Seventh-Day Adventists/Sabbath Day both Moral AND ceremonial?
First of all i would like to express my gratitude because you are very sincere in your quest for truth. I used to be a traditional adventist for almost 7 years but now i can step back and look at the SDA church from an extern point of view and behold the doctrinal mess the church is preaching. I think it's a religious crime to preach another gospel and use that other gospel to create a money-making bureaucracy. I thank God for people like Desmond Ford, Walter Martin, John Ankerberg. I am thoroughly convinced that many people fall into the SDA trap because traditional sound protestantism seems almost dead.
In the beginning i thought you were just a Jesuit spreading disinfo and confusion, i can't believe how blind i was. Right now i came to accept the IJ as a huge error, the work-based gospel as a serious error (mildly put), Daniel 8 as talking about Antiochus Epiphany and the three angels' message judgement as the judgement of this world instead of the judgement of the saints (there is no such thing).
Now to go to the topic at hand; the Sabbath. I very much appreciate and value your idea of a new-covenant sabbath. However i am not quite settled on this issue. You see, opponents of the sabbath suggest that it was a ceremonial law for the jews and defenders of the sabbath say it was a moral law. Now do you agree that the sabbath day was both ceremonial AND moral?
The ceremonial part constituted the commandment to take a total rest on the sabbath and was linked with the reason -For i am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt-. Clearly then this part of the sabbath was an antitype for the rest Jesus gives us when we accept Him - All who are heavy labored come to me and I give you rest-. Jesus in this sense frees us as captives from sin and this world just like God freed the Jews from the oppression of Egypt.
However the moral part of the law says we should keep the sabbath because it refers back to creation, so this was not just a Jewish ceremonial law but a moral law for all mankind. You rightly point out that this law is to be kept as the priests kept it in the Jewish era, by offering spiritual sacrifices and doing good works on the sabbath. So does this mean that there remains therefore a sabbath rest?
Could you please present these thoughts in the light of Hebrews 4 which is very confusing. It talks about the rest of Joshua which is i believe the rest the jews got by entering the promised land, i believe this is an antitype for the rest we will receive in heaven. It also talks about the rest of God on the seventh day at the beginning of the world, AND it talks about a rest on the seventh day (sabbatismos)
Rogier said: Dear Tom, First of all i would like to express my gratitude because you are very sincere in your quest for truth.
Tom said: Those who understand the Gospel have an obligation and duty to speak out. This is the duty of all.
The Gospel is only found by those honestly looking for truth. All that seek Eternal Life must search the Word to find and understand Gospel truth. Only a minority will find Eternal life.
Matt. 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matt. 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The Protestant Reformation elevated Gospel truth above tradition and torture. The cry of “Scripture Alone” led many to reject the Old Covenant based errors of the RCC and understand the New Testament more correctly.
The Adventists and the later SDA’s also embraced this correct hermeneutic where the search for truth was a driving force. They, like others before them, had the proper attitude about the need to search for more Bible truth. Which is why they found new insights in the Word, correcting error and launching an eschatological platform that stands to this very day, (even though it needs correction and more truth).
Over time, error, tradition, and bureaucracy ruin the original spirit of any movement or religion, including Judaism and the apostolic church. Both paradigms were started by God and full of truth. But over time, they went very bad. This is what always happens, which is why new movements must press truth forward as others fall by the wayside.
Today it is obvious that neither the SDA’s nor their many critics, are searching for truth. Rather, they are both content to defend rumors and debate silly myths as if there were true, even as they each turn away from the facts that prove them both theologically confused and historically disoriented.
Where is the search for truth? There is none. Only debate and counter debate, with both sides locked into their incorrect positions. This is no way to find truth or understand Gospel Eschatology.
The Gospel can only be understood, much less embraced, by those who honestly care about truth. Those too proud to repent, or too busy or loyal to find the facts, will not understand the NT or comprehend the Gospel.
The same goes for any that have sold their souls to the SDA’s for a job and pension. They may think they are saved and that Jesus is their friend, but they are blind and clueless about their ignorant and unsaved condition.
Listen to Ellen White speak to the stubborn, traditional minded SDA’s of her day that refused to be honest about the Word and the Gospel. This is how SDA’s, and many former SDA’s, still act.
Is It True?
“Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment.”
“Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask; Is it true—in harmony with God’s word? But by whom is it advocated? And unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it.”
“So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.”
"The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits—because it is truth."
