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The Three Principles of the Covenants

in relation to the Sabbath by Marcos S.

It is often argued that Christ's allusion to the Sabbath in Matthew 24:20 was in warning the Christians to pray that their flight not be on that day simply because the gates of Jerusalem would be closed on the Sabbath, and this would make it impossible for them to flee the city.

However, we will soon discover that this argument falls flat on its face in light of the fact that the passage in question was specifically targeted to all those who "dwell in Judea", not just Jerusalem (See verse 16). Was there a wall around the entire land of Judea? This was not so. It is mere conjecture to conclude that Christ mentioned the Sabbath simply because the gates were locked in Jerusalem. If this were so, let us beg the question as to why our Saviour mentions only the Sabbath, and not any other Jewish holidays such as the Day of Atonement, the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Trumpets, or any other Jewish holiday that was recognized as "a sabbath"? Obviously Jesus recognized that "the" Sabbath day would still be important after the cross. The clear fact alone that the Syrian Churches established in the east were still keeping Sabbath even well into the 4th century is testimony enough of the fact that the importance of the sanctity of the Sabbath was passed down to them, and a number of their leaders fought hard against the Sunday heresywhich we should all know came from Mithraism. Not Christianity.

Further yet, I will quote a dedicated Christian author named Christian Edwardson who succinctly put the nail in the coffin regarding this subject:

While He taught His disciples that such necessary work as eating, healing the sick, or lifting a sheep out of a pit, was lawful to do on the Sabbath days (Matthew 12: 1-12), He thereby acknowledged the claims of the Sabbath law, which makes ordinary work not lawful on that day.

It was "the Spirit of Christ" in the prophets (1 Peter 1: 10, 11) who instructed His people to "bear no burden on the Sabbath day"through the gates of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17:21, 22, 27). And when foretelling the destruction of that city (which took place A. D. 70) Jesus warned His

disciples saying: "But pray ye that your flight be not

20. This warning was not, as some would have us believe, on account of the gates being closed on that day, for in the same connection Jesus says: "Let him which is on the housetop not come down." V. 17. But how could he flee without coming down from the housetop? There can be only one answer. There was an elevated road from one flat roof to another on which they could flee till they reached the wall, where they could be let down. (See Acts 9:

25; Joshua 2: 15; 1 Samuel 19: 12) In such a case closed gates could hardly come into consideration. This instruction shows Christ's sacred regard for the Sabbath, and His anxiety that His church should keep it properly. (Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith, p. 80)

on the Sabbath day." Matthew 24:

Added to this is that Jesus is clearly urging His followers to pray so that they won't be in a position of being unable to keep the commandment of God regarding the Sabbath. Jesus' attitude and behavior throughout the Gospels shows that He obeyed God's commandments and commanded His followers to obey God's commandments. This is precisely what Paul is talking about in 1 Cor. 9: 21 when he speaks of his keeping the law of God according to the teachings of Christ.

"To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law." (1 Corinthians 9:21)

What law is Paul referring to when he says that he realizes that he needs to obey "the law of God"? Clearly Paul is not carelessly alluding to words that only Christ spoke, but to God's Moral Law that was written in stone for which Christ came to establish, magnify, and elaborate (See Isaiah 42:21; Matt. 5:17- 22; 19:17; 22:35-40; Romans 3:31).

In light of all this, I would like to provide what I consider the most irrefutable evidence of the binding nature of the Sabbath in the New Testament era:

We will now focus on Luke 23:56. The binding nature of the Sabbath commandment is evident in Luke’s writing concerning the Sabbath day which came about the next day after Christ's death on Friday:

“And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day ACCORDING to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56)

Now please pay careful attention to the following:

First of all, the Epistle Luke emphasized that the keeping of the Sabbath by His followers was ―according to the commandment‖ AFTER the New Covenant had been ratified at the cross on Friday. Scripture teaches that the New Covenant was ratified “by the shedding of blood” (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24), not the resurrection. We also find that Hebrews 9:16, 17 and 22 establishes unequivocally, and unapologetically, that a covenant is in force ONLY AFTER the death of the testator. Not after the resurrection.

Secondly, Paul emphasized that once a covenant is in place, no man can take away or add to the covenant:

"To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified." (Galatians 3:15, ESV)

Thirdly, Luke wrote about these women of Galilee as "resting the Sabbath according to the commandment” approximately 35 years after the event happened! So even Luke, the only Gentile gospel writer, recognized that the keeping of the Sabbath was indeed ―according to the commandment‖ AFTER the New Covenant was ratified at the cross. If the Sabbath had been disannulled at the Cross, Luke would not have recognized it as being ―according to the commandment‖, since this day was after Christ had already shed His blood.

Fourthly, Paul said ―nothing could be added‖ once the New Covenant was in place. Catholic and Evangelical Christians somehow fail to realize that Sunday came three days after the shedding of blood. So why are they ―adding‖ significance to this day? Without question, Sunday came three days too late.

To summarize, these principles are in line with the three principles of the covenant which are as follows:

(1) Before either of the two Covenants is put into effect, the conditions of the Covenants are made known (Ex. 24:1-8 );

(2) Wherever there is a Covenant, the Covenant is sealed by the blood of the Testator (Heb.

9:16-22);

(3) Once the Covenant has been sealed by the blood, nothing can be added or subtracted from the covenant (Psalms 89:34; Gal. 3:15)

(Borrowed from The Seal of God & The Mark of the Beast by D.S. Farris, page 14)

I should not fail to mention that Christ was very clear when He instituted the Lord's Supper prior to His death (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24,25). But He did not even so much as "HINT" at instituting any Sunday sacredness or celebration in honor of His resurrection. We celebrate His resurrection through the sacrament of Baptism (See Romans 6:3-6; 1 Peter 3:20).

The same author above who lists the three principles of the covenants continues to mention that preceding the inauguration of the New Covenant, the Lord Himself came and applied the three principles. Jesus made known in the synoptic gospels what His New Covenant was to be through both word and deed. When Jesus went to the cross, He sealed the New Covenant with His blood. Whatever isor is notwithin the framework of the New Covenant had to be explained or done by Jesus before He died on the cross. Let us raise the question: Did Christthrough deedkeep Sunday before he went to the cross? No! Luke 4:16 says, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” We agree with Canon Knox Little where he emphasizes: “It is certain that our Lord when on earth did observe Saturday, and did not observe Sunday. If they are consistent, as I have said, they must keep Saturday, not Sunday, as the day of rest” (Sacerdotalism (1894 ed.), 71, 89).

In closing, we shall conclude with the following question: Did Christby wordmention Sunday or that the Sabbath would change? No! Christ never mentioned a new holy day. In fact Christ Himself explained in Matthew 5:17 19 that He did not come to do away with the Law; not a jot or iota would pass away in the law.

Therefore, through the voice of God's Word in the Holy Scriptures, we can safely conclude that this argument that the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments were vanquished and abolished as "part" of the Old Covenant and its ceremonial system is supported by no Biblical foundation whatsoever.

May we allow the Word of Living Truth to make of it will of us!

Marcos S.