Darkness to Light Home Page

Books and eBooks by the Director

Seventh-Day Sabbath Comments:
1997-1998

Below are assorted e-mails I received in 1997 - 1998 commenting on my Scripture Study "The Seventh-Day Sabbath " found in my Scripture Workbook. The e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


>Why don't you listen to what the Bible says for itself on the Sabbath rather than interpreting it yourself. You are missing out on one of God's greatest blessings.

Lloyd
5/26/1998<

Are you suggesting that I let YOU interpret the Bible for me?


>No. Rather I am suggesting the Bible interpret itself to you.<

I knew you were going to say that! We have both read the Bible and have come to different conclusions as to what it means. That does not mean that one of us is "letting the Bible interpret itself" and one of us is "interpreting it for ourselves." It means that one of us is mis-interpreting the Bible and one of us is correctly interpreting the Bible.

>Genesis 2:1 - 3 - Sabbath instituted at Creation
Exodus 20:8 - 11 - Israel worshipped and celebrated the Sabbath
Luke 4:16 - Jesus worshipped and celebrated on the Sabbath
Acts 16:13; 13:14, 42- 44; 17:2; 18:4 - The early church worshipped and celebrated on the Sabbath
Isaiah 60:22, 23 - We will still be worshipping and celebrating on the Sabbath in heaven and in the new earth

CREATION--------ISRAEL--------JESUS----------APOSTLES AND THE EARLY CHURCH----------ETERNITY

From Creation to eternity the Bible clearly says that those who follow God will be worshipping on God's day - the seventh day Sabbath. It is a wonderful blessing to spend this time with the Creator.<

In my Scripture study I discuss the kinds of verses you cite and give my reasons as to why I do not believe they teach Christians are required to keep the Sabbath. I also explain my position in more detail on the two follow-up pages.

>Question - Show me one text from the Word that clearly says the Sabbath is no longer God's Sabbath?

Christian regards
Lloyd
New Zealand
5/27/1998<

I cite such verses in my study. They may not be "clear" to you but they are to me.


>You say that Sunday is the logical day that Christians should keep, but where in the Bible does God say so. Give me one text that even makes a suggestion of it.

J.B.
5/16/1998<

I list seven verses in that section of the Scripture Study I believe you are referring to. If that is not sufficient for you, oh well.


>I have carefully looked at those text you mentioned they do not even suggest what you are trying to imply. Give me one text where God said to keep Sunday and I will join your church this coming Sunday not because you are right but because God said so.

J.B.
5/17/1998<

I believe you are missing the whole point of my Scripture study. My position is that God does not require Christians to "keep" any day, be it Sunday, Saturday, or whatever. If I am not clear enough on my position in the study, then you might want to check out the two follow-up pages to it. I articulate my position further on them.


>Hi again Gary, I just read this article at your site and you quoted the emailer as writing:

>I would caution you that God is supposed to convict and judge people. The Seventh Day Adventist Church teaches that Christians should keep the Law of God, (of which all Ten Commandments can be found in the New Testament, including the Command to Observe the Sabbath, after the Death of Christ).<

I had to laugh when I read this! I'm a Jewish believer in Jesus and if these people think there are only Ten Commandments to observe in the Old Testament they are soooo wrong!! According to Judaism there are 613 Commandments in the Tanakh (Old Testament). Ten is just the tip of the iceberg! But of course you're right in your responses. The early church celebrated the Lord's Day on Sunday and only 9 of the 10 Commandments were repeated for us believers in the NT. No believer needs to celebrate "Shabbat" (i.e. the Sabbath)....

God bless,
Jodi
5/17/1998<

Good observation!


> While looking at a 7th day Adventist site I noticed that they also refer to Matt 24:20, Jesus referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and stating that they should pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath. If there were no worship by the Disciples on the Sabbath, why should they be concerned about this? The implication is that the Disciples still observed the Sabbath.<

The apostles were Jews. As such, in the earliest days of the Church, though they celebrated Christ's resurrection on Sunday, they still observed the Sabbath. After Christians were expelled from the synagogues (sometime near the end of the first century I believe), the practice probably ceased. But note, for Gentile Christians I doubt very much they ever observed the Jewish Sabbath.