Ellen White, TM 105-106.
It is critical for those that seek Gospel Truth do so with a proper, teachable, frame of mind. This is the correct attitude to learn truth.
In addition, the Gospel Story shows that those who should have truth, don’t. Truth does not come from organized corruption, but rather to overthrow it. Gospel Truth comes from unexpected and unlikely sources, not from those controlled or brainwashed by false religion.
John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Rogier said: I used to be a traditional adventist for almost 7 years but now i can step back and look at the SDA church from an external point of view and behold the doctrinal mess the church is preaching.
Tom said: The SDA’s have painted themselves into a corner, with no way out except repentance and reform. Their present course is not correct or sustainable. Their blind leaders still pretend Dr. Ford was wrong at Glacier View. They still think they have no false doctrine for which to repent.
So they have chosen to live in denial, refusing to admit the obvious and repent. Not only that, because they are a $30 Billion organization, they figure if they spend millions on Media Centers, Public Relations experts, and endless Propaganda, they can sell their confused story to the public regardless if it is true or not. The SDA’s have determined to make what is false look like truth, and for this they must be condemned.
Such a strategy to brainwash and control may have worked in the past, but there is too much information available for it to work today. Which is why the SDA church cannot grow in North America.
The more people come to understand the general difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant view of the Gospel Story, the worse SDA theology appears. Even the most simple minded can tell that the SDA view of doctrine it Old Covenant and wrong. When such an obvious conclusion is joined with the scandals in the White Estate and Glacier View, what would anyone do? They would run from the SDA’s, which is what is taking place for all to see.
Thanks to honest scholars and teachers, like Dr. Ford, many have come to understand the basic difference between Law and Gospel. As a result, the OC SDA view of the Sabbath, as well as the IJ and Ellen White, is causing a great backlash, which is destroying the Advent Movement, ruining what was once so full of truth and promise.
Traditional SDA doctrine is so wrong today, that their many errors, like the IJ, cannot be rehabilitated or defended any more. The Adventists only make matters worse by pretending they have no error. This is absurd. The SDA’s must repent for their many errors, including the exile of Dr. Ford, and re-establish the genuine doctrinal pillars that define the Three Angels Messages.
But it all starts with the IJ, which can no longer be defended by any SDA apologist or scholar as either being correct, or being a “pillar.” Our friend Herb Kersten recently discovered this the hard way. This so called IJ “expert” has run away in well-deserved humiliation and disgrace, proving to all that no one can defend the IJ. It is the wrong Pre-Advent Judgment.
Tom Norris vs Herb Kersten
Although the SDA’s have gone to extreme lengths to defend the IJ and their view of the Sabbath, it is not working. As you can see, their OC views are so easily demolished, that long time SDA’s are still leaving the church today.
Leaving The SDA Church
Even those, like Patricia Allen, who worked for the church for 37 years, and paid no attention to Dr. Ford, eventually wake up and realize that there is great error within Adventism.
Patricia Allen- Former SDA
Finding error in SDA doctrine is inevitable. So great is the error of the IJ, that no one who honestly studies it is going to do anything but admit it is gross and impossible error that must be rejected. Anyone that cannot see this clearly, does not understand church history or the Bible correctly, much less the Gospel Story.
Tom Norris, Ellen White, & the IJ – Patricia Allen
But yet, the SDA leaders still refuse to confess and repent, much less correct the false record in the White Estate. This in turn leads people to believe that everything SDA’s teach is as absurd as the IJ, and that they must have no truth. Which is not true at all.
Adventist theology, correctly understood, remains cutting edge eschatology for the last church. This is why there must be Adventist Reform. Who else even cares about a “pre-advent judgment”? Such a detail is important in the study of eschatology. Good for the SDA’s to understand this point. But the IJ is the wrong PAJ. The correct one is in Rev 3: 14.
The Advent Movement must relocate their fundamental bearings, repent for their many errors, and move forward to complete their Gospel mission to prepare the church for the great tribulation and 2nd Coming.
Rogier said: I think it's a religious crime to preach another gospel and use that other gospel to create a money-making bureaucracy. I thank God for people like Desmond Ford, Walter Martin, John Ankerberg. I am thoroughly convinced that many people fall into the SDA trap because traditional sound protestantism seems almost dead.
Tom said: All religion today is false and worthless. This is what Jesus is saying in the genuine Pre-Advent Judgment of Rev 3: 14. Every church and denomination has a false view of the law and Gospel, including the Sabbath, for which they must repent.
