The Forth Commandment: Part – 9

June 26, 2015

The Sabbath Day:  It is a Day for the Lord

You do not own this day to act on it as you like. It is the Lord’s Day. You should give it to Him; learn verses from the Holy Bible, learn hymns, sing for the Lord and praise Him, pray, serve the Lord, visit His children orcontemplate on the Holy Books.

Do not spend it in making errands, shopping, or cleaning your house. Let all the day be for the Lord. If you cannot give all the day to the Lord, in case you are not on holiday in your work, give what you can out of it to the Lord and compensate the rest on another day.

One day a rich man was returning home in his car after shopping, and he was stopped suddenly by a godly man crying to him, "Take care, you man, see what you are treading on". He stopped quickly thinking he ran over a child, but he found nothing. He asked that godly man who answered him, "You are treading on the Lord’s day. You tread on the Fourth Commandment".

See what St. John the Beloved said in the Revelation, "I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day" (Rev.1:10). What a beautiful verse to contemplate on and to carry out in your life. Do the works that make you grow spiritually; for as your body is in need of rest, your spirit also needs to rest in the Lord.

Note: Now we have come to the end of our lessons about the First and Second commandments relating to the Lord’s worship, as well as the Third Commandment relating to the Lord’s name and the Fourth commandment relating to the Lord’s Day.

Next week, we will contemplate on the commandments relating to our relations with the others. The First will be "Honor your mother and your father."

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I.  

The Forth Commandment: Part – 9

June 26, 2015

The Sabbath Day:  It is a Day for the Lord

You do not own this day to act on it as you like. It is the Lord’s Day. You should give it to Him; learn verses from the Holy Bible, learn hymns, sing for the Lord and praise Him, pray, serve the Lord, visit His children orcontemplate on the Holy Books.

Do not spend it in making errands, shopping, or cleaning your house. Let all the day be for the Lord. If you cannot give all the day to the Lord, in case you are not on holiday in your work, give what you can out of it to the Lord and compensate the rest on another day.

One day a rich man was returning home in his car after shopping, and he was stopped suddenly by a godly man crying to him, "Take care, you man, see what you are treading on". He stopped quickly thinking he ran over a child, but he found nothing. He asked that godly man who answered him, "You are treading on the Lord’s day. You tread on the Fourth Commandment".

See what St. John the Beloved said in the Revelation, "I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day" (Rev.1:10). What a beautiful verse to contemplate on and to carry out in your life. Do the works that make you grow spiritually; for as your body is in need of rest, your spirit also needs to rest in the Lord.

Note: Now we have come to the end of our lessons about the First and Second commandments relating to the Lord’s worship, as well as the Third Commandment relating to the Lord’s name and the Fourth commandment relating to the Lord’s Day.

Next week, we will contemplate on the commandments relating to our relations with the others. The First will be "Honor your mother and your father."

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I.  

The Fourth Commandment: Part – 9

 

June 26,2015

The Sabbath Day:  It is a Day for the Lord 

You do not own this day to act on it as you like. It is the Lord’s Day. You should give it to Him; learn verses from the Holy Bible, learn hymns, sing for the Lord and praise Him, pray, serve the Lord, visit His children or contemplate on the Holy Books. 

 

Do not spend it in making errands, shopping, or cleaning your house. Let all the day be for the Lord.If you cannot give all the day to the Lord, in case you are not on holiday in your work, give what you can out of it to the Lord and compensate the rest on another day.

One day a rich man was returning home in his car after shopping, and he was stopped suddenly by a godly man crying to him, "Take care, you man, see what you are treading on". He stopped quickly thinking he ran over a child, but he found nothing. He asked that godly man who answered him, "You are treading on the Lord’s day. You tread on the Fourth Commandment".

 

See what St. John the Beloved said in the Revelation, "I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day" (Rev.1:10). What a beautiful verse to contemplate on and to carry out in your life.

Do the works that make you grow spiritually; for as your body is in need of rest, your spirit also needs to rest in the Lord.
Note: Now we have come to the end of our lessons about the First and Second commandments relating to the Lord’s worship, as well as the Third Commandment relating to the Lord’s name and the Fourth commandment relating to the Lord’s Day.

