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 THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL
  


                                THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL

False teachers use many sophistries to distort the scriptures regarding man's duty  to obey the Sabbath Commandment.

In their zeal to eliminate The Sabbath Commandment as a duty for Christians, they will often appeal to the controversy of the early church over Judaizers requiring Gentiles to be circumcised and commanding them to keep The Law of Moses. (The Yoke Of Bondage).

... And they will quote The Jerusalem Council's decree and say that since the council did not mention the Sabbath,  the Sabbath Commandment was abolished.

True to form, they will inevitably quote these verses:

"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."  Acts:15:28-29 (KJV)

Verses like that cannot cancel a holy Commandment of God.  The Psalmist said:  "ALL thy commandments are truth.".  Anyone who adds to the truth --or takes away from the truth is a false witness.

On the contrary, two apostles give us proof that the Jerusalem decree did not eliminate The Sabbath Commandment.  Let's listen to these unimpeachable witnesses who attended the meeting at Jerusalem:

PAUL
"Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but {what matters is} THE KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD."  Cor 7:19 (NAS)

JAMES
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.  For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.  So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."   James 2:10-12 (KJV)

The One who said:  "Do not kill", also said, "Remember The Sabbath Day to keep it holy."

When we consider the cultural differences of the Gentiles and Jews, it is easy to understand how The Jerusalem Council's edict brought joy and comfort to the brethren as it provided a basis for harmony.  Let us look again at Acts:15:28-29 and see its true purpose:

"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from MEATS OFFERED TO IDOLS, and from BLOOD, and FROM THINGS STRANGLED, and FROM FORNICATION: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."  Acts:15:28-29 (KJV)

The Gentiles of the early church had been idolaters before they became believers in Jesus Christ.  They had worshipped other gods and had known the depths of Satan.  Part of their WORSHIP was human sacrifice, committing fornication with temple prostitutes, cruelty to animals when they sacrificed them to idols and licentious feasts where they ate the meat and blood of their victims.  

The decision of the council was a moral discipline, or instruction, that served to show Gentiles things that were deeply offensive to the Jews (and God).  It also protected them from drifting back into their old way of idolatry.  The apostles and elder's decision upheld the Ten Commandments, just like Paul said:

"Do we then overthrow the law by this faith?  By no means! On the contrary, WE UPHOLD THE LAW." Romans 3:31 RSV

However, some people who oppose Sabbath observance for Christians (especially gentile Christians) will still say something like this:

"The apostles and elders in Jerusalem mentioned not with a word that they must hold the Sabbath."

I would say to them,  please consider this:  The issue before the council was:  Should Gentiles be circumcised and keep "The Yoke Of Bondage"? After nearly two millenniums,  we are still hearing about the dissension  that certain men  from Judaea caused when they went to Antioch and taught the brethren, and said:  "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."  Acts 15:1

The Sabbath wasn't discussed --because it wasn't a problem. The Gentiles were already observing the Sabbath.   The silence of the apostles and elders about any controversy over the Sabbath Commandment is shouting evidence that no problem existed.

Harold and Donna Kupp

"And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next SABBATH.  Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.  And the next SABBATH DAY came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." Acts 13:42-44 (KJV)


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