AGAINST NACHUM, part 2
Responding to his “28 Questions Addressed” video series
by Edwin M. Cotto
Adventist Defense League
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the King James Version.
Estimated read time: 33 minutes, 12 seconds, according to Read-O-Meter.
Please read the Introduction located in Part 1 before reading this page.
NOTE: I plan on providing this reply in video format soon. Visit this page often for updates.
QUESTION #5: The children of Israel were commanded some 613 laws between God and Moses Doesn’t the very fact that they’re called the TEN Commandments tell anyone that they are a separate code of laws from the rest? Why say ten if they are “the same as the others”? See Deuteronomy 4:13, 14; 2 Kings 21:8; 2 Chronicles 33:8?
Sola’s Response: No… I’m not sure what he is trying to imply when he says, “why say ten if they are the same as the others.” There’s a lot of issues with this question here… in my opinion, the Decalogue is a Suzerain/Vassal covenant between God and the children of Israel… look that up and study to see why this would raise some issues… in Adventism, they are taught that the Decalogue is the moral law, that its God’s law and that its eternal. When you read the Old Testament… the tablets are called the “tablets of the covenant… the book, or the law of Moses as they called the book of the covenant refers to the books of Moses which include the Decalogue, the moral law, and the ark which is called the ark of the covenant. Now the question is, are all three of these a part of the same covenant or are they separate covenants? Or is the moral law a separate covenant, the Decalogue a separate covenant and the other two (?) are another covenant all together? … that would be an issue I’d raise because that’s an issue right there!
Are they a separate code from the rest of the law? No, they’re not. They are just ten commandments amongst others. Why I say that? For example, Adventists emphasize the Decalogue as the moral law, but then I say, well what about homosexuality, bestiality, those are all acceptable right? No of course not! But here’s the issue, they are forced to say that incense, homosexuality, bestiality are all adultery; they are all summed up in the commandment, do not commit adultery. Now this is absolutely absurd! … homosexuality, incest, bestiality, those are all their own separate, sexual sins. Adultery is not incest, adultery is not homosexuality, adultery is not bestiality. An example is, husband cheats on his wife with another man, that is not just one sin. That man committed two separate sins. One is adultery, the other is homosexuality. If he slept with a dog, that’s two separate sins. Now they are forced to cramp all of that into Adultery, because of the leaders and pioneers of Adventism. They are put into this awkward position that is not biblical. There are more moral laws in the law of Moses than in the Decalogue which should tell you something. [side tracks with an example of an Adventist who said that violating the dietary law is equal to breaking the sixth commandment]. According to Adventists, this is rational, logical and biblical. There are other issues but that would be a good topic to discuss online actually may be with him and perhaps other Adventists.
Edwin’s Response to Sola: Quoting Sola, “I’m not sure what he is trying to imply when he says, ‘why say ten if they are the same as the others.’” Sola’s confusion is probably why he never really answered the question. The point is that since the Decalogue is given a numerical value, that causes it to stand out from the rest of the laws since none of the other laws are given a numerical value. But to be sure, the Bible directly tells us that God did not add anything more to the Decalogue. Note here:
“These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” (Deuteronomy 5:22)
And yet, God did give other laws, didn’t he? The reason why it says he “added no more” was because the Decalogue was to stand on its own as its own covenant between God and the Israelites:
“And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” (Deuteronomy 4:14)
To avoid confusing them all into one bundle, God designates these ten as his special “covenant.” Contrary to Sola’s unbiblical “opinion,” the Decalogue was not just ten “among the laws” because it was a “covenant” in and of itself. Now notice the next verse:
“And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.” (verse 14)
Apart from the “covenant” of the Ten Commandments, God then gave them additional laws. My friends this is not rocket science. We clearly have two groups here, the Decalogue and the rest of the laws.
Quoting Sola, “the Decalogue is a Suzerain/Vassal covenant between God and the children of Israel… look that up and study to see why this would raise some issues.”
