Thursday, September 20, 2007
1. Did Peter know he was the first Pope, because in 1 Peter 5:1 he refers to himself as an elder?
2. Did he ever refer to himself as Pope? Did anyone else in scripture ever address him as such?
3. How many churches did Peter establish vs. the number of churches established by Paul?
4. Was Paul establishing churches under Peter's authority?
5. Why did Paul publicly check Peter in Antioch about eating with Gentiles until the Jews arrived, at which time Peter then withdrew from the Gentiles out of fear of the opinion of the Jews (see Galatians 2:11-14)? As Pope, would Peter have acted in this way? And would Paul have publicly admonished him in such a way?
6. In scripture, what ties does Peter have to Rome? Was Peter the founder of the early Church in Rome?
7. Why didn't Paul address Peter in any of his letters to churches, especially in Rome?
8. Matthew 23:9 "And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." The title of Pope comes from the Greek word "Papas" which originally meant "Father". Popes are also often referred to as the "Holy Father". In vs. 8 of this same scripture, Messiah advises the apostles against being called by lofty titles because "all ye are brethren". Does, then, calling Peter a Pope, line up with this scripture?
9. Why doesn't scripture identify Peter (instead of James) as head of the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts 15?
10. How many epistles did Peter write? Or, put another way: Why are the majority of the epistles attributed to Paul if Peter was actually the Pope or head of the early churches?
Please, when answering any of the above questions, include scripture in your explanations. While I don't mind entertaining opinions or even outside sources, the only explanations I can accept as valid truth are those that are aligned with scripture.
Anti-Sabbath Arguments by Steve Wohlberg of White Horse Media
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The one thing that I never expected would happen has happened.
And I couldn't be happier.
This little ol' blog has been awarded the Mathetes Award for excellence in discipleship from none other than one of my most favorite fellow bloggers, Isaiah (aka Sicarii) over at Joie de Vivre!!!
It's at this same time...and with great pleasure...that I'd like to also congratulate Isaiah as a previous recipient of this award as well! He TRULY is deserving of this as his blog is always fresh, powerful, thought-provoking and FULL of the Word of the Most High Elohim. I always have a blessed time reading what Isaiah shares there.
The Mathetes Award was created by Dan King of Management By God and is one that I truly treasure as Mathete is the Greek word for "disciple". How cool is that?! Sometimes I don't feel like much of one, but this distinction reminds me that it's not at all about me (or what I feel), but about following His teachings, His commandments and sharing what He's put on my heart.
Perhaps the best part of this whole celebration is that, with this recognition also comes responsibility. So it is now my privilege to pass this award to the following bloggers:
1. Musings Of A Mountain Mama by Stephanie
2. Making Home by Jess
3. An Helpmeet for Him by Kerry Leise
4. Trinitarian Don by Donald McConnell
5. Clothesline Alley by Mrs. Brigham
I cannot thank Isaiah enough for extending this award to me, not only because it encourages me and gives honor to Him who inspires me, but, by the very rules of this award, it also gives me an opportunity to acknowledge the 5 bloggers above from whom I've learned quite a bit. Our Father has used each of these bloggers to stretch my mind and touch my heart in very profound ways.
As you visit all of the Mathetes Award winners, I hope you will be as blessed by all of them as Elohim makes His presence known on every one.
P.S. Should you know a blogger you are inspired to bestow this award on, please feel free. Just remember to do so according to Dan King's rules and do let us know who you've shared it with, so that we can congratulate them too. :) ~F.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Here we go:
1. What is a marriage license?
2. How did marriage licenses originate in the United States and why?
3. If you're planning marriage soon, why are you applying for a marriage license (or if you've already been married, why did you apply for one)?
4. Does having a marriage certificate affect any children you and your spouse have together? If so, how?
5. Do you know what Parens Patriae means? Please briefly define it in your own words.
6. Does your state recognize Elohim (God) in your marriage (i.e. is He mentioned anywhere on the license or on the certificate)?
7. Do you believe you need a marriage license in order to be married according to Elohim's (God's) definition of marriage (See Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5 and Ephesians 5:31 for His definition)?
