SABBATH OR SUNDAY

Does It Matter Which Day
You Choose for Worship?

written by Clifford Scott

 


 

As a former Seventh-day Adventist
this was a serious question for me.

The most important consideration
in any religious matter is
"What does the Bible say?"
So let's take a look.

 

 


 

OBJECT LESSONS

THE OLD COVENANT

THE NEW COVENANT

SABBATH IN GENESIS ?

WHAT IS THE SEAL OF GOD ?

MORAL OR CEREMONIAL

SPIRITUAL ISRAEL ?

THE COUNCIL OF LAODICEA

SABBATH: NOT UNIVERSAL OR ETERNAL

PROBLEMS OF A GLOBAL SABBATH

OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE SABBATH

7 DAY WEEK OR LUNAR MONTH

THE MARK OF THE BEAST ?

AN INTERESTING THEORY

A FINAL WORD FOR SABBATARIANS

 

REFERENCES

 


 

OBJECT LESSONS

In Colossians 2:16-17 we find the following statement from the apostle Paul, "Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ."

A "Festival" referred to a yearly celebration.
A "New Moon" referred to a monthly celebration.
A "Sabbath day" referred to a weekly celebration.
This set of three celebrations, "Festivals" "New Moons" and "Sabbath Days" is used quite often in the Bible:
1 Chronicles 23:31
2 Chronicles 2:4
2 Chronicles 8:13
2 Chronicles 31:3
Nehemiah 10:33
Isaiah 1:14
Ezekiel 45:17
Hosea 2:11

Seventh-day Adventists say that the Sabbath day mentioned in Colossians 2:16 refers to either a yearly sabbath or a monthly sabbath, but not to the weekly Sabbath.

Does this make sense?
Let's substitute the words, YEARLY, MONTHLY, and WEEKLY for the words, FESTIVAL, NEW MOON, and SABBATH DAY in Colossians 2:16. According to the Adventist's statement that this Sabbath day is either a yearly or a monthly sabbath, the text would read, "... in respect to a yearly or a monthly or a yearly ..." Or it would read, "... in respect to a yearly or a monthly or a monthly ..."

Either one of those alternatives is redundant. Paul must have been talking about the weekly Sabbath day.

And what about the word "Sabbath" in the text? It is the Greek word "sabbaton" which is the same as the Hebrew word "shabbath" with two Bs. According to Strong's Concordance it means "The Sabbath" or "day of weekly repose." And according to Thayer's it means "the seventh day of each week."

Yes. Paul was definitely talking about three different things: A yearly or seasonal "festival," A monthly "new moon," And the weekly "Sabbath!"

So why does Paul make this statement?

BECAUSE THE SABBATH WAS A PART OF THE OLD COVENANT WHICH WAS NAILED TO THE CROSS! Paul just stated that in verse 14.

"But," I can hear you saying, "The Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments written by God with His own finger in stone! How can it be done away with at the Cross? The other nine Commandments are still in effect."
This was a problem with me too, for quite a long time. It took a lot of studying and praying, but finally I arrived at this:

God has made an object lesson with STONE and FLESH. In Ezekiel 11:19 God says, "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of STONE out of their flesh and give them a heart of FLESH ..."
In Ezekiel 36:26 He basically says the same thing, "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of STONE from your flesh and give you a heart of FLESH. "

The expression a "new spirit" is referring to the New Covenant when believers will be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 Paul says, "You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of STONE but on tablets of HUMAN HEARTS." Then in verses 7 through 8 Paul continues this contrast of STONES with SPIRIT, "But if the ministry of death, in LETTERS ENGRAVED ON STONES, came with glory, ... how will the ministry of the SPIRIT fail to be even more with glory?" Then continuing in verses 10 through 11, "For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which FADES AWAY was with glory, much more that which REMAINS is in glory."