So what? I see no issues here. A Suzerain/Vassal covenant simply places God as the one who directs the show while the other party (named “vassals), the Israelites, agree to obey.1 I suppose that Sola wants to say that the Ten Commandments were only for the Israelites in this case, forgetting, as do most Evangelicals, who true Israelites actually are.2
Quoting Sola, “… the Decalogue, the moral law, and the ark which is called the ark of the covenant. Now the question is, are all three of these a part of the same covenant or are they separate covenants? Or is the moral law a separate covenant, the Decalogue a separate covenant and the other two (?) are another covenant all together? … that would be an issue I’d raise because that’s an issue right there!”
The real question here is whether Sola is trying to muddy the waters or if he is actually confused. I hate to have to take the time to explain this so I will be brief. Most of Christendom understands that the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, are the Moral laws, and all these terms are interchangeable. They are not three separate things or three separate covenants. This is one covenant. The “Ark of the Covenant” was just a vessel; a chest made of wood and covered in gold that CONTAINED the Tablets of the Ten Commandments inside! Let’s be clear: The Ten Commandments (or, Decalogue, or Moral Law) are ONE covenant that was placed INSIDE of an Ark. It’s really that simple folks.
Let me move on to the final point in Sola’s response. Here we have the typical replies that Adventists often hear from Evangelicals about the limitations of the Ten Commandments. With a dose of sarcasm and a side of smirkness towards a fellow Adventist brother who made a comment about dietary laws, my opponent proceeds to give reasons as to why the Ten Commandments are actually NOT “broad” as the bible says (Psalm 119:96). To be clear, the bible specifically tells us that “thy commandment is exceeding broad” but Sola, despite his nickname, says its not. Oh, the irony!
Let’s examine the verse together:
“I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” (Psalm 119:96)
The verse is clear, God’s commandment is exceedingly broad, or, abundantly broad, or, boundless and without limits, as the following translations put it:
“To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.” (NIV)
“Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.” (NLT)
“I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your command is without limit.” (CSB)
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon explains it this way: “Ps. 119.96, ‘thy commandment is exceeding broad,’ i.e. the law is copious and infinite.”3 The word “copious” means “abundant, lots of something,” and the word “infinite” means, “limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.”4 No matter how many times Sola audaciously calls this “absurd” or “unbiblical,” the fact remains that it is the bible itself which tells us that God’s commandment is not limited to what we read on the surface.
I find it strange that Sola would attack such a notion anyway. Don’t Christians generally believe that there is more than one way to have “other gods” then by merely worshiping Buddha, Allah, or Krishna? Don’t we usually say that “anything that comes before God is an idol?” Are there not more than one way to take God’s name in vain? How about when a person blasphemes God’s character, or when a Christian misrepresents God by his sinful acts? Are these not also violations of the third commandment?5
Now I don’t pretend to know exactly how every sin violates one or more of the Ten Commandments, but I can safely say that every sin violates one or more of the Ten Commandments. In question number 2, I provided the example of rebellion. Though this word is not used in the Decalogue, it definitely violates the Decalogue (see: 1 Samuel 15:23, c.f. Exodus 20:3-6). Favoritism is not mentioned by name in the Ten Commandments either, and yet James tells us that if you show favoritism you are breaking the Ten Commandments (James 2:9-11). In a similar fashion, breaking either one of the Ten Commandments automatically means you have broken the other nine commandments. For example, God compares Israel’s idol worship to adultery (Jeremiah 3:9, Ezekiel 22:37), Paul said that covetousness is the same as idolatry (Colossians 3:5), and that stealing also violates the second commandment (Romans 2:22). No wonder James 2:10 tells us that breaking one commandment causes us to actually break them all!6
Sola spent a great deal making comparisons between the seventh commandment and homosexuality, incest and bestiality, while admitting at one point that these are all “sexual sins.” If the fact that they are all “sexual sins” does not serve him as an example of how they are all related, I can’t help him. The only real advantage Sola could have had here would have been if neither of the Ten Commandments mentioned any “sexual” sin whatsoever. Unfortunately for his theory, this is not the case.
Anyway, Sola’s conclusion was that the sins of homosexuality, incest and bestiality are not the same as committing adultery. Of course, they are not the same! But do they somehow constitute a violation of the seventh commandment? I want to share two examples, one from the New Testament, and then one from the Old Testament, of how the seventh commandment can be broken without actually “cheating” on a spouse with someone of the opposite sex. I believe this will, if anything, shed light on the fact that this commandment is also “exceeding broad” and does indeed include all sexual sins, including these three.
