The Sabbath and the Marriage Bed
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imageOne of the most popular questions that is posed concerning Sabbath observance is whether or not it is proper for a husband and wife to engage in sexual relations during the Sabbath hours. This question was raised in response to a posting I made on the significance of the Sabbath.  (Also found on SSNET.org)

Although the Bible doesn’t answer this question directly, it does provide some key guidelines and principles that can help each couple come to a mutually satisfaction resolution.

The most commonly quoted texts against sexual intimacy on the Sabbath are Exodus 19:10-15 (especially verse 15) and Isaiah 58:13,14.

The Mount Sinai Experience

I have not been able to determine what day of the week that God came down to Mount Sinai, but the injunction that Moses placed upon the people to abstain from sexual activity as they awaited the appearance of God on the mountain was clearly a special and isolated event. Note that they had to prepare for God to come three (3) days hence, and that throughout the entire preparation time, they were to abstain. There is nothing to suggest that this is a precedent for how to keep the weekly Sabbath on a continuing basis, and if we were, that would rule out Thursday, Friday and the Sabbath. God’s visit to Mount Sinai was an  extraordinary event, and the things associated with it should be considered just as extraordinary.

The fact that only Exodus 19:15 contains a prohibition against sexual relations, when none of the many Sabbath commandments do, should be proof enough that the Mount Sinai event was very special one, and not a precedent for Sabbath keeping in general.

Doing Your Pleasure

The phrase “doing your own pleasure” of Isaiah 58 would seem to be more applicable, but consider the context of the chapter. Nothing else in Isaiah 58 appears to be covering personal relationships in this fashion. Isaiah 58 is a call to God’s people, informing them that, while they are going through the motions of worship and religious experience, they are busy fighting, oppressing the poor and weak, and failing to provide for the needs of others. While there is nothing wrong with evaluating marital relations within the context of these two verses (Isaiah 58:13,14), it does not automatically flow from the context.

Furthermore, while sexual intercourse is intended to be pleasurable for each participant, the goal of each person should be to express love and give pleasure to one’s spouse. For Christians, it is not supposed to be about finding one’s own pleasure.

The Sanctity of the Marriage Bed

The Apostle Paul makes several references to marriage and the marital relations.  In Hebrews 13:4, he indicates that marriage and the marital bed are honorable.  In 1 Corinthians 7, which is a chapter with a lot of counsel pertaining to marriage and relationships, Paul recommends that a married couple should not abstain from intimacy with each other unless mutually agreed upon for some reason, such as prayer and fasting (v5). In Ephesians 5:21-33, Paul expounds on how we should treat one another, focusing primarily on the marital relationship. In verses 31 and 32, he even goes so far as to compare the joining together of a husband and wife, with the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. The books of Isaiah and Revelation are replete with references to God and His people in a marital context, which is why Israel was said to have committed whoredom whenever they turned to worshiping idols.

When you consider the sacredness of the marriage institution as God gave it to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and you add the fact that all throughout the Bible, this same level of intimacy between a man and his wife is compared to the relationship that God has with His people, it is hard to conclude that sexual intimacy during the Sabbath hours – particularly during the night-time of the Sabbath – is forbidden by Scripture.

There is nothing to suggest that there has ever been any injunction against it, and I personally have a hard time looking at Genesis 1:28 and coming to the conclusion that God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful, but didn’t explain exactly how to go about it until the first day of the next week.  Smile

In that vein, Christian couples should consider how special a gift it was that God gave to mankind, and engage in it in a way which reflects its precious and holy origins.

Preferring One Another

The Bible speaks extensively about sex and about the Sabbath, but never about the former being inappropriate during the latter. Now, if your options are choosing being sexual intimacy vs going to church during the morning hours of the Sabbath, I might have to question your priorities. But, as for the night time, there is no biblical prohibition.

Having said all that, please note that 1 Corinthians 7, Romans 12, and Ephesians 5 highlight a major principle that should govern this discussion:

Ephesians 5:21 KJV
(21)  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 KJV
(3)  Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
(4)  The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Romans 12:10 KJV
(10)  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

We are to give preference to the needs and desires of our spouses over ourselves. This works best, of course, when both spouses are honoring and preferring one another, so that no one is being taken advantage of. Forcibly persuading or attempting to guilt spouses into doing something that they feel is wrong or inappropriate is completely unChristlike.

If your spouse feels very strongly that sexual intimacy on the Sabbath is not in line with Biblical principles, then all attempts to convince her that she is wrong – whether using the Bible or not – would be wrong.  And, you have to ask yourself just how effective it will be to bond with your spouse under those circumstances. This is equally true of a wife trying to convince a husband, lest anyone conclude that this is a one-sided issue.

If the sanctity of marriage were more universally appreciated, and the joy of the Sabbath were better understood, this issue might soon become far less of a contention among Christian couples.

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Comments

The Sabbath and the Marriage Bed — 61 Comments

  1. Thank you for what seems to me a remarkably comprehensive review of the subject. It even included a couple of thoughts that had been on my mind ever since the rather brief discussion between us readers.

    One of these is the sacredness of the marriage relation, to which both Inge and I had already alluded. This could tend to make it highly compatible with the Sabbath, which is also sacred.

    The other thought is the argument from silence. We are educated to be very careful in making such arguments. Nevertheless, it seems to me that, had God intended a prohibition here, He certainly could have communicated that fact through His prophets and apostles -- or Jesus Himself could have said something. After all, the Bible does warn us against self-imposed religion. (See Colossians 2:23)

    On the other hand, there is always the possibility of general principles which ought to be applied in the absence of a direct command. However, as you pointed out, such arguments in this case have generally tended to undermine the sacredness of the marital union, and reduce it to mere pleasure seeking. Certain professedly Christian organisations have an unfortunate history of making sexual prohibitions (such as celibacy requirements) as a result of what seem to me to be some manifestly unhealthy attitudes toward sexuality in general. I don't think we want to go there.

    I'm glad you pointed out the importance of submitting to one another, and of being careful not to violate the conscience of a weaker brother or sister while seeking to please ourselves. (See Romans 15:1)

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    • 1There is a general believe that sex in its entirety is sinful,Sex is good and honorable if practiced within its original purpose(question:was sex meant for procreation like it is for all other creatures or man was given exclusive rights to use it for leisure).
      2 The Sabbath like Jesus comments(Mark 2:27) is meant to make us happy as we reflect the love of God we need not to live in a form of punishment but rather make ourselves happy but maintaining the sole purpose of the sabbath; the sabbath is for us.
      3 Resting simply means Leisure · Human relaxation,
      The sabbath is a day of rest,but with a reflection of the power and love of God in creation.
      The sabbath is sacred,marriage is sacred,sex is an integral part of marriage,we cannot separate sex from marriage,and marriage from the sabbath.
      I love how Jesus treated the Sabbath,it was never a burden,never a punishment where Christians in the developing countries eat cold food in the name of the Sabbath simply because they could not afford a hot pot.

