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Is the Sabbath the Goal or the Means to the Goal? — 22 Comments

  1. We SDAs have often emphacized the apologetics of the Sabbath, to prove that it has not been done away with. But in doing so, we run the risk of falling in the same error that the Jews did.[off-topic redacted] Apologetics have its place; but when all that is our main focus we become severely deficient in the nourishment we need for proper spiritual growth and development. We became like infants and toddlers that only drink milk and become severely anemic and sick. That seems to me to be our problem. Seems like every other quarter we have a lesson on the Sabbath. Yes, the Sabbath is the 7th day. Yes, Jesus kept the Sabbath. Yes the disciples kept the Sabbath. Yes, the Gentiles believers kept the Sabbath. Yes, we ought to keep the Sabbath. But unless we know, not just intellectually but experientially, the true significance of the Sabbath, to keep it will avail us as much as it availed the Jews. They kept the 7th day but they never entered into the rest which the Sabbath represents. It was worth nothing to them for when the Lord of the Sabbath came they did not recognize him and went on to kill Him as a Sabbath breaker. Could it be that we are in the same situation?

    • Melleny, I will agree that we do tend to have a lopsided approach at times and sometimes in doing so we forget the other nine commandments along with a lot of other important things. However, as I view it I ask myself what other commandments are good Christians in the other denominations routinely pushing aside? During the first century the Sabbath wasn't an issue, the Messiah and the place of law in Christianity was and the apostles and disciples were driving that into the ground just as we do with the Sabbath.

      I think if we view the Sabbath from the perspective of a revelation of Christ's character then it would have more meaning for us but I don't think the answer is to make it one of the lesser matters of consideration. It still remains very important to the church and something that needs agitation in the world.

      • Seeing the Sabbath as a function on the commandments is to miss the point. Genesis 1 details God's creation acts:
        - Man is created, from the dust of the earth.
        - Mankind is made in God's image - the context given is for both men and women "to have dominion" over creation. They are co-regents for God on earth.
        - "Go forth and multiply" is the first commandment given.
        - They are given a garden, with plentiful food - "fruits and seeds" (animals eat plant leaves).
        The Sabbath is the state between creation and the fall - nothing else happens in that time, even the daily pattern of "evening and morning" is absent for the Sabbath. It is the representation of God's perfect creation.
        With the Fall comes the Curse. God breaks creation in judgement of Man's rebellion. Go forth and multiply becomes hard with painful childbirth. Co-regency is replaced with subservience and rulership between men and women; the fauna (e.g. snake) and flora (thistles) "rebel" against man's dominion. Man is degraded and told he must now eat the animal food (green leaves) and "painful toil" in order to eat becomes the icon of life in a broken world as he has to leave the garden which provides plentiful food. Finally death, the undoing of the creation of man becomes the rule.

        Through the Sabbath institution, God partially undoes the curse. Painful toil must cease for all. This negates much of the inequality in human relationships as no-one can be ordered to work. There is even peace with the animals on that day. The manna God gives the Israelites defies the normal process of decay and food is plentiful without work for that day. Both Exodus 20 and Deut 5 then come into harmony as the remembrance of the Sabbath aligns to the perfect state, without painful toil, that existed in Eden. The Sabbath is the icon of God's perfect creation - of what He created, what He wants for man and what he intends to recreate at the end.

        When we meet the Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew 12, He is busy restoring His broken creation. The Pharasees bring damnation on themselves. They set themselves against God restoring his creation. They do not want the perfect world of "before the Fall" that Sabbath represents; they do not want Man to be any closer to the ideal state of his original creation as God intended and God will honour their decision and not force it upon them when he returns.

        Yes the Sabbath is a memorial of creation, but not particularly in the way of "6-days, 6000 years ago." It is a memorial of all the things God intended for mankind, of God's character so expressed and of what God intends our characters to be. It is a reminder of our past and a reminder of what our future will be.

  2. The significance of the Sabbath seems to be somewhat different in many ways. Because we are different in many ways. I am somewhat surprised that the importance of the Sabbath in Isaiah 58:13,14 is a glaring omission. Yes remember the Sabbath, and what is the first thing to remember. I read, to keep it Holy. Yes it is a memorial of creation but then open the eyes and look around. There is a lot of creation to see. Difficult to miss. I haven't seen anything about how to keep the Sabbath in the lesson or in a discussion. If I have missed it please point out where it can be found. I may have inadvertently overlooked it.

