Seventh-Day Adventists/Sabbath Questions


QUESTION: How can SDA’s claim the Sabbath is required anymore? The word “sabbaton” in original greek means Sabbath used in Colossians 2:16-17 is something that can not be gotten around.

Romans 14:5
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

The SDA’s have pushed the Sabbath question to the front, starting before the Civil War when such a doctrine was viewed as very strange and unpopular.  Few today realize how difficult and controversial it was for any Protestant church to teach a 7th day Sabbath in the 19th century.  

Sunday was considered by the vast majority to be the only day for the Christian Sabbath.  But the SDA’s loudly, and correctly, rejected this view and thus they have worked very heard to counter this popular Gentile error about the Sunday Sabbath.  

While the SDA Pioneers discovered the Sabbath from the Seventh-day Baptists, the Adventists went on to view the 7th day as prophetic and eschatological. Even declaring that persecution would eventually take place against those that refused to embrace the Sunday myth.

The SDA’s made the point that the 7th day Sabbath would become a testing doctrine at the end of time that showed who was loyal to God and Christ and whom was not.  Their Sabbatarian eschatology required all churches in Laodicea to repudiate Sunday and embrace Sabbath Reform.

The SDA’s were obsessed with the Sabbath and they viewed the 7th day as the greatest doctrinal pillar of their faith, which they viewed as the fulfillment of the 3rd Angels Message of Rev 14.   Thus Sabbath Reform became part of their Gospel mission to prepare the church for the Second Coming.  For them, the Sabbath was to be the final doctrinal reform prior to the great Tribulation and the end of the world.

Although the SDA’s have now gone bad, no longer understanding the Gospel, church history, eschatology, or even the correct doctrine of the 7th day Sabbath, no one should underestimate their early insight about the Sabbath.  They were fundamentally correct about the 7th day, even though they later lost their way.

Location of the Gospel Sabbath

The New Covenant Sabbath is articulated, defined, and explained, by Jesus, in all four Gospels.  This is the primary source, and the proper location in the NT to understand the Gospel Sabbath.  No one should ignore the numerous Sabbath teachings of Jesus, and then focus on either Col 2:16 or Hebrews 4 in order to understand the Christian Sabbath.

This is a great hermeneutical error.  Those that use such reckless and dishonest study methods will hardly arrive at truth.   They will misunderstand the Gospel and be lost.

Authority of the Gospel Sabbath

The Gospel Sabbath is a doctrine that comes directly from Christ to the church through all four Gospels.  This is where the NC Sabbath is recorded, explained, defended, and demonstrated for the church.

Jesus even claims to have received his reformed, active, Sabbath teaching from God himself.  Such a position angered the Jews, and caused his death on the cross.

The Gospels also contain the Sabbath debates that were held between Jesus and the religious leaders.  These numerous confrontations give us great insight into this controversial and very misunderstood doctrine.

The NC Sabbath in Hebrews 4: 9

While there is no doubt that the Sabbath is a type of spiritual rest, the specific word in Hebrews 4: 9 does not say what many assume.  

In fact, this Greek word for Sabbath is used nowhere else in the entire Bible.  It is a special word that only means a weekly Sabbath keeping.  It does not mean a spiritual rest, and the author has made this certain by his specific use of the original language.

Here is some information about Hebrews 4: 9

The Greek word under discussion means “a Sabbath keeping.”  As in the weekly, 7th day.  It is not saying that the weekly Sabbath is abolished because of the believers rest in Christ.

Here is the most literal translation, which is an exclusive reference to a weekly Sabbath keeping, as in the 7th Day.  The word “rest” is not even there!  It is being supplied by the translator.

Darby Bible Translation:
There remains then a sabbatism to the people of God.

Here are some more very correct translations.

Bible in Basic English:
So that there is still a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.

Douay-Rheims Bible:
There remaineth therefore a day of rest for the people of God.

Many are reading into this verse what they want, not what the text is really saying.  Many are also using some poor translations that also focus on rest, and this error invites the anti-Sabbath crowd to seize on this text in an effort to blunt those that promote the Sabbath.  

Heb 4: 9, was written to the Sabbath keeping Jewish Christians; it is speaking about the weekly, 7th day Sabbath.  It is saying that there IS such a weekly doctrine for the church.  Thus the KJV gives a very misleading reading by saying:

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Such a reading, if correct, can easily be viewed as supporting this idea that Jesus is our spiritual rest, (which he is), and thus this passage is not dealing with the weekly Sabbath of the Jews and Christians.  

But the KJV, and many others, are not good translations.  They are very misleading and wrong.  The word “rest” is not even in the text!

