Removing the Blessing?

Creation Seventh Day Adventists, as indeed all true Adventists, do not teach that one is justified, or saved, by obedience to the Law of Yahweh. Indeed, we teach that the Law has no power to forgive, or to restore, or to atone. It exists solely to reveal to us what righteousness and unrighteousness entail. As Paul stated it, “For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, ‘Thou shalt not covet.’” (Romans 5:13, 7:7)

When one becomes convicted, by means of the Law, that one is indeed a sinner (for the Law is the means by which “sin” is really defined under both the Old and New Covenants — Ezra 7:26, Rom 4:15, 1John 3:4) then the Gospel, the Good News, is that we have a Savior who redeems us from “bloodguiltiness,” (Psalm 51:14) and atones us with the Creator. When we are redeemed, and under this great dispensation of grace, does that mean that the standard of good and evil has changed? Does this mean that the very Law, which was first designed to reveal to us our sins, becomes inapplicable since we are no longer “under” it? “What then? Shall we sin (i.e., break the Law), because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid.” (Romans 6:15)

One of the most common attacks on this Law that Paul says defines “sin,” is in the matter of its fourth article, that dealing with the seventh day of the week. Not content to take Yahweh at His word, there have been many and diverse approaches to get around the plain intent of Scripture. Either the day was changed from the last to the first, or the Law itself was changed, or it does not matter now what day you choose to be your Sabbath. These are all human ideas, and certainly to be found nowhere in the Scriptures. Indeed, there are only two places that a “change in the Law” is mentioned. One is in the Book of Hebrews, which deals with the temporary ordinances concerning the Levitical priesthood and its sacrifices, (Heb 7:12) and another, an attempt, by the very enemy of the Creator, to change the “times and laws.” (Daniel 7:25) One of these listed is a legitimate replacement of an obsolete system by an eternal one; the other is a lie.

It is easy to demonstrate which elements of the original Covenant are eternal, and which were temporary. The temporary ordinances pointed forward only to Christ’s work for humanity during the Plan of Salvation. (e.g., the Passover ritual of slaying a lamb – 1Cor 5:7) The eternal ones point forward to things that will always exist, even after the completion of the Plan of Salvation (e.g. the Sabbaths and New Moons, which are yet “a shadow of things to come” — Isa 66:23, Col 2:16, 17)

If one reads those verses from Colossians 2 without the unwarranted additions of the English translators, we find that it says, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ.” In other words, let no “man” judge you, for the “body of Christ,” (a common New Testament idiom meaning “The Church”) is declared to be the keeper and dispenser of such information on earth, and rightly so.

In regards to the Sabbath specifically, though, there is another reason why it must be seen as eternal that has nothing to do with the Law as it was transcribed to Moses in Exodus 20. The simple fact of the matter is that there was a “blessing” and a “sanctification” placed on the day long before humans had the need for a codified Law, long before there was transgression and the Law given, and there is no evidence in any sacred writings that claims Yahweh ever removed this blessing. He has never removed this sanctification.

We read, “And on the seventh day Elohim ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work which Elohim created and made.” (Genesis 2:2, 3) Two things were done to that day. First, it was blessed, meaning that it was declared a joyous occasion with spiritual significance. Second, it was sanctified, which means that it was singled out and specifically set aside for holy purposes – in short, it was “made holy.”

Some have argued that the Sabbath did not exist before the nation of Israel, as it was a covenant solely with them. This, however, cannot be true, for Christ said the Sabbath was made for “man,” not for “Jew.” (Mark 2:27) That, of course, is only the beginning of the Scriptural evidence. Yahweh said that the Sabbath was His, not the property of His people. (Lev 19:3) He had given it to them as a sanctifying (there is that word again) influence, to be theirs for their benefit, not to be under their authority. (Ezek 20:12) He declared that the Gentiles were to participate in this blessing. (Isaiah 56:6-8) In Christ, they did. (Acts 13:42, 15:21) This is not, by any means, to be considered a comprehensive list, merely the water dripping off the iceberg.

Again, some have said that the statement in Genesis 2 did not make the seventh day a Sabbath as the Jews came to use the term, and that there is no evidence that Adam kept the Sabbath as a day of rest. This is also clearly untrue. The very presence of the word “sanctified” in Genesis 2:3 indicates that the day was set aside for the purpose of divine use. Adam, created just the day before, was not created with the purpose of violating what had just been explicitly declared as a holy ordinance. Thus, the word “sanctified” reveals the clear connection, and this connection is utilized in the giving of the written Law in Exodus 20. The reason the people were to rest on the seventh day was because it had been sanctified for that purpose from the beginning: “For in six Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the Seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”(Exo 20:11) The word “hallowed”there is the same word in the Hebrew as “sanctified”in Genesis 2. In Exodus 20, though the Hebrews were receiving the commandment as a covenant, they already knew about the Sabbath from oral instruction. In Exodus 5:5, the specialized word “Sabbath” is used there of the “rest” Moses was demanding for his people. Exodus 16:25-27 indicates that the people knew about this day for some time; it was not new to them! Yahweh told them in the giving of the covenant that they must remember to keep the Sabbath holy, because the day itself has been set aside for that purpose from the seventh day of Creation. This is the very language of the fourth commandment.

Likewise, the presence of the word “blessed” points it out as a perpetual ordinance, for in every other case in Scripture where a blessing is removed from a people or object, it is clearly stated that this is being done, and the reason why is given. What offense has the Sabbath day committed against Elohim that He should remove His blessing? What has changed about human beings that they should no longer benefit from the blessing and sanctification of the seventh day? Some may say,“But I do not see a blessing on the day. Where is the blessing?” These are they who walk by sight, and not by faith, and so naturally do not receive the promise. The Scripture says we are to do the opposite of this. (2Cor 5:7) Away, away with judging the Bible according to the opinions of men!

Let men rather be content to let the Creator judge them; and if men are humble and willing to change, judgment by Yahweh is not a bad thing. Those who seek Heaven must be willing to be judged, and willing to find beauty and joy in obedience to the infinite wisdom of the One who made them and knows what is best. As David said, so will all the Redeemed have said in their hearts, “let us fall now into the hand of Yahweh; for His mercies are great; and let me not fall into the hand of man.” (2Sam 24:14)

Unless it can be demonstrated (and the evidence for the continuity of the Sabbath after the cross taken into account – e.g., Luke 23:56) that the blessing of the seventh day has been removed, or transferred to another day, the Word of Yahweh on this matter must be regarded as sure, for His mercy and providence endure forever. The Law continues to define for us what Yahweh (not human beings) considers as righteousness and unrighteousness. Christ continues to save us from the guilt of a life of transgressing this holy Law. (Galatians 3:13) When we have this, then we will understand not only the letter, but also the spirit of the Sabbath, which is a complete, total, and perfect peace; it is a rest in Christ. (Heb 4:9-11) This was the lesson we were to learn from the Sabbath; the very reason the Day was originally blessed, and sanctified, way back in the Garden of Eden.

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