8. How do a man and a woman become "one flesh"? (Specifically, what is the process?)
9. Did Yahushua (Jesus) ever perform a wedding ceremony? Did any priests ever perform a wedding ceremony in the bible?
10. Who has the power to pronounce you and your spouse "husband and wife"?
11. Who gave this person the authority to pronounce you "married"? If you believe Elohim (God) gave this person authority over pronouncing marriage, please cite where this appears in the bible. (or, if it's just your opinion, that's fine too, but please be specific)
12. When Yahushua (Jesus) turned water into wine, was Yahushua at a wedding or was He at a wedding celebration? Is there a difference?
13. Is an example of wedding vows in the bible? If your answer is yes, please cite the book, chapter and verse where they appear.
14. What does your bible say about divorce?
15. Does your state allow divorce?
16. What does your bible say about remarriage?
17. Does your state allow remarriage? If so, how many times is a person allowed to remarry?
18. What does your bible say about adultery?
19. How does your state deal with adultery?
20. In your opinion, is your state governing marriage in the same way that the bible does?
21. If two people are married in a church, but without a marriage license, will your state recognize this couple as married?
22. If two people are married with a license, but without mention of Elohim (God) in their ceremony (Or if they're complete atheists), will your state recognize this couple as married?
23. How was a covenant (marriage or otherwise) made in the bible?
24. How did Adam, Abram (Abraham), Isaac, Jacob or any other biblical persons marry their spouses?
25. Romans 13:1 says "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of Elohim: the powers that be are ordained of Elohim." Do you believe the government is always right? Or, to phrase this another way, do you believe that the United States Government has ever enforced ungodly laws?
26. If ever the government oversteps its boundaries or ever seeks to replace Elohim (God) as ultimate authority, do you believe you should follow their direction without question or protest?
27. Are there instances in the bible where Elohim's people did not follow the government's laws or traditions of their day (please cite them if you can)?
28. Were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego wrong for not following the king's orders?
29. Were early Christians wrong for spreading the gospel despite orders by the ruling authorities to cease doing so?
30. Is there a law which states two people must marry?
31. Is there a law which states two people must marry with a marriage license?
32. If people were to marry without a license, would they be breaking a law (and please state exactly which law they'd be breaking if you believe this) or would they be infringing upon a man-made tradition? Or both?
33. Who created marriage?
34. Who is the ultimate head of marriage?
35. Which existed first, marriage or your state?
36. How and when was your state given authority over marriage?
37. Do you believe in prenuptial agreements? Why or why not?
38. In your opinion, does a marriage license offer any added security to a marriage, especially in the event of divorce? If so, what security does it add?
39. For you, is marriage a biblical covenant or a legal contract or both?
40. In your opinion, when two atheists marry legally, do you believe they are recognized by Our Father as married? Why or why not?
41. Assuming your state recognizes or allows gay marriages (or will do so in the future), do you (or will you) acknowledge and respect gay couples with legal marriage certificates as being married? Why or why not?
42. Do you have the right to accept or reject two people as being married? Does your state have that right? Why or why not? And, if so, to what extent? (can they deny rights and benefits to marriages they protest?)
Now that you've come to the end of this survey, read what one person discovered about marriage licenses in their state. Please do not accept as truth anyone's opinion on this topic. Instead, I encourage all of you to investigate, on your own, what marriage is, its history and all that a marriage license entails. You are also invited to share that information here as it is discovered. Thanks for your time and your opinions!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
(copied from http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/203409.html)
Posted on Thu, Aug. 16, 2007
Widower vows fight for marriage license
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
The first time, Toole and Simon privately exchanged vows shortly after falling in love. The second time, their pastor performed the rites of holy matrimony in their bedroom a week before her death.
For many, that would be enough.
But Toole recently asked a judge to force the state to formally recognize their union by giving him the marriage license they always wanted but were denied by state law.
"This is not a matter of law; it is a matter of the heart," Toole said, tears forming in his eyes. "It is a matter of a promise I made, and come hell or high water, I'm going to fulfill that promise."
The Tarrant County clerk denied their marriage license. State law generally requires the bride or groom to appear to get the license.
At the time, Simon, 68 -- diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of adult leukemia -- was confined to home hospice care. Toole, 63, his own health failing, was afraid to leave her side.
"Bless her heart, I promised her that she would not leave this world under someone else's name," Toole said.
Personal John Wayne
When Toole and Simon met about six years ago, she was a widow not interested in having anyone else in her life.
