Seventh-Day Adventists/Gen. 2:2-3


Frank wrote at 2016-04-30 04:32:34
4 26 2016 - Gen. 2:2-3

The expert’s answer.

Dear Brother Tom:

Genesis 2:2-3 is the "go to" text for sabbatarians. By this text they intend to prove that the 7th day Sabbath was given to Adam & Eve before the Fall and, therefore, all people must keep the Sabbath not just those under the Old Covenant. So let's look at that text.

Note: there are other texts that sabbatarians might bring up, but those tend to rely to some extent on the Genesis text.

"By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Genesis 2:2-3 NASB).

The first thing we should notice is that the text does not even mention the Sabbath, the text does not say God instituted the Sabbath, the text does not say that God gave the Sabbath to Adam, the text does not say that Adam kept the Sabbath, the text does not even use the word "Sabbath".

<<< That is a totally irrelevant argument, as we shall soon see. >>>

"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made" (Genesis 2:2-3 NKJV).

Since the text does not say that God instituted the Sabbath at Creation for all people, how have sabbatarians come to the conclusion that He did?

<<< One has to wonder whom the Sabbath was made for if it wasn’t for the new race. Of course, such a denial would explain why the expert is trying so hard to convince that the Sabbath wasn’t given to people until it was given to Israel as a righteous requirement of the law and that the law wasn’t until Sinai. >>>

I believe that many already view the Sabbath as a Creation Ordinance before they even study the text. Then they attempt to press the text into a doctrinal mold so that it will fit with what they believe. In an effort to make Genesis 2 fit some sabbatarians highlight the words "blessed" and "sanctified" in v. 3. They say that if God blessed and sanctified the 7th day then He must have given it to Adam as the day of worship. Sabbatarians read the Sabbath into Genesis 2. It simply is not there as an honest, unbiased reading of the text shows. If God did institute the Sabbath at Creation why didn't He inspire Moses to use the word "Sabbath" in Genesis 2?

<<< There was no Sabbath until God blessed and sanctified the seventh day of creation week when it had ended and that is in verse 3 of Genesis 2. “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.” There was no Sabbath day until the end of verse three. Following verse three is the account of the fall and that doesn’t involve the Sabbath at all because the first sin was eating the forbidden fruit, not profaning the Sabbath

day. >>>   

Why is there no record of Adam being told to observe the Sabbath?

<<< The fact that we don’t learn about the law until the account of the Exodus is no reason to conclude there was no law before the Exodus. The children of Israel were in Egyptian bondage. In the Old Testament, bondage represents sin which means they were in bondage because of sin and as we all should know by now, sin is transgression of law. Therefore, arguing that the law wasn’t until Sinai is nothing but nonsense.

  The Sabbath was never an issue concerning the fall of man if we believe that sin was transgression of the law for Adam and Eve as well as for us. If they had transgressed the 4th commandment before they ate from the forbidden tree, the first sin would have been profaning the seventh day which is the Sabbath of the 4th commandment. Disobedience to God’s command to not eat from a certain tree would not have been the first sin. >>>  

Why is there no record of Adam observing the Sabbath?

Why is there no record of God explaining to Adam how to properly observe the Sabbath? Why is there no record of God explaining to Adam what violates the Sabbath? Why is there no statement as to who the Sabbath was meant for? With these questions in mind, let's now look at the first mention of "Sabbath" in the Bible and then compare it with Genesis 2:2-3.

<<< The Sabbath is first mentioned in Genesis chapter two, verses 2 and 3. The text says God blessed and sanctified the seventh day. The reason that it isn’t called the “Sabbath” in these verses has already been explained and is irrelevant as well, as we shall see. There is no need for a record of God explaining to Adam how to keep the Sabbath. That is simply an excuse to define it as a temporary commandment. >>>

21 Morning by morning they gathered it (manna), each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the  Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’” 24 So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the  Lord; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.” 27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16:21-30 ESV).

Does the proposed Sabbath institution text use the word "Sabbath"? Genesis 2-no, Exodus 16-yes (vs. 23, 25, 26, 29).

<<< The seventh day was blessed and sanctified by God when it ended. It wasn’t until then that it became the Sabbath and God “inspired” Moses to write it that way. >>>

Does it command Sabbath observance? Genesis 2-no, Exodus 16-yes (vs. 23, 25, 29).

<<< When Adam and Eve were made, they were made in God’s image

(Gen 1:26, 27) and we believe that includes having His perfect and holy character. They were created perfect. Because they had never transgressed the law they were not, at that time, under its condemnation.

  When they were created, Adam and Eve weren’t commanded to keep the law and then given the Ten C’s. The law they were to keep was already written in their heart and mind. The Ten C’s were given to man after the fall because they represented the law that was written in the mind and heart of Adam and Eve before their transgression and it is because of their disobedience, all are condemned to transgress it. If Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God, they would have kept the Sabbath because God would have been with them every Sabbath. Certainly He would have explained to them why He rested the first seventh day and that they were to work six days and rest the seventh just as He had done in His work of creating the world and everything in it.

  It was Adam and Eve’s sin that resulted in the giving of the law at Sinai. It is the law that they transgressed when they disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. The Ten C’s were given to the nation of Israel at Sinai because they knew little to nothing of it after more than 400 years in Egypt. Many of those years spent in cruel bondage. >>>   

Does it record Sabbath observance? Genesis 2-no, Exodus 16-yes (vs. 23-26).

<<< The creation account records the creation of the Sabbath day as we shall soon see. >>>

Does it explain what violates the Sabbath? Genesis 2-no, Exodus 16-yes (vs. 27-29).

