Seventh-Day Adventists/Greek Word "Entalma"


Hi Sal,
Been awhile since I've contacted you,~ trust you are keeping well, but I have more questions for you.
My wife is debating with her staunch SDA cousin and she has presented the differences between "Entole" & "Nomos" to him. His response: "I looked up the Greek word "Entole" in the lexical aids of my NIV HEBREW-GREEK KEY WORD STUDY BIBLE. Look into this more closely, because according to the notes in the Spiros Zodhiates lexicon, Entole is used for the commandments of the law, God's commandments, Christ's commands and commands of men. Here is the entry. (He gives the entry as No. 1953 Entole.) Also, while not cited above, Entole is used in the book of Revelation for the Commandments of God (Rev.12:17; 14:12) The variant form "Entalma" seems to be used mainly for Rabbinic commands in the Bible.
Also, he claims there is Biblical support for the connection between "worship" and the Sabbath. This was after we said that the Fourth commandment never states that it is a day of worship, but a day of "rest." He quotes Isaiah 66:22,23 to justify worship on the Sabbath.
Could you please help sort these matters out and refresh us to the true meaning and usage of "Entole" & "Nomos."

Dear Brother Ron:

It’s nice to hear from you again. I wish you & yours a happy & healthy New Year!

You don’t say what your wife told the SDA, but if she told the SDA that entole always means New Covenant commandments and nomos always means Old Covenant Law then she was incorrect. The New Testament writers as a rule do not make a clear distinction between the two words. However, there is one extremely important exception to this rule. The exception that I speak of is found in the writings of John the Apostle. His writings are important to the Sabbath/Law controversy because he is the one New Testament writer that does make a clear distinction between enotle and nomos.

John uses the Greek word nomos whenever he is referring to the Old Covenant Law which as you know contains the Ten Commandments.  For example, “Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law [nomos]…” (John 1:45). “Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law [nomos] of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?” (John 7:23). "Does our law [nomos] condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" (John 7:51). “In the Law [nomos] Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" (John 8:5). “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law [nomos], 'I have said you are gods'?” (John 10:34). “The crowd spoke up, ‘We have heard from the Law [nomos] that the Christ will remain forever…’” (John 12:34). “But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law [nomos]: 'They hated me without reason’” (John 15:25). So it is plain that nomos in the writings of John does not refer to New Covenant law, but to the Old Covenant Law.

John uses the Greek word entole whenever he is referring to the commandments of the New Covenant. For example, "A new command [entole] I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John13:34). “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments [entole]” (John 14:15).  “Whoever has my commands [entole] and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…” (John 14:21). “And receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands [entole] and do what pleases him. And this is his command [entole]: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded [entole] us. Those who obey his commands [entole] live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:22-24). So it is plain that entole in the writings of John does not refer to the Old Covenant Law, but to the commandments of the New Covenant.

You did mention Revelation 12:17 & 14:12. SDAs often use these verses to prove that the Sabbath is to be kept by Christians. You can see how important it is to have a proper understanding of the Greek that John uses and the manner in which he uses it. “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands (entole) and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (12:17). “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands (entole) and remain faithful to Jesus” (14:12). With a correct understand of John’s use of the Greek one would not make the mistake of thinking that these passages refer to Christians observing the Old Covenant law of Sabbath keeping. They refer to keeping the New Covenant commandments of God and one will not find a command for Christians to keep the Sabbath from Matthew to Revelation.

I never said that worship is not to be done on the Sabbath. I have pointed out that the commandment does not mention worship, but only rest.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11; see also Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

If I can be of further help just let me know.

May God bless you and your wife for trying to help SDAs.

Brother Sal

Seventh-Day Adventists

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I am privileged to be able to offer an alternative insight into the complicated world of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) theology. I will rely heavily on the Bible, but will also consider history and use logic in exposing deficiencies in SDA teachings. I would ask anyone who is considering becoming a SDA or if you are already in the SDA church, but are searching for the truth, to please allow me to offer a different explanation for the claims of the SDA. Remember : "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). I can answer your questions pertaining to the beliefs and history of the SDA. I am not able to answer questions concerning spirituality or church discipline.


I have extensively studied the theology of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) for a number of years. I have many books and tape sets produced by experts in this field of study. I have debated current members of the SDA church. I have a great desire to help these people see the truth.

M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

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