This is in reaction to Bro.Dan Owusu Asiama’s comments about the Sabbath on Metro TV on Sunday 21st October, 2012. Asiamah alluded to some statements in the Old Testament purported to conclude that the Sabbath had been abolished so far as Sabbath breakers in the 21st Century are not stoned to death.
Is it legitimate for the 21st Century Christians to blaspheme, commit adultery, strike or revile a parent, practice witchcraft, rape, practice prostitution, break the Sabbath etc because stoning had been abolished? Isn’t this a misguided thinking? It must be noted that it was not only the Sabbath breakers who were stoned to death in the Old Testament. Should we assume that it is lawful to break the Sabbath because its breakers are no longer stoned to death? Hasn't Jesus set a day to judge the world?
In fact, he contradicted himself on several occasions and looked confused on his programme. At one point he said “anybody who obeys the law is under a curse” and later said “the Law is good and holy”. In the course of attacking the Sabbath he said “Jesus Christ was not a Christian….that Jesus did not practice Christianity”.
Historically, the crimes that were punished by stoning were the most serious according to the Bible. Israelites who practiced child sacrifice were to be stoned according to Leviticus 20:2. People who blasphemed God were to be taken outside the city to be stoned according to Leviticus 24:14, 23. Anyone who caused another person to worship gods other than the Jewish God were to be stoned according to Deuteronomy 3:9, as well as anyone who was caught worshiping the sun or the stars according to Deuteronomy 17:7. Parents were allowed to stone their own children if they were stubborn and refused to obey according to Deuteronomy 21:23.
The first mention of stoning in the Bible is a man whose crime was gathering wood on the Sabbath day. It happened soon after the Ten Commandments had been issued, when God and Moses met together on top of Mt. Sinai. This was only a few months after the people of Israel fled Pharaoh's army through the path in the Red Sea. The story is recorded in Numbers 15:36. It falls in the category of blasphemy because the man did not respect the Lord sufficiently to obey Him. The next recorded stoning happened after Israel entered Canaan and they fought the famous battle of Jericho. One man, Achan, coveted and stole a prohibited Babylonian garment and some other treasure from Jericho and hid it beneath his tent. Even though no one had seen his deed, God exposed it after the army was defeated by a much smaller city, Ai. To eradicate the guilt that Achan's sin brought on the whole community, everyone joined in stoning him and his entire family.
It must be noted that Sabbath breakers were NOT the only people who were stoned to death in the Old Testament. The following offenders were stoned death. 1. Striking or reviling a parent (Exodus 21:15, 17). 2. Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14, 16, 23). 3. Sabbath-breaking (Numbers 15:32-36; Exodus 31:14; 35:2). 4. Witchcraft, and false pretension to prophecy (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 13:5; 18:20. 5. Adultery (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 13:5; 18:20). 6. Unchastely (Deut. 22:21, 23; Lev. 21:9). 7. Rape (Deut. 22:25). 8. Incestuous relations and bestiality (Lev. 20:11, 14, 15; Exodus. 22:19) 9. Having sex with your father’s wife, as distinct from "your mother", as it was common practice for men at the time to have several wives. (both die) (Lev.20:20) Kidnap (Ex. 21:16; Deut. 24:7). 10. Idolatry, (Lev. 20:2; Deut. 13:6, 10, 15; 17:2-7). The daughter of a priest practicing prostitution (death by fire) (Lev.21:9), Worshiping idols, Practicing magic (Exodus 22:18). Being a medium or spiritualist. (Stoning) (Leviticus 20:27)
Eccle. 8:11-13 reads “Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the sons of men is fully set to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life , yet l know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear God, because they fear before him, but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God”
Prophet Danial reveals that the Stone (Jesus) will crush unbelievers and all those who disobey the commandments of God at the Second Coming. Eccle. 12:13-14 says “The end of the matter;all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or bad”
The fact that Sabbath breakers are not stoned to death in the 21st Century does not necessarily mean that it is lawful in the sight of God to break the Sabbath just as it is umbilical to blaspheme, commit adultery, practice witchcraft etc.