EXAMINING SABBATARIANISM Part 1

 

In todayís lesson we are going to be examining the denomination knows as the seventh day Adventist. Now the purpose of this lesson is not to belittle or question the sincerity of those that make up this denomination. The whole purpose of this lesson is to show you how the group got started and what is that they teach so that we can compare their teachings to that of the Bible. This will help up us to understand them better and to be able to study with them more effectively. Another reason we are looking at this denomination is because it was requested that we take a look at the varying denominations and the reason why I chose this particular denominations because there was also a request for us study about the Sabbath and whether or not we are to keep it. The Sabbath is one of the main things that the seventh day Adventist holds dear to their hearts as we will find out later in this lesson.

 

Letís begin by looking at how this denomination came about. From all the history I examined it is believed that William Miller was the man who led to the start of this denomination. In 1816 he began to study OT prophecy with the passages that had to with time and in 1818 he came to the conclusion from Dan. 8:14 and 9:24ff from the prophecy of the 70 weeks that Jesus would return sometime between March 21, 1843 Ė March 21, 1844. However, he did not make this view public until 1831. Then in 1834 he became a Baptist preacher and those that followed his teachings were labeled as Millerites. When 1843 and 1844 came and passed it was a devastating blow to Miller and his followers. At the end of Millers life he admitted that he was wrong about the date but still felt that Jesus would return very soon. Now some of his other followers begin to add to his teachings which would bring about this new denomination. But the one person who really got things moving for this denomination was Ellen G. White.

 

She is considered to be the main person who brought about the beliefs that this denomination holds. When she 9 years old she seriously injured by a stone that a playmate threw at her and she started have hallucinations after that which she would later claim were revelations from God. Her family became followers of Miller in 1842 and in 1844 after the great disappointment of Jesus not coming Ellen claims to have had hundreds of visions and revelations from God. She married a Millerite preacher in 1846 and became the new leader of the Milleriteís because of her alleged God inspired visions. She had one vision in 1846 and in 1847 where she claimed she was taken up into heaven and was allowed to see the heavenly tabernacle and she saw the 10 commandments. The 4th commandment, which says Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy had a soft halo of light encircling it. She concluded from her vision that the 10 commandants and especially the 4th one, was not nailed to cross but that every Christians should be keeping it.

 

This is what spawned their major movement that Christians should keep the Sabbath Day Holy. Next, several of these Millerites came together in 1860 to officially became the 7th day Adventist which worships God on Saturday instead of Sunday. The leaders of these groups were Hiram Edson, Joseph Bates and Ellen G. White.

 

Ellen G. White is held very highly in the eyes of this denomination and the regard as a prophetess of God. However this was not the only vision she had because she made many prophecies that did not come to pass and some of the messages she said was from God are almost laughable.

 

First of all she agreed with Miller that Jesus would come in 1843 and 1844 and then she made more predictions of Jesus return in 1845 and 1851 which of course did not come to pass.

 

She also stated that cheese and pork should not be eaten. In fact she pushed for her followers to be vegetarians. Those who are faithful in this denomination will not eat these things yet notice what Paul tells Timothy, in,

 

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;

 

So to forbid pork or cheese is a direct contrast with what Paul had said here because all things can be eaten.

 

She also said, Eggs should not be placed on your table. They are injury to your children.

 

When the civil war was going she claimed that the war was not to take away slavery but to preserve it. Which of course we know from history that it was to free slavery and it did.

 

She also claimed that Sunday keeping was the mark of the best and when Jesus comes very soon all those keeping Sunday worship will be lost .

 

I could keep on listing more and more of the outlandish things this woman has said was from God but this enough to give you a general idea of the background behind this woman prophecies. Everything I have shared with you so far give you a general idea of how 7th day Adventist came about and it also shows you that this denomination is build upon false prophets. Both Miller and Ellen both predicted that Jesus would come and he did not. We have also seen where Ellenís alleged visions from God have contradicted the inspired apostle Paul. We can fairly label these 2 as false prophets because that is the Bible says they are according to,

 

Deuteronomy 18:22 "when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

 

We can also know that they were false prophets because the ability to prophecy was gone after the first century according 1 Cor. 13: 8ff which teaches us that when Godís word was fully revealed then the prophecies would cease and Paul specifically warned us twice in Gal. 1:8-9 that we are not to receive a person or even an angel that is proclaiming something different than the gospel. Now I wonder how in the word those who make up this denomination can overlook all these false prophecies their founders have made.

