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The Repairing of Sam Brown


Chapter 2 - part 3

          "Perhaps I was pretty blunt with him at the start of our consideration of the second proposition; for I challenged him to produce even one text to prove that Christ abolished the seventh-day Sabbath at the cross, or that He and His followers kept Sunday after that in honor of the resurrection. In answer he read Colossians 2:14-17 about the new moon, a holy day, and sabbath days being a shadow of things to come, and we should let no man judge us concerning them; and about blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, nailing it to His cross; and also in Ephesians 2:14, 15 where it says He abolished in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances. But I showed him that on the face of them these commandments referred to were not the Ten Commandments containing the Sabbath law, but that they were ordinances, that is, ceremonies, special sabbath days, ‘beside the sabbaths of the Lord’ (Leviticus 23:37, 38) and not the weekly Sabbaths of the fourth commandment; that these ceremonies were types of Christ and pointed forward to the cross, where the ‘law of Moses’ which after the cross was a ‘yoke of bondage’ (Galatians 5:1-3), because they had served their purpose. But the Ten Commandments were statements of great principles always true, and did not deal with shadows of things to come, but the fourth commandment pointed rather to creation in the past. So it was the laws concerning circumcision, feasts, and ceremonies that were nailed to the cross, not the Decalogue. The Ten Commandments form the constitution upon which God’s government is founded.
          "Then I told him that there was not one text with even a hint of any change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week in honor of the resurrection. There are only six texts that speak of the first day in connection with the resurrection (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, l9) and all these are glaringly plain that Christ was crucified and buried on the preparation day before the Sabbath, which all Christians now recognize as being Friday, that He lay in the grave over the next day Sabbath, and rose the next day, Sunday; that the first day begins after the Sabbath ends and that the Sabbath is between Friday and Sunday. And these gospel records were written from six to sixty-three years after the resurrection, and not a semblance in them of any change or any honor being placed on the first day of the week. They emphasized Sunday only because it was the third day after His death, and He had prophesied that He would rise the third day; and they wanted to show that that prophecy was fulfilled.
          "Sam said that Christ always met with His disciples on Sunday after the resurrection. I pointed out that He met with them only three times when we are told which day of the week it was. The first was the day of His rising and of course He would meet with them then to announce and prove His return, and it had no significance as to a Sabbath; the next time was ‘after eight days,’ which very evidently could not have been the next Sunday, when the week has only seven days; and the next time was the ascension day forty days after the resurrection, which a little arithmetic will show could not have been Sunday.
          "As to the example of the disciples themselves, one time after the resurrection they went fishing on the day they met with Christ, which could not therefore have been a rest day recognized by them (John 21:1-9). They met in an upper room on the very day of the resurrection, but ‘for fear of the Jews’ and because they all lived there (John 20:19; Acts 1:13); not to celebrate the resurrection, because at that time they did not believe that He had risen (Mark 16:9-14).
          "Then Sam turned to Acts 20:7 as his strong text. You remember it says that when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them; and this was the first day of the week. I argued that the breaking of bread meant nothing special, for it was the custom then to break bread daily (Acts 2:46), and whether this was communion or not, it was not always done on the first day. And nothing is said about this first day being holy. Paul met then with them because it happened to be his last day with them, as he was on a journey. If simply meeting with people for a religious service makes the day a sabbath, then Paul must have made some of the other week days sabbaths, for a reading of the account of his journeys shows that he preached whenever it was convenient (Acts 20:13-18).

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