 Next week, we will contemplate on the commandments relating to our relations with the others. The First will be "Honor your mother and your father."

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I.

 

 


The Fourth Commandment: Part – 8

June 12, 2015

 Doing mercy on the Sabbath

We ought not to understand the commandment of the Sabbath in a literal way as stated in (2 Cor. 3:6), “Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”Let us have some examples for this:

Suppose a physician keeps the Lord’s Day holy by not working on it, and one Sunday a person who is in danger and about to die called for his help, would he say: No, let him die and the Lord’s Day be not broken!! In this case, the physician has no mercy and God desires mercy and not sacrifice. It does not mean that a physician ought to open his consulting room every day without waiting for the clients, giving himself excuse that his work is to comfort people’s pains!! No. We mean only urgent cases. For example, a surgery which can be postponed for some days should not be performed on the Lord’s Day. But if it was so urgent that if it is not performed immediately the patient would die, doing it will not be breaking of the Lord’s Day.

The same applies if it is necessary for a patient to have some injection at a certain time or have a wound dressed on Sundays.

Another example: a house is on fire on a Sunday; would we say: This is the Lord’s Day, we leave it to burn today and put out the fire from the remaining part on Monday!! This is unreasonable. The same can be said in case of a person who is drowning or a case which needs urgent help or a merciful work that cannot be postponed.

Religious teaching and worship on the Lord’s Day

God has commanded that the Sabbath be allocated to worship, “… a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation." (Lev. 23:3). It means that spiritual meetings should be held on it. He said also, "From Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me" (Is. 66:23). He ordered also that burnt offerings and grain offerings be offered to Him on the Sabbath (Ezec. 46:4). The Holy Scriptures were also read on that day, "For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath." (Acts 15: 21).

Not only was the Sabbath a day for worship, but also for teaching. The Lord Christ taught on the Sabbath (Mark 6:2). His apostles did so as well. St. Paul the Apostle used to teach in the synagogues every Sabbath, "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks." (Acts 18:4). And in Thessalonica, " … Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures," (Acts 17:1-2).

Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church in the Liturgy every Sunday, and sermons are delivered to the people, and children are taught in the Sunday schools. The Lord’s day is not a day for laziness and sluggishness, but a day for worship, contemplations, spiritual meetings and readings and not just stopping worldly works; otherwise we would be negative on it.

The expression "Keep Holy" means "dedicating." Keeping the day holy, then, means dedicating it for the Lord, and so it is called the Lord’s Day because on it He rests as He rested on the Seventh day and our spirits rest in Him.

Be careful also not to think that the Lord’s Day means taking rest at home, listening to the radio, reading newspapers and magazines or entertaining yourself in places of amusement. Remember rather that the Lord requires you to make this day holy for Him.

To be continued …

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I.

 

The Fourth Commandment: Part – 7

June 3, 2015
Saturday and Sunday
To those who argue if Saturday is still the Lord’s day or is replaced by Sunday, we say the express words of St. Paul the Apostle, "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, …" (Col. 2:16-17). These are only symbols and references to the spiritual matters of the New Testament.

The same was said also about the circumcision (Acts 15:10-24). It was only a sign just as the Sabbath. When God rested on the seventh day from creating the world, this was a symbol of His true rest when He redeemed us and overcame death on Sunday. Even this Sunday on which we rest refers to the great Sabbath in the everlasting eternity "when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father,… The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. … that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Only then we come to the everlasting rest, the rest of eternity.

