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[Sabbath 1]

The Sabbath

   and the Church that helps us not to entirely forget it…

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What should it mean to us?

   if anything…

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For more use the DOOR.

   [MORE]

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   First, let me say 3 things:

   (1)  I am not a 7th-Day Adventist.

   (2)  In my view, 7th-Day Aventism is positively Christian and is in no way a cult¹.

   (3)  This fascinating church, though out of most of the evangelical Christian mainstream, has, along with Judaism, many important things to say about the Sabbath as presented in the Bible…and how it should be thought about today.

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   Some quick observations about the Sabbath:

   (1)  According to the Bible, the Sabbath is a special day to stop work and rest. Going to Temple, synagog, or “church” for communal worship, or fellowship was not forbidden, but that was not the primary purpose of the day.

   (2)  According to the Bible, this end-of-the-week “Saturday” typically begins at sundown on “Friday” and ends at sundown on Saturday.

   (2)  The Sabbath concept doesn’t begin with the 10 Commandments. It begins with the Creation Week in Genesis. Nowhere in the Bible is the Sabbath abolished or cancelled.

   (3)  Jesus, who did no sin, was a Sabbath-keeper. Further, He was referred to as “Lord of the Sabbath.”

   (4)  The Sabbath, as described above, was (and is by many) followed by practicing Jews, Jesus, and Christian believers until the 4th century when a Roman Catholic pope by his own authority “changed” it to “Sunday.” Part of the reason for this was that “Sunday worship” would distinguish gentile Christians and believing Jews from Jews who, for the most part, didn’t believe in Jesus. This change was anti-Semitic.

   (5)  “Sunday” is nowhere mentioned in either the Old or New Testaments. Christ rose on the 1st day of the week, but early Christians were never taught, as far as what’s recorded, that it was a special day. Much of what God’s Sabbath was supposed to be simply “melted away” for most Christians.

   (6)  When Christians quickly say such things as “that the 10 commandments should be posted on courtroom, school, or other public places,” they almost never really mean this. Instead, they mean the “9 Commandments.” There is no intension of keeping, or honoring, the 4th commandment as was originally intended–although God placed it in the “Big Ten.”² Practice of the honoring the Sabbath the way the Bible presents it has been almost totally lost.

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   We will present more on the Sabbath from time to time, but usually on a “Friday,” since the true Sabbath begins on Friday evening. In particular, we’ll acquaint you with a fascinating book by a Jewish scholar and rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel. It’s called The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005, 1979, 1951.)³

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   ¹ I have no serious problem with the statement of faith of modern Seventh-Day Adventists (a Protestant denomination) except in 2 places: (1) Adventists imply that Ellen White was a significant prophetess (though, as far as I can tell, she never declared herself to be one) and is given too much recognition at the expense of other teachers. I find it hard to disagree with what she seems to say, however–though she has written volumes and her words are not always clear and seem dated. She seems to always point to the need for Christ, however. (2) Seventh-Day Adventism is committed to “Young Earth Creationism” as the only way to Biblically interpret creation and origins. I, as many other Evangelical Christians who take the Bible seriously, disagree.

   ² Although this needs much more discussion–not our purpose here–all, or almost all of the New Testament “commandments,”or  expectations for proper Christian behavior, can we traced back to, or are implied by, the 10 Commandments. Specially honoring God on one day of the week–the last day–however, has been swept under the rug, or rationalized away. In the Bible, “Sunday” was never thought of as the Sabbath. That came  much, much later. Further, Christ often referred to the (10 Commandment) “Law” as the basis for what Christians were supposed to do. Be aware that there are Seventh-Day Baptists and and other small 7th-Day Protestant groups.

   ³ This book is highly regarded by the Christian scholar, The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things who says, “Timeless. Read it, and be ready to be changed.”