As for Protestantism, it has been dead for many years. Moreover, there is no fully correct Protestant church. None.
In fact, it was the SDA’s that were supposed to complete the Protestant Reformation. They looked forward to a time, just before the 2nd Coming, when the Protestant Gospel would be articulated so correctly and clearly that it would represent the theological completion of the Protestant Reformation. And they viewed themselves as promoting this final Gospel Reformation shown in Rev 18.
However, in both 1888 and 1980, the SDA’s showed that they are not fully Protestant. Both EJ Waggoner and Dr. Ford were both exiled from the SDA’s because they told the truth about the Gospel. Like good Protestants, they refused to be silenced or wink at false doctrine.
SDA stance on Martin Luther
Martin Luther vs(?) SDA
Had the SDA’s listened to Waggoner or Dr. Ford, they would be far ahead of their present precarious situation. Many would have flocked to New Covenant Adventism years ago. But there was no such paradigm shift in 1888 or 1980. Old Covenant Adventism took full control, and the SDA’s entered into great schism each time. Now they are self-destructing for all to see.
However, the very thought of NC Adventism is still exciting. It is the only hope for the SDA’s. If they fail for a third time, this will be the end for them.
I remember during the Ford debates; Geoffrey Paxton, an Anglican theologian became so interested in modern SDA theology that he visited some SDA churches to tell them that if they removed the IJ and fully embraced the NT, as Dr. Ford was teaching, he would become SDA. He thought the SDA’s were positioned to complete the Reformation and prepare the last church for the end of the world and the Judgment Day.
But the leaders, like the Pharisees of old, refused to repent for their OC ways. They embraced the IJ with both hands and exiled Dr. Ford. Then they started self-destructing for all to see. The SDA’s are great fools.
Rogier said: In the beginning i thought you were just a Jesuit spreading disinfo and confusion, i can't believe how blind i was.
Tom said: Truth and error lie next to each other, confusing most all. When Jesus preached the Gospel, many assumed he was insane, controlled by Satan and full of outrageous and impossible doctrinal error. If the Jews could be so easily fooled, what about us today? We are even more prone, as modern Gentiles, to embrace myth and error, which is why it is everywhere in the church.
What often seems like truth, is not, even as what is true, seems impossible and very wrong. That is why it is so important to understand the Word and treat it correctly. It is the only objective way to know what is Gospel truth and what is error. Our Eternal fate will be determined by our response and reaction to the Gospel teaching of Christ in the NT. Nothing else.
David R. & the TSDA's
Rogier said: Right now i came to accept the IJ as a huge error, the work-based gospel as a serious error (mildly put), Daniel 8 as talking about Antiochus Epiphany and the three angels' message judgement as the judgement of this world instead of the judgement of the saints (there is no such thing).
Tom said: I am sure Herb Kersten is not pleased with the outcome of our short, public, IJ discussion. In fact, it was your question on All Experts that caused Herb to enter into a debate with Tom Norris to try and defend the IJ. So your good confession highlights his great failure.
As we all know, Herb ran away, rather then confess his error and repent. But running away does not make error into truth, nor does dodging the questions that prove the IJ wrong, help in any way.
All SDA’s must repent of the IJ if they want to go forward in Gospel truth. There is no such doctrine as the IJ in Dan 8: 14 or anywhere else in the Bible. But there is a PAJ, and it is found in Rev 3: 14.
The Advent Community needs to understand this critical point and move forward to embrace the correct PAJ, developing a credible NC view of Gospel Eschatology in the process. This is their duty and destiny, the reason why Adventism exists.
Rogier said: Now to go to the topic at hand; the Sabbath. I very much appreciate and value your idea of a new-covenant sabbath.
Tom said: First off, Jesus is the one who introduced this “idea of a NC Sabbath.” I can take no credit because this reformed, 7th day Sabbath is clearly recorded in all four Gospels.
The fact that it has not been fully understood all these years by any church, much less the SDA’s is stunning, to say the least, but still beside the point. I don’t deserve credit for pointing out what has been in the Gospels since the 1st century. But thank you anyway.
While I admit this new view of the Sabbath / Lord’s Day seems “new” and very different from any other position, so what? All that matters is what Jesus and the Spirit teach in the NT. Tradition does not matter, nor does our feelings or bad habits. What does Christ teach about the NC Sabbath? This alone determines doctrinal truth.
