Home » Uncategorized » Is Rome Correct? Rome’s Challenge to Protestants: The True Meaning of Sabbatismos Hebrew 4:9

Is Rome Correct? Rome’s Challenge to Protestants: The True Meaning of Sabbatismos Hebrew 4:9

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (King James Version)…Because of this erroneous translation, and Protestant hostility against the seventh-day weekly Sabbath—the Fourth Commandment—in preference to Sunday, this verse is almost universally misinterpreted and misunderstood. In fact, the true meaning of Hebrews 4:9 is the very opposite of the false interpretation assumed…Today, mainstream “Christianity” teaches that Christians are no longer required to observe the seventh-day Sabbath, because they deliberately misconstrue this verse to mean, “Christ has given them ‘rest’ (or, as some say, a ‘release’) from commandment-keeping.” This false claim feeds the premise that Jesus has “fulfilled the Law” for them. As a result, people are told, the Christian has entered into a “spiritual rest” from sin, and that Jesus Himself is their “spiritual Sabbath.”
Such absurd reasoning is completely contrary to the Word of God. Jesus Himself said that He did not come to abolish or “do away with” the laws and commandments of God, but “to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17 -18). Nor did Christ fulfill any commandment in order to release Christians from their obligation to keep God’s laws. Indeed, He set the perfect example for us to free us from committing sin, which is the transgression of the Law (I Pet. 2:21 -22, I John 3:4). Jesus did not come to keep the commandments in our stead. Years into his ministry, the apostle Paul said that he was still zealous for the laws of God (Acts 22:3)—which would certainly include the Sabbath commandment.
…The Greek word used here for “rest” is sabbatismos which means “Sabbath rest, Sabbath observance” (Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).
This definition is confirmed by other historical works: “The words ‘sabbath rest’ is from the [Greek] noun sabbatismos, [and is] a unique word in the NT. This term appears also in Plutarch (Superset. 3 [Moralia 166a]) for sabbath observance, and in four post-canonical Christian writings which are not dependent on Heb. 4:9” (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 5, p. 856). This is historical evidence that true Christians were observing the seventh-day Sabbath long after Emperor Constantine declared that Sunday was the “Christian” day of worship in 325 AD.
While sabbatismos is a noun, the verb form of the word is sabbatizo which means, “to keep the Sabbath” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).
This definition of sabbatizo is confirmed by its use in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament dating from third century BC. Jews used the Septuagint in synagogues throughout the Roman Empire; Greek-speaking Jewish and Gentile converts to Christianity used this translation throughout the early New Testament period. This is why the apostle Paul quotes extensively from the Septuagint in his Epistle to the Hebrews, which went to all the true churches of God—Jew and Gentile.
When Paul used sabbatismos in Hebrews 4:9, he did so knowing that its meaning was well known to the Greek-speaking believers of that day. After all, its verb form (sabbatizo) is widely employed in the Septuagint—which, as a translation..
For example, the use of the verb sabbatizo in Leviticus 23:32 in the Septuagint substantiates its meaning. The Greek English Lexicon of the Septuagint defines sabbatizo as “to keep [a] sabbath, to rest” (Lust, Eynikel, Hauspie).
The English translation of this verse in the Septuagint reads: “It [the Day of Atonement] shall be a holy sabbath [literally, ‘a Sabbath of Sabbaths’] to you; and ye shall humble your souls, from the ninth day of the month: from evening to evening shall ye keep your sabbaths” (The Septuagint With the Apocrypha, Brenton).
The phrase “shall ye keep your sabbaths” is translated from the Greek phrase, sabbatieite ta sabbata—which literally means, “you shall sabbathize the Sabbaths.” The form of the Greek verb sabbatizo is the second personSabbath, Rome’s challenge,

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