 

Now that we have some background information of how they got started and why the Sabbath is so sacred to them I want to take a look at the Sabbath and what it entails to see if this group is consistent in what it means to keep the Sabbath. Now before we do that I also want you to keep in mind that they believe that 10 commandments is the law of God and that the other laws that Moses gave are called ceremonial laws. They will say that when Jesus brought in the new covenant that he did away with ceremonial laws but that the 10 commandants were not done away with. We will deal with this in more detail later but I wanted you to understand this before we began looking at the Sabbath.

 

The word Sabbath means to rest and it also is used to show the 7 day of the week which is our Saturday. Now this denomination teaches that the Sabbath was given by God at the beginning of creation.

 

Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

 

From this they assume that the 7th day was made a holy day for all humans to observe from the beginning of time. However there is nothing in the text to show this. In fact we cannot find one instance in the 2500 years between creation and the time of Moses where anyone observed Saturday as special day.

 

Instead what we find is that the Sabbath did not come into existence for humans until the time of Moses. The first time we even see the word Sabbath mentioned is in Exodus 16:23 ff where Moses reveals to the children of Israel that Saturday is a day of rest and that they are not to go out into the field to gather manna. This is the first and only mentioning of the Sabbath before it became the 4th commandment. But, if you read those verses in Exodus 16 you can tell that this was a new teaching to them and that it only applied to them. This was giving to them as a test and many of them failed because they went out looking for manna in the filed on that day.The Sabbath was made an official law and revealed to the people at Mount Sinai according to,

 

Nehemiah 9:13 "You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments.14 You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, By the hand of Moses Your servant.

 

Notice the commandments that were given at Mount Sinai which included the Sabbath was made known to them at that time. This can also be clearly seen in Deut 5 where Moses retells the people the 10 commandments. Notice what it says,

 

Deuteronomy 5:2 "The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.3 "The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.

This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sabbath was not kept or commanded to those before Moses time and that this Sabbath was something unique that was just between him and the children of Israel starting with that generation. To further show that the Sabbath was just for the Jews notice,

 

Ezekiel 20:12 "Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them.13 "Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, 'which, if a man does, he shall live by them'; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths.

 

So now we can see that the Sabbath was commanded by God through Moses and that the Sabbath was for the Jew only. Therefore the Sabbath is not for the Gentile and that is why you never see where Gentiles were required to keep the Sabbaths. So do you think all those that make up this denomination are Jews? Of course not because most of them are gentiles like you and I and therefore the Sabbath cannot be a command for us today.

 

Next, I think it will help us to see that keeping the Sabbath was more than just resting on Saturday because there were Sabbaths that were done in accordance with 5 of their festivals found in Lev. 23 Ė 39. Those who kept the Sabbath observed 59 of them a year and every 7thand 50th year was a Sabbatical year where they were to leave their land alone and not work their vineyards. Also during this time all debts were to be canceled Deut. 15:2. When have you ever heard of this denomination adhering to this? You have not.

 

So, if you do the math a typical Hebrew during the OT time would observe 5830 Sabbaths over 50 years, while the average Sabbatarian who only observes Saturday will only keep 2600 Sabbath falling short 3230 Sabbath that are required by Godís Word.

 

Lets take a look at some more verses that show what is to be done on the Sabbath day that this denomination does not observe.

 

Numbers 28:9 ' And on the Sabbath day two lambs in their first year, without blemish, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a grain offering, mixed with oil, with its drink offering --10 'this is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering with its drink offering.

 

If they are suppose to keep the Sabbath holy then where animal sacrifices.

 

Exodus 16:29 "See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

Is this denomination staying in their place on the Sabbath? No they are not. During the N.T. time you will see them say a certain distance was a Sabbath day journey which is somewhere around 1000 yards but I can guarantee you most if not all those who make up this denomination travel further than that to get to building to worship on Saturday.

 

Exodus 35:3"You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day."

