The Sabbath in the Book of Acts

The Sabbath in the Book of Acts and other New Testament References

The New Testament does not give a single example of Christians conducting their religious services on the Sabbath.

However the Book of Acts gives several examples of Jews gathering into their synagogues on the Sabbath to read the Torah, and Paul raising havoc every where he went by preaching the Gospel to Jews, right in the middle of their own synagogues.

Let’s begin by introducing the main verses for this study, then we will look at them one by one. We will highlight the portions of each verse in the way that Sabbatarians emphasize them.

Acts 13:42, 44

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. . . . . And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

Acts 16:13

And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

Acts 17:2

And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Acts 18:4

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Matthew 24:20

But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Luke 23:56

“And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment“.

“…We deny that we’re in denial. We only see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe, and it works. We lie to ourselves so much that after a while the lies start to seem like the truth. We deny so much that we can’t recognize the truth right in front of our faces.”                      Dr. Meridith Grey – Grey’s Anatomy.

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Acts 13

Sabbatarians who read all of the above verses often imagine a church service, where Christians assemble to sing hymns, and the offering plate is passed around and a lovely sermon about the Lord Jesus Christ is preached, by a Christian minister. However, none of these examples were Christian gatherings. Rather they were functions held by the Jews in their places of worship. The synagogue services that took place were in accordance with the Torah. Those who gathered to the synagogues in each of the stories were not gathered to glorify Jesus Christ, neither were they worshiping within the parameters outlined for Christians. There were no pastors, elders, deacons etc. The worshipers in the synagogue never partook of the  Lord’s supper or baptism. In fact the worshipers were not Christians at all. Rather their religion was Judaism! In each of these instances, Paul disrupts the normal ceremonies practiced by the Jews on the Sabbath and introduces the gospel of Jesus Christ to them for the first time.

A favorite example of Seventh-day Adventist found in the book of Acts is located in chapter 13. So we will begin here. Seventh-day Adventists jump directly to verses 42 through 44 and by doing so fail to see the context of the events.

Acts 13:15-17

And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.

Paul continues to tell the story of the Old Testament from the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness to the first king of Israel, and then on to King David.

Acts 13:23

Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

The next Paul speaks about the ministry and John the Baptist, and then continues…

Acts 13:26-27

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

If anything Paul had just insulted the leaders of the synagogue, who had just moments before finished reading from the law and the prophets. This religious gathering was anything but a Christian worship service. Rather it was a gathering of Jews, and religious proselytes from among the Gentiles who gathered for the customary reading from the Torah on the Sabbath, who would experience something quite unexpectedly, a very bold sermon by the apostle Paul.

Acts 13:39

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

God Gave vs. Moses Gave

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Acts 13:43

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.

On this particular Sabbath, Paul preached the same Gospel which he wrote to the Romans and the Galatians. Salvation, by grace alone. The religious proselytes i.e. the Gentiles felt less loyalty towards the Law of Moses since their national identity was not attached to it, therefore they were better prepared to receive the Gospel which Paul preached faithfully and without apology.

Acts 13:42

And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

We must reiterate two facts which the scripture plainly teaches us when we compare this verse to the next.

  • These Gentiles were not non-religious bystanders, rather they were religious proselytes to Judaism who customarily listened to the reading of the Torah in the synagogues every Sabbath.
  • Not all the Jews had left.

Look at it carefully…

Acts 13:42-43

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.

The complex religious practices within Judaism cannot be unlearned within one sermon. For that reason they needed to hear more, much more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Acts 13:44

And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. However these efforts would not go on with out opposition by the religious leaders to whom this synagogue belonged.

Act 13:49-50

And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Essentially, Paul hijacked the worship services within the Jewish synagogue in this narrative, and the gospel spread quickly, before Paul and Barnabas were forced to leave. This was not a Christian gathering, rather it was a congregation of Jews and religious proselytes assembled to read the Torah, before the burnt offerings of two lambs were sacrificed, on the festal Sabbath day.