> Also, the Adventists state that Sunday worship never occurred until 135 years after the resurrection. How do you respond to this?
Brian
5/2/1998<

Let's see, 135 years after the resurrection would be about 165 AD. Prior to this time, there are very few extra-biblical, Christian writings. As far as I know, few mention which day worship was on. Of these, I personally do not remember any mentioning that Saturday was the Christian day of worship; but I do remember a few that mention Sunday.

For instance, The Didache (also called, The Teaching of the Twelve) was written around 100 AD. It includes the following sentence, "And on the Lord’s own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks" (14:1).

When most Christians see a phrase like "the Lord’s own day" they think Sunday. Now, a Seventh-day Adventist might claim that this is actually Saturday.

But more explicit is The Epistle of Barnabas. This document was written between 70-132 AD, most likely 70-79 AD. It states, "Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens" (15:9; above dates and quotes from J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer. The Apostolic Fathers. Baker Book House, pp. 216, 234, 240,241, 284).

"The eighth day" is most certainly Sunday, not Saturday.

Most explicit of all is the following description of the early Christian worship service from Justin Martyr:

ON THE DAY CALLED SUNDAY, all who live in cities or in the country gather together into one place. There the memoirs of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets, are read, for as long as time permits. When the reader is finished, the presiding brother verbally instructs us and urges us to imitate the good things that were read to us. Next we all rise together and pray.

And as I related before, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought [the wine being diluted with the water]. In this manner, the presiding brother offers prayers and thanksgiving according to his ability. And the people assent, saying, "Amen." Then the bread and the wine are distributed to each person and each partakes. The servants [deacons] take a portion to those who are absent (from Dods, Marcus. transl. The First Apology of Justin Martyr. Tyler, TX: Scroll Publishers, 1989., p. 94).

Since Justin was martyred in 165 AD, I would say it is safe to assume he wrote this some time prior to that. So that is three quotes, that taken together seem to indicate that Sunday worship was normal Christian practice well before 165 AD.


>Dear Sirs, Your page is very interesting, and I enjoyed reading it.<

Thank you.

>I am a Seventh Day Adventist and I do not impose my view of the Sabbath upon anyone, though if asked, or if the opportunity presents itself I will share the joy that observing the Sabbath, and the great blessing that it brings into my life with others.

The Lord has made it clear to me in my life that for me and the wonderful church family that he has brought me into that the Sabbath is a special gift, when all of his people can put aside the labor of this world to come together in his love, for a time of rest and sharing of the great peace and hope that our Lord Jesus gives to us every day.

I was not raised an Adventist, and came to an understanding of the Sabbath on my own without ever being in contact with the Seventh Day Adventist church. When my life was without meaning and I started to read the Bible it was very clear to me that the fourth commandment was as alive and full of truth as the other nine, part of the gift to mankind that is Gods law, Gods love for us.<

Interesting, but when I first read the Bible I did not come to this conclusion. Maybe that is because I first read the New Testament. In the Gospels one of the biggest contentions Jesus had with the Pharisees was over there overly-legalistic Sabbath regulations.

In the epistles there are statements that to me indicated that the Sabbath was no longer a requirement (as I indicate on my Scripture Study on the Sabbath). Moreover, nowhere in the NT did I see the commandment repeated.

But I can see how if someone read the Old Testament first with its emphasis on the Sabbath, the person could come to your conclusion.

>I upon the realization that this was a great truth for me I went to my manager at work and informed him of my decision to abstain from labor on the seventh day. This was a union job and the manager told me that without open availability I would no longer have a job there, I said I understood and offered my resignation, at witch time he decided to accommodate my decision, but asked "when did you become a Seventh Day Adventist?" Not knowing of the church I could give him no answer, but upon reflection I became an Adventist at that very moment.<

I have had similar experiences with employers in the past, but with regards to my not wanting to work on Sundays.

