Does Colossians 2:16 render the Sabbath irrelevant?

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[UPDATE 12/27/2016 – This article was recently modified to reflect a more accurate and thorough exposition of Colossians 2:16-17]

A friend of mine forwarded me a daily devotional email from Compass International called “Good Morning Lord” (or GML). In the past, I was actually subscribed to the same GML devotional based upon a recommendation from the same friend, but after receiving a couple of questionable emails from them, I decided that I had read enough. It’s not that I simply unsubscribed; I actually sent an inquiry email trying to engage GML in what I thought would be a fruitful dialogue but alas I received no response. Anyway, my friend thought this email would peak my interest since he knows that in our circle, I am a Sabbath-keeping oddity. Boy was he right! My response (in red) to the GML for October 28th 2015 follows:

Good Morning Lord email for October 28, 2015

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Rest from your work one day a week, any day you choose.

ChristPlusZero.org:
The folks at Good Morning Lord (GML hereafter) have in the past had one or two heretical ideas about the bible and this GML “bible study” on Colossians 2:16 is no exception. Not only is the idea that we can keep the Sabbath any day we choose a heresy, virtually everything that GML has mentioned in this “bible study” about the Sabbath is in error. Where shall we begin? First of all, persons who wish to teach others about the bible should strongly consider taking a course in logic before proceeding. The logical blunders in this “bible study” are many. For instance, the GML Thought For The Day contains an unsustainable hermeneutic which falls under the logical fallacy known as Reductio ad Absurdum. Such an approach to understanding Scripture is irrational because it employs a form of reasoning which fails when applied to similar scenarios within the bible. For example, if Christians can rest (i.e. observe the Sabbath) “any day [we] choose” despite Scripture clearly and repeatedly telling us that the Sabbath is the 7th day (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 16:22-23, Exodus 20:11, Exodus 31:15, Exodus 35:3, Leviticus 23:3), then it follows necessarily that we can also claim Jesus rose from the dead on “any day [we] choose” despite the biblical assertion that Christ actually rose on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). In other words, the rationale behind GML’s Thought For The Day also allows us to redefine a core tenet of the Gospel. How many Christians are willing to live with the consequences of this rationale?
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Is Phil Vischer’s “What’s In The Bible? Volume 1” actually in the Bible?

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This is a review of the first installment of the 13-part series from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer which sets out to teach kids about the Bible. I purchased many of the “What’s In The Bible” (WITB) DVD’s based upon a recommendation from someone at our church and because someone from a men’s small group that I was involved with allowed me to preview two DVDs from the series. Having watched some of the Veggie Tales video’s and being generally pleased with their content, I decided that I would buy THE WITB series for the spiritual edification of my children. However, before doing so, I quickly found out that there were issues with some of the content that is included in the series’ first video. Although, I did eventually purchase 10 of the 13 videos in the series, I could not in good conscience purchase the first video after what I discovered. This post is only a review of content from the first video in the series: Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? Volume 1- In the Beginning

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“Though he were dead” – A Controversial Understanding of John 11:25-26

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Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life:
 a. he that believes in me, though he were dead [i.e. having died the 1st Death], yet shall he live [i.e. the 2nd Life]:
 b. And whosoever liveth [i.e. is still living the 1st Life] and believes in me shall never die [i.e. the 2nd Death].
 Believest thou this?