The ASV is better, because it uses the term Sabbath and then adds the word rest.  So it keeps closer to the original Greek, but even then, it misses what the passage is actually saying.  

The author of Hebrews is declaring there IS a weekly, Gospel Sabbath for the church.

American Standard Version:
There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.

The DR Bible gives a more accurate translation:

Douay-Rheims Bible:
There remaineth therefore a day of rest for the people of God.

Take a look at how numerous Bible translations view this verse.

Note also that this ADDITIONAL “rest” is for the (Jewish) believer.  It is for those that had already been saved by embracing the Gospel.  Which is an observation that supports the view that this passage is speaking about the NC weekly Sabbath of the Church.

New International Version (©1984):  There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;

New Living Translation (©2007):
So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.

English Standard Version (©2001)
:  So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

New American Standard Bible (©1995):
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

International Standard Version (©2008):
There remains, therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995):
Therefore, a time of rest and worship exists for God's people.

American Standard Version: There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.

Bible in Basic English:
So that there is still a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.

Douay-Rheims Bible:
There remaineth therefore a day of rest for the people of God.

Darby Bible Translation
:  There remains then a sabbatism to the people of God.

English Revised Version:
There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.

Webster's Bible Translation:
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Weymouth New Testament:
It follows that there still remains a sabbath rest for the people of God.

World English Bible: There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

Heb 4: 9 is telling the Jewish Christians that there is weekly Sabbath Day for the church.

Use of the Word Sabbatismos:

Here is some more discussion about this unique word that is only found in Heb 4: 9.

In regard to taking “Sabbatismos” literally, Professor Andrew T. Lincoln, on page 213 in his symposium From Sabbath To The Lord's Day states, “The use of sabbatismos elsewhere in extant Greek literature gives an indication of its more exact shade of meaning. It is used in Plutarch, De Superstitione 3 (Moralia166A) of Sabbath observance. There are also four occurrences in post canonical literature that are independent of Hebrews 4:9.

They are Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 23:3; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses 30:2:2; Martyrium Petri et Pauli 1; Apostolic Constitutions 2:36:2.

In each of these places the term denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath.

This usage corresponds to the Septuagint usage of the cognate verb sabbatizo (cf. Exodus 16:30; Leviticus. 23:32; 26:34; 2 Chronicles. 36:21).

Thus the writer to the Hebrews is saying that since the time of Joshua an observance of the Sabbath rest has been outstanding.”

The literal translation then of Hebrews 4:9 is, “Therefore a Sabbath observance has been left behind for the people of God.”

The internal evidence of the preceding verses would also indicate that the Sabbath observance mentioned in this verse has to be the Seventh day Sabbath and not Sunday which took on the name the Lord's Day about 461AD.

In verse 8, the author of Hebrews states, “For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day.”

On first glance in our English translations, the word “another” might give the appearance of a different day.

However, in the Greek, there are two words for “another.”  “Heteros” means “another of a different kind”, while “allos” means “another of the same kind”.

The word used in Hebrews 4:8 is “allos”, indicating a Sabbath day of the same kind as referred to in Hebrews 4:5-8, that is, the seventh-day Sabbath.

In verse 7, the author of Hebrews uses the term “certain day”. The Greek word for “certain” is “tis”.  It is undoubtedly referencing a specific day and not the general thought of an eternal rest.

The force of Hebrews 3:11-4:11 then must be saying that because Christians look toward the eternal rest of heaven, the type or shadow of the earthly Sabbath rest still remains or is “left behind”, literally,- for Christians to observe.

This is very significant in light of the greater context of the book of Hebrews which deals with the entire Aaronic priesthood and its methods of worship as found in the Old Covenant being supplanted by the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus Christ.

As the author states in Hebrews 12:27, “And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things which have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.”

Here is some more discussion:

Seventh, the rest that remains-sabbatismos (4:9)-is the rest that was left unfulfilled in the Old Testament-katapausis.[136]

But the word sabbatismos makes its own contribution to the discussion in that it clearly defines the eschatological katapausis ("rest") as God's Sabbath-like rest.

That is to say, the Sabbath rest is used to illustrate the nature of the eschatological rest.[137] This is important in that it suggests that for the author of Hebrews the theology of the Sabbath was so meaningful that he used it to interpret God's eschatological rest.[138]

The context does not support the suggestion that the Sabbath commandment had been fulfilled in the rest of salvation that Christ brought, making it unnecessary for Christians to obey it.[139]

The offer of the Sabbath-like rest in the Old Testament did not require the people to set aside the literal observance of the Sabbath commandment. The eschatological rest is like the Sabbath but does not replace it; they are not incompatible. Besides, entering God's rest in Heb 4 does not mean that the Sabbath is superseded.

