Seventh-Day Adventists/Sabbath and Creation
John wrote at 2013-04-22 17:02:32
I would have to agree with you that Sal is indeed rather ‘tricky’. Those of us that have been reading his answers over the past several years know that he not only uses several different Bible versions to support his answers, but also omits key verses. His exclusion of verse 3 from Genesis chapter 2 being his most common (and extremely noteworthy in this very discussion)…
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
That said however, those of us that study the Bible and understand prophecy are not mislead by any of the inaccuracies that abound in these mere human interpretations of scripture. The Bible is very clear that deception will abound in the last days before Jesus returns and that is obviously what we are seeing here. The only help we can confidently trust is that which is given to us by God’s Holy Spirit as we prayerfully seek out His guidance when we study His Word for ourselves.
Frank wrote at 2013-04-23 18:18:29
4 21 2013 – Sabbath and Creation
Expert – “The belief that the Sabbath is a Creation Ordinance is biblically untenable. Genesis 2:2-3 is proof that God finished creating in six days and “rested” on the 7th in His perfect creation. This is not remotely proof of a Sabbath Creation Ordinance. I have an article on the Sabbath and Creation I can send it to you if you would like to read it.”
SDA Response – The “proof” that the Sabbath is a creation ordinance is found in Exodus chapter 20 where the account of the giving of the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel is found. That is where we find the law that governs the days of the week. The first six are for work and the seventh is to be kept holy as a day of rest. Scripture says God blessed and sanctified the day when it ended. Even though God was still resting from His creating on the first six days, the eight day began the second week as a common working day. It is very clear that this was before sin which means that the 4th commandment cannot be a ceremonial ordinance. It did not end at the cross. The ceremonial law was given in response to the sin problem. If there had been no sin there would have been no need of a savior and therefore no reason for the priesthood, sacrifices and yearly feasts. These were all to teach the children of Israel about the plan of salvation until Christ should accomplish His atoning sacrifice, thus becoming our High Priest who would testify in behalf of professed believers in the judgment. To say the Sabbath was for “Israel only” and that it ended at the cross is not according to scripture. “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” (Isaiah 56:2-8 KJV)
Expert – “I say this is interesting because both tithing and Sabbath observance are Old Covenant laws neither of which is valid in the New Covenant. Both may be observed, but neither is a moral obligation. Paul specifically states that the Sabbath may be observed by Christians, but is not a requirement.”
“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks” (Romans 14:5-6 NKJV).
SDA Response – The subject of Romans 4 has nothing to do with the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment. Paul is speaking about not judging one another over eating and drinking and fasting. That is why Paul connects observing or not observing the day with eating or not eating (see verse 6). Paul asks, “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10 KJV) About the two verses quoted by the expert, Paul is saying that fasting (as was the custom of the Jews on certain days, see Luke 18:12) or not fasting is a matter of personal choice. Paul sums up what he has talked about in the first sixteen verses when he writes, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17 KJV) There is no mention of days beyond the two verses that relate to setting aside of days for fasting of which the Pharisees were proud. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:11-12 KJV) Lest someone should say this means tithing is not required either, consider these words of Christ, “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Luke 11:42 KJV) Jesus was careful in His rebuke of the Practices of the Pharisees so as not to be misunderstood as condemning the practice of tithing but rather as exposing their hypocrisy.
Expert – “Paul also speaks on the importance of Christians supporting the Church financially, but he never mentions tithing as a way to accomplish this. He never teaches that tithing is a New Covenant requirement. For example,
"Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:5-7 NKJV).
“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem” (1 Corinthians 16:1-3 NIV).
In the above two examples one should note that the concept of tithing is absent. Paul is teaching that Christians are to give as one “purposes in his heart” and “in keeping with your income”. Christian giving is not bound by the Old Covenant tithe law.”
SDA Response - The tithe is not used for the purposes like the ones just cited by the expert. The tithe is for the gospel ministry, not famine relief. Those projects are funded by free will offerings and that is what Paul was asking the church to provide, not funds for the gospel ministry. Also, Paul’s silence on the subject of tithe cannot be taken as proof that tithing isn’t a New Covenant principle. The apostles did not have the authority to change the moral law. It had to have been written before the death of the one who established it, and the lawgiver is Christ.
Expert – “You claim that the only answer as to why Abraham would tithe to Melchizedek is that he knew tithing to be a Creation Ordinance. This is not the only answer. Another possible answer is that Abraham was complying with a pagan custom prevalent at the time. The custom was for the victor of a war to give 10% of the spoils to the local authority often a priest or priest king, a royal tithe if you like. This was considered a thanksgiving offering to the local deity who supposedly granted the victory. In light of this let’s look at the passage again.
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ He gave him a tenth of all” (Genesis 14:18-20 NASB).
Note that Abraham tithed to the “king of Salem” who was also “priest of God Most High”. The term “God Most High” (El Elyon in Hebrew) was the common designation for the Canaanite gods El and Baal. Abraham would have been aware of this if he had any knowledge at all of the Canaanite religion. These facts fit well with my proposed alternate explanation for Abraham’s tithe.”