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  2. This Bible is very clear in general concerning sex prior to any appointed or scheduled holy convocation that God has ordained. The real issue, no pun intended! is one that deals with the laws of cleanliness.

    "We" as Laodicians are going to have a carnally strong, spiritual bent toward pleasure seeking on the Sabbath. The Bible tells us that whenever a Husband and wife have intercourse that they are unclean for a 24 hour period before they are hygienically clean and are permitted by God to mingle and worship with the assembled believers here is proof.

    Lev 15:16 And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
    Lev 15:17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
    Lev 15:18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

    I know that these thing that I am presenting by the word of the Lord are not convenient and seem antiquated. On top of all of this neither were the laws of sanitation nailed to the cross. These are the things in the Bible that we like to call grey areas. How is having proper sanitation and hygienic etiquette ever antiquated? Pray tell? Here is proof, Exo 15:26 "And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."

    Let us also not forget that Jesus also dealt with this very issue, and what would be for some a all consuming issue (sex on the Sabbath, or "Lay activities"). Proof Luk 14:20 "And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come". Have you ever wondered why he could not come to this holy convocation. What was so argent that he could not honor the Lord as creator and redeemer?

    Andrew S Baker has stated in his comments,"I personally have a hard time looking at Genesis 1:28 and coming to the conclusion that God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful, but didn’t explain exactly how to go about it until the first day of the next week." I have to remind you Andrew S Baker that the Bible clearly states that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day, therefore they would have been in compliance with keeping the Sabbath holy had they indulged on the sixth day. Not only that Mr. Baker what we are reading in Leviticus 15 is after sin had already infiltrated the Kingdom of God on earth.

    before sin entered into the world Adam and Eve minds were not of a carnal nature as it relates to sexual relation. Their primary propose of sexual relations was to populate God kingdom on earth with citizens of the kingdom by procreation. Adam and Eve Understood that the primary way to evangelize the world was by procreation. "WE" on the other hand as backslid-den Laodicians have a hard time grappling with this most important form of evangelism of our own children, and making them discipleship of Christ rather that Satan.

    Here is another interesting point to note. Every act of creation that God preformed during the creation week had been done prior to the Sabbath hours. Another point that has to be pondered is that Good is seeking only His own pleasure during the six days of creating His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. On the Sabbath He is resting or celebrating the results of seeking His own pleasures during the six days of creation distinctly different than he does on that Sabbath, in resting for that type of labor. If we examine that fruits of God pleasure seeking it is all for the benefit of sharing his Glory with mankind. Why is it that all the things we see God doing during the six day are for man to have dominion over. It would go to reason that the Sabbath is given to man to solely acknowledged, worship and celebrate the commemoration of God laying that foundation of the earth as supreme ruler over us all. The Sabbath is not give for man to have intercourse with himself (Self center) but rather for man to have intercourse solely with God, forsaking his own flesh.

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    • Thanks for your feedback.

      Of all that you have stated, only Leviticus 15 texts could be deemed relevant to this situation. However, I am interested in why you've chosen to narrow the focus to only verses 15-18...

      It seems to me that verses 15-18 cannot be easily separated from the rest of the chapter. How then should we view verse 19? Do we forbid all who now have "an issue of blood" from attending church? Should we? There are other verses in this chapter that will need to be addressed as well. Yes, maintaining sanitary conditions is still appropriate and recommended, but there are verses here which go beyond that. How should we handle the offerings that are required for an extended bout of uncleanness?

      Your application of Luke 14:20 to that of a holy convocation is also intriguing. While the parable *represents* the coming of our Savior, the immediate context of the parable is not a holy convocation, but a supper.

      Lastly, I have a question for you: At what point in the day was the Sabbath actually created? The Bible is quite clear on this point, although we usually read it (and say it) in a different way than Genesis records it.

      Thanks again

      -ASB

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      • Andrew, I certainly see a sequence on the seventh day but I am having trouble determining the time of day. Could you please be a bit more explicit on the subject.

        Tyler

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        • See Genesis 2:1-3. The Sabbath is essentially created because God rested on it. The first Sabbath wasn't called the Sabbath until it was completed.

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    • I'm sorry, but this seems to me to be a classic case of deciding what one wishes to believe, and then trying to find Scriptural support for it. A man can rise no higher than his conception of God. If one sees God as a (selfish) being who could or would indulge in seeking His own pleasure, then how is one to have a proper conception regarding the purpose of physical relations within marriage? It appears to me that it is precisely this low view of sexuality that lies at the root of your error, brother. We know that pleasure seeking is a sin, regardless of the day of the week on which it is pursued. Yet the marriage bed is honourable. God is calling us to a higher standard.

      Self-imposed religion has the appearance of wisdom, but it is of no value against the flesh. Nevertheless, if your conscience tells you to abstain on the Sabbath, brother, by all means do so.

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  3. Thank you very much for welcoming other views from the Bible.

    Andrew S. Baker I have read your response. It is my pleasure to have meet you via the internet. I would like to know how having intercourse among ourselves (ONE) on the Sabbath brings Glory to God? Remember husband and wife are "One Flesh". The phrase one flesh activity would by default not be a activity that would include the Lord in and on the "Lords Day". The Bible clearly states that sex is part of the work that we are to do during the six working days in the week. Think about it God gives us six days to have sex, in the confines our work in the marriage union and we are too one flesh centered on the Lords Day to refrain?

    By way, that day does not belong to us. What gives? It is called the "Lords day" for a reason, it really belongs to him in totality. Another point that I would like to take up that you mention in your last communication. The Bible clearly tells us that the wedding supper is the official wedding supper of the "Lamb of God". How is this not a holy convocation? He prepares a table for us, He supplies a wedding garment,ant his own expense, and he even confers upon the guest the greatest honor that can be given to those that are born again, even the honor of The King. What kind of gathering is this if not a holy convocation, pray tell?

    Another thing to be acknowledged in the very first Sabbath celebration on earth, that is never acknowledged. The Sabbath is not only commemorative but is it also the official Grand opening celebration of God bestowing upon humanity the privilege to commence the dominion of His kingdom business in the earth as it is in heaven. Just because you are not able to see the connection with the other scriptures does not mean that the text do not have any relevance to the topic.

    The Lord has set a president on how the Sabbath was created in how the other day were created. This is very explicit in the text in Genesis 1. Just because you are not able to see the connection with the other scriptures does not mean that the text do not have any relevance to the topic. But remember the Bible says that "WE" as Laodicians are in a condition of continual blindness. So, not seeing would be in order with the Lords rebuke to you as well as me.

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    • I respect Andrew's silence in response to this post, nor do I have any thought of anything like answering on his behalf. Nevertheless, in the interest of clarity, I have a few comments to make in regard to some of the specific statements.