John 11:25-26 KJV

John 11:25-26 – The Problem of a Superfluous Verse

Like many other verses in the bible, John 11:25-26 uses certain words in multiple senses. This means that the reader needs to be extra careful when trying to understand such verses in order to avoid ending up with the wrong interpretation. What I am about to say will no doubt shock many readers, but after much study, I strongly believe that John 11: 25-26 is referring to the idea that it is possible for (at least some of) the dead to believe the gospel in that state. I hope to demonstrate this discovery by carefully revealing what I believe to be the true meaning of key terms in this passage. Specifically, I believe that the term “dead” (in v.25) does not mean the same as “die” (in v.26) nor does “live” (in v.25) mean the same as “liveth” (in v.26). In other words, the verbs die and live are words to which these two verses have ascribed multiple meanings. Of course, John 11:25-26 does not employ different meanings for the same word in order to engage in equivocation (i.e. the accidental or deliberate use of a key term in an ambiguous way) but for the sake of achieving contrast through the use of an antithetical parallelism. According to Biblical scholar E.W. Bullinger’s Figures Of Speech Used in the Bible, the antithetical parallelism is a literary device used to demonstrate an antithesis, or contrast between certain words in each part of a symmetry. Verses which comprise an antithetical parallelism will therefore join opposing ideas in a noticeable contrast. Instead of repeating the same thing twice (as is done in a synonymous parallelism), an antithetical parallelism will say one thing in the first line and then a contrasting thing in the next. Yet, most explanations of John 11:25-26 which I have encountered completely miss Christ’s glaring attempt at creating a contrast. Instead, these commentaries end up ascribing a meaning to John 11:25 which is effectively the same as that of John 11:26. For instance, respected Bible commentators Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke both suggest that John 11:25 refers to the granting of eternal life to those who happen to die in a state of belief, while John 11:26 refers to the granting of eternal life to believers who are currently alive (but will also eventually die in a state of belief) [3]. But if this is the case, then why would Jesus say what is effectively the same thing, twice? What is the difference? No, there has to be something else going on in this passage. It is for these reasons that I have concluded that John 11:25-26 requires greater scrutiny.

Because the usual meaning of the verbs “die” and “live” seem inadequate to account for the contrast required between verses 25 and 26, we need to consult the Scriptures for more guidance. It’s as if the word “dead” (in verse 25) and “die” (in verse 26) require two different types of death, and the words “live” (in verse 25) and “liveth” (in verse 26) require two different notions of what it means to live.

Interestingly enough, the bible does tell us that there are actually two types of life and death that a person can experience. Let us first examine the two deaths. Continue reading

What does it really mean to be “dead in trespasses and sins”?

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Colossians 2:12-20
(12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
(13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him [Christ], having forgiven you all trespasses
(20) …therefore…ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world…

Ephesians 2:1-6
(1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins
(5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Romans 6:3-4 
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:5
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

The goal of this essay is to determine what it means to be “dead in trespasses and sins.” I am concerned that the popular spiritual death explanation ascribed to this phrase by many Christian leaders is misleading. From Romans 6:5 emerges a rule which tethers the words death and resurrection to each other in such a way that both words must be taken in the same sense—they are both either literal or figurative. No mixing of a figurative death (e.g. spiritual death) and a literal resurrection is therefore permitted. This point is important because in the passages of Ephesians 2:1-6 and Colossians 2:13-20, both the Romans 6:5 rule and the force of logic compel us to conclude that the Author is using the terms dead and quickened symmetrically.

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A Defense of the Sabbath’s Perpetuity

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The Perpetuity of the Sabbath

In the section entitled: “The Perpetuity of the Sabbath” of his book The Sabbath, Dr. Fruchtenbaum tries to undermine the meaning of several words in the bible that are commonly used to describe time-unending so that he can make a case for the cessation of the Sabbath ordinance. Since the bible uses words like forever, everlasting and perpetual in conjunction with the Sabbath ordinance (Exodus 31:16, Exodus 31:13, Exodus 31:17, Leviticus 24:8, 2 Chronicles 2:4), and since these words are all translated from the Hebrew word olam, Dr. Fruchtenbaum has therefore chosen to undermine the primary meaning of the word olam in order to argue that olam does not support the English meaning of the word forever. Continue reading

Christians worship on Sunday because of the Sunday Resurrection and the deliberate Sunday appearances of the resurrected Christ. Really?

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Unless otherwise noted, all verses below are taken from the King James Version of the bible.