Toole -- a tall former cop with sweeping white hair, a deep, gravelly voice and a penchant for cigars -- was a furniture salesman with multiple marriages behind him.
"Her friends weren't crazy about us getting together," Toole remembered. "I was a shark in the waters. ... When I met Beverly, looking back, I was an arrogant SOB."
Toole met Simon when she came to the Room Store looking for a headboard. They talked for about 15 minutes. He asked her out for a cup of coffee after. She called a week later, and they promised to take it slow.
But Simon knew. After their first evening together, she apparently looked into his eyes and told him she had "found her spot."
About two months later, Toole and Simon moved in together. Believers in marriage, they privately exchanged wedding vows and commemorated the day by signing a big blue Bible. That was on Nov. 17, 2001.
They wanted to get married formally, but Simon was concerned about losing the insurance coverage from her late husband's estate.
Mike Westfall, a former neighbor, had known Simon for years and was surprised by her whirlwind courtship with Toole.
"She trusted him with all she had emotionally and financially. ... When Beverly was in better health, they were like two peas in a pod. They did everything together, and they were the best of friends," he said.
The Rev. Murray Richey, Simon's pastor at John Knox Presbyterian Church and a friend for 27 years, said that while Toole is a gruff-talking bulldog of a cop, he appeared to be searching for something inside himself when he met Simon.
"He just brightened up her life, and she beamed when she was with him," he said.
Estranged from her children, Simon and Toole built a life around each other and their dog, Asia, a longhaired Chihuahua. Simon was Toole's "Bunny." He was her personal John Wayne.
"We celebrated each other, primarily. We didn't build a fence around ourselves, but we knew when push came to shove, there were two things we could depend upon: the good Lord and ourselves," Toole said.
In worsening health
Two years ago, Simon's health started to break down.
"The medical bills were just tremendous," Toole said. "Had we gotten married legally, she would have lost her insurance coverage, and, if you put a pencil to it, it would have been more than $1 million."
After visiting doctors across the state, Simon was diagnosed with adult-onset leukemia. This year, she began checking in and out of the hospital. In March, when her death was imminent, she was released for home hospice care.
Meanwhile, Toole's diabetes became so acute that doctors were pressuring him to go into the hospital to deal with clogged arteries in his leg. But he refused to leave Simon's bedside.
Remembering their conversations on the porch about how there was a cloud over their marriage, even though the law considered them a common-law couple, Toole decided it was time to tie the knot.
Toole, who works for attorney James Bearden as a private investigator, said he asked Bearden about getting a marriage license.
Bearden sent someone to apply for the license. Texas is one of only four states to allow third parties to apply for a marriage license, but that provision applies only when the couple are separated by military service or imprisoned.
Tarrant County Clerk Suzanne Henderson said her staff was simply following the law. "We try to abide by the law and treat all people fairly," she said.
Knowing Simon was near death, drifting in and out of consciousness, Toole asked Richey to come marry them anyway. On March 25, Toole and Simon were married at their home. "She could not say 'I do,' but I believe she heard me," Richey said.
One week later, on Palm Sunday, while wrapped in her husband's arms, Simon died.
'His mission in life'
Nicknamed "Bulldog" by Simon's nurses, Toole would not let go of the idea of getting a marriage license.
In late July, while recuperating from surgery on his leg, Toole told Bearden to file a lawsuit seeking to recognize Richey's marriage ceremony as official. Toole wants the clerk to issue a license and to change Simon's name to Beverly Simon Toole.
Bearden said there isn't any financial motivation for Toole. Simon willed her belongings to him in 2002. "Old Charlie told her he would try to do this, and it is his mission in life to have it as a sanctified marriage," Bearden said.
Toole likes to compare the love he and Simon had to the famous O. Henry story about the young couple who are poor but want to give each other special gifts for Christmas. To buy a chain for his gold watch, she cuts off her beautiful long hair. But he sells his watch to buy her a set of silver combs for her hair.
"When I buried her, I had silver combs placed in her hair and two in her hands. I took one of them from her hand, and it's in the jewelry box now," Toole said.
"I've never broken a promise to her, and she's never broken one to me, and it ain't going to start now."
Texas law requires that the bride or the groom appear at the county clerk's office to apply for a marriage license. If both applicants are absent but still want a license, they must provide an affidavit showing that:
-- The applicants are on active duty as members of the federal or state armed forces.