      1. How does our marital union (on the Sabbath or otherwise) bring glory to God?
      Answer: God is one.

      2. "The Bible clearly states that sex is part of the work that we are to do during the six working days in the week."
      Answer: Reference, please! Just where do you find this clear statement? A minute ago sex was pleasure seeking. Now it's just the opposite, work. Either way, I have to feel that God intends it to be on a far higher plane than that!

      3. "It is called the 'Lords day' (sic) for a reason, it really belongs to him in totality."
      Answer: As converted Christians, we also belong to the Lord in totality. So we should be seeking only to please Him, during the six working days of the week, as well as in our Sabbath observance. As Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees, following man-made rules is a poor way to try to please Him.

      4. The man who said, "I have married a wife; therefore I cannot come," was a character in a parable. If we do not wish to do violence to the intent of the Storyteller, then it seems to me that we must interpret the details of a parable within the context of the story. In this case, the parable (or story) was about "a certain man who gave a great supper and invited many." So, as Andrew has pointed out, the man in the parable was declining to attend a great supper hosted by a certain man. IN THE STORY, there doesn't seem to be anything to indicate any kind of religious aspect to the supper.

      5. "Just because you are not able to see the connection with the other scriptures does not mean that the text (sic) do not have any relevance to the topic."
      Answer: II Peter 1:20 "No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation." It seems to me that this requires us to apply a kind of "reasonable man" (or rather, reasonable Christian) test. I concur with Andrew that there is a distinct lack of rational or logical connection between the Scriptures cited and the purported conclusions.

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    • Thomas, what do think makes intercourse wrong on the sabbath rather than on the other days - is it because it is work or pleasure or self-satisfaction? do you remember why Jesus in Mark 2:27 spoke of the reason as to why the sabbath was established? was it not because of man but not man for the sabbath.

      Take a simple example of eating, is eating on the sabbath day work, pleasure or self satisfaction? what makes the difference between eating and intercourse, someone may ague that it would be appropriate to fast on the sabbath, which would make more sense, but may divert the whole purpose of the sabbath: Rest and therefore happiness.

      The sabbath is simply a celebration not a moaning, think of what you can do on a Godly celebration, you can eat well, you can praise, you can go on a nature walk, you can worship, but you can also have intercourse with your partner only, that one activity should not undermine the other.

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  4. Why don't we all agree that we can do whatever we want on the 6 working days that God had given [to do work] and just plainly set the Sabbath aside for GOD and YOU!!! If you do have intercourse on Sabbath, won't you be drained and tired to do everything else that you are supposed to do....like trying to be attentive in church, to your family, and helping out in church on Sabbath???

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    • In the manifest absence of a plain "thus saith the Lord," I (for one) could never accept any position on this subject as doctrine. So, if you like, why not discuss the matter, making suggestions pro and con, and then leave it up to individual conscience? If God hasn't seen fit to make a rule for everyone to follow, regarding this matter, then who are we to try to make one for each other, as if to spy out the freedom that we have in Christ? Let the Holy Spirit guide each couple as He may see fit.

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    • Given that Friday night is also a part of the Sabbath hours, it would seem like getting a good night's rest would tend to address the problem with being drained at church. Wouldn't it?

      Sadly, there seem to be lots of people who are drained at church (or too drained to go to church), and it's not even because of marital intimacy...

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  5. Thank you for the commentary on this topic. However, this illustrates the over emphasis on compliance in spiritual development as contrasted with an emphasis on spiritual development based on a personal relationship with Christ. It would be dysfunctional to enter a marriage by first becoming an expert in the rules and obligations of being a spouse, and then afterward deciding to get to know and love the person who will actually become your spouse. Similarly, if ones personal relationship with Christ is sufficiently developed, and they enjoy a Christ centered marriage, this question would be answered via prayer.

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  6. I just wanna say THANK GOD for this very important topic . It is one that I have always silently questioned and today it has been answered .

    As Christians , the bible is a guideline for our daily lives . And if we believe in that , THAN LET US KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY AND ESPECIALLY FOR OUR DIVINE FELLOWSHIP WITH OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR !!!

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  7. The comments given against sabbath intermacy is doing nothing but making God into a wicked slave master who sets butter before the cat demanding that the cat pass the night without touching it .... remember the wedding ceremony was on friday evening,( the sixth day) and the honey moon began there after. think about it. on the day of the honeymoon they are told not to touch until after the sabbath has passed! you will agree that they would need to get seperate rooms.

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    • I agree. The God we are serving is a loving God. He did not make a commandment "Thou shalt not have sex on the Sabbath Day". If He did, we will know for sure that we are committing sin by having sex on the Sabbath. Marital intimacy is one of the many blessings we should thank God for on His Sabbath day.

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  8. It should be apparent, by now, that I have nothing to urge, either way, in regard to whether or not any particular married couple should choose to engage in physical union during the holy hours of the Sabbath. I am, however, alarmed at the thought of Christians uncritically accepting ideas that really lack any Scriptural foundation.

    So far, no one has gone into much detail in response to that first (somewhat lengthy) posting by Louis Thomas. Of course, none of us knows everything. But, I have a few minutes, so, with your leave and God's grace perhaps I could attempt to share a few thoughts in regard to some specific points.

    1. "This Bible is very clear in general concerning sex prior to any appointed or scheduled holy convocation that God has ordained."

    Based on the lack of support offered for this broad statement, I have to say that it's simply not true!

    The only Scriptural instance cited, that includes an explicit command to this effect, is prior to God's appearance on Mount Sinai to speak His law to the people -- hardly just another holy convocation! If man or beast so much as touched the mountain, he was to be stoned.

    EVEN IF this generalization were true, it wouldn't prove anything in regard to the Sabbath. The time prior to a holy convocation and the time devoted to the Sabbath are clearly two different things. Indeed, many Sabbath hours take place AFTER we have completed our church services.

    2. "The real issue, no pun intended! is one that deals with the laws of cleanliness."

    If that's the real issue, I think that Andrew has already raised some rather serious unanswered questions about it. Are all women supposed to be absent from church once a month, because of their "customary impurity?" Again, are these rules not part and parcel of the types and shadows of the ceremonial law? What are we supposed to do about the animal sacrifices connected with the laws of impurity and cleansing? It seems obvious to me that we should take reasonable steps to ensure proper hygiene, and then let the ceremonial law stay nailed to the cross where it belongs. The Jerusalem council of the apostles (in Acts 15) was not convened for nothing!

    3. "As Laodicean Christians the Bible tell 'US' that 'WE' as a people have a great aversion to being spiritually or physically cleansed by Gods manner of righteousness."

    Really? Does the Bible say that? I've read the Laodicean message (in Revelation 3) many times, and cannot recall ever having read anything to that effect. My reading says that we have TOO LITTLE aversion or enthusiasm for anything religious or spiritual! We're self-satisfied and indifferent to God's far-reaching claims on our lives, as well as to the needs of a lost and dying world. Surely, in the blindness of our apostasy, compromise is bound to sneak in. However, I believe we need to let God's word and God's law correct us on that, not human opinion. O.K.?

