Did God Tell Adam and Eve to Keep the Sabbath?

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested[a] from all his work.  And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:1-3 NLT

In just the last couple of years I have heard an argument against Sabbath keeping that I have never heard before, but I have heard it three times now so I thought maybe we should take a look at it. The argument is that while God created the Sabbath at creation He never told anyone to keep it until He gave the Sabbath to the Jews only when He gave the ten commandments. The claim is that God never told Adam and Eve to keep the Sabbath and never intended for them or anyone else except the Jews to keep it until the Sabbath was done away with at the cross. Is that true? Like I said, I had never heard this argument until recently, but here are some things I think we should consider.

  • God declared it Holy, which means He set the day apart from secular use. When you declare something you do not declare it to yourself. Declarations are public. Adam and Eve surely were aware of this declaration.
  • Mark 2:27 says the Sabbath was made for man. Therefore in Genesis 2:1-3 God created the Sabbath for man. This only makes sense as God would not create the Sabbath just for Himself. God is love and He made the Sabbath as a gift for others.
  • Before the commandments were written on stone at Sinai there was documentation of a knowledge of God’s law. The purpose of the New Covenant is to restore things to their original setting before sin.  With the New Covenant the law is written in our hearts. I believe it was to be written on Adam and Eve’s hearts. The Sabbath was given more as a gift than a command. When a married couple have a weekly date night is that a gift or a command? If they are in love with each other I would say its a gift. 1 John 3:4 tells us sin is break the commandments.  While the commandment to not commit murder was yet to be written in stone it was to be written in the heart in the beginning. When Cain killed Abel God  called it sin, which is breaking the law. See Genesis 4:17. In Genesis 26:5 God says Abraham regarded His laws and commandments. In Genesis 39:9 while there was no commandment written on stone saying not to commit adultery and Joseph was not living in the land of the Jews he still recognized even in Egypt sleeping with another man’s wife was sin. In Exodus 16 God tests the Jews to see if they would keep his Sabbath and His commandments even though they were not written on stone yet.
  • The Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 starts with the word “Remember.” Many Sabbath keepers remind their friends it is the one commandment that begins with “remember” and is the one commandment most of the Christian world forgot. While this is true, I believe God was reminding them of the Sabbath they were given back at creation. Exodus 20:11 clearly links the Sabbath in the commandment with the Sabbath given at creation. I have heard it said that God only gave the Jews the Sabbath to celebrate their deliverance from Egyptian bondage and was only a rest from their slavery days. If that is so then why does Exodus 20:11 link it to creation?
  • In Mark 2:27 Jesus says the Sabbath was made for man, meaning mankind. He did not single out the Jews. He never used the term “Jewish Sabbath.” At creation before there was ever a Jew God declared the Sabbath Holy. In Isaiah 66:23 in the new earth all flesh will continue keeping the Sabbath. This tells me the weekly Sabbath is an eternal gift of rest.
  • In the universe we have the sun to mark a year. We have the moon to mark a month and the earth’s rotation to mark a day. But what in the universe do we have to mark a literal 7 day week? Only one place. The creation story in Genesis ending with a literal 24 hour 7th -day Sabbath. Since it is not recorded saying “The evening and the morning were the 7th day” like it does the other days of creation that some have supposed that it was just a symbolic Sabbath rest that was to rest for all eternity. This idea contradicts the Sabbath command to work six days and rest the seventh. This idea would also do away with the weekly Sabbath. If the Sabbath never ended then we don’t have a cycle for a literal seven day week ending with a literal 7th-day Sabbath. If the creation Sabbath had never been forgotten  atheism and evolution’s idea of millions of years of creation would never have stood a chance of acceptance.
  • If the Sabbath was never given to Adam and Eve and was only intended for the Jews up until the cross, then why did Constantine think to change the Sabbath to Sunday in March of 321? How do  you change something that no longer exists? If the Sabbath was only for the Jews and done away with at the cross why was this not common knowledge to the Catholic universal church 300 years after the cross? If God never gave Adam and Eve the Sabbath as a gift, why am I just now hearing of this in the last couple of years 6,000 years after creation?

Those are a few of my thoughts on the argument claiming God never told Adam and Eve to keep the Sabbath and that it was only given to Jews at Mt. Sinai. What are your thoughts?

You may study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here. 