First, let us see what Jesus has to say on this matter:
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
Commenting on the seventh commandment, the master tells us that if a man mentally lusts after another woman, he is actually committing adultery. Sola contends that the seventh commandment strictly forbids cheating on your spouse, yet Jesus here reveals that there is another way to break this commandment, the mental way. But look further into what Jesus said:
“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (ibid, 31-32, NKJV)
In other words, if my wife cheats on me through “sexual immorality,” she has given me grounds for divorce because she committed adultery and broken the seventh commandment. Now, what is “sexual immorality?” Let’s look it up in the Lexicon:
|illicit sexual intercourse, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12 metaph. the worship of idols of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols|
Strong’s Definitions: πορνεία – porneía, por-ni’-ah; from G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry:—fornication.7
Did you catch that? Jesus directly tells us that any sexual sin, including homosexuality, incest, and bestiality, is adultery and grounds for divorce! In other words, if my wife cheats on me either with a woman, with her brother, or with her dog… it is still ADULTERY, and I can divorce her.
Moreover, this verse concludes by saying, “and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” So we see that a man does not necessarily have to cheat on his wife to commit adultery, he can simply marry a woman who was divorced for unlawful reasons and, though he were at first single, still break the seventh commandment!
Second, the Old Testament gives us at least one example of how “adultery” is not just “cheating on your spouse with the opposite sex.” In Hosea 3:1, God tells Hosea to marry a woman who commits adultery. Since God would not cause a man to marry a married woman (for that would be against his own law), this means that the woman that Hosea found was not married. Yet, we are told that she is an “adulteress.” Why? Because she is committing adultery, not by cheating on her husband, but by “playing the harlot” (as implied in verse 3). In other words, playing the harlot (which literally means fornication, prostitution)8 amounts, essentially, to committing adultery!
We’ve gathered four ways to commit adultery apart from cheating on your spouse with the opposite sex:
Number 1: Through mentally lusting after another person. According to Jesus, the commandment forbids more than just physical contact.
Number 2: Through committing sexual immorality on your spouse. This goes further than cheating with the opposite sex. It includes cheating on her through homosexuality, incest or bestiality. All these constitute “adultery” and therefore are grounds for divorce.
Number 3: By marrying a person who was unlawfully divorced. This would include both a married man, who then marries an unlawfully divorced woman, and also a single man, who marries an unlawfully divorced woman since Jesus said: “whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”
Number 4: Through committing harlotry, which means fornication or prostitution, you are actually committing adultery. Since the implication in Hosea 3:1 was that the woman was not married, and since her fornication and prostitution constituted a violation of the seventh commandment (we know this because she was called an “adulteress”), so if any other unmarried individual fornicated or prostituted himself, he’d also be a violator of the seventh commandment, though technically he’s not “cheating on his wife with the opposite sex.”
These examples may not be perfect, nor might they answer every question my opponent may have, but one thing is for sure, the seventh commandment is far more than just physically “cheating” on your spouse with the opposite sex. Like every other of God’s commandments, it is broad in its application and it to touches every aspect of man’s life.
Quoting Sola, “… homosexuality, incest, bestiality, those are all their own separate, sexual sins. Adultery is not incest, adultery is not homosexuality, adultery is not bestiality. An example is, husband cheats on his wife with another man, that is not just one sin. That man committed two separate sins. One is adultery, the other is homosexuality. If he slept with a dog, that’s two separate sins. Now they are forced to cramp all of that into Adultery, because of the leaders and pioneers of Adventism.”
Obviously, cheating on her through either homosexuality, incest or bestiality equals committing two sins. No one says that they are the same sins. What we are saying is that either way the seventh commandment was still violated! HOW one commits adultery does not change the fact that adultery was still committed! The word “adultery” includes a wide scope of sexual sins. Whether I cheat on my wife with a man, with my sister or with my pet chihuahua, I am still committing “adultery.” The point is that there is more than one way to break the seventh commandment, just like there is more than one way to break any one of the other commandments even if I do it through an additional sin.
