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Sunday: The Judgment, Creation and Accountability — 27 Comments

  1. I sometimes get the impression that we, Seventh-day Adventists, use the Sabbath as a sort of "stick it up your nose" comment to Catholics, Apostate Protestants, and Atheists, that we have got it right and they are dead wrong. We are very defensive of the Sabbath, arguing the continuity of the weekly cycle, the change of the day by the early Christians and the Papacy, We carefully define its edges and we discuss forever what is doable and not during Sabbath hours. Not to mention those situations where through geographic location the actual definition of Sabbath becomes problematic.

    I can honestly see where the criticism that we are legalistic comes from.

    I came up against the issue many years ago when out of the blue, my atheist PhD supervisor asked me why I go to church on Saturday. I had to think very quick - Do I give him a lesson about creation that he didn't believe anyhow? Did I tell him about how the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week by the proto-Papacy? that would only have reinforced the notion that it was a sectarian fight.

    In the end I told him that we believe that God had invited us to rest on that day and told him what we did. I emphasised that it was 24 hours away from the busy-ness of the rest of the week. This discussion took place on a Friday afternoon so I emphasised that I would not even think about my PhD work for the next 24 hours. I explained to him the idea of worship and sharing and interaction. His comment at the end was; "I wish I had a day like that!"

    And no, I did not convert him but he went home that night thinking that Sabbath was something to value.

    Interestingly, a couple of years later we went to a conference together, paid for by the government. It extended over Sabbath and some of the participants were asking where I was on that day. He gave a spirited defence of my Sabbath-keeping.

    We need to think seriously about our Sabbath-keeping. It should be a shareable gift from God and if its effect does not last the rest of the week, it is not working.

    • Hi, Maurice. I love the main thrust of your comment, but I'm wondering why it has to be either/or. Can we be particular about Sabbath observance, and still enjoy it as a gift from God?

      Personally, I do not believe that there are "situations where through geographic location the actual definition of Sabbath becomes problematic." Firstly, I could not admire and worship a God who asks us to do something impossible or problematic, such as to observe an undefined or ill-defined day as His holy day. Secondly, the solutions to any perceived geographical problems seem quite simple and straightforward to me.

      Have a blessed day!

      • I think that if we really are enjoying the gift that God has given us then we won't be consumed with the particulars. Cows grazing contentedly on a pasture of clover and rye grass are seldom worried about a fence around the paddock.

        Regarding the geographic issue, both of us know that the situation north of the Arctic circle prompted two competing solutions and that ultimately the directive was given to each group to follow their own consciences in the matter and respect the decision of others. (I still have the letter from the committee on that one.)

        • Yes, Maurice, we do both know that. However, I think that outcome might have been the result of rule by absentee landlords, so to speak. If we were to go into a quick review of the trends of sunsets during the part of the year when they do actually take place, north of the Arctic Circle, I believe the right answer would soon become rather obvious.

          As I see it, the fact that there are differing opinions on a topic doesn't necessarily make it doubtful. There are differing opinions on whether Christians should keep the Sabbath at all.

          Again, I don't believe that God would leave us in any legitimate doubt concerning something so obviously important to Him. Should we be consumed with the particulars? Of course not. We should be consumed with the love of Jesus!

        • Side comment on the cows in the pasture: they appear to be unconcerned with the fence; but I’m sure you’ve noticed that they have a penchant toward getting their noses under the fence to get the greener grass on the other side. And when the fence is broken or someone forgets to lock it, the cows literally go wild outside the fence. As in wildly jumping and kicking. The farmer has to use the whole family (and more if possible) to get those cows back into the fenced pasture where they belong and where they are safe. And sometimes a cow dies from ‘overdosing’ on too much fresh alfalfa outside the fence. I’ll leave it to other minds to decide whether or not there’s a spiritual application here or not. 😊

    • “We need to think seriously about our Sabbath-keeping. It should be a shareable gift from God and if its effect does not last the rest of the week, it is not working.”

      This is probably the best “test” of the Sabbath I have read.

    • Well, even within ourselves the same statement is made. I will have to be ready to "suck it up" on Sabbath during our lesson study. I know it is coming! It is palpable.

      I suppose we have such a narrow view of God that we can only define Him through the Ten commandments, and in particular, that one commandment.

  2. Hi Maurice 👋, I can relate. A couple of years ago, I went on a CDL course (commercial drivers license) in Indiana. The first thing the instructors told us was they would have to cram the course that should last for 3 months into just one month. Therefore they would have to include the weekend in the course.

    My initial reaction was NO! So I went straight to the instructors, told them my intentions not to attend any classes on Saturdays. They were furious, suggesting that I'd be just wasting time because I'd surely fail the course.

    My fellow classmates were disgusted with me. For the 5 Sabbaths I was there, I found a church in the area, went to her services, met some very sweet people, enjoyed some beautiful Sabbath School lesson study, was blessed by some heart-warming, life-changing sermons, ate the best food for the week (not leaving that out).