Amen!(0)

Video-The Sabbath in Light of the Cross

https://williamdearnhardt.com/2013/06/20/the-sabbath-in-light-of-the-cross-with-new-living-translation/

What did Jesus Mean by “Fulfill” and ‘Till” in Matthew 5:17-18?

This week’s Sabbath School lesson. 

The Sabbath before and after the cross. 

Seventh-day Adventists are familiar with something Jesus said in the sermon on the mount.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one  jot or one  tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV

We understand that Jesus was endorsing the law. Some though have tried to say that once Jesus fulfilled everything that He then did away with the law. They claim Jesus said “till” all is fulfilled. So did Jesus mean the law would only last till He fulfilled everything on the cross? Well let’s look at how the world “till” is used in Scripture. Paul tells Timothy,

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13 NKJV

Did Paul mean for Timothy to stop reading and exhorting with doctrine once he got there? After all he said, “Till I come.” Of course not. Just like today, if you child is struggling with her homework and you tell her, “I will be home to help you in a few minutes. Hang in there till I get there,” you don’t mean for her to give up once you get there. Just as by saying “till I get there” you did not mean for her to stop once you got there, so Jesus did not mean for us to stop keeping the law once He “fulfilled” it. By fulfilling the law Jesus showed us how to keep the law fully. To fill means to make full, and Jesus showed us how to keep the fullness of the law by fulfilling the law .Some have the idea that Jesus emptied the law by filling it. Yet logic shows us to fulfill is to make full and not to make empty.

We see this truth as it is in Jesus in Matthew 3:15 Jesus tells John to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness. Once Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism did he then abolish it? No. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus told his disciples to go baptize. By fulfilling baptism Jesus gave us all an example to continue following instead of discarding. Likewise by fulfilling the law Jesus gave us an example to continue in the law instead of discarding the law. We see that truth as it is in Jesus, that while no one was ever saved or will ever be saved by the law in either the Old or New Testament, the law is still our guide. Jesus shows us how to fulfill the law by being our example. He tells us, If you love me, Keep my commandments.” John 14;15.

 

Video-Three Angels Message in Light of the Cross

 

https://ssnet.org/blog/thursday-why-interpretation-is-important/

https://williamdearnhardt.com/2011/09/16/the-three-angels-message-and-the-gospels-triumph-over-babylons-legalsim/

https://williamdearnhardt.com/2016/02/23/the-three-angels-messages-and-the-triumph-of-the-gospel-over-legalism-part-2/

Are Study Bibles Inspired?

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

You may listen to the podcast version of this article here. 

Study Bibles for the most part can be a huge blessing. However as a young Bible Worker back in the 1990’s I found them to be very challenging. Numerous times I would begin Bible studies with someone who knew very little about the Bible. They would run out to a bookstore in the community and buy a Study Bible, which they would be very proud to show me at our next Bible study.  I would hide my disappointment and act happy for them. But almost always, later when the notes in their study Bible would contradict a Bible principle I was teaching I would need to remind them that the study notes are not inspired. Of course a more seasoned Bible student would realize that more readily than a new Bible student who was looking for something to cling to. Of course when I disagreed with the study notes, both the Bible student and I obviously realized I was not inspired either. So we would have to keep comparing Scripture with Scripture to get our final conclusions.

Even as Adventists we must understand we learn truth by comparing Scripture with Scripture, and not by comparing Scripture with our favorite authors or preachers. Our Adventist pioneers came out of various protestant churches and sat down together to study out different doctrines in the Bible. Even though their group Bible studies led to the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, our Adventist pioneers studied these things out for themselves. They did not study the Bible for us. It is still up to us to compare Scripture with Scripture just as they did so we too can know what is truth. The counsel given to Timothy is for all of us.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

Paul did not study for Timothy. Timothy had to study the Scriptures for himself. Likewise our Adventist pioneers did not study the Scriptures for you. You must study them for yourself.

Likewise commentaries like Study Bibles can be helpful, but keep in mind they are not inspired. In 1953 a group of dedicated people put together the 7 volume Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary. as scholarly and Spirit led as they were even they recognized their human limitations and fallibility. For example:

For such errors as may appear in these volumes we plead not only the indulgence of the reader but also his [or her] cooperation, so that future printings may come ever near to perfection. -Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1 Page 17.

and also,

This commentary is published with no thought of presenting a creed or determining for all time the denominational interpretation of any passage of Scripture. Neither the contributors nor the editors possess either the power or the desire to do so. Let this fact be clearly understood at the outset. -Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 1 Page 18.