Quoting Sola, “There are other issues but that would be a good topic to discuss online actually may be with him and perhaps other Adventists.”
Let the record show here, that I have contacted Sola before and have discussed some of these issues through video streaming. However, I also challenged Sola to a debate and I was only told he would think about it. Mr. Sola, I am now responding to your claims publicly and I expect you to be just as bald to take on this challenge as you were when you made your videos. Let us continue refuting your answers here.
QUESTION #6: Dispensationalist will tell you that the Ten Commandments were the old covenant but in the book of Hebrews (9:7) we find that the old covenant needed replacing for being faulty (the fault spoken of was found with the people and not the law vs. 8). Are dispensationalist prepared to argue that God wrote and spoke something faulty? (HINT: Don’t go there.)
Sola’s Response: Number 6 is for dispensationalists which I am not. I don’t hold to that eschatology so I don’t need to address it.
Edwin’s Response to Sola: Very well, we will skip this one then.
QUESTION #7: “Christians” have ALWAYS worshipped on Sunday and NEVER on the Sabbath? Someone was taking a nap in religious history class! http://www.lltproductions.com/sabbath_history.shtml
Sola’s Response: His claim was, the early church worshipped on the Sabbath, on the seventh day. Now, outside of the bible, if I were talking to him I would ask him to provide primary sources that show this to be true. Now I would ask them to be between the end of the first century to the middle of the second century, just between that time. Give us some primary sources that show this because I haven’t seen any, I have not been shown any, and in my opinion, there are not any. Now if someone can provide some and put them in the comment, and I’ll read over them, I’ll check them out and if I’m wrong then I’ll stand corrected. The link he provided was broken. I went to the website and tried to find it but I couldn’t find anything there to substantiate this claim.
Edwin’s Response to Sola: Sola wants evidence “outside the bible” but a Christian should never exclude the bible as reliable history. He also wants to restrict the evidence to “between the end of the first century to the middle of the second century.” Very well, though I suppose this to be an acknowledgment that Christians were keeping the Sabbath both before and after these two time periods.
I will offer six pieces of evidence, the last three will be biblical evidence. I believe that what I will now present should silence my critic and anyone else who thinks the Sabbath was somehow abolished among all Christians during the early centuries.
First, it is true that the link is broken. Unfortunately, that is a problem with internet fluidity. However, the website does provide important information regarding Sabbath observance in the early centuries, only it charges a price. The documentary “The Seventh Day with Hal Holbrook” is probably where the original link led to. Fortunately, they allowed it to be uploaded on YouTube and part 4 is the section that focuses on Sabbath-keeping in the early church.9 I will point out one specific section in this video:
|“About 95 or 100 AD, a change was made in the synagogue service. The middle part of the service is known as the standing prayer, the Amidah or the ‘eighteen benedictions’ consisting of eighteen short prayers of blessings of God, thanksgiving blessings. All eighteen are recited on weekdays, on Sabbaths only seven. But at this time an additional one was added. It’s known in Hebrew as the ‘birkat haminim,’ the ‘Blessings concerning the Heretics,’ but it’s not really a blessing. [it read] ‘For the apostates let there be no hope. And let the arrogant government be speedily uprooted in our days. Let the noẓerim and the minim be destroyed in a moment. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant”|
To sniff out anyone suspected of being a heretic of any sort, especially a believer in Yeshua as the Christ, everyone was expected to either recite the prayer or agree with it by saying “amen.” If someone was caught refusing to say the prayer, they were asked to repeat it.10 Since believers in Jesus would never curse their fellow brethren, this method was often successful in rooting out the so-called “heretics.”11
The implication here is obvious. As Holbrook concluded, “the evidence of this synagogue prayer helped sharpen our picture of first-century Christians. It’s clear that they were keeping the Sabbath right along with their Jewish brothers.”12 What we have here is evidence that Jewish believers in Jesus (by now universally called “Christians”), were still attending Sabbath services up to about the end of the first century.