In order to enter God's rest the text only requires perseverance and faithfulness, ceasing from our works, not the rejection of the Sabbath commandment.

Finally, it is important to mention that Heb 4 has absolutely nothing to say about instituting a new day of rest, e.g. Sunday.

See also:

Heb 4: 9 in no way helps those that want to remove the Sabbath or support Sunday.  In fact, it helps those that promote the Sabbath.  But more importantly, it reinforces the Gospel Sabbath, and so too does all the other references in the NT.

Besides, there is no way to ignore Jesus’ Sabbath teachings, which are found in all four Gospels.  This is where the NC Sabbath is explained, defended, and modeled for the church.  Hebrews is not a book about the Gospel Sabbath, even though it does reference it.

Moreover, because Hebrews shows Jesus as the Creator, it is no surprise that the author supports the 7th day Gospel Sabbath of Jesus and carefully states that there is a weekly Sabbath for the church to understand and embrace.

Heb. 1:1-2:  God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Heb. 4:9 So there remains a (weekly) Sabbath Day for the people of God.

Heb. 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Heb. 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Heb. 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Note the point about assembling together. What day do you think these JEWISH Christians would meet?  And how often did they meet?

Answer:  All Jews meet every 7th day.  Every week of the year.   The writer of Hebrews was encouraging them to keep doing this.

Note also how doing “good deeds” is associated with the “assembling together” of the Gospel Sabbath.  This is the very same teaching that Jesus used to describe his reformed Sabbath:

Matt. 12:12 “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep!  So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

Let all understand that Heb 4:9 is exclusively about the weekly Sabbath.  It was written in such a manner, to Jewish Christians, so as to be perfectly clear what the author meant and what he did not.

There is no basis for anyone to say that this passage is talking about a spiritual, allegorical Sabbath for the church.  Or that it is the basis for removing the NC Sabbath from the duty of the church, or changing it to Sunday.  Such interpretations are impossible and very wrong.  

Every NT reference to the Sabbath supports the Gospel Sabbath as taught by Jesus.  There are no verses that repudiate what Christ has so clearly taught and modeled for the church in all four Gospels.

On Romans 14: by the late Samuele Bacchiocchi, of  Andrews University

Does not Paul teach in Romans 14:5 that it does not matter whether a person esteems one day better than another or all the days alike? Does not this teaching imply that the observance or non-observance of the Sabbath is a matter of personal choice?


We have already shown in chapter VII that the Sabbath cannot be legitimately read into Paul’s statement: "One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike" (Rom 14:5). In brief, the reasons we have submitted are five.

No Reference to Mosaic Law. First, the controversy in Romans 14 between the "weak" and the "strong" believers over diet and days can hardly be traced back to the Mosaic law, because nowhere does the Mosaic law prescribe strict vegetarianism, total abstinence from wine, or a preference over days presumably for fasting. That the Mosaic law is not at stake in Romans 14 is also indicated by the term "koinos—common" which is used to designate "unclean" food (14:14). This term is radically different from the word "akathartos—impure" used in Leviticus 11 (Septuagint) to designate unlawful foods.

Not "All Days Alike" Endorsement. Second, Paul applies the basic principle "observe it in honor of the Lord" (14:6) only to the case of the person "who observes the day." He never says the opposite, namely, "the man who esteems all days alike, esteems them in honor of the Lord." In other words, with regard to diet, he teaches that one can honor the Lord both by eating and by abstaining (14:6) but with regard to days, he does not even concede that the person who regards all the days alike does so to the Lord. Thus Paul hardly gives his endorsement to those who esteemed all days alike.

Paul Observed the Sabbath. Third, if, as it is generally presumed, it was the "weak" believer who observed the Sabbath, Paul would classify himself with the "weak" since he observed the Sabbath and other Jewish feasts (Acts 18:4, 19; 17:1, 10, 17; 20:16). Paul, however, views himself as "strong" ("we who are strong"—15:1), thus, he could hardly have been thinking of Sabbathkeeping when he speaks of the preference over days.

Sabbathkeeping: No Personal Matter. Fourth, Paul’s advice "Let everyone be fully convinced in his own mind" (Rom 14:5), can hardly refer to the observance of holy days such as Sabbath, Passover, and Pentecost. If Paul had taught his Gentile converts to regard Sabbathkeeping as a matter of personal conviction, Jewish Christians would readily have accused him of temerity in setting aside the Sabbath law, as they did it with regard to the circumcision (Acts 21:21).

If the conflict in the Roman Church had been over the observance of holy days, the problem would have been even more manifest than the one over diet. After all, eating habits are a private matter, but Sabbathkeeping is a public, religious exercise of the whole community. Any disagreement on the latter would have been not only noticeable but also inflammatory.

