Sabbath as a creation ordinance
7th Day Adventists (and other Sabbatarian's) are confident in their teaching that "the Sabbath "was practiced before the Law of Moses. Every time they see the word commandment, its either the 10 or is the Sabbath. This is not much different from those who believe one must be baptized to be saved. Every time they see cleansing or baptism it must mean water.
Sabbatarian's insist this rest on the 7th day was given to Adam and Eve and to the world but you can search the scriptures in vain for a Sabbath that man rested on before Mosesí time. There is no record of one in scripture, Its just not there. So their argument is from silence. While they argue this way for the 10 commandments practiced without any scripture record, they won't let us do the same for Sunday.
God gave only two basic commandments to Adam and Eve before the fall, they transgressed because they did not obey what? Not the 10. The only commandments God gave Adam were to keep the garden (as well as be fruitful and multiply) Gen. 2:5, and not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A do and donít commandment. The scripture has no reference to the ten commandments , nor to the Sabbath, to see it as such it is inserting what you want it to say. Law keepers state the violating of the 10 are what shows sin, but it was not any of the 10 that Adam and Eve broke that brought sin to all mankind. It was only later that God developed the moral code. In Gen.4:15 He prohibited the death penalty and in Gen. 9:4 He gave the the law for retribution on murder.
What of Abraham he kept the commandments right? I was personally told by one of their evangelists that Abraham kept the 10 commandments and he then went straight to Gen.26:5. "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
So Abraham kept the Sabbath! Their logic is that this was commandments, therefore he kept the Sabbath. They assume what is needed be proved, that this was the 10 commandments. This was 430 years before the Decalogue was given as Paul points out in Gal. 3:16, 17. How could he keep what was not yet given?
Anything which God commands at any time would be called "his commandments, or laws." We find God verbally and personally spoke To Abraham to leave Ur in Gen.12, that is a commandment. He gave him the law of circumcision in Gen.21:4. So Abraham obeyed God to circumcise his son as God commanded." These and other commands are the commandments Gen.26 is referring to.
The Decalogue was not given until Moses, 2500 years after the creation. Ex. 20; Deut. 5:2-6. Paul states this clearly in Gal.3:15 that it came 430 years after Abraham. To deny this is to clearly ignore the clear passages. If the Ten commandments were not existent before Moses, then the 4th commandment was not instituted either. The only way to prove it was is to find a command or practice before Moses, otherwise one is arguing from silence.
The first Occurrence of the word "Sabbath" Shabbat is found in Exodus 16:22-23. The very fact that the word Shabbat occurs the first time for Israel to cease or rest from work shows it was not used before this." And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread,. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, 'This is what the Lord has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning. The text in verse 23-30 indicates that this was a new experience for Israel. They were not used to keeping the Sabbath before this time. If this law was so well known, why the need of such instruction? Was Moses so ignorant of the basic laws of God as to be told them in this manner? The answer is that this was a new law, set before the people for the very first time. See, said Moses, to the people, "for that the Lord has given you the Sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two daysí. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." So the people rested on the seventh day." (vs.28-30).
This is why God stated in vs.28 "how long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?" The next day some went out to gather the manna because they were not accustom to resting, since they worked 7 days a week in Egypt. If this was a command known since the beginning of time they would not have reacted this way. Sabbatarians say see they were scolded for not remembering the commandment proves it was practiced long before . The command was not just to stay home and reston the Sabbath, but to gather twice as much the day before, bake the day before. Vs.16 tells us that the Lord commanded for each to gather according to their need.
When the commandments are give later on Mt. Sinai, the Sabbath is included and they are told to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Why ? This was the commandment God gave them after their release from bondage, they had worked in slavery for over 400 years with no days off. God was giving them a day in which they could enter in to rest. However they already broke it by not remembering and he was angry at them saying," why donít you keep my commandments." Here God was giving them a gift, the same day he rested after he worked by creating and he was now giving it to Israel.
The scripture specifically says Deut.5: 3" The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us..."The Sabbath being the seal of the Covenant. Scripture is saying no one had this to obey until their generation. Not Job not Abraham, Isaac or Jacob.
Moses wrote the creation account found in Genesis during the time of the Exodus, at the reception of the law from God. There were no known written records before this, so how could anyone be keeping this law? Exodus 20:11 shows that the Sabbath day was first given as a command to the Israelites in Ex16. How could this be a command for everyone living from the beginning ? Was it by word of mouth ? It certainly wasnít written in a book, and it was not found in the scriptures given by Moses.
Sabbatarians use their circular reasoning to invent a new definition of " commandments" that is limited strictly to the 10.They then divide the commandments up into parts to validate their predilection of 10. Theirs is the perfect example of not seeing the forest because of a single tree.