Second, the historian Eusebius details a group of Christians called the “Ebionites” who, though they differed in some regards, believed in strict observance to God’s law including Sabbath-keeping. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this group probably existed between the second half of the first century up to the fourth century. Eusebius’ account explains that there are two groups of Ebionites, a conservative and a liberal side. Speaking of the liberal side, he tells us the following:
|“These escaped the absurd folly of the first mentioned, and did not deny that the Lord was born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit, but nevertheless agreed with them in not confessing his pre-existence and God, being the Logos and Wisdom. Thus they shared in the impiety of the former class, especially in that they were equally zealous to insist on the literal observance of the Law… like the former, they used to observe the sabbath and the rest of the Jewish ceremonial, but on Sundays celebrated rites like ours in commemoration of the Saviour’s resurrection.”13|
It can be argued that these Christians also observed Sunday, based on the statement “but on Sundays celebrated rites like ours in commemoration of the Saviour’s resurrection.” But, as Samuele Bacchiocchi pointed out, “it should be noted that Eusebius wrote his account of the Ebionites almost two and a half centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem, without specifying the time of their adoption of Sunday observance.”14 Since the Sabbath was being kept by Christians since long before, as we have seen above with the reference to the Birkat Haminim (and we will see in the next few pieces of evidence more proof of Sabbath-keeping among early believers), it’s likely that Eusebius mentions Sunday observance as a much later tradition of the Ebionites. The point, however, is that these believers were observing the Sabbath between the second half of the first century up to about the fourth century.
Third, a Palestinian historian by the name of Epiphanius testifies to the fact that the descendants of the Jerusalem Church kept the seventh-day Sabbath:
|“The sect originated after the flight from Jerusalem, when the disciples were living in Pella, having left the city according to Christ’s word and migrated to the mountains because of its imminent siege. Therefore in this manner it arose when those of whom we spoke were living in Perea. From there the heresy of the Nazarenes first began… The Nazarenes do not differ in any essential thing from them [i.e. Jews], since they practice the custom and doctrines prescribed by the Jewish Law, except that they believe in Christ. They believe in the resurrection of the dead and that the universe was created by God. They preach that God is one and that Jesus Christ is his Son. They are very learned in the Hebrew language. They read the Law…Therefore they differ both from the Jews and from the Christians; from the former because they believe in Christ; from the true Christians because they fulfill till now Jewish rites as the circumcision, the Sabbath and others.”15|
This piece of evidence is astounding and serves as a better example of primitive, Jerusalem Christianity than the Ebionites who apparently held some gnostic beliefs. According to Acts 24:5, the title of “Nazarenes” was first applied to the followers of Jesus. One source puts it this way: “just as Antioch coined the term Christians, so Jerusalem coined the term Nazarenes, from Jesus of Nazareth.”16 Edward Gibbon tells us the following:
“The Jewish converts, or, as they were afterward called, the Nazarenes, who had laid the foundations of the church, soon found themselves overwhelmed by the increasing multitudes, that from all the various religions of polytheism enlisted under the banner of Christ… The Nazarenes retired from the ruins of Jerusalem to the little town of Pella beyond the Jordan, where that ancient church languished above sixty years in solitude and obscurity.”17
Though they were classed as a “sect” and “heretics,” by their enemies, yet they have a peculiar claim to their cause; they were the direct descendants of the apostolic church of Jerusalem and additional to this, they were Sabbath-keepers!
Now, Epiphanius wrote about the Nazarenes in the middle of the fourth century, 350 A.D.18 Since he makes it clear that the Nazarenes existed from the flight to Pella (at about 66 A.D.) on towards his time, this means that these Christians have been Sabbath-keepers from between the second half of the first century all the way to the middle of the fourth century!
This leads to our fifth piece of evidence. Jesus told his followers to:
|“Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter; neither on the Sabbath day.” (Matthew 24:20)|
A comparison with this context and Luke 21:20-24 reveals that Jesus is speaking about the coming destruction by the Roman army. This prophecy is generally understood to have been fulfilled locally between 66 and 70 A.D. when Rome sacked and destroyed Jerusalem, and “not one stone was left upon another.” The implication here is that the Sabbath would still be observed by them as much as 40 years later!19 This piece of evidence, like that of Epiphanius, places Sabbath-keeping among Christians towards the end of the first century.
