LYING FOR GOD

2010 AD

 

 Fighting Dirty In Defense Of The Three Pillars of Adventism

 

BOOK I - SABBATH IMPOSSIBILITIES

 

Chapter 1 - Dr. Bacchiocchi Opens Pandora's Box

Chapter 2 - What Adventists Don't Want You to Know About Early Church History

Chapter 3 - What Adventists Don't Want You to Know About Biblical Themes and Concepts

 

BOOK II - HISTORY OF ADVENTISM'S LONG WAR AGAINST TRUTH

 

Chapter  4 - The Cover-Up 1844 to 1899

Chapter  5 - The Cover-Up 1900-1919

Chapter  6 - The Cover-Up 1920-1939

Chapter  7 - The Cover-Up 1940-1959

Chapter  8 - Cover-Up During the 1960's and 1970's

Chapter  9 - The Cover-Up 1980-1989

Chapter 10 - The Cover-Up 1990 to Present

 

BOOK III - BACCHIOCCHI, DU PREEZ, AND MACCARTY WREAK THEOLOGICAL HAVOC

 

Chapter 11 - Dr. Bacchiocchi and Dr. du Preez Wreak Havoc

Chapter 12 - Dr. MacCarty Wreaks Havoc

 

BOOK IV - THE TITHING MYTH + HYPOCRISY CREATES CORRUPTION

 

Chapter 13 - Ellen Makes Millions With Her Visions

Chapter 14 - Ellen Makes Billions For The Church With Her Visions

Chapter 15 - Church Corruption Since The 1970's

 

APPENDIXES

 

Appendix I - Sabbath Not A Law For Christians, Robert K. Sanders

Appendix II - J. N. Andrews on the Didache

Appendix III - Tertullian: Was he Sabbatarian Or Anti-Sabbatarian?

 

By

 

Kerry B. Wynne

 

M.A., educational administration, Andrews University (1978)

B.A., English (1970) and history (1972), Pacific Union College

 

And

 

William H. Hohmann, B.A., theology, Ambassador College (1976)

 

 

Kerry Wynne is a former third generation Seventh-day Adventist.  William Hohmann is a former Worldwide Church of God member.  The Sabbath "heritage" of both authors goes back to one, single group of believers which adopted Sabbatarianism almost immediately after the Great Disappointment of 1844. Thus, these denominations are truly "sister" churches.   Both authors graduated from the universities which host(ed) the theological seminaries of their respective denominations. The authors have worked in association  with biblical researcher, Robert K. Sanders, a former Seventh-day Adventist who now hosts a comprehensive web-site which addresses issues in Adventism and Sabbatarianism—Truth Or Fables.Com. 

 

3rd edition - November 27, 2010 - Copyright 2010 by Amazing Lies Publications

 

This work may be freely distributed in either print or electronic form without violation of copyright laws as long as the book's content is not altered and credit to the authors is retained.

 

 

Also published as Doctors Bacchiocchi. Du Preez, and MacCarty Wreak Havoc and Sabbathgate 1888.

 

 

Second Edition Changes

 

Following the Internet publication of the first edition of Lying for God we made several discoveries that required extensive revisions:  (1) The first biblical scholar of the Advent Movement, J. N. Andrews, knew more than a decade before the Seventh-day Adventist Church organized in 1863 that Sunday observance was universal hundreds of years before the existence of the Roman Catholic Church, but failed to question Ellen White when she contradicted well-established historical facts by blaming the Roman Catholic Church for changing the Sabbath to Sunday and crediting her "facts" to a vision from God.  (2) From the very beginning of the Advent Movement, its leaders were already familiar with almost all of the anti-Sabbatarian facts that D. M. Canright confronted them with after his apostasy in 1887.  (3) When a Hebrew reader studies the books of Moses in the Hebrew text, it is clear that Moses utilized careful wording and an assortment of Hebrew literary devices in Genesis 2, Exodus 16, and Exodus 20, to contraindicate the establishment of a Sabbath commandment at Creation and to indicate and clarify that the Sabbath was given to Israel for the very first time in the events he recorded in Exodus 16. The discovery of Moses' three-fold unequivocal contraindication of a Sabbath commandment at Creation, therefore, received special emphasis in the Second Edition.  Additionally, our new understanding of how much the early pioneer leaders of the Advent Movement knew about the biblical and historical problems with the Sabbath required a major change in our approach. 

 

Third Edition Changes

 

As a result of challenges from a very well-informed apologist for Adventism, we recognized the need to strengthen certain parts of our book.  In most cases this required additional and extensive research.  The improvements include the following: (1)  The alleged inconsistencies of Tertullian are explained, vindicating him as a consistent anti-Sabbatarian of great importance.  (2)  Additional biblical support is provided for the concept that circumcision is a prerequisite for Sabbath-keeping in Judaism for both Jews and Gentile proselytes.  (3) New and extensive scholarly support is provided to demonstrate that the Hebrew linguistics of Exodus 16 show that the Sabbath was, indeed, introduced in this chapter for the first time to God's people. (4) Additional biblical and conceptual support has been added to demonstrate that Mark 2:27-28 cannot be used for Sabbatarian purposes- this in recognition of the fact that after the anti-Sabbatarian research brought on by the Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco, this text seems to have become a "last fortress" of defense for entrenched Sabbatarians.

 

Finally, the publicity surrounding the Colossians 2:14-17 research of SDA scholar, Dr. Ronald du Preez as  outlined in his 2008 book, Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can't Be Found In Colossians 2:16, precipitated the need for us to address his argument that the Sabbath of this text does not refer to the 7th day Sabbath of the Decalogue but instead to the animal sacrifices connected with classifications of Jewish holy days. In our handling of this assessment of Dr. du Preez' work, we have been able to demonstrate even more clearly that Dr. Bacchiocchi  was forced by the realities of the original Greek language of Colossians 2:14-17 to avoid going down the problematic pathway of attempting to force the Sabbath reference of this passage to that of the annual or monthly sabbath classification of Jewish holy days.  

 

The opportunity to examine Colossians 2:14-17 from still another perspective- that of Dr. du Preez' animal sacrifices theory- gives the authors another opportunity to demonstrate that the Gospel of Jesus as given to and articulated by St. Paul cannot possibly be reconciled with Sabbatarianism.  We conclude that perhaps the understanding of this reality is the reason why the idea among some SDA's that St. Paul's writings should not have been included in the N.T. Canon has been quietly discussed in the hallways of the SDA Seminary for a very long time.  It may also explain why there is a growing movement of unorthodox Seventh-day Adventists who are now teaching that St. Paul was a false apostle.  Our observation is that it is a shameful thing that some individuals would rather give up faith in the plain Word of God than abandon a pet theological concept.  A person's beliefs should be driven by Scripture instead of letting one's beliefs drive their understanding of those same Scriptures, where St. Paul and his writings are considered spurious as a result of those beliefs.

 

Acknowledgments

 

Lying For God would not have been possible without the help of my associate author, William H. Hohmann.  It has been extremely rewarding to collaborate with someone who shares the same Sabbatarian heritage as I do, but who sees it without the additional complicating factor of the Sabbath "visions" of Ellen G. White.  It was Robert K. Sanders paper, "Sabbath Not A Law For Christians," with its lock-step logic and excellent biblical exegesis, which first opened my eyes to the true nature of the Decalogue and the Old Covenant.  Readers of Lying For God will find it in Appendix I. If I hadn't read it 4-5 years ago, I might still be a Sabbatarian.--- Kerry Wynne

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Section One - Sabbath Impossibilities (Chapters 1,2,3)

 

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi Opens Pandora's Box: 1977

 

 

A fourth surprise was to discover that I was wrong in assuming that the annual Feasts came to an end with the sacrifice of Christ, simply because they were connected with the sacrificial system of the Temple. I came to realize that the continuity or discontinuity of the Feasts is determined not by their connection with the sacrificial system, but by the scope of their typology. If the Feasts had typified only the redemptive accomplishments of Christ's first Advent, then obviously their function would have terminated at the Cross. But, if the Feasts foreshadow also the consummation of redemption to be accomplished by Christ at His second Advent, then their function continues in the Christian church, though with a new meaning and manner of observance. - From the book, God's Festivals in Scripture and History, Volume I: The Spring Festivals, from the chapter, "Preview of the Book," by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi

 

http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/festivals_1/

 

 

 

On The (Sharp) Horns Of A Dilemma = "Ouch!"

 

The Theory of Sabbatarianism is much like the Theory of Evolution. There are a number of real logical barriers to the truth of either theory. Think about Evolution for a moment.  Within the past 15 years scientists have discovered that mutations always result in a loss of information-- never a true gain.  Scientists knew a long time before this discovery that the only possible way molecules-to-man evolution could happen is through genetic mutations.  Therefore it is impossible to go from a "simple" body plan like a single-celled organism to a beautiful woman no matter how much time you give the process of genetic mutation.  An additional impossible problem for Evolution is information theory.  Information can only arise from an intelligent source.  DNA merely conveys information, but cannot originate it.  DNA is like the letters on the pages of a book.  It can store information,and it can transmit and convey information, but it can not create the information that it conveys.  Despite a knowledge of these two  absolute barriers to Evolution,  evolutionary scientists will not turn loose of this irrational approach to origins.

 

Similarly, there are a number of real barriers to the truth of Sabbatarianism.  In this book we will explore these road-blocks.  Most of these impossibilities have been known to Christians since the very beginning of the Faith, and others have only been discovered, or perhaps re-discovered, as a result of the Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco of the late 1970's that motivated biblical scholars to launch the most intensive study of the Sabbath-Sunday question in the history of the Christian Faith.  This book will demonstrate that the vast majority of these absolute barriers to Sabbatarian theory have been understood by Christians since apostolic times and have been known to well-informed Seventh-day Adventist biblical scholars as early as 10-12 years before the Church was founded in 1863.  Additionally we will look at some startling new findings that resulted from the research that took place as a result of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi's catastrophic attempt to defend Sabbatarian theory in his 1977 book, From Sabbath to Sunday.

 

The New Sabbatarianism-- A Cure Worse Than The Disease

 

SDA theologian and Sabbath scholar, Samuele Bacchiocchi, amazed the Christian world when he circumvented the strong anti-Sabbatarian implications of Colossians 2:14-17 by teaching that a belief in keeping the Sabbath also requires a belief in keeping the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbath feast days, and monthly sabbath feast days.  He was forced to this conclusion because, as he acknowledged, the syntax of Colossians 2:14-17 dictates that the Sabbath referenced in this passage cannot refer to anything else but the Sabbath of the Decalogue.  Bacchiocchi's "creative" theory was the only way he could attempt to escape the fact that a straight-forward reading of this passage would indicate that Paul labeled these four Jewish ordinances as "shadows" that became obsolete as a result of something that happened at the cross.

 

I call this highly unlikely, virtually self-contradictory doctrine the "New Sabbatarianism." To our knowledge Dr. Bacchiocchi was the first biblical scholar to ever propose such an idea, and to the best of our knowledge Dr. Skip MacCarty is the only biblical scholar, Seventh-day Adventist or other, to adopt it as a legitimate concept.  I say Bacchiocchi's attempt to reconcile Colossians 2:14-17 with Sabbatarianism appears to be self-contradictory because it makes Paul look like the greatest Christian Judaizer of all time when he actually spent much of his ministry to the Gentiles fighting the baleful influence of the Judaizers of his day.  Furthermore, this strange teaching conflicts with Ellen G. White, the Church's prophetess, who claimed direct, divine inspiration for the principle that all the "ceremonial" laws were nailed to the cross.

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi unleashed this bizarre defense of Sabbatarian theology on Adventism and the Christian world with the publication of his 1977 book, From Sabbath to Sunday.  Many Seventh-day Adventists wondered why Bacchiocchi was not fired for contradicting Ellen White.  In fact he challenged her on at least two key points of "inspiration"— the continuing requirement to keep the ceremonial Jewish ordinances and his acknowledgment that the Roman Catholic Church did not change the Sabbath to Sunday.  (We will discuss the second point shortly.)

 

You would think that Seventh-day Adventist leaders would have been more than happy to let the memory of the Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco fade away over the decades of time, but such was not to be the case.  Thirty years after the publication of From Sabbath to Sunday, the Church resurrected the whole mess again by commissioning SDA theologian, Dr. Skip MacCarty, to write In Granite or Ingrained? (2007).  This book takes his readers on a wild theological goose chase and then herds them straight down the same convoluted pathway of escape as that of his predecessor.  Our review of MacCarty's lengthily defense of the Sabbath suggests that its primary purpose is to demonstrate that whatever mess of things Dr. Bacchiocchi made, the Sabbath cannot be challenged by any particular argument since the Sabbath was ingrained into the hearts of His people from the very beginning.  As we will demonstrate in the pages to follow, by 2007 MacCarty should have known that this supposition flaunts the facts of Hebrew linguistics― facts that have been available to biblical scholars since no later than 1980.

 

Dr. MacCarty is a theologian on the pastoral staff of the Pioneer Memorial Church that serves the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary at Andrews University.  Since his 2007 book, In Granite or Ingrained? was published by the official press of the Seminary and University, the New Sabbatarianism now must surely represent the official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  MacCarty's validation, thirty years later, of the New Sabbatarianism of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi means the same thing as that the "official" position of the Church is that Christians must keep the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbath feast days, and monthly sabbath feast days.  Either this simple step of logic is true or Christian beliefs are not required to make any sense.  Either Colossians 2:14-17 abolishes the Sabbath or Christians must keep the other Jewish ordinances listed along with the weekly Sabbath.  No one proved the existence of this dilemma better than Dr. Bacchiocchi.  If there had been any other possible way out of this pivotal predicament, Adventist theologians would have found it within the 30 years that passed between the publication of Bacchiocchi's and MacCarty's books.

 

In a striking paradox, Seventh-day Adventist leaders are too embarrassed about the new extra requirements of their New Sabbatarianism to teach its principles to their own clergy and rank-and-file members.  In fact, Dr. MacCarty, to his discredit, leaves it up to his readers to figure out for themselves that what he and Dr. Bacchiocchi teach means that Sabbatarians must observe the dietary laws and feast days of Colossians 2:14-17.  By contrast, Bacchiocchi was very direct about this requirement.  It seems that MacCarty wanted to enjoy the benefits of circumventing the anti-Sabbatarian implications of Colossians 2:14-17 without paying the penalty for destroying the credibility of Ellen White, Judaizing the Faith to the point of absurdity, and wreaking havoc with SDA doctrine in general.  If Dr. MacCarty truly believes that he and Dr. Bacchiocchi are right, it is not only his duty to observe the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbath feast days, and monthly sabbath feast days himself, but to work to help all the Sabbath-keepers in the world come into compliance with the requirements of this new Sabbath "truth."

 

In order to deflect the blow that Colossians 2:14-17 represents to Sabbatarianism, Bacchiocchi was faced with the need to demonstrate that the four Jewish ordinances Paul listed in this passage were not turned into "shadows" when Jesus died on the cross.  If they did become "shadows" at the cross, the four ordinances targeted by this passage would have become obsolete, and the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue is included in this list.  Bacchiocchi teaches that St. Paul, in this passage, was merely condemning the abusive set of additional rules and regulations the Judaizers had developed to make the keeping of these four ordinances more rigorous, and that by simply condemning the perversion of these four ordinances, he validated all four of them for their continuance into the Christian dispensation.  Dr. Bacchiocchi sought to avoid the suggestion that these ordinances were shadows that got nailed to the cross by teaching that what did get nailed to the cross was merely a list of the personal sins of each repentant individual— not the set of rules and regulations that pointed out the sins represented by the transgression of those rules and regulations.

 

 

 

The New Sabbatarian Backfires

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi's extreme Judaization of Christianity was as offensive to perceptive Adventists as it was to Evangelicals, and individuals and groups from both camps launched intense research projects with the goal of  examining every aspect of the Sabbath-Sunday issue.  While most Adventist theologians and leaders chose to pretend that Bacchiocchi's teachings did not affect the credibility of the Church's Sabbath doctrine, a few brave ones realized that Bacchiocchi wreaked havoc with SDA doctrine, proved that Ellen White lied about her Sabbath visions, and pulled the rug out from under the only foundation of the Sanctuary Doctrine.  At the same time, Evangelicals saw that his status as a graduate of the Gregorian Pontifical University at the Vatican enabled him to threaten their tradition of Sunday-keeping like no Sabbatarian had ever been able to do before.  In short, his work elevated the Sabbath-Sunday question to a high priority level for the first time. 

 

These researchers, including a committee of Evangelical scholars, kept their noses to the grind until the Sabbath-Sunday question was settled once and for all.  Hebrew language experts analyzed Moses' wording of Genesis 2, Exodus 16, and Exodus 20.  These linguists discovered that Moses utilized four Hebrew usage conventions within these three key passages to clarify the wording of each phrase to indicate that the Sabbath was not instituted at Creation, that it was given to Israel and to Israel only in Exodus 16, and that the Sabbath Commandment in Exodus 20 had not been instituted previously.  In fact these linguists demonstrated that Moses used two linguistic devices in his wording of the Sabbath Commandment in Exodus 20 to clarify that the Fourth Commandment was merely modeled after Creation Week but was not instituted during that week.  To a Hebrew reading Hebrew, it was clear that the Sabbath ordinance was given at the time of the Exodus, and this fact might explain why the Jews, historically, have believed that the Sabbath was only for them.  In fact, as you will learn later, the more radical rabbis taught that Gentiles should be put to death if they were to keep the Sabbath.

