|BIBLE STUDY SERIES #116, 117 and 118|
6 February, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
On this present series of Bible Studies, we have traced God's Great Plan for the elimination of sin through the Book of Genesis, and now, we have continued to follow this Great Plan in the Second Book of the Bible, The Book of Exodus. We examined the First Commandment last week; a Commandment conveyed thus in Exodus 20:1-3:
1. And God spake all these words, saying,
2. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
The Hebrew of "I am the Lord thy God" is clarified if we read "I, (Yahweh or) Jehovah, (am) thy God (Heb. Elohim). The Commandments are not distinguished by number in the original, and thus various points of separation have been used to distinguish "The Ten Words." We follow the practice of making the separations to accord with the pattern which we perceive in Matthew 22:37-40, wherein Christ summarized thus: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Thus speaking, Christ is seen, according to a note in The Companion Bible, to have separated them into "Duty to God and neighbour" to which the note adds "The structure of the whole divides them into 5+5, the number of Grace", and the note further explains: "the first five are linked together by the words "the Lord thy God", the second five by the word "Thou." We have now come to The Second Commandment, in this set of ten, as recorded in Exodus 20:4-6.
4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
We ought to note, first, that this Commandment bears consequences through a number of generations. Its results are not confined simply to the first generation alone. In part, this is because such images, where they represented a competing, and therefore a false substitute god, frequently became the focus of child sacrifice.
Second, as shown by Keil and Delitzsch, this commandment has application to carved images, and it covers not only images of gods other than Jehovah, but, from the words as given in Deuteronomy 4:15-19, we can see that it also forbids any attempt to represent Jehovah Himself for purposes of worship. That passage includes the words:
15. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17. The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
18. The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
Even if created to represent the true God with the best of intention, a carved image inevitably substitutes, instead, elements such as gilded wood, metal and stone, the tawdry product of human artistry. The effect of such an image is to block interaction between the worshipper and the actual spiritual presence of God Himself. Even if motivated by utmost zeal to present God, such an image inevitably forms a glittering artistic substitute focus of superstitious worship in the minds of old and young alike, diverting the attention to humanly manipulated materials, and it thus demeans God's glory. Even a talisman worn on the person can have this same deplorable demeaning effect. That is the reason for this Second Commandment.
Let us not forget that money can substitute a carved image of some animal or human form in metal or other material like paper for worship of The Almighty God. We even use the term "The Almighty dollar"!
The reference to serving the sun, moon and stars, even all the host of heaven, may appear ludicrous until we realise that it refers to the horoscope worship of the masses today, which is cultivated as a substitute for the worship of God by the purveyors of daily newspapers.
At this point, because the thrust of this Second Commandment is designed to eliminate all competition, and to focus people's worship totally upon The Almighty God of Scripture, I feel that comment may also be needed regarding the matter of "The Trinity". Is Jesus "another god", or, indeed, the One God of holy writ?
While the word "Trinity" does not occur in the Bible, the concept is quite central to an understanding of those theological themes which cause a separation between the views of Moslems, Jews and scientific agnostics on the one hand, and that of the centuries-long position held by the Christian Church on the other. While our remaining time will not permit us to complete a review of this matter today, we should at least make a beginning.
I am moved to mention that I view Jesus Christ as the incarnate fullness of the Almighty God as much as His pre-incarnate manifestation (Yahweh, or Jehovah) on Mount Sinai and His post-Resurrection manifestations to His disciples, and especially in the Revelation experience of Saint John on the Island of Patmos (Rev. 1:12-18).
Part of the difficulty, I believe, lies in our view of "God the Father". Is He a "Man" in the sense of "flesh", separate from Jesus? Obviously not, for we read that Christ, in John 4:24, told the woman at the well that "God is a Spirit..."
I think that we tend to have "tunnel vision" from life lived in, and confined to, the "corridor of time and space." Let me try to convey a partial explanation using the following example. Not long ago, two of our radio tapes had not been properly erased before copies of a new programme were dubbed onto them, and my voice was heard speaking two programmes at the same time on those two stations which received these tapes. It sounded as if two different people, both being "myself", were reading two separate scripts at the same time!
Perhaps we tend to think of God as the "Three Persons" of The Trinity in something like the same perplexing situation. We know the personality contacting us is "God", but perhaps our contacts appear to come to us as three people, because we can't seem to grasp the true nature of the God from beyond time and space. I know that is inadequate, but it may give some food for thought.