Fifth, the Jerusalem council that took place in 50 A.D20 provides evidence of Sabbath-keeping in the middle of the first century. After telling the council what he believes should be commanded of the gentile believers, James the brother of Christ makes the following remark:
|“For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:21)|
It quickly becomes obvious that the only way for James to know this is if he, a believer in Jesus, and those present, actually attended the synagogues on the Sabbath.21 Thus we have here evidence of early believers keeping the Sabbath in the middle of the first century.
Finally, the physician Luke testifies to Sabbath-keeping among believers at the moment right after the death of our Lord:
|And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56)|
Depending on which historical source you believe is stronger, this would have taken place either in the years 30 A.D or 33 A.D., just before the middle of the first century! What’s more, is that Luke wrote his gospel between 63 and 70 AD and still calls the Sabbath a “commandment” up to at least 30 years or more after the cross!
What we have gathered here is strong evidence of Sabbath observance among various bodies of Christians of that age, between the first half of the first century all the way to the middle of the fourth century, or between 30 A.D. to 350 A.D. Therefore, as one historical author put it,
“The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews… the Christians for a long time together did keep their conventions upon the Sabbath, in which some portions of the Law was read. And this continued till the time of the Laodicean council.”22
There is much more proof of this that can be found by doing the research. The evidence is actually overwhelming. If Sola will be honest, he will admit that at least in this respect he definitely stands corrected.
QUESTION #8: John 17:4 says: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Could Jesus make this statement if he still had to “teach” Sunday observance by rising on that day? Is he a liar? (Again, don’t go there.)
Sola’s Response: Well no he is not a liar… I would ask him (and this is an important question), what’s the work that Christ is referring to in this verse? What’s the work? Now it’s obviously his earthly ministry which culminates in his death, burial and resurrection. Not that he’s taking the apostles and creating a catechism or statement of faith, you know. Now what someone can say, because this kind of question can be used against him, Adventists, and I assume he believes in the Trinity, this question can be used against him in regards to the Trinity. Now I believe in the Trinity, I believe that it was taught in scripture, but, this argument can be used against him with the Trinity because if Christ did not teach right there at that point in that verse, going back into the first century, if he didnt right then teach exactly what the Trinitarian doctrine teaches, than can we call him a liar? Its that same type of argument that is really not a good argument at all because it can be used against him. Here’s a good one, Adventists believe in the Investigative Judgement. Now could I call Jesus a liar because he did not, by the time John 17:4 happened in real time, he had not yet taught the apostles the Investigative Judgement? … it’s an absurd argument to make.
Edwin’s Response to Sola: Technically, his earthly ministry included teaching. One of the things he taught the people was to obey God’s commandments (Matthew 19:17). With regards to the Sabbath, we learn that each of the seven miracles he performed taught the people the Sabbath’s original intent:
|1: Jesus heals Simon Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Mark 1:29-31)|
2: Jesus heals a man with a withered hand (Mark 3:1-6)
3: Jesus heals a man born blind (John 9:1-16)
4: Jesus heals a crippled woman (Luke 13:10-17)5: Jesus heals a man with Dropsy (Luke 14:1-6)
6: Jesus heals a man possessed of an evil spirit (Mark 1:21-28)
7: Jesus heals a lame man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-18)
Rather than abrogating the Sabbath, Jesus in this fashion demonstrated that the Sabbath was indeed “made for man.”23 Unlike the Pharisees who made the Sabbath a burden, Jesus taught that on it mankind was to receive blessings, not cursings.24 This is seen in the fourth commandment itself. Not only is it connected to creation, when there were no diseases (Exodus 20:11), and not only is it connected to redemption (Deut. 5:17), it literally requires everyone, even animals, to benefit from its requirement to “rest” (Exodus 20:10). But to be clearer, the following statement is proof positive that Jesus taught Sabbath-keeping:
“How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” (Matthew 12:12)25
Here we have Jesus teaching the people how to keep the Sabbath in the right manner. Therefore, the “works” that Jesus delivered unto his followers was everything within his ministry, which included proper Sabbath-keeping.