Matt. 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Matt. 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Matt. 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Note v 20: It does not say; “teaching them to observe everything except Jesus Sabbath teaching.” No. The NC Sabbath of Christ is to be embraced by the church until the end of the age. This doctrine is not excluded as many think.
As for the “value” of Jesus Sabbath teaching; it is enormous. The NC Sabbath of Christ amazed and divided the Jews, shocking their leaders into a rage that sent him to the cross. So it will be again with the Gentile Church. They too will become divided over the Gospel teachings of Christ.
Jesus’ genuine doctrine of the Gospel and the Sabbath stuns the mind. And so too the fact that the NC Sabbath condemns every church today, including the SDA’s, who have embraced the OC Sabbath of Christ’s enemies, all the while declaring they have found truth.
The Gospel is the most amazing doctrine in the history of the world. And so too the Gospel Sabbath, which played such a large role in the ministry and teaching of Christ. To understand the Gospel correctly is to also understand the Gospel Sabbath. Fail to comprehend the Reformed Sabbath of Christ, and you can be sure you don’t understand the Gospel correctly.
Rogier said: However i am not quite settled on this issue.
Tom said: This reformed Sabbath doctrine is so “new,” that few people today have ever heard such theology. So don’t feel bad. The SDA’s are so stunned by this new concept that they refuse to discuss it. Moreover, the New Covenant Sabbath crowd became angry and also went into denial. It seems that many would rather debate old doctrines from 1844 instead of Jesus teachings that are staring them in the face. Silly SDA’s.
NCT Exposed As Error
It would have been great if Herb had agreed to discuss the Sabbath doctrine. If you think the SDA’s lose badly when discussing the IJ, (which they do), just wait until they try to defend their OC view of the Sabbath. The outcome will be the same, - A total disaster. Which is why Herb ran away from debating the Sabbath as well as the IJ.
SDA Sabbath Vs. Gospel Sabbath
So it will take some time for people to study the Gospel Sabbath and work it out in a practical manner. But it is obviously truth, because this doctrine is clearly taught by Christ in all four Gospels over and over. Only the NC teachings of Jesus can settle this issue and define truth.
At this point, there is so much false doctrine and myth taught about the Gospel Story, - how can there be anything but confusion in the church today? When the law and the Gospel are both correctly understood, and the authority of Jesus’ Word is embraced over tradition, the Reformed Sabbath of Christ will become easy to understand and embrace.
This “new” Sabbath doctrine represents, reflects, and supports the genuine Gospel of Christ. Those who are following the many other Sabbath doctrines, - are not following the historical Jesus of the NT. Nor do they understand the Gospel Story. They are in great danger.
Rogier said: You see, opponents of the sabbath suggest that it was a ceremonial law for the jews and defenders of the sabbath say it was a moral law. Now do you agree that the sabbath day was both ceremonial AND moral?
Tom said: This debate over moral and ceremonial is silly, as if they are mutually exclusive. They are not. Many of the ceremonial aspects of the OC Temple Services represented the Gospel and the New Covenant. They stopped because the NC had arrived. Not because it was wrong to practice ceremonial ordinances. Both the OC and the NC has ritual and ceremonies, even as they both deal with law.
The Sabbath is both moral law and religious ceremony, and the Jews have made this clear for thousands of years. The 4th Commandment is “moral” in the sense that the God of the Jews made holy the 7th day to memorialize the Creation Story. God then placed it in the middle of the 10 Commandments, thus making it Moral as well as ceremonial.
The 7th day is set-aside in Jewish culture for the congregation to serve their God, and to worship and obey him as the Creator of the world. The various rituals involved were also part of this “moral” doctrine. Which is both law and ritual every 7th day for the Jews.
While the Jews had numerous ceremonies and Temple rituals, the Christian faith also embraced a number of ceremonial laws and ritual, without which, one cannot become a Christian or even practice this Faith. Thus there is baptism and the Eucharist, as well as Gospel preaching and Sabbath fellowship every 7th day, as well as singing and prayer and some other ceremonies.
So there is nothing wrong with the Christian Faith having some ceremonial laws and ritual. Christ taught such things for the church, including how to embrace the NC Sabbath, which is both a Moral law and a reformed ceremonial law for the church. What Jesus teaches about the Gospel Sabbath is what the church must follow. His Sabbath is not the same as the Sabbath of Moses.