    • "I haven't seen anything about how to keep the Sabbath in the lesson or in a discussion. If I have missed it please point out where it can be found. I may have inadvertently overlooked it" I don't think you missed anything Paul nor do I think you will ever see a list of do's and don'ts from the church officially. What you will see in my opinion are generalizations leaving the details up to the individual.

      As a denomination we have learned the lessons of the past concerning the presentation of God's commandments. We have seen what making lists do to the religious environment. It makes slaves of people to the master of religious dogma which often has misinterpreted God's communication. To me when it comes to what to do, silence is often very golden. What we need to do is to understand the principles behind the commands so that we may be able to apply them under various circumstances.

      • Tyler I didn't expect a church endorsed list of do's and don'ts for Sabbath observance. My point was that because there are many ideas as to what is involved in acceptable Sabbath observance, from very pious, to extreme liberalism, Isaiah 58:13,14,seems to me to be as specific as can be found in the Bible. Opinions are plentiful and the subject is not rare, as can be seen from just a few comments. If we use the Bible as a source for our understanding we cannot be mislead. One of the prevailing discussions is, "resting on Sabbath". Does this mean with your eyes open or closed? One of the first verses that some use is Genesis 2:1. We know, God does not get tired and in need of rest. It means to cease from His creative activities. One figurative definition is "keep the Sabbath". However I do not know of a Bible text that forbids taking a nap on Sabbath. As one gets older afternoon naps are very common. Convictions on some issues are personal and not a reason to evaluate others.

        • Paul, as I get older I find myself taking a little Sabbath afternoon nap every now and then. I was much younger when I wrote that post. Lol Still, I believe the point is Biblical we don't want to just sleep the whole Sabbath away.

          • Take a rest if you need too, it's alot different when we were young,I am going through the change but I don't allow my mind wonder, I asked God to keep me focus meditating on his words

        • Paul, point well taken! My point was for us to try to understand the principles rather than the details which we can all too easily get bogged down in. Focusing on the fine points also limits our ability to adapt to varying circumstances that may require some adjustment like taking an afternoon nap when in the golden years.

  3. I was reading some of the comments about the Sabbath and I open a old bible my father gave to me and turn to the book of Micah. Micah 6:8 says He hath showed thee O man, what is good; and what dose the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. Its our daily walk with God we sometime forget. His name is Jesus a name above every name. My prayer is that he will order my steps in his word.

  4. I like this article a lot and I agree with it mostly. I especially agree with this line:

    " The Sabbath is a sign of God’s grace. We do no work on that day, demonstrating that it is not our works that sustain or save us but rather God’s work, both at creation and the cross, that sustain and save us."

    I tend to avoid saying that Cain did not worship in the way he was instructed to, because it is difficult to prove that from the Bible. (i.e. Where in the Bible were the instructions given? If you have any ideas they would be appreciated).

    My take on Cain/Abel is this:

    The type of offering gives us a clue as to why one was accepted and rejected because it reveals the character of the giver.
    Abel felt his sinfulness and brought a sin offering.
    Cain did not and brought a thank offering only.

    This directly correlates to the Publican and the Pharisee for me.
    The Publican saw himself as a sinner. The Pharisee did not (and gave only thanks). One was justified and the other was not.

    By the way, I think the sin Cain refused to give up was the sin that God warned him about after his sacrifice was not accepted.
    I believe that Cain did not listen to God's warning: "It desires to have you--but you must conquer it".
    I also believe that it was this sin that--because it was not dealt with--caused him to kill Abel (not sin as "deeds", but sin as in a state of the heart--in this case maybe anger or pride?)

    Hope that makes sense.

  5. “My friend just accepted Jesus as their Savior. Now all we have to do is teach them about the Sabbath!”

    I'm failing to see how this statement indicates that the person who said it thinks the Sabbath is the goal. Consider this statement with other commandments in the place of the Sabbath:

    “My friend just accepted Jesus as their Savior. Now all we have to do is teach them how the second commandment forbids idols"

    “My friend just accepted Jesus as their Savior. Now all we have to do is teach them about not taking Gods name in vain."

    “My friend just accepted Jesus as their Savior. Now all we have to do is teach them about honoring their parents."

    The idea that these statements indicate that the person thinks the commandment is the goal comes across as a straw man.

    Can a Seventh Day Adventist be excited that their once unbelieving friend has accepted Jesus, thus giving them a common platform by which they can share present truth, without being shamed as a borderline legalist?

    I mean by our estimation these days Aquila and Priscilla would be considered high handed Pharisees for the audacity of thinking that they could teach Apollos "...the way of God more perfectly." Acts 18:26.

