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THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
  • Hey everyone,

    So I was reading the book of Exodus and I came across the ten commandments...now, as a child up until now, I was conscious that there were ten commandments and I could name them all; however, the fourth commandment which speaks about keeping the Sabbath had slipped my mind almost completely.  My question is: how can we apply this commandment to our lives today? ???

    Thanks for your responses in advance.
  • When I was younger my Sunday school teacher made that an on-going homework every week. She would ask us what we did to keep it holy. I think it is actually straight-forward. It applies the same today as it did then. The day is for God- keep it that way. If there is a sin you struggle with, take extra care not to do it. Add an activity (such as an extra Bible reading) to keep it holy. Go the extra mile. Keep the spirit of the law.
  • Keep all days holy, we are the temples of God - His Spirit dwells within us. Of course we partake of the Body and Blood on Sunday and that makes it unique. But I don't think we should try to be "extra" holy because it is Sunday.

    (Please correct my errors, my words are certainly fallible)
  • ... the simple of:  'keeping it for what it was intended to be'...The Lord's Day.
  • the "sabbath" was moved to sunday, the day the Lord rose from the dead. What better way to keep the Lord's day?
  • LOL ok...perhaps I need to clarify...when I asked my question, I was thinking of people who work on Sundays, I know that I study on Sundays, I suppose the real question I was trying to ask was: Is it ok for us to be doing that?  Oftentimes, I forget that it's the Lord's Day on Sunday...this is going to sound bad, but it's kind of lost its value for me, simply because I have not been thinking about it.  I realize that I should go to church Sunday morning, but what about work?  Studying?  Family gatherings?  I know that the Pharisees in the Old Testament took it literally and they simply sit at home on the Sabbath, but Christ did not mean for it to be taken literally.  So how do we interpret this commandment nowadays?
  • Excellent question, and one that we should all think about. I await responses from the wiser. . .
  • ...Taking Christ and making Him the center of that activity, eg,

    1.  making sure to pray before & after meals
    2.  making a big deal about going to church (not to mean fuss but rather festive event).
    3.  taking flowers from the garden and bringing them to Church
    4.  a little Bible time with the family; review a Sunday School lesson with the kids.
    5.  Family Birthday party; begin with a reading from the Scripture.
    6.  Keep the TV off for a while.

    ...just the general aspect of things.
  • But shouldn't we do that everyday? We aren't "Sunday Christians." Obviously we cannot go to church everyday, but it seems we can do the things you listed and more to keep Christ the focus of our lives, daily. The problem is not everyone is "free" on Sundays. Parents have work, kids have studying, relatives are far. . it is difficult to get the whole family together on one day especially if they are not financially secure. So the only alternative is to do those activities on another day when they are all together. . .
  • U1,

    We are called upon to be Christian everyday--agreed fully.

    There is a "special" aspect to Sunday (the Sabbath).

    Examples:

    1.  everyday is wonderful and open for enjoying our life, but we do have a "birthday anniversary" that is special relative to our own birth.

    2.  every Liturgy is special, but the Church uses tone changes in the chants to alert the people of the aspects of a given feast or season, eg, Festal tune, Hoshani, etc.

    I do not think there is a disconnect from the general Christian aspiration of the other six days of the week to the special status and aspect of Sunday.  Sunday is the day of the Resurrection.

    We have other special instruction in the week, including:  Friday being the day that the Lord was Crucified.  We have fasting on that day in order to help contemplate that Salvific Remembrance.

    We have fasting on Wednesday to remember the purchase of the lamb for the Passover sacrifice which is reflected in the action of Judas' betrayal and acceptance of the 30 pieces of silver.
  • Forgive me ilsm,

    I still do not see what is so intrinsically special about Sunday as opposed to eg Monday? Granted, our Lord Resurrected from the dead on Sunday, but we are called to remember and relive His Resurrection daily. Unless you can demonstrate that it was not merely coincidental that the events of our Lord happened on these particular days, I don't see why we should act any differently. It is when we attach to much significance to the day the event loses some value. This is exactly why people are "Sunday Christians." They think Sunday is more important and significant than other days.

