible College writes:
“We must conclude that it is barely imaginable that first-day Sabbath [Sunday] observance commenced before the Jerusalem council [Acts]. Nor can we stop there, we must go on to maintain that first-day Sabbath observance cannot easily be understood as a phenomenon of the apostolic age or of apostolic authority.
If an apostolic decision was made after the council on so important a matter as this, it would not have been an easy decision to reach and it would inevitably have left its mark in the epistles and in Acts. But as we have see, Acts is silent on the issue, and Paul’s handling of controversies involving the law and the Sabbath makes it difficult to believe that he knew of any Sabbath transference theology.”
Think about it: “The violation of this law [Fourth Commandment] carried the death penalty, and its neglect was one of the reasons for Israel’s national catastrophe” (these true words quoted from the introduction, p. 22). That is how serious the matter of changing the day must be! Yet there is not so much as a brief mention of it in the Scriptures, which cover much of the 1st Century activities of the congregation of God.
Wow! Doesn’t that say something? Why can’t we just believe God and take things at face value?
The death penalty under Mosaic Law was an object lesson, teaching the life-and-death importance of keeping the Law. Transgressing by murder or adultery or violating the Sabbath brought death. Was God trying to tell us something? Of course, He was! The one who breaks these laws suffers the death penalty, one way or another, sooner or later.
Men need not execute offenders; they die by virtue of the way things are intrinsically. (Please make no mistake: I am not against capital punishment.) If I inhale, I take air into my lungs. If I commit adultery, I die. If I cast off the Sabbath, I die. To the degree that I offend in will and knowledge, to that degree I suffer consequence.
Carson’s book is an excellent example of the complexity of the rebellious carnal mind. What labor! What a pain to have to do all that research and study! And just to prove what? That one can break, or think to change, God’s Laws and get away with it or do as one pleases, provided it is in His Name, as though He will be what – appeased or flattered?
What clever machinations men concoct in their unbelief and pride! How they praise one another, scrambling and scrounging painstakingly for those praises in their abject poverty of true worth before God! What contortions! What deception! What insanity!
They go digging into apocryphal, non-canonical books and elsewhere to find evidence to refute the Testimony of the Holy Scriptures. Why are they not satisfied with the Bible? Could it be because the tradition of their fathers and today’s social benefits are more important to them than obedience to God? Could it be because the sun god is alive and well in their souls?
Sifting for Suspect Support
These theologians very much remind me of evolutionists. They take great pains to dig in hills and valleys for any evidence supportive of their preferred foolish imaginations contrary to God’s Nature and Law and the Testimony of Scripture. And while evolutionists call their nonsense “science,” these religious scholars call their lies “theology.” Carson’s book is brimming with common evolutionistic expressions like – probably, may have, might have, must have, could have, would have, should have, possibly, it appears, about, and likely.
Why? Where is the, “Thus saith the Lord”? Not that these men profess to be men of God that I know. Yet when they step forth, discoursing on the things of God and of Scripture, presuming to be as close to the truth as any, worth listening to, and suggesting others believe and follow them, do they not deceive humanity? Does not humanity have respect for men of high standing in this world? Sure it does.
So What Do Sunday-Keepers Know?
Wow! “Where Sunday-keeping started, we don’t know for sure. When it started, we don’t really know. Why or how it started is up for debate. Who started it, your guess is as good as ours – no, wait – ours is better, but we must admit, it is a guess, albeit so educated and painfully considered!
“Why must we admit it? Because, though there is not a shred of evidence that supports Sunday-keeping in the Bible, hey! if the church fathers supported it, shouldn’t we be OK with it?”
My answer to that last question: “If you put stock in the false church, you might be OK with it for a time, until the Truth catches up with you, but if you speak of the true Congregation of God, the Body of Christ, and how Its members conduct themselves in Christ their Lord, then you will be anything but OK with it. We can’t let you be OK with it, because God won’t let you.”
Men of God and Men of Men
So what we need are men of God who stand in the gap between man and God and cry, “This is the Truth! Here is the will of God! No playing games! Must we all scrounge, crawl, rummage, beg, manipulate, gamble, dream, lie, prostitute, and kill ourselves to receive sustenance from the Heavenly Father? Will He not give everything needful and good to those who walk uprightly? Does He not readily feed His children? Is He faithful, or is He not?”
But we see that these men are not men of God; neither are they His children, otherwise they would be fed with good food and share it liberally with others. Instead, the very best Mr. Carson can offer us is summarized in his introduction:
“Small wonder, then, that the Sabbath/Sunday question continues to attract attention. It is one of the most difficult areas in the study of the relationship between the Testaments, and in the history of the development of doctrine. If it is handled rightly, however, our further study of this question ought to provide a synthesis that will at least offer a basic model for theological and ethical reflections.”
Can you imagine the prophets, apostles, and godly teachers of old speaking that way? That says it all right there, doesn’t it? The false go by reason and the true by revelation. As it is written of evolutionists, so is it written of these learned speculators and would-be teachers:
Romans 1:18-25 MKJV
(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
(19) because the thing which may be known of God is clearly revealed within them, for God revealed it to them.
(20) For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.