 

These discoveries were definitive and unequivocal.  It is difficult to argue against the way the Hebrews wrote and read their own language.  We will look at these linguistic concepts in detail later, and you will be able to see how Moses achieved these important clarifications in each of these three key chapters.  Unfortunately none of these meaning indicators can be translated successfully into any other language, and apparently it takes a deep, nearly native understanding of Hebrew to recognize these literary conventions and to understand what they mean.

 

These same researchers made other remarkable discoveries as well, such as the fact that the Gentile churches probably never kept the Sabbath; the inseparable relationship between the ordinances of circumcision and the Sabbath; the impossible barrier of Colossians 2:14-17, and the discrediting of Bacchiocchi's three apostasy-conspiracy theories of Sabbath abandonment (Church at Rome― Influence of Pagan Sun Worship― Jewish Persecution Theory).

 

As Bacchiocchi's failure to provide a credible defense of the Sabbath became increasingly apparent, the comprehension of his remarkable failure to do so catapulted the new anti-Sabbatarian movement into existence and exposed the existence of the Church's propaganda campaign to keep the truth about its Sabbath problems hidden from its followers.  The chain of discoveries made by these researchers led to a series of events that brought down the Sabbath-keeping of the Church's sister denomination, The Worldwide Church of God, but Adventist leaders showed no interest in following in their sister's foot-steps.

 

As we learned more about the existence of an extensive cover-up of the Church's severe problems with the Sabbath doctrine, Wynne recalled a conversation he had with Dr. Robert Olson, who was Chairman of the Department of Religion while Wynne was a student at Pacific Union College.  As you will learn in the historical time line section of this book, our 1966-1967 conversation suggests that he already knew something about the existence of another closely related scandal—  the Church's cover-up of the extensive plagiarism of its prophetess, Ellen G. White.  Olson, who after his service at Pacific Union College became the Secretary of the White Estate, denied any knowledge of Ellen White's plagiarism until around 1980 even though he knew about the discovery of the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes in 1974-1975.  Wynne's 1966-1967 conversation with him revealed that he was familiar with D. M. Canright's anti-Ellen White book.  Canright's book devotes an entire chapter to the problem that she copied extensively from other authors while claiming that she got this information from God in visions.  As a naive young college student Wynne had apparently glossed over this chapter because he had bought the Adventist explanation that copyright laws were very different in the 1800's than they are today.  The evidence his research has uncovered, compared with what Olson said in that brief and informal interview, suggests that his claim to have known nothing about her extensive literary borrowing before around 1980 is incredulous.  The stories of the Sabbath and Ellen White cover-ups are really inseparable since Ellen White claimed that God had showed her the Sabbath "truth" in vision.

 

Our review of the earliest documents of the Advent Movement proves that its first Sabbath scholars struggled to explain away a complete set of serious, fatal-like anti-Sabbatarian biblical and historical problems. This fact means that well over a decade prior to the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863, these pioneer Advent leaders knew they were facing nearly impossible biblical and historical problems in formulating their defense of their new Sabbath doctrine.  As you will soon see, Sunday observing theologians knew almost as much about the historical and biblical reasons for not keeping the Jewish Sabbath during the mid-1800's as they do today, and the leaders of the Advent Movement who forged ahead with the Sabbath-keeping idea faced well-informed, articulate scholarly opposition from the beginning.  We will look at a prime example of this fact later.

 

In this book we will explore what Adventist leaders knew and when they knew it about its Sabbath difficulties, and we will provide full documentation that demonstrates the existence of a three-fold, intricately entwined cover-up of the Church's problems with the Sabbath, the prophetic claims of Ellen White, and the Church's inability to produce any biblical support for the single most important, "pillar" and foundation of Adventism— the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.

 

The facts we have uncovered are difficult to challenge, and the interpretation of these facts is severely limited by logic, common sense, biblical concepts, and a set of undisputed facts related to Early Church History.  We need to ask  our readers to suspend their judgment until all the evidence we have to present has been assimilated.  The Seventh-day Adventist model of Sabbatarianism is much more complex than those of other Sabbath-keeping denominations because of the additional factors of Ellen G. White's purported Sabbath visions and the bogus prophetic time charts that supposedly prove that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the church of Bible prophecy for the last days. 

 

This book is much more than a refutation of Sabbatarian theology.  It is an expose' of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's deliberate, calculated campaign to withhold this damaging information from its followers.  Someone once coined the computer age phrase, "Garbage in, Garbage out!" Seventh-day Adventist leaders know that if their people do not have access to the right information, they cannot possibly come to the right conclusion about what is true and what is not true.

 

The disturbing thing about this bizarre situation is that anyone can verify that Adventists have always known the facts that make their distinctive teachings impossible by simply going back to the beginning of the Advent Movement, reading what J. N. Andrews, Bacchiocchi, and MacCarty wrote— and then comparing all of this information with what D. M. Canright, Brinsmead, Cottrell, and their other primary antagonists wrote.  Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell, who was widely recognized both inside and outside of Adventism as the greatest of all SDA theologians, debunked the Sanctuary Doctrine and exposed the existence of the Church's massive cover-up of its decades-long, failed search to find biblical support for it.  Cottrell waited to expose this scandal until he retired from denominational employment.  However, he never appeared to question the Sabbath component of Adventism.

 

Earlier Than Early!  The Sabbath 50 A.D. to 200 A.D.

 

If the Roman Catholic Church was not responsible for changing the day of worship for Christians from the Jewish Sabbath to "pagan" Sunday― and SDA Sabbath scholar, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, concedes it was not- the Seventh-day Adventist Church's prophetess, Ellen White, was a false prophet.  She claimed God told her the Catholic Church did so in a vision.  If the first Christians had largely abandoned Sabbath-keeping by 100 A.D.― as admitted in 1859 by J.N. Andrews, the first Advent Movement Sabbath scholar and historian― it is impossible to avoid the suspicion that the first Christians did so because they believed they were following the will of God.  Christians abandoned Sabbath-keeping so quickly that there was no time for the influence of pagan sun worship or the Catholic Church to play any part in what happened.  St. Paul died between 64 A.D. and 67 A.D., and he would have written his last epistle shortly before that— perhaps 63 A.D.  Within only 40 short years of his death, most Christians were worshiping on Sunday.  Even Bacchiocchi concedes that Sunday observance was wide-spread by 100 A.D. and universal by 140 A.D..  Note that Andrews conceded 100 A.D. for the wide-spread practice of Sunday observance four years before the Advent Movement officially organized as the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863.

 

Bacchiocchi's 140 A.D. date seems especially reasonable in view of the extensive writings of two of the earliest Christian writers.  Justin Martyr, writing in 155 A.D., was strongly anti-Sabbatarian, as was Tertullian, who was born in 160 A.D..  Tertullian discusses at length the Early Church's understanding that the Sabbath was first given to Israel in Exodus 16; that the Sabbath was a temporary ordinance to regulate Israel between the Exodus and the cross, and that the ordinance of circumcision was required for Sabbath-keeping.  He also documented the fact that while Christians worshiped on Sunday, they celebrated the Creation event with festivities on some of the Jewish Sabbaths at various times of the year, including Passover Week, and discussed at what times of year Christians should fast on these occasions.  His writings sound very much like those of the new anti-Sabbatarians who have written about the subject after the Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco.  You can study his anti-Sabbatarian writings in Appendix III.

 

As Robert D. Brinsmead so clearly illustrated in his paper, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined" (1981), by the 1960's a much clearer picture of the Early Church had emerged from continuing scholarly research, and this clearer portrait spelled disaster for Sabbatarians.  Church historians found strong evidence that the Gentile churches probably never kept the Sabbath and that the Jewish churches that did cling to Sabbath-keeping slid very quickly into fatal heresies.  Constantine's Sunday law of 321 A.D. didn't change the day of worship for Christians.  It simply made it possible for Christian slaves (and others) to attend church without interference on the day they had been worshiping on for nearly 300 years— Sunday.  In fact this same clearer understanding of the Early Church demonstrates that while the Jewish Sabbath-keeping churches fell into serious heresies and were lost to Christianity within the first 200 hundred years, the Sunday-observing, Gentile churches supplied the Christian Faith with believers who maintained orthodox Christian doctrines and carried the Gospel to the world.  In stark contrast to what Seventh-day Adventists teach their followers, Sabbath-keepers were not the heroes of the Early Church.  The Jewish, Sabbath-keeping Christians drifted into the fatal heresies of  Ebionism and Gnosticism.

 

The Sabbath between 200 and 500 A.D.

 

There are numerous references to the Sabbath by early Christian historians between 200 and 500 A.D. in addition to those of Tertullian.  Except for the writings of the heretical sects, including those who rejected the apostleship of St. Paul, none of the early fathers of the Church write in support of the concept that Christians must keep the Jewish Sabbath so far as I can tell. 

 

The Eastern Orthodox churches never kept the Sabbath.  For the first 3-4 centuries after the death of St. Paul the Eastern Church greatly eclipsed the Western Church.  In fact the Church at Rome was a missionary outreach established by the Eastern Church.  D.M. Canright in his extensively documented book, The Lord's Day Neither From Catholics Nor Pagans, gives this appropriate reference provided to him by Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn, The Syrian Orthodox Catholic Church,  around 1914:

 

The Longer Catechism of the Syrian Orthodox Catholic Church says:

 

"Is the Sabbath kept in the Eastern Church?"

"It is not kept strictly speaking."

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"How does the Christian Church obey the fourth commandment?"


"She still every six days keeps the seventh, only not the last day of the seven days, which is the Sabbath, but the first day in every week, which is the day of the Resurrection, or Lord's Day."

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"Since when do we keep the day of the Resurrection?"


"From the very time of Christ's Resurrection."

 

An understanding of the overshadowing supremacy of the Eastern Orthodox Churches during the first few centuries after the death of St. Paul is essential to understanding the immensity of the problem these facts pose to Sabbatarians.  It is no wonder that Sabbatarian literature never mentions this subject.  A study of Canright's extensive scholarly research on this subject is well worth the effort for anyone who truly wishes to understand the Sabbath-Sunday question.

 

Early historians from the East and the West also wrote about the Christian practice of celebrating the Sabbath festival.  In these two passages the historians commented on which groups of Christians celebrated it with fasting or by eating the Lord's Supper.  Socrates Scholasticus lived approximately between 379 and 450 A.D., and  Sozomen between 363 and 420 A.D.:

 

Since however no one can produce a written command as an authority, it is evident that the apostles left each one to his own free will in the matter, to the end that each might perform what is good not by constraint or necessity.  Such is the difference in the churches on the subject of fasts.  Nor is there less variation in regard to religious assemblies.  For although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.  The Egyptians in the neighborhood of Alexandria, and the inhabitants of Thebaïs, hold their religious assemblies on the sabbath, but do not participate of the mysteries in the manner usual among Christians in general:  for after having eaten and satisfied themselves with food of all kinds, in the evening making their offerings they partake of the mysteries.  At Alexandria again, on the Wednesday in Passion week and on Good Friday, the scriptures are read, and the doctors expound them; and all the usual services are performed in their assemblies, except the celebration of the mysteries.  This practice in Alexandria is of great antiquity, for it appears that Origen most commonly taught in the church on those days.  He being a very learned teacher in the Sacred Books, and perceiving that the importance of the Law of Moses (Romans 8:3) was weakened by literal explanation, gave it a spiritual interpretation; declaring that there has never been but one true Passover, which the Saviour celebrated when he hung upon the cross: for that he then vanquished the adverse powers, and erected this as a trophy against the devil.― Socrates Scholasticus, circa 379-450 A.D., Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, quoted from www.newadvent.org.

 

That Socrates Scholasticus is not discussing Sabbath-keeping in this passage is clearly proved by his introductory words to Book 5, Chapter 22.  He sounds very much like an anti-Sabbatarian writing after the Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco, quoting principles from St. Paul and linking Sabbath-keeping to the ordinance of circumcision:

 

As we have touched the subject I deem it not unreasonable to say a few words concerning Easter. It appears to me that neither the ancients nor moderns who have affected to follow the Jews, have had any rational foundation for contending so obstinately about it.  For they have not taken into consideration the fact that when Judaism was changed into Christianity, the obligation to observe the Mosaic law and the ceremonial types ceased.  And the proof of the matter is plain; for no law of Christ permits Christians to imitate the Jews.  On the contrary the apostle expressly forbids it; not only rejecting circumcision, but also deprecating contention about festival days.  In his epistle to the Galatians, verse, 4:21 he writes, 'Tell me ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law.'  And continuing his train of argument, he demonstrates that the Jews were in bondage as servants, but that those who have come to Christ are 'called into the liberty of sons.' (Galatians 5:13)  Moreover he exhorts them in no way to regard 'days, and months, and years.' (Galatians 4:10)  Again in his epistle to the Colossians (2:16-17) he distinctly declares, that such observances are merely shadows: wherefore he says, 'Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of any holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath-days; which are a shadow of things to come.' The same truths are also confirmed by him in the epistle to the Hebrews (7:12) in these words:  'For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.'  Neither the apostles, therefore, nor the Gospels, have anywhere imposed the 'yoke of servitude' (Galatians 5:1) on those who have embraced the truth; but have left Easter and every other feast to be honored by the gratitude of the recipients of grace.  Wherefore, inasmuch as men love festivals, because they afford them cessation from labor:  each individual in every place, according to his own pleasure, has by a prevalent custom celebrated the memory of the saving passion.  The Saviour and his apostles have enjoined us by no law to keep this feast:  nor do the Gospels and apostles threaten us with any penalty, punishment, or curse for the neglect of it, as the Mosaic law does the Jews.  (Book 5, Chapter 22, within the first couple of paragraphs)  quoted from www.newadvent.org.

 

Another early historian, Sozomen, mentions the term Sabbath in only one passage in his entire history of the church.  He lived between circa 375 and 447 A.D..  It is mentioned only in the concept, once more, of which groups fasted on the Sabbath festival or celebrated the Lord's Supper on it.  He states, as you will notice, that he has digressed from his main topic to address the concept of fasting:

 

In some churches the people fast three alternate weeks, during the space of six or seven weeks, whereas in others they fast continuously during the three weeks immediately preceding the festival.  Some people, as the Montanists, only fast two weeks.  Assemblies are not held in all churches on the same time or manner.  The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.  There are several cities and villages in Egypt where, contrary to the usage established elsewhere, the people meet together on Sabbath evenings, and, although they have dined previously, partake of the mysteries.  The same prayers and psalms are not recited nor the same selections read on the same occasions in all churches.  Thus the book entitled The Apocalypse of Peter, which was considered altogether spurious by the ancients, is still read in some of the churches of Palestine, on the day of preparation, when the people observe a fast in memory of the passion of the Saviour.  So the work entitled The Apocalypse of the Apostle Paul, though unrecognized by the ancients, is still esteemed by most of the monks.  Some persons affirm that the book was found during this reign, by Divine revelation, in a marble box, buried beneath the soil in the house of Paul at Tarsus in Cilicia.  I have been informed that this report is false by Cilix, a presbyter of the church in Tarsus, a man of very advanced age, as is indicated by his gray hairs, who says that no such occurrence is known among them, and wonders if the heretics did not invent the story.  What I have said upon this subject must now suffice.  Many other customs are still to be observed in cities and villages; and those who have been brought up in their observance would, from respect to the great men who instituted and perpetuated these customs, consider it wrong to abolish them.  Similar motives must be attributed to those who observe different practices in the celebration of the feast which has led us into this long digression..—The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, bk. 7, ch. 19.  (Quoted from www.newadvent.org.)

 

Additionally, the Apostolic Constitutions, which can be dated from 375 to 380 A.D. (Wikipedia article, "Apostolic Constitutions"), mentions the Sabbath.  Leading to much confusion is the fact that Chapter 7 is a "remake" of the still more ancient document, the Didache.  One section of the Didache talks about the first Christians meeting together on the Lord's Day (Sunday) for worship, and early church historians have dated this section of the Didache to between 50 A.D. and 125 A.D..  Since the Christian church observed the Sabbath as a festival, rather than keeping the Sabbath and often debated about whether or not one should fast on the Sabbath festival, it is easy to assume, incorrectly, that these references provide support for Sabbatarianism.  A passage like this one, taken out of context, does not do justice to the problem because it ignores its relevance to fasting and that fasting in regard to the Sabbath "festival":

 

"...But keep the Sabbath, and the Lord's day festival;...." 

 

As D. M. Canright documented from a variety of historical sources in his classic The Lord's Day From Neither Catholics Nor Pagans, the Eastern Orthodox churches never kept the Sabbath, worshiped on Sunday from the very beginning of its history, and recognized the memorialization of Creation by the Jewish Sabbath with festive activities on selected Sabbaths.  As evidenced by the writings of Western church writers, the practice of observing the Sabbath festival was wide-spread enough to merit their comment.  Let us examine the entire context of the reference to the Sabbath in the Apostolic Constitutions, Book 7:

 

WHICH DAYS OF THE WEEK WE ARE TO FAST, AND WHICH NOT, AND FOR WHAT REASONS.

 

XXIII.  But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; (15) for they fast on the second and fifth days of the week.  But do you either fast the entire five days, or on the fourth day of the week, and on the day of the Preparation, because on the fourth day the condemnation went out against the Lord, Judas then promising to betray Him for money; and you must fast on the day of the Preparation, because on that day the Lord suffered the death of the cross under Pontius Pilate.  But keep the Sabbath, and the Lord's day festival; because the former is the memorial of the creation, and the latter of the resurrection. But there is one only Sabbath to be observed by you in the whole year, which is that of our Lord's burial, on which men ought to keep a fast, but not a festivalFor inasmuch as the Creator was then under the earth, the sorrow for Him is more forcible than the joy for the creation; for the Creator is more honourable by nature and dignity than His own creatures.

