The Book Of Exodus Chapters 19-33 PT 1
In Chapter 19 to 24, we read of many of the laws that God gave the Israelite's. The ten commandments are listed in 20:1-17.
There is only one commandment among them that has a promise attached to it (and this is also mentioned in Ephesians 6:1,3).
“Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.” This is the one commandment that we must teach all our children in our homes.
After giving the ten commandments. Moses says to them, “Fear not: for God is come to prove you” The people had already told Moses earlier that they would obey God in everything He commandments-thus proving that man can never keep God's laws, even if he wants to. That's why a new covenant was needed. The first covenant (the Law) was faulty (Hebrews 8:7-13).
Immediately after giving them the ten commandments, God gave the Israelite's a beautiful parable in Chapter 21 to teach them the spirit in which they were to keep His commandments. There he speaks of a Hebrew slave who is set free by his master because he has finished his six years of compulsory slavery. God's law had stated that in the seventh year all Hebrew slaves must be released. But if in the seventh year this slave comes to his master and says, “I love my master ... I will not go out free”- no longer as a slave in bondage, but now freely out of love," (21:5) he continues to serving his master forever thereafter.
It is interesting to note that this comes immediately after the giving of the ten commandments. It was to teach the Israelite's that
what God really wanted from them was not slavish, external obedience to the letter of the law, but joyful, loving obedience from the heart to the spirit of the law.
Jesus said, “if you love Me, keep my commandments”-implying that He didn't want just an obedience that was done out of necessity but out of love for Him under the new covenant. The old covenant spirit was summed up in the ten commandments: “Thou shalt, thou shalt not, thou shalt, thou shalt not...” The Israelite's had no choice. But Jesus came saying, “IF any man wants to follow me, let him....”
In 15:26, God said to the Israelite's, “If thou wilt hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and do what is right before him, and obey his commandments, and keep all his precepts, none of the evils that I laid upon Egypt, will I bring upon thee: for I am the Lord thy healer.” this was not, as some understand it, a promise of healing. It was a promise of something even better than healing-HEALTH. Don't you think health is better than healing? To get healing you have to be sick first! But the Lord told them that if they obeyed all His laws, they would not even get sick. They would be healthy! This was one reason why He gave them many laws on hygiene. If you are a glutton and you fall sick, you have to blame yourself. There is essentially no difference between a a drunkard who dies prematurely due to his addiction to alcohol and a glutton who dies prematurely due to his addiction to good food! God's laws can preserve us in health. You won't need to go and ask God for healing so much, if you begin by obeying His laws. He will keep you in health. You will grow old and be a healthy, old person, not a sick, old person full of sickness caused by tensions and overeating.
In 23:9, we read another law: “Thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for you know the hearts of strangers: for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt." We must be kind and merciful people, because god has been so kind and merciful to us.
In 31:16-17, we read about the law on the Sabbath. There are many arguments in the scientific community as to whether the six days in which the earth was remade were six 24 hour days or symbolic days representing millions of years. The answer is very clear here. The Lord MADE the earth in six days and He instituted the seventh day of the week as a day of rest.
That sabbath however has been fulfilled in Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). So we don't keep the physical sabbath any more now, because, as the Lord said very clearly here, it was a sign between Him and the Israelite's alone.
So what does the Church teach us concerning the Sabbath day? This is what the Catechism of the Council of Trent says:
“The third Commandment of the Law rightly and in due order prescribes the external worship which we owe to God; for it is, as it were, a consequence of the preceding Commandment. For if we sincerely and devoutly worship God, guided by the faith and hope we have in Him, we cannot but honour Him with external worship and thanksgiving. Now since we cannot easily discharge these duties while occupied in worldly affairs, a certain fixed time has been set aside so that it may be conveniently performed.
The observance of this Commandment is attended with wondrous fruit and advantage.
The importance of its observance may be inferred from the consideration that those who carefully comply with it are more easily induced to keep all the other Commandments. For among the other works which are necessary on holydays, the faithful are bound to assemble in the church to hear the Word of God. When they have thus learned the divine justifications, they will be disposed to observe, with their whole heart, the law of the Lord. Hence the sanctification and observance of the Sabbath is very often commanded in Scripture, as may be seen in Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and in the prophecies of Isaias, Jeremias," and Ezechiel, all of which contain this precept on the observance of the Sabbath.