I would agree that the question is not particularly a good argument. I would however remind my opponent that there was nothing in Jesus’ ministry that affected in a negative way the institution of the Sabbath and man’s requirement to respect it and keep it holy.
This concludes my response to video 2. Response to Video 3 coming soon. I pray that this is a blessing for both Nachum and every reader. May God’s truth be vindicated.
If Nachum would like to debate these responses, I invite him to do so.
1. For a good explanation of what exactly a Suzerain covenant is, see: https://www.fivesolas.com/suzerain.htm
2. The following four texts makes it abundantly clear who the real Israelites are, “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Romans 9:6-8), “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:28-29), “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham… There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:7, 28-29). If Sola does not believe himself to be an Israelite spiritually then he can forget about inheriting the promise made to Abraham!
3. See: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7342&t=KJV
4. The definition I put was taken from Google. Vocabulary.com explains, “Finite means “something with an end,” and when you add the prefix, in- meaning “not,” you get infinite: something that never, ever ends.” Click here.
5. To give a secular example, we know that there are many ways to break a specific law of the land. How many ways can we break the U.S. copyright law? We can burn and sell an entire algorithm of a protected software program, or we can copy a few copyrighted elements of that program and insert it into another program, and sell it that way. Either way, the “copyright law” is violated, even if we violate it in different ways. We can break the ordinance of the red light in at least two ways; you can run the red light straight, or you can turn left on a red light. No matter which of the two, the law is broken. The “copyright” law and the “red light” laws are not limited to merely one way of breaking them. There’s more to it. Grant it, these are not perfect examples since God’s law is “limitless,” but they serve my point. We should not look at a law and assume it is limited to what we read on the surface. For more examples of the various ways the “copyright” law can be broken, visit: https://info.legalzoom.com/frequent-copyright-violations-20181.html
6. That the law extends to every facet of our being is noted even by Matthew Henry, one of history’s greatest commentators. Notice: “Of the fulness of the word of God, and its sufficiency for our satisfaction: But thy commandment is broad, exceedingly broad. The word of God reaches to all cases, to all times. The divine law lays a restraint upon the whole man, is designed to sanctify us wholly. There is a great deal required and forbidden in every commandment. The divine promise (for that also is commanded) extends itself to all our burdens, wants, and grievances, and has that in it which will make a portion and happiness for us when we have seen an end of all perfection.” (Matthew Henry, An Exposition, With Practical Observations, of The Book of Psalms.
7. See: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4202&t=NKJV
8: See: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2181&t=KJV
9. See: https://youtu.be/_C8wvaqq1l4
10. “Let our rabbis teach us: one who passes before the ark [i.e., serves as precentor for the ‘amidah] and errs by not mentioning the birkat haminim–from whence do we know that we make him repeat the prayer? That is what the rabbis taught: One who passes before the ark and errs in any or all of the blessings, we do not make him repeat the prayer. But if he errs in the birkat haminim, we make him repeat and recite it against his will. And why do we make him repeat it? We are concerned lest he is a min, for if he has some aspect of minut, he will curse himself and the congregation will answer ‘amen.’” (See: https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/1268?editor=1). The existence of this ancient curse is testified by numerous church fathers as well. In “The Holy Communion: Four Visitation Addresses, 1891” author John Wordsworth explains, “Elsewhere St. Jerome speaks of Christians being cursed three times a day in the synagogue under the name of Nazarenes in Isaiam, volumes 18, 19.” Click here.
11. “Since all the members of the community could be called upon in turn, in the absence of the official priests, to officiate in the public worship, the method was certain: the participant contaminated with heresy had necessarily to hesitate to pronounce, with this benediction, his own condemnation. The Talmud stated very clearly:” ‘Whenever someone made a mistake in any benediction of the Minim, he was to be called back to his place because supposedly he was a Min.’” Marcel Simon, quoted in From Sabbath to Sunday: A historical investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, page 158. See also: https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Prayers/Daily_Prayers/Shemoneh_Esrei/Birkat_HaMinim/birkat_haminim.html
12. See minute marks 2:30 to 4:01 in part 4 of The Seventh Day: https://youtu.be/_C8wvaqq1l4. Although the scholar in this video dates the insertion of this benediction to between 95-100, other scholars date the insertion to between 80 and 90 A.D. See: From Sabbath to Sunday: A historical investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, page 158, citation 73.
