Is the Sabbath in the New Covenant?

Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the law OR the prophets, yet some say that you are putting us back under the Old Covenant and that the Sabbath changed to Sunday with the New Covenant. Not so. Basically, the only change to the New Covenant is the sacrificial Law of Moses ended (Hebrews 9:1) and where God writes His law. God’s law changes not, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God also said the fault was with the people in they did not obey it, so He now writes His law in our hearts. (Hebrews 8:8-10) See also “Who is Israel Today and the New Covenant.”

I had just finished preaching on the subject of the Sabbath in one of my evangelistic crusades. As I stepped off the platform to greet people as they left, three young men blocked my way in the aisle. One of them addressed me in quite a loud voice… loud enough to cause about fifty people near the front of the auditorium to stop and listen. “Dear brother” he said, “we were disappointed tonight with the way you put us back under the Old Covenant. Don’t you realize that we are living under the New Covenant now, and should keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath?” Although most of the congregation were leaving the Church, the group near the front gathered closer to hear all that the young men were saying. It was obvious that I would have to take the time to answer this trio’s challenging question. As I suspected, they turned out to be young seminarians in training at a local Bible college. Eagerly they held their Bibles in their hands and waited triumphantly for me to answer. Usually, I do not like to debate controversial matters in a public forum for fear of stirring combative natures, but there seemed no way to avoid dealing with these ministerial students. Anyway, they had my path completely blocked and the circle of listeners looked at me expectantly for some explanation. “Well, it seems as though you have studied the subject of the covenants quite deeply,” I suggested. “Oh, yes,” they affirmed, “we know all about the covenants.” “Good,” I replied. “You undoubtedly know when the Old Covenant was instituted.” One of them spoke up quickly, “It was instituted at Mt. Sinai.” “And how was it ratified?” I asked. Without a moment’s hesitation one of them answered, “By the sprinkling of the blood of an ox.” “Very good,” I commented, “and how was the New Covenant ratified?” All three chorused the answer, “By the blood of Jesus on the cross.” I commended the young men for their knowledge of the Scriptures and asked them to read me two verses out of their own Bibles. Galatians 3:15 and Hebrews 9:16-17. They responded eagerly to the invitation, and read the verses, commenting on each one after reading. “We agree that the New Covenant did not go into effect until after Christ died, and nothing can be added or taken away after He ratified it on the cross,” the spokesman for the group asserted. All three nodded their heads emphatically over this point. I said, “Now you must answer two more questions for me. Here is the first one, and you must think carefully to give me the correct answer: When did Sunday-keeping begin?” There was a moment of shocked silence, and then another, and another. The boys looked at each other, and then down at their feet, and then back at me. I gently prodded them for the answer, “Surely you can tell me the answer to this question. You have known all the others, and have answered correctly. When and why do you think people began keeping Sunday?” Finally, one of them said, “We keep Sunday in honour of the resurrection of Jesus.” I said, “Then I must ask you my last question. How could Sunday keeping be a part of the New Covenant? You just stated that nothing could be added after the death of Christ. He died on Friday and was resurrected on Sunday. If Sunday was added after Jesus died, it could never be a part of the New Covenant could it?” The three young men shuffled their feet, looked helplessly around, and one of them said, “We will study into that and talk to you later.” They then fled from that auditorium as fast as they could go. I can assure you that they never returned to talk further about the covenants. See also Sabbath in the New Covenant.

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