True, the Sabbath school lesson for this week’s discussion about the day of rest focuses a lot on creation (lesson for sunday, monday, also friday again), but the article here, as interesting as the references to Bull/Guy are, for some reason seems to be trapped completely in that never ending discussion.
This way some other aspects of the Sabbath command get neglected and I’d like to pick them out, because they are, in my experience, for many Adventists today the reason for major intellectual troubles:
Why is it of such an importance and considered to be even a matter of life and death that our day of rest must be observed on saturdays and not e.g. on sundays or wednesdays?
Why is the Sabbath law placed at the center of the ten commandments which is, according to ancient Hebrew poetic rules, the position of the most important part of a text? Why should it therefore be even more important than the other laws? A view that EGW confirms in her accounts of a vision where she saw the Sabbath law shine a bit stronger than the others.
How come that we invest incredible amounts of energy into the defense of the concept of a literal 6-day creation but that nobody seems to be disturbed by the fact that the two versions of the ten commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 differ exactly in that single point: the argument for keeping the Sabbath holy is exchangeable! How can that be? Which version is the one that God wrote himself? Both?
The authors of the lesson quarterly touch these subjects but it becomes obvious, that they don’t have integrating answers, so the issue is only raised in the form of questions for discussion. One of them tries to counter the idea of a creation lasting longer than 6 literal days by asking “What purpose is there in keeping the seventh day holy in commemoration of billions of years…” This line of thought is part of the traditional answer to my point 1) up here, as we all have been taught in bible class since we remember. (It ignores though that Deut 5 neither refers to billions of years nor literal 6 days but doesn’t need creation at all to justify Sabbath observance.)
I want to suggest a (speculative) answer that I have mentioned here before, but that has not yet found its way into Adventist circles of discussion, even though it would provide an intellectually satisfying answer to the questions up here as well as to the ones raised in the lesson quarterly. The point is: If the argument for keeping the Sabbath in Exodus and Deuteronomy is exchangeable, it might be because both reasons given were NOT the FINAL reason! Instead they are pointing to an other, more authoritative reason.
And the need to keep the Sabbath on exactly the saturdays as we use to do, may indeed be a historical necessity, but it could be pointing to and remembering another Sabbath day than the one we believe to find at the end of the creation week, and therefore take away the desperate pressure from our justification attempts when we insist on 6 literal days.
And the Sabbath law being at the center of the law could indeed be the most important revelation of who God is, not just an unintelligible test of faith, as we often preach it, but the most meaningful part of the law.
Jesus, the Son of God, the creator, the redeemer, died on a friday afternoon, at sunset, just in time to start a day of rest as the universe never ever had witnessed nor never ever will witness again. He rested in the grave. He rose again on a sunday. We always focus on his death and resurrection - but hardly ever talk about the time when he was dead, when he rested. But, dear sisters and brothers, why did Jesus from Nazareth rest in that grave for the duration of a whole Sabbath? Was he keeping the Sabbath there - or was the Sabbath keeping him? Why was he not raised on the Sabbath when he himself had made clear in his teachings that this would have been absolutely legitimate? Wasn’t that an emergency more urgent than a donkey in a pit? Who wants to contradict me must answer this question!
— I postulate that we keep and will eternally observe the Sabbath as a reminder of the historical fact that for one day in all eternity, the Son of God was lying dead in the grave. There the true character of God as being honest and non-manipulative and self-sacrificing was revealed in a way that no other answer could have provided. There the big conflict whether God used tricks or not was solved. There complete transparency was created. There God let go of what all knew was dearest to him. Zillions of living beings were stunned by the fact that God was not miraculously intervening! The whore-moms before Solomon, splendid king Darius and Daniel, Moses in the basket on the Nile river, whatever story we take from the Old testament, they testify of this day! That’s why we may be proud carriers of our name, 7th-day Adventists. It happened on a historical 7th day! In our earth’s history. This must be remembered forever!