13. Eusebius Collection, “History of the Church” Book III. For direct link, click here.
14. From Sabbath to Sunday: A historical investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, page 154.
15. Epiphanius, Adversus haereses 29, 7, pages 41-42, 402, quoted in Bacchiochi, page 157. Bacchiochi also provides sources from other scholars who agree that the Nazarenes were direct descendants of the Jerusalem church which fled the siege, and that they were observers of the Sabbath.
16. Ehrhardt, Arnold, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 114. Click here.
17. Edward Gibbon, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, pages 337-338. To read this for yourself, click here.
18. This date is given by Samuele Bacchiocchi in his presentation of this subject To see this presentation see minute mark 39.6 at the following link: https://youtu.be/fFlj8-hHddQ. Orthodoxwiki gives a date of between 374 and 377. Visit: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Epiphanius_of_Cyprus#Writings.
19. A common argument against this is that Jesus gave this warning because the gates in Jerusalem would be closed on the sabbath, thus preventing them from escaping. The problem with this argument is that Jesus’ warning spanned beyond Jerusalem. It included those outside the city gates in Judea who had access to mountains (verse 16) and those “in the field” (verse 18), an obvious reference to non-city dwellers. Thus a warning against closed city gates would make no sense since many of those believers would not be within the city. The reason why he warned them to pray it doesn’t happen during Sabbath hours is because they would be gathered together in groups and synagogues observing it, making their flight more difficult to accomplish. For more on this, see my article: http://www.adventistdefenseleague.com/2014/12/the-sabbath-up-to-40-years-after-cross.html
20. The date of 50 A.D. for this council was provided by the Encyclopedia Britannica. See: https://www.britannica.com/event/Council-of-Jerusalem
21. One argument against this fact is saying that the Jerusalem council either abolished the Sabbath, affirmed its abrogation or made it unnecessary for Gentile believers. The problem is that the context does not mention any of these, especially in the decree given to the gentiles. Moreover, as Bacchiochi puts it, “the very provisions proposed by James and adopted by the council, indicate that the gentiles were not granted indiscriminate freedom from the law. Of the four precepts of the decree, in fact, one is moral (abstention from ‘unchastity’) and three are ceremonial (abstention ‘from pollution of idols and from what is strangled and from blood’ -v. 20). This undue concern for ritual defilement in food laws is reflective indeed of the great respect which still prevailed for the ceremonial laws. To avoid offending the prejudices of Jewish Christians, gentile converts were to abstain from eating anything offered to idols and even from accepting or participating in a gentile domestic feast where food with idolatrous associations might be served. They also were to follow the Jewish food laws by not eating the flesh of animals killed by strangulation. This excessive concern of James and the apostles (Acts 15:22) to respect Jewish scruples regarding food and association with the gentiles, hardly allows us to imagine that a weightier matter such as Sabbath observance had been unanimously abrogated.” (From Sabbath to Sunday: A historical investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity, pages 146-147). This provides evidence against a second argument that can be leveled against Acts 15:21 which is that James was simply explaining what took place in the synagogues without actually attending Sabbath services. But that can’t be harmonized with the fact that they were seriously concerned about keeping the Law, especially because James later explains that he and the brethren were “zealous of the law” (Acts 21:20). Coupled with the fact that James taught that all of the Decalogue must be kept to avoid the judgment (James 2:10-12) it’s clear that James was a Sabbath keeper himself.
22. The Whole Works of the Rt. Rev. Jeremy Taylor, Volume 3, page 265. To see the direct link to the portion of this book, click here.
23. Mark 2:27. Putting aside the implications of this verse (which I believe alludes to creation, when all things were “made”), one thing is abundantly clear, it was made “for” man, or, for man’s “benefit.”
24. This fits well with the law’s original intent, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.” (Deut. 11:26-28).
25. Much can be said about this text and its context, but time and space will not allow it. Suffice it to say that however one interprets the context, it cannot mean that Jesus is somehow degenerating the Sabbath since Jesus is teaching them how to keep the Sabbath the correct way.