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Thursday: Did Not Your Fathers Do Thus? — 11 Comments

  1. I know this may sound a little contrary to the events described in Nehemiah, but have you ever considered sharing your Sabbath experience with non-Adventists? I know that there is something to be gained by sharing with fellow believers but sometimes we ought to consider that what we have for ourselves is good to share with others.

    On a number of occasions, I have met up with some of my bird photography friends on Sabbath afternoon and we have walked through the bush looking for birds together. They would be put off by "Jesus talk" but are quite comfortable with a Bible-believing Christian who shares their love of nature and who enjoys learning new things about how birds behave. When comments have been raised about how compatible my activity is with our perception of Sabbath keeping, I simply say that it is a chance for me to see God's creation firsthand and that is one of the primary reasons for Sabbath-keeping.

    I have often said that a Sabbath shared is a double blessing. It is a gift, not a requirement. One of the biggest detractors from Sabbath keeping is the notion that we have to do it to keep the ten commandments. Opening the Sabbath should be something like opening a birthday present; something to look forward to, and something to share with others. In that we honour God and can bring a blessing to others as well.

    When my research supervisor asked me, many years ago, why I keep Sabbath, I told him how much I enjoyed it and looked forward to it. I knew it was no use giving him a Bible study using proof texts, nor would it have made much sense to him if I had explained the role of the Papacy in changing the day. but he understood the notion of rest and changing the pace of life for 24 hours and appreciated it when I said that my perception of the Sabbath was a gift from God, to recharge the batteries of my life. He responded with the observation, "I wish I had a day like that!"

    • Hello dear brother. You wrote of the Sabbath "It is a gift, not a requirement." A misnomer indeed, if you have ever read the 10 commandments. You made your point clear, but to a cursory reader, the statement was confusing.

      You see, IT IS a COMMANDMENT, and lack of its obedience has telling effects - loss of eternal life. The lesson on Wednesday rightly stated, "More than Israel kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept Israel”. The point is that the seventh-day Sabbath was, and remains, a powerful means of helping keep faith alive in those who by God’s grace seek to observe it and enjoy the physical and spiritual benefits it offers us.

      The Sabbath COMES every week to all creation, whether they acknowledge it or not. It is God coming to COMMUNE with His creation, and WHERE God is, even if it is TIME is HOLY because God is holy.

      The Sabbath ('rest') is what Christ INVITES us into in Matt 11:28-30 - He invites us to obey the command because, without its obedience, we remain in the state of 'UNREST' in our labours.

      So YES it is a command, for God cannot SUGGEST that we should keep the Sabbath holy if really the Sabbath exemplifies the very atmosphere of heaven. God cannot PROPOSE for us to keep the Sabbath holy if indeed He steps into the 'temple in time' to come commune with us. HE cannot undecidedly tell us to keep the Sabbath holy if it is the final mark of allegiance to Jehovah, as opposed to the mark of the beast.

  2. Nehemiah repeatedly goes against the sin of the people.
    Satan would love for us to be liberal or conservative but he cannot handle a person who follows the will of God.

    Senior Pastor

    New Market Seventh Day Adventist Church

    Preached a sermon when parents from Shenandoah Valley Academy had a program at the school attending the church.
    I paraphrase the sermon because I cannot remember exact words.
    He was saying when you go out to eat on Saturday lunch.
    Let's say the waitress is having a bible study learning the Sabbath commandment that no one shall work.
    You are there with your family ordering a meal you are sending a conflicting message to the person.
    Pastor said, "We have prepared a meal for all who are attending the church."
    This church was packed with visiting parents.
    This message cut deep into my heart.

    1 Peter 2:9 King James Version (KJV)
    9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

    We are peculiar people.
    We are not like everyone else.
    The way we dress, we walk, we talk, we conduct and we act all had to be reflecting the character of God.

    Isaiah 8:20
    20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

    • As a student of scripture we all are learning...about God. There are those that believe the closer one relates with God, the more freedom they have to express their belief as well as the selflessness to not be a “stumbling block” to a “young” believer. To understand how to express my own belief in God means that I have to “know” (John 17:3) Him...personally. Therefore a response to the query of the waitress might be to direct her to a closer inspection of the character of the Creator of the Sabbath to better understand how she may discover her own expression of Sabbath observance based on her relationship with her Creator, (Rom 14). Then she will understand that the gift of Sabbath given to her, “for” her, by “God Is Love”, (Mark, 1John 4) will best guide her in her discovery of living in the Kingdom of GOD, here and now. (Please pardon any implications of condescension)....Or, we could give her a “Sabbath Worship, Attire and Activites, A Complete and Approved List” pamphlet...or perhaps explain why some Sabbath-keepers do, and why other Sabbath-keepers don’t...or give a dissertation of why Sabbath “breakers” are no longer stoned...
      It seems best to encourage her in her relationship with God to search God’s character for the freedom and wonder of discovering the truth about our loving, saving Creator.