Table of Contents

  1. The Introduction
  2. Christianity is a Jewish faith
  3. God told the Jews when to worship
  4. God wants Gentile believers to keep the biblical Sabbath
  5. The Scriptures say that New Covenant Sabbath-keepers will receive a better name, a better heritage and much more!
  6. Early Christians assembled on the Sabbath Day
  7. If the Sabbath has truly been abolished then why should the Church still assemble?
  8. The Sabbath law was done away with in the New Covenant but it will soon be mandatory in the New Covenant. Wait, what?
  9. The Sabbath law is a necessary inference of Genesis 2:2-3
  10. The seven-day week betrays the ongoing relevance of the Sabbath
  11. Are there certain commandments in the Mosaic Law which are no longer applicable? If so, what does this mean?
  12. The Law has been “abolished” yet it “remains in effect.” Are you confused? So am I!
  13. According to Hebrews 4:9, there remains an “observance of the Sabbath”
  14. Are those who disregard the Sabbath being disloyal to God?
  15. Exploring the origins of Sunday worship
  16. Hijacking the “Lord’s Day”
  17. Extra-biblical Evidence of Sabbath-keeping Throughout Church History
  18. Constantine, Antisemitism and the persecution of Sabbath-Keepers
  19. Ecclesiastical forgeries and the Roman State Church’s involvement in Sunday Worship
  20. Keeping the Sabbath obligates one to keep the whole law? Really?

The Introduction

This may come as a shock to some, but in all of the Bible, there is no verse which commands Christians to come together for corporate worship on a Sunday. Neither is there a verse which records Christians coming together for routine worship on a Sunday.

There is the oft-cited Acts 20:7 which mentions a Sunday evening Christian gathering (which would actually be Monday in Jewish reckoning) where the apostle Paul preached until midnight, but the purpose of this meeting was for fellowship and dinner, hence the term “breaking bread” which is used therein. Sometimes “breaking bread” can also refer to partaking in Holy Communion a.k.a. the Lord’s Supper (e.g. Matthew 26:26, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17). Nevertheless, this biblical phrase, on several occasions including this one (see Acts 20:11), only referred to eating a meal (e.g. Lamentations 4:4; Luke 24:30,35; Acts 2:46; Acts 20:11, Acts 27:33-35 etc.). Another verse often cited is 1 Corinthians 16:2 but this verse pertains to private preparation, doesn’t even mention a Christian gathering, and is therefore wholly irrelevant to the matter of corporate worship. Continue reading

It is witnessed that Melchizedek lives forever.

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In the series “10 reasons why Melchizedek was actually the pre-incarnate Word of God” the following article is reason # 10.

It is witnessed that Melchizedek lives forever.

According to Hebrews 7:8:

And here [on earth] men that die receive tithes; but there [in heaven] he [Melchizedek] receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

In Hebrews 7:8, the counter-phrase “he liveth” must mean that Melchizedek has and will live forever because it is the direct contrast to the initial phrase “men that die.” But where in the bible exists a witness that Melchizedek cannot die? The answer is found in Psalms 110:4 which the writer of Hebrews quotes no less than 5 times (Hebrews 5:6; 5:10; 6:20; 7:11; 7:17; 7:21). In Psalms 110:4, God declares that Christ—and not Melchizedek—is a high priest for ever. Notwithstanding, the good and necessary consequence of Psalms 110:4 is that Melchizedek must also be a high priest forever since Christ’s designation as a perpetual high priest is predicated upon a trait of Melchizedek’s order (Hebrews 7:17). To illustrate this point further, If God, speaking of Caiaphas were to say “you’re going to be a high priest until the day you die, after the order of Levi” this would tell us that in the Levitical priesthood, high priest are “not [allowed] to continue by reason of death.” (Hebrews 7:23). This is understood because the trait of a temporary high-priesthood which God attributes to Caiaphas is derived from the order of Levi. Likewise, when God in Psalms 110:4 declares that Christ is a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, this tells us that in the Melchizedek priesthood, high priests hold their position perpetually. But again, we can’t have both Christ and Melchizedek being perpetual high priests at the same time so this discovery can only mean that Christ and Melchizedek are the same person. If this conclusion sounds similar to another one that we have encountered in the past, it’s because the proposition that “Melchizedek lives forever” is a necessary implication of him “abiding a priest continually” which we discussed in Reason 6.

Regarding Hebrews 7:8, Dr. Henry Morris states:

This “witness” was in Psalms 110:4, where the coming Messiah was recognized by God as “a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.” There could be only one such high priest forever! The King of Righteousness (meaning of “Melchizedec”) who blessed Abraham is also our eternal High Priest, the “one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5).