Let us confirm that Christ's claim was indeed that of being God. It is stated that Christ accepted worship, which is not to be given to any but The Almighty God Himself (Philippians.2:10-11, Matthew 28:9). In Mark 2:1-12, Jesus forgave all the sins of the palsied man, which was a right reserved to God alone.
Of His life, Jesus Christ stated "...I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" - John 10:18. Thus the subsequent raising of Jesus Christ from the dead must place the stamp of God's acceptance and authority upon the perfect life of Jesus Christ, which perfection includes Christ's claims regarding His own identity. Otherwise, those claims, as the Jews said, would be blasphemy.
In Jesus' prayer to God the Father, in John 17:4-5 we find Him stating:
4. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
That prayer, being validated by the Resurrection, shows us that John 1:1-3 is correct. Those verses speak of Jesus Christ, saying:
1. In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. The same was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
The significance of that last verse should not be allowed to escape us. It means that Jesus Christ was the Creator of "all things", being Himself God (verse 1)! Thus we must also accept that He knew whereof He spoke when, in John 8:58, He stated those crucially important words to the Jews "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am". When we turn to Exodus 3:14, we find that this same personage, bearing the same name, which means, in effect, "The Everliving", - a name which can only apply to God, - is the person who addressed Moses from the burning bush, and calls Himself by that very name!
That personage speaking from the burning bush identified Himself to Moses, in verse 16, in the words "...the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". Compare John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." Thus every reference to God, in relation to those Patriarchs, is to this same personage. This is the God Who, in Exodus 20 gave Israel The Commandments.
I believe we ought to view all of the Scriptures as one continuous record, the New Testament being the extension of the Old Testament, because they are related, being merely New and Old, to the very same continuity of the children of Israel!
Thus the Second Commandment describes all aspects encompassed by the concept of "Trinity."
We shall continue this study on our next programme.
13 February, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In this present series of Bible Studies, we have been examining, from the Books of Genesis and Exodus, the unfolding story of God's Great Plan to rectify the nature of His Creation.
On our last programme, we were looking at the Second Commandment, and I had only time to begin one aspect of that study which related to the concept of "Trinity". This is a most important aspect for if we do not see Jesus Christ in His true context as God, we miss a full understanding and instead, run into the confusion of thinking that Jesus is a second god, a sort of false-claimant to the honour of deity.
The concept of the Trinitarian unity of The LORD is, I believe expressed in several areas of the Bible. All three aspects were participants at The Creation (Elohim in Gen. 1:1, Ruach in Gen. 1:2, and logos i.e. The Word, Jesus Christ in John 1:1) and all three are present in the circumstances of Christ's Baptism, as reported in Matthew 3:16-17; Jesus emerging from Jordan, the Spirit of God descending like a Dove, and the Voice heard from heaven.
Speaking of Christ in Colossians 2:8-9, St. Paul assures his readers that "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
I believe that only "Trinity" can adequately explain Isaiah 9:6-7 which names the child which is to be miraculously born by "The zeal of the LORD of hosts", as the same which is to sit "upon the throne of David... from henceforth even for ever." Only "Trinity" can encompass the names Wonderful, Counsellor (Holy Spirit), The mighty God (El), The everlasting Father (Ab), The Prince of Peace (Jesus), for those words tally with the angelic prophecy of Luke 1:32-33 which refers to Jesus.
Let us take the statements of Isaiah 48:16-17 and see how the linkages of the persons of The Trinity are inter-connected. First, that scripture reports of the LORD: "I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it (presumably the beginning; the Creation) was, there am I..." In order to verify this everlasting continuity, compare Exodus 3:14, "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." with John 8:58 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."
Isaiah 48:16 continues "...and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me..." Compare this with Luke 1:35 "...The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Isaiah 48:17 continues: "...Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God..." That word "LORD" is, "Yahweh", or "Jehovah", the God of Sinai. The reference to "Redeemer" again indicates Jesus Christ on the Cross, Who was "sent." Thus the references integrate the three persons as One God.
I have, in the past, made the statement that I not only view the Trinitarian nature of God as a possibility, but, indeed, as a logical essential. How else can the Deity Who created all energy, matter, time and space, contact for His purposes that which was created except by means of an aspect which can interact with it, (in one sense independently in the nature of a distinct person, walking down the corridor of time, so to speak, along-side and in company with that creation), and specifically to inter-act with humanity within humanity's time-regimented terms.
There must likewise be an essence of deity capable of "piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow..." (Hebrews 4:12) Who may know the inner being in each person, being thus also an aspect of that Deity.