    (please correct my error).
  • “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

    Our God is a God of balance, not a God of extreme... He understands the human flesh, the body... God wants you to work, but yet He wants you to take a day off, a day for yourself and Him alone, work free, study free, just you and Him... a day to give your body a break, for it is His temple, and He wants it to be healthy... so give to Cesar what belongs to Cesar, and give to God what belongs to God... work and school ask us to be their servant for however many days through the week, and God is asking you for only one day a week... and He will give you enough to cover that day.

    so it is the Sunday... so on Sunday try to keep work to the minimum... and make your study schedule to be on saturday or friday so you can prepare for sunday... if you work on sunday, try to request it off... if you cant, then they will give you a different day during the week off, through which you can partake of the mysteries... but if you cant free you sunday, then keep a day in the middle of the week for God... and God will look at your hard work, and will bless you...

    neshkor Allah, akhadna el baraka
  • Dear Supermanbam,

    Wasn't this day held to be Saturday?

    Also, if we are going to use this as justification as why we should keep Sunday special let us not do so halfheartedly. The verse does not request you not to work but commands it.
  • I am at my parents house for a while so don't have my pc here.

    What do the Fathers say about this commandment?
  • my beloved unworthy1,

    the church then made it to be Sunday, hence why there has to be a Liturgy on Sunday, and Sunday is the day of the Lord... and sadly we dont live in a society that works under God's laws, so we have to do our best... Even the God who made the sabbath and gave this command, when He was incarnate in the flesh He showed us how we should treat it...  

    "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!”  But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?  Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?  Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.  But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.  For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

    Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—that they might accuse Him. Then 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 good on the Sabbath.”  Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.


    now my beloved, if a new comer who has no ability or credibility to choose the job he/she works to feed their family... and they have to work on Sunday, should they not?! look at the whole scripture... not just one verse...

    neshkor Allah, akhadna el baraka
  • U1,

    I don't think we are in disagreement. I don't believe in the 'Sunday Christian' mentality at all.
  • While searching for the church fathers teaching, I found this link and it should clarify things:

    The Fourth Commandment-Pope Shenouda

    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, 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.


    Bonus: Grade 8, sunday school lesson  (what is good for kids is good for ALL) -Lesson No. 13-The Fourth Commandment
  • Two quotes from Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty's A Patristic Commentary The Book of Deuteronomy. (published by St. George Church, Sporting, Alexandria, Egypt, St. Mena Monstery Press, Maryut, Egypt, Initial edition 2005, ISBN 977-392-019-4):

    From Page 121:

    The third commandment, concerns keeping the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8 ). It actually refers to the work of the Holy Spirit, the Grantor of freedom, the true comfort of the heart, and peace of the mind, through good conscience, who dwells in man to enjoy the spiritual Sabbath; drawing him to the heavenly spiritual worship, instead of being confused by temporal things [sup]1[/sup]
    ___________________

    1. Fr. Caesarius of Arles: Sermons 100, 4.




    From Pages 123-124:

    Keeping the Sabbath (Commandment 4; see also Exodus 20).

    In a previous detailed study dealing with this subject [sup]1[/sup], we noticed that this commandment, in essence, is not a heavy one for the believer to be committed to; but is actually a feast tat reflects the spirit of joy over all the congregation, over every believer together with this household, with the strangers under his roof, and the hired hands working for him. It even reflects on the beasts in his fields.

    The books of the Old Testament gave special concentration on the commandment of keeping the Sabbath; with the intention of anticipating the coming of the Saviour, the Giver of the true comfort, who is to save us from the bondage of the devil. And as St. Clement of Alexandria says: [We hold fast to the spiritual Sabbath until the Saviour comes, when we shall have rest from the sin [sup]2[/sup].] And St. Augustine says: [In Him, we rest and see; see and love; love and praise. Such will be the end with no end! [sup]3[/sup].]

    The difference is more apparent in the fourth commandment. In the book of Exodus (31:13), God commands us to keep the Sabbath, because, as he created the world in six days, it is fitting for us to sanctify the seventh day, namely, to dedicate it to extend worship and thanksgiving to the Creator. Whereas here, He gives it a new interpretation, namely, sanctifying the Sabbath for the sake of His salvation works, and the renewal of our life, as He has set us free from the servitude to the devil (Pharaoh), and brought us over to the heavenly Canaan. Now the Lord Jesus became our Sabbath, in whom God the Father finds his pleasure (comfort) in us, and we find ours in Him.

    The Lord reminds His people of the bitterness of servitude that they had in the land of Egypt, counting their exodus as the Sabbath of comfort in which they enjoyed freedom, to spare their souls the feeling of humiliation. The Sabbath is for the soul to set forth with love towards all brethren, and even toward beasts and birds, longing for everyone to enjoy true comfort.

