The Sabbath — Another Look

During the last several months, I have been contemplating the meaning of the Sabbath in relationship to the cross and the resurrection. Adventists have been accused of focusing on the Sabbath while ignoring the resurrection. One of the defenses that we give is that baptism represents the death and burial of the old life and the resurrection to newness of life. This is a biblical position, but there seems to be more that could be said in our defense. Some of these ideas I have not heard — at least for a long time.

The Jews have known Passover as The Festival of Freedom. The first Passover lambs were sacrificed the day before the Israelites marched out of Egypt (“the iron furnace” Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jeremiah 11:4). As far as we know, this could have been on any day of the week, but it is significant that the year Christ died, the Passover occurred on Friday (beginning Thursday night). The Passover lamb represented Christ’s sacrifice for us, with the very next day (Sabbath) the first day of freedom from sin. The words of Christ “It is finished” is a significant and meaningful phrase.

The first day of true freedom is the knowledge and assurance that we can rest from our labor under sin and accept the previous day’s provision. The Sabbath is a full day (of time) dedicated by the God who is not bound by time, with the promise that He will come and especially be with us during the time He has set aside for us to spend with Him. It is incredible to me that God — who is outside of time and not limited by it or to it — has bound Himself with a promise to spend special time regularly to be with humanity.

I have also been interested in the term “asunder,” which denotes a complete and never-to-be-recovered breach between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the second death). It was demonstrated that Jesus was dead and lying in the tomb during the only time in eternity past or future when the Godhead has not been united. The Bible often gives small breadcrumb clues regarding additional layers of meaning to existing symbols. Is it possible that one of these is the attempt by the Jewish Sanhedrin to maneuver Pilate into placing a Roman seal over the tomb, through which Satan attempted to keep the Godhead eternally separated and “torn asunder”? This gives an important reason for Sabbath-keeping at the end of time — receiving the Seal of God.

It is a fact that because Christ lived a sinless life and answered all the false charges against God by Satan, that He (Christ) was raised to newness of life. Therefore, the first day of the week is our faith and trust that we too will be resurrected and changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

The Main Point

Because God’s death and resurrection bookend the Sabbath, it is our assurance, our surety, and our seal of salvation. Yes, the cross is essential — we could not be saved without it! Yes, the resurrection is essential — we would not have any assurance of our own resurrection without it! But it is the Sabbath when God himself was willing to be forever separated for the salvation of humanity, as well as to secure the universe from future defection (Nahum 1:9; Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 4:9), that we have a full assurance that both salvation and resurrection are not only possible but will be fully realized in our own lives.

 

Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10795

This article totally reinforces this accusation.

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Hmmm, How do I say it gently?.. :thinking:
Well, maybe I should just say that it was certainly "a good , sincere, and honest attempt to say something…

I always wonder how does this happen, God coming down here on Sabbath, to be with us. What does that really mean in practical terms???

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Sounds like He’s not here from sundown Saturday until sundown Friday. :thinking:

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I have no clue on where those ideas may possibly come from.
I was always taught that our prayers and worship were supposed to ascend to Heaven. Now the God of the Universe comes down here… But, here WHERE? And it must be quite a journey, because the Sabbath happens as different times around the world. Therefore, at every hour (for 24 times, He needs to jump to a different time zone.

I wonder if all this ‘Godly maneuver’ is actually a worth “travail” … :roll_eyes:

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Are you sure about that? Careful!

It’s incredible to me, too–for different reasons. God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t restrict His attention to us to certain days, does He?

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It may sound strange but the Roman Catholic Church recently gave a very good defense for the Sabbath:

“In his wisdom, God set aside the Sabbath so that the land and its inhabitants could rest and be renewed. These days, however, our way of life is pushing the planet beyond its limits. Our constant demand for growth and an endless cycle of production and consumption are exhausting the natural world. Forests are leached, topsoil erodes, fields fail, deserts advance, seas acidify and storms intensify. Creation is groaning!” (https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/pont-messages/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20200901_messaggio-giornata-cura-creato.html)

They are right on this one: the Sabbath was part of God’s design when He created the world. That’s why the seventh day was sanctified in Eden the very first week of this world’s history, before sin and death entered the world.

God told Adam and Eve concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil: “The day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17), but the Devil, the archdeceiver, told Eve: “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen 3:4).

God said “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, …” (Ex 20:8-11).

But the Roman Catholic Church declared that “Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.” (Council of Laodicea - Canon 29).

But they are now saying “In his wisdom, God set aside the Sabbath so that the land and its inhabitants could rest and be renewed…”: he is trying to trick the world into believing that Sunday is the true Sabbath and that keeping it is the only solution to solve the environmental, economic, social and health crisis the word is now facing. Do you see how cunning they are? How they are able to twist their tongue?

Anyways, as the prophet Daniel said: “None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” (Daniel 12:10).

Second that motion!

Genesis 1 provides a creation story which takes six days. Genesis 2:3 describes the single day in history upon which God began His rest from that activity, an every-day rest which Hebrews tells us was still in progress thousands of years later. A continuous rest, not repeated rests every seven days

There is no sabbath in either creation story, or anywhere else before Ex 16. God honored the seventh day of the narrative in Gen 2:3, not the seventh day of every week. (There was no “calendar” week until the Babylonians invented it around 700 BC. )

The Saturday vs Sunday issue is an Idea our pioneers got from the Seventh Day Baptists and expanded beyond recognition.

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Me too!

Just thinking of the disciples’ experience. After Christ’s departure, what could possibly have been a more meaningful message for them than the resurrection? No wonder they mention the resurrection so many times while there is rarely a reference to the Sabbath.