-- The couple are confined in a correctional facility.
Marriage fraud ring
Until 2005, two individuals could get a marriage license in Texas without appearing at the county clerk's office.
A "marriage license ring" changed all that. Through the ring, one woman was allowed to get married 150 times without ever getting a divorce, as part of an effort to help illegal immigrants stay in the country, said state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham.
Kolkhorst sponsored the legislation at the request of the state's clerks. She called Toole's situation unfortunate.
"I think this is an extreme situation, and you can't write the perfect law," she said.
Tarrant County Clerk Suzanne Henderson said her office tries to work with people in similar situations. While she said she does not believe state law allows clerks to issue licenses off-site, Henderson said her office has offered curbside service.
"Sometimes couples in nursing homes want to get married, and they will drive down here and we'll meet them at the curb," Henderson said. "Somebody could have loaded up one of them, and we could have helped them."
Source: Texas Family Code
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
My Aunt Donna is in the hospital and, unless she receives a miracle from above, she will die. She's been on life support for 2 months, is unable to talk, unable to move and her entire body is swollen to about 3 times its normal size as she has multiple infections. Her kidneys have also stopped working and dialysis cannot be done as her blood pressure drops dangerously low each time an attempt is made. In short, medically, they've given up.
To watch someone you love suffer leaves you feeling helpless and completely out of control.
I know Elohim is in complete control, I just have no idea what His will is for this situation. Last night I tried to describe my feelings to Mr. Free and all I could tell him is that it's almost like someone telling you that they are going to punch you in your stomach as hard as they can, but that they're not going to tell you when. They also might change their mind and not punch you at all, but they're not going to tell you this. So, basically, you're left wondering day and night, night and day, "is it coming now?" "Am I about to have the wind knocked out of me? Or am I going to be spared the pain for a while longer?" With every moment, no matter what I'm doing, I'm thinking about her and I'm wondering if this is the hour when I'll get that phone call that she's gone.
Then I feel totally selfish. Here she is suffering like I've never seen another human being do and I'm actually praying for her not to die. Although I'm praying for her to also be healed, I'm focusing so much on what I want until I'm probably not seeing what's best for her. A healing would be great, but with a severe blood infection, 5 different other infections, seizures, possible brain damage, kidney damage, paralysis, etc., even if she were to be healed, I'm sure it would be a long, arduous process and perhaps the Father wants to spare her of her pain and suffering and call her home. Ultimately, of course, I pray for His will to be done...and I know it will be, I just want to know what it is!
Which brings me back to the letting go point. Not only do I need to prepare to possibly let her go, but this is truly a test in surrendering all to Him. Just recently, on Sicarii's Blog we'd discussed surrendering to Him. In fact, I'm in the middle of a chapter in an online book about surrendering to Him and it was the topic of discussion in church this past weekend. Someone's trying to tell me something and I really do have to listen. I can't be in control. I want to, but I can't. He is in total control and, while I thought I'd gotten pretty good at surrendering to Him, this most recent trial is teaching me that I still need growth in this area. I'm crying at the drop of a pin and I'm constantly thinking about her. I want to let go, but I need His help...
...and your prayers.
Always in Him,
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Yet, another reason why I'm pleased to observe it.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Undoubtedly, the enemy was pleased.
With family being the cornerstone of society and marriage being a component which assists in guarding us against questionable paternity and sexual immorality, his strategy is obvious. Destroy the family and children are then open game. I've read many studies which have indicated, over and over again, that children from broken homes struggle more with poor academic achievement, truancy, gang affiliation, drug and alcohol abuse and even incarceration. This is not to say that every child from divorced parents goes this route only that the chances of them doing so are believed to increase as a result of divorce and being raised in a single-parent (often female-headed) household. The enemy's strategy is surely to divide and conquer. Divide the parents and conquer our children.
I'm aware that many don't believe in remaining together for the sake of children. Even many psychologists now say that doing so is not a good idea as such homes are often tumultuous battlegrounds creating environments psychologically harmful to children. But what about not just staying together, but working it out for the sake of the children? How about realizing the harmful effects of an unhappy home and of divorce and agreeing, together, that for the children's sake you will do any and everything to recreate a happy marriage and remain together forever (because even adult children are scarred by divorce)?