This small Sabbath then has changed into Sunday in Christianity. On that day the disciples used to meet and break bread (Acts 2:46). According to the Ethiopian church tradition, it is celebrated in honor of Christ’s resurrection from the dead (Mk. 16:9). On the first day of the week, after Jesus has been raised from the dead (Mk. 16:9), He appears to Mary Magdalene, Peter, Cleopas, and others. The same time of the week "a week later”, more literally, "after eight days again", Jesus appears to the eleven apostles and others (Jn. 20:26). After Jesus ascends (Ac. 1:9), on the feast of Pentecost or Shavuot (the 50th day from First fruits and thus usually calculated as the first day of the week), the Spirit of God is given to the disciples, who baptize 3,000 people into the apostolic fellowship. The second coming of Jesus Christ might be on Sunday as He promised His disciples that He would come again. (John 14:1-3)

It is also the day on which the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and the early Church was founded. It was on Sunday also that the Lord Christ appeared to the disciples and women. The main point is that we keep the Lord’s Day holy and make of it a blessing to our lives and rejoice and be joyful on it in the Lord.

You shall not do any work

The Law commanded that no work be done on the Lord’s Day. And as they were used to celebrate the Sabbath from evening to evening (Lev. 23:32), they prepared themselves from Friday and they called Friday "the day of Preparation" (Luke 23:54).

The Jews used to carry out the Commandment, "You shall not do any work" in a literal way, lacking spirit. Even doing good on the Sabbath was considered by them a sin!! So they opposed the Lord Christ regarding this matter.

But the commandment not to work on that day did not mean turning the Lord’s Day into a day of laziness, sleep and rest in bed! Good things ought to be done on it. So a question that caused argument between the Jews and the Lord Christ was, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" (Matt. 12:10, Luke. 14:3).

The Lord used to heal and teach on the Sabbath

The Lord used to intentionally heal many people on the Sabbath; the man born blind was healed by the Lord on the Sabbath intentionally "Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes." (John 9:14). He was born blind and the Lord could have healed him on any other day. It would not matter if he continued blind another day. But the Lord made it with purpose to establish a rule concerning the Sabbath.

He created eyes to the blind, out of the mud, in a miraculous way that demonstrated His divinity, but the Jews were literal and did not see the greatness and significance of the miracle but only said that He was a sinner because He did not observe the Sabbath (John 9:16,24).

The Lord also healed the man with the withered hand, and discussed the matter with them if it was lawful to cure on the Sabbath. He said to them, " …What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath. …" (Matt. 12:10-13).

He healed, on the Sabbath, also the woman who the devil crippled for eighteen years. He said to the leader of the synagogue, " … Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?" (Luke 13:10-16).

The Lord healed also the man at Bethe saida who had been ill for 38 years. The Lord could have healed him on any other day no matter if the thirty eight years increased by two days or so. But the Lord wanted to give a principle, He did not only heal the man but also ordered him to carry his bed and walk (John 5:2-8).

On the Sabbath, He healed also the man who had dropsy (Luke 14:1-6). Furthermore, when His disciples plucked heads of grain on the Sabbath and the Pharisees objected, He answered them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:23-28), and said to them, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Matt. 12:7).

To prove to them that a spiritual work is lawful on the Sabbath He said, " … on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? " (Matt. 12:5, 6). By this, He meant circumcision on the Sabbath; for a child was to be circumcised on the eighth day, and if this came on a Sabbath, he was circumcised and yet they were guiltless. Thus He said to them, " … If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the Law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?" (John 7: 21- 23).

To be continued …

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I. with slight edition.

 

The Fourth Commandment:Part – 6

May 27, 2015

 The Sabbath is given as a sign

The Sabbath was a sign as the Lord said, "Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you." (Ex. 31:13).

So, the Sabbatherians say: As long as the Sabbath is a sign, it should not be changed or replaced! But we reply to them "Circumcision was also a sign, and it is replaced by baptism." Circumcision was certainly a sign as it is written, "This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you." (Gen.17:10-11).

These two signs then; the circumcision and the Sabbath were distinguished but were also symbols replaced in Christianity by the things symbolized for.

Circumcision was the removal of a part of the body to make it die, which symbolized mortifying the body and its lusts. This was a symbol of baptism which is death with Christ (Rom. 6:3,4) and so was replaced by it. The Sabbath was a sign for rest, bodily rest, and it was replaced by the rest of the spirit when we rested from sin and death. Thus, it was replaced by Sunday on which the Lord took real rest as we explained before. What is the Sabbath but the Lord’s Day which we should keep holy? In its essence it is not abolished; for we still honor the Lord’s day, but in a more powerful way.