Numbers 28:9-10

And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of EVERY sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

No Biblical Sabbath-keeping Exists Today, Not Even Amongst the Jews

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Seventh-day Adventists believe this section of scripture is their greatest support in the New Testament. As we have seen, the only thing these verses prove is that the Jews and their religious proselytes continued to read the Torah on the Sabbath in their synagogues after Jesus died (which really is not surprising since they still do this today), and that Paul “had the nerve” to interrupt their services to preach the Gospel; that they “could not be justified by the law of Moses.” i.e. the Torah which they had just finished reading! The idea, that Paul was there to honor the services held that Sabbath really could not be any further from the truth of what actually transpired. This was not a gathering of Christians assembled to worship Jesus, rather it was a religious function sponsored by Jews, who had never heard the Gospel before. A great number of whom rejected Christ and forced Paul to leave their region.

The New Testament does not give a single example of Christians conducting their religious services on the Sabbath.

Acts 16:12-13

And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

Bible Commentaries explain the Greek in this verse, and the customs of the smaller Jewish colonies who dwelt in foreign lands during the first century, so well, therefore it behooves us to examine them. Notice how all the Bible Commentaries are completely in agreement.

John Gill’s Bible Commentary

“Without the gate; and the Syriac version, “without the gates of the city”; all to the same sense: it looks as if there was no synagogue of the Jews in this place, or otherwise the apostle and his companions would have gone into that, according to their custom; and this the rather seems to be the case, since it is so particularly remarked, that at Thessalonica, the next place they stayed at there was one, Acts 17:1 and the reason might be, because that Philippi being a Roman colony, the Jews were not suffered to have one in it; wherefore Paul and his company, whether on the Jewish sabbath, or on any other day of the week, took a walk out of the city; either for the sake of a walk, or rather to converse together, and consider what was to be done, or to look out for an opportunity to preach the Gospel; and they came to a place,”

“Where prayer was wont to be made; or as the words may be rendered, “where was thought to be a place of prayer”; a “proseucha”, an oratory, or a place built and made use of for prayer; that is, as they walked along, they saw a place, which in their opinion looked like a religious house, or a place for prayer, and so made up to it, where they found some persons assembled together on that account: this sense is confirmed by several versions.. . . .the Arabic version, “we went out to a certain place, which was thought to be a place of prayer“; to which may be added the Ethiopic version, “and we thought there was prayer there”; and that the Jews had their oratories, or prayer houses, is certain.”

Albert Barnes Bible Commentary

Where prayer – Where there was a place of prayer, or where prayer was commonly offered. The Greek will bear either, but the sense is the same. Places for prayer were erected by the Jews in the vicinity of cities and towns, and particularly where there were not Jewish families enough, or where they were forbidden by the magistrate to erect a synagogue. These proseuchoe, or places of prayer, were simple enclosures made of stones, in a grove or under a tree, where there would be a retired and convenient place for worship.

Was wont – Was accustomed to be offered, or where it was established by custom

And spake unto the women … – This was probably before the regular service of the place commenced.

Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary

By a river side, where prayer was wont to be made – Οὑ ενομιζετο προσευχη ειναι, where it was said there was a proseucha. The proseucha was a place of prayer, or a place used for worship, where there was no synagogue. It was a large building uncovered, with seats, as in an amphitheatre. Buildings of this sort the Jews had by the sea side, and by the sides of rivers. See this subject considered at large in the note on Luke 6:12 (note). It appears that the apostles had heard from some of the Gentiles, or from some of the Jews themselves, that there was a place of prayer by the river side; and they went out in quest of it, knowing that, as it was the Sabbath, they should find some Jews there.

Spake unto the womenProbably this was before the time of their public worship, and while they were waiting for the assembling of the people in general; and Paul improved the opportunity to speak concerning Christ and salvation to the women that resorted thither.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Bible Commentary

where prayer was wont to be made — or a prayer-meeting held. It is plain there was no synagogue at Philippi (contrast Acts 17:1), the number of the Jews being small. The meeting appears to have consisted wholly of women, and these not all Jewish. The neighborhood of streams was preferred, on account of the ceremonial washings used on such occasions.
we sat down and spake unto the women, etc. — a humble congregation, and simple manner of preaching. But here and thus were gathered the first-fruits of Europe unto Christ, and they were of the female sex, of whose accession and services honorable mention will again and again be made.

These women gathered to the proseucha or “place for worship and prayer” to worship the God of Abraham. They were not Christians. The women had their first contact with Christians that morning by the river. Paul understood that people who have had previous exposure and faith in the Law and the Prophets were ideal candidates for the Gospel. It was Paul’s custom to reason from the scriptures, and demonstrate how Christ fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Jews, and their proselytes already believed in the inspiration of Scripture. Paul thoroughly enjoyed meeting people who put his teachings to the test.