The absence of any controversy between Paul and Jewish Christians over Sabbathkeeping is perhaps the most telling evidence that Paul never made the observance of such a day a personal matter.

A Limited Problem. Fifth, the fact that Paul devotes 21 verses to the discussion of food and less than two verses (14:5-6) to that of days suggests that the latter was a very limited problem for the Roman Church, presumably because it had to do with private conviction on the merit or demerit of certain days for doing some spiritual exercises such as fasting. Support for this view is provided by the Didache (ch. 8) which enjoins fasting on Wednesday and Friday rather than on Monday and Thursday, like the Jews. On these matters, Paul refuses to deliberate because he recognized that spiritual exercises can be performed in different ways by different people.

In the light of the above considerations we conclude that Romans 14:5 does not imply that the observance or non-observance of the Sabbath is a matter of personal choice, because the "days" referred to had no connection with Biblical holy days.

The NC Sabbath is a Test

The NC Sabbath contains some profound theological meaning that few comprehend.  Here are two major points that show how important this doctrine is for the church to understand.  (This also explains why the church has been so wrong to embrace the Sunday Sabbath all these years).

1.  The Gospel is a 100% Jewish paradigm.  There is no Gentile doctrine in the Church because the Christian Faith is nothing more than reformed Judaism.  There are no Gentile doctrines allowed in the church whatsoever.  Both the OT and the NT are Jewish.  

The NC Sabbath screams this fundamental point that so few want to understand.

I repeat: The Church and the Gospel are Jewish; the NC Sabbath proclaims this fundamental point, even as Sunday means the opposite.

2.  That Jesus is the co-Creator and Lord of Lords, including the head of the Church, and “even” Lord of the weekly, 7th day Sabbath.

Those who acknowledge Jesus authority as Creator, Redeemer, and Teacher, will follow his Words and embrace his Gospel teaching, including his reformed and active Sabbath, which is called an “easy” or “light” Sabbath.

Matt. 11:28  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Matt. 11:29 “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.

Matt. 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matt. 12:1  At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.

Matt. 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.”…

Notice the progression here:

1.  Come to Jesus by faith; receive rest & salvation

2.  Submit to him as Teacher; follow his Word/ do what he says

3.  Embrace the “Easy” and “Light” Reformed Sabbath.

Note: here is a good biblical term for the NC Sabbath.  It comes directly from the teachings of Jesus, even within the specific context of his Sabbath Reforms.

The NC Sabbath can be called an “Easy” Sabbath or “Sabbath Light.”  I prefer Gospel Sabbath, or NC Sabbath.  But of course there are others, like the “working” or Reformed Sabbath that also makes sense.

No Sabbath

Those that do not believe in any Sabbath, do not believe Christ or his Gospel, much less that Jesus is the co- Creator or that the Christian Faith is 100% Jewish.  

They are not submitting to Jesus as Teacher or Lord, nor are they paying attention to the Words of the Gospel.  So the differences are obvious and enormous between those that embrace the NC Sabbath and those that do not.

The Gospel Sabbath is only for those that embrace the genuine Gospel.  All others have a different agenda and viewpoint.

For example, the Sunday keepers do not accept the fact that the Church is a Jewish paradigm and doctrine.  This is why the Gentiles invented a Sunday Sabbath.   To separate themselves from the Jews and from Judaism.

But the Sunday Sabbath is nothing but Gentile foolishness and false doctrine.  It was a way to for the anti-Semitic Gentiles to co-opt the Gospel Story from the Jews, inserting one myth after another, even as they still pretend that the Gospel and the Church is Gentile in nature, when this was never true.

Of course we can also see how the NC Sabbath is also very different from what the SDA’s teach.  They have been playing the role of the Pharisees all these years and now they have been caught for all to see.  

The SDA’s do not embrace the correct Gospel or the Gospel Sabbath, even though they do have the correct day.  So too did the Jews.  But without the Gospel, all they had was the OC Sabbath of death.  This is what the SDA’s have also embraced.

Sabbath is a Test of the Gospel

The way one views the Gospel will also determine their view of the Sabbath.  Which means that the type of Sabbath doctrine one holds will show if their Gospel doctrine is genuine or not.  

Those Laodiceans that come to correctly understand the Gospel, will repent for their past errors, whether Sunday or 7th day based, and flock to the genuine Gospel, which also includes the weekly NC Sabbath.  Thus the genuine Sabbath will divide the church over the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus.  

Those that don’t embrace the correct Gospel, will have a different Sabbath from what Jesus teaches in the Gospels.  This means they are also following a false Christ and a worthless religion.