    People who accept Jesus but not the Sabbath will be saved if they die before the close of probation. But, there is no way that they will make it on Gods side past that point if they still believe in Sunday sacredness or the immorality of the soul. SDA's who desire to teach their friends "the way of God more perfectly" are trying to prepare them for an excruciating conflict that will try everyone who names the name of Jesus to the uttermost. And they should not have guilt trips run on them because they want their friends to make it through.

    • Bensheh, I think you bring up a point that is forgotten when we focus on the fourth commandment more than any other. Is that commandment more important than the others? No,James 2:10, Matt 22:36-40.

      • Please correct me if I'm reading your response incorrectly. Because it seems like you're saying that by virtue of just bringing up the fourth commandment I must think it's more important than all the others? If that is what you're saying I find that as offensive as telling a man who just announced his engagement "don't beat your wife."

        Has it really come to this with regard to the subject of the Sabbath? That merely bringing it up is to be accused of the most knuckle dragging ignorance? Again I hope I read you wrong. If so I'm willing to recant this response.

        • Bensheh, I think you may have misunderstood what I said. I was not accusing you of anything at all. I was agreeing with what I thought you had implied. Because you mentioned several commandments, I assumed the point was that the Sabbath commandment was being regarded over some of the others in importance, and that is what the thrust of my comments was also.
          I thought the thread was about Sabbath observance and if I have offended you please accept my appology

          • No apologies needed Paul. The confusion is due to me not articulating my points more clearly. I apologize for misreading you before I gave you a chance to clarify.

            What I'm driving at is that folks are not legalist for being excited that most of their job is done when a person accepts Christ and that all that remains is sharing present truth. Such a person is missionary minded and believes SDA's were called by God to share these important doctrines with the world. It's no different than a person asking you if you're familiar with a particular subject so as to gauge whether they need to cover the basics or move straight to the advanced stuff. Charging them with thinking the Sabbath is the goal or not believing that there friend is saved until they accept the sabbath is wrong.

            Once again apologies for misunderstanding you Paul.

  6. Bensheh, you make an excellent point that continuing teaching after conversion is very Biblical. However even though Aquila and Priscilla taught Appolos a more excellent way, I am sure they also accepted him as a converted brother. You ask:

    "Can a Seventh Day Adventist be excited that their once unbelieving friend has accepted Jesus, thus giving them a common platform by which they can share present truth, without being shamed as a borderline legalist?"

    I believe our excitement should be because they have accepted Jesus and have become a new creation in Christ, translated from darkness into light. Yes I will take advantage of the common ground to share what I believe is a more excellent way, but my excitement is over their relationship with Christ, and not that I have someone new to preach to.

    I still agree with what you say. However I do have one other question. You mention that after the close of probation no one will be saved if they believe in the immortality of the soul. I understand this will be very crucial and a belief in the immortality of the soul will definitely open the door for deception, but I am not sure how you conclude that no one will be saved after the close of probation who does not have a totally correct understanding of the state of the dead.

    In the meantime since we are not at the close of probation, can we conclude that if we know the Sabbath that we have arrived? What about Marian Fisher and Victoria Soto, two young women who gave their lives to save others in separate school shootings. Wouldn't their sacrifice seal them even without knowing about the Sabbath? On the other hand, if I knew about the Sabbath but did not lay down my life for my friends would I be saved? Of course not. This is why I say the Sabbath is not the goal. By teaching us unselfishness with our time the Sabbath is a means to a goal of complete surrender to Jesus Christ.

    • Opinions are just that. We cannot know the heart or mind, of another person. The parable about the seed that is sown on different types of soil, I think is applicable when we share the Gospel with others. There are many different results and types of outcomes from what we have planted. The seed on stony places that sprouts, but only briefly, happens more often than we would like. Matt 13:20,21. As I understand, we do the planting and rest including the Harvest, is Gods part.

  7. We, like the Jews, have so idolized the shadow, the image, that we are, for the most part, totally blind to the Body, the True, the Christ! The letter Sabbath is a shadow of the True. John 3:35,36; Matt 11:27-30 - "The Father has placed all things in the Son, in His hand". Whatever has been promised in the Law and the Prophets can be found only in Christ - Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, Salvation, Life, REST.... Because all power and authority in heaven and earth is given to Him, HE declares "Go and make disciples of all nations...; Come unto me all you that labor and heavy burdened and I will give you Rest... unto your souls! There is the promised rest!(Heb 4:1-10). This is the rest that brings the Refreshing - the passage from Death to Life, Eternal Life.


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