Romans 14, Part 2
Jan 08, 2011
In Romans 14:5 and 6, Paul gives us a second example where we ought to be tolerant of other believers. The first was in regard to the food we eat, and the second is in regard to the days that men treat as holy days.
(5) One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. (6) He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
In regard to the observance of days, the contrast is between those who observe holy days and those who consider EVERY DAY to be holy. The NASB translation (above) says, "another regards every day alike," but the word "alike" is added according to the opinion of the translators. The Emphatic Diaglott simply reads, "another esteems every day." It is not that these men have lowered their esteem for the "holy day," but rather than they have upgraded their esteem of every day.
In other words, every day is a holy day to them, and they treat it as a new opportunity to serve God and be led by the Spirit. Instead of reserving a single day each week for divine purposes, these people strive to serve God every day equally. For example, one does not have to wait for a Sabbath day to study the Word; one can study it every day.
This enthusiasm for searching the Word daily seems to have started on the day of Pentecost, for we read in Acts 2:46, 47,
(46) And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, (47) praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their numberday by day those who were being saved.
I have noticed over the years that when people really become excited about the Word of God or by prayers actually being answered, it is hard to keep people from wanting to meet daily (or nightly). Whereas prayer meetings can easily become a ritualistic duty that three or four people are willing to endure once a week, when they see prayers answered, they want to schedule prayer meetings all the time, and the room is crowded.
One can only imagine the euphoria that was started with the events of Pentecost. It caused many of the early Christians to meet daily. Perhaps they also came to understand the significance of the three Sabbaths (7th day, 7th year, and Jubilee) and to see how these were linked to the three main feasts: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
In Isaiah's commentary on the Jubilee, he tells us in Isaiah 58:13, 14,
(13) If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure, and speaking your own word, (14) then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth...
Paul comments on this in Hebrews 4:8-11, saying,
(8) For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. (9) There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. (10) For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works as God did from His. (11) Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest...
The Israelites under Joshua inherited the Kingdom, but did so at Passover, rather than at the feast of Tabernacles as originally offered to them. Hence, their entry into the Promised Land was not the true Sabbath-rest that God intended, but a lesser Sabbath. I call it a Passover Sabbath.
If Israel had believed the two spies (Caleb and Joshua) 38 years earlier, when their report was given on the 50th Jubilee from Adam, the people would have entered into God's Rest. In other words, their Sabbath years and Jubilees would have corresponded with God's Creation Rest. Their rest years in Canaan would have continued the seven-year counts that dated back to the day that God Himself rested.
But by refusing to heed the report of Caleb and Joshua, they were unable to enter God's Rest. Instead, they entered the land 38 years later (Deut. 2:14). Hence, it did not correlate with the Creation Jubilee calendar, for neither their rest years nor their Jubilees aligned with God's Creation Rest.
Therefore, the Old Testament Sabbath system was only partially in line with the divine plan. There yet remained a Sabbath for the people of God that would reflect their alignment with the mind of Christ in a more perfect manner.
The fulfillment of Pentecost in Acts 2 brought the people into the Promises of God ("Promised Land"), not on Passover, but on Pentecost. It was a greater manifestation of the Kingdom and offered a new Sabbath system based upon this second feast day. No longer was it based upon Passover and the death of Christ, but upon His Life and Resurrection at the Wave-sheaf offering, when a new countdown by sevens began. The people were to count 49 days to Pentecost, beginning with the day that Christ was raised from the dead and presented to the Father on the 8th day, according to the Law (Ex. 22:30).
Yet even Pentecost is not Tabernacles, nor was the Year of Jubilee fulfilled at that time. There yet remains a Jubilee for us, ending fully the captivity of sin and human governments. There will be a third historic entry into the "Promised Land" through the Jubilee, which is the preparation day for the feast of Tabernacles.
Meanwhile, as Isaiah says, we are to live personally by the principle of God's Rest. This is where we do not do our own works, seek our own pleasure, or speak our own words. Instead, we do the works of God, seek His pleasure, and speak His words. In this Age of Pentecost, we are learning and practicing the art of living in a Tabernacles Age, even as Israel dwelt in booths during their sojourn in the wilderness prior to their entry into Canaan.
During this time, we are to follow Jesus' example. He said in John 5:19,
(19) ... Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.
This gives us the example of living in the Jubilee that Isaiah prophesied. Jesus did nothing of Himself, but did only what His Father did, and spoke only what His Father spoke. Jesus was the great Amen of God. The Greek term, "truly, truly," is actually the translation of the Hebrew words: "Amen, Amen." John records this phrase 25 times for a total of 50 times where Jesus uses the word Amen. It is the Amen of Jubilee.
Jesus was criticized many times by the religious leaders of the day for not observing the Sabbath in the manner that their traditions prescribed. He did not violate the divine Law, but He certainly broke their rules, their traditions, their understanding of the Sabbath laws. Their understanding differed from His, because He was living by the third and highest form of Sabbath--that of the Jubilee and the feast of Tabernacles, which Isaiah had prophesied.
This highest Sabbath was a way of life--every day--and did not allow Him to speak His own words six days a week, or to seek His own pleasure six days a week, or to do His own will six days a week. In that sense, Jesus esteemed every day alike as "holy."
And so Paul informs us in Romans 14 that there were some who observed certain days above others, while others sought to esteem every day as holy.
This is the second part of a series titled "Romans 14." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones