Friday, December 28, 2012

Can a God-appointed Leader Change the Sabbath?

Well, according to the second book of Chronicles, God allowed Hezekiah to do some relaxing of the regulations, even changing the day on which it was celebrated to fit the circumstances.

So, here's the story in chapter thirty: Passover had not been celebrated in Israel for a long time due to various reasons, including just plain idolatry and turning from God, but also because of the problems between northern and southern Israel. The northerners couldn't come down and join Judah because there was tension between the two states for some of the time. So the high sabbaths (as well as the weekly) just kinda fell away.

The godly King of Judah, Hezekiah, invited all Israel, even the norther Kingdoms who had been devastated by the Assyrians, to celebrate Passover. But, it wasn't really the correct day to celebrate Passover. Their weren't enough priests who were unclean and therefore couldn't do all the rites. So they chose to celebrate it in the second month.

"The plan seemed right both to the king and to the whole assembly." 
There indeed was a contingency plan for those Israelites who were unable to celebrate the Passover laid out in the Torah.

Numbers 9: 6-14 "When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they may still celebrate the LORD's Passover. They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. .... But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the LORD's offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin."
Hezekiah knew that not all the priests and people were unclean or traveling. But, he felt the attempt at keeping the Passover more important than the technicalities/legalities of it. So, by his own authority relaxed the Sabbath regulations and celebrated it. Here's more of the story:
A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover] in the second month. ... They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. ... Since many in the crowd had not consecrated themselves, the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all those who were not ceremonially clean and could not consecrate [their lambs] to the LORD. Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God--the LORD, the God of his fathers--even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary." And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

Remember the priests offering unholy fire and were publicly consumed? Why is God lax in some cases and so strict in others? (Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and was killed.) Here the king unilaterally disregarded a strict Torah law that punished anyone who intentionally celebrated the Passover on the wrong day by cutting them off from their people! Hezekiah just... changed the Sabbath because of his personal desires.

The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully. ... The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.

They decided to continue the festivities another whole week which probably included at least another sabbath! So evidently, when God's appointed authorities decide to observe a Sabbath or Holy day another day or in another way or extend it... The Lord doesn't really look at it as breaking the Sabbath. Sabbath keeping could be changed by the King.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Christians Worship on Sunday

Well, Patrick doesn't really give a true understanding of "Sabbath" for Christians, especially Catholics.. this is very superficial but it is at least interesting. Most Christians don't understand Adventists' worldview totally, so this is a good try....

I would be interested in where you think his argument is strong as well as weak and why.