Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Christ Our Rock

Adventists say that because the Ten Commandments are eternal, ALL Christians must worship on Saturday Sabbath. It is the only legitimate day of worship.

What they do not seem to realize is that no where in scripture is a rock or stone symbolizing eternity. Here’s the results of a search of the Bible for those two words. I think you will find it fascinating:

Genesis 49:24 NIV
But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.. 
Exodus 33:22 NIV
When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 
Deuteronomy 32:4 NIV
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. 
Deuteronomy 32:15 NIV
He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.
Deuteronomy 32:18 NIV
You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
           Deuteronomy 32:30 NIV
How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up? For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
1 Samuel 2:2 NIV
"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
2 Samuel 22:2 NIV (Psalms 18: 2)
He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer...my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. 
2 Samuel 22:32 NIV (Psalms 18:31)
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
2 Samuel 22:47 NIV (Psalms 18: 46, 19: 14)
"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
2 Samuel 23:3 NIV
The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
          Psalm 28:1 NIV
[Of David.] To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Psalm 31:2 NIV
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Psalm 42:9 NIV
I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
Psalm 62:2 NIV (also v. 6, 7)
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
         Psalm 71:3 NIV
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 78:35 NIV
They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. 
Psalm 89:26 NIV
He will call out to me, 'You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.' 
Psalm 92:15 NIV
proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him." 
Psalm 94:22 NIV
But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. 
Psalm 95:1 NIV
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 
Psalm 118:22 NIV
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 
Psalm 144:1 NIV
[Of David.] Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war....  
Isaiah 8:14 NIV
and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. 
Isaiah 17:10 NIV
You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress 
Isaiah 26:4 NIV
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. 
Isaiah 28:16 NIV
See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed 
Isaiah 30:29 NIV
...your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. 
Isaiah 44:8 NIV
Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." 
Daniel 2:34 NIV
While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.... But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 
Daniel 2:45 NIV
This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. 
Habakkuk 1:12 NIV
O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. 
Zechariah 3:9 NIV
See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. 
Matthew 21:42 NIV
Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: " 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes' ? He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." (Mark 12: 10, Luke 20: 17, 18) 
Acts 4:11 NIV
He is " 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ' 
Romans 9:32 NIV
Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 
1 Corinthians 10:4 NIV
and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 
1 Peter 2:4 NIV
[The Living Stone and a Chosen People] As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- vs. 6-8, “For in Scripture it says: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, and, A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for.

I think you can make a pretty good argument after reading all these texts that the Rock and Stone clearly represents Christ, not something eternal. God wrote the Ten Commandments not into eternity, but into Christ himself, the Rock, the Cornerstone. Jesus bore the curse of the law in His own flesh. He fulfilled the law by His perfect obedience.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Did Jesus and the Apostles Go to the Synagogues to Worship?

Already I am wearied by this post, as this topic demands a definition of worship. Unfortunately that is a huge subject that will drag this into a quagmire. So, rather than say what worship is, I will just comment that it isn't a group getting together to debate theology, something more is needed.

So, with that in mind, let's see if Jesus and His Apostles went to the Jewish synagogues on Sabbath for worship, or for a more informal place of teaching and debating.

But to note: I cannot find a single command in the Bible that God's people worship on Sabbath in a synagogue. In fact, God clearly placed His throne in Jerusalem on the mercy seat of the ark in the Holy of Holies and commanded no other place for Israel's holy assemblies. He commanded Jewish men to attend these mandatory holy assemblies only three times a year.

Jesus went to the synagogues on Sabbath to teach and to heal. It seems Israel was there to listen to Torah readings and to discuss what was read. But I find no biblical evidence that they were worshipping. Some texts:

Matthew 12:9

Matthew 13:54, "Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed..." (Mark 1:21; 6: 2, John 6: 59. )

Luke 4:16-29 NIV
He went to Nazareth [on Sabbath]... into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor" ... "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." ...All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.
They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.

Now if they had been in a worship service, would they have stopped to throw someone off a cliff? I would think they would hold Jesus until after the service. So, evidently this was a more informal gathering than a worship service.

Jesus also healed in the synagogue. (Mark 3:1, Luke 13:14)

The Apostles went to the synagogues in order to preach and persuade.
(Acts 13: 15, 42; 14:1, 17:1, 2; 17: 10, 17, 18:4, 7, 18: 19, 26)

Acts 19:8, Paul entered, "the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. "

From every instance I can find sola scriptura (or from the Bible alone) I cannot find anywhere that Jesus or His disciples worshipped in the Jewish synagogues on sabbath. They were there, it seems, to read Torah and discuss it. It was a center of learning.

It seems the Temple was Israel's official place of mandatory corporate worship. Anyone out there have biblical evidence I have not yet seen on this?