 

The author of the above statement specifically states that there is only one Sabbath of the year that is to be observed with fasting.  Additional study of the Constitutions reveals that the early Christians honored the Passover Week with fasting on set days of that week and no fasting on the other days of that one particular week of the year.

 

We recommend that our readers do a search for the Apostolic Constitutions and search the entire document for all references to the word "sabbath."   Here is what you will find:

 

These references to the Sabbath refer to the Sabbath festival in most or all cases.

 

Virtually all references to the Sabbath are in regard to whether or not fasting should be done on the day of the Sabbath festival.

 

The case for using the Apostolic Constitutions to teach that Christians were keeping the Sabbath  in the Jewish sense of the word through the 300's is extremely weak to non-existent.

 

 

Sunday Rest― Can Ellen White's Claims Be Rescued? 

 

Apologists for Ellen White now contend that she was actually quite right in teaching that the pope changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, despite the very early universal adoption of Sunday worship, because Christians did not rest on Sundays until after Constantine ordered rest on that day in the early 300's.  These supporters reason that the sanctity of the Sabbath was not actually transferred to Sunday until the Sabbath rest was changed from the Jewish Sabbath to "pagan" Sunday.  This is an interesting approach to solving the Ellen White problem because the concept of Sunday rest did happen as a result of Constantine's new Sunday law.  However, there are two flaws with the logic of this defense:

 

First, there is no sanctity to transfer.  The Sabbath literally expired at the death of Christ.  St. Paul clarified that under the New Covenant. No day has any sacred importance in itself.

 

Second, since the Gentile churches probably never kept the Sabbath and certainly did not after the Council of Jerusalem, and since all Christians, including the Jewish Christians, did not keep the Sabbath on a universal basis after 140 A.D., they were working on Saturdays or having a celebration festival on some of those Saturdays.  There was no "resting" left for Constantine to transfer from Saturday to Sunday by the 300's.

 

Early In The Perspective of Modern Times

 

To help Seventh-day Adventists understand how fast Christians adopted the practice of Sunday worship observance, let us pretend that by a miracle, Ellen White lived until 1972.  Two weeks before she dies, she is shown a vision that her earlier Sabbath visions were given to her only to test the willingness of the Advent believers to obey Him.  The test is over.  Just like Abraham and Isaac, the ram is caught in the thicket, and He doesn't want Adventists to keep the Sabbath any longer.  She presents the message of this vision in a special session of the General Conference, and her message is nationally televised during prime time.  Some Adventist churches resist this change, but about 40 years later— the year 2010— there are only a handful of SDA churches keeping the Sabbath.  By 2050, nearly 80 years later, there are only 25 Seventh-day Adventists who keep the Sabbath, and they have formed a fortified commune up the end of a box canyon in the Waldensach Mountains.  If you can understand the magnitude of the influences it would take to get Seventh-day Adventists to stop keeping the Sabbath within just 40 years of the year 1972, you can understand the power of the forces that caused Christians to stop keeping the Sabbath within just 40 years of the death of St. Paul.

 

Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi's bizarre 1977 defense of Sabbatarian theology, From Sabbath to Sunday, was essentially the doctoral dissertation that qualified him to graduate with honor from the Gregorian Pontifical University at the Vatican.  His research at this prestigious Catholic university focused on proving the theory, inspired by his Adventist roots, that Christians disobeyed God when they ceased to keep the Jewish Sabbath.

 

We have good reason to believe that Dr. Bacchiocchi's study at the Gregorian Pontifical University was sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  He went to Rome from an assignment where he had been serving the Church as a college professor, and when he graduated from the University he immediately joined the staff of the Adventist Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  We believe it is safe to say that if Bacchiocchi had not developed some kind of apostasy/conspiracy theory of Sabbath abandonment for his dissertation, he would not have been appointed to the faculty of the Adventist seminary and his Church career would have come to an end.

 

Adventists have always taught the adoption of Sunday observance was the result of apostasy, and the Church has steadfastly declined to acknowledge a remarkable set of biblical and historical concepts which seem to explain the so-called "change of day" from a totally different perspective and with much greater consistency.  Vatican scholars have always known that the Catholic Church did not change the Sabbath to Sunday.  In the past, uninformed and unauthorized Catholic spokesmen have boasted that the Church "changed the day" and have claimed the Church had the power to do so, but these claims were irresponsible.  Catholics have also made the outrageous claim that Peter was the first pope.  The fact of the virtually immediate adoption of Sunday as the day of worship for Christians has been known by well-informed Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox Church scholars for almost 2,000 years.  In fact the Eastern Orthodox Church has kept excellent records of its practices since its beginning, and these records prove that the Eastern Orthodox Churches never kept the Sabbath.  Canright confronted Adventist leaders with this fact possibly as early as 1889 and no later than 1914.  [The only edition I can find is the 1914 edition.]  Orthodox Christians celebrated the Jewish Sabbath with a festival.  (Think big party with clean fun and games for all.)  The Eastern Orthodox Church(es) developed independently of the Western "Roman" Catholic Church.

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi, realizing that he could not use Ellen White's historically impossible Roman Catholic Church theory to explain the phenomenon of Sabbath abandonment, discovered that during the time period between 100 A.D. and 140 A.D., the Roman Empire had persecuted the Jews for several rebellions.  Bacchiocchi, supposing that Christians were still keeping the Sabbath in somewhat large numbers after 100 A.D., theorized that Christians were afraid that their supposed Sabbath-keeping would bring persecution on them also because of this supposed common denominator with Judaism.  His attempt to show this supposed link was not successful for a number of reasons, which we will examine in greater detail later.  For now, it is sufficient to say that there is no evidence that the Gentile churches ever kept the Sabbath.  At the same time scholars acknowledge that the Jewish churches continued to keep it at least until the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  Shortly after Bacchiocchi released his Jewish persecution theory on the scholarly world it was decimated by historians, and it remains a theory in disgrace until this day.  We will analyze its problems later.

 

The fact that Bacchiocchi had to develop an alternate explanation to replace Ellen White's Catholic Church, apostasy/conspiracy theory represented a direct insult to her purported claim to speak directly for God.  The discrediting of his Jewish persecution theory created further embarrassment to Adventists because the Church was left, again, without any sort of way to explain the almost immediate abandonment of the Sabbath without resorting to a biblical/Pauline etiology.  It is important to keep in mind that a biblical/Pauline cause for Sabbath abandonment is unthinkable to the Adventist mind.  It would sweep away the very right of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to exist.  Self-preservation is, perhaps, the strongest of all human instincts.  Usually people will do almost anything to preserve their own lives, and they seem to be almost as protective of their religious beliefs.

 

It is strange that the pioneer leaders of the Advent Movement were gullible enough to believe Ellen White's claim that God showed her in vision that the Catholic Church "changed the day."  In 1853 Advent biblical scholar, J.N. Andrews, struggled unsuccessfully to provide a rebuttal of Crosier's arguments that the Sabbath did not begin at the time of Creation.  Then, in 1859 he wrote about how remarkably early the first Christians ceased to keep the Sabbath.  (See J. N. Andrews, The History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week,1859.)  1859 was only four years before the Advent Movement organized officially as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  He conceded Sunday observance was widespread by 100 A.D. and universal by no later than 200 A.D..  The following words of J.N. Andrews are highly incriminating when seen in the light of his acceptance of Ellen White's theory that the Roman Catholic Church was the party responsible for "changing the day."

 

1.  We have never said that the keeping of Sunday as a festival, began with Constantine, or originated from the law which he enacted in its behalf.  On the contrary, we believe that the Papal apostasy as stated by Paul, began even in the days of the apostles.  2 Thess. 2.  Hence we are not surprised that some time after the days of the apostles, men began to pay some regard to Sunday, as also to Good Friday and to Holy Thursday. (p. 8, Para. 8, "Review of Objections to the Seventh-day Sabbath.") 

 

This document is not dated, but it seems to have been written very early in J.N. Andrews' career.  You can access this document at this web address for the Early Advent Pioneer Resource Library # 1:

 

http://temcat.com/L-1-adv-pioneer-lib/Advent-Pioneer.htm

 

 

There has never been a disagreement by historians as to whether the Catholic Church existed prior to 300 A.D.   It certainly did not exist between 100-200 A.D. and a bishop of Rome with the title of pope and enough political and ecclesiastical power to influence religious practice in the churches throughout the Roman Empire would not come along until hundreds of years later.  Perhaps these first Advent leaders were swayed by the supernatural manifestations that accompanied Ellen White in vision to disbelieve their own historical "eyes" in favor of her "testimonial" claims to the contrary.

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi's research led him to conclude that the role of the Catholic Church in this so-called "apostasy" was merely to embellish and support a Christian practice that had already been in place for hundreds of years.  Yet he was tentative about the influences of sun worship and Jewish persecution.  At the same time he quoted at times from the Early Fathers, marginalizing the significance of their work by dismissing their anti-Sabbatarian statements as simply evidence that they were rationalizing their departure from God's word. Now that I have studied the anti-Sabbatarian statements of a variety of the Early Fathers in the context of their full texts, I see that Bacchiocchi must have made a conscious choice not to acknowledge and refute the biblical reasons for the discontinuance of the Sabbath into the Christian dispensation.  We will now turn our attention to the things that he had every possible opportunity to know as a scholar at the Vatican with full access to its fabulous library.

 

The Biblical Foundation for Sabbath Abandonment

 

St. Paul made three comments in his epistles which appear to be strongly anti-Sabbatarian, including the command in Colossians 2:14-17 not to require the Gentile converts to keep the Jewish Sabbath.  If it can be proven— which it can be to the point of over-kill, and with the unwitting assistance of Dr. Bacchiocchi himself— that Paul's statement in Colossians is actually anti-Sabbatarian― we have no choice but to "read" the two other statements as fully anti-Sabbatarian.  We will analyze these three key Pauline passages in detail later in this book.

 

As a Jewish lawyer, Paul knew very well that the rabbis historically recognized that the Sabbath was not given to Israel until the Exodus and that both rabbinical law and Torah Law required circumcision before proselytes were allowed to keep the Sabbath and the other Torah ordinances.  The decision of The Council of Jerusalem not to impose the circumcision requirement on the Gentiles provided him with the additional authority of the apostolic church to command the Church not to require the new Gentile converts to keep the Sabbath.  For Paul this is what we would call today a "no brainer."  No circumcision!  No Sabbath!  These facts are readily accessible to anyone who cares to pick up the Jewish Encyclopedia, and this book has been available to Adventist scholars and theologians since 1901.

 

The Torah, which included 613 rules and regulations, was seen by the Jews― as exemplified in the rabbinical writings― as one indivisible unit with each law being equally important.  The logic for this link between the Sabbath and circumcision is clear.  As Mrs. Jennifer Rector points out in her personal essay on the Sabbath:

 

"Charles C. Ryrie, formerly Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, explains that "unless the New Testament expressly says so, part of the law cannot be ended without doing away with all of it" (242).  The Jerusalem council's decision to declare circumcision obsolete did away with the entire old covenant law- the seventh-day Sabbath included."

 

http://sabbatismos.com/the-sabbath/new-covenant-sabbath-rest/

 

(Rector is quoting from Ryrie, Charles C. "The End of the Law." Bibliotheca Sacra 124:495 (1967), pages 240-247.)   After the Council of Jerusalem the issue of Sabbath-keeping could never arise again.  It would have been settled forever, and this is exactly what we observe about the New Testament record.  There is not a single comment about a Sabbath-keeping requirement for Christians from Matthew to Revelation, and there is a command that Sabbath-keeping is not to be required.

 

Surprisingly, our review of early Advent Movement Sabbath-related material revealed that as far back as 1859, J. N. Andrews wrote about the fact that the Early Fathers of the Christian church argued against Sabbatarianism on the basis of the circumcision-Sabbath connection.  (He had also written in 1853 about the fact that the first Christian writers, known as the "Early Fathers," defended the church's practice of Sunday worship by arguing that the Sabbath ordinance was given to Israel, and only to Israel, at the time of the Exodus as recorded in Exodus 16.)   Andrews, of course, sought to demonstrate that the "early father" who wrote about the Sabbath-circumcision connection was wrong, but his counter-arguments, when analyzed by the accepted rules of logic and literary interpretation, are not convincing.  Andrews' typical approach was to disparage the character of the writer and/or the authenticity of the document in which such statements are found.  A review of his pre-Canright Sabbath-related studies demonstrates that he was acquainted with almost all the anti-Sabbatarian arguments that contemporary anti-Sabbatarians like myself utilize to demonstrate the impossible problems with the Sabbath concept.  We have proof in writing that he knew enough about how early Christians adopted Sunday worship to know that Ellen White's so-called Sabbath visions could not possibly have come from God.  Furthermore, we have proof in writing that he knew almost every argument Canright used against Adventist leaders after Canright apostatized in 1887.

 

Our understanding of the biblical-Pauline explanation of the phenomenon of Sabbath abandonment comes together when we grasp the fact that the rabbis historically did not believe the Sabbath was given to everyone.  The Jewish Encyclopedia has much to say about this subject, as we will see later.

 

The Jews, according to the rabbinical writings down through history, have believed the Sabbath was given to them at the Exodus as a sign to differentiate them from all the other peoples of the world.  In fact the very words of God Himself explain why He gave the Sabbath to Israel:

 

12"Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." (NIV-Deuteronomy 5:12-15)

 

The only people ever brought out of slavery from Egypt by the hand of God were the Hebrews.  We have never been rescued from slavery in Egypt.  Moses is quoting God's words in this passage.  Moses' wording of Exodus 20 does not explain any reason for the giving of the Sabbath ordinance at that time when the Hebrew linguistics of the text is understood.  Instead Moses explains the rationale for the model of the new Sabbath ordinance in Exodus 20.  It is unlikely that their Egyptian masters recognized a seven day week.  The Egyptian "week" might have been 7 days, 8 days, 10 days, 14 days, or 28 days, or they might have marked time only by the month and year.  By relating the 7 days of the Creation week to the recurrence of the Sabbath every seven days, God established a memorable rationale for its structure.  After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, the Hebrews likely needed an orientation to the 7-day week concept, and they certainly needed some rest.

 

Furthermore, the Jews believed the Gentiles would be eternally saved if they kept the basic moral laws given to Mankind in the Book of Genesis.  The rabbinical writings make this fact very clear as documented in the Jewish Encyclopedia.  It is no surprise that the Jews would view the Sabbath this way, since they read the books of Moses in their own language.  The meaning indicators that are invisible to us are perfectly clear to them.  They have recognized, "from the beginning," that Moses contraindicated a Sabbath commandment at the time of Creation.  In his classic "A Digest of the Sabbath Question," Robert D. Brinsmead says:

 

The Book of Jubilees (a Jewish pseudepigraphal work of the second century B.C.) says that "the Creator of all things.., did not sanctify all peoples and nations to keep Sabbath thereon, but Israel alone" ("The Book of Jubilees," in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, ed. R.H. Charles, vol. 2, Pseudepigrapha [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913], p. 15).

 

The Jews referred to these universal moral laws given to Mankind in the Book of Genesis as the "Noachian Laws."  The Sabbath was not a part of Noachian Law.  Therefore, the Jews believe that the Gentiles who keep the Noachian laws will be saved without keeping the Sabbath, and there is no indication in the rabbinical records that the Jews ever believed otherwise.  God never sent an Israelite prophet to rebuke a heathen nation or city for Sabbath-breaking, but He did so for disregarding Noachian Law.  If Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Adam were saved without keeping the Sabbath, Christians can be saved without keeping it also.  I will explain more about the Noachian Laws later.

 

The logic of set theory demands that one cannot use a trait that is characteristic of all the members of the set to create a sub-set.  C.S. Lewis once said that nonsense is nonsense even when you are talking about God.  One of the reasons God explained for giving the Sabbath to Israel was to create a sign that would differentiate them from all the other nations of the world.  If all the nations, kindred, tongues, and people of the world kept the Sabbath, it would be impossible for God to use the Sabbath as a distinguishing sign.  In fact God wished to keep Israel separate from the Heathen during the dispensation of the Torah (Exodus to the Cross) for good reasons.  The Israelites were a stubborn and stiff-necked people according to God's own assessment.  He knew the Hebrews would easily be corrupted by associating with the Heathen.  The ordinances of the Sabbath, circumcision, and the Jewish dietary laws placed a high wall of social separation between Israel and the Gentiles.  If people don't eat together, they are less likely to become friends.  Along similar lines, the ordinance of circumcision made it a very painful process for the head of a Gentile household to make a decision to join an Israelite community and to live as a proselyte.  Contrast this with God's expressed New Covenant purpose to tear down this barrier between Jews and Gentiles after the cross.  St. Paul was God's specially designated ambassador of the Gospel to the Gentiles according to Scripture.

 

In view of the fact that Adventism has taught Ellen White's self-evidently impossible Catholic Church/sun worship theory until this very day, it is astonishing that these early leaders knew more than a decade before the Advent Movement officially organized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church that Christians adopted Sunday observance hundreds of years before the Catholic Church came into existence.  In the first edition of Lying for God, I was only able to demonstrate that SDA leaders knew no later than 1888 that neither the Roman Catholic Church nor the influence of pagan sun worship had anything to do with Sabbath abandonment.  Our discovery that Adventist leaders knew their Early Church history well enough to know that this phenomenon was universal long before the Catholic Church came to exist—and that they knew this fact well over a decade before the Church organized in 1863― calls into question the honesty and integrity of top Adventist leaders all the way back to the beginning. Corporately, and individually in many cases, they are guilty of materially misrepresenting a huge portion of their argument for their position that Christians must keep the Jewish Sabbath.

