Seventh-Day Adventists/The Sabbath

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Question
Dear Sal:

Why are you so against Sabbath keeping? What is your problem with SDAs keeping it holy? Shouldn't all keep God's day holy?

Martin

Answer
Dear Brother Martin:

I have no problem with SDAs and other sabbatarians keeping the 7th day Sabbath. I support all genuine worship of God regardless of the day. I believe it is a good thing to gather with like-minded Christians to worship. It's important that Christians regularly meet together since it strengthens one's faith and increases good works.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:23-25 NASB).

If you wish to have your worship day on the same day that was given to the Old Covenant Israelites, I have no problem with this. If you feel you must keep this day and it brings you closer to God then I say great. Where we part company is if you say that I must keep the Sabbath also. Such a belief is not in accordance with what we find in the Bible. God instructs Christians not to judge one another concerning Sabbath-keeping.  "One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5 ESV). God further instructs Christians  not to let others judge us concerning Sabbath-keeping.   "Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day" (Colossians 2:16 NASB).  Therefore, we can conclude, in accordance with the Bible, that observance of the 7th day Sabbath is no longer of importance to God's people under the new Covenant. If it were important would God inspire Paul to write the two passages just quoted? If Sabbath-keeping was important wouldn't God have inspired one New Covenant writer to restate the Sabbath commandment for Christians? Note: God did inspire New Covenant writers to restate the other nine of the Ten Commandments for Christians. Remember that no one taught the Gentiles entering the early church how to properly observe the Sabbath or even that the Sabbath was necessary for them to observe. Keep in mind that Gentiles did not generally observe the 7th day Sabbath. To them it was "a Jewish thing".

I would like to point out that while you speak of the Sabbath as the day of worship that is not found in the commandment itself. The commandment emphasizes rest from work not worship.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exodus 20:8-11 ESV; cf. Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

When the Sabbath was first given to Israel in Exodus 16 the emphasis was, likewise, on rest from work not worship. Additionally, the Israelite was to remain in his own "place" or home which is not conducive to corporate worship. "See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day" (Exodus 16:29 NASB). I'm not saying that worship should not be or was not done on that day. The Israelites realized rather quickly that since work was prohibited on that day that it would be the perfect day for all Israelites to gather for corporate worship.

"The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying,  Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these: 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 23:1-3 NASB).

Note: "Holy convocation" is a holy gathering of like-minded individuals for a religious purpose. The NIV makes this clear with the translation "sacred assembly". So we have biblical evidence that Israel did gather for worship, fellowship, and teaching on the Sabbath. In fact the Great Teacher used that day for teaching.

"And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read" (Luke 4:15-16 NASB; cf. Matthew 4:23; John 6:59; 18:20).

So why do I mention this discrepancy between what is actually stated in the 4th Commandment and Sabbath worship? I mention this only because if you are going to use the 4th Commandment as a basis for Sabbath-keeping then in accordance with the Commandment you are to cease from your work. Worshipping on the 7th day is not a requirement according to the 4th Commandment.

"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; cf. Exodus 20:8-11).

Again, it's a good thing, even a godly thing, to gather for worship on the Sabbath day just as it is equally godly to do so on any other day of the week. I believe that just as the early Church met whenever and wherever they could so should we.  "And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts" (Acts 2:46 ESV; cf. Acts 5:12; 20:7-8; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2).

In conclusion, for Christians to observe the Sabbath or not to observe the Sabbath is a matter of choice. Christians have this freedom that the Israelites did not enjoy. As brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to respect the spiritual freedom of others and not to judge in matters that do not pertain to salvation.

"Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions... One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:1, 5 NASB).

I pray that this answer clarifies my position on Christian Sabbath observance.

May God Bless 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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