(EMPHASIS MINE)

Also "stone" does not equal "permanence" - if it did, then we wouldn't be able to have our hearts of STONE replaced with hearts of FLESH. (See Ezekiel 36:26 and 2 Corinthians 3:3). Stone does not equal permanence - Stone equals Jesus. (See Matthew 21:42 and Acts 4:10-12 and Romans 9:33). There is also an interesting play on words when the devil said to Jesus, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Jesus knew that He is the Son of God. And He didn't need to make the stone into bread, because He is already the Stone AND the Bread!

The Old Covenant Law (which includes the 10 Commandments) FADES AWAY, but the New Covenant SPIRIT REMAINS.

 

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OLD COVENANT

The Sabbath is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 16:23 when Moses instructed the Israelites about collecting manna. In Genesis 2:1-3 God ceased His work on the seventh day of Creation week. He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it or set it apart because He had ceased all His work of Creation. The second mention of the Sabbath, after the manna, is in Exodus 20:8, the 4th commandment. In Exodus, the 4th commandment says, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." In Deuteronomy 5:12, the 4th commandment says, "Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

Adventists seem to prefer Exodus over Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 5:1-21 is another listing of the Ten Commandments. It starts out, "Hear O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today." (Horeb is the same as Mt Sinai).

Notice several things in this text from Deuteronomy:
    1. The covenant - which included the Ten Commandments that follow in verses 6 through 21 - was NOT given to "our fathers."
    2. "our fathers" could only refer to their ancestors since some people present that day obviously had their fathers still living with them.
    3. The beginning verses in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 both start with God telling Who He is and why He has authority to give the Israelites the commandments. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

The covenant (Ten Commandments included) was NOT given to their fathers. This means that Abraham was not under the Mosaic covenant and did not have the Sabbath commandment, Noah didn't have it, Enoch didn't have it. In fact Romans 4:13 tells us, "The promise to Abraham ... was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith." Adam must have known that God ceased His work of creation on the seventh day and blessed it. Adam was only one day old on that first seventh day, but he was fully grown and extremely intelligent. So what was to be remembered as Exodus 20:8 says? It could have been that Moses wanted the Israelites to remember what happened a short time before with the manna instructions. Or he could have been instructing them to remember the Sabbath in the future. At any rate, the Israelites most likely did NOT remember any ancient Sabbath (which had NOT been given to their fathers anyway) because they had been in slavery for 400 years. It is HIGHLY unlikely that they would have a record of the exact anniversary of the seventh day of Creation when God ceased His work, although God would know this anniversary and could have made the Sabbath as an exact anniversary. But, notice that the seventh day of Creation week does not say, "and the evening and the morning were the seventh day" as do all the other six days. This would indicate that God intended His "rest" to be unending. He would enjoy rest with Adam and Eve forever. But sin put an end to that. God worked 6 days creating the Earth and the Universe. He then ceased His work on the 7th day, which He intended to have no end. When sin entered, God went back to work. John 5:17, "... My Father is working until now ..." And (good news for us) He does NOT stop working every 7th day. Otherwise the Universe would fall apart every 7th day. And that would make life very difficult, to say the least.

The 4th commandment is NOT the only place having God's "seal" information as Adventists claim. Each of the listings of the Ten Commandments start with God telling the Israelites that He was the One who brought them out of Egypt and delivered them from Slavery. And the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy 5:12-15 states that the reason for keeping the Sabbath is to remember that they were slaves in Egypt and that God brought them out with a mighty hand (verse 15). It says nothing about Creation.

The Old Covenant (and the Sabbath) was given to Israel ONLY. Read Psalm 147:19-20 (NIV), "He has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know His laws. Praise the Lord."

(emphasis mine)

In Exodus 20:12 and 20:20 and 31:13 God states that, "My Sabbaths" are a "sign between Me and you" that they may know that "I am the Lord." However, after Israel killed the other party of the covenant, the contract was null and void. When a wife murders her husband God does not continue to bless or honor that marriage. The Sabbath was definitely an Old Covenant "sign" between God and the Israelites. But it is NOT the "Seal of God" under the New Covenant.

The Sabbath was the "sign" of the Old Covenant.
That was the main reason why it was IN the Ten Commandments.

