Jim Staley is the director of Passion for Truth Ministries, Pastor/Teacher of Passion for Truth Fellowship in St. Charles, Missouri, as well as the director for The Final Return Conference. He is apart of the top archeological dig teams in Israel and writing a book on the most recent discovery, which will change the face of Christianity forever. He is one of America’s newest and freshest Hebraic teachers and brings an articulate, entertaining, Spirit-led, and down-to- earth style to his teachings. Jim has been asked to speak at congregations, radio shows, and television programs around the world. Learn more about Passion For Truth.
I get an enormous amount of e-mails, a lot of phone calls and people have been asking me to do a particular teaching for over six years now. So every year I say to myself, “I’m going to get around and do this teaching but for whatever reasons, I have not. But now I decided that this is the year to teach on the Sabbath. So for whatever reason, the Lord is having me do this and I’m excited about it. We are going to determine what the Sabbath is, what it means for us today and how do we keep it and if we’re supposed to keep it. So let’s get started talking about the Sabbath and work through the Scriptures and see what they have to say. Let’s start with some verses in the book of Exodus.
(Ex 31:16-17) says, “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and he was refreshed.” So think about it this way, first of all Jeremiah 11 says that Israel’s an olive tree. Ephesians 2 says you who were once far off have now been brought near and you’ve been made fellow citizens with the household of God. Romans 11 talks about being grafted and also talks about the two olive trees. The two olive trees and the wild olive tree get grafted back into the cultivated olive tree. Let’s substitute the correct word in Jeremiah 11 “is cultivated back into Israel” so these Gentiles actually are no longer Gentiles.
Do you realize that the word gentile means out of covenant? So if you consider yourself a Gentile Christian, what you’re really saying is you’re an out of covenant Christian, and that’s an oxymoron. You can’t have that. Either you are in covenant and you’re part of the Messiah or you’re out of covenant and you will spend eternity away from him. So you’re an Israelite of heritage and now have access to the covenants. He doesn’t say covenant as if there’s only one covenant, called the new covenant. Middle Eastern covenants layer on one another.
If you recognize who you are and that you are Israel, then it makes way more sense and it’s more relevant to continue our topic because the Sabbath was given to Israel and it says it was given for all eternity.
So now we have completely dispelled the myth that says it was only given to the Jews, because it wasn’t. It was given to all Israel. Now we understand that it was given to anyone who is calling himself a child of God which is anyone that believes the Messiah. Jeremiah 31:31, the new covenant chapter of the entire Bible, says this, “Behold, the days come says Yahweh, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” The bible doesn’t say that there is going to be a covenant with the Gentiles. There is one people of God and this is the house of Israel, the northern kingdom, and the house of Israel, the southern kingdom (which split under King Solomon and at some point He will bring back and make all Israel one again). He says that He is going to make a new covenant with one people and He calls them the house of Israel and the house of Judah. So you must be one of those two kingdoms or you cannot be in the new covenant. The new covenant is completely illegitimate. It’s a moot point for you if you do not consider yourself Israel. Then you have no covenant. There is no new covenant and there is no blood shed for your sins and you will die in your sins on Judgment Day.
Another Myth says that the Christian Sabbath is Sunday. Well, let’s walk right into this. The Roman Emperor Constantine said this about Sunday on March 7, 321 A.D. when he passed his famous national Sunday law, “let all judges and townspeople and occupations of all trades rest on the venerable day of the Sun.” I could literally go on for several more quotes from Constantine where he said in other places that anybody caught resting on what he calls the Jewish Sabbath (see how it got messed up all the way back then because he is a gentile and he hated the Jews?), which was Saturday or the seventh day, would be excommunicated from the church or killed if they did not stop.
The Catholics completely admit the change. This is coming from “This Rock” magazine of Catholic Apologetic 1997 and says, “Of course these two old quotations are exactly correct.”
The Catholic Church designated Sunday as the day for corporate worship and gets full credit or blame for that change. They also said this, “Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the church ever did, the Catholic Church that is, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. The day of the Lord was chosen not for many directions noted in the Scriptures but from the church’s sense of its own power.”
Right here we’re seeing quotes from the Catholic Church admitting that they changed the day. Let’s continue. Another one, from the Centennial Pastor’s page of St. Catherine Catholic Church in Michigan in 1995 says the day of resurrection, the day of Pentecost, 50 days later, came on the first day of the week. So this would be the new Sabbath. “People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become Seventh-day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy.”
“I am advocating that we look heavily into the Scriptures and uncover these drapes over the windows when the light was supposed to be coming in.”
They are admitting and then they go on to say that anyone that keeps and calls Sunday the first of the week, that Sabbath actually falls under the jurisdiction of the holy Roman Catholic Church. So we see right here that they even admit that the only logical people that are consistent with the Sabbath, who are going to be called a Sabbatharian, should be a Seventh- day Adventist. Now, I’m not a Seventh-day Adventist. I’m not advocating that you become a Seventh-day Adventist. But I am advocating that we look heavily into the Scriptures and uncover these drapes over the windows when the light was supposed to be coming in. We need to open it back up and find out what’s been concealed this whole time. Did they really change the Sabbath and turn it into Sunday when it used to be on Saturday? Do we have any evidence that Christians who were early believers in Yeshua kept the Sabbath on the biblical day that’s commanded on Saturday?
One quote says, “The Roman Catholic Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by founder, Yeshua or Jesus Christ. The Protestant claiming that the Bible is the only guide to faith has no warrant for observing Sunday.
In this matter, the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.” Now I would disagree with that because there are a lot of us that believe in the Saturday Sabbath who happen to be one the more popular of denominations that are out there. Look at this. One of the most incredible quotes of all time that I have ever found on the subject is from Socrates Scholasticus, in the fifth century as a church historian, “For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries of the Lord’s supper on the Sabbath every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition can have ceased to do this.” Another historian confirming this states, “The people of Constantinople and almost everywhere assembled together on the Sabbath as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.”
What these historians are saying is that believers everywhere kept the Sabbath on the seventh day. They met that Saturday night late in the evening. They met on the first of the week as well sometimes, but nobody in Rome or Alexandria did that. So let me ask you question that will really drive home my point. Who ended up ruling the world? Rome! It was Rome that made all the decrees for the rest of mankind, the known world at that time. It was Rome that made these changes and that’s why we do what we do today. Because of the decrees and the changes of the laws that happened so long ago and we literally have never turned around. We’ve never audited ourselves. We need to audit what we believe because we are human, mere men. You give us enough time and we get just a little bit off, one half of the degree, and 2000 years becomes hundreds of miles. That’s what we’re trying to do at Passion for Truth ministries. We are trying to get back to the truth because the truth can only do one thing. And what is that? Set us free.
Note: This article is transcribed from a sermon “And He Rested” presented by Jim Staley. More is covered in the video. We have divided the series into 3 parts. This is part 2 of 3.