    At the end of the course, I did all the course, got my license to the dismay of 95% of the classmates. I would think that I made an impression on my critics, but in the end God's truth will prevail.

  3. Hi Maurice,

    I agree. I tend to share the beauty of Sabbath rest with friends and mental health clients much like you did with your PhD supervisor.

    I was speaking with a friend who has been working tirelessly to make his (maybe Baptist?) ministry a success. It happened to be a Sabbath afternoon. I asked how he was. He said, "Exhausted." He explained that each day seemed to roll into the next one and he described how tired he was. I shared with him the blessing of Sabbath rest. Spiritually. Physically. Mentally. I noted that our Creator knew we would need it. We would need rest. And rest from weights of this world. I told him that on Sabbath, I "focus on higher themes": to God as our Creator, our Father. And that this intimate time with Him (worshiping Him, dwelling with Him) brings balance, spiritual renewal, hope and serenity. And I feel more refreshed to face the next week. He told me that this sounded wonderful.

    Christ is my example. He taught us who the Father is in practical ways we could understand. He taught principles of His kingdom in very different ways than the Pharisees taught about the law. And His Words were words of life.

    Perhaps in the conversation with my friend, a seed was planted. That's the work of the Holy Spirit.

    With another friend who is an avid reader and a non-denominational minister in her church - (and she speaks a lot against legalism), I've given her one of my beloved, precious copies of The Desire of Ages - which shares much about the Sabbath. It was a copy that my parents gave me. A giant hardback copy, full of maps and many historical pictures. She told me last week, "I'm afraid you're not going to get the Desire of Ages book back." She is actually preaching in her church from the Desire of Ages! Again, the work of the Holy Spirit.

    • Sharen, Maurice,

      Thank you for "sharen" (sharing) the ways that you presented to your friends and associates something that they could desire; how you observe the Sabbath and how it has benefitted your life. We always need to be ready to have and answer to give others for the hope that is within us. Many times our witness, or our lives will preach the sermon that others are hoping to hear. Also, we may ask the Lord in prayer what it is we should tell others when they ask us! An answer can come back in a heartbeat!

  4. I have read your beautiful arguement about Sabbath day. But what i want to say to Maurice and others, it is this 👉 "I know that we are sometimes doing what is not right concerning Sabbath keeping, just like how Maurice say. But when talking and giving out comments about Sabbath, we need to be careful before we became one among the people who resist the Sabbath", Am not actually saying that you people are doing that, NO. But, be careful on your arguement, a lot of people are reading them and remember, The devil is not dead yet, he is alive.

    Lastly it is this 👇👇👇

    "Do not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16).

    Have a beautiful day...

  5. Moral values, as our actions, have been justified by relativism. The world claims natural justice, but humankind makes justice merely enslaved by their most primal instincts. There needs to be more love for many citizens with the power of significant decisions. Thank God because His righteousness will take effect in the end. Because understanding infinity by chance is a mistake once every action leads to a reaction or consequence! So there is got to be a purpose for our origin till our destiny.

  6. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" Philippians 4:13

    But Jesus beheld them and said unto them "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

    Every defect of our character can be overcome, even as Jesus overcame.

  7. I'm not sure that the Sabbath is a salvational issue. It is a gift we can except or reject. Grace plays into this. Grace is a gift given not an offer made. Perfect Sabbath keepers put Jesus on the cross. Nowhere in the Bible is worshiping on the Sabbath commanded. It is natural for it be on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is special for sure.

    • Greetings Bud! Yes the fourth commandment does not use the word worship. It does say refrain from doing work. I believe obeying God by Hallowing the hours of the Sabbath is a form of worship. Going to church without this conviction, makes for a poor relationship with Christ. A good heart felt relationship with Christ makes for a hallowed and blessed Sabbath day. The Seventh day Sabbath is a gift from God, let's accept the gift by observing the Seventh day that the Lord has set aside for us, a time to reflect on our Creator.

      Christ said be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. How do I do that,by beholding Christ I become changed from sin into a loving relationship wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.
      Matthew 10:16.

    • No, Sabbath is not a salvational issue, and there will be many in heaven who never kept a seventh-day Sabbath. However, rejecting God's gift of grace and/or gift of the Sabbath is a salvational issue. If we love Jesus, we will keep His commandments.

    • "Is that a salvation issue?" I hear this phrase often, and it worries me. It suggests that the item under question does not matter. I'm reminded of the words, "for him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, it is sin." As it says in Romans, we walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh. Of course, we're told God winks at our times of ignorance, but Remember Jesus' words to the Jews in John 9, "because you say you see your sin remains.” All things are salvation issues when under conviction.