Rulers and magistrates should be admonished and exhorted to lend the sanction and support of their authority to the pastors of the Church, particularly in upholding and extending the worship of God, and in commanding obedience to the injunctions of the priests.
The point of differences from other commandments are evident. The other Commandments are precepts of the natural law, obligatory at all times and unalterable. Hence, after the abrogation of the Law of Moses, all the Commandments contained in the two tables are observed by Christians, not indeed because their observance is commanded by Moses, but because they are in conformity with nature which dictates obedience to them.
This Commandment about the observance of the Sabbath, on the other hand, considered as to the time appointed for its fulfilment, is not fixed and unalterable, but susceptible to change, and belongs not to the moral, but the ceremonial law. Neither is it a principle of the natural law; we are not instructed by nature to give external worship to God on that day, rather than on any other. And in fact the Sabbath was kept holy only from the time of the liberation of the people of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh. The observance of the Sabbath was to be abrogated at the same time as the other Hebrew rites and ceremonies, that is, at the death of Christ. Having been, as it were, images which foreshadowed the light and the truth, these ceremonies were to disappear at the coming of that light and truth, which is Jesus Christ. Hence St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians, when reproving the observers of the Mosaic rites, says: You observe days and months and times and years; I am afraid of you lest perhaps I have laboured in vain amongst you. And he writes to the same effect to the Colossians.
This Commandment is like the others, not in so far as it is a precept of the ceremonial law, but only as it is a natural and moral precept. The worship of God and the practice of religion, which it comprises, have the natural law for their basis. Nature prompts us to give some time to the worship of God. This is demonstrated by the fact that we find among all nations public festivals consecrated to the solemnities of religion and divine worship.
As nature requires some time to be given to necessary functions of the body, to sleep, repose and the like, so she also requires that some time be devoted to the mind, to refresh itself by the contemplation of God. Hence, since some time should be devoted to the worship of the Deity and to the practice of religion, this (Commandment) doubtless forms part of the moral law.
The Apostles therefore resolved to consecrate the first day of the week to the divine worship, and called it the Lord's day. St. John in the Apocalypse makes mention of the Lord's day; and the Apostle commands collections to be made on the first day of the week, that is, according to the interpretation of St. Chrysostom, on the Lord's day. From all this we learn that even then the Lord's day was kept holy in the Church.
The Church of God has thought it well to transfer the celebration and observance of the Sabbath to Sunday.
For, as on that day light first shone on the world, so by the Resurrection of our Redeemer on the same day, by whom was thrown open to us the gate to eternal life, we were called out of darkness into light; and hence the Apostles would have it called the Lord's day.
We also learn from the Sacred Scriptures that the first day of the week was held sacred because on that day the work of creation commenced, and on that day the Holy Ghost was given to the Apostles."
And from an article from the Catholic Answer website we read:
"The following quotations show that the first Christians...gathered for worship on Sunday:
“But every Lord’s day . . . gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned” (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).
The Letter of Barnabas
“We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead” (Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74]).
Ignatius of Antioch
“[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e. Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death” (Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110]).
“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead” (First Apology 67 [A.D. 155]).
“The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the holy scriptures, and the oblation [sacrifice of the Mass], because on the first day of the week [i.e., Sunday] our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven” (Didascalia 2 [A.D. 225]).
“Hence it is not possible that the [day of] rest after the Sabbath should have come into existence from the seventh [day] of our God. On the contrary, it is our Savior who, after the pattern of his own rest, caused us to be made in the likeness of his death, and hence also of his resurrection” (Commentary on John 2:28 [A.D. 229]).
“The sixth day [Friday] is called parasceve, that is to say, the preparation of the kingdom. . . . On this day also, on account of the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, we make either a station to God or a fast. On the seventh day he rested from all his works, and blessed it, and sanctified it. On the former day we are accustomed to fast rigorously, that on the Lord’s day we may go forth to our bread with giving of thanks. And let the parasceve become a rigorous fast, lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews . . . which Sabbath he [Christ] in his body abolished” (The Creation of the World [A.D. 300]).