  3. As Maurice mentioned a detractor from the true meaning of the Sabbath is that we have to "keep" the 10 commandments and "keep" the Sabbath holy which sounds like a chore or duty or work. A recent article by William really opened my mind about the commands, he explained that in Ex 19:5 the hebrew words translated in English as obey and keep could also be translated as listen and cherish
    so instead of the LORD saying "If you obey my voice and keep my covenant you will be my people" He is really saying "If you listen to My words and guidance and cherish our relationship you will be my special treasured family"
    So we can understand the Sabbath as a commitment between the LORD and His bride to cherish this sacred time carved out of their busy life to develop and celebrate their relationship.

  4. What did their fathers do and what were they doing? Both of them had made a vow or oath or pledge to honour and obey the LORD just as a couple does in their marriage ceremony.
    What goes wrong in these relationship?
    Deut 6:4-6 gives us the secret answer -
    There is only one and he must be before anyone else in our lives
    We must love him with all our hearts, minds, thoughts and our bodies
    His words must be in our hearts not only our actions
    Deut 6:7-10 continues, pass on this loving relationship to your children, talk about it at home and wherever you go, let this love inform your actions and your thoughts, let everyone know to whom you belong.
    Most importantly because He loves us we love Him and put Him first in our lives - this what they and their fathers forgot.

  5. It's interesting to note how Nehemiah works steadfastly to restore the breaches using his administrative authority as well as spiritual obligations,and,this is what God delights in (Isaiah 58:13).It seems the temple was serving administrative,commercial and spiritual matters by then as is also evident during Jesus time.I,on several occasions,have observed keenly items brought by faithfuls sold on a sabbath.Was this the similar situation that Nehemiah was confronting? Is it biblically based? What's the principle behind keeping the Sabbath? God in His wisdom instituted the temple and all the services that come with it including the Levites/priests who were only allowed to fully concentrate on organisation of worship services and temple management,these roles and services heavily depended on tithes offered as had been directed by God.My contention is that even in the management of church affairs(administration),we see and hear the records of how church funds are managed and that's accountability at its height.Why haven't we had accountability on tithe from the top offices(G.C,divisions,uniouns,conferences,fields) now that God approves accountability?

  6. Case Study: One of your friends states, “I think churches invented tithing just so the ministers and churches could get rich. There are too many fancy buildings and rich mi9nisters running around that I don’t see how that glorifies God. How do we know our tithes are being used in the right way?” How would you respond to your friend?

    • When any organization’s or business’ focus narrows to the “beans” in the bank, its core mission is at risk. Image and edifice only have value in serving that mission. Every Christian is responsible to God (not the church) for the use of the resources that God has given. The question your friend has asked may take a bit of time to answer.

      So why don’t you ask your church (or conference) treasurer for a breakdown of how the tithe is used to accomplish the mission and purpose of God? When I had questions about the use of the tithe and offerings, I investigated and found that funds at the local and conference levels were used to minister to the poor, broken-hearted and the street people, and to proclaim the gospel to the community through acts of meaningful service. I expect that you will find the same and can present this information to your friend.

      My experience in the Adventist churches that I have attended and the conferences that I have resided in is this:
      1) The church buildings and administrative offices were anything but fancy. Functional and plain would be operative words that I would use.
      2) The ministers that have pastored these churches were far from rich. A number of these ministers had foregone successful businesses and well-paying jobs in the private sector to answer God’s call to their hearts to minister in his service. They lived in very modest homes and set examples for modest living.

      Is your friend actually seeing this in the Adventist church? If so, the church in your location must have a completely different character than mine and that would be a concern. As far as the union, division and GC administrative levels are concerned, I suggest you contact the GC with your concerns (https://www.adventist.org/en/utility/contact/) to see if someone can help you.

  7. Simeon, you are right about the desire for accountability or transparency. Whereas some may perceive it as casting doubt or mistrust, it is noble and from of old it has been done. What makes the difference is the motive for accountability demanded. It is sad when it will cause petty justification for reduced returning. But I see it that with or without accountability, God has a required personal commitment to cherish His guidance, and that is to do my honest part.

    About Sabbath, indeed it is a blessing if by His grace associations for meeting are formed to reach man's needs, just as Christ did, that way the antennas are raised for the joy, peace, blessings experienced by this way of life. We can be His feet, His hands, and His mouth piece, Isaiah 58:13-14, not minding our own pleasure, but to will and to do yielding unto Him.

  8. The controversy was on how to keep the sabbath but today man is on overdrive, everyone agreed that the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord-man is now questioning which day is the sabbath.


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