>The Lord works in mysterious ways and I truly feel that his hand was upon me guiding me to the church I now call my home. I thank you for sharing your beliefs with me via-the Internet and appreciate letting me share mine with you. May the Lord bless you and keep you, until the day of our Saviors return.

Love.
Todd
1/21/1998<

Our attitudes are probably not that far apart. Back in my powerlifting days, before I became a Christian, I learned very quickly that I could not workout seven days a week. I knew that my body needed at least one day of rest a week. Hence is why I scoff at sport reporters that talk about how "dedicated" some particular athlete is because he or she works out seven days a week. I know first hand they would be better off taking one day a week off.

I have also found out that one needs a "break" at least once a week from even non-physical labor. Mental or emotional stress can build up just like physical stress. So, for instance, in college I would generally take a day a week off from studying.

So even before I became a Christian I realized that a six-day on, one day off cycle was helpful. In fact, I found it interesting that when I read the Bible such a cycle was what the Creator had set up.

As a Christian I have also found a spiritual need to rest one day a week. The hustle and bustle of life can easily take one’s mind off of God. To set a day aside for spiritual contemplation and study is very beneficial.

But where we differ is in thinking that there is still a commandment that one HAS to make one’s day off Saturday. Or even that God will disapprove if a person "misses" a day off now and then. I do not believe that this legalistic requirement is still binding, any more than I do other OT laws are, such as food laws. But the principle that one should set aside time for God and for physical, emotional, and mental rest is still important.

This day can be any day of the week. But, as I indicate in my study, if one is to pick a day, to me, Sunday is the most logical choice for the Christian.


>Dear Fellow Christian: Having been a Christian for a number years, I have encountered many different opinions on the Sabbath. I believe that a persons beliefs are personal and that all Christians see things as the Spirit of God impresses them.<

Christians should study the Scriptures to discover what to believe, not base their beliefs on "impressions."

>I think there is much danger in your page. You seem to be somewhat condemning toward our fellow Christians the Seventh Day Adventists.<

I state in what I believe is a rather straightforward manner why I believe the SDA is wrong in its exegesis of "Sabbath" passages. And present the reasons for my position. I do not see that as "condemning."

>I would caution you that God is supposed to convict and judge people. The Seventh Day Adventist Church teaches that Christians should keep the Law of God, (of which all Ten Commandments can be found in the New Testament, including the Command to Observe the Sabbath, after the Death of Christ).<

Please give me book, chapter, and verse on this one, as I do not remember reading "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" in the NT.

>I don't know exactly which New Covenant you are speaking of, when you say the Sabbath is not part of the new covenant? I would emplore you as a fellow Christian to not be critical of other Protestant Denominations, proclaiming the word of God.<

We are called to proclaim, "the whole counsel of God." In doing so, I will inevitably disagree with others who call themselves Christians. If teaching what I believe to the truth is being "critical" of others, then so be it.

>I believe the world is large enough for all of us. The Baptist church holds a few beliefs, I find to be unbiblical, none of which I believe will lead a Christian into Hell Fire. I don't believe that Christ will condemn people for observing the Sabbath when he returns.
Ron
12/5/1997<

I agree that Christ will not "condemn people for observing the Sabbath when he returns." And I am glad you have such a "neutral" position in regards to Sabbath-keeping; but be assured, the SDA church does not. According to their book Seventh-day Adventists Believe ..., come the end-times, those who worship on Sundays will be the ones who receive the mark of the beast (p.263).


For additional follow-ups to the Scripture Study "The Seventh-Day Sabbath" found in my Scripture Workbook, see: Seventh-Day Sabbath Comments: 1999, and The Sabbath and Decision Making.

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

Various Religious Groups

  Text Search      Alphabetical List of Pages      Subject Index
General Information on Articles      Contact Information

Darkness to Light Home Page
www.dtl.org

Click Here for Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla