Seventh-Day Adventists/Lev. 23 and the 7th day Sabbath

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Frank wrote at 2014-05-20 09:14:22


5 11 2014 – Lev 23 and the 7th day Sabbath



<<< The expert’s Answer: >>>



Let's look at the passage in question without bringing in preconceived notions. I invite you, for the moment, to put aside what your church has to say about this passage. I'm not saying to throw out what your church teaches, but to simply put it aside just for moment.  

Now let's, with an open mind, read Leviticus 23 beginning with the first four verses. I will use in this answer the New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.

"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. 3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. 4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times."

We read that God wants Moses to tell the children of Israel about "the feasts of the Lord", the "holy convocations" which God says, "are My feasts."  The first of these "feasts of the Lord" is the 7th day Sabbath, "a holy convocation" (v. 3).



<<< The King James Version lends a different meaning. “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.” (Leviticus 23:1-2 KJV) We see that in verses 1 and 2 the Lord is telling Moses He wants him to tell the children of Israel about the feasts. What God wants Moses to say begins with verse 3. There is no mention of the feasts in verse 3. It is a simple reminder for the people to keep the Sabbath Holy. Unlike the feasts outlined after verse 4, there are no sacrificial offerings in the description of the observance of the “sabbath of the LORD”. The feasts from verse 5 and on, all have sacrificial offerings associated with them that the people are required to make. Unlike the sacrifices added to the weekly sabbath, these sacrifices were not added as a result of sin. They were an integral part of the observance off the feasts. >>>



The very next verse states that what is to follow are also "feasts of the Lord, holy convocations".



<<< The verse does not say “also”. It says [4] “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. >>>



Does v. 4 indicate that there is any difference between the 7th day Sabbath a feast of the Lord, a holy convocation and those that follow? Yes, it does. What is this difference? The difference is in when they are to be observed.



<<< There is a distinction between verses three and four. The Lord makes a distinction between the “Sabbath of the Lord” in verse 3 and the “feasts of the Lord” in verse 4. The Sabbath of the Lord was made at the end of day 7 of creation week when the Lord, “blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Gen 2:3 KJV) We know A&E kept the Sabbath because profaning the Sabbath was not the first sin. The ceremonial law was not instituted until after Adam and Eve sinned which is after the Sabbath was made. The problem with the expert’s interpretation of verses concerning the Sabbath of the 4th commandment is that he rejects the belief that the 10 C’s represent the entire broken law, the law before sin, the same law that A&E transgressed when they ate from the forbidden tree. >>>     



The 7th day Sabbath is observed every 7th day, Saturday in our calendar setting, but the feasts of the Lord listed after v. 4 are to be observed "at their appointed times". Each one of these feasts or Sabbaths has a particular time of a particular month to be observed during the year. That is the difference as stated in these verses.  3 "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest... 4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times." This is very clear if one simply accepts what the Bible says here without attempting to filter it through church teachings.



<<< The law regarding God and worship is summarized by the 1st 4 commandments. The feasts were added after sin and are all typical of Christ in the plan of salvation. >>>



Perhaps other translations will help you see this. The English Standard Version has "at the times appointed for them" and the Complete Jewish Bible has "at their designated times." The timing is the difference-one is every week at the same time and the others occur at different times throughout the year, i.e. "at their appointed times".



<<< What the expert has just said is the annual feasts are observed according to the first crescent moon of the new year making them distinctly Jewish (See Lev. 23:5). The Sabbath of the 4th commandment, being observed from creation every seventh day is universal, not being determined by the phase of the moon and therefore not a ceremonial ordinance given to the Jews in the Law of Moses. >>>



In between verses 3 & 4 the SDA Church has inserted an artificial separation which you have mentioned in your question. This separation is not endorsed by Scripture. The 7th day Sabbath is routinely grouped with the other feasts of Israel.



<<< The 7th day sabbath is not one of the “other” feasts of Israel since the Sabbath of the 4th commandment is not a ceremonial ordinance. It is grouped with the feasts of Israel and other days upon which sacrifices are to be offered. >>>



"Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel" (2 Chronicles 2:4).

The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the LORD" (2 Chronicles 31:3).  



<<< Sacrificial offerings were required every day of the week. That didn’t make the six working days of the week ceremonial observances either. >>>



"And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD" (Isaiah 66:23).



<<< There is no ceremonial law in the earth made new which is the time of this verse. Sin and sinners are no more. We will partake monthly of the tree of life and assemble weekly for Sabbath worship. >>>



"Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel..." (Ezekiel 45:17).



 <<< The added law did nothing to alter the moral law that was revealed in the form of Ten Commandments when given to the new nation at Sinai. >>>



"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths" (Colossians 2:16).



<<< These are the ceremonial ordinances, also called shadows in the next verse (17), not the Sabbath of the 4th commandment which was not a shadow of anything. >>>



So the 7th day Sabbath is indeed mentioned with the other feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations as well as the New Moon festivals without any contextual reason to believe that the Sabbath is not considered to belong with the other feasts or Sabbaths.



<<< Once again, SDA’s would say, “So the 7th day Sabbath is indeed mentioned with the feasts of the Lord (not the “other” feasts) because it is a Holy convocation as well. But it is not a Jewish feast as has already been established. >>>



I know that this is not what your Church teaches, but just looking at the first four verses of Leviticus 23 and the supporting verses quoted can you honestly come to a different conclusion? Again, laying aside your Church's teaching just for now, isn't that what these verses indicate?



