Monday, October 17, 2016

The Sabbath and Torah (Law) Were Only Given to Israel

One thing we need to keep in mind is that the Decalogue is an example of communal rule, even though people are wont to universalize these commands. In other parts of the Torah, we also see how Jehovah particularly gave the divine commands to Israel only. I will illustrate the communal nature of the Decalogue by using the Sabbath law:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it (Exod 20:8-11).

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. ‘Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. ‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed" (Exod 31:12-17 NASB).

'Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. ‘Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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. ‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day (Deut 5:12-15 NASB).

Declaring His words to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He hath not done so to any nation, As to judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye Jah! (Ps 147:19-20 YLT)

Compare Exod 16.


Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

I'm not trying to use ad hominem argumentation, but these Adventist arguments that the link above employs are quite familiar to southern U.S. Witnesses, who've often encountered such contentions in the Christian ministry. But the arguments are a stretch to me. First, Genesis 2:1ff teaches us that God rested on the seventh day. There's no indication that Adam and Eve were obligated to do the same thing. Only Israel is ever given the command to observe Sabbath and the writer of Hebrews does not infer that anyone else was obliged to keep Sabbath because God initially rested. He makes a point of professing that a sabbath remains in effect for the people of God, but it's not the Jewish Sabbath as he makes clear in Heb. 4:1-11.

The article cites Exod 16:28. How does that text prove that the Sabbath was in effect before the command given in chapter 16? I encourage readers to see the verse for themselves.

More reaching is found when the author tries to use Cain and Abel to indirectly prove Sabbath keeping. And so on.

Edgar Foster said...

A number of scholarly resources dealing with Colossians.

Duncan said...

I am sorry to have to point this out but the Adventist come up quite regularly in epidemiological studies and usually fall into the highest category for health and well-being and life span in the US.

I tend to look past the nuances to the actual results.

i.e. the medical and nutritional evidence as opposed to which animal has a cloven hoof or not etc.

Civilization and slavery drove home the need for a Sabbath. Leviticus refers to slaves:-

Lev_25:6 And the sabbath of the land must >>serve YOU people for food<<, for you and your slave man and your slave girl and your hired laborer and the settler with you, those who are residing as aliens with you.

Cf. Mat 4:4.

Deu 5:14 But the seventh day is a sabbath to Jehovah your God. You must not do any work, you nor your son nor your daughter nor your slave man nor your slave girl nor your bull nor your ass nor any domestic animal of yours nor your alien resident who is inside your gates, >>in order that your slave man and your slave girl may rest the same as you.<<

Notice the extra qualifier on this version. So who would be judged for breaking a Sabbath?

The paper might be reaching in its method but while cities and slavery still exist does it not have merit?

I do think we are arguing at cross purposes though. I am not talking in terms of "LAW". It is the principles behind it being used in a sensible way. Wasn't this what Jesus was teaching on the mount.

You argue against the Sabbath but what about the remainder? Should they not be "common sense" (taking into account how best practice is muzzled in this system to the benefit of profit) if look at in terms of extrapolating out to a particular time and place?

For those of a heavenly hope it is nailed to the stauros but how is mankind going to reach perfection apart from the environment about him. We know how everything is interconnected. Perfect humans would have to live within the garden as it expanded because they cannot really live outside it.

At the end of the day, Jehovah gives everlasting life, it is not ours to attain but I still think that Paul is arguing against his old position as a pharisee.

Varying standards are no standards at all.

Duncan said...


Duncan said...

For Colossians 2:14 - I would like to point out this commentary:-

Allan Bevere writes: "Several different interpretations have been given by scholars: a certificate of debt, a heavenly book of deeds, and the Mosaic law...[I]t is my contention that the χειρόγραφον refers to the Mosaic law...I simply want to make a couple of internal arguments from the text of Colossians itself to support this view. To my knowledge it has not been noticed by commentators that there may be a play on words taking place in ch. 2 between ἀχειροποιήτῷ (2.11) and χειρόγραφον (2.14). The believer in Christ has been circumcised with περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ which means, implicitly, among other things, that a circumcision 'done with hands' is no longer essential because the 'hand-written document' which requires such circumcision has been erased in the cross of Christ. This would, of course, make the χειρόγραφον a reference to the law of Moses...[Referring to τοῖς δόγμασιν,] the law was known as 'decrees' and 'regulations' in the Judaism of the first century" (139-140).

But his argument regarding circumcision works against his overall conclusion.

Deut 30:6 - Romans 2:29


"law was known as 'decrees' and 'regulations' in the Judaism of the first century" - does this include or exclude the oral tradition?

Duncan said...

See Exodus 16:28 in ISV & NIV. Other translations appear to be using the LXX as guide.

about 2400BCE.


"The Midrash Tanchuma (on Noach 6:5) says that 7 were born circumcised, including prior to Abraham: Adam, Seth and Noah.

Complete text:

תמים זה אחד משבעה מהולים שנולדו בעולם: אדם הראשון נברא מהול. ושת בנו נולד מהול, דכתיב: (שם ה) ויולד בדמותו כצלמו. נח נולד מהול, דכתיב: תמים היה בדורותיו. יעקב נולד מהול, דכתיב: (שם כה) ויעקב איש תם. ויוסף נולד מהול, דכתיב: (שם לז) אלה תולדות יעקב יוסף, שהיה דומה לאביו. משה נולד מהול, שנאמר: (שמות ב) ותרא אותו כי טוב הוא. ואיוב נולד מהול, דכתיב: (איוב א) איש תם וישר

... He was perfect ... This is one of the seven that was circumcised when born into the word: The first man was created circumcised, and Seth his son was born circumcised, as it says "... and he begot in his likeness after his image ..." Noah was born circumcised as it says "... He was perfect in his generations ..." Jacob was born circumcised as it says "... Jacob was an innocent man ..." Josef was born circumcised as it says "... These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph ..." that he was similar to his father. Moses was born circumcised as it says "... she saw him that he was good ..." And Job was born circumcised, as it says "... sincere and upright ...".

(Note that "sincere" in Job is the same Hebrew word as "innocent" regarding Jacob, and is the same root as the "He was perfect" regarding Noah).


I am not saying this is true I am just pointing out that there are more who make the claim. Midrash Tanchuma is quoted by Rashi.

Edgar Foster said...


I appreciate the effort, time, and research that you put into this discussion. My words will be few in response, but I just want to clarify that like the apostle Paul, I believe the Torah/Law is holy, righteous, and good. We sinners are the problem, not Torah or the Mosaic Code. So I believe the Law was fulfilled in Christ, but its principles are holy and beneficial. We can learn from the principles enunciated in the Decalogue and in Torah, generally speaking, and what God commands is for our benefit (both physically and spiritually). However, I don't think we're obligated to keep Sabbath or the dietary laws in Leviticus. Nor are we obligated to circumcise our offspring.

Paul argued vigorously against fleshly circumcision in his letters to the Galatians, Philippians, and Colossians. Romans also contains such arguments, just like your reference to Rom 2:29. But the apostle lays stress on circumcision of the heart rather than a fleshly cutting. The law is a shadow, but Christ is the substance/reality. Rom. 9 also makes a distinction between fleshly and real Israel. Compare Gal. 6:14-16.

Best regards,