 

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NEW COVENANT

Old Covenant and New Covenant are alternate terms for Old Testament and New Testament. This is basically where the line is drawn, although most of the events of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant started at Jesus' resurrection. The Old Covenant was nailed to Jesus' cross. (See Colossians 2:14). Any Jewish person will tell you that the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, were made just for them and are only a part of the 613 laws in the Torah (Old Covenant). Galatians 3:23-24 says, "But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law ... Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." Christians are no longer under the Law of the Old Covenant, but under faith through the Holy Spirit of Christ.

Hebrews 8:7-13 tells us that the New Covenant is not like the (Old) Covenant God made when He took the Israelites out of Egypt. "After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts." This is referring to the New Covenant. Verse 13 says, "When He said, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear."

SDAs maintain that the Ten Commandments are not part of the Old Covenant and that the Ten Commandments were given for everyone in the world. But let's read what it says in Exodus 34:27-28. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.' So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And He [the Lord] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." This is very clear and very specific.
The Lord made the covenant with Moses and with Israel.
He wrote on the tablets the words of that covenant,
the Ten Commandments.

Adventists say that no one can find a Bible text stating where anyone changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week. And this is true. No one changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. But Jesus DID change it. Let's read Hebrews 4:4-7. "For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: 'And God rested [ceased] on the seventh day from all His works;' and again in this passage, 'They shall not enter My rest.' Therefore ... He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, 'Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.' "

Jesus changed the Sabbath to a new day called, "Today."

 


Adventists love this picture!
They use it to point out that the Pope
destroyed the 4th Commandment.

In light of what I have learned,
and what I hope you will come to see,
the arms in the picture are NOT the Pope's.
I respectfully submit that they are Jesus' arms.

Jesus changed the Sabbath
to a new day called "Today."

Regarding the claim that the Pope changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, read what Ellen White wrote in Early Writings page 32: "I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws."

There are a number of things wrong with this statement:
    1. God did change the Sabbath to a new day called "Today" as noted above from Hebrews 4.
    2. While it is true that God never changes (Malachi 3:6, "For I am the Lord, I change not") man does change. Read Genesis 1:31, "And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." And then Genesis 6:6, "And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth..." Man sinned. God changed the way he viewed man and His Creation.
    3. The Pope did not change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Check you history: Pliny, Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Dionysius, Bardesanes, Clement, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Anatolius, Victorinus, Eusebius - they all say that the apostles and the early church leaders worshiped on the Lord's Day (first day of the week, Sunday) as early as 120 AD.
Also check the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible (www.drbo.org/chapter/02020.htm) and you will see that the ENTIRE 4th commandment is in there, including the line, "But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God."
    4. It was Nero being referred to in Daniel 7. So it was he who thought to change times and laws, not any Pope.

Adventists point to the text (Matthew 24:20) where Jesus made this statement, "But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath." They say that this proves that people will be keeping the Sabbath at the end of the world, or at least after Jesus' resurrection. But what Jesus was talking about referred to the time when Jerusalem would fall to the Romans in 70 AD. Jesus wanted His people to be able to escape. But if they had to flee on the Sabbath, they would be hampered by the fact that the gates of Jerusalem would be closed by the Jews on the Sabbath.
(See Nehemiah 13:19).

SDAs also claim the text (Mark 2:27) where Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." They state that this means that the Sabbath is the Lord's Day. But I maintain that the Sabbath ritual pointed forward to Jesus Who gives Rest to those who believe in Him. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS." (Matthew 11:29). The same account (Mark 2:27) of Jesus and the disciples picking grain and eating it on the Sabbath is also recorded in Matthew 12:5-6. There Jesus makes this statement, "Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here." Jesus claims He is greater than the temple and all its rituals. When Jesus says, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath," He is saying that He is greater than the ritual of the Sabbath. Also the Greek word for "LORD" in Matthew 12:8 is "kurios" which has the connotation of "supreme in authority" or "controller." So Jesus is saying that the Son of Man is controller of the Sabbath. This is a very different meaning from what Adventists say it means!