Eusebius of Caesarea
“They [the early saints of the Old Testament] did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we [Christians]. They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we. They did not avoid certain kinds of food, neither did they regard the other distinctions which Moses first delivered to their posterity to be observed as symbols; nor do Christians of the present day do such things” (Church History 1:4:8 [A.D. 312]).
“[T]he day of his [Christ’s] light . . . was the day of his resurrection from the dead, which they say, as being the one and only truly holy day and the Lord’s day, is better than any number of days as we ordinarily understand them, and better than the days set apart by the Mosaic law for feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths, which the apostle [Paul] teaches are the shadow of days and not days in reality” (Proof of the Gospel 4:16:186 [A.D. 319]).
“The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord’s day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord’s day as being the memorial of the new creation” (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
“Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans or into Judaism, for Jesus Christ has henceforth ransomed you. Stand aloof from all observance of Sabbaths and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean” (Catechetical Lectures 4:37 [A.D. 350]).
Council of Laodicea
“Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord’s day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians” (Canon 29 [A.D. 360]).
“[W]hen he [God] said, ‘You shall not kill’ . . . he did not add, ‘because murder is a wicked thing.’ The reason was that conscience had taught this beforehand, and he speaks thus, as to those who know and understand the point. Wherefore when he speaks to us of another commandment, not known to us by the dictate of conscience, he not only prohibits, but adds the reason. When, for instance, he gave commandment concerning the Sabbath— ‘On the seventh day you shall do no work’—he subjoined also the reason for this cessation. What was this? ‘Because on the seventh day God rested from all his works which he had begun to make’ [Ex. 20:10-11]. . . . For what purpose then, I ask, did he add a reason respecting the Sabbath, but did no such thing in regard to murder? Because this commandment was not one of the leading ones. It was not one of those which were accurately defined of our conscience, but a kind of partial and temporary one, and for this reason it was abolished afterward. But those which are necessary and uphold our life are the following: ‘You shall not kill. . . . You shall not commit adultery. . . . You shall not steal.’ On this account he adds no reason in this case, nor enters into any instruction on the matter, but is content with the bare prohibition” (Homilies on the Statutes 12:9 [A.D. 387]).
“You have put on Christ, you have become a member of the Lord and been enrolled in the heavenly city, and you still grovel in the law [of Moses]? How is it possible for you to obtain the kingdom? Listen to Paul’s words, that the observance of the law overthrows the gospel, and learn, if you will, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and shun this pitfall. Why do you keep the Sabbath and fast with the Jews?” (Homilies on Galatians 2:17 [A.D. 395]).
“The rite of circumcision was venerable in the Jews’ account, forasmuch as the law itself gave way thereto, and the Sabbath was less esteemed than circumcision. For that circumcision might be performed, the Sabbath was broken; but that the Sabbath might be kept, circumcision was never broken; and mark, I pray, the dispensation of God. This is found to be even more solemn than the Sabbath, as not being omitted at certain times. When then it is done away, much more is the Sabbath” (Homilies on Philippians 10 [A.D. 402]).
The Apostolic Constitutions
“And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent him to us, and condescended to let him suffer, and raised him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day . . . in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food” (Apostolic Constitutions 2:7:60 [A.D. 400]).
“Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these ten commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian” (The Spirit and the Letter 24 [A.D. 412]).
Pope Gregory I
“It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these [men] but preachers of Antichrist, who when he comes will cause the Sabbath day as well as the Lord’s day to be kept free from all work. For because he [the Antichrist] pretends to die and rise again, he wishes the Lord’s day to be held in reverence; and because he compels the people to Judaize that he may bring back the outward rite of the law, and subject the perfidy of the Jews to himself, he wishes the Sabbath to be observed. For this which is said by the prophet, ‘You shall bring in no burden through your gates on the Sabbath day’ [Jer. 17:24] could be held to as long as it was lawful for the law to be observed according to the letter. But after that the grace of almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, has appeared, the commandments of the law which were spoken figuratively cannot be kept according to the letter. For if anyone says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered. He must say too that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained. But let him hear the apostle Paul saying in opposition to him: ‘If you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing’ [Gal. 5:2]” (Letters 13:1 [A.D. 597])."
For more concerning the subject of the Sabbath check out these links:
The Third Commandment: Lesson 5
The Third Commandment: Lesson 6
The Third Commandment: Lesson 7
The Third Commandment: Lesson 8