Seventh-Day Adventists/Sabbath for all people

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Dear Sal

The Sabbath is for all people not just the Jews. The sign of the Sabbath marks all true believers. God says, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 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" (Ex. 20:8-11).  This is very clear if, as you say, you don't have preconceived notions.

Please respond.

Manny

Answer
Dear Brother Manny:

Yes, it is important to look at the Bible without preconceived notions and church teachings. It is not easy to do this, but if we want to arrive at the biblical truth we must try our best to read what God says with an open mind. In this answer I will use the New American Standard Bible for all Bible quotations.

You have quoted the 4th commandment in your statement. So we must ask to whom were the commandments given?

"Then God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery'" (Exodus 20:1, 2).

It was the sons of Israel who were brought out of Egypt. Therefore, it was to them that the Sabbath commandment was given. The Sabbath was given only to the sons of Israel. However, the Israelites were commanded to impose Sabbath keeping on their servants, animals, and the Gentiles living under Israelite authority. Note that the Sabbath was not to be imposed on Gentiles who were not in Israelite dominated cities ("within thy gates"). So we see from the giving of the Ten Commandments and particularly from the Sabbath commandment itself that the Sabbath was only given to the sons of Israel. In fact a later telling of the Ten Commandments notes that the Israelites were to observe the Sabbath because God had freed them from Egyptian bondage.

"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 5:15).

When the Bible in the Sabbath commandment says, "thou" or "you" we must remember that it is referring to the sons of Israel not to Christians. These verses that we are considering were written by Moses long before Christianity. These verses also make it clear that they refer only to the sons of Israel. In support of this interpretation else where we read that the 7th day Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel.

"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 31:14-17).

Again, the Bible is clear that the Sabbath was a sign for the sons of Israel not for all people ("so the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath"). Now let's contrast this sign with a sign that is for all people.

8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9 “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. 11 I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh;
and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth." (Genesis 9:8-17).

Note in v. 9 God establishes His covenant with Noah "and with your descendants after you", that is to say all people. In v. 12 we find that the sign of the covenant with Noah will be with "all successive generations" again that is all people. The sign is between God "and the earth" (v. 13). Once again God makes His intentions concerning who He is making this covenant with very clear. It is between God "and every living creature of all flesh" (v. 15).  In v. 16 we again read that the covenant is "between God and every living creature of all flesh". In the final verse it is made abundantly clear that the sign of this covenant is between God "and all flesh that is on the earth" (v. 17).

Next let's compare the above sign of the covenant made with Noah and the sign of the covenant made with the sons of Israel.

12 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “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. 14 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. 15 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. 16 So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17 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).

Moses is told to speak to the sons of Israel (v. 13). He tells them that God said to observe the sign "between Me (God) and you (sons of Israel) throughout your (sons of Israel) generations" (v. 13). In v. 14 Moses tell the sons of Israel "to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you" (sons of Israel). The consequence for a son of Israel who profanes the Sabbath is stated plainly to be death (see vs. 14 & 15). Note: No Gentile was ever threatened with death for profaning the Sabbath because it was commanded only of the sons of Israel. "So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath...throughout their generations" (v. 16). In the final verse God makes it abundantly clear that the sign of this covenant is between God "and the sons of Israel forever" (v.17).

I believe that in this brief survey of the Sabbath as commandment and sign it is obvious that it was given only to the sons of Israel not to all people. However, let's one last time look to the word of God in an unbiased fashion. Let's read parts of the 2 passages above and honestly determine which one contains a universal sign binding on all people and which one contains a sign binding on only one nation.   

Option A: "God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth'" (Genesis 9:12-13).

Option B: "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 31:16-17).

I choose Option A as containing the universal covenant and sign. Which do you choose?

Have a blessed weekend!
Brother Sal  

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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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