I question myself on this quite often. Were the disciples even preaching about keeping the Sabbath? Well, the New Testament does not tell us much about this.

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It get’s worse! Believe it or not, the only authorization to keep sabbath from evening to evening restricts it to sundown on the ninth day of the seventh month until 24 hours later.

In typical EGW fashion, she withholds the location of the scripture that limits evening-to-evening sabbaths to one day a year. Then she misquotes said verse, thereby withholding the part of the commandment that she has led us to disobey. Her shameful “quote”:

The angel said to her, “From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbaths.” This is a general commandment obviously covering all sabbaths! What more could we ask for?

We could ask for the truth from EGW and the EGW Estate.

Compare this with what the scripture actually says:

"From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath." (The deep secret text: Lev 23:32)

One such sabbath a year. Sabbath not sabbaths. The only sabbath to be observed even-to-even is one that we don’t even keep anyway.

So when does each sabbath begin? (That is, when did it begin before Paul’s schoolmaster retired?) When did the first day begin?

God said, let there be light…And He called the light day: and creation of light was a done-deal. Only then evening came, after the day’s creating was done, just like the other five creation days.

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I was told one Easter weekend that since we are living in the time of the end, Sabbath is THE important doctrine, more important than teaching about Christ’s resurrection (this was after I said ‘He is Risen indeed!’). Oops, I forgot which church I was in…

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:woman_facepalming:

When I joined the church, it was sooo weird to me that there was no mention of the resurrection at Easter. This was the case for years and years. Yes, the Sabbath was always the main thing.

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Isn’t it weird that we are reminded of the Sabbath every week, but of the Resurrection only once a year on Easter?

It has served as a diversion and a vehicle to bind our pioneers’ anxiety for being wrong with their predictions. It has continued in its tradition among our GC leadership. A simple “We are sorry” would have sufficed but it requires a self-confident person to admit to his follies. But how many GC officers are there to say “enough is enough” to the organization that pays their salary?

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Oh Elmer, you are so critical! Don’t you see what a blessing they are to the Church???
(Whatever that means… )
:wink:
:innocent:

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But not as critical as those GC officers who do one day after retiring and thereafter. :wink:

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I don’t believe there was much controversy about the 7th day Sabbath in the days of the apostle.
Moreover, the very first body of Christians where converted Jews. The 3000 converts of Acts 2:41 and the 5000 of Acts 4:4 where Jews from all corners of the world who had come to Jerusalem to worship and believed that Jesus was the Messiah. The christian church grew from there and expanded as the gospel was preached to the gentiles.
Apostasy regarding the Sabbath began much later after the death of the apostles, and it was initially confined to Rome and Alexandria. Here is proof from a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century AD:

Blockquote
“Such is the difference in the churches on the subject of fasts. Nor is there less variation in regard to religious assemblies. 788 For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath 789 of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this. The Egyptians in the neighborhood of Alexandria, and the inhabitants of Thebaïs, hold their religious assemblies on the sabbath, but do not participate of the mysteries in the manner usual among Christians in general: for after having eaten and satisfied themselves with food of all kinds, in the evening making their offerings 790 they partake of the mysteries. At Alexandria again, on the Wednesday 791 in Passion week and on Good Friday, the scriptures are read, and the doctors expound them; and all the usual services are performed in their assemblies, except the celebration of the mysteries. This practice in Alexandria is of great antiquity, for it appears that Origen most commonly taught in the church on those days. He being a very learned teacher in the Sacred Books, and perceiving that the ‘impotence of the law’ 792 of Moses was weakened by literal explanation, gave it a spiritual interpretation; declaring that there has never been but one true Passover, which the Saviour celebrated when he hung upon the cross: for that he then vanquished the adverse powers, and erected this as a trophy against the devil. In the same city of Alexandria, readers and chanters 793 are chosen indifferently from the catechumens and the faithful; whereas in all other churches the faithful only are promoted to these offices. I myself, also, learned of another custom in Thessaly…” (Socrates Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica [Schaff])

Blockquote
“It is a fact that it was formerly the custom in the East to keep the Sabbath in the same manner as the Lord’s day and to hold sacred assemblies: while on the other hand, the people of the West, contending for the Lord’s day have neglected the celebration of the Sabbath .” “Apollinaries Sidonius Epistolae,” lib.1, 2; Migne, 57.

There is plenty of evidence showing that the VAST majority of early Christians observed the Sabbath, and it is only after the 2nd century that a gradual shift towards Sunday worship began to occur in conjunction with the rise of the Roman church.

Concerning the false claim that early “church fathers” had rejected Sabbath in favor of Sunday, I found an excellent article (from a non adventist author) covering the topic in much details (a sermon from the author on the same topic is also available on YouTube).

I am not sure I understand your point correctly: Do you believe in a creation in six literal days?

Because if you do believe in a creation in six literal days, then you should also agree that the seventh day of Genesis 2:3 is a literal day which God sanctified because in it He HAD (past tense) rested from all His work (also see Ezekiel 20:12).

This is not what the 4th commandment says. Although the 4th commandment seems to speaks to rural community with family farms, rather then an industrial modern society.

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I believe that the authors of these two creation stories intended to say that God created the universe in six literal days and He rested (ceased creating) from that activity on the seventh day, and He has been resting from the task of creating ever since. (Two related uses of “rest”.)

But He didn’t write these particular stories or endorse them. The second story tells about a serpent that could talk because it was so clever. But snakes can’t talk.