Seventh-Day Adventists/The Sabbath Is For God's People

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Question
Dear Sal:
The 7th day Sabbath is very important according to the Bible. The keeping of the Sabbath will be the test of obedience that separates true Christians from false.  You are misleading people by downgrading the importance of the Sabbath for Christians. It is still required of God's true people.
Kevin

Answer
Dear Brother Kevin:

If the Sabbath is still in effect and is required of Christians, why doesn’t the New Testament say so? The Old Testament stated very clearly and very often that the Sabbath was to be observed by the Israelites. The New Testament does not have like statements addressed to Christians to observe the Sabbath. If the Sabbath is as important for Christians as you claim it’s a shame that the Holy Spirit didn’t inspire at least one New Testament writer to record this important fact.    

Below are some Holy Spirit inspired Old Testament commands for Israel to keep the Sabbath.

“He said to them, This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning’” (Exodus 16:23 NIV).

“See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:29 NKJV).

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates” (Exodus 20:8-10 NKJV).

“Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12 NKJV).


“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:12-17 NASB).

“You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21 NASB).

“Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said to them, ‘These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do:  Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day’” (Exodus 35:1-3 NKJV).

“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings” (Leviticus 23:3 NASB).

“Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NASB).

“Thus says the Lord: For the sake of your lives, take care that you do not bear a burden on the sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the sabbath or do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors” (Jeremiah 17: 21-22 NRSV).

Although the following verses do not command the Israelites to observe the Sabbath they do command them to offer certain sacrifices in order to properly keep the Sabbath. Please note to whom God’s command to offer these sacrifices were directed.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Give this command to the Israelites and say to them: Make sure that you present to me at the appointed time my food offerings, as an aroma pleasing to me…On the Sabbath day, make an offering of two lambs a year old without defect, together with its drink offering and a grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil. This is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering” (Numbers 28:1, 2, 9, 10 NIV).

The Old Testament leaves no doubt that the Sabbath was required of all Israelites. If the Sabbath is now required of Christians why are there no such direct commands found in the New Testament?  

I sometimes am asked an associated question, “What’s wrong with keeping the Sabbath?” Nothing is wrong with keeping the Sabbath if done in the proper spirit of tolerance for the choice of other Christians as Paul made clear in the following passage which enunciates his principle of don’t judge others in non-salvation issues.

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 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. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:4-6 NIV).

Not one Holy Spirited inspired writer states that the Sabbath will be the test of obedience to God under the New Covenant.  Yes, there are uninspired writers who have stated the necessity of the Sabbath for Christians. Ellen G. White, for example, “I saw that the Holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers” (Early Writings, p. 33). I ask you to consider if it is wise to disregard the biblical evidence, as outlined above, and in its place accept contrary statements from uninspired writers?  

Thank you for sharing your belief.

God Be With You,
Brother Sal  

Seventh-Day Adventists

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Sal

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

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