    If the Sabbath was the exodus of man from the servitude of the devil, our Sabbath became on Sunday, the days of our exodus under the leadership of the Lord Christ, hidden in Him, to set forth from the servitude of the devil to the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
    _________________________

    1. Fr. Tadros Malaty: Leviticus, chapter 23. (In Arabic)
    2. Fr. Tadros Malaty: Christ in the Eucharist, Alexandria 1973, p. 125 (in Arabic)
    3. City of God. 22:30

  • Your responses lead me to raise the question: Are other days less important than Sunday? Or i.e., is Sunday more important than other days?
  • Is the Feast of Pascha more important than other days?

    Is the Feast of Pentecost more important than other days?

    Is the weekly Feast of the Resurrection more important than other days?

    Is my birthday more important than other days?

    Is the day of my wedding more important than other days?

    I would say that the answer to all of these is yes. That does not mean that any moment lacks its own value and importance. But just as my annual birthday gives meaning to all of the year - I mean that I am 48 all of this year because of my birthday, and just as the day of my marriage has meaning for all of the years of my marriage and indeed transforms the days that follow.

    So the days of the week are transformed and have meaning in relation to the weekly Feast of the Resurrection. On Friday, for instance, we are thinking of the Crucifixion, on Saturday we are already preparing for the Liturgy on Sunday, on Sunday we celebrate the Feast, on Monday we begin our daily life of service renewed by the events of Sunday etc. That is why it is a hard thing for us to miss the blessing and benefits of the Liturgy. They transform the whole week.
  • Agreed, father.

    My only concern is that we limit all those feasts to certain times when we shouldn't. We go through phases. We are so excited with our Lord's Resurrection for 50 days, then we move on to the next thing and the last event is forgotten.

    It is the occasion that matters not the day. The occasion makes the day.

    I had a friend who celebrated his birthday for about 15 years on a certain day only to later find out he was actually born on another day (Egyptian birth certificates!). But it didn't matter, he kept celebrating it on the same day.

    The day didn't matter, it was the event.

    In the same way, the Lord's Resurrection is more important than other events. But it is not more important because it happened on Sunday. In fact it doesn't matter what day it happened on, the glory remains.

    So I would say - the feast of the Pascha is more important than other mundane events, same with the Pentecost, etc. and we should treat such occasions with reverence. But the fact is throughout the church's history occasions have been moved and fasts added and cut out, things shortened and others lengthened. So if we use to celebrate a feast on X day but that was changed to Y day does that mean all of the sudden I treated X day more nonchalantly? Certainly not! I should treat X just as I would Y.

    I don't know that was just my two cents.
  • yes, all days are important.
    but as humans we have emotions and varying amounts of energy.
    we can't celebrate continuously, nor can we work continuously.
    we need time to rest, to repent, to be excited, to cry.
    all these things have their place.
    so as God knows we need these things, he gave us 1 day to rest and to fill up with good things that will stay fresh in our mind the whole week.
    we need to work and to take care of each other, so we have 6 days to do that. the 7th day is to rest and pray.

    of course we should pray every day, but most of us have jobs or small children or other things to do which means we just can't pray for 3 hours every day. if you can pray for 3 hours every day, please can i have your job?!  ;)
    we do pray a lot on sundays (or fridays in some countries if your government makes you work long hours on a sunday) and we can then find the strength to work for the rest of the week.

    it is a good habit, if you have to work on a sunday (bus driver, nurse etc) to take another day to give thanks to God and to meet with others to learn about Him and pray to Him. this is why many churches have Holy Communion on other days as well as sunday so everyone can benefit. but, if you just work 7 days a week in order to make lots of money, you have the wrong priorities.

    if you take lots of rest on sundays, and someone else cooks for you and cleans up after you, you have also misunderstood! we should take care not only to have rest ourselves but also to help others have rest.

    it's not only sunday that can be a special day, but everyone needs 1 day a week to rest and pray. in order for the community to benefit the most, most people should have the same day off, that way we can grow in God's love together. Jesus Christ defeated death on a sunday, so that makes it special for us.

    as for study, i recommend that students always take one day a week off from their studies. if you have to work sunday, take saturday off. it makes you more efficient when you do study and is actually better than studying non-stop every day, as your mind needs a break in order to process all the information you give it.

    may God bless everyone this feast of pentecost  :)


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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