Acts 17:11

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

This brings us to our next two examples of the Sabbath in the book of Acts, which further proves, that…

The New Testament does not give a single example of Christians conducting their religious services on the Sabbath.

Acts 17:1-2

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Acts 18:4

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

“Ultimately, we only see what we want to see when we’re ready to see it.” Ted Mosby – The Naked Truth

Once again, these examples are not Christian gatherings, rather they are taking place in “a synagogue of the Jews.” The purpose of Paul’s visit was to reason with the Jews out of the scriptures concerning Jesus Christ.

persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” Acts 13:43

“…reasoned with them out of the scriptures,” Acts 17:1-2

“And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews.” Acts 18:4

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Adventists sweep aside Paul’s one and only purpose for visiting the synagogue, and bring the Sabbath to center stage because it servers their purposes. Adventists quote Acts 17:2, apart from its preceding verse in all their seminars because verse 1 reveals that this was a synagogue filled with Jews and their proselytes who were not keeping the Sabbath in the way that Seventh-day Adventists do, but where rather conducting their ceremonies according to the Torah.

The New Testament does not give a single example of Christians conducting their religious services on the Sabbath.

However the Book of Acts gives several examples of Jews gathering into their synagogues on the Sabbath to read the Torah, and Paul raising havoc every where he went by preaching the Gospel to Jews, right in the middle of their own synagogues and places of worship. In fact Paul had gained quite a reputation for doing this “as his manner was.”

Acts 21:28

Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

Seventh-day Adventists admonish us to follow the example of Paul. If I were to literally do that, it would be the same as if I visited the Adventist church to demonstrate to them from the scriptures how the Ten Commandments were the Old Covenant, and that it was replaced by the Law of Christ. Hey come to think of that, I think that would be interesting! I imagine if I went from city to city and went into the various Adventist churches on the Sabbath just as Paul did, to reason with them from the scriptures, that I would receive the same kind of mixed reaction, with perhaps the exception of being literally stoned.

In any case, Seventh-day Adventists admonish us to follow the example of Paul. But only practice this where it fits their purposes. Following Paul’s example in a strict sense would place us back under laws, which the Adventists themselves recognize were abolished at the Cross. Not only did Paul meet in the synagogue on Sabbath, while in Jerusalem he also performed the ceremonial law of purification which involved animal sacrifices!

The destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 A. D. was a blessing to the local Church, because it forced them to flee, and allowed them to live free from the pressures of the Jewish culture. The Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem prior to its destruction in 70 A. D. had the greatest difficulty breaking free from the Old Covenant requirements, “THOU SEEST, BROTHER, HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF JEWS THERE ARE WHICH BELIEVE; AND THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS OF THE LAW:”

Acts 21:18-26

18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.
20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, THOU SEEST, BROTHER, HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF JEWS THERE ARE WHICH BELIEVE; AND THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS OF THE LAW:
21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
23 DO THEREFORE THIS THAT WE SAY TO THEE: WE HAVE FOUR MEN WHICH HAVE A VOW ON THEM;
24 THEM TAKE, AND PURIFY THYSELF WITH THEM, AND BE AT CHARGES WITH THEM, THAT THEY MAY SHAVE THEIR HEADS: AND ALL MAY KNOW THAT THOSE THINGS, WHEREOF THEY WERE INFORMED CONCERNING THEE, ARE NOTHING; BUT THAT THOU THYSELF ALSO WALKEST ORDERLY, AND KEEPEST THE LAW.
25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
26 THEN PAUL TOOK THE MEN, AND THE NEXT DAY PURIFYING HIMSELF WITH THEM ENTERED INTO THE TEMPLE, TO SIGNIFY THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE DAYS OF PURIFICATION, UNTIL THAT AN OFFERING SHOULD BE OFFERED FOR EVERY ONE OF THEM.

PAUL EXPLAINS HIS ACTIONS

 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And UNTO THE JEWS I BECAME AS A JEW, THAT I MIGHT GAIN THE JEWS; TO THEM THAT ARE UNDER THE LAW, AS UNDER THE LAW, THAT I MIGHT GAIN THEM THAT ARE UNDER THE LAW;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Paul was a tent maker by trade. He worked during the week to provide for himself so that no one could accuse him of being in ministry only to get others money! Meeting in the synagogue on the Sabbath was the best time to meet with large numbers of people and share the gospel with people who already believed the scriptures were from God. It only made good sense!

John Gill’s Bible Commentary

Hebrews 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,…. Or the episynagogue of one another; which word is used to distinguish Christian assemblies from Jewish synagogues, and to denote the coalition of Jews and Gentiles in one church state, and to express the saints’ gathering together to Christ; see 2Th_2:1 and their act of meeting together in some one place to attend his worship, word, and ordinances.

 Matthew 24:20

But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

“Matthew 24:20. “Neither on the Sabbath-day.”
Long JOURNEYS WERE PROHIBITED by the law on the Sabbath, Exodus 16:29. . . . It should be added that it was almost impracticable to travel in Judea on that day, as THE GATES OF THE CITIES WERE USUALLY CLOSED, Nehemiah 13:19-22.” Barnes Commentary

“Matthew 24:20. “Neither on the Sabbath-day.”
“That you may not raise the indignation of the Jews by travelling on that day, and so suffer that death out of the city which you had endeavored to escape from within. Besides, on the Sabbath-days the Jews not only kept within doors, but THE GATES OF ALL THE CITIES AND TOWNS IN EVERY PLACE WERE KEPT SHUT AND BARRED; so that their flight should be on a Sabbath, they could not expect admission into any place of security in the land.” Clarke’s Commentary.

“Matthew 24:20. “Neither on the Sabbath-day.”
“Because then the gates of the city were closed, preventing departure.” ‘The Peoples New Testament’ Bible Commentary.

Note: Gates – See my comments on Deuteronomy 5:14,15.

 

Another Sabbatarian proof text:

Luke 23:56

“And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment“.

 

This is actually not that favorable of an Sabbatarian argument if you think it through:

  1. The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women could not remain at the tomb after sunset to grieve!
  2. The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women could not return to the tomb at any time on Saturday to pay their respects!
  3. The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women had to rush to their homes before the sun set!
  4. The Sabbath commandment was so restrictive that these women could not properly care for the body of Christ until early Sunday morning! They could  not even return Saturday night, so that they could “guard the edges of the Sabbath”

Exodus 16:29

See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

Luke 23:54-56

And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

the very next verse….

Luke 24:1

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

  1. Early Sunday morning was the soonest they could return to care for Christ, all do to the heavy restrictions of resting “the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
  2. Did  you notice the Bible did not say that they “rested on the Sabbath according to the teachings of the Jewish leaders,” rather they “rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
  3. Ask a Orthodox Jew what he thinks of the Christian Sabbatarian practices on Sabbath. Would they say these Christians are “resting on the Sabbath according to the commandment?” Far from it!

Christ had only just died hours before, at this time there were many things they did not understand yet:

  1. The disciples didn’t yet understand that all of the ceremonial Law of Moses were now abolished!!!
  2. They did not understood His death: Mt 16:21-22
  3. They did not understood His crucifixion: Lk 18:31-34
  4. They did not understood He would raise: Jn 20:9
  5. They did not understood the second coming: Jn 13:36-37
  6. They did not know He was going to heaven: Jn 14:2-5
  7. The did not know that Gentiles could join the church Acts 11

There is a a double standard here. Sabbatarians deny that the followers of Christ were actually keeping the Jewish day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1?

  1. The Day of Pentecost Acts 2:1
  2. The days of unleavened bread: Acts 12:3; 20:6
  3. Days of Purification: Acts 21:26
  4. Animal Sacrifices: Acts 21:26
  5. Circumcision: Acts 16:3
  6. Temple worship: Acts 24:12

Apostle Paul did not keep the Sabbath 84 times

Actual Adventist calculation of Paul’s Sabbath keeping:

Bible verse

Claimed number of Sabbaths Paul “kept”

Acts 13:14 “on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down”

1

Acts 13:44 “And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God.”

1

Acts 16:13 “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.”

1

Acts 17:2 “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”

3

Acts 18:4,11 “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath.” … “And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

78

Grand total of Sabbaths

84 Sabbaths

 

Proof Apostle Paul did not keep the Sabbath these 84 times:

The Bible no where says that Paul or ANY Christian kept the Sabbath according to the commandment after the resurrection.

