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Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by Bookmeister, Dec 9, 2011.
This question was posed to me by my atheist cousin today. What do you all have to say on this?
I think I would respond, "Why would we do that?"
Because we aren't a theocracy.
"But we conceive, the whole bulk of the judiciall Laww, as judiciall, and as it concerned the Republick of the Iews only, is abolished, though the morall equity of all those be not abolished; also some punishments were meerly Symbolicall, to teach the detestation of such a vice, as the boaring with the Aule the ear of him that loved his Master, and desired still to serve him, and the making of him his perpetuall servant. I should think the punishing with death the man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath was such...." Samuel Rutherford, The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication (London: 1646) cap. XXII Q. 18., p. 493.
I agree. The Sabbath is a universal moral law, but the command to kill those who break it is a political law for the State of Israel.
Why would Rutherford think punishing with death the man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath was merely symbolical? Wasn't that a clear violation of God's law? In my mind, the boaring with the Aule the ear of the servant to the door of his master's house is completely different from this violation of Sabbath. I wouldn't even consider it a punishment, but rather a serious, yet loving reminder from God to the servant of the conditions of the "contract" he is signing by deciding to stay with his master.
In Numbers 15 we are taught that the death penalty under the Old Covenant was for all those who were deemed to have been proven by the evidence of two or three witnesses to have sinned so presumptiously against the 10C that they were denied an animal sacrifice in lieu of their lives.
By this occasional means of excommunication through execution from the Land of Promise, in the penal system of the childhood Kingdom of God, the Israelites were taught about God's wrath and the vital importance of substitutionary penal sacrifice.
The New Covenant Israel has the teaching that without Christ's sacrifice we will die eternally. There is also excommunication for presumptious offences.
As a childhood Church and childhood Kingdom of God, the Israelites were taught about God's preceptive will by the moral law, about God's wrath by the penal law of God's childhood Kingdom, and about God's grace through the ceremonial law, particularly the sacrificial system.
In the New Testament we are no longer under such a childhood, childish and carnal system. The moral law abides, however, and any general moral equity that is expressed throughout Moses' law.
For a Christian state to impose the death penalty for Sabbath-breaking merely because it was part of Mosaic law would be a return to Mosaic shadows and an obscuring of the Gospel message. The Lord doesn't want us to fear the death penalty by the US or British government for Sabbath-breaking, but to fear His eternal death penalty for it.
The death penalty for murder has its own separate foundation to Numbers 15, in Genesis 9.
John Calvin on Numbers 15:32
I think they make a distinction between the moral (and therefore enduring) part of the law, and the purely judicial aspect, which was done away with. Punishments attaching to crimes are part of the judicial aspect. (See WCF 19.4).
Also see here: http://www.westminsterconfession.or...f-political-israel-expired-general-equity.php
From the article, citing Beza:
"When the political laws of Moses embody natural equity, which rises above the special circumstances of one nation, to that extent they are binding. But though the magistrate may learn much from the Mosaic law because of the natural equity in it, he is at liberty to depart from such things as the Mosaic penal sanctions when the circumstances of his society dictate. The Mosaic penal sanctions are not permanent obligations. "Although we do not hold to the forms of the Mosaic polity, yet when such judicial laws prescribe equity in judgments, which is part of the decalogue, we, not being under obligation to them insofar as they were prescribed by Moses to only one people, are nevertheless bound to observe them to the extent that they embrace that general equity which should everywhere be in force. . . . . The Lord commands that a deposit be returned, and that thieves be punished. . . . . Because it follows natural equity, and expounds that perpetual precept of the decalogue, Thou shalt not steal, to this extent all are bound to fulfill them both. The thief is sentenced to make restitution for the theft, sometimes twice as much, sometimes four times as much . . . . . This penalty is purely political, and it binds the one nation of the Israelites, to whom alone it was adapted. Therefore it is permitted for the magistrate, in his exercise of sovereignty and for definite and good causes, to prescribe a more severe manner of punishment . . . . . And to be sure, if anyone compares several of the laws of the Greeks, and many of the laws of the Romans, with the Mosaic, he will find a similarity among them in establishing penalties, so that it is sufficiently plain that all were adapted to the same goal of natural equity."
You mean y'all don't?
We'd all be dead.
Was all of Israel killed for breaking the Sabbath?
All I could see was "why don't we kill those who break the sabbath"
I was thinking of 99.9 percent of the population being killed by PB members......
That's missing the point, since Paul was just some citizen. He had no more authority to tell another bunch of citizens to take the law into their own hands than we do today. Imagine! Telling a small church in Alabama to take money out of the bank account of a thief!!