Although perhaps in a somewhat inadequate fashion, we can interpret every claim of Jesus in relation to "The Father" by considering the relationship of our own right arm to the totality of ourselves. Consider Mark 14:62: "ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power..." and John 14:10-11 "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works..."
If someone touches our arm, they touch US because our arm IS ourself. Consider John 10:30, "I and my Father are one", and John 14:7 "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also...". However we, the totality of our person, are each greater than just our arm alone. Thus John 14:28 says "...for my Father is greater than I." When hurt, our arm sends messages through nerves to our mind for assistance. Likewise Matthew 27:46 says "...My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Yet our arm responds to our requirement, even if great hurt ensues. Even so with Christ in Luke 22:42, saying "nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" and John 6:38, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me", and again in John 12:27, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."
Thus the concept of Trinity unites the devotion of the Christian in the One God. Further, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reach through all time and space into Creation to impart knowledge of God's love to mankind.
We now move on to the Third commandment, found in Exodus 20:7.
7. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
On a previous programme, I spoke of the ceremony underway between the people of Israel and The Almighty God on Mount Sinai as a form of marriage contract between the people and their God. When we fully register the ramifications of this fact that a marriage is taking place at Sinai with Moses as officiating intermediary between God and the people of Israel it may give a whole new meaning to the words of one of the Ten Commandments which God is about to write; the Third, which forbids the committing of adultery. As it is the racial, tribal and national unit of Israel collectively to whom The Almighty is making this offer of marriage, and to whom also, that Third Law will be given, the words must apply every bit as much to the nation of Israel taken in its totality as they do to the conjugal arrangement which is to exist between a husband and wife in an individual family.
We may learn more of the true meaning embodied in that word "adultery" when we consult Partridge's Etymological Dictionary. That reference sequences the concepts of "alter", meaning "other", hence "different", hence "corrupt", hence "to seduce a woman", hence "to commit adultery." Thus the root idea behind adultery is to adulterate or mix or contaminate. When applied to a national group, it may contain a greater depth of meaning than what is generally understood by that word "adultery" in our own generation!
The marriage relationship of individuals should reflect that of God with His people of Israel collectively, who corporately formed the national assembly. Under the item "Congregation", The New Bible Dictionary explains that where all Israel is assembled to hear the words of God, in other words, for a religious purpose, the Hebrew word "qahal" is used to describe the national assembly. Earlier, other Hebrew words, moed, and eda were used, but more with the idea of designation of an appointed time or place or meeting. However, as the years of wilderness wandering proceed, the preferred Hebrew word used to designate a time of national assembly, particularly for a religious purpose, is qahal. The Dictionary says "It is apparent that 'eda', the older word, is in frequent use in Exodus and Numbers, and bears an almost technical sense of 'those gathered together' (for a specific purpose), but that qahal, preferred by Deuteronomy and later writers, came to mean 'all Israel gathered together by God as a theocratic state'."
That reference adds that the LXX translates that Hebrew word by the Greek word "ekklesia", which our AV New Testament usually translates using the word "synagogue" or, with the Christian community in mind, "assembly" or "church." Thus the modern word "church" has behind it the idea of the nation as a single church assembly, the wife of Almighty God, and attempts to separate "church" from "state" are totally counter to the Israelite origins of the concept wherein government was subject to the Law of Almighty God. Insofar as we, the nations of modern day descendants of Israel in Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred lands, have allowed false teaching to pursuade us from this nation-church structure, we have broken the Third Commandment as a national entity, and are subject to judgment under the penalty provisions of that Law.
In our own Israel nations today, the clearest expression of the term qahal might be expressed in the calling of a national day of prayer. The late King George VI broadcast a call to such a time of national prayer on the evening of D-Day. Also, Remembrance Day, or as it is sometimes called, Armistice Day, forms such an assembly for our modern Israel nations in our own time.
A national group committed to The Almighty by such a national agreement or marriage as we witness at Sinai, takes in national marriage to Him, God's own name, "El", as when it is called "Israel", and such a nation is not to make other liasons or marriages for themselves of a category which would be termed adulterous. That is to say, they must not identify with, or mix themselves with, an inappropriate partner or false god. However, Israel later did play the harlot and lost knowledge of her identity under that Israel name for the stipulated "seven times", or in other words, two thousand five hundred and twenty years.
Now, once again, through the preparatory preaching and acceptance of the Christian Gospel, the "Israel bride" (Revelation 21:12) "hath made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7) and the marriage supper of "The Lamb" is to re-organize the relationship nationally as we find presented in Revelation 21:2.