The Sabbath was a sign. But of what? The Lord says, "A sign between Me and you… that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you." On Sunday we feel this actually; for we remember how the Lord sanctified us with His Holy Blood, putting an end to sin and death. But on the old Sabbath, I wonder how they felt the Lord had sanctified them!

When we keep the Lord’s Day holy, we remember that He sanctified us with His death and resurrection. You may ask: We know that the Lord sanctified us when He exterminated sin by His death. But how did He sanctify us when He overcame death by His resurrection?

Death in the Old Testament was a punishment, the wages of sin, and whoever touched a dead body was defiled because the dead died with his sin. But now, as the Lord Christ died for us and paid off the wages of our sins, He sanctified our dead. Thus, death became just departure and whoever touches a dead body is not defiled any more since the Lord exterminated the power and sting of death by His death.

They say also that the Sabbath was a sign of delivery from servitude as the Scriptures say, "And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD   your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day." (Deut.5:15).

This servitude was a symbol of the servitude of sin, while coming out of the servitude of Pharaoh was a symbol of coming out of the servitude of Satan which has been realized when the Lord Christ overcame death on Sunday.

 To be continued …

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I.

The Fourth Commandment

May 16, 2015

Part – 5
Rest for all people because He knows our nature:


Moses the prophet said, "See, the Lord has given you the Sabbath". Great! It is then a gift or a reward from God, not a burden or a heavy load. Because God created us, He knows our nature and that it needs one day’s rest every week. So, keeping the Sabbath is useful for you; you cannot work every day. Your body is like a machine which has a certain capacity; if you run it at a greater capacity it will be damaged. Your body is the same, its capacity is to work six days a week. If you make it work seven days, it will be damaged. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. " (Mark2:27).

Many people work continually… weeks pass without their taking any rest. Some are taken by heart failure, others by angina, pectorals or nervous breakdown. So, God gave you the Sabbath as a gift for rest, and you should thank Him for it. "you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, … And remember that you were a slave … " (Deut. 5:14-15).

Here the spirit of mercy and equality is clear in the Law. It is not proper that the master takes rest while the servants go on working. It is not proper that the old take rest while the young go on working. All must take rest as the Scriptures say, "… that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you." (Deut. 5:14). Even the livestock need rest because they have bodies as well.

Some may think that the donkey, for example, does not get tired and they say, "Donkey work"! But the Scriptures say something different, "Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.” (Ex. 23:12). How merciful God’s heart is!

 Even the solid land takes rest:

God gave rest even to the solid land, He said: "Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow.” (Ex. 23:10-11).

 In our days, we complain that the crops are weak. There are many reasons among which are that the land takes no rest. God created the earth with its land and knows its nature; so He commanded that it should take rest every seven years, to enjoy its Sabbath as well. We are not wiser than God!

We cultivate the land unceasingly and it does not yield all its power. You may say, "I cultivate it for seven years to have yield?" But I say to you: Even if you cultivate it for six years only, it will give you much more yields. “We should not forget that when God ordered to rest the land the seventh year, He gave His blessing in the sixth year so that the land yielded a crop for three years" (Lev. 25:20-22).

This is God’s way in giving rest to someone or something. He gives more fruit. By this He teaches us that coveting for worldly matters destroys us spiritually, physically and financially. Take, for example, a person who works the whole week; his health gets worse, his nerves and spirituality break down. He cries to the Lord, but the Lord replies, "I have given you the Sabbath, but you did not obey!!"

Blessings of Keeping the Sabbath:

If you keep the Lord’s day, you will benefit physically and spiritually and moreover you will have a blessing according to the Lord’s promise, "Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,… and hold fast My covenant, these I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar… I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off, …" (Is. 56:2-7), and also, "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable, …Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,…" (Is.58:13-14).

To be continued …

Source: H.H. Pope Shenouda III, 1997.Contemplations on the Ten Commandments: The fourth Commandment, Volume I.