This morning, I woke up to the headline that Shaquille and Shaunie O'Neal are divorcing. They have six minor children. That is a total of eight lives that are affected and six of them are (I'll bet) being given no choice in the matter!
Divorce is the enemy's plan. We have got to find ways to thwart his intentions and make marriages work. If we don't, it is our children who pay the highest price. And, if he can attack people at an early enough stage, he has a better chance of affecting the rest of their lives. In his plan of destruction, the younger (and weaker) the better.
I don't pretend to know the answer to everyone's marital woes, but I do know that the answers are all within the Word of Elohim. I know that if anyone seeks His will first, He will never tell two to divorce. This past weekend, my cousin Wes told me that he is divorcing Macy. He said he prayed about it and that this was his answer. Obviously, he's been deceived. I can see Elohim telling them to get off of drugs. I can see Elohim telling him to honor his wife. I can see Elohim telling him to repent and to forgive his wife at the same time, but I cannot see Elohim, who hates divorce, telling one who calls upon Him to abandon his covenant. That is contrary to everything He teaches about marriage in the scriptures.
This is another reason why I say that legal marriage is nothing even related to biblical marriage. With legal marriage, divorce (and remarriage) is perfectly acceptable (and as many times as you wish to do so...legally). With legal marriage, no reason has to even be given for divorce in contrast to the bible which ONLY allows it in cases of adultery (if forgiveness can't be found) and, even then, neither should be allowed to remarry. In legal marriage, no biblical standard is held or enforced. Legal marriage is an entirely different institution from what Elohim gave us at creation.
Divorce, however, has always been an attack strategy of the enemy and it has always been perfectly permissible by the State. When will we see the parallels?
And to think that Christians are willingly participating in this strategy daily as though it's perfectly normal and acceptable literally makes my heart weep.
Call me unrealistic, idealistic, legalistic, judgmental or even plain crazy, but it is what it is...wrong! Don't take my word for it, take His. And even if you disagree, I hope you'll at least remember to pray for the children on the enemies radar which are under attack.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught and you do not sting and hurt at the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for the Messiah...that is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself but take it all in patient, loving silence...that is dying to self
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensitivity, and endure it as Yahushua endured it...that is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of Yahweh..that is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or to record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown...that is dying to self.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Even aside from the commandment, if the Most High can rest on this day (as did His Son Messiah Yahushua), I have to believe it's a good thing for me to do too.
Exodus 20:11 also tells us that He hallowed this day, meaning He made it holy, sacred and intended for it to be consecrated. The 7th day is actually, literally a holy day (with or without our observance)!
Many Christians don't believe that Sabbath keeping is required by scripture. Yet, in Exodus 31:16 we are taught that the Sabbath is a "perpetual covenant", "perpetual" as in to continue forever. Nowhere in the over 100 times Sabbath is mentioned in scripture does it say it's meant to be a temporary observance. It is also a covenant, a Divine alliance or pledge (see Strong's #01285), not some sort of burdensome task meant to weigh us down.
Sabbath, for me at least, truly is a gift that I treasure observing. I actually look forward to it and Isaiah 58:12-14 tells us that when we delight in turning away from our own pleasures and gladly keep the Sabbath, we are blessed! Who doesn't want a day of total rest, rejuvenation and focus on the Eternal One? When framed this way, in looking back to when I used to resist Sabbath observance, I'm hard pressed to figure out why. The only conclusion I've been able to recognize is that I resisted because it was different. I went to church on Sunday and didn't want to give up my Saturday's doing something that wasn't popular with my peers. I also didn't want to admit that my mother, a Sabbath observing Jew, was correct about there being a difference between a 7th day Sabbath and Sunday church fellowship. When challenged, I can be VERY stubborn at times, even to my own detriment. I'm working on this, but feel free to pray for me still, lol.
Many who justify not keeping Sabbath also contend that the Sabbath covenant was only for the children of Israel, but if we believe that we have been grafted (so to speak) into the children of YHWH via the sacrifice of Messiah, then it stands to reason that we inherit this "perpetual covenant" also. In Leviticus 16:31, we're told that this statute is forever and in Ezekiel 20:20, we're commanded to keep His Sabbath as it is a sign that He is YHWH our Elohim. Since He is absolutely and without a doubt my Elohim, I hold this covenant very dear. I may not have been born by human blood as a child of Israel, but the blood of Messiah has definitely brought me into His family! This scripture pretty much says it all, though:
Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Even so-called strangers who keep the Sabbath are involved in His covenant!