There is only one Gospel and one Gospel Sabbath.  There is only one Lord, and one Lord’s Day.  The true, NC Sabbath is a reflection of the true Gospel.  It shows how we view God and man, as well as the Word, salvation, and the teachings of Jesus, the Lord of the REFORMED Sabbath.

Thus the NC Sabbath, when practiced by the church, makes a difference on many levels, even as it condemns all those that have embraced anti-Semitism, theological fraud, and a false, Gentile Christ.

Gospel Activity on the Sabbath

The NT shows Jesus (and Paul) very active on the Sabbath.  We see them routinely meeting with the Community to worship God and teach the Gospel.  Thus, it is the emphasis on the GOSPEL that makes the Sabbath special.  

It is an “easy” and active day for those that have been saved, even as it is part of the Gospel Story forever.  It is the genuine Lord’s Day.

The meeting of the church on the 7th day sends a signal to all that there is a Jewish paradigm in action.  

The 7th day Sabbath is a universal sign of Judaism and so it will be forever.  The Gospel is Jewish.  It is an extension of Judaism and so it will forever be.

Jesus, the apostles and the entire Bible is 100% Jewish.  The Gospel and the Gospel Story are Jewish.  This is a stunning truth that should no longer remain a secret.

Such a theological fact locks the Sabbath into the Christian Faith forever.  And the church has correctly understood this fact all during its long history.  The problem is that they have had a distorted Gospel, and therefore the wrong Sabbath all these years.   

Sunday is a very wrong attempt by the Gentiles to embrace the Sabbath teachings of Christ, even as the SDA’s have also made a huge error to promote the Old Covenant Sabbath of Moses, that Christ clearly repudiated.   

Jesus changed the Sabbath doctrine into a working and active, 7th day Sabbath that is based on the Priesthood of all believers in the church.

He transformed the OC Sabbath, which was a non-working, schoolmaster type of Sabbath to an active and “Easy Sabbath” for the new Israel of God.

Jesus changed the Sabbath doctrine from one of inactivity and passivity to one of much activity and good works.  Thus heaven’s view of our weekly Sabbath “rest” is going out and doing good works.  Not resting as the OC minded SDA’s teach.

Jesus wants to see an active and united Church every 7th day.  But what he sees makes him vomit.

The NC Sabbath should be viewed as an “emblem” of the Gospel Story.  It is a living emblem, like the church.

No wonder Jesus takes such a special liking to the Sabbath.  It represents his Gospel as well as and his Creation exploits, even as it upholds the Priesthood of all believers.  It also confounds organized religion and highlights the need to pay careful attention to what Jesus teaches as opposed to what the leaders teach.

It also represents Eternal life and the eternal rest that comes with the New Earth.

So yes indeed.  The Sabbath is a very special and unique Gospel doctrine.  This is why it is so important to understand it correctly.

Here are some links for further study and discussion:

The Sabbath in Colossians and Hebrews

The Reformed Sabbath

SDA Sabbath vs. Gospel Sabbath


The Gospel Sabbath of Jesus caused great emotion, division, and debate. It was a lightening rod for Jesus critics and was the primary reason why the Jews concluded he must be silenced and killed.

Thus every Sabbath during Jesus ministry, he caused great controversy, -on purpose- as he used the Gospel Sabbath to overthrow the OC religious establishment and expose their false views about God.  

This is what the real Sabbath does in the religious community.  It upsets the religious leaders and exposes their many errors.  It pits OC tradition against the NC Gospel of Christ.

This is what the Gospel Sabbath will also do at the end of time.  It will embarrass and condemn EVERY denomination, including all the Sunday keepers and even the SDA’s, who have embraced the “schoolmaster” Sabbath of the Judaizers.

Do not under-estimate the power of the Gospel or the controversy that the Gospel Sabbath will stir up within the religious community.  This is all part of the plan of God.

Rev. 18:1  After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.

There is a Gospel Sabbath for the church.  Those who honestly choose to follow Christ, will understand and embrace this explosive and dangerous Gospel doctrine.  Let all beware!

I hope this helps.

Tom Norris, for the 7th day, active, Gospel Sabbath of Christ

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: After reading your answer it sounds like that it ignores that the early christians celebrated Jesus rising and the last supper was on Sunday.

It is clear to me the Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16-17 are ignored by most SDA's and Ex SDA's. Meaning you can worship anyday and the week.

You should also note that Jesus had his Diciples pick corn on Sunday

Mark 2:23

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

ANSWER: QUESTION: After reading your answer it sounds like it ignores that the early Christians celebrated Jesus rising and the last supper was on Sunday.