 

Here is how we found out that even the very first leaders of the Advent Movement knew the essentials of the anti-Sabbatarian principles that Canright would confront them with after his apostasy in 1887.  In doing some additional analysis of the war of words between Canright and Adventist leaders, I found― in one of their own SDA publications― a rather strange quote from their chief adversary, D. M. Canright.  It was his rebuke to them for having struggled to explain away Colossians 2:14-17 for the previous 40 years.  The SDA author's purpose was to demonstrate that Canright was guilty of flip-flopping easily from one point of view to another.  In this quote, Canright chides them for knowing they were struggling to explain it away and then for knowing they could not explain it away.  Canright had been a high level, high profile Adventist leader himself for decades before he apostatized.

 

At that moment we realized our research would not be finished until we conducted an analysis of what the very first leaders of the Advent Movement had written about the Sabbath.  This strange SDA quotation is what led us to review the earliest Advent Movement Sabbath-related publications, which led us to discover the startling fact that the pioneer leaders and scholars of the Advent Movement knew that Sunday observance was wide-spread by 100 A.D. and universal no later than 200 A.D.. (See Andrews, History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week, 1859, p.127.)

An Intertwined, Three-Fold Cover-Up

 

The Sabbath disaster is only one of three major problems for today's Adventist leaders.  A series of block-buster discoveries, beginning in the 1970's, swept away the biblical and historical basis for Adventism.  In the mid 1970's the transcript of the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes was discovered in the vault at Seventh-day Adventist headquarters.  This document recorded, word for word, the testimony of the top leaders of Adventism acknowledging, in secret, that they knew the Church's prophetess, Ellen G. White, was a fraud.  This highly damaging transcript even recorded these top level delegates discussing how to prevent their theology students from finding out the truth about her.  Then, in 1990 an official SDA document, The Veltman Report, conceded that Ellen White had lied when she claimed direct, divine inspiration for the vast majority of the material she copied into her writings from other authors.  In the year 2002, the most respected Seventh-day Adventist theologian of all time, Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell, published a complete expose of the Church's cover-up of its problems with the Sanctuary Doctrine after he retired from Church employment.  This essay, the written version of a speech he presented before the Adventist Forum in San Diego, completely dismantled the credibility of  the single most important doctrine of Adventism― the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment― which is also known as the Sanctuary Doctrine.  As you will see later, if this doctrine is not true, the Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot possibly be God's specially chosen church for the Time of the End.  Cottrell demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that there was no biblical support for it.  Additionally he exposed the existence of the Church's cover-up of its inability to find any evidence from the Bible to support the single doctrine upon which the concept of the unique "truth" of Adventism stands or falls.  Ironically the secret committee that had been working for decades to find this support disbanded some years before the Church defrocked the prominent Dr. Desmond Ford at Glacier View Ranch in 1980 for revealing that he could not find any biblical support for this doctrine.

 

That the Sanctuary Doctrine has been declared untrue by the greatest SDA theologian in the history of the Church is bad news for Adventists.  It means that the Great Disappointment of 1844 was a huge theological joke rather than the inaugural event ordained by God to bring the Seventh-day Adventist Church into existence for the express purpose of warning the world about the beginning of the so-called Investigative Judgment in 1844 and the consequences of Sabbath breaking.  Worst yet, the total lack of biblical support for this doctrine makes Ellen White's claim that God used deception to test the faith of the Millerites appear blasphemous.  She alleged that God held His hand over certain parts of William Miller's prophetic charts so His people would not see their own errors:

 

"I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed." (Early Writings, p. 74.)

 

Then she alleges that God played another joke on His people later by "un-fooling" them:

 

"The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained.  They saw that the same prophetic periods reached to 1844, and that that same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved they would terminate in 1844." (Early Writings, p.236.)

 

Ellen White's brilliant shifting of the blunders of the prophetic calculations of William Miller to God and the shifting of the cleansing of the sanctuary on Earth to the sanctuary in Heaven snatched victory out of the hands of a humiliating defeat and created the launching pad for one of the most financially successful small denominations in history.

 

The Bacchiocchi Sabbath Fiasco Rips The Curtain Aside

 

In the years that surrounded the introduction of Bacchiocchi's New Sabbatarianism, Adventism was already entering an era of unprecedented turmoil.  I have already explained the significance of the discovery of the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes.  It is likely that Bacchiocchi was aware of this humiliating development because of his high position as a theologian at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary.  If he had known about this embarrassing discovery, it might explain why he was willing to risk everything and publish a book that proved that Ellen White was wrong about something she had credited to a vision from God.  Between 1974 and 1976 two Adventist researchers in separate projects discovered that Ellen White had copied from historical and health authors while claiming God as the source for her information.  In 1980 the sacking of SDA theologian Dr. Desmond Ford at Glacier View Ranch blew the lid off the smoldering problem with the Sanctuary Doctrine, and in 1982 Dr. Walter Rea published The White Lie which exposed the massive plagiarism of Ellen White to the world.  A look at the 1970 to 1990 part of our historical time line in a later chapter of this book will give you a good picture of the extent of this turmoil.  Bacchiocchi's unleashing of a self-contradictory defense of the Church's Sabbath doctrine could not have been more ill-timed.  In the context of the brewing problems with its Sanctuary Doctrine, Ellen White, and the disgraceful Davenport Ponzi scandal, the last thing the Church needed was a Sabbath crisis. 

 

The Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco, launched with the publication of his iconoclastic book, From Sabbath to Sunday in 1977, resurrected the anti-Sabbatarian questions that D. M. Canright had raised almost 80 years before.  As I we mentioned earlier, the astonishing ideas he presented in this book precipitated an explosion of Sabbath-related research by a few SDA scholars and an entire team of Evangelical scholars.  Numerous findings, fatal to Sabbatarianism, were discovered, and the Jewish persecution theory he developed to replace Ellen White's Roman Catholic Church theory was quickly discredited by historians.  Recognizing that he could not circumvent the apparently fatal anti-Sabbatarian implications of Colossians 2:14-17, he developed the "escape" concept we explained earlier.

 

Since his ideas Judaized Christianity to an outrageous extent, it was obvious to many people that something must be desperately wrong with the Sabbatarian belief model, since belief in it made the keeping of an entire set of Jewish ordinances mandatory.  Most Christians, including Seventh-day Adventists, believe that these ceremonial regulations were nailed to the cross.  That a theologian of Dr. Bacchiocchi's stature— a man who  had unlimited access to the Vatican archives, and presumably to the earliest Christian writings—could find himself boxed in at all sides by the realities of Early Church history and Colossians 2:14-17, opened the eyes of many thoughtful theologians to see that the Sabbatarian belief concept had become impossible to support.  Before Bacchiocchi, Christians of all faiths seemed to treat Sabbatarianism as something that might possibly be true, so it got at least a little respect almost everywhere.  In fact a life-time of personal observation leads us to believe that many members of the Sunday-observing Christian community were actually afraid it might be true but were hoping it was not.  After Bacchiocchi and the definitive findings of the intense research that his work elicited, Sabbatarian thinking is not ever likely to challenge orthodox Christianity again in this way.  Its credibility has been severely compromised.

 

It was, in fact, this failure of Bacchiocchi to provide a credible scholarly defense of the Sabbath doctrine that started the new anti-Sabbatarian movement that ultimately led the Seventh-day Adventist's "sister" Sabbatarian denomination, The Worldwide Church of God, to renounce its Sabbath-keeping in 1995— a truly remarkable story, since both denominations trace their Sabbatarian roots back to the same group of former Millerite believers that adopted Sabbatarianism shortly after the Great Disappointment of 1844.  This unthinkable development took place only 18 years after the release of From Sabbath to Sunday.  As of 2010 the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which chose to stay in the Sabbatarian "fold," is losing more than 300,000 members per year, and it is widely believed that a large percentage of these losses are due to the influences of the same anti-Sabbatarian movement that brought down The Worldwide Church of God.

 

The Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco ended the ability of Adventism to maintain its reprehensible dichotomy between the facts it knew about the truth of the role of the Roman Catholic Church and what it had deceptively taught about its supposed role since the beginning.  A survey of the Sabbath-related writings of the pioneer Adventist writers through the Bacchiocchi Era proves, as we have said before, the existence of a propaganda campaign to keep the truth about the role of the Catholic Church hidden from its clergy, laity, and prospective proselytes to Adventism.  Unfortunately Seventh-day Adventists have never made an effort to correct this error, so the vast majority of the Church's followers still believe the Catholic Church did it.

 

The Bacchiocchi Backlash

 

The more one compares and contrasts the work of Bacchiocchi, who wrote in favor of the Sabbath, with the writings of D. M. Canright, who wrote against the Sabbath, the more one realizes that Bacchiocchi proved that Canright was "right" in one way or another― by direct testimony, self-evidently absurd conclusions, or by his inability to refute the opposing arguments.  Keep in mind that Bacchiocchi validated Canright in two critical areas: (1) the very early adoption of wide-spread Sunday observance and (2) the fact that the Sabbath in Colossians 2:14-17 is a reference to the Sabbath of the Decalogue.

 

Within four years of the publication of From Sabbath to Sunday, the world had a response to this book's radical ideas from one perceptive and brilliant [now former] Seventh-day Adventist theologian.  In 1981 Robert D. Brinsmead published his authoritatively written rebuttal of Bacchiocchi, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined," which integrated the findings of recent scholarly research with a thorough discussion of long-standing anti-Sabbatarian knowledge.  His main contributions to the treatment of the Sabbath question included the relatively new developments in Hebrew linguistics, the emerging picture of the tremendous diversity of the Early Church, the relationship of circumcision to Sabbath-keeping in Jewish thought, and the concept of the Torah versus Noachian Law in the rabbinical writings. 

 

Within five years after the publication of From Sabbath to Sunday, the Evangelical response to Bacchiocchi's "New Sabbatarianism" was formalized with the publication of an extensive collection of essays written by some of the best Evangelical theologians and scholars in the world, From Sabbath to Lord's Day, edited by D. A. Carson (1982).  Carson had actually begun the initial stages of this work in 1972 but the project was accelerated after 1977 specifically to address Dr. Bacchiocchi's challenge.  The exhaustively researched and meticulously documented essays in this book politely, and with Christian restraint, debunk nearly every aspect of  Bacchiocchi's work.  As we noted earlier, Bacchiocchi brought the Evangelical component of this backlash upon himself as a result of the extensive marketing of his book, From Sabbath to Sunday, to Sunday-keeping clergy and leaders.

 

From the beginning of the Advent Movement, Colossians 2:14-17 has been an impossible barrier to a fully integrated and consistent Sabbatarian belief model.  Both Bacchiocchi and the first biblical scholars of the Advent Movement created this problem for themselves by an error of logic called circular reasoning that goes something like this.  "We know that Colossians 2:14-17 is very clear, but it can't mean what it says because we all know that the Sabbath was given to the world at the time of Creation."  The paradox, here, is that Dr. Bacchiocchi and the first Advent Sabbath scholars, like J. N. Andrews, were keenly aware that the Early Fathers cited the fact that the Sabbath Commandment was not given at Creation as one of the reasons why the Christians of their day did not keep the Jewish Sabbath.  Andrews sought to explain away this and other anti-Sabbatarian passages from the writings of the Early Fathers by arguing that they merely represented examples of just how very early the Sabbath "apostasy" began.  In fact, as we mentioned earlier, in 1853 J. N. Andrews attempted to refute an anti-Sabbatarian paper by O.R.L. Crosier that specifically dealt with the biblical evidence that the Sabbath could not possibly have been instituted in Eden and that the Early Fathers of the Church also recognized this fact (J. N. Andrews, "A Review of the Remarks of O. R. L. Crosier on the Institution, Design and Abolition of the Sabbath," 1853). You can find this paper by doing a Google search or by going directly to:

 

http://temcat.com/L-1-adv-pioneer-lib/JNANDREW/Remarks-Crozier-on-theSabbath-JN-Andrews.pdf

 

In trouble from the very beginning of the Advent Movement, taken to the crisis level in 1887-1889 with the Canright Sabbath controversy― and elevated to the level of the absurd by Samuele Bacchiocchi in the late 1970's, the current defense of the Sabbatarian ideology, the "New Sabbatarianism," is so embarrassing that the Church will not even teach its clergy or rank-and-file members that Christians must also keep the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbath feast days, and monthly sabbath feast days.

 

The Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco also caused some of these few newly enlightened and brave Adventist scholars, who eventually became former Adventist scholars, to scrutinize the beginning and ending dates used for the prophetic time periods used by Adventism to prove the Roman Catholic Church's role in the Sabbath apostasy and the supposed divinely lead emergence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church after 1844.  This self-serving prophetic manipulation makes it possible for the Seventh-day Adventist Church to boast that it is the specially chosen instrument of God to call attention to the world's Sabbath-breaking problem and the existence of the on-going Investigative Judgment.  These prophetic deceptions, including a host of bogus prophetic time periods, make it extremely difficult for Seventh-day Adventists who do not understand the shaky foundation of the Church's prophetic charts to comprehend the impossibilities of Sabbatarianism.  This bogus historical information creates the false appearance that the multiple components of the Adventist version of Sabbatarianism lock together tightly in an integrated, unassailable belief system.  In reality, the whole concept of Adventism exists only in a world of historical and biblical fantasy.  Prospective proselytes to Adventism are often easily taken in because, like the vast majority of people in the world, they know nothing, or next to nothing, about what happened during the first 300 years after the death of St. Paul.

 

Former Adventist, R. Vowless, a New Zealander, published a book in 1933 which called attention to the fact that Adventists were often forced to change the prophetic dates they were using as they would discover impossible problems with their use.  He exposed other deceptions of Adventism as well, including the fraudulent claims of Ellen White and her extensive plagiarism.  The fact that Adventist prophetic seminars and general publications continue to use these discredited concepts is inexcusable.  Just one example of this problem is the date of 1798— one of several dates when the pope was taken captive— this time by the French.  1798 in the scheme of Adventism supposedly marks the end of a prophetic period of 1,260 days that would signal the so-called end of papal supremacy.  But the pope was released by the French, and the papacy continued at about the same level of power and influence it had prior to the captivity for decades longer.  There are a number of former Adventist writers who have published their research in regard to the problems with these Adventist-calculated prophetic periods.

 

More About Before and After D. M. Canright

 

The additional details of the Canright Sabbath Crisis are eye-opening.  D. M. Canright had worked shoulder to shoulder with Ellen and James White for years.  Driven by the realization that Ellen White's visions were false and the revelation of her extensive plagiarism, he left the Church in 1887 and began to bombard Adventist leaders with a series of articles and papers that demonstrated the biblical and historical impossibilities of the Church's Sabbath doctrine.

 

In 1888, Adventist leaders published the Church's first anti-Canright book― actually a large tract― Replies to Elder Canrightanticipating that he would release a full-length anti-Adventist book shortly.  Canright did publish his book, Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, a year later in 1889.  Thanks to the Church jumping the gun, Canright was able to reference his rebuttals of their rebuttals to the actual page numbers in the Church's publication.  Because early Adventist leaders liked to put everything in writing, we now have a record of what the Church knew and when they knew it about the serious problems with its Sabbath doctrine.  Subsequently the Church published a full-length version of its anti-Canright book, Replies to Elder Canright's Attacks on Seventh-day Adventists (Review and Herald), in 1895.  Canright revised his book several times between 1889 and 1914 (See the 1914 edition of Seventh-day Adventism Renounced).  We have a wealth of evidence, therefore, of the exchange of arguments for and against the Sabbath between Canright and the Church leaders of his day, including his rebuke to those leaders for knowing that for forty years they had been unable to explain away the fatal-to-Sabbatarian implications of Colossians 2:14-17.  He would know, because until 1887, he was a high ranking Seventh-day Adventist leader.

 

The Canright Sabbath Crisis of 1887-1889 and beyond threatened the very foundation of Adventism.  However, the primitive communications of the day made it difficult for Canright to inform the Adventists of the nation and the world of the truth about Adventism.  He published articles and books, but his efforts appear to have been relatively ineffective.  If the Internet had existed in his day, Adventism might not have been nearly as successful.

 

Adventism has fought dirty in regard to D. M. Canright ever since he left the Church in 1887.  His books are the last ones the Church would want to have its followers read.  First, his arguments are irrefutable― a fact that is now confirmed in one way or another by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi's work.  Second, it exposes the existence of the Church's cover-up of the problems of the Sabbath and Ellen White.  He is accused of being a mentally imbalanced man, but there is no evidence to prove this.  He had a modest career as a pastor in Sunday-observing churches until his death.  He is accused of leaving the Church because he wanted a higher position in Adventist leadership and believed the Whites were blocking his rise to further success.  The truth is he worked closely with Ellen and James White until he was fully convinced they were frauds.  Also, Adventists started a rumor that Canright recanted his apostasy from Adventism and stated that he believed he was a lost man.  This story is preposterous, since his own sister, who remained an Adventist throughout her life, denied that he did this and produced a letter to her from him written shortly before his death that declared that he had no regrets over leaving Adventism.  You can study this letter by doing a Google search for it.  Read it and see for yourself.  In a boxing match between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and D. M. Canright, the Church would be disqualified for "hitting below the belt."  If Seventh-day Adventist followers think he recanted of his "evils" on his death bed, they will not see the compelling need to read his work, much less to see the need to evaluate it on the basis of whether he actually told the truth or not. 