  1. What we do have are frequent examples of Paul preaching to non-Christian Jews in THEIR synagogue on THEIR Sabbath day, that they are lost without Jesus! Should this surprise us? Do Sabbatarians Pastors “keep Sunday” if they preach in a Christian church on the first day of the week?

These passages speak of Paul preaching to the non-Christian Jews in their synagogues.

  1. None of these passages, or any other in the New Testament, ever speak of Christians worshipping on the Sabbath day.
  2. If Paul preaching to Jews on the Sabbath day proves he kept the Sabbath, then it also proves Paul kept synagogue worship as well!

C. If Paul “kept the Sabbath” because he preached Christ to non-Christian Jews on THEIR Sabbath day in THEIR synagogue:

  1. then Paul also kept all the other ceremonial laws that the non-Christian Jews practiced while he was there as well.
  2. then a Seventh-day Adventist pastor “keeps Friday “just because he preaches to Muslims in their Mosque on Friday that they are lost without Christ!
  3. then a Seventh-day Adventist pastor “keeps Sunday” just because he preaches to a church of “Sunday keeping” Christians on “Sunday” that they are breaking the Sabbath law!

When Paul removed himself from the Synagogue in Acts 19:8-10 did he then remove himself from Sabbath worship?

False Argument #2:

“The fact that the Bible mentions Paul preaching on the Sabbath proves we must keep it”

  1. Just because the very first preaching of the Gospel occurred on the day of Pentecost, does not mean Christian must keep Pentecost! Acts 2:1-38
  2. Paul also rushed to get back to Jerusalem on Pentecost: Acts 20:16
  3. Pentecost always fell on a Sunday
  4. Does this mean he was keeping Pentecost feast?
  5. No! It provided him a great opportunity to teach.
  6. No where after the resurrection “keeping the Sabbath according to the commandment”

False Argument #3:

“In Acts 18:4, Paul’s custom was to worship on the Sabbath with Greeks. This proves it was not a Jewish worship service but a Christ centered worship service separate from the Jewish synagogue worship. The Greeks were uncircumcised and did not keep the Sabbath or the Law of Moses.”

  1. Notice the word “persuade”. Paul’s work here was 100% evangelism. There is no example of Paul ever meeting on the Sabbath day for worship.
  2. Notice also that these were “unbelievers” in Christ before Paul preached to them. Yes they believed in the Jewish system, but the Bible says in Acts 14:1, that they BECAME believers proving Paul’s work there was evangelism not worship.
  3. The Greeks were Jewish converts to Judaism known as proselytes. They were not pagan Greeks but Greeks who practiced the law of Moses and kept the Sabbath. just as if he was a native Hebrew. The only Greeks that were in the synagogue would be these proselytes. These Greeks were certainly were not Christians.

Acts 13:43 “Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.”

Acts 14:1 “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.”

Acts 17:4 “And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.

Acts 18:4 “And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”

False Argument #4:

“Paul kept “the Law”, therefore the Sabbath is still binding!” (Additional Sabbatarian proof texts: Acts 21:20-28; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:22; Rom 3:31)

Look closely at what Paul said:

Acts 21:20-28 “And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. “What, then, is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. “Therefore do this that we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take them and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses in order that they may shave their heads; and all will know that there is nothing to the things which they have been told about you, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Law.

  1. Acts 21:20-28: forsake Moses & circumcise = keeping the Law
  2. If Sabbatarians are right, then they better start also practicing circumcision
  3. What proves too much proves nothing at all!

Paul understood that Moses had prophesied Jesus coming. To “give heed to Jesus” is to KEEP THE LAW of MOSES! Think of it as the law of Moses’ own self destruct mechanism. Moses told the Jews to keep his law UNTIL Jesus came. Then they were to ignore the Law of Moses and listen only to Jesus. In that way, a Christian who exclusively obey Jesus could be said to be keeping the Law of Moses. This is what Paul means by the following verses:

  • Acts 3:22 “Moses said, ‘The Lord God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed in everything He says to you. ‘And it shall be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.
  • Acts 24:14 “But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law, and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God
  • Romns 3:31 “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law
  • Acts 26:22 “And so, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He should be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people

When Paul says that he “kept the Law”, he was referring to the fact that Moses and the prophets foretold of Christ. and that being a Christian was foretold in the law. In a very real sense it was the Jewish non-Christians who refused to heed Jesus and who were in fact REJECTING WHAT MOSES SAID!

John 5:46

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

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