Tom Answered: The apostolic church was Jewish.  They knew nothing about a Sunday Sabbath.  While Sunday did become the NC Sabbath for the church after the destruction of Jeruslem, and much earlier than the SDA’s have taught, it was not done with apostolic authority, and thus it has no defense today.  Sunday is not the correct day for the Gospel Sabbath.  


Question:  It is clear to me the Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16-17 are ignored by most SDA's and Ex SDA's. Meaning you can worship any day and the week.

Tom Answered:  Jesus does not teach that the church is free to invent it’s own doctrine of the Sabbath.  Rather, we see Christ teaching an active and reformed version of the 7th day Sabbath in all four Gospels.  This is the NC Sabbath for the church.

The Reformed, 7th day Sabbath of Christ

The SDA’s have had a difficult time with these passages, and especially the Law in Galatians, which you omitted.  However, you need to note that some SDA’s have corrected their error about Colossians, but even so, there is still no support for Sunday.

Gal. 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Question:  You should also note that Jesus had his Disciples pick corn on Sunday; See Mark 2:23:  One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

Tom Answered:  The reference to the Sabbath, in the entire NT, is never a reference to Sunday.  The same is true for the Lord’s Day in Revelation, which is only a reference to the active, 7th day, Gospel Sabbath of Christ.

Rev. 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

Consequently, when we see Jesus healing on the Sabbath, or his disciples breaking the Old Covenant Sabbath, it is only a reference to the 7th day Sabbath of the Jews.  

I suggest that you do some serious study about this issue and make the necessary corrections that will allow you to better understand the Gospel of Christ, which alone is salvific.

Tom Norris for the active, 7th day Gospel Sabbath of Christ

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Actually I have done an extensive study, and there is not requirement to worship on a specific day Romans 14:5 states it is a personal decision. SDA’s base there salvation on Saturday worship rather realizing that Jesus died for our sins and he wants to have relationship with us his creation. Romans 6 clearly states we are no longer under the law and it is repeated in Hebrews 8. Galatians 5:4 says we fall out of grace because we try to justify ourselves with the law.

To claim that the Sabbath will used to embarrass the church is foolishness and heresy. It is just another form of legalism (performance based) salvation and that is not what grace is about.

I think you misunderstand the Gospel Sabbath of Christ, as well as what I am saying about the church being embarrassed by the verdict of the Pre-Advent Judgment.  Let me clarify a few points.

First, all Christians must follow Christ.  He is the primary source and authority for all Gospel doctrine.  This means that we must first understand what he teaches about the Sabbath, or any doctrine.  Paul is not the Lord of the Sabbath, nor is he the source for any Gospel doctrine, much less the New Covenant Sabbath.  

In fact, when Jesus was teaching his amazing Gospel Sabbath, Paul did not believe a word Jesus spoke; he was a great enemy of Christ.  But yet, many try to understand and explain the Sabbath from Paul’s very limited and cryptic remarks in Romans and Colossians.  As if Paul were the Lord of the Sabbath and the head theologian of the church.  This is a mistake.  Paul is neither.

Jesus is the head theologian of the church, as well as its Savior and High Priest.  What he teaches about the New Covenant Sabbath, and all else, is what all must follow.

John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

The Gospels contain many specific Sabbath passages, like Matt 12, Mark 2 & 3, Luke 6, 13, 14, and John 5, 7, & 9.  Thus Jesus explains, teaches, and defends his Reformed, New Covenant Sabbath over and over in the Gospels.  Only a blind person could miss all this specific and targeted teaching about his reformed Gospel Sabbath.  One cannot read the Gospel Story without having to face the controversial issue of the Sabbath many times.

This is true because Jesus often debated the Sabbath with the Jews who sent him to the cross, and this material is recorded over and over in all four Gospels.  So we have a large record of Christ’s authentic teaching about the Sabbath for all to see.   There is no need to ignore this treasure of truth, much less to spin it into false and worthless doctrine.  Shame on the church for this great sin.

Those who ignore the clearly written and repeated, words of Christ about the Sabbath, --so they can run to Paul, and get the outcome they want, --are not being honest with the Word or themselves.  They are playing games with their own Eternal Life by following a false Christ of their own worthless imagination and tradition.

John 10:26 “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.

For the record, Paul supports Christ’s view of the Sabbath; he is not opposed to it whatsoever.  Those who think otherwise do not understand Jesus or Paul.  They are not fit to teach the Word to others because they don’t know what they are talking about.

1Cor. 1:13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

So what is the point of anyone trying to understand the New Covenant Sabbath from Paul?  Jesus is the self proclaimed Lord of the Sabbath.  He is the one that defined, debated, defended, and promoted a reformed doctrine of the 7th day Sabbath in all four Gospels.  What Jesus teaches about the Sabbath is what the church, including Paul, must follow.  Period.

