Is Truth a Popularity Contest?

And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. Revelation 13:8 NLT

Sadly many put their confidence in popular opinion, while the Bible tells us the vast majority of the world will worship the beast.

Interestingly while Jesus claimed to be God, the majority accused Him of blasphemy and had  Him crucified for making such a claim. Later the beast claims to be God, but, instead of accusing him of blasphemy, the majority worships him. Truth is clearly not a popularity contest. 

Occasionally, at church or the Adventist school where I teach Bible and evangelism, someone will ask me, “What do we believe about such and such?” My response has always been, “I don’t know what you believe, but here is what I and many Seventh-day Adventists believe,” and I show them in the Bible what I believe and why. I am not going to tell someone what they believe. That is not teaching. That’s brainwashing.  Besides truth is not truth just because everyone in the Adventist church believes it. Truth is not a popularity contest in the church or the world. Truth is truth only if the Bible supports it. 

During the Dark Ages, when people did not have access to the Bible, people trusted their priests to tell them what they believed, and because of that there was a lot of brainwashing going on.

Even before the Dark Ages, priests abused their authority, and tried to brainwash people into believing whatever they believed. This happened in Jesus’ day when those in “authority” were trying to capture Jesus.

When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

“We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.

“Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? John 7:45-48 NLT

The guards experienced and heard the Word of God speaking to them and believed. Since the Pharisees did not want to believe, they mocked at this. In John 7 the Pharisees misconstrued Scripture to try and prove their point, but amazingly, instead of hanging their hat on Scripture, they hung it on the fact that none of the rulers or leaders believed. Is truth a popularity contest? If everyone  else believes something is it right, and if no one else believes it, then is it wrong? Is that how it works? 

The number of people who believe something simply because everyone else believes it is staggering. Take the state of the dead for example. Years ago I attended the funeral of a dear Adventist saint. Her family believed in the immortality of the soul and asked the Adventist preacher doing her funeral to “put her in heaven now.” The pastor replied that he could not do that since it simply is not true. However he told them he believed in liberty of conscience and freedom of speech so if one of them wanted to stand up and say she was in heaven, they could. So one of the family members stood up and talked about how her grandmother was now in heaven. I remember she kept saying “we cling to this!” Very emphatically, yet she gave no Scriptural reference other than that is what everyone believes. So I am not sure exactly what it was she was clinging to other than popular belief. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul tells us to “comfort each other with these words” about the resurrection. Sadly instead of comforting each other with the words Paul told us to use to comfort each other, many people use phrases about going straight to heaven when you die that are nowhere in the Bible and Paul nor anyone else ever suggested that we use. Sadly those phrases have been used so often that people believe it  because they have heard it so many times. 

When it comes to Sabbath keeping, I have heard so many people say that Sunday must be the true day because the whole world can’t be wrong. They forget that at the time of the flood only 8 people were right! Truth is not a popularity contest. 

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 NLT

Like the temple guards, the Bereans were interested in new ideas as long as they were found in Scripture. They didn’t believe something because Paul and Silas believed it or because a ruler did. On their own they searched the Scriptures daily to find truth.

I have heard Seventh-day Adventists telling their Baptist and Methodist friends to search the Bible for themselves because their pastors could be wrong. I have watched some of the same Seventh-day Adventists listening to their own favorite Adventist preachers, without bothering to search the Scriptures, because, after all, their pastor is Adventist, so he is automatically right, right? Wrong! We all make mistakes, as we all continue to learn and grow.

Let’s not be like the foolish Pharisees in John 7, who hung their hats on how many people believed or did not believe something. Truth is not a popularity contest. Let’s search the Scriptures ourselves to find truth. 

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

Video-What Role Does the Bible Play in a World Where Everyone Does Whatever Seems Right in Their Own Eyes?

For a written transcript click here.

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.