 

They were not to cook or start a fire on that day yet this group does not keep this command and finally one more great inconsistence of this denomination comes from,

 

Exodus 35:1Ö "These are the words which the LORD has commanded you to do:2 "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

 

I ask you, when is the last time you read in the news where one of the Sabbatarianís had been put to death because they did not keep the Sabbath holy? We know that a man was put to death for carrying sticks on the Sabbath in Numbers 15:32-36 yet the 7th day Adventist does not follow this. Even though they claim to following the Sabbath by worshiping on Saturday instead of Sunday they have completed ignored what God has said must be done to keep the Sabbath Holy.

 

Now if you point these things out to them they may tell you that they only keep the 10 commandments and what the NT says so they donít keep these Sabbath laws as binding. But here is a good question, How are you going to know the details on how to keep the Sabbath Holy. Please notice the 4th commandment in its entirety.

 

Exodus 20:8 " Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

 

There is basically on 2 things that you can learn from this command. 1. You are to rest on the 7th day of the week. 2. You or no one else inside city is to work. From the command alone you cannot know what kind of rest you are suppose to do and you can not figure our what is considered as work. There certainly isnít anything in these passages that hints at the idea that you are to worship God on this day.Jesus says this,

 

Mark 2:27"The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

 

You also cannot find the consequences for not keeping the Sabbath Holy in the command. However, you can learn about all the details that are required for keeping the Sabbath by looking at the writings of Moses.

 

What about the NT. Does it suggest that the Christian is supposed to worship on Saturday instead of Sunday?

 

Well, the Sabbatarianís say it does. They say since Jesus observed the Sabbath so should we. However, they need to realize that Jesus lived under the Old covenant and of course he would keep the Sabbath because the new covenant had not come into place yet.

 

Another point they would make is that after Jesus brought in a new covenant his disciples would go the Synagouges and preach on the Sabbath, So, they were worshiping on the Sabbath. It is true that Paul would go into the Synagogues on the Sabbath but it wasnít for the purpose of worship. He and others like him went on the Sabbath because that was when the greatest number of Jews would be present and he would use these opportunities to preach about Christ.

 

There is not one piece evidence in the NT that suggests that Christian met on the Sabbath day. Nor is any there any scriptural evidence that the Sabbath was moved to Sunday as some in religious world suggest. In fact 100% of the early secular writers before 300 a.d. agree that Christians worshiped on Sunday and did not keep the Sabbath. We will take a closer look at this and why we worship on Sunday in part 2 of tonightís lesson.

 

One more argument they like to use to try and show that the Sabbath is still binding today is from passage like,

 

Exodus 31:13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever;

 

They would say that since the Sabbath is a sign that is to last forever then it must still be binding today. However please notice again that Sabbath was just for Jews and it would be sign between God and them forever. Now this word forever has the idea of age lasting. In other words the Sabbath would last as long as Moses law was in place. But, when you say this they like to use Mal. 3:6 which says God doesnít not change but this verse does not teach that God does not change his covenant it only teaches that he does not change his Character or mercy toward us.

 

To further show that this word forever doesnít mean until the end of time you can see this same language many times in the OT. For instance,

 

Exodus 30:8 "And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

 

Here we see that this is suppose to be done for forever.

 

Exodus 12:14 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

 

This is talking about the Passover. So if they are going to make the Sabbath binding on Christians today because it is suppose to last forever then they would also have to say the same thing about the Passover but they do not. What will notice is that they like to use verses from what they considered as the ordinances when they think it helps their cause even though they say that these ordinances have been done away. Now watch this,

 

Exodus 40:15 "You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations."††

 

Now based on their logic the priesthood should continue on forever but now look at,

 

Hebrews 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

The writer of Hebrews lets us know that the priesthood that was to last forever ended when Christ made a new covenant and he became our high priest. This shows very clearly that the word forever is age lasting.

 

We, have just barely scratched the surface of the 7 day Advantest teach. But we have learned so far that this denomination was built upon false prophets because the prophecies that Mr. Miller and Ellen made were wrong. We have also learned what it takes to really keep the Sabbath and that it was just for the Jews and we have looked at several arguments that the Sabbatarianís make to try and hold on to their Sabbath belief system and I have shown you that these arguments simply do not hold up to what the Bible says. I have also shown you how inconsistent they are when it comes to keeping the Sabbath.I hope you will join us again tonight as we will study the matter out in more detail and we will briefly look at some of the other beliefs they hold and compare them to the Bible as well.