SDA Response – How could anyone say that this instance of the phrase “the most high God” (KJV) refers to a pagan deity; unless they were trying to prove an already held belief? Nowhere else in the Bible is a pagan deity referred to as “the most high God”. Every instance of the phrase in the Bible is a reference to the God who wrote the 4th Commandment in stone at Sinai. There is no reason to believe that it is any different here. The expert quoted verses 18 through 20 and the phrase is used again in verse 22 which identifies the “most high God” as the LORD. “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,” (Genesis 14:22 KJV)
Expert – “Some may complain that Melchizedek could not be a Canaanite priest because in Hebrews he is a type of Christ. It’s beyond the scope of this answer to exegete Hebrews 7, but suffice to say that one must recognize the difference between the historical Melchizedek and the typological Melchizedek.”
SDA Response – The historical Melchizedek is the type. The type and anti-type (Christ) must be in agreement.
Expert – “Others may complain that Abraham was a man devoted to the true God; therefore he would not have given a priest of Baal a tithe. Abraham was indeed a devote worshipper of Yahweh. However, when living under pagan authorities Abraham obeyed the laws and customs of those authorities as his conscience would allow. We as Christians are to do likewise (cf. Romans 13:1-7 & Titus 3:1).”
SDA Response – Even though Abram maintained good relations with the pagan nations where he traveled, he was living under the authority of “the most high God”. “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.”
(Genesis 13:14-17 KJV) As is seen here, he was not living under the authority of a pagan deity but under the authority of “the most high God”.
Expert – “Your final argument that since Abraham kept the Sabbath so should we is an argument with no foundation, a castle in the clouds. There is no biblical evidence that Abraham kept the Sabbath. He lived prior to the giving of the Sabbath (Exodus 16) and we live after the Sabbath became obsolete (cf. Hebrews 8:13 & Colossians 2:16-17). Therefore, Abraham did not keep the Sabbath and based on the available evidence neither should we.”
SDA Response – When the expert says there is no evidence that Abraham kept the Sabbath he assumes that the Sabbath was first given at Sinai and not when it was made at the end of the seventh day of creation week. SDA’s respectfully disagree. They believe that when it was made God gave it to Adam and Eve as he also gave them work and the Commandment that defines both is the 4th Commandment of the Decalogue. SDA’s also respectfully disagree with the expert’s contention that the Sabbath is a ceremonial ordinance that ended at the cross with the rest of the Hebrew system of worship. Made before sin it will last as long as there is a heaven and earth. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18 KJV)
Expert – “The first thing I thought of when I read your final argument was that no doubt the Judaizers used the same argument concerning the necessity of Christians being circumcised (cf. Acts 15:1, 5). Perhaps their argument went something like this: “If Father Abraham the man of faith proved his faith by accepting circumcision then all men of faith should follow this great man’s example”. At least the Judaizers had Bible evidence that Abraham did accept circumcision (Genesis 17: 23-27). You, on the other hand, have no such Bible evidence to offer for your claim that Abraham kept the Sabbath.”
SDA Response – Since SDA’s believe that the principles of the Decalogue were written in the heart and mind of Adam and Eve when they were created and there is ample evidence that those laws were known and kept by God’s people before Sinai, there is ample evidence to believe that Abraham kept the Sabbath. “Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: (Nehemiah 9:13 KJV) “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Genesis 26:5 KJV) Scripture reveals that the commandments statutes and laws that were given at Saini were also kept by Abraham long before they were given at Sinai.
Expert – “One final thought: interestingly your own “prophet” Ellen White also spoke of tithing and the Sabbath together. She admitted that neither one is commanded in the pages of the New Testament. “The New Testament does not re-enact the law of the tithe, as it does not that of the Sabbath; for the validity of both is assumed” (The Faith I Live By, p. 244). It’s a shame that so much time and effort has been wasted by certain Christians trying to prove an assumption. If they would only rely on the Bible alone and not the Bible plus a “prophet” some would have no problem understanding that tithe paying and Sabbath keeping are Old Covenant practices not required in the New Covenant. Mrs. White implied as much when she said, “for the validity of both is assumed”. If one doesn’t assume the validity of both, but seeks Bible evidence for their validity then one will realize what Mrs. White wanted to avoid, i.e. that both are invalid practices in the New Covenant.”
SDA Response – It is no surprise that the expert believes that the Sabbath and tithing are wrongfully assumed to be valid by SDA’s and others. But then it should be remembered that the issue at the heart of the controversy between Christ and Satan is worship and the Sabbath of the 4th Commandment tells us that the day set aside for worship of the one true and creator God is the Sabbath. That shouldn’t be surprising as Jesus never said one word to indicate that the Sabbath was not to be observed after His death. Providentially He kept it even in His death. His followers even delayed embalming His body because the Sabbath began shortly after He died. It is no wonder that all the authors of the New Testament assumed it was still valid. The proof for the validity of the Sabbath and tithe under the New Covenant is found in the Bible. The New Covenant law was not given in the New Testament. A testament (or covenant) is established before the death of the one who makes, not after. There was no new law given after the cross. Much of what the New Testament authors wrote about was the fruit of the Spirit which ends in righteousness and the lust of the flesh which ends in sin. Since sin is still defined as transgression of the law, if it wasn’t the same law Adam and Eve transgressed one group of people or another is going to be extremely dissatisfied with the justice of God if they are the ones who transgressed the law that Christ didn’t make atonement for. When the New Testament was being written its authors only knew the scriptures of their day and that was the law and the prophets, which we call the Old Testament.
In Christ’s love,