Let me make myself clear that I am not telling anyone to throw away their Study notes or commentaries. What I am saying is, remember study notes and commentaries are not on the same level as Scripture. Scripture is inspired and infallible.  Notes in study Bibles and commentaries are not infallible.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here. 

We are the Visiting Team

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

A few years ago I had baptismal studies with an elderly man named Oscar. He had just come to the United States from Guam but was actually already a U.S. citizen before ever stepping on American soil. Guam has its own government, but is an unincorporated United States territory. This gave Oscar the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen before even setting foot on U.S. soil.

I had never heard of someone being a citizen of a Country they had never been to before, but then it occurred to me that all Christians are citizens of a land they have never been to before. This world is not our home. The fact that the world is not our home could account for why we do not always fit in. It could explain why the world cheers at things that break our hearts, and why we sometimes cheer and the world does not cheer with us.

When people move from other countries to the United States, I notice they like to keep a lot of their cultural traditions, especially foods. I watched a documentary a while back on the History Channel, talking about how food companies in America expected immigrants back in the day to start buying traditional American foods,. The documentary went on to say that never happened! So the American food companies had to start catering to the diet of the immigrants.

As citizens of heaven we find some cultural traditions in our communities pose no threat to our Bible standards, but many do. It is then that we need to remember to cling to our heavenly culture while living in another land. We need to remember we are the visiting team.  Have you ever followed your favorite sports team to a road game? It is a totally different atmosphere than when you are watching them play at their home stadium. When you are on the road you stand up and cheer when your team scores, but you cheer alone because everyone else is for the home team. And when something happens to make the home crowd cheer, you just sit there. Everything seems backwards when your team is playing on the road. I have been to several Tampa Bay Rays baseball games over the years,  and I notice how fans of the visiting team dress and behave. First of all you can tell they are not fans of the home team when you see them wearing shirts and ball caps with the visiting team’s logos. Funny, many Christians try to blend in with the world by the way they dress, but sports fans visiting another team’s ballpark never try to blend in with the home crowd by the way they dress. They are proud of the team they represent so they are proud to stand out from the rest of the crowd. As Christian are we proud to stand out from the culture and crowd we are around? Fans of the visiting team don’t cheer when the home crowd cheers. They don’t try to blend in with the home crowd by the way they act either. Do we as Christians we are the visiting team here on earth. Do we behave as we would back home in heaven or do we try to behave like the world hoping to blend in?

Now to stay balanced, the visiting team fans do follow general home field rules and cultural traditions. They all stand for the national anthem. They all stand for the 7th inning stretch, and they all politely wait in line at the concession stands, and wait their turn at the ticket counter. They don’t act differently just for the sake of being different. They only act differently when team loyalty is called into question. Likewise Christians should not be standing out just to look strange or weird. This does not help the cause of Christ when Christians act strange for no good reason. We should only act differently to make our loyalty to God clear.

As I am writing this, I am thinking of the many times a city or community has weathered a rough storm either literally or metaphorically, and they looked to their local sports team to lift their spirits and help put pride back in their community. Today with the COVID-19 affecting our communities, I could not help but think that we don’t even have sports now as a lighthearted way to lift our spirits. While some simple and even innocent pleasures of the world are now fading away as 1 John 2:17 describes, we now more than ever should be proud to belong to a God who always lifts our spirits. With ballparks and even church buildings that give us a sense of fellowship and lifts our spirits closed now, we still belong to a God who alone can lift our spirits and give us hope.

Do we dress and act here on this earth, the same way we would dress and act in God’s kingdom, where we belong?

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let it be known that our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Lets be as proud of the kingdom we belong to as visiting team fans are proud of the teams they belong to. Actually even more proud.

You may listen to and share the podcast version of this article here. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here. 

Podcast-Circumcision: Making Sense of an “Awkward” Bible Topic.

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I am podcasting today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Many Christians do not understand the exact reasoning for circumcision in the Bible, while many atheists make fun of the Bible and Christianity over this apparent “strange ritual.” So let’s take a look at Scripture to make sense of this seemingly “awkward” topic.

You may listen to the podcast here. 

You may read the articlehere.