Because our country is more concerned about babies than evildoers.
I might also ask if he has a problem with killing sabbath-breakers.
Shouldn't the question be, "Why is it not a capital crime to break the Sabbath?" The word 'kill' implies a violation of the 6th Commandment which is the contradiction the atheist is probably looking for.
If Sabbath keeping as defined by some here is moral then if there's ambiguity in our understanding of Scripture, then the obvious recourse is to natural law, right? So it's easy. What's been the penalty for Sabbath breaking in Japan, the Roman empire, the Zulus under Chaka, the Aztecs, Vikings, modern Chinese and us today??? Or not??
Our recourse should be to the general moral equity of the Mosaic law as the WCF says, whereas theonomists want the specific reapplication of the Mosaic law.
What did theonomy have to do with my post? Besides, you're wrong. Rushdoony went out for lunch every Sunday after church, as did the rest of our church.
I consider myself a theonomist and I don't want the specific reapplication of the Mosaic law. I just consider the punitive measures in the Law to be part of the general moral equity thereof.
The Old Covenant (Moses on Sinai) is replaced by a new covenant in Christ (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25; 2 Cor 3:6). So the "Old Covenant" was intended to restrain the sins of the people and to point them to the future messiah (Jesus). When Jesus fulfilled the law in our place he took away the Mosaic covenant (Old Testament), and placed us under the covenant of grace.
Just so you know I treat the Sabbath part of the Mosaic covenant. So you have the Mosaic Law and the Moral law and I consider the Sabbath part of the Mosaic law. In Genesis God created everything in 7 days and the 7th day God rested. The Sabbath is meant so believers can have a day of rest, that is resting and mediating on Gods word and goodness (i.e. What he accomplished for us on Calvary: Present Day; and what God will accomplish for prior believers: past). So it was created to point all believers to rest in Christ, which is something we should do every day. I still set Sunday apart from the rest of the days as a day that is holy, but I do not go as far to not work, go out to eat, go grocery shopping ect.. I set aside time to attend church, bible study, and personal study on my own.
Are you advocating a position contrary to this?
Could you clarify? Are you saying you do set Sunday aside as holy, but think that you can do so even while you work, go out to eat and shop? It could be you mean you don't do those things, I'm not sure the way you've written it.
If so, how actually are you setting apart Sunday as holy at all? The only thing that appears to be different is that you attend church, since you should be engaging in Bible study and personal study on your own most days anyway.
Robert, that is a position I held to. Even when I joined this board I put in my "About Me" that I took exception to the Confession of Faith's teaching on the subject. The more I personally studied the topic of the Sabbath the more convicted I was that I wasn't keeping it; particularly in the area of pursuing my own recreations. Keeping the Sabbath is a Moral Law. Did, "You Shall not Murder," pass away with the coming of Christ?
I would really recommend Joseph Pipa's book The Lord's Day and Isaiah 58 and search the scriptures for what keeping the Sabbath day Holy looks like. When I did it, I was convicted of my sin of failing to keep the Sabbath. I can honestly say since then, keeping the Sabbath day holy is far more enjoyable than doing my homework, running errands, or even watching our beloved Pixburgh Stillers.
I do not follow everything written in the LBC exactly as written. Only reason is because I feel that the Sabbath was initially intended to point to Christ and resting in Christ. By placing rules and regulations on something, such as the sabbath, places individuals under the law (i.e. you can do this but you can't do that). In Mark 2:27 Jesus says, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. " He says this in response to the Pharisees criticizing his disciples for picking wheat in a field on the sabbath. So we are supposed to keep the sabbath set apart than other days, but we are not supposed to burden ourselves with rules and regulations placing us under the law.
---------- Post added at 05:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:57 PM ----------
I do personal Study and Bible study on Sunday, and during the week I am restricted to personal study (except early Tuesday mornings when me and my pastor meet for coffee). The reason is because I work a full time job, and I am pursuing an MBA so I do not have a lot of time during the week. It's holy in the sense that I am attending church, setting aside time for a longer duration of study time, and attend a group bible study. I do not work on the Job Sundays, and all the chores done around the house (laundry, cleaning and most of the time grocery shopping) are done on Saturday. Although there are weeks when I help people move, or help out in a ministry when I am forced to grocery shop on Sunday.
---------- Post added at 05:09 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:05 PM ----------
Wouldn't the Sabbath mean resting in the works and righteousness of Christ, opposed to resting on a specific day? That's why I consider it mosaic law vs. Moral. Murder on the other hand is moral for obvious reasons. Although I will take you up on reading into this subject because if I am wrong then I am sure God would lead me into that direction.