Rogier said: The ceremonial part constituted the commandment to take a total rest on the sabbath and was linked with the reason -For i am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt-. Clearly then this part of the sabbath was an antitype for the rest Jesus gives us when we accept Him - All who are heavy labored come to me and I give you rest-. Jesus in this sense frees us as captives from sin and this world just like God freed the Jews from the oppression of Egypt.
Tom said: The ceremonial part was more than forced rest. It also included the gathering of the congregation for Temple services; to also sing, pray, read the scriptures, etc. By the 1st century, the synagogue model was the focal point for the local people to meet every Sabbath. Not only to fulfill the moral law, but to also fulfill the ceremonial aspects of this law as well.
Jesus put his stamp of approval on such “ceremonial” activity on the 7th day. But he also gave an exemption for all to work on this day and not be guilty. Such a change in the Sabbath was forbidden by the OC leaders. Jesus was sent to the cross because of his reformed Sabbath views.
Rogier said: However the moral part of the law says we should keep the sabbath because it refers back to creation, so this was not just a Jewish ceremonial law but a moral law for all mankind. You rightly point out that this law is to be kept as the priests kept it in the Jewish era, by offering spiritual sacrifices and doing good works on the sabbath. So does this mean that there remains therefore a sabbath rest?
Tom said: Jesus teaches that the NC Sabbath was made for all mankind. This is because it relates to the creation of the world, as well as to the Gospel, which is for both Jew and Gentile.
There were two doctrines of the Sabbath in the OC. Most Jews could not work, but the Priests had to work on the Sabbath. Thus the Priests had an “exemption” relating to the 4th commandment.
In the NC, all are priests of God. Jesus gives all the same Sabbath exemption that the Levites enjoyed. Thus he upholds the law as well as the Gospel, using his authority over the law and priesthood to craft a combination doctrine that represents both the moral law and the ceremonial aspects of the NC Sabbath.
Those who go to church on the 7th day to sing, pray and hear the Gospel, and then go to work at the office in the afternoon, or paint the house, are following the Reformed Sabbath of Christ. Those who think it sinful to work on the Sabbath, or Sunday, are clueless about the Gospel teachings of Christ, much less about his Gospel Sabbath.
Rogier said: Could you please present these thoughts in the light of Hebrews 4 which is very confusing. It talks about the rest of Joshua which is i believe the rest the jews got by entering the promised land, i believe this is an antitype for the rest we will receive in heaven. It also talks about the rest of God on the seventh day at the beginning of the world, AND it talks about a rest on the seventh day (sabbatismos)
Tom said: One must first understand the NC Sabbath teachings of Jesus in the Gospels before trying to understand this doctrine from the rest of the NT. All Gospel doctrine starts and ends with Christ and what he teaches. And guess what? If you compared all Jesus words about the Sabbath in the Gospels, with those in the rest of the NT, what do you think you would find?
Answer: Jesus has spoken far more about the Sabbath than all the rest of the NT authors combined. Far, far more. So why do people ignore this vast amount of Sabbath teaching from Christ and focus on a few isolated passages where others hardly mention the doctrine? Strange.
The words of Christ, the head theologian of the church, must take precedence for all doctrine. What Jesus teaches about the Sabbath is what the church must follow. Period!
Those who quote a small passage here, and another comment over there, have missed the forest for the trees. It seems they don’t really want to know what Christ has to say about the Sabbath, so they are looking for more direction. But this is a mistake. Jesus has spoken in detail about the Sabbath in passage after passage in the Gospels. In fact, some of his most spiritual statements are spoken in the context of debating the Sabbath with his enemies.
The point being, let all go to Christ in the Gospels and learn his Gospel Sabbath. He will be happy to teach it to all that seek Gospel truth.
With that said, the passage in Hebrews 4 supports the NC Sabbath of Christ, even as the author makes it clear that the believers should meet weekly.
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.
Here is a link to a discussion about Hebrews 4:
The Sabbath in Colossians & Hebrews
Thank you for taking the time to study and research the issues. You were correct to be open to those, like Herb Kristen, who claimed to have new light about the IJ and the Gospel. He was making some very large, even slanderous, claims against Dr. Ford, which blew up in his face for all to see. So now we know he was full of false doctrine as are all the SDA’s.
But regardless, we must always keep an open attitude to find more truth, especially when there is so much error around. Those who are serious about Eternal Life will only embrace the Word to understand Gospel truth.
I hope this helps,
Tom Norris for All Experts.Com & Adventist Reform