<<< Sunday keepers will go to great length to defend the idol sabbath. And even though the expert says keeping it isn’t required, just a good idea, the end result will be same. Whether in one step (Saturday to Sunday) or in two steps (Saturday to Sunday optional to Sunday) the enforcement of the Sunday “Sabbath” through civil legislation will result in religious persecution that has never been seen in this country. >>>



Next all the yearly feasts of the Lord are announced. Then we read,

"These are the feasts of the Lord which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day— besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD" (vs. 37-38).

All these sacrifices must be offered as the Lord has just commanded "everything on its day". This phrase brings to mind v. 4's "at their appointed times". The word "besides" in v. 38 does not mean as you have been taught that the 7th day Sabbath is different (moral) from the other Sabbaths (ceremonial).



<<< SDA’s don’t believe their understanding of these verses is wrong. In addition, SDA’s don’t look to these verses to prove that the Sabbath of the 4th commandment is a moral command. That has already been proven. These verses prove that the Sabbath is not a feast of the Lord and confirms their interpretation of the first four verses of this chapter that the Sabbath of the 4th commandment is not a weekly feast. >>>



What it does mean in context is that these sacrifices are not to replace the sacrifices to be offered on the Sabbath (cf. Numbers 28:9-10), nor to replace the gifts, vows, and freewill offerings of the people.



<<< If it weren’t for the fact that these verses don’t say that, the expert would have a good argument. He is doing exactly what he is accusing Tina of doing and that is interpreting scripture to support his already held belief that the 4th commandment is ceremonial. >>>



Perhaps another translation will help you see this. "These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the LORD" (NIV). This version makes it very clear that "besides" has the meaning of "in addition to".



<<< Here are both verses in the NIV. [37] (“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing food offerings to the Lord—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day.  [38] These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and[a] in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the Lord.)”

There is a footnote for verse 38 and it is an alternate translation that inserts this phrase at point [a]. “Leviticus 23:38 "Or These festivals are in addition to the Lord’s Sabbaths, and these offerings are”" This alternate translation is consistent with the KJV. There is no problem with interpreting “besides” as being in addition to but that does not mean the Sabbath is also a feast. It just says, as the KJV version says, that the feasts are in addition to the sabbaths of the 4th commandment. It says nothing about the Sabbath being a weekly feast. >>>



Some other versions that also have "in addition to" are AMP, CEB, GNT, HCSB, and NCV.    

At this time I would like to renew my request to you to put aside preconceived notions and church teachings and let's just read the verses that you mentioned.



<<< Why does it seem that whenever the critic accuses SDA’s of using some kind of incorrect method for interpretation it appears to be the exact thing that he himself is doing? >>>



"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. 3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. 4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times...37 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, a burnt offering and a grain offering, a sacrifice and drink offerings, everything on its day— 38 besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, besides your gifts, besides all your vows, and besides all your freewill offerings which you give to the LORD."

Now I ask you do these verses support your belief that the 7th day Sabbath is moral and the other Sabbaths are ceremonial or my belief that the 7th day Sabbath is here one of the feasts of Israel, a holy convocation? I realize that in order to do a complete study of any one topic one must review all of the biblical data.  However, the focus of your question, and consequently my answer, is Leviticus 23.

In v. 2 God proclaims, "these are My feasts." What feasts is He referring to? Those that He is about to list through Moses to the Children of Israel. In v. 3 is the first of these feasts, a holy convocation, the 7th day Sabbath. To further confirm that the 7th day Sabbath is one of God's feasts, a holy convocation, let's reread the last part of v. 2 and the first part of v. 3. "...The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation...". It should be clear from an unbias reading of the above that the 7th day Sabbath is one of the feasts of the LORD that Moses was to proclaim to be a holy convocation.



<<< Nonsense. Rather than be repetitive like the expert has just done, try this. Google “sabbath, weekly Jewish feast” and carefully go over the first page of results and count the number of times there is a reference to the Sabbath as a weekly Jewish feast. For those who don’t want to do it, the answer is 0 (none). >>>



In v. 4 God repeats that these are His feasts, holy convocations. But now He adds, "which you shall proclaim at their appointed times". Then follows the yearly feasts of Israel. Unlike the 7th day Sabbath these feasts of the Lord have an appointed time during the year when they are to be observed. That is the difference between the 7th day Sabbath and the other feasts or Sabbaths.



<<< The 7th day of the week was blessed and sanctified by the creator when it ended. (Gen 2:2, 3) Mark 2:27 tells us the Sabbath was made for man (Anthropos). Not the Jew and not the Jewish man and the Sabbath commandment itself tells us when the Sabbath was made. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

(Exodus 20:11 KJV) The fact that it was blessed and sanctified at creation means the weekly cycle has been continuous from creation and was not “added” which is unlike the annual feasts, meaning it is universal and eternal. >>>  



Again, there is nothing inherent in these verses that gives support to the belief that the 7th day Sabbath is moral and the other Sabbaths are ceremonial. There is nothing there at all.     

Have a Blessed Mother's Day!

Brother Sal



<<< In Christ’s love,

       Frank >>>




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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.

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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.

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

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