What Does Jesus Teach about the Sabbath?   This is the primary question?

To understand the genuine doctrine of the Sabbath, one must study and embrace what JESUS teaches in all four Gospels, which is a lot of material.  Why does this point even need to be said?  

Answer:  Because the church, like the Jews, has gone blind and deaf to the Word of Christ.  Tradition, personal opinion, and corruption are the basis for church doctrine today, not the Word.

Ezek. 12:2 “Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house.

Those who overlook Jesus’ written view of the New Covenant Sabbath are on the wrong path.  They will never understand the Gospel Story correctly, much less be given Eternal Life, until they repent of their false and confused Sabbath views and allow themselves to be taught by the Word of Christ.

John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

Second, in Paul’s day, there was zero debate about Sunday versus the 7th day Sabbath. Sunday worship was not yet invented.

So Paul is not saying in Romans 14 that one can choose Sunday or Saturday for their Sabbath.  That is an impossible interpretation.  And so too the idea that doctrine is so pluralistic that “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind” as to what is truth.   (If this were true, doctrine can be whatever anyone wanted it to be, which is why the church is so divided and worthless today.)

Nor was Paul saying there is no Sabbath for the church.  He does not say that in Colossians either, as many pretend.

The Sabbath in Colossians & Hebrews

Let all that want to follow Christ, do so by understanding doctrine directly from the Words of Christ.  

The teachings of Jesus about the New Covenant Sabbath is Gospel Truth for the church.  Let all who claim to make a study of the Sabbath start with the Gospels and learn the Gospel Sabbath directly from Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath.

SDA Sabbath Wrong

As for the SDA’s, they do not understand the Law or the Gospel correctly, which is why they have a false, Old Covenant view of the Sabbath, where it is sinful and wrong to work on the 7th day.  Jesus teaches no such view, and everyone that claims to have read the Gospels should know this self-evident and irrefutable fact.  

I am not advocating the SDA Sabbath, but rather, the New Covenant, Reformed Sabbath of Christ.  This is the correct, 7th day Sabbath for the Church.

The SDA’s are so confused about Two Covenants, that they have embraced the Old Covenant Sabbath of the Jews that rejected the Gospel and killed Christ, and yet they think they have found the correct Sabbath doctrine.  They have only found the right day, not the genuine, NC doctrine.  They have made fools of themselves for all to see, just like the Sunday keepers they condemn.

Under the Law

While the church is not “under law,” they are not lawless, or without law.  Which is why the church, both RC and Protestant, have always viewed the Moral law as a standard for behavior, one that defines and judges sin.  

In fact, the NT teaches that love is the fulfilling of the law, which means the Law has not been removed as some claim.  If it were, there would be no love either.

Rom. 13:8  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Rom. 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

James 2:8  If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.

This also explains why the church has practiced a weekly Sabbath as the Lord’s Day, even today.  It is part of the Moral law as well as what is taught by Christ.  So the church has always had a weekly Sabbath all these many years, even though it has been the wrong doctrine.

Those who view the 7th day Sabbath of Christ as legalism have misunderstood much.  The Gospel Sabbath of Christ is not about obeying the 4th Commandment, but about receiving an EXEMPTION from Christ for NOT obeying it.  

Matt. 12:5 “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent?

Matt. 12:6 “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.

Matt. 12:7 “But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

Matt. 12:8 “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Here is a stunning view of the NC Sabbath that has been overlooked and misunderstood by the church for centuries.  It is also the reason why the Jews sent Christ to the cross.
The New Covenant Sabbath is an acknowledgment of both the Law and the Sabbath, as well as the Creation Story.  It is also features Jesus' clear superiority over the Old Covenant Law, which required death for any but a special few who worked on the 7th day.  

So the Gospel Sabbath is not legalism, but the opposite.  It represents freedom in Christ and victory over sin and law.  Those who try and keep the Sabbath holy by not working, (Sunday or Saturday), have misunderstood the Gospel.  They are trying to please God by law keeping, just like the Jews.

Rom. 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

No one is going to fall from grace for embracing the active and reformed 7th day Gospel Sabbath of Christ.  But all will fall short in the Judgment who have either rejected the law or the NC Sabbath as taught by Christ.  

None who follow Christ are guilty of breaking the Old Covenant Sabbath by work or play on the 7th day, as many legalistically teach today.  (While they are technically guilty, they are innocent, abiding in Christ, shielded from sin and judgment.)

The OC Sabbath is not like the NC Sabbath, and until this point is clearly understood, the Gospel Story will not be correctly comprehended.

