What People Say.

Can you believe what people say?

Because certain bits of information are repeated over and over in the general community, people, over time, come to believe that what they are hearing is, indeed, actual truth.

However, the reality is that what people say can often be far from the truth.

As Christians, we need to "check out" any information we take on board, a lot more throughly than the average "man on the street". Jesus said that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and Rev 12:9 tells us that he has deceived the whole world.

Which is another way of saying that Satan will use anybody and everybody to pass on lies and a mixture of truth and lies.

Biblical examples.

A total examination of all the places where people spoke lies or passed on mis-information in the Bible, is beyond the scope of this article, but by all means follow it up for yourself. However, there are a couple of what I call "classics" that prove the point.

The man Jesus was the Messiah.

Today - Christians almost take for granted that the man Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah, but at the time there was anything but general acceptance.

We can get a glimpse of the arguments that were going on in:

Joh 7:41-42 NET.  Others said, "This is the Christ!" But still others said, "No, for the Christ doesn't come from Galilee, does he?  (42)  Don't the scriptures say that the Christ is a descendant of David  and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"

Back then, people did not want to look at the "evidence" of the miracles and healings, but rather where the person came from.  Notice the response of the religious authorities of the day, to Nicodemus who tried to speak up for Christ.

Joh 7:52 NET.  They replied, "You aren't from Galilee too, are you? Investigate carefully and you will see that no prophet comes from Galilee!"

Ooops.

In my original article, I took the above statement as being true, and went on to prove that they were lying (a number of prophets had come from Galilee). My mistake.

The original was written in Aramaic, and translating from that source, it looks like:

Joh 7:52 NET.  They replied, "You aren't from Galilee too, are you? Investigate carefully and you will see that the prophet does not come from Galilee!"

They were right, as shown in v41-42 - well - sort of half right. They had missed a vital bit of information - that Christ was indeed born in Bethlehem, but then moved to Galilee.

This caused them to tell the people something that was totally incorrect (that Jesus could not be the prophet prophesied by Moses).

Check it out.

Had the people asked Jesus where he was born, He would have said Bethlehem.

But they did not ask the obvious question. However, we should ask the obvious questions.


The Sabbath.

The second classic "people statement" that I want to look at, concerns the Sabbath.

People were saying  that certain things should not be done on the Sabbath.

Mar 2:23-24 NET.  Jesus was going through the grain fields on a Sabbath, and his disciples began to pick some heads of wheat as they made their way.  (24)  So the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is against the law on the Sabbath?"

Jesus lived without sinning.

1 John 3:5, John 8:46, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Pet 2:22 plus,

Heb 4:15 NET.  For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.

If Jesus did not sin, and he allowed His disciples to pick some grain for eating on the Sabbath, then He did not break the Sabbath law as the Pharisees were saying.

So - what people were saying, was completely wrong.

Healing.

And still on the Sabbath, the religious authorities of the day were saying that Jesus was not observing the Sabbath, because He healed people on the Sabbath.

Joh 9:16 NET.  Then some of the Pharisees began to say, "This man is not from God, because he does not observe the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such miraculous signs?" Thus there was a division among them.

The problem was, the way the Pharisees "thought" the Sabbath should be kept was not the way God intended the Sabbath to be kept. Jesus tried to point out to them that helping people - "doing good" - on the Sabbath was not violating the command to rest from our normal weekly labours.

Mat 12:12 NET.  How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

People would - and rightly so - pull sheep out of a ditch (Mat 12:11), and lead their cattle to water (Luke 13:15) on the Sabbath (in other words, looking after animals) but could not see the connection to their fellow man.

Past and present.

We have seen some examples from the past, where the people of the day had it terribly wrong, but what about the present?

I am very grateful for the NET Bible, and for the fact that the creators of that Bible allow me to quote from it in all my articles.

However, just making a Bible translation does not mean that the same group of people know how to read it to understand it. Which is a big pity.

If you go into the Net Bible site (bible.org) and look up their doctrines, under the heading of why they keep Sunday instead of the Saturday Sabbath, you can read the following.

A quote from bible.org.

"Further, there are no commandments or exhortations in the New Testament for us to keep the Sabbath. Rather, the early church gathered on the first day of the week in celebration and remembrance of the resurrection. This is evident throughout the book of Acts (cf. also 1 Cor. 16:2 and Acts 20:7). Acts 20:7 is the clearest verse in the New Testament which indicates that Sunday was the normal meeting day of the apostolic church. Paul stayed in Troas for seven days (v. 6) and the church met on the first day of the week."

I would imagine that many other Sunday keeping churches would say something similar.

But is what "people say" correct?

First up, it is wrong to equate "breaking bread" with the Sabbath. It just means "having a meal" - something done every day.

Act 2:46 NET.  Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,


Saturday vs Sunday.

It has been said, if you are going to tell a lie, there is more chance of people believing you if it is a big one.

Let us look at the first sentence, in the quote from bible.org.

"Further, there are no commandments or exhortations in the New Testament for us to keep the Sabbath."

This is a big lie.

First up, there is no doubt that Jesus kept the Jewish Friday sunset to Saturday sunset Sabbath. A Christian is a person who follows Christ. If Jesus kept the Sabbath, then so should all Christians.

How would it work in the Kingdom, if the Sabbath keepers kept the Sabbath with Christ and the Sunday keepers kept their own day without Christ? That is not unity. And it won't happen.

I believe that there are many "exhortations" in the New Testament to keep all ten of God's Commandments - and that includes the fourth (the keeping of the Sabbath).

Here is one from Jesus.