What was the reason for the early church leaders to start worshiping on the first day instead of the seventh? (Sunday instead of Sabbath?) There were a number of reasons. They did not want to be confused with the Jews who still clung to the Old Covenant. They wished to honor Christ's resurrection. And they remembered the beginning of the Christian Church on the Day of Pentecost, which takes place fifty days after Passover. Passover took place on a Sabbath when Jesus gave His life for us. Forty-nine days after that last Passover would have been another seventh day of the week. And the next day would have been Sunday, the first day of the week, the 50th day after Passover, or Pentecost. When John began his Revelation of Jesus Christ, he said (Rev. 1:10), "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day..." John wrote the Revelation in Greek and he knew the Greek word for Sabbath, "sabbaton." He used this word in his Gospel (John 5:9). But in Revelation 1:10 he said he was in the Spirit on the "Kuriakos hemera" - the Lord's day, which was NOT the Sabbath.

 

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SABBATH IN GENESIS ?

Adam and Eve had only been alive for one day (or less) when God ceased His work of creating the Earth, and blessed the seventh day.

Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 both state that one works six days before keeping the Sabbath.

Adam and Eve could not possibly have worked six days in the one day they had been alive on that first seventh day.

Exodus 31 and 35, and Numbers 15, all state that Sabbath breakers were to be put to death.

In Genesis 2:17 God told Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. Search as I could, I have not found where God told Adam or Eve that if they broke the Sabbath, they would surely die.

Exodus 35:3 forbids the kindling of a fire on the Sabbath.

What possible reason would God have for informing Adam and Eve of this restriction in the perfect climate of the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve definitely did NOT need to barbecue any steaks in the Garden or ward off any ferocious lions with a bonfire!

Exodus 16:26, "Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none."

Did Adam and Eve find that ALL the fruit had disappeared on every seventh day in Eden?

Deuteronomy 5:15, "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt ... therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day."

In the Garden of Eden, Egypt had not even been invented yet.

Nehemiah 13:19, "As it grew dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut."

The gates of Eden were not shut or guarded until AFTER Adam and Eve sinned.

Jeremiah 17:21, "Do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem."

Adam and Eve didn't need to carry any load ever in Eden. And they didn't need to bring anything in through the gates of Eden because they had everything they could ever need or want in Eden.

The book of Exodus tells about the Israelites leaving Egypt and traveling through the desert for about a month until they arrive at the wilderness of Sin (wilderness of the moon). After their arrival God gives them Manna to eat. A week later He instructs them to gather twice as much because the next day will be the test of obedience of the Sabbath. For the entire previous month God did not require the Israelites to keep the Sabbath. Because it did NOT exist yet. It was inaugurated at the test of the Manna.

Does the BIBLE say more about when the Sabbath was given? Yes it does. In the 9th chapter of Nehemiah, the children of Israel confessed their sins and then read from the book of the law of the Lord. Then the Levites said in Nehemiah 9:13+14, "Then You came down on Mount Sinai, and ... made known to them Your holy Sabbath ... through Your servant Moses."

This says that the Sabbath was made known to them through Moses on Mt Sinai. It couldn't be any clearer that the Sabbath was NOT known before Sinai.

Because there was NO SABBATH IN GENESIS.

 

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WHAT IS THE SEAL OF GOD ?

The Sabbath was nailed to the cross because it was the SIGN of the Old Covenant. And Jesus, through His death and resurrection, introduced the New Covenant. The other nine commandments were also nailed to the cross. ALL of the Old Covenant was nailed to the cross. However, the other nine commandments are still in effect because they are moral - and/or they tell us about God's eternal character. They were all re-introduced in the New Testament, the New Covenant because they are part of Jesus' New Commandments, "Believe" and "Love one another" (see 1 John 3:23). The Sabbath was NOT introduced in the New Testament / Covenant because it was the SIGN of the Old Covenant.

So, if the Sabbath is not the Seal of God
under the New Covenant,
then what is?

Read the following verses:
    2 Corinthians 1:21-22. "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge."
    Ephesians 1:13. "In Him, you also after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."
    Ephesians 4:30. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

The Seal of God is the Holy Spirit.

If you want to know if someone is a born-again Christian
do you look at what day of the week they worship?
Anyone will tell you that there are some people
who worship on Sabbath
but they are definitely NOT Christian.
And there are some people who worship on Sunday
but they also are definitely NOT Christian.

If you want to know if someone is a born-again Christian
you look to see if they have
the Spirit of God in their hearts!

 

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MORAL LAW OR CEREMONIAL LAW

The Sabbath Law told us that what we did on one day was forbidden on another day just because it was a different day of the week. God's morality is the same all the time. It doesn't change from one day of the week to the next. God can definitely tell us what to do on different days of the week, but that would be a ceremonial thing, not something that is moral all the time.

For more on this see:
www.gci.org/law/sabbath/moral

 

John 5:16-17, "For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. But He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.'" Obviously the Sabbath cannot be a moral law if God Himself "violates" it by working on it.

(emphasis mine)

Adventists claim that the Ten Commandments are the "Moral Law." The 10 commandments are not the moral law, however they do contain some moral laws:
   * Man needs to worship.
   * Honor your parents.
   * Don't murder.
   * Don't commit adultery.
   * Don't steal.
   * Don't bear false witness ...
These things are built into man. He knows them instinctively, without being taught them. Even the vilest humans of modern times - the Nazis - knew instinctively that what they had been doing was wrong. When captured, they did not brag about their killing and torturing of millions of people. They denied it - they ran and hid - they fled to South America - they commited suicide. They knew instinctively that what they had been doing was wrong!
Because they had broken MORAL laws built into everyone.

Paul said in Romans 7:7, "... for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, 'You shall not covet.' " So we see that not coveting is not necessarily a moral law. It is something that has to be taught.

Just the same, no one has built into them that the 7th day of the week is the Sabbath.
Because it is NOT a moral law.
It is ceremonial.

 

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SPIRITUAL ISRAEL ?

Seventh-day Adventists, in trying to make the Sabbath still apply, not just to the Israelites, but to today's Christians, claim that they are "Spiritual Israel." In defense of this position, they cite Galatians 3:29, "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise." However, the verse before that states, "There is neither Jew nor Greek ... slave nor free ... male nor female ... you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28.

They also quote Galatians 6:16, "And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God." But Paul's qualifier, "And those who will walk by this rule ..." is clarified two verses previous to the one quoted by Adventists. It says that Paul boasts "in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"

So "those who will walk by this rule" ... proclaiming "the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" are called the Israel of God.

Paul also says, "... For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants" Romans 9:6-7.

Remember:
ISRAEL rejected the Messiah.
ISRAEL cried out, "Away with Him ... crucify Him!"
ISRAEL shouted, "We have no king but Caesar."
ISRAEL mocked Jesus saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself."
ISRAEL had the Romans crucify Jesus, the Savior of the world, the Creator of the Universe.
ISRAEL was savagely destroyed by the Romans .
IS IT REALLY WISE TO ASPIRE TO BE
"SPIRITUAL ISRAEL" ?

 

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THE CONCIL OF LAODICEA
in Phrygia Pacatiana
364 AD

states the following:
Canon 29:
"Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ."

Anathema: n. A formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3806.htm

 

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The 7th day Sabbath is
NOT
Universal or Eternal.

If there are other beings
on other planets
in other galaxies
they would not be keeping
the same 7th day we have on planet Earth.
(We don't even keep the same 7th day here on Earth,
because the Earth is round,
and the 7th day starts at 24 different times).

We will not keep the 7th day
in Heaven or on the New Earth
because
"... there will no longer be any night;
and they will not have need of the light of a lamp
nor the light of the sun,
because the Lord God will illumine them;
and they will reign forever and ever."

Revelation 22:5

If there is no night and no sun,
then there will be no marking off of days.
Therefore no Sabbath Day.
Besides, we will be eternally at rest.
Not resting just one day out of seven.

In Revelation 21:5 we read, "And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'" If we will keep a Sabbath to commemorate the Creation of the New Earth, it would NOT be the Sabbath of the Creation of the old earth that is gone. Because EVERYTHING will be made new. But with no sun or moon to mark days, we would need something new to tell us when the New Sabbath is. However, this is all rendered unnecessary because we will be ETERNALLY at rest with Jesus.

 

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PROBLEMS OF A GLOBAL SABBATH

* The Sabbath was given to the Israelites living in the temperate climate of the land of Canaan, present day Palestine.
The Sabbath was not given to their fathers.

* Exodus 35:3 forbids the kindling of a fire on the Sabbath. Those living in EXTREMELY cold climates would die of hypothermia every Sabbath.

* The Sabbath was to be kept from evening to evening according to Leviticus 23:32. Anyone living above the arctic circle, or below the antarctic circle, has some days when the sun never sets, and some nights when the sun never rises. The General Conference of SDAs had to figure out some solution to this problem. The problem should never have come up since the Sabbath was ONLY for the Israelites living in the temperate climate of what is modern-day Palestine.

Ellen White realized this problem with keeping the Sabbath above the arctic circle. In Manuscript Release No. 776 (in the year 1900) under the heading, "Sabbathkeeping in the Arctic" she made the following statement.

"God made His Sabbath for a round world: and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time, in all countries and lands, to observe the Sabbath. In the countries where there is no sunset for months, and again no sunrise for months, the period of time will be calculated by records kept...."

10MR 9.1

Notice that ellipsis at the end of the above statement. It hides a very BIZARRE continuation of Ellen White's statement. The quote continues, "... by records kept. But God has made a world large enough and proper and right for the human beings He has created to inhabit it, without finding homes in those lands so objectionable in many, many ways."

(Letter 167 to G. A. Irwin,
General Conference president,
March 23, 1900)

View the entire letter here.
Relevant lines have been highlighted in yellow
(For some reason it is also listed as MR No. 958 in 12MR 159.1)

Did Ellen White mean that no one should live above the arctic circle? Or that those who do live above the arctic circle should move after they become Seventh-day Adventists? Imagine using this EGW quote in evangelistic meetings in Spitzbergen, Norway! "We welcome you to the Seventh-day Adventist faith. But Ellen White, our prophetess, thinks you should live somewhere less objectionable."

Let me say this again,
THE SABBATH WAS ONLY MADE FOR THE ISRAELITES
LIVING IN THE TEMPERATE CLIMATE
OF WHAT IS MODERN-DAY PALESTINE !

 

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OTHER PROBLEMS WITH THE SABBATH

* Exodus 31:14 and 31:15 and 35:2 as well as Numbers 15:32-35 all state that Sabbath breakers were to be put to death. No modern-day Sabbatarians including Adventists obey this regulation regarding the Sabbath.

* Adventists point out Acts 17:1-3, "... they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.'"

They say that this proves that Paul still worshiped on the Sabbath after Jesus went back to Heaven.

But that's not what is happening here. Paul wanted to preach the Good News to the Jews. What better place and time to do this than in a synagogue on the Sabbath. If you want to find a large group of Jews, it's what you do.

* Adventists claim that Isaiah 66:23 proves the Sabbath. " 'And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before me,' says the Lord." But if the end of the book of Isaiah is describing the New Heaven and the New Earth after Jesus' Second Coming, then there are a number of BIG problems.

   1. Death at age 100. (Isaiah 65:20). Obviously no one will die at age 100 in the New Earth spoken of in Revelation.
   2. Killing of oxen and sacrificing of lambs. (Isaiah 66:3). No animal sacrifices are necessary after Jesus' death, and definitely NOT in the New Earth.
   3. Grain offerings. (Isaiah 66:3 and 66:20). No grain offerings after the end of the Levitical system.
   4. New moons mean there would be night in order to see the moon. (Isaiah 66:23). Revelation 22:5 says, "And there will no longer be any night ..." in the New Earth.
   5. Sabbath. (Isaiah 66:23). Colossians 2:16 says that no one is to judge you in respect to a Sabbath day. The Sabbath was nailed to the cross. (Colossians 2:14). The Sabbath pointed forward to Rest in Jesus.
   6. Looking at corpses of men. (Isaiah 66:24). No one will have to look at any corpse in the New Earth. "And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death ..."

