Seventh-Day Adventists/Sunday

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This is a really difficult one.  It was brought to my attention by a man who knows some Greek that whenever the first day of the week is mentioned in the Bible, it is directly translated as "one of the sabbaths."  This man is now going to church on Sunday and is a former SDA.  As for me, I am struggling with SDA beliefs and am not sure what denomination to attend. I am leaning most toward SDA.  But I would like to answer my friend about this Greek translation, as to why it calls Sunday the "one of the Sabbaths" in all 8 Sunday verses by 5 different Bible writers. How is this possible when Sunday did not become a Christian Sabbath yet, and both days were not observed simultaneously until about 300AD? Is it possible that it refers to the day of the sun god?  Could it be that these Bible writers acknowledged this day as a sabbath as a vestige of pagan beliefs? Or is there some other explanation?  Note that the Zondervan Greek Interlinear mistranslates the Greek as "the first day of the week."  But just take a look at the Greek and recognize the word "sabbath" and follow the corresponding numbers for each word to see what they mean in the dictionary in the back of the book..... and there you have a mystery!  I'm stumped!!!!

Answer
Sandy,

You said, "This is a really difficult one."  Well, for me, this is not difficult at all.  It is a common mistake to jump to the conclusion that the word "sabbath" only applies to a day.  In point of fact, the word itself doesn't refer to a day but to a specific form of "rest" which God took on the seventh day of The Creation.  You'll find that Hebrew word used in Genesis 2, verses 2 and 3.

This is primarily how we know that the divine institution of God's Seventh-day [Saturday] Sabbath began at The Creation and not at the Exodus as unbelievers try to claim.  This is beside the fact that God, Himself, states in Exodus 20:8-11 that the reason for the Seventh-day Sabbath is directly as a result of the seventh day of The Creation.  (Notice that verse 11 clearly states that the day God blessed on the seventh day of The Creation was The Sabbath Day -- i.e., the same ancient Hebrew word is used both in Exodus 20:11 and in Genesis 2:2,3 -- and that Exodus 20:11 clearly states that this day was a literal, 24-hour day just like the first six days of Creation Week.)

However, scholars of both the Bible and of ancient Hebrew agree that the ancient Hebrew word for the "sabbath" is also used to apply not only to the seventh day of the week, but also to the seven days of the week and to the seventh year in the sabbatical cycle of seven years.  It's a bit of an in-depth word study to figure all this out in the Bible.  However, Leviticus 23:15 is actually an example of this where it says, "...seven sabbaths shall be complete."  Literalists (and those who do not know the Law of God, such as the Sadducees; Mark 12:18-24), claim this means seven Sabbath days.

But, comparing the same instruction in Deuteronomy 16:9 ("Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee...") demonstrates that Exodus 23:15 is referring to seven weeks and not to seven Sabbath days.  Plus, the ancient Hebrew word used in Deuteronomy 16:9,10 does not refer to Sunday through Saturday weeks but to any sequence of seven consecutive days.  You see, the Hebrew has two other words for the concept of a week.  One word refers to a week which always ends with the weekly Sabbath (sheba‛ ; an absolute week; Strongs H7651) and the other word refers to any consecutive sequence of seven days (shba‛ ; a relative week; Strongs H7620).

So, getting back to the word "sabbath," Bible scholars recognize that the word sabbath can refer either to: (1) the seventh day in a specific sequence of seven days (e.g., Exodus 16:26); (2) any sequence of seven days (e.g., Leviticus 23:15,16; cf., Deuteronomy 16:9); (3) the seventh year in a sequence of seven years (e.g., Leviticus 25:4); and, (4) a sequence of seven years (e.g., Leviticus 25:8,9).

In short, there really is no mystery, at all, that the Zondervan Greek Interlinear translates the Greek "mia sabbaton" from verses such as Matthew 28:1 as "the first [day] of the week."  After all, four of these five writers you mention were Hebrew and it is no wonder that they would have used their Hebrew background as a template when translating their thoughts into the Greek language.

You said that "a man who knows some Greek" caused you to question these things.  Why?  Do you really think that "some" man who knows "some" Greek is going to know something that millions upon millions of Jews don't know?  Do you think that a man who is a "former" Seventh-Day Adventist, and is now a Sunday-keeper, is going to "know" something that more than 14 million Seventh-Day Adventists don't know?  Further, that such a disgruntled former Seventh-Day Adventist couldn't possibly have a twisted view of God's Word that does not really represent God's Truth?

The Bible, and the Truths of God, can be translated and understood in many ways; but, always from the viewpoint of the reader and is therefore subject to the traditional thoughts of that reader.  God gave the truth in His Word for those who will have faith concerning it and study it with sincerity.  But, He purposely left room for doubt in His Word for those who do not really want to follow God out of a sense of true love.  He made it so that they could believe a lie, and be content with it, because they had no real love for the truth (2Thessalonians 2:7-12).

May God richly bless you in direct proportion to your desire to know, and to do, the full truth even as it is in Yehsh' haMshyach, Jesus Christ, The Messiah, our Lord, and our Saviour.  Awmane!

Sincerely,
Dave

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Dave L Clark

Expertise

I can answer most any question which is truly Bible-centric. I make this distinction because there is much which is considered biblical; but, which, is actually based only upon the traditions of men. However, I will also state this caveat: not all traditions are necessarily "bad" by definition. Otherwise, the subject about which I am passionate is The Law of God. There is much misconception in this area. In point of fact, I, myself, only woke up a bit over 10 years ago (2002) to what is truly meant by the Law of God and how that relates to Salvation. This, of course, is a touchy subject when you start mixing the Law of God with the subject of Salvation -- which, everyone should know, is a gift of God, by grace, through faith and not of works; lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8,9). I am thankful that God the Holy Spirit has opened, and is opening, my eyes to these Truths.

Experience

I have taken Bible classes every year since the first grade through 4-year college level and study the Bible every week with others in Sabbath School. I have also continued studying the Bible, on my own, throughout my life -- particularly these last 10+ years. Therefore, I consider myself to have about 48+ years of both formal and informal Bible experience upon which to draw.

Organizations
I am a current member in good and full standing with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. I am also a level-7 member of Yahoo!Answers in the Religion & Spirituality group. Lastly, though not a related discipline, I am also a member at LinkedIn.com because of my professional standing as a computer programmer of more than 35 years.

Publications
"The Truth About the Law of God" by Dave L Clark I is a 298-page book available at Amazon.com. Some of my writings may also be found on the following websites: << http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=439894129445 >>; << http://answers.yahoo.com/dir/index?sid=396545163 >>; and, << http://www.BibleExplorations.info/articles >>.

Education/Credentials
I have 3 years of formal college and a 4-year college equivalence degree in Information Technology. Otherwise, I am not formally credentialed in Bible doctrine or theology. However, when did God ever say that He only speaks to or through theologian-type or highly-placed sources?

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