 

The Bacchiocchi Backlash And The Worldwide Church of God

 

The Bacchiocchi Sabbath fiasco of the late 1970's and early 1980's, with its inadvertent validation of Canright, ultimately led to a domino effect of events that led The Worldwide Church of God to renounce Sabbatarianism in 1995.  It took a few years to put the change into effect, and several factions broke away from the main body and continued to keep the Sabbath.  Never-the-less, this amazing turn-around may be the single most astonishing event in this history of modern Christianity.  It has profound implications for Seventh-day Adventists.  The Seventh-day Adventist Church and The Worldwide Church of God were truly "sister churches," in that they were one body of Sabbatarian believers immediately after the Great Disappointment of 1844.  To be fully correct it was actually the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Church of God Seventh-day that got their start at exactly the same time and place.  The Worldwide Church of God was a faction that broke away from the Church of God Seventh-day in 1933 (Wikipedia article, "Worldwide Church of God").  Almost immediately after the Great Disappointment, the group that would later organize into the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the group which almost immediately organized into the Church of God Seventh-day, split over a debate over the Shut Door Doctrine.  As it turned out, the Seventh-day Adventist-oriented group held onto this belief for only a relatively short amount of time, but the Church of God Seventh-day-destined group rejected it almost immediately. 

 

It is also highly significant that the leaders of The Worldwide Church of God renounced Sabbatarianism after studying the research of two former Adventist authors.  Robert D. Brinsmead, who we mentioned earlier, was a controversial Adventist Australian theologian who was intrigued by Bacchiocchi's inadvertent validation of D. M. Canright's anti-Sabbatarian writings, published "Sabbatarianism Re-examined" in 1981 just four years after Dr. Bacchiocchi published From Sabbath to Sunday.  In 1982 Brinsmead followed his initial essay with "A Digest of the Sabbath Question."  His first paper, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined," has become a classic of the anti-Sabbatarian movement because of the depth of the author's research and his gentle, yet persuasive logic.  The second author, Dale Ratzlaff, studied his way out of Adventism because he could not find any biblical support for the Church's Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.  He kept the Sabbath for a good while after leaving the Adventist Church, but eventually got around to examining the Sabbath question.  Among other authors, Ratzlaff studied Brinsmead's writings.  As a result of this study he renounced Sabbatarianism, and in 1990 he published his landmark book, Sabbath in Crisis, which is now re-named Sabbath in ChristRatzlaff''s book may possibly be the most complete treatment of the impossibilities of Sabbatarian theology available today.  The leadership of The Worldwide Church of God found the arguments of these two former Adventist authors to be so water-tight that they were willing to risk the loss of membership and financial hardship they knew would suffer as a result of their renunciation of one of the single-most important doctrines of The Worldwide Church of God. 

 

Why did the Seventh-day Adventist Church choose not to follow in the footsteps of its sister church?  You already have part of the answer.  This book will tell you the rest of the story.  To begin with we will look in greater detail at what and when Adventist leaders knew about the impossibilities of the Sabbath doctrine.  We will also examine what the Church knew about Ellen White and the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.  It is difficult to separate the Sabbath from Ellen White because she claimed that God showed her the Sabbath "truth" in a vision.  The Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment is directly affected by Ellen White's credibility in regard to the Sabbath.  With the exception of one obscure Bible text translated incorrectly in the King James Version of the Bible, Daniel 8:14, there is no biblical support for it.  Therefore, if Ellen White's claim for direct, divine inspiration from God is discredited, there remains zero inspirational support for the Sanctuary Doctrine/Investigative Judgment doctrine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

Section 1 - Sabbath Impossibilities (Chapters 1,2,3)

 

 

WHAT SABBATARIANS DON'T WANT YOU TO

KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHURCH

 

 

SUNDAY OBSERVANCE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN IMMEDIATE

FOR THE GENTILE CHURCHES         

 

 

Since we have discussed this topic already, we will add a key detail at this time. 

 

By the time Dr. Bacchiocchi wrote From Sabbath to Sunday, historians had dated the Didache, which documents Christians worshiping on the first day of the week, to as early as 50 A.D. and no later than 125 A.D..  More accurately, the Didache is a collection of the first Christian writings, and the section of the document that mentions the practice of Christians worshiping on the first day of the week is believed by some researchers to have been authored around 70 A.D..  American scholars seem convinced that this section was probably written between 50 and 70 A.D., whereas European scholars tend to think 70 A.D. to 125 A.D..  In Appendix II, you will find our critique of SDA historian, J. N. Andrews' 1912 study on the Didache.  If you look at our historical time line in a subsequent chapter, you will see that D. M. Canright was bombarding Adventist leaders with the fact that Sunday observance happened almost immediately.  Adventists should have raised the White Flag of Surrender at this time, as Canright, once more, had proved that Sunday observance happened much too early to have been caused by the Roman Catholic Church or the influence of pagan sun worship.

 

St. Paul wrote his last epistle in 63 A.D. and was martyred somewhere between 64 and 67 A.D.. (Please study the Wikipedia articles on St. Paul and the Didache for support of these facts.)  Even the concept of Sabbath abandonment is an inaccuracy.  One cannot abandon a practice never begun in the first place.  Within a few hundred years even the Jewish Christians had apparently abandoned Sabbath-keeping.  As we mentioned earlier, the Jewish groups that clung to Sabbath-keeping, like the Ebionites and Gnostics, very quickly adopted heretical ideas, were lost to Christianity, and then were lost in the junk yard of historical obscurity. 

 

THE CHURCH AT ROME DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH POWER TO CHANGE THE DAY

 

Bacchiocchi theorizes that the Church at Rome, which developed into the Roman Catholic Church some hundreds of years later, might have had a significant role pushing Christians away from the Jewish Sabbath to adopt Sunday observance.  Bacchiocchi theorized that it was the supposedly preeminent authority of the bishop of Rome that influenced the entire church to adopt the "new" practice of Sunday observance (From Sabbath to Sunday, pp. 207-212).  R. J. Baukham, who lectured in the Department of Theology at the University of Manchester, said this about Dr. Bacchiocchi's theory in his essay, "Sabbath and Sunday in the Post-Apostolic Church:" 

 

This is probably the weakest of Bacchiocchi's arguments, but it is essential to his thesis.  Only this assertion of the primacy of Rome can begin to explain how a custom originating in the early second century could have become as universal in the Christian church as Sunday worship did.

 

Against Bacchiocchi's argument, it must be said that the evidence he presents for the authority of the church of Rome in the second century is not convincing.  The church of Rome had great prestige, but the kind of jurisdictional authority his thesis presupposes is anachronistic in the second century.  No church of that period had sufficient authority to change the weekly day of worship throughout Christendom.  Furthermore, Bacchiocchi's other two examples of liturgical change in the second century, the Sunday Easter and fasting on the Sabbath, do not, as he thinks, support his case, but rather highlight its weakness.  Whether or not Bacchiocchi is correct in locating the origin of the Sunday Easter in early second-century Rome, it is quite clear that the see of Rome did not have the authority to impose it on the rest of the church.  It was not until the end of the second century that bishop Victor of Rome attempted to convert the Quartodeciman churches to the observance of the Sunday Easter, and his attempt encountered stubborn resistance in Asia.  Similarly, the church of Rome was singularly unsuccessful in promoting the practice of fasting on the Sabbath.  As Bacchiocchi himself admits, as late as the fifth century it was still confined to the church of Rome, itself and a few other western churches.  Both in the case of the Sunday Easter and in the case of the Sabbath fast, the surviving historical records indicate considerable debate and controversy in the churches.

 

It therefore seems extremely unlikely that already in the early second century the authority of the Roman see was such that it could impose Sunday worship throughout the church, superseding a universal practice of Sabbath observance handed down from the apostles, without leaving any trace of controversy or resistance in the historical records.  Bacchiocchi's own comparison with Sunday Easter and the Sabbath fast shows up the difficulty of his explanations of the origins of Sunday worship.  Like all attempts to date the origins of Sunday worship in the second century, it fails to account for the universality of the custom.  Unlike the Sunday Easter and the Sabbath fast, Sunday worship was never, so far as the evidence goes, disputed.  There is no record of any Christian group (except the extreme part of the Ebonites) that did not observe Sunday, either in the second century or in later centuries of the patristic era.  (From Sabbath to Lord's Day, Carson, p.271, 272)

 

THE INFLUENCE OF SUN WORSHIP ON SABBATH ABANDONMENT

IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE

 

Bacchiocchi tried to salvage at least a part of Ellen White's conspiracy/apostasy theory— the concept that pagan sun worship influenced Christians to adopt Sunday observance.  The sun has always had its worshipers throughout the world, especially in ancient times.  For Bacchiocchi's theory to have credibility, he must prove two things beyond reasonable doubt.  First, he must demonstrate that sun worship was popular enough in the Roman Empire between 100 and 140 A.D. to potentially have influenced Christianity in the choice of a day of worship on the basis of a perceived need for commonality.  Second, he must provide adequate evidence to show a high degree of probability that it actually DID influence Christianity in this manner.  The more incredible any theory appears to be, the greater demand there is that the supportive arguments be strong.

 

In Dr. Bacchiocchi's book, Sabbath under Crossfire (1998), Dr. Bacchiocchi spends nearly an entire chapter discussing the possibility that this sun cult or that sun cult was popular between 70 and 140 A.D., but there is no consensus among his sources.  Requirement #1, therefore, is not met.

 

In the remainder of this same chapter, Dr. Bacchiocchi attempts to prove that the Romans were using a 7-day calendar that corresponded with the 7-day Jewish calendar.  It is painfully evident that he is grasping at straws to show that a 7-day calendar had even limited use anywhere in the Roman Empire during this period of time.  Most of the historical sources we could locate indicate that the Romans used an 8-day calendar during New Testament times and that the day named in honor of the sun was the second day of that 8-day week.  These sources are fairly consistent in stating that so far as can be reconstructed, the Romans did not adopt a 7-day calendar until around 300 A.D..  On the other hand there are a few sources we found which see evidence that the Roman Empire might possibly have adopted a 7-day week 100 years or more before the birth of Christ.  In his book From Sabbath to Sunday, Dr. Bacchiocchi states that some historians believe that a 7-day calendar was in widespread use in the Roman Empire by the latter part of the Second Century (150-199 A.D.).  The transition from Sabbath keeping to Sunday observance was universal by 140 A.D..  With the day named in honor of the sun only occasionally being the same 24 hour period as the first day of the Jewish calendar (Sunday), how could Christians have been tempted to adopt Sunday observance so the day of worship would be the same as that of the pagans they were trying to convert?  On top of all these challenging questions, we must ask why this entire topic is worthy of discussion, since we have documented proof that at least the Gentile churches were observing Sunday as early as 50 A.D. or 70 A.D., and to a very great extent by 100 A.D.. 

 

Requirement #2, therefore, is not met.  There is no proof.  Almost no amount of imagination can "connect the dots" to fulfill the second requirement demanded by the principles of logic.  

 

Incredibly, Dr. Bacchiocchi concedes the following in regard to his theory of the influence of sun worship on Sabbath abandonment:

 

The association between the Christian Sunday and the pagan veneration of the day of the Sun is not explicit before the time of Eusebius (ca. A.D. 260-340)... From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 264.

Bacchiocchi concedes, as we have discussed, that the adoption of Sunday observance was universal by 140 A.D., but it is not until 260-340 A.D. that there are definite traces in historical records to show that one or more sun worshiping cults held Sunday to be a sacred day of cult worship.  Prior to that time, however, it is extremely difficult to show any connection between sun cults and Sunday ceremonial traditions.  As noted before, the Romans used an 8-day week with the day named in honor of the sun being the second day of that 8-day week.  The 7-day week was by no means universal in these ancient cultures.  It would only make sense that there could be no traces in the historical records that sun-worshiping cults had special ceremonial activities on the "Sun Day" that we know of as the first day of a seven-day week before the cultures in which they existed had adopted a seven-day weekly cycle.

 

Finally, if Bacchiocchi's apostasy theory were to be true, we would be forced to believe that the early Christians  rationalized away the keeping of what they would have supposedly believed was an eternal moral principle while at the same time gave up their lives in significant numbers rather than to avail themselves of the opportunity to be set free by publicly denying Christ or bowing the knee to an idol. 

 

R. J. Baukham, in his essay, "Sabbath and Sunday in the Post-Apostolic Church," answers Bacchiocchi as follows:

 

Bacchiocchi argues that the reason why the church of Rome adopted Sunday as the Christian day of worship, instead of the Sabbath, was that the pagan day of the sun, in the planetary week, had already gained special significance in pagan sun cults, and by adopting this day Christians were able to exploit the symbolism of God or Christ as sun or light, which was already present in their own religious tradition.

 

Bacchiocchi here underestimates the resistance to pagan customs in second century Christianity.  The desire for differentiation from paganism had deeper Christian roots than the second-century desire for differentiation from Judaism.  It is true that, from Justin onwards, the Fathers exploited the symbolism of the pagan title "Sunday," but to have actually adopted the pagan day as the Christian day of worship because it was prominent in the pagan sun cults would have been a very bold step indeed.  Even if the church of Rome had taken this step, it becomes even more inexplicable that the rest of the church followed suit without argument.  (D.A. Carson, ed., From Sabbath to Lord's Day, p. 272)

 

BACCHIOCCHI'S "JEWISH PERSECUTION" THEORY OF

SABBATH ABANDONMENT IS IMPOSSIBLE

 

As we have seen, Dr. Bacchiocchi has conceded himself into a historical box canyon.  He admits the early date of 140 A.D. for universal adoption of Sunday observance and wisely refuses to suggest that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day.  He concedes that he cannot prove a link between sun worship and Sabbath abandonment before 140 A.D..  His last hope is to prove that the Roman Empire's persecution of the rebellious Jews between100 A.D. - 140 A.D. caused the Christians at Rome to distance themselves from Sabbath-keeping in order to escape the possible threat of associated persecution.  Bacchiocchi presupposes that Christians believed they were still required to keep the Sabbath at that time― something difficult to prove since Sunday observance was already widespread by 100 A.D.. He further theorizes that the Church at Rome used its influence over the Christians throughout the vast Roman Empire to distance itself from Sabbath-keeping to escape the possibility of such a persecution on the basis of this key religious practice supposedly being common to both Jews and Christians.  There are all kinds of problems with Bacchiocchi's desperate theory, but this approach is really his only hope to explain how Christians came to abandon the Sabbath without admitting they did it for biblical reasons.

 

By around 100 A.D. there were a large number of Jewish Christians in Rome.  The Jewish population of the church at Rome might have been keeping the Sabbath as part of their Jewish culture, rather than as a requirement for salvation.  If they were, indeed, keeping the Sabbath merely as a part of their Jewish culture, it is reasonable to assume they would be willing to abandon their Sabbath-keeping to avoid the threat of Roman persecution.  On the other hand, if they were keeping the Sabbath from the perspective of a salvation requirement, as Bacchiocchi supposes, it is very difficult to imagine that they would be willing to risk their eternal life to avoid persecution.  The Christians of this era appeared to be willing to give up their lives for the Gospel in general.  Since the Jewish Christians in Rome, as is the case of the Jews in general, understood that circumcision and Sabbath-keeping cannot be separated, they would understand that Sabbath-keeping was not required of them or their Gentile brethren, but that keeping it as part of their cultural heritage was OK also.  Paul did not condemn the Christians at Rome for keeping the Sabbath, but urged that the Jews and the Gentiles of the Church be tolerant of one another in matters that were not essential to salvation.  Let us look at the likelihood that the threat of Jewish persecution could have been a powerful enough factor to induce Christians to stop their supposed Sabbath-keeping.

 

There were two major Jewish revolts against the Roman Empire between 100 and 140 A.D..  However, historians are divided in their assessment of the extent of the Empire's persecution of Christians during this period of time. The Wikipedia article, "Persecution of Early Christians during the Roman Empire," sums things up this way:

 

PERSECUTION UNDER DOMITIAN

 

According to many historians, Jews and Christians were heavily persecuted toward the end of Domitian's reign. [17]  The Book of Revelation is thought by many scholars to have been written during Domitian's reign.  Other historians, however, have maintained that there was little or no persecution of Christians during Domitian's time.  There is no historical consensus on the matter.

 

PERSECUTION UNDER TRAJAN

 

Between 109 and 111 A.D., Pliny the Younger was sent by the emperor Trajan (r. 98-117) to the province of Bithynia as governor.  During his tenure of office, Pliny encountered Christians, and he wrote to the emperor about them.  The governor indicated that he had ordered the execution of several Christians, "for I held no question that whatever it was they admitted, in any case obstinacy and unbending perversity deserve to be punished."  However, he was unsure what to do about those who said they were no longer Christians, and asked Trajan his advice.  The emperor responded that Christians should not be sought out; anonymous tips should be rejected as "unworthy of our times," and if they recanted and "worshiped our gods," they were to be freed.  Those who persisted, however, should be punished.

 

Domitian reigned from 81-96 A.D. (Wikipedia, "List of Roman Emperors"). 

 

Now, for comparison, let us review the Roman Empire's Jewish persecutions (Wikipedia article, "First Jewish-Roman War:"

 

The first Jewish-Roman War (66-73), sometimes called The Great Revolt (Hebrew: המרד הגדול, ha-Mered Ha-Gadol), was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire (the second was the Kitos War in 115-117; the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt, 132-135).

