Ah, this ongoing series brings back so many childhood memories–as this is exactly the same Revelation Seminars the SDA church has always put on. I thought something would be new, something other than the newest world tragedies.
This is the exact same program format and topics, the same its-so-obvious-and-Biblical–no-question-about-it-delivery as has been done all over the SDA world for the last fifty years. Same world-toppling scare tactics, same bogey-man. The only thing missing is the Seventh-day Adventist name. But, interestingly, the name of the church sponsoring on the program has been missing for several of the last Revelation seminars.
I will spare you all the observations I had about the down-undah enthusiastic Pastor John Bradshaw, (they were all good) and Yves Monnier the host at the Las Vegas Cashman Center (I’m sure he is a nice guy).
Let’s be honest. The whole thing is about the Sabbath in these seminars, all else is just the golden halo around it. The Sabbath doctrine, if wrong, is where Adventism stands or falls. For them it is the cornerstone of their theology. Without it all their raison d’etre would be crying “Jesus is coming again, soon” along with every other denomination out there.
Why not just tackle that subject and be done with it.
You see, Adventists very subtly set up false premises then prove the false premises wrong and shout victory. For those not educated in scripture and who don’t ponder what is being taught, it is all shivers and good bumps awaiting the end of time when Adventists become top billing in the cosmic horror show, Armageddon.
Yet if we examine what is taught, seeing where a little is added here and there to scripture, a slight shift in the direction, a tiny misinterpretation–we will see how that shift can lead you completely off the road into a theological ditch. And a dark scary one too!
Watch how it is done:
1st wrong premise: The Church claim is that the “Everlasting gospel” of the Third Angel’s Message in Revelation is a different gospel, a different end time message than that of Christ and the Apostles.
Wrong: The Greek word agonies (everlasting) means “since the beginning, without beginning and end” so this is not something new. The word for gospel is eujaggevlion and is the exact same word used throughout the New Testament for the gospel proclaimed by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. This isn’t anything different. It means The Messiah is God and came as a human to suffer, die and be resurrected for our sins. Nothing anywhere at all about Sabbath in that.
This new and everlasting gospel (different from what the Apostles passed on) was given to the Seventh-day Adventists alone. They claim that in the last days there will be a divide between those who worship God the Creator and those who worship the creation. Well enough, okay on the idea that Christians and non-Christians will divide on how creation occurred. But then they add something outside of anything in scripture.
2nd wrong premise: Then the church links this true and false worship of the creation back to the story of Genesis claiming that on the seventh day God gave us a day rest as an eternal commandment.
There is nothing in the Genesis story that says the 7th day was a literal day. Please go back and read a fascinating fact. All the other days had an evening and morning. Not so with the seventh day as it was supposed to be an eternal day of rest. The idea of the day being a weekly day of rest is an addition to the text.
Little shifts, little shifts set them on a totally wrong course!
3rd wrong premise: Then Pastor Bradshaw jumps to the Ten Commandments. And claims that because they were written on stone means it is an eternal covenant for all time.
Another false assumption. If you do a word search you will find that throughout the Old Testament, many times, stone and rock symbolize God himself, not an eternal covenant.
Also if they writing them on a stone was supposed to mean how eternal they were, why would Moses smash them after leaving the presence of God? God wasn’t upset with him for doing it either. I would think if the stones had that kind of symbolism, God would have mentioned to Moses to care for them a little better.
4th wrong premise: The weekly Sabbath was an eternal sign. (Bradshaw uses Ezekiel 20: 12 for proof.)
Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.
But please note that the sabbaths are a sign–the high annuals sabbaths as well as the weekly sabbaths. (See Deu. 6: 1, 8; 11: 18; 28: 46)
These sabbath signs for Israel absolutely including Passover:
Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Jehovah…. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thy hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the law of Jehovah may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath Jehovah brought thee out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year. Ex. 13: 6-10
So if the sabbaths are a sign for everyone, then we should be keeping all the sabbaths, the annual, monthly and weekly.
5th wrong premise: That the Sabbath was not just for Israel alone, but all of us, even today. Again, the Bible would disagree with the SDA church on this claim.
Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily ye shall keep my sabbaths: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Jehovah who sanctifieth you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to Jehovah: whosoever doeth any work on the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. Ex. 31: 13-17
There are some important things to note about this. Though God reckons the Sabbath back to creation, He also does not include anyone else in the sabbath requirement making it between God and the children of Israel forever.
The fact that God sanctified a day at creation doesn’t mean it was meant to be universal. And keep in mind that anyone who profanes the day is to be put to death. If Adventists really believed that the sabbath requirement was for Christians today, they would then have to impose the death penalty.
Bradshaw quipped that “they weren’t Ten suggestions.” Well Pastor Bradshaw, we have to be honest with the text, the commandment to put to death anyone who profanes the sabbath is not a suggestion. It is a direct command.
6th wrong premise: Then Pastor Bradshaw jumped to the New Testament and reminded us that Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law, but fulfill it.
And that is exactly what He did at the cross.
For the SDAs to teach that we are still required to keep Sabbath is saying that Jesus didn’t fulfill the law at the Cross. Hebrews tells us that the Sabbath was a shadow fulfilled in Christ.
But, he asks, “Are we now allowed to kill? Steal? Jesus didn’t do away with the Ten Commandment law.
Right, and wrong.
Jesus expanded the Old Covenant at the same time He fulfilled it.
The Temple sacrifice–with all its rituals and ordinations–wasn’t done away with, but replaced by a much better, in fact, perfect one-time sacrifice of God’s only Son. God didn’t get rid of them, He fulfilled them. The Ten Commandments were, like the sacrifices, pointing to a permanent, eternal Covenant with a new and better set of laws.
Look at Jesus’ words. “You have heard it said” These are not the words of someone reiterating the gravity of the law–Jesus didn’t even source it as God’s! He just spoke, “You have heard it said, ‘you shall not…’ But I SAY.” This is Jesus taking authority over His Ten Commandments and changing them, reforming them, making them into the more perfect law of the New Covenant. They are better–expanded. But different.
How did Jesus expand the fourth? Adventist might claim that He didn’t say anything about that one. Yet he didn’t say anything about stealing either, but it was expanded. Now we are to give rather than receive. Now we are to give our cloak instead of our shirt when someone tried to rob us of what is rightfully ours. Later Jesus will say “come all ye who are weary and I will give you rest.
Hebrews tells us that the sabbath shadow was fulfilled in Christ. Sabbath hasn’t disappeared but our Sabbath rest is Christ, the day has expanded to a forever day–an eternal day of rest from the Creation account itself. The curse has been lifted and the original creation plan of an eternal rest with a 7th day without an “evening and morning” has finally been fulfilled in Christ.
It isn’t wrong to keep a day that is a rest once a week. That is fine. In fact Paul says:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. Col 2:16
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. Rom. 14: 5
7th wrong premise: Then Pastor Bradshaw makes the false assumption that since the Apostles went to the synagogue, they were keeping sabbath. This is just full of erroneous assumptions.
The Apostles worshipped everyday and preached daily. Being in a synagogue on Sabbath isn’t keeping the Sabbath commandment to rest. It is showing up where Jews will be.
Adventists draw a direct line between a Sabbath rest and someone going to a synagogue on Sabbath (as if worshipping and resting are one in the same). This is a non-sequitor.
There is not one shred of evidence in the Bible post resurrection that the Apostles rested on Sabbath or commanded anyone to rest on Sabbath. The 4th commandment is a requirement for Israel to rest.
8th wrong premise: The pastor claims that Jesus’ warning to pray that the Hebrew’s flight out of Jerusalem in the last days not be in winter or the sabbath (Matt.24:20) is a slam dunk for proving sabbatarianism post-Cross. Yet, this is hardly proof. Christ knew that His followers would be preaching in the Temple every day (Acts 2:46). The slaughter the Romans could acheive would be most devastating on Sabbath because so many Jews would be there too. It is a prayer for Jews because it would be especially hard for them to flee if caught inside the Temple on Sabbath, in winter or if they were pregnant.
It isn’t calling on his disciples to keep the sabbath as a perpetual sign. We know the Apostles were in the temple daily! So the warning wasn’t pray to keep from being attacked on an obligatory sabbath service, but as intercession for their brother Israel.
End of Part I-