If you keep the Sabbath because it was kept before Moses, why do you not practice circumcision which was also practiced before Moses?

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The Sabbath Commandment

We keep the Sabbath because:

  • God instituted this commandment at creation (Genesis 2:2, 3)
  • It is one of the Ten Commandments of God’s moral  law (Exodus 20:8-11)
  • God’s moral law existed as long as sin has existed.
    • “Where no law is, there is no transgression [or sin]” (Romans 4:15).
    • God wrote this law by his finger twice (Exodus 31:18).
    • And everyone will be judged by this law at the end (James 2:10-12).


Unlike the eternal Sabbath, circumcision was part of the national rites of the Jews and the Mosaic law which was nailed to the Cross. Paul wrote that God “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).

In the New Testament, God didn’t require the Gentiles to keep the Mosaic law or circumcision. Paul specifically said, “Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters” (1 Corinthians 7:18, 19).

The Bible presents to distinct law:

Moses’ Law

  • Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22).
  • Called “law … contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15).
  • Written by Moses in a book (2 Chronicles 35:12).
  • Placed outside the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26).
  • Ended at the cross (Ephesians 2:15).
  • Added because of sin (Galatians 3:19).
  • Contrary to us, against us (Colossians 2:14).
  • Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16).
  • Carnal (Hebrews 7:16).

God’s Law

  • Called “the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:24).
  • Called Ten Commandments-“the royal law” (James 2:8).
  • Written by God on stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).
  • Placed inside the ark (Exodus 40:20).
  • Will stand forever (Luke 16:17).
  • Points out sin (Romans 7:7; 3:20).
  • Not grievous (1 John 5:3).
  • Judges all people (James 2:10-12).
  • Spiritual (Romans 7:14).
  • Perfect (Psalms 19:7).

Therefore, circumcision of the Mosaic law was a temporary, ceremonial law of the Old Testament. But the Sabbath commandment of God’s moral law remains (Hebrews 4) and “stand(s) fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:8).

For more on the Sabbath, check (Lessons 91-102): https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/ 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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