 

There does not appear to be much of a correlation between the Roman Empire's persecution of Jews and the Roman Empire's persecution of Christians.  Dr. Bacchiocchi's theory that Christians abandoned Sabbath-keeping between 100 A.D. and 140 A.D. due to the fear that the Sabbath link that Christians supposedly shared with the Jews is extremely difficult to defend.  While these facts certainly do not absolutely preclude the possibility that Bacchiocchi's theory is correct, it would collapse if a better explanation could be offered. 

 

There is no evidence that the Christians in the Early Church were persecuted for an unwillingness to work on the Sabbath.  If the Early Church had maintained a Sabbath stance, the Romans would have made record of it.  Supporting this idea is the fact that the Jews had such a bad reputation with the Romans for their Sabbath keeping that they were generally exempt from military service and were not valued for slaves, but this was not true for Christians.  See Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967), pp. 9-13. See also William Barclay, The Ten Commandments for Today (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1973), pp. 31-2; Werner Forster, Palestinian Judaism in New Testament Times (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1964), p. 72; Eduard Lohse, art. "Sabbath," Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 7:9.  [Credit for this concept goes to Robert Brinsmead, and it is his references I have cited.]

 

Brinsmead, in his A Digest of the Sabbath Question, provides this observation from a well-respected New Testament scholar:

 

"Whereas circumcision would have been practicable for Gentile converts, Sabbath observance simply was not.  Unless they came inside the Jewish ghetto, where there was an ordered life adjusted to the cessation of work on the Sabbath, they could not earn their living or subsist while observing the Sabbath.  If they were slaves, Gentile masters would not release them from work; and if they were independent and earning their own living, they would still have had to pursue their trade on a Sabbath.  It was no doubt because circumcision was a practical possibility for Gentile Christians, as the Sabbath was not, that it was the centre of controversy" (Moule, Birth of the New Testament,1961, p. 49).

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi claims that the lack of a record of Christians being persecuted by the Romans for keeping the Sabbath is proof that his Jewish persecution theory is true.  In view of the fact that historical support for this theory is extremely weak to non-existent, it is more likely that Christians were not persecuted because they were not keeping the Sabbath in the first place.  As you recall, Christians were observing Sunday as a day of communal worship on a wide-spread basis by 100 A.D. and, that the process that led to that situation almost certainly began no later than the Council of Jerusalem (to be explained in greater detail later).  Keep in mind that Christian writers were documenting the practice of Sunday worship as early as 50-70 A.D.. 

 

Again, R. J. Baukham puts Bacchiocchi's Jewish Persecution Theory into perspective as follows:

 

Anti-Judaism played its part in second-century Christian polemic against Jewish Sabbath observance, but it does not follow that it motivated the introduction of Christian Sunday worship.  For we have already argued that Sunday worship dates back to the first century, while few second-century writers compare and contrast the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday.  Derogatory discussions of the Jewish Sabbath do not usually refer to the Christian Sunday.  If Sunday were a recent substitute for the Jewish Sabbath, we should expect far more discussion of the superiority of Sunday to the Sabbath.  (D.A. Carson, From Sabbath to Lord's Day, pp. 270-271.)

                                                             

THE FIRST CHRISTIAN WRITERS KNEW THE SABBATH

DID NOT BEGIN AT CREATION

 

In Justin Martyr's "Dialogue with Trypho," he discusses circumcision and the Sabbath with his Jewish friend, approaching him in a way that respected his friend's Jewish heritage.  Notice that Martyr did not cite St. Paul as an authority that the Sabbath is not required of Christians.  Trypho, being a Jew, would not have recognized Paul's authority.  It is significant that Justin is able to prove that the Sabbath was for the Jews and the Jews only from Old Testament logic alone.  Martyr was born in 100 A.D. and died in 165 A.D..  Here is what Martyr wrote in Chapter Nineteen:

CHAPTER XIX

 

          CIRCUMCISION UNKNOWN BEFORE ABRAHAM.  THE LAW WAS GIVEN BY MOSES ON ACCOUNT OF THE HARDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS.

 

"It is this about which we are at a loss, and with reason, because, while you endure such things, you do not observe all the other customs which we are now discussing.  This circumcision is not, however, necessary for all men, but for you alone, in order that, as I have already said, you may suffer these things which you now justly suffer.

 

Nor do we receive that useless baptism of cisterns, for it has nothing to do with this baptism of life. Wherefore also God has announced that you have forsaken Him, the living fountain, and digged for your selves broken cisterns which can hold no water.

 

Even you, who are the circumcised according to the flesh, have need of our circumcision; but we, having the latter, do not require the former.

 

For if it were necessary, as you suppose, God would not have made Adam uncircumcised; would not have had respect to the gifts of Abel when, being uncircumcised, he offered sacrifice and would not have been pleased with the uncircumcision of Enoch, who was not found, because God had translated him.  Lot, being uncircumcised, was saved from Sodom, the angels themselves and the Lord sending him out.  Noah was the beginning of our race; yet, uncircumcised, along with his children he went into the ark.  Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High, was uncircumcised; to whom also Abraham the first who received circumcision after the flesh, gave tithes, and he blessed him:  after whose order God declared, by the mouth of David, that He would establish the everlasting priest.  Therefore to you alone this circumcision was necessary, in order that the people may be no people and the nation no nation; as also Hosea, one of the twelve prophets, declares.

 

Moreover, all those righteous men already mentioned, though they kept no Sabbaths, were pleasing to God; and after them Abraham with all his descendants until Moses, under whom your nation appeared unrighteous and ungrateful to God, making a calf in the wilderness:  wherefore God, accommodating Himself to that nation, enjoined them also to offer sacrifices, as if to His name, in order that you might not serve idols.  Which precept, however, you have not observed; nay, you sacrificed your children to demons."

 

See how God will destroy the nations to the beat of instruments of music as they also are BURNED.

 

And you were commanded to keep Sabbaths, that you might retain the memorial of God.  For His word makes this announcement, saying, 'That ye may know that I am God who redeemed you.'(Ezek. xx. 12.)

 

D. M. Canright confronted the Adventist leaders of his day with proof from Justin Martyr's early recorded observation about why Christians did not keep the Sabbath.  It is fascinating to see the way these early SDA leaders dealt with this problem.  Although a bit long, it is well worth your study.  Here is an extended quote from the 1895 edition of Replies to Elder Canright's Attacks on Seventh-day Adventists, edited by Uriah Smith.  As you study this passage, keep in mind that the entire passage is taken from Replies to Elder Canright's Attacks on Seventh-day Adventists, 1895 edition― a SDA book in which Uriah Smith is trying to show that Canright has taken parts of J. N. Andrew's books, The Complete Testimony of the Fathers, and later, Andrews' earlier book, History of the Sabbath, out of context:   

 

Eld. C. quotes from "The Complete Testimony of the Fathers" very unfairly, as a few extracts will show.  In putting forth a historical argument to show that Sunday was called the Lord's day and was observed as a sacred day by the Christian church immediately after the days of the apostles, he says:

 

"The Lord's Day, then, is the day belonging to the Lord Jesus, as 'he is Lord {of all'} (Acts 10:36), and 'Head over all things' (Eph.1:22) in the gospel. We shall find this fact abundantly confirmed in the Fathers.  I now quote from 'The Complete Testimony of the Fathers,' by Eld. Andrews:

 

"Justin's 'Apology' was written at Rome about the year 140.' 'He is the first person after the sacred writers that mentions the first day, and this at a distance of only forty-four years from the date of John's vision upon Patmos."  It does not appear that Justin, and those at Rome who held with him in the doctrine, paid the slightest regard to the ancient Sabbath.  He speaks of it as abolished, and treats it with contempt. (pp. 33, 36)

 

"This is the confession which even the historian of the Seventh-day Adventists is compelled to make. The Jewish Sabbath was wholly disregarded by Christians within forty-four years of the death of the last apostle.  And this is proved by the testimony of the very first Christian writer who mentions the first day after the apostles.  Does Eld. Andrews question the genuineness or truthfulness of this statement? - Not at all."

 

We have given these three paragraphs in full, that the reader may be able to see fully how Eld. C. can treat the writings of others to suit his purpose.  We have expressed surprise at his efforts to pervert and garble testimony. "Garble" is defined to mean, "to pick out or select such parts as may serve a purpose." - Webster.  This quotation from "The Testimony of the Fathers" is made, remember, to prove that the Sabbath was discarded, and that Sunday was recognized as the Lord's day by the Christians of that early time; and now let us see what Eld. Andrews does really say:

 

"'Justin's Apology" was written at Rome about the year 140 A.D. His 'Dialogue with Trypho the Jew' was written some years later.  In searching his works we shall see how much greater progress apostasy had made at Rome than in the countries where those lived whose writings we have been examining."

 

Thus Eld. Andrews's first reference to Justin is to show that Rome was far in advance of other bodies on the course of apostasy and that Justin was himself a leader in that work.  In proof of this he introduces testimony that he treated God's Sabbath with contempt, denied its origin at creation, taunted the Jews that it was given to them because of their wickedness, and denied the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments.  Pages 33,34. As to the next sentence in Eld. C.'s quotation let us give it entire from Eld. Andrews:

 

"And it is worthy of notice that though first-day writers assert that 'Lord's Day' was the familiar title of the first day of the week in the time of the Apocalypse, yet Justin, who is the first person after the sacred writers that mentions the first day, and this at a distance of only 44 years from the date of John's vision upon Patmos, does not call it by that title, but by the name it bore as a heathen festival.  If it be said that the term was omitted because he was addressing a heathen emperor [just what Canright does now say], there still remains the fact that he mentions the day quite a number of times in his 'Dialogue with Trypho,' and yet never calls it 'Lord's Day,' nor indeed does he call it by any name implying sacredness."

 

The quotation given from Justin on pp. 34, 35 ("Testimony of the Fathers"), about meeting together on "the day called Sunday," etc., Eld. C. gives in full to show that Justin did regard Sunday as the Lord's day, though he gives it no such name, nor any title of sacredness.  But on p. 37 Eld. A. gives a quotation from Justin's "Dialogue with Trypho," which shows that he regarded all days alike.  He calls the gospel "the new law," and says:  "The new law requires you to keep the perpetual Sabbath, and you, because you are idle for one day, suppose you are pious, not discerning why this has been commanded you; and if you eat unleavened bread you say the will of God has been fulfilled.  The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such observances:  if there is any perjured person or a thief among you, let him cease to be so; if any adulterer, let him repent; then he has kept the sweet and true Sabbaths of God."  Upon which Eld. Andrews remarks: "This language plainly implies that Justin held all days alike, and did not observe any one day as a day of abstinence from labor."  Yet the attempt is made by these misrepresentations to wheel Justin in as a witness for Sunday-keeping. Most astonishing to relate, Eld. C. quotes the epistle of Barnabas in favor of his position.  Now he well knows that every critic pronounces that so-called epistle the work of a Jew of mean abilities and an absolute forgery.  Yet, when reviewing Eld. Andrews in his notice of this work, he says:

 

"They [the early Fathers] lived early enough to have converse with the apostles themselves, while he [Eld. Andrews] lived eighteen hundred years later!  Which would be apt to know best?"

 

Yes; but here is a man who claims to be a Father who was not; a man who was a fraud, an impostor, a forger.  The question is, What do the Scriptures teach?  And we have the Scriptures as fully as he.  Now we ask, Who would be apt to give us the best exposition of Scripture?  An old forger of the second century who wrote things too silly to be repeated, and too shameful to quote?  Or a Christian scholar of the nineteenth?  It will take no reader a great while to answer.  Eld. Canright can take the forger if he prefers.  In his fourth article in the Advocate, he says:  "Let us see what Seventh-day Adventists say upon the sin of Sunday-keeping:  'All who keep the first day for the Sabbath are pope's Sunday-keepers, and God's Sabbath-breakers.'- History of the Sabbath, p. 502."

 

After studying the above extended quotation from the 1895 revision of the SDA book, Replies to Canright, it is difficult to see the relevance of this quotation and its discussion.  It appears that the SDA leaders were trying to show that Canright failed to prove his point because Justin Martyr did not attach any sacredness in itself to Sunday and thus supposedly did not equate Sunday with the Lord's Day.  The authors of Replies to Canright seem to feel that obfuscation will confuse the readers of their book enough to cause their readers to miss a variety of observations that beg to be made.  Whether the Epistle of Barnabas was a forgery or not had nothing to do with the validity of Canright's point, which was that the writers of the Early Church documented the FACT that the first Christians abandoned the Sabbath astonishingly early, well before the existence of the Roman Catholic Church. Andrews could not seem to grasp the concept that the early Christians chose Sunday as a day of worship without attaching any "day sacredness" to it.   We see the following things of significance from this quotation from Replies to Canright and the other things we have learned so far:  

 

The SDA leaders of Canright's Era knew that Sabbath abandonment was common by 100 A.D. and universal by around 140 A.D., hundreds of years before a pope or a Roman Catholic Church.

 

They knew Ellen White said it was the pope and the Roman Catholic Church that "changed the day."

 

They knew Ellen White lied when she said that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day because this change happened far too early for her claim to be true.

 

We see that the SDA leaders of Canright's Era were introduced to the concepts that at least some of the first Christians knew that the Sabbath did not begin at Creation and that there can be no Sabbath-keeping without circumcision.

 

We now know that SDA leaders knew almost everything Canright confronted them with as early as the late 1850's. 

 

We observe that these early SDA leaders could not answer Canright's arguments and that any reasonable person should have been able to see that there was no satisfactory rebuttal to his point that Sabbath abandonment took place too early for Ellen White's Roman Catholic sun worship explanation to be true. 

 

Almost 100 years later, Dr. Bacchiocchi is still faced with the problem that Sabbath "abandonment" by Christians was almost immediate.  He theorizes that Justin Martyr is rationalizing the Sabbath requirement away, looking for an excuse to justify the fact that Justin Martyr and other Christians were not keeping the Sabbath like they were supposed to.  This is circular reasoning because is presupposes that Christians were required to keep the Sabbath.  Bacchiocchi and the contributors to the 1895 edition version of Replies to Canright miss the point completely.  Whether Justin Martyr was rationalizing or not, he documented the fact that Christians were not keeping the Sabbath at this time.  He was born in 100 A.D. and died in 165 A.D..  Whoever wrote the Epistle of Barnabas, it was written very early, hundreds of years before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence, and it documented the fact that Christians were predominantly worshiping on Sunday at the time the document was authored.  Whether the epistle attributed to him was written by the person who bears its name is not at all relevant.

 

EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS DOCUMENTED SUNDAY

OBSERVANCE ABUNDANTLY 70 A.D. AND BEYOND

 

A variety of Early Christian writers documented that Christians chose to worship on Sunday, beginning in 70 A.D. and continuing until the Roman Catholic Church came into existence hundreds of years after Sabbath abandonment was universal (140 A.D.).  Here are some of those excerpts:

 

1. The Didache [A.D. 70]

 

But every Lord's day . . . gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.  But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned" (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]). See the critique of the very early analysis of this part of the Didache in Appendix II.

 

2. The Letter of Barnabas [A.D. 74]


"We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead" (Letter of Barnabas 15:6-8 [A.D. 74]).

 

3. Ignatius of Antioch [A.D. 110]


[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e. Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death" (Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110]).

 

4. Justin Martyr [A.D. 155]

           

"[W]e too would observe the fleshly circumcision, and the sabbaths, and in short all the feasts, if we did not know for what reason they were enjoined [on] you―namely, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of your heart. . . . How is it, Trypho, that we would not observe those rites which do not harm us― I speak of fleshly circumcision and sabbaths and feasts? . . . God enjoined you to keep the sabbath, and impose on you other precepts for a sign, as I have already said, on account of your unrighteousness and that of your fathers" (Dialogue with Trypho, 18, 21 [A.D. 155]).

 

5. Tertullian [A.D. 203]


"[L]et him who contends that the sabbath is still to be observed as a balm of salvation, and circumcision on the eighth day . . . teach us that, for the time past, righteous men kept the sabbath or practiced circumcision, and were thus rendered 'friends of God.'  For if circumcision purges a man, since God made Adam uncircumcised, why did he not circumcise him, even after his sinning, if circumcision purges? . . . Therefore, since God originated Adam uncircumcised and unobservant of the Sabbath, consequently his offspring also, Abel, offering him sacrifices, uncircumcised and unobservant of the Sabbath, was by him [God] commended [Gen. 4:1-7, Heb. 9:4]. . . . Noah also, uncircumcised― yes, and unobservant of the sabbath― God freed from the deluge.  For Enoch too, most righteous man, uncircumcised and unobservant of the sabbath, he translated from this world, who did not first taste death in order that, being a candidate for eternal life, he might show us that we also may, without the burden of the law of Moses, please God" (An Answer to the Jews 2 [A.D. 203] See Appendix III for further information on this key early Christian writer.

 

6. The Didascalia [A.D. 225]


"The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation, because on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven" (Didascalia 2 [A.D. 225]).

 

7. Victorinus [A.D. 300]


"The sixth day [Friday] is called parasceve, that is to say, the preparation of the kingdom. . . . On this day also, on account of the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, we make either a station to God or a fast.  On the seventh day he rested from all his works, and blessed it, and sanctified it.  On the former day we are accustomed to fast rigorously, that on the Lord's Day we may go forth to our bread with giving of thanks.  And let the parasceve become a rigorous fast, lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews . . . which Sabbath he [Christ] in his body abolished" (The Creation of the World [A.D. 300]).