    4. It's clear enough to me that the man in the parable COULD have come to the supper, and his wife would have been welcome. He was just being selfish and rude. How often do people really tell the truth when they are making flimsy excuses? It seems Jesus, who told the story, knows human nature very well.

    5. "Before sin entered into the world Adam and Eve minds were not of a carnal nature as it relates to sexual relation. Their primary propose of sexual relations was to populate God kingdom on earth with citizens of the kingdom by procreation."

    This statement seems to imply (or at least suggest) that procreation is the only legitimate purpose of physical relations in marriage. I've never read anything like that in the Bible. It seems to me to be a merely human opinion, and a prudish one at that. Physical intimacy in marriage, when pursued in the unselfish spirit of Christ, properly expresses the sacred union that marriage was intended to protect, and even tends to solidify it to the glory of God. That the experience also happens to be highly enjoyable is God's "fault," I guess.

    6. The primary way to evangelize the world is by procreation?

    I think somebody needs to re-read the Great Commission.

    7. I know the Bible says that the world was created for God's pleasure.

    This means that the world was created to serve God's purposes of love and benevolence. Please do not misinterpret the words of Holy Writ in order to bring God down to our own selfish level!

    I'm sorry, but read that post as carefully as I may, I can find no substance whatsoever to the claim that God has forbidden marital relations during the holy hours of the Sabbath. May God save us from being led astray by human opinions, subtle distortions, and false claims (i.e. fluff).

    Again, if you and your spouse see fit to abstain during the Sabbath hours, you are certainly at liberty to do so. But please do not attempt to place a yoke of bondage on your fellow believers, by making up your own man-made rules and then pretending to have found Scriptural support for them. Is this not what the Pharisees did? And did Jesus ever commend them for it?

    The solution for the Laodicean condition is to buy the gold, tried in the fire (faith that works by fervent love), the white raiment of Christ's righteousness (not the filthy rags of our own "righteousness"), and to anoint our eyes with eye salve (the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit). I think we have enough to do in pursuing religion in God's clearly revealed way, without pushing our own carnal agenda.

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    • I have seen so many times when religious teachers tell their audience having sex on the Sabbath is sin and justifying it by quoting Isaiah 58 ..well known but used improperly . . Several times this persuasive comment had me almost convinced maybe It is wrong after all..
      It was not until i read this statement in its proper setting did I come to realize how often scriptures are used in a way that was not intended, for many times the original meaning is lost sight of and hidden from the eyes of the majority.
      Even when it clearly seen the debate goes on and on and on for sexual intimacy is something we born with but is used inappropriately at times so we're not sure just what is the right and wrong actions at times..
      Sometimes others get downright stubborn and obstinate and refuse to allow themselves to learn about just what is and is not good common sense in spirit filled lives.
      DO not; I repeat DO NOT use sexual intimacy as a weapon to get even with your mate over something you do not like either what they might of said or done that u dislike.
      YOU are just stirring up the waters of strife and you are creating more harm them good and your relationship may never be healed if u continue, IN THE Judgment phase then do u want to be held accountable for your inappropriate ways ?

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    • I want to thank R.G for taking his time to read the earlier comment and put this issue in clarity. Friends I believe marriage is holy, It was instituted by God himself in Genesis and the act of sexual intimacy was then given in marriage by God. In all fairness I believe that sexual intimacy is therefore a holy act as long as it is in marriage. The sabbath is also holy Exodus 20:8. If then the sabbath is holy and marriage is holy what makes sexual intimacy unholy when it is an act born out of holiness being done on a holy day? Friends if we forbid sexual intimacy are we then saying we cannot tell our loved ones how much we love them on the Sabbath Day, for i believe sexual intimacy is an expression of love. I however also agree that for the sake of the weaker brethren we should not force this topic on others.

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  9. I find this belief puzzling to say the least. I have heard others thoughts on intercouse and the Sabbath and feel that many have missed the true purpose of the Sabbath. During creation week, God not only created the animals, flowers, etc but He also created marriage and the Sabbath. These two entities are both sacred and are simply a reflection of God's love for humankind. After God created the marital relationship, God instructed Adam and Eve to be "fruitful and mutiply." In my mind sexual intercourse, in its true sense, between a man and wife, are blessed acts which are pleasing to God.
    For every perfect thing God has created, there is a counterfeit. Society's perception of sex is extremely perverse. Instead of an act of love and altruism, sex occurs as a result of selfish desires and lust. This perversion has even influenced many Christian's view of sex as something taboo. If we as Christians truly understood God's desire for us to have an intimate relationship with Him and how marriage is to represent this intimacy, our own perceptions would change. Instead of sex being viewed as something secular, it would be a celebration of God's creative power on His Sabbath Day!

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  10. I and my wife have enjoyed this discussion. We have learnt a lot on this discussion. I will propose a bible study on this topic in our church. we will use most of your comments. But now, what is the conclusion on this issue.

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    • Kelvin it is good to see that like so many, you are not as dismissive in spirit as some have expressed on this subject, that I have studied and continue to mine. I know I have presented scriptures that are not typical to this genre of discussion. In spite of that fact, hardly any of the participants have use even one text in presenting a Biblical responds. This is so typical of the Laodicean condition. "We have need of no advance revelation from God. This is what make us blind to old and new truths.

      I would love to know how the discussion goes at the fellowship that you are a part of. Maybe I can learn more about this topic and the "Our" condition as Laodiceans.
      Have a blessed Sabbath celebration!

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    • Kelvin, since Louis feels that some have been dismissive in spirit, I am glad to have taken the time to respond in detail to all of his suggestions. Perhaps I should have been more thorough in citing my Scriptural references.

      Nevertheless, in defense of others who have posted comments here, I think it is rather Louis who is being dismissive, when he denigrates the comments of others by saying they are typical of the Laodicean condition. I feel it is better not to quote the Scriptures than to twist their true intent.

      You asked for a conclusion? How about this?

      Galatians 5:1 (New King James Version)

      "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."

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      • I'm sorry R.G. but as usual the context of a text is important. Here is in part the discussion following Gal 5:1. " Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Gal 5:2-5 NKJV)

        Other than this I am so glad that I basically stayed out of this entire discussion.

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        • Tyler, of course you're correct about the original context. :) However, the principles of biblical texts may have more than one application.

          Check out how the apostles used the Scriptures of their day. :)

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        • Thank you, Inge. Tyler, you may be surprised to learn that I suggested this verse as a conclusion, in full awareness of its immediate context. Are you aware of its larger context? In this context, circumcision was a commitment to observe both the ceremonial law and the man-made rules invented by the Pharisees. (Hence Paul's words about being "a debtor to keep the whole law.") If you will go back and read the discussion, brother, you should be able to see that these are precisely the points at issue here. Furthermore, if one is not attempting to be justified by law, I have to question why he or she would be pushing these kinds of restrictions in the absence of a plain "thus saith the Lord."