  8. I enjoyed the lesson for today but more so, the discussions that followed. Sometimes it may seem that some individuals are afraid of discussions that contain views that are no mainstream SDA church talk. Thank you Marice, for initiating these discussions.

  9. Why can we not say to non-Seventh-day Adventist folks that Jesus was and still is Lord of this day and so I keep it because He also kept it and still keeps it?

  10. I love the part of James 2:8-13 that says that "Mercy triumphs over judgement." But I still have issues about this verse because it says absolutely nothing about the Fourth Commandment at all but focuses on "Murder," and "Adultery," and just sort of brings in the rest of the other 8 commandments which then has to somehow include the fourth one.

    • Hi Brother Pete,

      I think in the text you quoted, one verse in particular helps me understand.

      For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. James 2:10

      Imagine a group trying to move a large piano down from a second floor through the window. They have a crane and attached to it 10 cables to secure the piano. If any one of those cables were cut or frayed, the piano would crash to the ground. In the same way, all 10 Commandments form a general scaffolding for God’s government. Cut out any one of them and the peace and harmony of God’s kingdom crashes. We show our support for God’s rule by honoring all 10 supports He’s given us to assist in moving forward in tandem with Him.

  11. Just found this beautiful text which links Sabbath to a memorial of sanctification:

    Ex. 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.

  12. Mark 10:13-15; Matt.18:1-7 compares the life in the kingdom of God to that of a believing child; we are admonished to not dismiss the simple faith of a child as less than that of an adult. Children are not pompous about their belief, they do not argue about theological truths, they do not hold themselves above others who might not know as much as they do – they just believe – humbly, quietly, thankfully, wholeheartedly.

    Children do not know that ‘Creation provides a reason to live and a moral imperative for living’, they just believe and love God with all their heart. They are taught the truth about worshiping God by their parents, teachers, and the example of how others behave which confess to love God. Offending the faith of a child is considered a grievous sin in the realms of heaven.

    As adult believers, are we humble in the application of our faith, or are we boastful and proud? As we ought to worship our Creator in Spirit and Truth, does this not call us to be humble, kind, generous, and forgiving? Children accept God as their heavenly Father who loves all His children equally. Do we as adults do the same, or do we see each other as sparring partners to best each other as we discourse about His Spirit and Truth in order to find a special place at the table with the Father?

    Matt. 5:1-12 - Do not the Beatitudes sum up Jesus’ teaching about what it means to live as a child of God in His kingdom’? Living in His kingdom, do we consider ourselves blessed; are we happy and glad to know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior? Identifying with His teachings, do we recognize our personally experienced place in them?

    All that believing children ‘know’ is that their heavenly Father loves them, and they respond in kind. Can humbly accepting this Truth cause us to willingly follow God wherever He leads? – I say ‘yes’!

  13. In light of the question of hereditary and environmental influences impacting our behavior, I think it would be foolish to think that they don't. And if judgment is based on agency and responsibility, I have to believe God takes these things into account. That isn't an excuse to just live in sin, because God has the power to overcome all sin in our lives. But He does understand our frailties. I think of the beautiful psalm of forgiveness - Psalm 103 and verse 14 which says "for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." Hebrews 4 also reminds us that Jesus understands our weaknesses. Ultimately, mercy does triumph over judgment as James says and if God expects that of us, surely He also approaches judgment with mercy.

    I think of the 11 disciples who were far from perfect. They likely weren't any worse than Judas in many respects. The difference was that they stuck with Jesus and he didn't. In Luke 22:28 and 29, Jesus acknowledged that they stood by Him in His trials and conferred a kingdom on them, even though He knew they would fail Him. That's mercy.

  14. From supporting scriptures, with Jesus sitting at the right hand of God already, (Hebrews 1:3, 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 7:55-56 Acts 7:55–56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Revelation 3:21 & etc.) before 1844's claims, is not the most Holy Place, is where God is seated?

    • Great question, Sylvester. The answer, as I understand it, is: No, Jesus did not enter the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary at His ascension. It must be where God is seated, as Jesus did ascend to the right hand of the Father, which seems to suggest the possibility of more than one throne. But I'll leave it to others to sort that out, if necessary.

      There are numerous references to the Most Holy Place in the book of Hebrews, in many of even the best English translations, that in the original Greek are not the "holy of holies" of Hebrews 9:3, but are merely "the holies," which to me is a reference to the sanctuary as a whole. In the NKJV, Hebrews 6:19 even adds the (misleading) word "Presence" to suggest the Most Holy Place, whereas Seventh-day Adventists hold that the "veil" in that verse is the veil at the entrance to the Holy Place.

      I'm not saying that there is a conspiracy among Bible translators to undermine Seventh-day Adventist doctrine, when it comes to the sanctuary. But I am saying that we need to be very careful about accepting most of the existing English translations when it comes to this topic.

      For this study, I strongly recommend Young's Literal Translation.


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