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What is Forbidden in the Fourth Commandment?

Dear Neighbor,

The Westminster Puritans asked in the shorter catechism:
What is forbidden in the Fourth Commandment?

The answer that they gave: 
The Fourth Commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

The proof text given for this answer (Mal. 1:13, Ez. 23:38, Isa. 58:13) all speak of defilement of the sanctuary of the Lord and profaning the Sabbath Day. Using these Old Testament text alone, one would conclude, what the Westminster Puritans concluded about the Sabbath Day; however, what is ignored in the answer is of much importance.

The sanctuary of the Lord is not our church buildings. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. The sanctuary of the Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn. 2:19) 

The Old Covenant/Old Testament Sabbath Day is not the first day of the week (Sunday), it is the seventh day of the week (Saturday), yet Christians gather together to worship the Lord on the first day of the week and work/play on the seventh day, which is the day commanded by God in the Old Covenant.

My work, and the work of many continues on all seven days of the week, and it is for the Lord’s glory that we work. I work at the bedside of the sick as a Registered Nurse. On several occasions Jesus healed on the Sabbath (seventh day rest), yet God said of him, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” (Lk. 9:35) Jesus called those who scoffed at him for healing on the Sabbath “hypocrites.” (Lk. 9:15)

The apostle Paul wrote 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

So, what should we take from the commandment given to Israel to honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy? Is there anything for the Christian to observe in this commandment? 

Yes, there is! We shall repent of our sins against God, trust in Jesus Christ and follow him as Lord, observing all that Jesus commanded. Jesus said, John 14:15: 
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Michael Peek
Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake

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