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        • Inge, you are right there many times when texts have more than one meaning. And yes the writers of the Bible quite often quote out of context, but is that how we should use scripture to prove a point? If it is then truly scripture is made of clay and we can bend it any way we want.

          RG’s argument is that the discussion is a works vs faith discussion and certainly in Galatians Paul is making a case for a salvation through faith based religion as opposed to one that is works based. The problem is that the discussion doesn’t necessarily have to be faith vs works but rather how do we apply one of God’s laws.

          For years we have argued that doing God’s will is not salvation by works but a response to a gift of love. We use texts such as, “Not everyone who says to Me,`Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mat 7:21 NKJV) to prove our point. Therefore, the question being discussed, as far as I can see, is an effort to determine God’s will concerning the Sabbath and how we can best fit into the kingdom of Heaven and serve the King, not whether we will be saved or not by what we do.

          I really don’t care what people decide on the issue since it doesn’t apply to me, I am single! What does concern me is how we use scripture. And to second guess Inge, yes I probably misuse resources every bit as much as everyone else so I need to keep an eye on how I use texts as well.

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        • Tyler, I believe Inge wasn't talking about taking verses out of context in the way that you describe. I am convinced that she correctly saw the spiritual application of Galatians 5:1 to this discussion, which she seems to have been following quite closely.

          You said, "The discussion doesn’t necessarily have to be faith vs works but rather how do we apply one of God’s laws." This all sounds good in theory, but it hasn't proven true in the context of a very long and thorough conversation. The arguments against marital intimacy on the Sabbath have largely been attempted applications of ceremonial laws and/or the use of fanciful interpretations to make up prohibitions that are found nowhere in the Scriptures. (The rest seem to have stemmed from a low -- and unscriptural -- view of human sexuality.) Are these not the very practices that Paul was condemning, in Galatians 5 and elsewhere?

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        • Context is definitely one aspect of using scriptural references, but Bible writers often focused on themes and principles, rather than just context, when quoting scripture.

          We've definitely focused on context in recent years, but that's not the only way to use the Scriptures. The key point is that we can never twist a passage to say something that is not in harmony with the overriding themes of the Bible. Taking Acts 10 as a discourse on food, for example, will get you into all sorts of problems.

          OTOH, look at what Paul does in 1 Corinthians 10. He takes a physical activity and applies it to a very different spiritual one.

          Or look at how Paul applies Deut 25:4 in 1 Timothy 5:17-18 and 1 Corinthians 9:9-10.

          When using the Scriptures on some issue, and when evaluating someone else's use of the Scriptures, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, to ensure that the principles and themes of God's Word remain consistent in our usage of His Word.

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  11. Sex was given by God to humans on earth in the context of a holy union. It is the physical expression of an intellectual and emotional reality of oneness. It is honorable. It is sacred (set aside for special use). If you are born again and therefore walking after the spirit and not the flesh, there is no condemnation for you. If the marriage bed and your born again self are undefiled, then it continues to be so on the day of rest.

    If you can't fathom praising His Holy Name in the middle of a marital orgasm then you are simply still buying into the hijacked paradigm that satan's counterfeit of sex has imposed forcibly on this sweet gift given by Yahweh. It's even sweeter on the Sabbath!

    Pleasure and "your own pleasure" are not the same for the born again Believer. Saints should share the pleasures of God. Marital sex done in the spirit of other-centered love and oneness pleases Him even more than the climax pleases the partakers. God is love!

    Let every man be fully persuaded in his OWN heart...

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  12. Guess what Theologians....it's the Sabbath, and I'm looking forward to being "fruitful"!

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  13. Do not make the Sabbath a burden. To many times people loss joy in the Sabbath worrying about what is right or wrong. Such as In the Biblical times like only walking so many feet on the Sabbath etc. God made the Sabbath for physical rest, and to grow our relationship with Him and also time for us to devote to other relationships. I have never once questioned this issue and still do not. Go with your convictions, but make sure the focus of the Sabbath is on God and not on the DOs and DON'Ts. Enjoy the Sabbath for God's intended purpose. He will lead you into all truth.

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    • Thanks for putting the focus where it belongs, Julie. And thanks to the others that did the same.

      The Sabbath is meant to enhance our relationship with God. The Jews obscured that by all the rules they made, and we are in danger of doing the same.

      Thanks, Kurt, for your comment on the sacred nature of sex. Most of the world has forgotten that God invented sex -- not only for procreation but also as part of the marriage relationship which is intended to be an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical union of love between a husband and wife.

      Sex that is not relationship-centered (as so much sex in the world is not) is not the same as the gift of sex that God gave, and no Christian should engage in selfish sex on any day, let alone the Sabbath.

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  14. Leviticus 15:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT - For those who don't speak KJV)

    16 “Whenever a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his entire body in water, and he will remain ceremonially unclean until the next evening. (Why GOD?) 17 Any clothing or leather with semen on it must be washed in water, and it will remain unclean until evening. (Why GOD?) 18 After a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, they must each bathe in water, and they will remain unclean until the next evening. (Why GOD?)

    Reason: If we have sex Friday night, then the next evening is Saturday night. That means we will miss Sabbath worship?

    Answer: If God said so (including verse 19), then we must obey even if we don't understand why.

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    • Carlton, have you read the entire discussion so far? Are you also prepared to offer animal sacrifices for ceremonial cleansing, where the law requires them?

      That said, Carlton, what might your position be in regard to Sabbath afternoon marital intimacy?

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    • Actually Carlton, while I applaud your desire to be obedient to what God says, what God wants more is your understanding and reasoning (Isaiah 1:18). He wants us to know Him (John 17:3). If Moses just "obeyed " when God offered to kill off Israel and restart with him he would have missed the opportunity to reason with God which resulted in Moses actually thinking more like God (see Numbers 14).

      So it's NOT "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." No. It's "Did God say it? How should I understand it? How should I apply it? How should I share it?"

      Everything should be filtered through it's original context and even more so through the context of God's character. Faith is not blind mindless obedience. It is the hypostasis of things hoped for (the understanding of what your hope is based on). Divine intimacy is, therefore, most important! Blessings...

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  15. we should be so very happy, we are no longer under the livitical cermonial system... God has taken this away, nailed it to the cross, and we are free; otherwise not only would sexual intercoure be unclean, but even our women would need to stay away from church once or sometimes twice per month. let us enjoy the freedom gained at calvary and look foreword and not back

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  16. I have always taught that sabbath is the best day make love to your spouse. When we rest from all of our worries we can focus on loving God and loving each other. As for the logistics of when to do it, well that all depends (I have children!).