Also, Isaiah himself says (in chapter 1:13-14), "Bring your worthless offerings no longer ... New moon and sabbath ... I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. I hate your new moon festivals ..."

 

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SABBATH: SEVENTH DAY (SATURDAY)
OR OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK
IN A LUNAR MONTH ?

All through my life I was taught that the seven-day week was NOT tied to any celestial event, and that Adventists could be certain of which day of the week was the Sabbath because we were following the Jews who worship on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. And the Jews kept meticulous records of which day was the Sabbath. However ...

The ancient Israelites started each month on the New Moon. Then the first Sabbath was on the 8th day of the month (the seventh day after the New Moon). The second Sabbath was on the 15th day of the month, the third was on the 22nd, fourth on the 29th. Thus the Sabbath fell on different days of what would later become the seven-day week. And the week WAS determined by celestial events - the four phases of the moon: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Last Quarter. But of course those weeks were not always exactly seven days long, and there were other days at the beginning or end of the month that were not counted in the week. This wreaks havoc with the Adventists' claim of an exact seven-day week and an exact anniversary of the Creation week!

For confirmation of this, see: www.lunarsabbath.com/articles/case4LBS.htm. The article at this website was written by a Seventh-day Adventist named Ryan Van Denburgh.

The home page of www.lunarsabbath.com shows how New Moons and Lunar Sabbaths worked out in the year 2010. Compare this with a modern 2010 calendar and you will find that the first and second Sabbaths of 2010 fell on January 7 and 14 respectively. These two days were on a Thursday! The next four Sabbaths (after the next New Moon) actually fell on a Saturday. Then the last Sabbath in February fell on a Monday. Out of the whole year, the Sabbath fell on a Saturday only EIGHT TIMES! The other 41 times the Sabbath fell on: Thursday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, SUNDAY, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, SUNDAY, and Monday!

Does the Bible say anything about this? Let's read Ezekiel 46:1, "Thus says the Lord God, 'The gate of the inner court facing east shall be shut the six working days; but it shall be opened on the sabbath day and opened on the day of the new moon.'" The month has approximately 29.5 days in it. The Israelites had 12 lunar months of either 29 or 30 days. They would occasionally add a thirteenth month to make the seasons come out the same each year. As you can see, 29.5 days does NOT divide by seven equally. The New Moon Day was a rest day, but not equal to the Sabbath.

Even Ellen White acknowledged the starting on a New Moon. "The year 1843 was, however, regarded as extending to the spring of 1844. The reason for this, briefly stated, is as follows: Anciently the year did not commence in midwinter, as now, but at the first new moon after the vernal equinox. Therefore, as the period of 2300 days was begun in a year reckoned by the ancient method, it was considered necessary to conform to that method to its close."

Great Controversy 1888, page 681.4
(emphasis mine)
(By mentioning this EGW quote,
I do NOT endorse her view of 1843/44.
I include it only to show that even in the 1800s
people KNEW about the New Moon starting of the month).

So, Isaiah 66:23 is actually saying that worship of YHWH begins each month on the New Moon and then seven days after that, and seven days after that, etc. until the next New Moon. Then it starts again - "... from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath ..."

Also:
"The establishment of a periodic week ending in a Sabbath observed every seventh day was doubtless responsible for the gradual obsolescence of the new-moon festival as a period of general abstinence, since with continuous weeks the new-moon day and the Sabbath would from time to time coincide." ... "The day of new moon never lost, indeed, its significance in Jewish ritual, for, when all the great festivals were definitely fixed to certain days, the new moon, as marking the beginning of the month, continued to hold a leading place in the sacred calendar."

Rest Days by Hutton Webster, page 255. (1916)
(emphasis mine)

The 6th chapter of the book of Joshua says the children of Israel circled the city of Jericho seven days in a row. How did they do this and avoid violating the Sabbath? The historical book of Jasher 88:14 says they started on the first day of the second month, which would have been a New Moon day. Therefore there would have been seven more days until the Sabbath, making eight days total. Plenty of time.

 

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MARK OF THE BEAST ?

* SDAs claim that at the end of the world, Sabbath-keeping will be the sign of who can be saved. And that Sunday-keeping will indicate those who have the "Mark of the Beast" and will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

There are MAJOR problems with this doctrine!

If Sabbath-breaking will cause many people to lose out on Eternal Life, Jesus or the Apostles would have had MUCH to say about it. There are five places in the New Testament with lists of things that will keep people out of Heaven.
1. Matthew 25:41-46
2. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
3. Galatians 5:19-21
4. Ephesians 5:3-6
5. Revelation 22:14-15
Read these lists carefully. You will find that Sabbath-breaking or Sunday-keeping is NOT IN ANY of these lists! Nor are they found ANYWHERE in the New Testament!
And remember that anyone who commits any of the "mortal sins" listed in these five places can still be saved if they repent and TRUST that Jesus' Death and Resurrection covers ALL those sins. Just look at the life of King David...

 

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AN INTERESTING THEORY

Pentecost takes place 50 days after Passover. The Greek word "Pentecost" means "fiftieth" or "fiftieth day." In Hebrew the day is known as Shavuot which means "weeks" and is claimed to be the day that the Torah was given to the children of Israel from Mt Sinai. There is a calendar of the Exodus at www.Bible.ca a Canadian website. The calendar has everything figured out and the giving of the Law at Sinai does fall on what is today called Pentecost, 50 days after the first Passover "Sabbath." In light of this, a very interesting thing has happened. The Holy Spirit fell on the apostles on the exact anniversary of the very day that the Law was given to the Israelites. The Holy Spirit of the New Covenant coming to the apostles on the anniversary of when the Old Covenant Law was given, is another indication of God's incredible timing! And of the great difference between the two covenants!

The Old Covenant Law
being replaced by
The New Covenant Spirit.

Note that the above Exodus Calendar does not account for the months beginning on the New Moon and the subsequent Sabbaths being on different days. Also the website admits they have made some assumptions that could be wrong. But despite this, it is still a very interesting theory!

Another interesting fact: the Wilderness of Sin translates to the Wilderness of the Moon, and Mt Sinai may be another form of Sin / Moon or "Mountain of the Moon." So the New Moon calendar may not have started until after Mt Sinai.

 

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A final word for Seventh-day Adventists
and other Sabbatarians:

It does not matter if you worship on Saturday, the 7th day. Honor God by worshiping on the day He ceased His work of Creation. Just don't preach or teach that breaking the Sabbath will keep people out of God's Eternal Kingdom. And do not condemn people who choose to worship on Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead. After all, this was THE MAJOR EVENT in the entire Universe!

Remember, we are all saved by what Jesus accomplished.
Jesus claimed He was the Messiah. So did others.
Jesus died. So did countless others.

BUT, Jesus rose from the dead!

No body else EVER did that!!!

 

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REFERENCES

Discovering the New Covenant
by Greg Taylor. 2004

(Book is a PDF and will download automatically.
If it doesn't open or you can't find it,
look for it in your downloads folder.)

Sunday Facts and Sabbath Fiction
by Russell K Tardo. 1992

(Book is a PDF and will download automatically.
If it doesn't open or you can't find it,
look for it in your downloads folder.)

From Sabbath to Sunday:
A Historical Investigation of the
Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity

by Samuele Bacchiocchi. 1977

The Lord's Day from Neither Catholics Nor Pagans
by D. M. Canright. 1915

(Book is a PDF and will download automatically.
If it doesn't open or you can't find it,
look for it in your downloads folder.)

Verdict: No Sabbath In Genesis!
by Kerry B. Wynne,
William H. Hohmann,
Robert K. Sanders,
Duane Johnson.

www.nonsda.org/study7.shtml
Sabbath as the Seal of God

www.amazingfiction.org/seal-of-god.shtml

members.tripod.com/~Help_for_SDAs/BewarethisCult-book.html# The Question of the Sabbath Day

 


 

All Bible texts are from the NASB
unless otherwise noted.

 

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