(21) Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(22) Professing to be wise, they became fools
(23) and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.
(24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.
(25) For they changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen.
Is not revelation so much better? Is it not so much better to be working in the paradise of God than outside of it by the sweat of the brow with thorns and thistles for reward? Is it not preferable to let the Holy Spirit, rather than men, be our teacher?
The carnal man knows nothing better than worldly wisdom. Preferring his own way, he is sentenced by the Judge of all the earth to life with hard labor under the curse. But what do the Scriptures say?
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 MKJV
(18) For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those being lost, but to us being saved, it is the power of God.
(19) For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the perceiving ones.”
(20) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
(21) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom did not know God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:25-29 MKJV
(25) Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men.
(26) For you see your calling, brothers, that not many wise men according to the flesh are called, not many mighty, not many noble.
(27) But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
(28) and God has chosen the base things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not, in order to bring to nothing things that are;
(29) so that no flesh should glory in His presence.
The Simplicity of the Savior Versus the Complexity of the Carnal Man
I remember when I first tried to answer my little son’s questions, while reading the passage on the Commandments in Exodus, about whether we kept the Sabbath. “Why don’t we keep the Sabbath, Dad?” he asked. I was confounded while giving him the usual explanations as to how or why we kept Sunday instead of the seventh day of the week, which day the Bible plainly sanctioned. How sad is that?
Why couldn’t I give my son a simple, godly, Biblical answer? Shouldn’t it be straightforward? How about the Word of God instead of the word of man? Is that straightforward enough? Ask yourself: “Will a child seeking God be profited by rationalization from high-minded doctors of theology?” It was not easy to justify ignoring God’s clear testimony and favoring an alternative to it, which the Bible did not so much as vaguely support. That got me thinking – and praying and asking God about it.
Count the Cost and Prosper
I had to count the cost, but having counted it and proceeding from there to keep the Sabbath, I was opposed by near and dear. “You’re into legalism! Christ died to free us from the Law! His sacrifice won’t do you any good now! And just how do you propose to keep it anyway? Does it really matter what day of the week we keep? We have over half of our business on Saturdays! A lot of our customers can’t make it any other day. If you close on Saturdays, you may as well shut the store down!”
It was a battle. Sure enough – our business diminished by at least half, as expected, and things were quiet for several months, until the Lord quietly added other developments to our operation, not only improving our financial picture, but our physical and mental health. He gave us exciting, wonderful health business opportunities that ended up multiplying our income from what it was before we began to keep the Sabbath.
And we rested one day a week for the first time in our lives, though we had kept Sunday until that time. By God’s grace, my son was right, and so was Jesus when He said:
“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 MKJV).
By God’s grace, I had the blessed fortune of learning the perfect “theology” of the Sabbath from a little child! Now we all look forward to the Sabbath as we had never remotely looked forward to Sunday. How amazing and wonderful is that? You won’t know it until you come into this knowledge yourself of the day God blessed and sanctified. (To see how we came to experience this for ourselves, read How the Lord Gave Us the Sabbath.)
When Will the Wise Wise Up?
Mr. Carson, when will you learn? When will you humble yourself, you and your “venerable colleagues”? When will you discover the secret of those simple, yet profound, words of the Lord that only children understand in all innocence?
Stop feeding the proud and gullible, like Ryan Case, from the Tree of Knowledge, destroying and being destroyed as you go. Repent, Mr. Carson, Harold Dressler, C. Rowland, Max Turner, D.R. de Lacey, A.T. Lincoln, and R.J. Bauckham, wherever you are, whether in this world or any other.
Proud men, full of knowledge, laboring so zealously and making fools of yourselves in Christ’s Name, though not for His sake. When those who admire and praise you return to dust, where will your praise be then? What will you have left? Will you have God’s praise for teaching contrary to His Law?
Lincoln writes on p. 199, “The Sabbath could be seen as the goal of human history and the framework of the movement from creation to consummation. According to the Book of Jubilees (2nd century, B.C.), long before the Sabbath was given to Israel by Moses it was celebrated in the heavenly world, for it was seen as an expression of the divine ordering of the world and of time (Jubilees 2:17ff., 30ff.).”
Lincoln is right. And if he is right, how can the Sabbath have been only for the Jews? Mr. Carson keeps shooting himself in the foot with his own gun.
What the Sabbath Is About
The Sabbath is God resting in man and man resting in God. It is Emmanuel (God with us)! It is about the Law of God fulfilled in man that he might walk in peace, harmony, and prosperity with his God on every level, in quiet repose. The weekly Sabbath is a token of that blessedness of those matured in Christ. This maturity is about knowing all that needs to be known and the ability to do all that needs to be done. It is about bearing the full fruit of God as He originally purposed.
I must say that without that inner reality in Christ, the weekly Sabbath is empty, as are all things. I did not receive the Sabbath day of the week until I had the Sabbath Day within. Now God has given me the weekly day as a token of His work in me from which He has ceased. He now rests in me and I in Him. I am His Sabbath.
This is the restoration to Eden by way of the flaming sword (the cross of Christ). This is the Feast of Tabernacles of which Zechariah spoke. Woe to those who do not keep that Feast, and great is the joy and blessedness of those who do! Amen!