    However the one caveat to this is that both husband and wife must be in agreement. If one feels guilty because of a personal conviction, then the other must show their love by respecting that conviction. To do otherwise is selfish, and that is not love, thats just sex.

    May God bless you and happy love making!

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  17. Thank you for the eye openning message. I thought since marriage is one of the sanctified three( which is the Sabbath, Tithe and Marriage), I thought it was ok making love on the Sabbath.

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  18. Here a little, there a little. I read ALL the comments. How do we verify from the Old Testament which of God’s precepts are binding and which ones are not? Which ones were nailed to the cross and which ones were not? Maybe by looking to see if it points to Jesus’ role for the work of salvation, then that law was nailed to the cross; if it points to our sanctification then it is not nailed to the cross.

    Was the commandment to ‘Love thy neighbor as thy self’ nailed to the cross? Which was not in the 10 commandment? No! Another example is in Exodus 12:14 (Passover) “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time.” Should we then believe that a law for all time was nailed to the cross, and thus it is a law for a short time? Was this law nailed to the cross: Leviticus 3:17 “You must never eat any fat or blood. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation, wherever you live.”? Another example is Leviticus 19:30 “Keep my Sabbath days of rest, and show reverence toward my sanctuary. I am the Lord.”? This instruction we will agree is binding, but with Numbers 19:20 which says “But those who become defiled and do not purify themselves will be cut off from the community, for they have defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. Since the water of purification has not been sprinkled on them, they remain defiled.” This one is questionable for some people because of Leviticus 15:16-18. Are these Godly instructions no longer binding? How do “we” nail some of these precepts to the cross and some not?

    These thoughts also apply to God’s commandment on sexual activities “thy own pleasure” on the Sabbath day. “Here a little, there a little.”

    By the way, the Sabbath Day’s activities are geared to worship God; to learn of Him. They were made for mankind’s sanctification; man was not made to sanctify the Sabbath. The activities were made to sanctify us. We have the other six days to our own pleasures and work. Let’s focus all that time on knowing, learning, and worshipping God.

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    • "How do we verify from the Old Testament which of God’s precepts are binding and which ones are not? Which ones were nailed to the cross and which ones were not?"

      You have asked an excellent question, Carlton.

      "Maybe by looking to see if it points to Jesus’ role for the work of salvation, then that law was nailed to the cross; if it points to our sanctification then it is not nailed to the cross."

      I don't think this idea will work, Carlton, as our sanctification is a part of Jesus' role. If we don't realize this, it seems to me that we have already fallen from grace into a wrong a kind of "righteousness by works." This is not to imply that we need not put forth determined effort in co-operation with the process. But I believe it is essential that we remember it is the LORD (Jesus) who sanctifies us. (See Exodus 31:13, among other texts.)

      My understanding is that whatever foreshadows the earthly and/or heavenly mission of Christ (i.e. the Christian dispensation) --and especially those things which had formed a wall of separation between Jew and Gentile -- have been nailed to the cross of Christ. It also seems to me that common sense plays a role.

      So, we can immediately rule out anything that involved animal sacrifices. This would include all of the yearly feasts and sabbath days. And, as Andrew has pointed out, it would also include the laws concerning ceremonial purity or impurity -- although I personally could see some common sense in abstinence during menses, as well as other reasonable measures for hygiene.

      Concerning the topic of this discussion, ABSTINENCE DURING THE SABBATH WAS NOT EVEN AN OLD TESTAMENT LAW. No one has been able to find an explicit requirement anywhere!

      As for the laws of clean and unclean foods, these rules clearly predated the existence of the Jewish people. To me, common sense says they still apply, although vegetarianism is better yet.

      By contrast, the weekly Sabbath is wholly commemorative, has existed from creation, and was written in stone. As for loving one's neighbour as oneself, this is a summary of the last six commandments.

      Shall I go on? The scribes and Pharisees wanted to have a rule or a law for every little thing, and I think we need to ask ourselves why.

      Titus 1:15 (NKJV)

      "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled."

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      • Leviticus 15:18 (New King James Version)

        18 Also, when a woman lies with a man, and there is an emission of semen, they shall BATHE IN WATER, and be unclean until evening.

        Hebrews 9:9-10 (New King James Version)

        9 It was SYMBOLIC for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various WASHINGS, and FLESHLY ORDINANCES imposed UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION.

        Comment: So God has told us why. It was symbolic! I am so sorry that I didn't see this and point it out sooner!

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        • Almost all the symbols in the Bible are pointing to some truth in heaven or the after-life on earth. The symbol of cleansing before a worship service should in general be applied to our current worship practice. They are there for our learning. They were put in the Bible for a greater purpose than just the specific event. If we look at the bigger picture, we would understand more of the Bible principles. For example when Jesus said “Lazarus is sleeping”, this is the bigger picture, but since the disciples did not get it, he then said “Lazarus is dead” just to bring it down to their level. Almost all the symbols in the Bible are presented down to our levels, but when looked at in a bigger picture, we can what God is conveying to us.
          In principle, God wants our exclusive attention; anything that would take away that attention span away from Him is to be avoided. Sex on the Sabbath is one of those attention stealers. Do you ever consider why athletes before performing or soldiers going into war must abstain from sex? It is the same concept.
          1.1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

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        • Dear Carl,

          Of course, followers of Christ should "abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul -- not just on Sabbath, but on every day.

          It pains me to consider that some would consider the gift of marital union as indulging in "fleshly lusts." Whether or not couples have conjugal relations on Sabbath is between them and God. However, I believe that it is important for couples to develop a higher view of marriage and conjugal relations.

          Paul foresaw that there would be men who would "forbid marriage" (1 Timothy 4:3), and this was fulfilled as one branch of the Christian church began to teach that marital sex was indulging in lust and instituted celibacy as a path of holiness. The Seventh-day Adventist church, along with all other Protestant churches, rejected this view of sex and the consequent teaching of the holiness of celibacy. Instead, we understand that sexual union is a sacred gift from our Creator, given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, along with the Sabbath.

          I pray that the readers of Sabbath School Net will focus on those practices that result in forming a deeper relationship with God and with their spouses. In areas where there is no clear biblical directive, let the Spirit guide, and let us not attempt to force our preferences on others.

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  19. Since the inception of the Sabbath School Network, I thought this site was primarily to address the online availability of the quarterly lessons? Why is it that somebody has now turned this site into a site for teaching new doctrines? Is this sanctioned by the General Council of the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Do we have any guidance in the writings of Ellen G. White on this subject? Whether we do or not, in the final analysis, what cause of the almighty God is served by the webmaster or webmistress by using his/her own interpretation of Bible to advocate sexual activity among couples on a holy day?

