When I wrote my latest book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” I honestly expected much more criticism, rebuke, condemnation.
After all, it takes on church customs, traditions and practices. It makes the scriptural case for observing God’s seventh-day Sabbath. It makes the scriptural case for observing the Bible’s dietary laws. It makes the scriptural case that sin, not the law, was nailed to the cross. And it makes the case that much of the church is guilty of the same kinds of errors as were the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
I was sure I would be pilloried, accused of heresy, figuratively burned at the stake.
Much to my surprise, the book has been met with near universal praise – at least from those who have read it, reviewed it and discussed it with me. And I have heard directly from hundreds of people through letters, emails and phone calls – most of them thankful for the theses I have allegorically nailed to the door of the modern church. All have been respectful – and that’s certainly unexpected in this age of hypersensitivity.
One such recent missive raised a question about my contention that you will not find even one jot or tittle in Scripture that suggests the seventh-day Sabbath, as defined in the Fourth Commandment, has been done away with.
“Doesn’t Romans 14 raise some doubts?” asked one woman who was open to all she read in the book but said she wouldn’t know how to respond to such a question herself.
That’s one I hadn’t dealt with in the book for the simple reason the passage has nothing to do with the Sabbath at all. But that hasn’t stopped some in the church from citing it as evidence that the Sabbath is no longer a part of God’s requirements for believers.
The relevant portion for the sake of this discussion comes in verses 5 and 6:
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
A cursory review of these verses might suggest that since a “day” is discussed here that whatever Paul is saying might apply to the seventh day. But context is everything. The entire chapter is a discussion about eating and fasting. When you have time, read it for yourself.
Do you earnestly seek to be obedient to God’s calling in your life? Is following Jesus really as simple as a one-time act of contrition? is that what He said? Get Joseph Farah’s “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age” for what might be a spiritual wake-up call.
There was a strong tradition for fasting in Israel. Fasts were observed on several days throughout the year, most notably on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, a day of afflicting one’s soul, according to Leviticus 23:27-29. The tradition of fasting on Yom Kippur and some other occasions is followed today by observant Jews and some followers of Jesus, as well. But it is not a clear commandment.
God is never ambiguous about His commandments. Take the Fourth Commandment regarding the Sabbath – the longest of all 10: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
It’s clear. It’s straightforward. It was affirmed by Jesus and the Apostles who observed it throughout their lives. It is prophesied that it will be observed in the Kingdom of God when Jesus returns to rule and reign over the whole earth (Isaiah 56).
But fasting is different. It is encouraged. Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days to begin His earthly ministry and contend with Satan. When asked by His disciples why they were unable to cast out a demon from a possessed man while Jesus was, He responded: “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).
So fasting is good. It builds spiritual strength. It helps us tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. But I can’t find a commandment anywhere in the Torah that commands believers to fast on certain days. It may be implied. I’m not arguing against fasting. But I would suggest to you that this was what Paul was addressing in his own inimical way in Romans 14.
Read the chapter yourself. Study it. Debate it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you with Paul’s words, which can sometimes be difficult, as even Peter acknowledged.
I think you will come to the same conclusion: This chapter has nothing to do with the Sabbath. Rather, Paul is counseling believers not to dispute with brothers and sisters over non-essential matters of personal opinion and practice.
Do you seek to follow what the Bible says rather than the traditions of man? That’s what “The Restitution of All Things,” by Joseph Farah, is all about. It’s a refreshing and radical new look at the consistent messages and themes of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation through the clear lens of Israel-centrism.
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