Mat 19:17 NET.  He said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

Here is one from the Apostle Paul.

1Co 7:19 NET.  Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God's commandments is what counts.

From the Apostle John.

1Jn 5:2-3 NET.  By this we know that we love the children of God: whenever we love God and obey his commandments.  (3)  For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down,

See also Luke 23:56, 1 John 2:3, 1 John 3:22, Rev 14:12.

There are both commands and exhortations in the New Testament to keep all of Gods Commandments, which of course includes the keeping of the Sabbath.

Bringing in the resurrection.

Let's look at the second sentence in the bible.org quote.
 
"Rather, the early church gathered on the first day of the week in celebration and remembrance of the resurrection."

Having rejected God's command to keep the Saturday Sabbath in the first sentence, they now try to "embellish" Sunday by bringing in the resurrection.

This brings up another "what the people say" error.

Very briefly, Jesus said the only sign He would leave was the sign of Jonah (Mat 12:39,40). The Old Testament account (Jonah 1:17) leaves no doubt that the "three days and three nights" was 72 hours (though some commentaries have tried to cast doubt on the Hebrew, to fit in with their false understanding of Christ's time in the tomb).

So, the sequence of events was:- Jesus was killed with a spear thrust to his side around 3:00pm on the Wednesday, and put into the tomb around 6:00pm the same day. Next day (Thursday) was a yearly Holy Day Sabbath - the Passover Feast - (Mark 15:42), on Friday they prepared spices (Mark 16:1), and then rested on the weekly Sabbath (Saturday). Then, around 6:00pm on the Saturday, 72 hours after going into the tomb, Christ was resurrected. On Sunday morning the women came to the empty tomb.

So - claiming that keeping Sunday as "remembrance of the resurrection" is also completely false because they are a day late. The resurrection occurred around sundown on the Saturday Sabbath, not on the Sunday morning. That is when the disciples found out that he was "not here" (Mat 28:6).

Comment:

I feel that the main reason why people have an incorrect understanding of the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ, come about because, having rejected Christ's instruction to live by the words spoken by God (Mat 4:4), they do not keep the Holy Days given by God in Lev 23, and do not understand that there were two different  "days of rest" between the death of Jesus and His resurrection. See the article on the Passover or Last Supper?

The two Scriptures.

Just to round out our examination of the bible.org statement, we need to look at the two Scriptures given.

First Scripture.

1Co 16:2 NET.  On the first day of the week, each of you should set aside some income and save it to the extent that God has blessed you, so that a collection will not have to be made when I come.

The word which has been translated "week" comes from the Greek #4521, and means "sabbath". This is proof that people were still using the Sabbath as a way of keeping track of time.

If the Sabbath was ( and is) the seventh day, then laying up money on the first day of the week, stops a commercial transaction from interfering with the spiritual purity of the Sabbath - but makes it easy to remember.

The only thing you can be sure of about in this verse is that Paul wanted the "collection" of funds to be done before he arrived. It certainly does not prove that the early Christians had "changed" God's command to keep the Saturday Sabbath. 

Second Scripture.

Act 20:7 NET.  On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul began to speak to the people, and because he intended to leave the next day, he extended his message until midnight.

The Sunday was the last chance Paul had to speak with them, so that day was used - along with a "pot luck" meal.

Again, the word translated "week" comes from the Greek word for Sabbath. This is the marker for how people counted out the week.

The expression to "break bread" just means to have a meal, or to eat, as we can see by what happened after mid-night.

Act 20:11 NET.  Then Paul went back upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he talked with them a long time, until dawn. Then he left.

This verse does not prove that Christians had "changed the day of rest and worship", it just explains that Paul had a lot to say before he left the area.

Nor does it prove that the Apostle Paul overruled two greater powers - God and Christ - and changed the day of worship all by himself (Acts 17:2 shows that he himself kept the Sabbath).

Again, it is absolutely vital - if we want the truth - to check out what "people say".

More to it.

The Sabbath is not like just any day of the week.

God created the universe, the world with its wildlife, and man in six days, and then He rested on the seventh day. Having started the pattern of six days of work followed by one day of rest, it was intended to stay.

When we understand the one yearly Sabbath (Lev 23:27,28), and how the weekly pattern is repeated on a yearly basis - six years of planting followed by one year of rest for the soil - we can see that the cycle is bound into God's method of keeping track of time. Seven cycles of seven years (49 years) is followed by the Jubilee year - also a year of rest for the soil (Lev 25:1-13).

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow . He does not change His mind as humans do (1 Sam 15:24, James 1:17). Before He started He had a master plan - His "logos" - and everything has been, and will be, done according to that plan.

A round about way of saying that God never intended the seventh day Sabbath to be changed to the first day, and if you do change it, you are usurping God's method for keeping track of time.

Check it out.

It would be nice if we could take what people say at face value, but in this world where people have rejected God's law, we can not.

Nor can we take it for granted that because someone has a high position within a group or organization, that they know what they are talking about. If they have "come up through the ranks", then they may just have "accepted" what they were told.

The Apostles knew that we have to be careful about what people say.

1Th 5:21 NET.  But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.

1Jn 4:1 NET.  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

We are to live by the words from God's mouth.

Deu 8:3 NET.  ...  He did this to teach you that humankind cannot live by bread alone, but also by everything that comes from the LORD's mouth.

Mat 4:4 NET.  But he answered, "It is written, 'Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "

To put God first (obeying the first commandment) we have to reject everything that men say that contradicts what God has said.

The bottom line - we can not believe all that "people say".



Bob Orchard Dec 2013

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