As mentioned earlier, I also have a direct order to keep the Sabbath via the 4th commandment (Exodus 20 vs. 8). YHWH repeats this directive many, many times throughout the bible and it is expressly commanded that we remember and keep HOLY the Sabbath. That many go to church on Sunday is fine. That the early Christians worshiped on Sundays is fine (but they STILL kept Sabbath!). We are free to worship and go to church every single day of the week...and this is always a good thing. However, this doesn't mean that we are to forget to keep the Sabbath holy, nor does it mean that the Sabbath was ever changed or abolished!Currently, there is a push to take the 10 Commandments out of government buildings wherever they may be displayed. Many Christians are in an uproar over the mere suggestion. However, many of these same Christians will endlessly debate that the 4th Commandment no longer applies or never applied to Christians at all. I've always been curious as to how many who take this stance would be in favor of a compromise by displaying only 9 commandments and eliminating the 4th one from public display entirely. Hmmm...
And if we don't have to keep the 4th commandment, why keep all of the others?
Another common objection, is that a lot of the scriptures where we are told to keep the Sabbath, and certainly the original ones, are from the Old Testament. Most Christians, especially, believe that we are under a new covenant since we follow Messiah. Well, consider that Paul said that all scripture is good for doctrine, reproof and instruction in righteousness (I'm paraphrasing from 1 Timothy 3:16 here). When Paul said "all" scripture, he wasn't referring to the New Testament as it had yet to exist. Therefore, he is indeed referring to Torah. Looking at it this way, we can clearly see Paul was saying that Torah is inspired by YHWH, Torah is good for doctrine, Torah is good for reproof and Torah is good for instruction in righteousness. I know that's not a popular idea among today's Christians, but in the early days of Christianity, this was a given. This is the scripture that Messiah, Paul, Peter, James and all of the other disciples and early Christians both taught and learned from. Torah is the scripture they reverenced, not the New Testament. This is not to say that the New Testament portion is not good. Obviously, it is our record of Messiah, His teachings and all of His works. As well, it is our record of the early roots of our faith post (non-Messianic) Judaism. Of course, it is good! But we cannot afford to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater here. Torah is still inspired and good for instruction, doctrine and reproof AND the 4th commandment is repeatedly required of us all throughout Torah and even into the New Testament!
(NOTE: Many have misunderstood Paul's position on the Law, including myself at one time. This article helps to explain why this is.)
It bears repeating, too, that in the many scriptures which command us to keep Sabbath, NEVER does it say we are to keep it until Messiah abolishes it and NEVER did Messiah say that it was abolished. In fact, every time a time limit is attached to Sabbath keeping, it says it's a forever deal! We also see that Messiah kept it as did His disciples and the early Christians. Again, that some of them assembled on Sunday doesn't mean that they forsake the Sabbath covenant...they also worshiped on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc. as they met in one another's homes for daily fellowship. Despite all of the other days, they still kept Sabbath holy, however. Again, it was never a question of whether or not it had been abolished, as the first Christians understood this was law and they kept it, without challenge, period.
Before I go on, I also want to make it clear that Sabbath is not about what day you go to church. Sabbath is about resting from your daily activities and placing your entire day's focus on the Most High. I want to make this clear, because many believe that because certain early Christians eventually began to assemble on Sundays, that Sabbath was abolished or changed to Sunday. Assembling can be a Sabbath activity, but it is not what defines Sabbath.
Repeatedly, I've heard non-Sabbath keeping Christians accuse those who do keep Sabbath of being legalists and comparing them to the Pharisees that Messiah often condemned. Let's think about this though. When Messiah chastised the Pharisees, was He chastising them for keeping the Law or was He chastising them for having the appearance of lawfulness, while their hearts and actions towards others were filled with evilness? Let's not misunderstand the difference. Those who keep the law with honorable intentions are not legalists, rather they simply seek to obey what YHWH has commanded them to do. The pharisees were straight out hypocrites with far less than honorable intentions and didn't seek to please YHWH as much as they sought prestige among and the honor of men as they oppressed others to attain both. Can you see the difference? The Law is perfect, right and clean (See Psalm 19:7-10), but the pharisees misused it and that is what Messiah condemned them for. Think about it, would our Messiah, the very Son of the Most High encourage people to transgress the Law of His Father? Would the Most High actually punish anyone or call them a "legalist" because they sought to relish and keep His Law? While the Law doesn't save us (make NO mistake about that...ONLY Messiah saves!), the Law does help us live moral, upright lives. It helps us to coexist more peaceably and to focus more on His will than the will of an evil world. Seeking to abide by it is pleasing to the Father and I hardly think He labels us as a legalist for doing so!