    On the issue at hand, viz, "the Sabbath and the marriage bed" I find that there is a lot of confusion as to what is unclean (physically and spiritually) and what is holy. So far there has been an attempt to represent ejaculation of semen and other bodily fluids that come out of the human body during sexual activity only as a sanitation issue. How does semen makes a person unsanitary? What about the spiritual element of ejaculation of semen? The underlying problem for me is that, why is the holy day set apart for communion with and worship of God the only time a married couple should have sex? "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" (Exodus 20:8, NIV). If sex in general makes a person unclean (and I want to believe that the injunctions in the Book of Leviticus, which is a part of the Torah are correct), then why link the Law of God (Commandment number 4 of the Ten Commandments) with an act that is clearly carnal? In what way does sex between a married couple on a holy day glorify God, or even help in the proper observance of the Sabbath day?

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    • Hello James,

      I'm not sure what new doctrines you have found being taught. As it pertains to the present discussion, all answers and views are presented with Biblical support, but I don't see any attempt to create, generate or even suggest new doctrine.

      The purpose of providing the scriptural references is to allow each person to study the matter prayerfully, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and be fully persuaded for himself as to the will of God for him in this matter. I would recommend, of course, that one also consider the conclusion that one's spouse comes to as well.

      It should be well understood that at no time was anyone suggesting that sex *must* be had on the Sabbath. Only that there is no prohibition against doing so. If you feel otherwise, it would be prudent to abstain from it.

      Please see the references provided in the post for more details.

      Thanks!

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      • James, I think you need to look at the bigger picture of what brothers and sisters battle with in their day to day lives than worrying about new doctrines. I don't think thats what is happening here...so clm your worries, we still are adventist who believe in the doctrines of our church. I believe this is a forum for people to discuss and have insights and for the Holy spirit to direct each one of us in the way we should go. in your inference, sex between couples is unclean, but just look at the bigger picture...our thoughts and motive according to christ does really make us do sin. How many times do we harbour envy, jealousy, amongst others in our hearts even on sabbath. i have been to so many churches where families don't go home after the morning service and are in church the whole day, but what activity are they involved in that afternoon...? Gossiping, catching up, church politics, finishing their businesses and own agendas, amongst so many...on my part i'd rather they be home making love that going down that line. seriously I believe this sex issue is being blown out...lets search our hearts, and our lives and give open honest answers

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  20. Before I begin to expand on the above argument, let me first start with this premise since it is the title of the discussion.

    Something common cannot be rendered as worship on God's Holy day, and that which is Holy if practiced on any other day, it becomes common. If sex is Holy which some people refer to it as such. Then it should be practiced on a Holy day only, and not on both Holy and Common days.

    One verse of scripture that I have never heard entering this discussion is Lev 15:16-18. Is it that we are intentionally over looking this text or we don't know it. This text says we are unclean when we have sexual relations. This was the text that caused me to study the issue of sex and the Sabbath a little deeper.

    It is an invalid statement to say that this was nailed to the cross, as it does not require a sacrifice to be clean again.

    I think this verse settles the issue however let me look at some fundamental truth that should also settle the matter.

    The matter of sex on the Sabbath is easily answered by considering the original/first marriage.

    By this is meant the relation between Christ and his church, and Adam and his wife.

    If one should study the Jewish wedding ceremony, which points directly to the original wedding service, there is much insight to be gained there.

    I am just going to highlight two points however. In Gen 2:21:24 we find the union of Adam and his wife. We know that they were given the command to be fruitful and multiply, since chapter 1 however Adam does not know his wife until chapter 4, which was after the fall. Was Adam defiant of the command of the command to be fruitful, why he waited all this time?

    The answer is no! Sis white makes it clear that they were prohibited from coming together before the test. If they children before the fall and after the fall they would have pure and impure children, which would impure children and breed confusion.

    While and and Eve lived in the garden they were enjoying a type of sabbth (Heb 4) however this was just a type which pointed to the Sabbth to be enjoyed in Heaven for the thousand years. Yes the thousand years to be spent in heaven in a Sabbth (2 pet 3:1-10) we know that there will be no sexual relations in heaven, for we as the angels.

    [Offer to supply more material by email edited out.]

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    • Greetings, Kerrol

      I would just like to address a few points you have made, for clarity's sake.


      "Something common cannot be rendered as worship on God’s Holy day, and that which is Holy if practiced on any other day, it becomes common."

      Are you sure you mean to say that? For instance, my daily worship consists of scripture reading and prayer. I also do these things on Sabbath, in the name of worship. Is scripture reading and prayer common or holy? If holy, then can I only do it on Sabbath? If common, then should I avoid doing them on Sabbath?


      "If one should study the Jewish wedding ceremony, which points directly to the original wedding service, there is much insight to be gained there."

      Why do you feel that a Jewish wedding ceremony points directly to the original one, and what is the insight to be gained there?


      "Sis white makes it clear that they were prohibited from coming together before the test. "

      Do you have a quote for this statement?


      "One verse of scripture that I have never heard entering this discussion is Lev 15:16-18. Is it that we are intentionally over looking this text or we don’t know it. "

      It was actually brought up very early, but a question was asked at that time which has yet to be addressed. Why are those 3 verses being separated from their surroundings, when the entire chapter is of the same theme? Are we suggesting that only those verses are applicable today, but verse 19 and the entire rest of the chapter is not? If not, why not? And if the rest are valid, how should we handle the offerings that are needed for restoration of cleanliness?


      While and and Eve lived in the garden they were enjoying a type of sabbth (Heb 4) however this was just a type which pointed to the Sabbth to be enjoyed in Heaven for the thousand years.

      I'm not sure how you've made the connection that Adam and Eve in the garden were experiencing a type of Sabbath. This would seem to contradict the premise that they would have been fine with marital intimacy after the 7th day Sabbath...

      Please help me understand.

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  21. My final saying is this...Praise for His Spirit and giving us the power to chose! There is freedom in Jesus Christ and His law. Let us not be like the pharisees and sadducees and attempt to play the role of the Holy Spirit and convict others of our own beliefs and perceptions. God bless!

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  22. Is "marital" sex the only way in which we do our own pleasure on the Sabbath? Is it not what ever we do for self gratification?

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  23. This is good that as Adventist we are dealing with issues that are contemporary and in some sense controversial. This study is very enlightening, as a convert I would have come to Jesus, then all the other things about being a "S.D.A Christian" would have been taught from the pulpit or from study. I always believed that the ceremonial laws also call the handwriting of ordinances were brought to an end at Christ death. To link sexual relations between a heterosexual couple and Sabbath observance is, I think slightly boarding on legalism. It should remain in the purview of the couple, and not made a point of doctrine. If we make this a law, then soon we will have to ask our females to stop attending services during menstruation. Leviticus 15:19. Let us continue to be saved by grace, and let righteousness by faith be our watch words.