The Gospel Sabbath is a living metaphor of the Gospel.  It was a featured doctrine in the ministry of Christ, and the reason why the Jews sent him to the cross.  At the end of time, when the genuine Gospel is preached, the Sabbath will once again become a featured Gospel topic that will amaze and divide the true sheep from the pretenders.

Jesus has much to say and teach about his NC Sabbath doctrine in all four Gospels.  Those who study his words will understand both the Gospel and the Gospel Sabbath.  Those that do not, will remain confused, unable to grasp either.

Every Church Embarrassed

Today, every church and denomination has a false view of the Gospel Sabbath.  Why?  Because they are “blind” to the teachings of Christ.  This is why Christ in the Pre-Advent Judgment of the last church condemns them all, including the SDA’s.

The Sunday Sabbath is not even the right day, much less the right doctrine.  And those who have the right day, like the SDA’s, still have the wrong view of the Gospel and the Sabbath.  So all teach a false and “wretched” Sabbath doctrine that reflects their “miserable” and wrong view of the Gospel.

Rev. 3:17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

So both the Sunday and 7th day keepers are “blind” to the genuine Sabbath of Christ; unsaved as a result.   And the SDA’s are the worst offenders because they claim to be the Sabbath experts, smarter than all others, but that has not turned out to be true.  Heaven also calls them blind, naked, and unsaved. And so they are.  

Rev. 3:17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

Today, every church in symbolic Laodicea, meaning every individual in every denomination, are called upon by Christ to REPENT of their false views of the Gospel Story, --including the utter nonsense and error about the doctrine of the Sabbath, which is the most visible and public of all church doctrine.

So I repeat the point; The Gospel Sabbath of Christ will humble, embarrass, and divide the last church.  It will become a wedge doctrine that exposes the corrupt and incompetent nature of organized religion, separating those who want to follow the genuine Christ from the pretenders.

Heaven has made it clear that while the last church is quite satisfied with its’ various false views about the Sabbath, Christ is sickened by the error and confusion.  Jesus has judged the present doctrines, (both Sunday or 7th day based) as being worthless and pathetic.

Rev. 3:17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

In the genuine Pre-Advent Judgment of the last church, Christ warns all that claim to follow him to understand they have been misled to embrace a false Gospel and a false view of the law and the Sabbath.  Those who are not embarrassed about this fact, and refuse to repent and follow the genuine Christ, are doomed.

I suggest that you do “an exhaustive study” about the Sabbath teaching of Christ from the Gospels, and then the rest of the NT.  When you have completed this study, I am sure you will have a better understanding of this important Gospel topic.

Rev. 3:18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

Rev. 3:19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

Tom Norris for All & Adventist Reform

Seventh-Day Adventists

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Tom Norris


I can answer most any question about church history and theology, starting from 1818 when William Miller articulated the 1st Angels Message that became the foundation of the Adventist Movement. While this first prophetic message terminated in the spring of 1844, it was followed by what Adventists refer to as the 2nd Angels Message, which dates from the spring of 1844 until the great disappointment of October 22, 1844. By 1847, the 3rd Angels Message had been developed and this Sabbatarian theology represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Moreover, I can explain the historical and theological development of the SDA denomination from its beginning and on through the great Battle Creek schism that forced the SDA's to retreat to Takoma Park. Here the 20th century church recovered from their internal battles that had erupted at the 1888 General Conference in Minneapolis over the definition of the law and the Gospel. Fearing another repeat of this disaster, President Daniels, determined to hide this debate. However, this policy led to more conflict, especially over the role and authority of Ellen White, a unique and accomplished religious writer that had remarkable spiritual gifts. However, by the decade of the 1970`s, the church once again erupted into debate. The hierarchy settled the turmoil in 1980 with the trial of Dr. Desmond Ford at Glacier View. Here Dr. Ford was exiled because he supposedly disagreed with Ellen White over the Fundamentals. But this controversial action resulted in another major schism that is still in progress today.


Tom Norris was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist in Takoma Park, Md. He attended SDA grade and High schools, moving on to study Adventist theology at Columbia Union College. He also spent significant time conducting independent research in the General Conference Archives and the Ellen G. White Estate. Over the years he has also interviewed a number of prominent Adventist scholars, theologians, and Pastors ranging from the late Arthur White to the exiled Dr. Desmond Ford. In addition, he has amassed a large private library, which includes numerous rare books and manuscripts about Adventist theology and history. He is presently the online editor of Adventist Reform, and can be found at Adventist for Tomorrow answering questions online about SDA theology and history as well as promoting Adventist Reform.

Tom Norris attended SDA grade and High schools, moving on to study Adventist theology at Columbia Union College. He also spent significant time conducting independent research in the General Conference Archives and the Ellen G. White Estate.

©2016 All rights reserved.