<<< Adam and Eve weren’t under the condemnation of the law in chapter 2 of the book of Genesis. As has already been proposed, they would have spent the seventh day with their creator rather than doing their work of tending and keeping the garden (Gen 2:15). It seems rather obvious that tending and keeping the garden rather than spending the day with the Lord would have been in violation of the Sabbath day. If they kept the Sabbath as we believe, as a special day to be spent with Him, no instructions on how to keep it would have been necessary. We believe it will be the same in the earth made new (Heb 8:11; Isaiah 66:22, 23). >>>

Does it say who the Sabbath is meant for? Genesis 2-no, Exodus 16-yes (v.29). It is obvious to me that Exodus 16 has a better biblical basis for being seen as the institution of the Sabbath than does Genesis 2.

<<< It will soon be made plain that the basis for calling the first seventh day the “Sabbath” of the 4th commandment is an irrefutable basis and it will also be shown for whom the Sabbath was made. >>>  

However, I don't see a formal institution here. Exodus 16 is more of an introduction of the Sabbath to Israel. God was teaching Sabbath observance for the first time in human history.

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.” (Exodus 16:4 KJV)

He was teaching Israel that there would be no work allowed on the Sabbath day not even daily necessities like gathering food. More than this God was teaching them that He would take care of their needs during their Sabbath rest. The Sabbath was part of an obedience test for Israel.  

"Then the  Lord said to Moses, 'Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily'" (vs. 4-5 ESV).

<<< God gave unfallen man a test of obedience in the garden. When they failed, Jesus stepped in and agreed with His Father to pay the penalty for sin to redeem fallen man.

  Under the Old Covenant type, the children of Israel were rescued from the penalty and bondage of sin (represented by their bondage as slaves to the Egyptians). When Jesus stepped in, He brought them out of bondage on the first Passover. They were then given the law. >>>

After initially failing (vs. 27-28), Israel passed the test (v. 30). Shortly thereafter the Sabbath was officially made law for Israel when it was included in the covenant document known as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).

<<< “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.”

(Exodus 16:28-30 KJV)

The children of Israel became accountable to the Sabbath of the 4th commandment when they were made aware of it. There was no nation of Israel before they were brought out by the Lord. >>>

In his recounting of salvation history, Ezra locates the Sabbath with Moses and Israel and not with Adam and Creation. Note the phrase "made known" which indicates the establishment of the Sabbath for the first time in history.

<<< Made known means for the first time in salvation history if salvation history is confined to Sinai and beyond. >>>

"You came down also on Mount Sinai,

And spoke with them from heaven,

And gave them just ordinances and true laws,

Good statutes and commandments.

You made known to them Your holy Sabbath,

And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws,

By the hand of Moses Your servant" (Nehemiah 9:13-14 NKJV).

Ezekiel also locates the Sabbath with Moses and Israel and not with Adam and Creation.

<<< Salvation history begins with the creation of the earth.

"Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham;" (Nehemiah 9:6-7 KJV)

 God gave His holy law to the children of Israel at Sinai. Who would say that there was no law before then? That makes no sense. Abraham kept the law and that was well before Sinai. It is the reason that God continued His covenant with Isaac (Gen 26:4, 5). That law included the “torah” vs 5. >>>  

"So I took them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live. Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them" (Ezekiel 20:10-12 NASB).

Note: In both accounts the Sabbath was given to Israel at the same time as the ordinances, laws, statues, and commandments. In other word, the Sabbath was part and parcel of the Old Covenant.

<<< The Sabbath was given to Israel when God gave them the Ten C’s which He wrote in stone and commanded that they be kept in the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:21). No other commandments were necessary to define the moral law.  They were complete as given (Deu 5:22). The Law of Moses contains moral statutes and ordinances and judgments for the administration of the law (Ten C’s) and as a safeguard from the pagan nations that would surround the children of Israel. They are but the principles of the Ten C’s that were written in stone. The Levitical law and the Hebrew sanctuary was given to them as well at that time and is integrated into the Law of Moses. This law was written on paper by Moses as given by God and kept in the side of the ark (Deu 31:26) >>>

The same covenant which was later taken away at the Cross (cf. Matthew 27:51; John 19:30; Hebrews 7:18-19; 8:13; 9:16-17; 10:8-10).

<<< The covenant was taken from the children of Israel and given to the Gentiles, not taken away. (Mat 21:43; 1 Pet 2:9, 10).” The law that was fulfilled by Jesus and therefore obsolete in performance is the Law of Moses with its ceremonial remedies for sin (Heb 9:1). >>>  

Note: Ezekiel uses the plural designation "Sabbaths". The 7th day Sabbath is included here as a part of the package of Sabbaths as recorded by Moses in Leviticus 23.

<<< “These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:37-38 KJV)

  It is clear that the “feasts of the LORD” are in addition to or “besides” the Sabbaths of the Lord. There are annual Sabbaths associated with the annual feasts so they are “besides” or “in addition to” the Sabbaths of the Lord as well.

  Since that Sabbaths of the Lord do not include the annual Sabbaths then they must be the Sabbaths of the 4th commandment. >>>   

As I pointed out earlier there are more passages to review in a thorough study of the origin and validity of the Sabbath for today. So I'm not saying that this is a complete study that answers all questions. However, I do believe that I have adequately addressed your particular concern about Genesis 2:2-3.

<<< We have yet to address the question of Genesis 2:2, 3 and why we insist the seventh day of the creation account is the Sabbath of the 4th commandment. We can know this if we believe the Bible is true and it is found in the 4th commandment that was spoken by God to the people at Sinai and written by Him in stone.

“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 seventh day that the LORD blessed and hallowed at creation is the Sabbath day.

Now that we know what day it is that God blessed and sanctified in Genesis 2:3 we can also know for whom it was made.

“And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:” (Mark 2:27 KJV) >>>

God Bless You,

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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