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  24. Ok so aside from the conflict between sexual intercourse and the sabbath, I just wanted to throw this out there to know everyone's thoughts. Sister White as well as Kellogg have A LOT to say about the "loss of vitality"
    Mrs. White Warns Against Marital Excess
    Mrs. White warns that God will hold marriage partners accountable for expending their vital energy:

    "They do not see that God requires them to control their married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage sanctifies the indulgence of the baser passions. Even men and women professing godliness give loose rein to their lustful passions, and have no thought that God holds them accountable for the expenditure of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates the entire system."5
    During the Puritanical era of the 1800s the ideal spiritual woman manifested little interest in sexuality. Writing in 1871, German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing pronounced, "Woman, ...if physically and mentally normal, and properly educated, has but little sensual desire." Dr. Kellogg has a similar quote in his 1877 book:
    "I should say that the majority of women, happily for them, are not very much troubled with sexual feeling of any kind. ... The best mothers, wives, and managers of households know little or nothing of sexual indulgences. Love of home, of children, of domestic duties, are the only passions they feel. As a general rule, a modest woman seldom desires any sexual gratification for herself."6
    Mrs. White advises us that it is the duty of the ideal wife to restrain the desires of her husband:

    "Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectively exhaust the vitality. No woman should aid her husband in this work of self-destruction. She will not do it if she is enlightened and has true love for him. The more the animal passions are indulged, the stronger do they become, and the more violent will be their clamors for indulgence. Let God-fearing men and women awake to their duty. Many professed Christians are suffering with paralysis of nerve and brain because of their intemperance in this direction.
    "It is not pure, holy love which leads the wife to gratify the animal propensities of her husband at the expense of health and life. If she possesses true love and wisdom, she will seek to divert his mind from the gratification of lustful passions to high and spiritual themes by dwelling upon interesting spiritual subjects. It may be necessary to humbly and affectionately urge, even at the risk of his displeasure, that she cannot debase her body by yielding to sexual excess. She should, in a tender, kind manner, remind him that God has the first and highest claim upon her entire being, and that she cannot disregard this claim, for she will be held accountable in the great day of God."7

    It is questionable whether encouraging the husband to refrain from sexual activity actually benefited the spirituality of the husband. One could argue the constant repression of his natural sexual desires for his wife may induce the husband to lust even more than he would have had his needs been fulfilled by his wife.

    Mrs. White's statements seem somewhat bizarre from a modern medical perspective. There is no evidence that normal, frequent sexual activity takes away vital nourishment from the brain. The defender of Sister White may suggest that she was talking about abnormally extreme frequencies. Just exactly how frequent did Mrs. White view as excessive?

    How Frequent is Excessive?
    Mrs. White never defined exactly what excessive meant. In order to find out what she meant, we must determine how the term marital excess was used by the other health reformers of her day, in particular the ones from which she acquired her health teachings. In 1834, Sylvester Graham permitted a maximum of once a month.8 O.S. Fowler, a phrenologist who personally favored sex for procreation only, had stated, "to indulge, even in wedlock, as often as the moon quarters, is gradual but effectual destruction of both soul and body."9 Since the moon quarters every seven-and-a-half days, Fowler was saying that engaging in sex at a frequency of once a week was too frequent! Those high frequencies would destroy the body! Adventist physician J.H. Kellogg seemed to agree with Graham by suggesting marriage partners "limit indulgence to the number of months in the year."10 Kellogg considered daily sex to be dangerous for both partners:

    "Another case came under our observation in which the patient, a man, confessed to having indulged every night for twenty years. We did not wonder that at forty he was a complete physical wreck."11

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  25. Hi sister in Christ,

    You may have introduced another hot topic. Christians and the national coital average. "Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectively exhaust the vitality. No woman should aid her husband in this work of self-destruction. She will not do it if she is enlightened and has true love for him." E.G.White . I found an article, "Ejaculation Frequency for Optimum Men's Health and Longevity, by Ralph Teller" Google it , read it and please share your thoughts. When Israel was in the wilderness God would usually say sanctify yourselves onto the third day come not near your wives. Exodus 19:15 . Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:5 (CEV)So don't refuse sex to each other, unless you agree not to have sex for a little while, in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won't be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. My own feelings is not more than twice a week depending on whats going on. Which requires the use of some kind of contraceptive method. That opens up a whole new discussion.

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  26. Unfortunately, Sister Whites views on "this" particular issue is difficult to support biblically.

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    • Unfortunately "Sister White's views on 'this' particular issue" have been seriously misrepresented -- including in the comments preceding this one.

      It is easy to "prove" almost anything by using her quotes selectively, instead of recognizing the principles she was trying to teach -- even easier than it is to do with the Bible, because she wrote more words. And we know that the Bible is regularly distorted to suit individual purposes.

      Ellen White advocated temperance in marital sex, as well as in eating, drinking and working. The principle is a good one. Sexual excess does have negative consequences, such as she suggested. But she did not define what "sexual excess" was in this context. It is left for individuals to decide between themselves and God. (Ellen White once commented that she expected people to use "common sense" in reading her writings. Unfortunately "common sense" seems not to be so common today.)

      Graham, Fowler and Kellogg's views are another matter. Their sensible health principles have been given plenty of publicity, but they also advocated some strange practices which Ellen White did not endorse. 'Nuff said. Please do not bring their names into the discussion to color what Ellen White wrote.

      Any further specific suggestions on the frequency of marital sex will be rejected, because it is the business of each couple to decide in the presence of God.

      The thesis of Andrew Baker's original article was that there is nothing in Scripture to forbid marital sex on the Sabbath. (Indeed, for orthodox Jews, it is considered a religious duty!) The biblical principle is that we are to be mutually subject one to another -- not just in the church but in marriage. Christian partners in a loving marriage are quite capable of deciding how to order their sex lives in a way that honors God. Since God, in His wisdom, did not specify a rule regarding the matter, no individual or church entity has any business telling others precisely when or how often to have conjugal relations. Those who honor God need no such "help," and those who do not, won't listen anyway.

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  27. I agree with Inge on this.

    This has always been a hot topic within churches but we should not let this or any issue prevent us from seeing the bigger picture. If we are all filled with the Holy Ghost and study the word of God for ourselves, then we will not go wrong. Neither Andrew, Inge or myself are making a definite statement on the issue but we would encourage everyone to keep studying and let the Holy Spirit.

    To me, some issues are not as important as studying his word that allows us to first grow spiritually and then to teach others. I believe that precious time should not be consumed in extended debate. It is sufficient that we have 65 varying views at this time and we have good information to make a informed and prayerful decision.

    I will encourage all those who commented one way or the other to consider moving forward in prayer and let us get to studying Paul's experience. :) It is interesting that Paul was a passionate believer and protector of the tradition he knew, to the point that he got angry and sinned. Also interesting was that Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath. A Sabbath that became so much of what not to do while forgetting that the Sabbath was made for man.

    Let us not fall in that same trap about issues that may actually be more cultural or personal in nature and even if we do not agree or maybe, more light is to come, we can just keep studying and let God lead.

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