Many who think this to be a marriage of Christ and His Church miss the whole point that the "church" is here the nation formed of Israel's descendants, now Christian, that makes a new agreement to be faithful to her Lord! The concept of a sort of committed minority, within but withdrawn from the nation, doing this is mis-leading. The community which is already committed to Christ forms the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18). The marriage makes "one flesh" of the union, and it includes the whole governmental unity of the people in this ekklesia of our present study.
Adultery, where a husband or wife adulterates the marriage union by unfaithfulness reflects on the personal level the concepts we have examined between the Israel Nation and Yahweh, their Almighty God and Husband.
We shall continue this study on our next programme.
20 February, 1994
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
Our Bible Studies have followed, through Genesis and Exodus, the unfolding story of God's Great Plan of regeneration. Today, we have come to a study of the Fourth Commandment, as set forth in Exodus 20:8-11, which pertains to the setting aside of a cyclic period of rest, re-generation, and greater attention to our relationship with Our God.
8. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10. 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:
11. 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.
In Deuteronomy 5:12-15 this Law appears in a slightly variant form as presented to the next generation of Israelites, preparing to enter the Promised Land, and although we shall meet it in a later study, we may benefit by reviewing that particular Scripture now. That passage uses these words:
12. Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
13. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
14. 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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
15. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
As we review this Fourth Commandment, in both Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5, and other related laws pertaining to longer periods of time, we see that this concept of periodic rest days at measured intervals must hold a very great importance to the nation of Israel, now as then.
These Laws, of course, are intended to amplify the summary given by Jesus Christ in Matthew 22:37-40:
37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38. This is the first and great commandment.
39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Thus, the principle enjoined is love for God and for our neighbour. It is for this reason of love that we are to follow these Ten Commandments.
The New Bible Dictionary, item "Sabbath" states: "the example for the sabbath rest had been set by God Himself in the creation. The sabbath therefore is a creation ordinance... The work of creation had occupied six days; on the seventh God rested (lit. 'ceased') from His labour. Thus there appears the distinction between the six days of labour and the one of rest. This is true, even if the six days of labour be construed as periods of time longer than twenty-four hours."
The Babylonian sabbath, is mentioned, but "the Babylonians had a five-day week. Examination of contract tablets reveals that the days designated sabbatum were not days of cessation from labour." The older Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, mentions evidence that Babylonians had both a five and a seven day cycle. Some scholars see the sabbath cycle as connecting to that source. However, The Companion Bible note says that the Babylonians doubtless had their seven day sabbath from Genesis 2:2-3, and not Genesis from the Babylonians.
Young's Concordance gives the meaning of "sabbath" or "shabbath" as "Cessation." The New Bible Dictionary explains that the sabbath was mentioned at the time when manna was given to the Israelites, in chapter 16, and was thus known to Israel in old time. The Deuteronomy passage reviews the Sabbath Law which had been given at Sinai, and it states that this day belongs to the Lord, adding an additional reason for observance, in that the sabbath was made for man. Israel had been a slave in Egypt and had been delivered; so Israel must show the mercy of the sabbath towards those in her own midst who were slaves."
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, we find several pages under "Sabbath" and about five under "Sunday". The Sabbath item makes reference to "The rules of the Scribes which listed thirty-nine main kinds of work forbidden on the Sabbath." At least two of these were broken; by Jesus in healing, and His disciples in the preparation of food. The Encyclopaeda states "In fact, as our Lord puts it, the Rabbinical theory seemed to be that the Sabbath was not made for man but man for the Sabbath... The precepts of the law were valuable in the eyes of the Scribes because they were the seal of Jewish particularism, the barrier erected between the world at large and the exclusive community of Yahweh's grace." In a later section, that reference explains "the Sabbath in old Israel must have been entirely different from the Sabbath of the Scribes."
The New Bible Dictionary, after mentioning the blessings prophetically promised to follow proper observance of the sabbath (Isaiah 58:13-14 being cited) states that "God, not man, must determine how the sabbath is to be observed." Mentioning that "Gradually oral tradition made its growth among the Jews", that reference points out that Jesus inveighed against this additional burden, not the sabbath institution itself. Although Christ identified Himself as Lord of the sabbath (Mark 2:28), He went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was His custom (Luke 4:16).
Having commented upon its observance and importance, we could not leave this study without mentioning a contentious issue; the choice of day set apart for observance as a day of rest. As stated on page 198 of "A History of Christianity" by Kenneth Scott Latourette: "Already in the second century the chief day of worship and of the celebration of the Eucharist was Sunday, and the reason given was that it was on this first day of the week, "the Lord's Day," that Christ had been raised from the dead. In choosing that day instead of the Jewish Sabbath (although for centuries even many Gentile Christians also observed the seventh day, or Sabbath) or of Friday, the day of their Lord's crucifixion, Christians were giving further evidence that their faith was primarily in the risen Christ."
The New Bible Dictionary states "On the first day of the week the Lord rose from the dead, and the Christians began to assemble on that day for worship of the risen Christ. This day is the Lord's Day, and as such is the sabbath which God had instituted at creation. The commands regarding it have never been abrogated. It belongs to God, not to the pleasure of man; it is for the benefit and blessing of man, and that blessing is obtained by a resting on the sabbath from all one's regular secular toil."
The Encyclopaedia Britannica, mentions of the Early Christian Church: "...the Jewish Christians continued to keep the Sabbath, like other points of the old law. Eusebius ... remarks that the Ebionites observed both the Sabbath and the Lord's day; and this practice obtained to some extent in much wider circles, for the Apostolical Constitutions recommend that the Sabbath shall be kept as a memorial feast of the creation as well as the Lord's day as a memorial of the resurrection."
The Encyclopaedia adds: "On the other hand, Paul had quite distinctly laid down from the first days of Gentile Christianity that the Jewish Sabbath was not binding on Christians (Rom. xiv. 5 seq.: Gal. iv. 10; Col. ii. 16), and controversy with Judaizers led in process of time to direct condemnation of those who still kept the Jewish day..."
In the same reference, under the topic "Sunday", we read: "There is no evidence that in the earliest years of Christianity there was any formal observance of Sunday as a day of rest or any general cessation of work. But it seems to have from the first been set apart for worship. Thus, according to Acts xx. 7, the disciples in Troas met weekly on the first day of the week for exhortation and the breaking of bread..." Revelation 1:10 contains the first mention of "the Lord's day'."
Ignatius speaks of those whom he addresses as "no longer Sabbatizing, but living in the observance of the Lord's day... on which also our life sprang up again." The reference says that Justin Martyr was the first to use the word Sunday. Justin, it states, describes how "'on the day called Sunday' town and country Christians alike gathered together in one place for instruction and prayer and charitable offerings and the distribution of bread and wine; they thus meet together on that day, he says, because it is the first day in which God made the world, and because Jesus Christ on the same day rose from the dead."
We may cull further information scattered through the same entry in these quotes: "As long as the Jewish Christian element continued to have any influence in the Church, a tendency to observe Sabbath as well as Sunday naturally persisted. Eusebius... mentions that the Ebionites continued to keep both days, and there is abundant evidence from Tertullian onwards that so far as public worship and abstention from fasting are concerned the practice was widely spread among the Gentile churches. Thus we learn from Socrates... that in his time public worship was held in the churches of Constantinople on both days... and the injunction of the Apostolic Constitutions... is to 'hold your solemn assemblies and rejoice every Sabbath day (excepting one), and every Lord's day.'... The view that the Christian Lord's day or Sunday is but the Christian Sabbath transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week does not find categorical expression till a much later period... The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 A.D."
Knowing the Israelitish but non-Jewish identity of the many Anglo-Celto-Saxon and kindred peoples of the present time, I consider that those described as members of Gentile churches, who yet persisted in Sabbath observance to be descendants of the Northern Israelite Tribes, whose descendants later migrated to their new homes in the north-west of Europe and overseas.
As this Sabbath Law is laid upon the whole national assembly, it is interesting that many government offices close on both Saturdays and Sundays. To this extent at least, we nationally observe the Sabbath!
We cannot leave this matter without adding that many commercial outlets compete seven days a week, in distinct contravention of the Fourth Commandment. Perhaps the commercial mandarines hope to evade economic disaster, the consequence of their refusal to honour The Almighty God upon His Day.
One last thought: the law specifically applies, not only to the whole national body of Israelites, both individually and corporately, but it also applies to "thy stranger that is within thy gates." Multicult has no right to claim a different set of rules within the land, at variance from God's Law. The civic responsibility to observe God's Laws applies to everyone within our borders, without excuse or exception. Our tolerance of alien "rights" and the accompanying cultural baggage does not honour The Almighty Yahweh, God of Israel, and in the end, it cannot but bring disaster upon the nation if it is not corrected. We shall continue our study of The Ten Commandments on our next programme.
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