Birthdays are non-biblical, as are anniversaries, national and state holidays, yet we keep each of those and even look forward to doing so. Yet, with a delightful day of rest and focus on our Father...a day He made holy and a day where He rested, we say it is no longer relevant or necessary to do so. Let's remember that Yahushua said:
Here are a few more New Testament scriptures which help us understand the importance of the Sabbath:
Matthew 12 and Mark 2 and 3 Yahushua teaches against a legalist judgment with an impure heart, NOT against Sabbath keeping. (In Mark 2:22, specifically, He also says that Sabbath was made FOR man...note He didn't say for Israelites, but for MAN. YHWH made if FOR me and I'm happy to accept it, lol).
Matthew 24:20 Sabbath will be being kept at the end of this age. Why would Yahushua say this if it were going to be abolished after His death???
Matthew 28:1 shows us that Yahushua's followers were still keeping Sabbath after His death. They wouldn't even visit the sepulchre until AFTER Sabbath. Wouldn't they have known if it was abolished? Wouldn't they have arrived at the sepulchre sooner, rather than wait until this holy day had ended? Luke 23:56 even says they kept it according to the commandment! Were they legalists too? Was Yahushua a legalists since He kept it as evidenced in Matthew 12, Mark 1, 2, 3, 6, Luke 4, 6, 13 and 14 and John 5? He even said He was Lord of the Sabbath, yet He kept it...why? Because it's good! It's holy! It's made FOR us as in for our benefit! There's nothing bad about it, but everything good in keeping it. It is rest and it is dedication to Him and I can find no reason NOT to do it.
Colossians 2:16-17 tells us that Sabbath days (and feasts) "are" a shadow of things to come. Paul didn't say they "were" a shadow, but that they "are" a shadow. Sounds like they were currently still in effect at the time of his writing.
So, for me, Sabbath is a good thing. It's not a burden and it's no longer something I seek to avoid. I've found it a joy and, yes, there are times when I don't keep it perfectly. I'm still a work in progress, but it gives me something to look forward to, something to strive for and I so cherish the peace that a good Sabbath day does bring me. On days when I fall short, I know I'm forgiven because of Yahushua, so even then, I'm tuned into appreciating Him more and more.
Sometimes I don't feel like I particularly need the rest. I mean, I don't work and I have no real pressures or stress to deal with. But, then, I can't imagine Elohim or Yahushua needed it either, lol. I think it's less about a physical rest, but more about a rest in Him...as in turning our focus away from everything (even things we might like to do, but have little to do with His glory). Yahushua is our rest and Sabbath helps me tune out everything, but Him. On that day, I don't chit chat on the phone (unless it's a Spiritual conversation), I don't watch much television (only Spiritual programming, no news or non-religious documentaries, etc.). I don't cook or clean, but my whole day is focused on learning or teaching others about Him.
I also am blessed in that I'm able to attend a Christian, pentecostal church who offers services on Sabbath and on Sundays! Now, Mr. Free doesn't have the same Sabbath convictions as me (yet, lol), so we used to go to this same church on Sundays. Now, however, we've taken to attending on Sabbath, so we haven't had to change churches and we're both at ease where we are.
There's so much more I could post on the topic, but it's getting late and really I just wanted to share a little of my pov. I know many will disagree with my opinions, but this is a personal choice. I don't seek to judge anyone who doesn't observe Sabbath, but to share why it is a joy and an honor for me to do so.
I may write more later. In fact, I'm sure I will as I'm constantly learning and experiencing more from my Sabbath observance. But, hopefully, you've gained some insight into my thoughts and, hopefully, you can respect them.
Yahweh's blessings and revelation to all!
P.S. It's late...I'll proofread and edit later. ;)