Many Christians have questions about the laws of the Old Testament. Many people claim to keep the Ten Commandments, for example, but then ignore one of them — the seventh-day Sabbath. In effect, their "Ten" means only nine — and many can’t explain why. They may say, "Oh, the Sabbath was an Old Testament law" — but so were the other nine! Why one and not the others?
References to: Michael Morrison
Someone once asked Jesus, Out of all the laws in the Bible, which is the most important? (Matthew 22:36). Jesus quoted two laws from the Old Testament: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (verses 37-40).
Will Eva, editor of Ministry, a Seventh-day Adventist magazine, recently asked an important question in a two-part editorial titled “Why the seventh day?” (Ministry, July 1999, pp. 4-7, and September 1999, pp. 4-8). His discussion is interesting and worth responding to. Although you can find that article online, I think you can follow the discussion without having it in front of you.
The church in Corinth was beset by problems — divided into rich and poor, sophisticated and simple, the talented and the average. Some members claimed to have special knowledge that Paul did not have. They began to look down on his simple message about a man who was killed by the Romans. They wrote him a letter asking for more information on several topics, and Paul learned even more about the church in Corinth from people who had been there.
Does Hebrews 4:9 command Christians to keep the Sabbath?
The epistle to the Hebrews may have been written to Jewish believers who were still participating in the customs of Judaism. The epistle explains that the old covenant is obsolete and its regulations have been set aside. When the word sabbatismos is used in 4:9, it is not trying to affirm an old covenant law.
Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). Was he teaching us how to observe the Sabbath properly so we could follow his example (1 John 2:6)?
Jesus lived sinlessly under the old covenant requirements (Hebrews 4:15). He was born under the law, while the old covenant was still in force (Galatians 4:4). He observed old covenant customs such as participating in the sacrifice of Passover lambs, tithing to the Levites, telling cleansed people to make offerings as prescribed by Moses, and he observed cultural customs such as Hanukkah.
The Israelites were punished for breaking the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:17-18; Jeremiah 17:27). They were promised blessings for keeping the Sabbath (verses 21-26). Doesn't this show the importance of the Sabbath?
It shows the importance of the Sabbath in the old covenant system. As a sign, and as part of the tablets of the covenant, it showed covenant allegiance. The Israelites broke all aspects of the covenant, and they were punished with the curses that were attached to the covenant (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28).
In Romans 15, Paul completes his discussion of how Christians who are strong in the faith should help those whose faith is weak. He reminds his readers that God is calling the Gentiles to salvation, and that they are the focus of Paul’s ministry. Paul shares his plan to visit Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentiles to give to the Jewish believers.