To the 7th day Adventists and other law keepers there is grace for the penalty of breaking the Sabbath day but not the one who doesnít keep it as a day. Yet the bible shows there is a punishment for a law being broken whether it is moral or ceremonial.
There is no record that anyone prior to Ex 16 kept the Sabbath: Yet the Patriarchs were instructed regarding numerous commands, offerings. Lets do a sequential order as best as possible. Marriage, Gen. 2:24 and Gen.34:9 Gen. 4:3-4 , Altars of sacrifice Gen. 8:20 , Priesthood, Gen. 14:18 Circumcision, Gen. 17:10 . Why is the "Most important" the "Most Holy day" the Sabbath command that is supposedly kept by all missing? Simple. I know you know the answer, because there wasnít any command given prior to Ex.16.
Proofs found in scripture: Exod. 31:12-17 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "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. 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to youÖ Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever."
Neh.9:13-14 "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. You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant," also Deut.5: 3. This verse is bad news for strict Sabbatarians! If it was given originally to all mankind it would not be given to Israel and it certainly would not be sign for them if everyone already had it. Gal 3:17 It tells us the laws were only given to Israel for a distinct period of time, they were never made permanent. The law came 430 years after the covenant made with Abraham, and it continued to be in effect until the seed should come, who is Christ. This covenant was an addition to the one made with Abraham. It had a definite starting point which was at Mount Sinai where the law was given to Moses by God (Exodus chpt.19-31). But it also had an ending point: the arrival of Christ, Jn.1:17: "the law came through Moses grace and truth through Jesus Christ." The law came down from the Mountain with Moses, the Gospel Christ was handed down to all people from Calvary's mountain . Rom.5:13-14: "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses." Notice Paul gives Moses as the starting point for the law. A look at Galatians 3:19 ,25 illustrates this point quite clearly. (Deut. 5:12-15). These laws were for the people of Israel alone to guide to educate them to live before God.
Ezekiel 20:12:" Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Lord that sanctifieth them." "And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am Yahweh your God." (20:20). He is referring back to Mt. Sinai.
Deut.4:8: "And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day ?"
Deut. 4:40: "You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time."
This was the purpose so they may have long life in the promised land which means Israel only.
The Sabbath was not sanctified until after God rested, not before. It was to commemorate his rest from his creative work. (Gen. 2:2; Ex 20:11). Gen.2:2 tells us the reason, because he rested vs.3, but not the time that God sanctified the Sabbath. This proves that the Sabbath could not be part of God's eternal law in heaven previous to creation! The Bible no where says when he sanctified it, only that it was after God rested. It was on only one 7th day God rested, not every 7 th day. God still did not reveal the Sabbath in Eden and there is absolutely no evidence that anyone kept the Sabbath prior to Ex 16.. Genesis was written during the time of Moses, not before, as far as we can tell there were probably oral traditions because we see Job sacrificing. Neither Adam or Abraham had the book of Genesis! God told the Jews in the wilderness about the Sabbath For the first time. God instructed Moses to change the calendar, their departure from Egypt became "the beginning... the first month of the year to you" ( Ex.12: 2). From this new date, the Sabbath observance was observed in the wilderness. Moses himself, required instruction which he then passed on to the people. It is kept as a memorial of the Exodus in Ez.20:2,20 not of Gods resting in creation. Only Israel had the law, Deut. 4:8 "And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day"?
From the early Church JUSTIN 150 AD: Moreover, all those righteous men already mentioned [after mentioning Adam. Abel, Enoch, Lot, Noah, Melchizedek, and Abraham], though they kept no Sabbaths, were pleasing to God; and after them Abraham with all his descendants until Moses... And you were commanded to keep Sabbaths, that you might retain the memorial of God. For His word makes this announcement, saying, "That you may know that I am God who redeemed you." (Dialogue With Trypho the Jew, 150-165 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers , vol. 1, page 204)
The Jews personified the Sabbath, they greeted her as a bride coming into the chambers (when they were in the temple on the eve of the Sabbath). This in time became like Idol worship, where a day became more important than all the other commands. So it is today with some Sabbatarians their focus is on the day to correct everyone on when to worship.
The Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel ONLY! Ex.31:13-17 this is why we find the early Jewish believers keeping it. Paul had instructed the believers in Rome that they were at liberty to set aside any day they chose exclusively unto God, as long as they did not interfere with the liberty of others; that is the Spirit and the intent of the NT. But the Keepers of the law, the Judaizers, in the first century are very much like the 7 th Day Adventists of our time. They demanded that all should observe this ordinance of the law, maintaining that it is essential to salvation. This teaching is condemned by the Apostle Paul who rebuked them sharply on that point that to add to the Gospel destroys the work on the cross. Sabbatarians need to quit majoring in the minor issues and major on the major ones, the saving power of Christ crucified for salvation and the Christian life under grace. It will matter little which day you worshipped on, if your life did not start or end in the cross.