 

8. Eusebius of Caesarea [A.D. 312]


"They [the early saints of the Old Testament] did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we [Christians].  They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we.  They did not avoid certain kinds of food, neither did they regard the other distinctions which Moses first delivered to their posterity to be observed as symbols; nor do Christians of the present day do such things" (Church  History 1:4:8 [A.D. 312]).

 

9. Eusebius of Caesarea [A.D. 319]

 

"[T]he day of his [Christ's] light . . . was the day of his resurrection from the dead, which they say, as being the one and only truly holy day and the Lord's day, is better than any number of days as we ordinarily understand them, and better than the days set apart by the Mosaic Law for feasts, new moons, and sabbaths, which the Apostle [Paul] teaches are the shadow of days and not days in reality" (Proof of the Gospel 4:16:186 [A.D. 319]).

 

10. Athanasius [A.D. 345]


"The sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord's day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord's day as being the memorial of the new creation" (On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).

 

11. Cyril of Jerusalem [A.D. 350]

 

"Fall not away either into the sect of the Samaritans or into Judaism, for Jesus Christ has henceforth ransomed you.  Stand aloof from all observance of sabbaths and from calling any indifferent meats common or unclean" (Catechetical Lectures 4:37 [A.D. 350]).

 

12. Council of Laodicea [A.D. 360]

 

"Christians should not Judaize and should not be idle on the Sabbath, but should work on that day; they should, however, particularly reverence the Lord's Day and, if possible, not work on it, because they were Christians" (canon 29 [A.D. 360]).

 

13. John Chrysostom [A.D. 387]


"[W]hen he said, 'You shall not kill' . . . he did not add, 'because murder is a wicked thing.'  The reason was that conscience had taught this before hand, and he speaks thus, as to those who know and understand the point. Wherefore when he speaks to us of another commandment, not known to us by the dictate of conscience, he not only prohibits, but adds the reason.  When, for instance, he gave commandment concerning the sabbath―'On the seventh day you shall do no work'― he subjoined also the reason for this cessation.  What was this?   'Because on the seventh day God rested from all his works which he had begun to make' [Ex. 20:10].  And again: 'Because you were a servant in the land of Egypt' [Deut. 21:18].  For what purpose then, I ask, did he add a reason respecting the sabbath, but did no such thing in regard to murder?  Because this commandment was not one of the leading ones.  It was not one of those which were accurately defined of our conscience, but a kind of partial and temporary one, and for this reason it was abolished afterward.  But those which are necessary and uphold our life are the following: 'You shall not kill . . . You shall not commit adultery . . . You shall not steal.'  On this account he adds no reason in this case, nor enters into any instruction on the matter, but is content with the bare prohibition" (Homilies on the Statues 12:9 [A.D. 387]).

 

14. John Chrysostom [A.D. 395]

 

"You have put on Christ, you have become a member of the Lord and been enrolled in the heavenly city, and you still grovel in the Law [of Moses]?  How is it possible for you to obtain the kingdom?  Listen to Paul's words, that the observance of the Law overthrows the gospel, and learn, if you will, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and shun this pitfall.  Why do you keep the Sabbath and fast with the Jews?" (Homilies on Galatians 2:17 [A.D. 395]).

 

15. The Apostolic Constitutions [A.D. 400]


"And on the day of our Lord's resurrection, which is the Lord's day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent him to us, and condescended to let him suffer, and raised him from the dead.  Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day . . . in which is performed the reading of the prophets, the preaching of the gospel, the oblation of the sacrifice, the gift of the holy food" (Apostolic Constitutions 2:7:60 [A.D. 400]).

 

16. John Chrysostom [A.D. 402]


"The rite of circumcision was venerable in the Jews' account, for as much as the Law itself gave way thereto, and the Sabbath was less esteemed than circumcision.  For that circumcision might be performed, the Sabbath was broken; but that the Sabbath might be kept, circumcision was never broken; and mark, I pray, the dispensation of God.  This is found to be even more solemn that the Sabbath, as not being omitted at certain times.  When then it is done away, much more is the Sabbath" (Homilies on Philippians 10 [A.D. 402]).

 

17. Augustine [A.D. 412]


"Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these Ten Commandments, except the observance of the sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian . . . Which of these commandments would anyone say that the Christian ought not to keep?  It is possible to contend that it is not the Law which was written on those two tables that the Apostle Paul describes as 'the letter that kills' [2 Cor. 3:6], but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished" (The Spirit and the Letter 24 [A.D. 412]).

 

Notice the theology in these statements.  Some writers gave better reasons for the abandonment of the Sabbath by Christians than others, but the point is that Christians documented the fact that the Sabbath was not being observed from almost the very beginning of the Christian Faith.  It is arrogant of today's Sabbatarians to conclude that they understand Christianity and the Old Testament better than the first Christians.

 

EARLY CHURCH HISTORY DEMOLISHES

THE SABBATARIAN MYTH

 

Dr. Skip MacCarty refused to discuss the historical aspects of the Sabbath-Sunday question in 2007, stating that the subject was beyond the scope of his book.  While this is another unforgivable example of fighting dirty in the Sabbath-Sunday debate, it is no wonder that he won't touch the historical issues.  The very mention of the subject is nearly fatal to his position, even if considered alone.  The fact that Seventh-day Adventists know about the immediate adoption of Sunday observance by the first Christians, combined with their insistence on keeping it themselves, suggests that they believe they know more about the Sabbath-Sunday debate than the first Christians did.  You may recall that, unlike what Seventh-day Adventists are taught from the cradle on up, Sabbath-keeping Christians were not the heroes of the Early Church.  Instead they were the ones who were seduced into following "another gospel."  One excellent example is the history of the Ebionites, who kept the Sabbath but vilified the Apostle Paul, recognizing James as their spiritual leader.  In his brilliant anti-Sabbatarian essay, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined," (former) SDA theologian Robert D. Brinsmead explains what happened to the Sabbath-keeping Jewish Christians:

 

The picture emerges of Jewish Christianity which, having lost its influence on the predominately Gentile Church became increasingly isolated.  It lost vital contact with Gentile Christianity, so that Gentile Christianity was largely cut off from its Jerusalem roots.  This has been a tragedy for both branches of the church.

 

By the time of Irenaeus (in the late second century) Jewish Christianity was regarded as real heresy.  Some Jewish Christians were called Ebionites ("the poor ones"), while others were called Nazarenes.  They kept the Sabbath and persevered in a Jewish way of life.  They were generally vegetarian.  Some even refused to eat e...[text unclear] Their hero was James; their archenemy was Paul.

 

The most serious heresy of the Ebionites was failure to confess Christ's full divinity.  Furthermore, although they believed Jesus was sinless, they taught that he possessed sinful human nature like the rest of Mankind.  Yet it is a remarkable fact that the heretical Ebionites traced their lineage back to the original Jewish Christians and claim to be their true successors.

 

The fact that there have frequently been small enclaves of Christians who kept the Sabbath is not proof of any kind that such groups held on to "truth" while everyone else apostatized.  We have seen that the Jewish Christians who clung to Sabbath-keeping soon forsook orthodox Christianity, got into heresy, and soon disappeared completely.  Throughout history the error or Sabbatarianism has been rediscovered time after time to this very day.  These groups may have been, and may still be sincere in their beliefs, but they are not to be honored for their inability to study the Bible inductively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
CHAPTER THREE

 

Section I - Sabbath Impossibilities (Chapters 1,2,3)

 

 

WHAT SABBATARIANS DON'T WANT YOU TO

KNOW ABOUT BIBLICAL THEMES AND CONCEPTS

 

HEBREW LINGUISTICS PROVE THE SABBATH DID

NOT START AT CREATION

 

Hebrew Linguistics of Genesis 2

 

If a book purports to be "research," a reasonable expectation of that work is that it discusses the weaknesses and strengths of the arguments for and against the author's point of view.  If the researcher deliberately ignores strong arguments against his point-of-view, that work becomes more like propaganda.  The case for Sabbatarianism collapses if it can be shown that the Sabbath ordinance did not start at Creation.  Let us evaluate the works of Doctors Bacchiocchi and MacCarty on the basis of what they knew, might have known, or should have known, about the problem posed to Sabbatarianism by Hebrew linguistics.

 

When Dr. Bacchiocchi published From Sabbath to Sunday in 1977, the advanced Hebrew linguistics of Moses' account of the 7th day of Creation was just coming to be understood primarily as a result of the work of two separate authors who published, respectively, in 1970 and 1979.  He might not have been aware of the fact that the very foundation of his Sabbatarian premise had just been swept away.  However, 30 years later when his "disciple," Dr. Skip MacCarty, published In Granite or Ingrained?, the facts about the Hebrew linguistics of the Sabbath in Genesis and Exodus had been available for around 30 years with key research having been published in 1970 (Genesis 2),1979 (Genesis 2), and 1982 (Exodus 16 and 20 added by D.A. Carson's book). MacCarty's refusal to discuss and to attempt to refute the single most important fact relevant to the outcome of the Sabbath-Sunday debate disqualifies his work for the status of "research."   

 

Perhaps Dr. MacCarty did not bring up the subject since there is no possible defense against it.  The very mention of this subject would call attention to an issue he desperately hopes will not be raised.  This particular fact of Hebrew linguistics provides definitive evidence that the Sabbath did not start at Creation.  If you combine this argument from Hebrew linguistics with the fact that the Bible does not mention the Sabbath until the time of the Exodus, and add the fact that Moses specifically stated that the covenant which contained the Sabbath commandment was not made with the ancestors of the Exodus generation of Israelites, we have proof beyond reasonable doubt that the Sabbath was given to Israel, and to Israel only, at the time of the Exodus.  As this book will demonstrate, the keeping of the Sabbath was given to Israel as a "sign" that would set them apart from all other peoples of the world as God's chosen people.  God designed the Sabbath to be a sign that would distinguish Israel from all the other peoples of the world as His chosen nation.  If every nation, kindred, tongue, and people were obligated to keep the Sabbath, as Seventh-day Adventists teach, God could not possibly have used it as a sign to distinguish His people from all the other peoples of the world.

 

Notice that in Moses' account of the days of Creation in Genesis 2, the account of the events of each of the first six days ends with the suffix phrase, "and the evening and the morning were the 1st,2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th day." This suffix phrase LIMITS the events discussed on those days to the day itself—one 24-hour period of time.  Moses' account of the events of the 7th day does not have this limiting suffix.  In Hebrew, the lack of this suffix phrase causes the events of that day to be unlimited—essentially to last forever.  His rest, therefore, was limitless.  The reciprocal of this indicator is that the memorialization of that day is limited to that day itself, just like a memorial to someone is located in one place—like the George Washington Monument in Washington, DC― but stands throughout time to help us remember the great deeds of the first president of the United States forever.  The event memorialized by this day, therefore, could not recycle every seven days.  This would only make sense.  Once He is finished creating it, He will not work at this process any longer.  The entire account of the events of the 7th day talks only about what God did— not what His created humans were supposed to do.  God's rest from creating the Earth was permanent.  What He did was not an example for humans to follow.

 

The reader would not expect any repetitive pattern in regard to the first six days of Creation because of the very nature of the events of those days.  There is the POSSIBILITY that you could rest on a repetitive pattern to memorialize the events of the 7th day, but there is no chance that God would create the same things over and over again according to a weekly interval. 

 

This possibility of two meanings in connection with the nature of the events of the 7th day is exactly why Moses needed to choose his words carefully when writing about the events of the 7th day.  As an inspired Bible writer, Moses' wording of this passage was certainly directed by God Himself.  Since Moses wrote Genesis after the Exodus, he understood that his readers might arrive at an improper understanding of his words about the events of that seventh day of Creation, even though there was no mention of a Sabbath, because the structure of the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue was modeled after the Creation week in addition to commemorating the rest from the slavery of Egypt that their exodus represented.  Let's apply logic to this situation by examining all the concepts that could possibly need clarification and limitation in arriving at an accurate understanding of what Moses said:

 

It could stop the day itself from cycling every 7 day.  There is no proof that Adam and Eve or any of their descendants through the time of the Exodus observed any kind of a weekly cycle.  In Exodus 12, there is a hint that God may have been introducing a 7-day weekly concept to them when he gave them instructions for an ordinance that was to take place over a period of 7 days. As newly existing human beings they would have no experience with how many days it took for the Earth to make a complete circle around the sun.  There is good reason to believe that there were no seasons before the Fall and the Curse, and perhaps no seasons until after the Flood.  It would take years of experience with the Earth's journey around the sun for them to determine how they would like to divide those years into meaningful intervals of time to mark the completion of each year.  The only conclusive proof that Israel truly understood a 7-day weekly cycle is found in Exodus 16 when God gave them instructions for collecting manna.  Within just a few days of the giving of the instructions for collecting manna for 6 days and collecting a double portion on the 6th day, God introduced the concept of  a sabbath rest on the 7th day.  There is a faint suggestion that God began teaching them about a 7-day cycle of days for the first time when He gave them a feast ordinance which lasted seven days as recorded in Exodus 12. 

 

It could differentiate the fact that the 7th day did not involve any creating, but the other six days did.  This is an interesting fact (not very interesting), but there is no need to differentiate in this case because this difference is self-evident.

 

It could indicate that the memorialization represented by the reason given for the day's existence does not cycle every 7 days and that the rest represented by it started on that ONE day and continues indefinitely.  This is the only possibility, since the day itself DOES cycle every seven days thereafter.

 

Since the discussion is about what God did and not what His people did or were supposed to do, the meaning of this passage must, by the constraints of logic and common sense,  mean that the only day ever to stand as a memorial to Creation week is the 7th day of Creation week itself.  By the constraints of logic, only God could rest indefinitely from His act of creating the World.

 

Once we understand that Moses deliberately wrote his account of the days of Creation to make it impossible for a Hebrew reader to see a Sabbath commandment in his remarks about what happened on the 7th day of that week, the very foundation of Sabbatarianism is swept away.  Since the Sabbath was given only to the Jews, it should come as no surprise that this shadowy ordinance would end when the Reality steps into full view at the cross.  The brightness of the Messiah Himself is so great that the shadow cannot be seen.

 

The open-ended nature of the "rest" of Genesis 2:2,3 is now widely acknowledged by biblical scholars.  See G. C. D. Howley, gen. ed., A Bible Commentary for Today: Based on the Revised Standard Version (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1979), p. 136.  See also D. Guthrie and J. A. Motyer, eds., The New Bible Commentary Revised (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970), p. 83.

 

A. T. Lincoln, who taught New Testament for five years at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and later at St. John's College in Nottingham, makes this observation about the open-endedness of the 7th day:

 

The seventh day is to be seen as representing the completion of the whole creation, and therefore in its blessing the whole creation is blessed.  This day is related in this way to the other six, and yet at the same time it is different, for it has no boundaries.  The six days have their goal in a day that is different from the others, and this is the force of the hallowing or sanctifying of the seventh day.  (D.A.Carson, ed., From Sabbath to Lord's Day, p. 348.)

 

Cherry Brandstater, in a well-written article posted on her blog spot, Gently Broken, reminds us that there are three reasons God gave for giving Israel the Sabbath, two of which apply only to Israel. You can read her complete work at: http://sogentlybroken.blogspot.com/2008/08/seventh-day-in-creation.html .):

 

1.                To see if his Israelite Children would follow His commands.  See Exodus 16:4.

 

2.                To remember that He ceased creating on the 7th day of the Creation week. See Exodus 20.

 

3.                To remind them that God had delivered them from slavery, where there was no rest for the weary, and given them a national identify. 

 

Brandstater says:

 

"Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day." - Deut. 5:12-15 (NIV)

 

Here the Sabbath represents a testimony to freedom and redemption because God, the creator of the world, is also the one who released Israel from Egyptian bondage.  And he gave not only the Sabbath as a reminder of their redemption but also started their national calendar with that event as if time for them had not existed until then.  On that day He became their Redeemer; therefore, they were to keep a calendar and a Holy Day in honor of Him for all the world to see.

 

It is certainly worth remembering, again, that the Sabbath was designed to set the people of Israel apart from all other nations of the world.  It is impossible to use something that applies to everyone to achieve differentiation. The Sabbath for everyone cannot be used for this purpose.

 

Finally, a look at a literal Hebrew-English equivalency seems to show that the focus of this verse is on what God Himself did on that day.  It is an interesting thing to look at as long as one keeps in mind that translating one language into another one can be very difficult:

 

And he is finishing Elchim in (the) day the seventh work of him which he did and he is ceasing

In (the) day the seventh from all of work of him which he did

And he is ceasing in (the) day the seventh from all of work him which he did

And he is blessing Elchim day of seventh and he is making holy him that in him

He ceased from all of work of him which he created Elohim to to do.

 

Credit = http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Hebrew_Index.htm)

 

EVIDENCE FROM HEBREW LINGUISTICS THAT THE SABBATH

WAS GIVEN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EXODUS 16

 

Evidence From Definite Vs. Indefinite Articles

 

An understanding of the linguistics of Exodus 16 is important to understanding that it is almost certain that this chapter, read in Hebrew by a Hebrew, would see that Moses was very careful to word his account of these events in such a way as to clarify that the Sabbath concept was being introduced for the first time in this passage.

 

In a language, an ARTICLE modifies a noun (the name of a person, place, or thing), making it either indefinite ("a" or "an") or definite ("the").  Unlike English, Hebrew does not have an indefinite article― just a definite article (Credit to www.hebrew4christians.com/grammar/grammatical_terms.)

 

The linguistic term ANARTHROUS means, in reference to a noun, that it does not have an article, definite or indefinite, before it (e.g. the Sabbath versus a Sabbath).

 

Nouns that do not have an article before them in Hebrew are generally translated into English with the indefinite artice (e.g. "a" or "an").  However, in the case where the anarthrous nouns are qualitative, the Hebrew noun is often translated without any article.  (Credit to www.hebrew4christians.com/Grammar/Grammatical_terms.)

 

In Hebrew, the occurrence of an anarthrous noun (one without any kind of an article before it) carries the significance that the whole idea is new. It is of great significance, then, that the Hebrew word for "Sabbath" in Exodus 16:23, Exodus 20:10, and Exodus 35:2-3  is articular in construction.

 

Additionally, there are only four places in the Pentateuch where this particular form of Hebrew word for Sabbath is found, again indicating that the noun is introducing a concept that is new.  In the three latter instances this anarthrous construction occurs within a formula (= Work six days, but on the seventh there is a rest.)  The combination of the anarthrous construction within a specified formula gives even more support for the probability that the intention of the Hebrew writer was to emphasize that the concept of the Sabbath was new. 

 

There is abundant scholarly recognition of these aspects of Hebrew linguistics which were researched by Harold H. P. Dressler, who was teaching Old Testament as Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Northwest Baptist Theological College in Vancouver, B.C. as of 1982.  His paper, "The Sabbath in the Old Testament" is one of the chapters in the book, From Sabbath to the Lord's Day (1982), edited by D.A. Carson.  Dressler, provided these scholarly references in footnote number 39, p. 37 in From Sabbath to the Lord's Day:

 

39The anarthrous construction carries significance (i.e. "The whole idea was new") as pointed out by G. Rawlinson, Exodus (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench & Co., 1906), p.52; A. Dillman, Die Bucher Exodus und Leviticus (Leipzig: S. Hitzel, 1897), p. 175; P Heinisch, Das Buch Exodus (Bonn: Hanstein, 1934), p. 133; G. Henton Davies, Exodus (London: SCM, 1967), p. 140. This construction of the word [Hebrew characters not renderable in our word processing program the particular form of the word Sabbath found in this passage] occurs only four times in the Pentateuch, Exodus 16:23; 20:10 (followed in v. 11 with an articular construction) and Exodus 35:2 (followed in v. 3 by an articular construction). In the latter three instances this construction occurs within a formula: "six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath . . ."  The anarthrous construction in Exodus 16:23,25 is unique and may, therefore, well signify the newness of an idea.

 

The www.bible.ca staff provides a linguistics study that provides even further evidence that the Sabbath was introduced for the first time in Exodus 16.  Combined with our understanding of the significance of the anarthrous construction of nouns in Hebrew, it is clear that the majority of the scholars who translate the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament into English have recognized this usage pattern of the Hebrew language for a very long time:

 

The first time any Jewish holy day is mentioned in scripture, it always lacks the definite article (a (Sabbath versus the indefinite the Sabbath, for example).

 

The Jewish holy days are never introduced the first time in Scripture with the definite article "the" but with the indefinite "a" or "an".

 

This powerful argument proves that the weekly Sabbath did not exist before Ex 16:23.

 

What makes it irrefutable is the fact that every Jewish Holy Day follows this same pattern!

 

FIRST TIME: tomorrow is a Sabbath: Ex 16:23

SUBSEQUENT MENTION:  the Lord has given you the Sabbath: Ex 16:29

 

FIRST TIME: A solemn rest "a" holy Sabbath: Ex. 16:25

SUBSEQUENT MENTION:  "the" Sabbath: Ex 20:11

SUBSEQUENT MENTION:  "the" Sabbath: Deuteronomy 5:12

 

FIRST TIME: "a" memorial: Lev. 12:30

SUBSEQUENT MENTION: afterward, "the" Lord's Passover

 

FIRST TIME; "an" holy convocation: Lev 23:21

SUBSEQUENT MENTION: "the" day of Pentecost: Acts 2:1

 

FIRST TIME; Unleavened bread: "a" feast: Ex 12:40

SUBSEQUENT MENTION: afterward, "the" feast: Lev. 23:6

 

FIRST MENTION: "an" altar Gen. 8:20

SUBSEQUENT MENTION: "the" altar: Gen. 8:20

 

Not all English translations follow this principle with 100% accuracy, however.  In Exodus 16 the NIV appears to supply the indefinite article correctly, whereas the King James Version does not.  Here is a comparison of the same passage in both translations:

 

NIV translation of Exodus 16:21-26:

 

     21Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers [b] for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: 'Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.' "

      24So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25"Eat it today," Moses said, "because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any."

 

King James translation of Exodus 16:21-26:

 

     21And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.  22And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.  23And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

     24And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.  25And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.  26Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

 

The Manna Obedience Test

 

J. N. Andrews, the most respected of the earliest Advent Movement scholars, theorized that some aspects of the "manna test" given to the Hebrews in the early verses of Exodus 16 suggest that the Israelites were already familiar with the Sabbath because God didn't seem to feel the need to explain His reason for the six days of work followed by one day of rest at that time.  This argument has a small degree of merit, and, therefore, is worthy of some consideration.  Our analysis of his manna argument resulted in these findings:

 

1.              There is no indication in the Exodus 16 verses to specifically suggest that the people were familiar with the Sabbath concept.

 

2.              The Hebrews had just come out of Egypt, which utilized a 10-day work week.  This is probably the reason why the word for Sabbath for the first time it is mentioned in Exodus 16 is the full form of the word, meaning "a sabbatical celebration, a holy sabbath (Dressler, "The Sabbath in the Old Testament," Chapter 2 in D.A. Carson (ed.), From Sabbath to Lord's Day).

 

3.              In Exodus 12, when God is explaining His instructions for the ordinance of the Passover, He does not mention the Sabbath Day when you would otherwise expect Him to do so, and He instructs them to continue preparing food on the seventh day of the Passover Week― a task forbidden by the Sabbath-keeping laws He gave them later:

 

 14 "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD -a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do. (NIV)

 

4.      Andrews says this chapter suggests that the Israelites were familiar with the work-six-days/rest-on-the- 7th-day pattern because they did not agitate for an explanation regarding it. This is an error of logic, as arguments from silence are among the weakest ones. To the contrary, if Exodus and 16 and Exodus 20 represent a review and re-emphasis of an existing ordinance, it would make little sense to think that the many Israelites who went out to gather manna on the seventh-day in full view of the entire camp would be willing to risk their lives to do so. The Sabbath laws required the death penalty for Israelites who gathered even wood on the 7th day.

 

5.  The wording of the passage suggests the test was a new one.  If the Sabbath was being kept between the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the manna, the Israelites would already know that they were not supposed to work on the 7th day, and they would surely understand that gathering manna, like picking up firewood, represented labor:

 

Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. -  Exodus 16:4

 

HEBREW LINGUISTICS AND THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT OF EXODUS 20

 

The Hebrew meaning indicators Moses used in his wording of Exodus 20 are complex and apparently require an intimate knowledge of the Hebrew language to identify.  Moses went out of his way to quote God's statement in such a way that his Hebrew readers would recognize that although the cultic Sabbath ordinance was modeled after the Creation week, the idea that the Sabbath ordinance was instituted at the time of Creation is contraindicated.  Unfortunately we cannot reproduce the Hebrew characters  as they are found in the printed book we are quoting.   Again we turn to the results of A.T. Lincoln's linguistic study:

 

The last clause of Exodus 20:11 gives the reason for the Mosaic institution and takes up the terminology of blessing and hallowing from Genesis 2:2-3, now specifically applying these terms to the "Sabbath" rather than the seventh day, and is not to be taken as implying that the seventh day of Genesis 2:3 was already the Sabbath set aside by God for humanity.  As H. H. P. Dressler points out, the present commandment is based on a previous event, and the significance of the Hebrew construction translated as "therefore", is crucial to this interpretation, as it often functions to connect causally an event in the past with a situation some time later.  In fact scholars often speak of an "etiology" when a present name or practice is explained on the basis of a previous event or story, and [the Hebrew word translated "therefore"] is one of the marks by which an etiology is recognized.  Exodus 20:11 indeed contains in addition to this introductory formula a further feature typical of an etiology—the word play between "the seventh day" and "the Sabbath day."  Such etiological passages, after the introductory "therefore" or "consequently now," can have the verb in the past tense without implying a strictly past meaning.  The presence of these features in Exodus 20:11 suggest that it too is to be seen as providing an explanation of a present institution, the Mosaic Sabbath, by reference to a past event, God's rest after the creation, utilizing the terminology of Genesis 2:3 and a play on words to make its point.  (D.A. Carson, From Sabbath to Lord's Day, p. 349)

 

Note that there are two Hebrew usage indicators which work together to clarify to the Hebrew reader that the new ordinance cannot be construed as having its original beginning at a time in the distant past.

 

CIRCUMCISION AND THE SABBATH ARE INSEPARABLY BOUND TOGETHER

 

Israel viewed the Law of Moses as one integrated, inseparable body of 613 equally important "covenant" laws.  You break one of these 613 laws, and you have broken them all, violating the covenant.  The Decalogue was only a part of the Law of Moses, and it was strikingly incomplete.  Take the 7th Commandment that proscribes adultery— a sexual relationship between a married person and someone of the opposite sex to whom he or she is not married.  The Decalogue section of the Law of Moses does not forbid sexual relationships between a man and a woman who are not married.  By the very definition of the word, adultery, two unmarried persons cannot possibly commit this sin.  Any attempt to say that adultery covers all sexual sins ignores the facts of the English language.  In English, fornication is the definition of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman who are not married.  Even more striking is that the Decalogue portion of the Law of Moses does not proscribe homosexual behavior or human sexual relations with animals.

 

Evidence of the interpretive restrictions imposed by the existence of the separate definitions of these English words is that God chose to cover these additional areas of sexual sins— fornication, homosexuality, and bestiality outside of the Decalogue "section" of the Law of Moses.  The Jews believed that all 613 of these laws were equally important.  Thus, when St. Paul says that circumcision is a token of bondage to the entire law, we are confronted with the principle that without the requirement for circumcision, there is no requirement for keeping the Sabbath.  Keep in mind that the abrogation of the Decalogue does not do away with the 7 moral laws God gave to all the peoples of the world, which the Jews speak of as the Noachian laws.  Here is what Paul said:

 

Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. (Galatians 5:3)

 

There is sufficient evidence that Gentile men who chose to locate within a Jewish community had to be circumcised if he wanted his family to be able to participate in any of the ordinances that God had given to Israel.  Before the Law of Moses was given at Mt. Sinai, God required the foreigner who wished to participate in the Passover to be circumcised:

 

"An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD's Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat of it." (Exodus 12:48)

 

In the Old Testament we see that Gentiles were only required to keep the Sabbath if they chose to unite with a Jewish community mentioned  as we see in this passage from Isaiah 56― a text which Sabbatarians like to use to demonstrate the perpetuity of the Sabbath:

 

3 Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say,

       "The LORD will surely exclude me from his people."

       And let not any eunuch complain,

       "I am only a dry tree."

 

 4 For this is what the LORD says:

       "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,

       who choose what pleases me

       and hold fast to my covenant-

 

 5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls

       a memorial and a name

       better than sons and daughters;

       I will give them an everlasting name

       that will not be cut off.

 

 6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD

       to serve him,

       to love the name of the LORD,

       and to worship him,

       all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it

       and who hold fast to my covenant-

 

 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain

       and give them joy in my house of prayer.

       Their burnt offerings and sacrifices

       will be accepted on my altar;

       for my house will be called

       a house of prayer for all nations."  (NIV)

 

In our study of the validity of Sabbatarianism, our interest is as much in how the Israelites viewed the concept of law and its relationship to the Sabbath as we are in the actual teachings of the Scripture regarding it.  What we do know is that by the time of the life and times of Jesus, the keeping of the Torah— the Law of Moses— was thought of to be for Jews only, and Gentiles were not welcome to participate it its ordinances unless they were circumcised. 

 

The Council of Jerusalem decided not to impose circumcision on the Gentile converts, thus ending the Sabbath question forever.  Bacchiocchi teaches that the exemption for circumcision was for the Gentiles only and was still required for the Jewish Christians.  (See Bacchiocchi's essay, "How Did Sabbath Keeping Begin," in the section titled, 'Attachment to the Law.')  If the issue involved here is truly a moral one, God could therefore not make a distinction between what Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians were required to do!  We are at a total loss to see why Dr. Bacchiocchi would suggest such an idea.  It is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches about God, Who is known not to be a "respecter of persons."

 

The biblical understanding of circumcision as taught in Scripture and Jewish rabbinical writings is close to absolute proof that Sabbath-keeping ended at the cross and was officially put to rest at the Council of Jerusalem.  The key to understanding Jewish thought regarding Gentiles and the Sabbath is based on the Jewish belief that the Sabbath was not given to Adam and Eve at the Creation.  Understanding their own Hebrew language, they clearly perceived that Moses worded his account of the events of the 7th day of Creation in such a way as to make certain they could not read a Sabbath commandment in what he said.

 

The Jews understood that the Sabbath commandment was given only to Israel.  The Jews recognized two different sets of laws― the Noachian laws― which were given to everyone at the beginning of the world, and the TORAH laws that were given to Israel at the time of the Exodus.  Please study these quotations from the Jewish Encyclopedia carefully:

 

The Seven Laws.

 

Laws which were supposed by the Rabbis to have been binding upon mankind at large even before the revelation at Sinai, and which are still binding upon non-Jews.  The term 'Noachian' indicates the universality of these ordinances, since the whole human race was supposed to be descended from the three sons of Noah, who alone survived the Flood.  Although only those laws which are found in the earlier chapters of the Pentateuch, before the record of the revelation at Sinai, should, it would seem, be binding upon all mankind, yet the Rabbis discarded some and, by hermeneutic rules or in accordance with some tradition (see Judah ha-Levi, "Cuzari," iii. 73), introduced others which are not found there.  Basing their views on the passage in Gen. ii. 16, they declared that the following six commandments were enjoined upon Adam: (1) not to worship idols; (2) not to blaspheme the name of God; (3) to establish courts of justice; (4) not to kill; (5) not to commit adultery; and (6) not to rob (Gen. R. xvi. 9, xxiv. 5; Cant. R. i. 16; comp. Seder Olam Rabbah, ed. Ratner, ch. v. and notes, Wilna, 1897; Maimonides, "Yad," Melakim, ix. 1).  A seventh commandment was added after the Flood—not to eat flesh that had been cut from a living animal (Gen. ix. 4).  Thus, the Talmud frequently speaks of "the seven laws of the sons of Noah," which were regarded as obligatory upon all mankind, in contradistinction to those that were binding upon Israelites only (Tosef., Ab. Zarah, ix. 4; Sanh. 56a et seq.).

 

He who observed the seven Noachian laws was regarded as a domiciled alien (Ab. Zarah 64b; see Proselyte), as one of the pious of the Gentiles, and was assured of a portion in the world to come (Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 1; Sanh. 105a; comp. ib. 91b; "Yad," l.c. viii. 11).

 

Here is a more extensive quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia which supports the concept that the Jews are very serious about their belief that the Sabbath was given to Israel alone.  This passage is particularly interesting because it has a direct bearing on the Sabbath question for Christians as viewed by the Jews (Jewish Encyclopedia, article, "Gentile," section "Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah"):

 

Resh Laish (d. 278) said, "A Gentile observing the Sabbath deserves death" (Sanh. 58b).  This refers to a Gentile who accepted the seven laws of the Noachidæ, inasmuch as "the Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel alone," and it was probably directed against the Christian Jews, who disregarded the Mosaic laws and yet at that time kept up the observance of the Jewish Sabbath. Rabbina, who lived about 150 years after the Christians had changed the day of rest to Sunday, could not quite understand the principle underlying Resh Laish's law, and, commenting upon it, added: "not even on Mondays [is the Gentile allowed to rest]"; intimating that the mandate given to the Noachidæ that "day and night shall not cease" (="have no rest ") should be taken in a literal sense (Gen. Viii. 22)— probably to discourage general idleness (ib. Rashi), or for the more plausible reason advanced by Maimonides, who says: "The principle is, one is not permitted to make innovations in religion or to create new commandments.  He has the privilege to become a true proselyte by accepting the whole Law" ("Yad," Melakim, x. 9). R. Emden [An unrenderable Hebrew symbol follows the word "Emden," ed. note] In a remarkable apology for Christianity contained in his appendix to Seder Olam (pp. 32b-34b, Hamburg, 1752), gives it as his opinion that the original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law— which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbath.

 

There are a number of concepts we can learn from a combination of Jewish traditional theology and the Bible which impact the Sabbath and its implications for Christians:

 

1.                                                                                                                                                                                       The Jews knew the Sabbath didn't begin at Creation.

 

2.                                                                                                                                                                                       The Jews believed the Sabbath was given to Israel and Israel alone.

 

3.                                                                                                                                                                                       The Jews, who are known to be excellent historians, knew that Christians abandoned the Sabbath almost immediately, and the most extreme of the rabbis in the early Christian era taught that Christians and others who kept the Sabbath should be put to death. (See page 33 for the comments of the Jewish Encyclopedia regarding.)

 

4.                                Similarly, the gateway to keeping the TORAH, even for an Israelite, was circumcision. Circumcision represents the bondage of an Israelite to the Torah.

 

5.                                The Sabbath was not part of Noachian Law.

 

6.                                God sent his prophets to rebuke many Gentile nations, but there is no record in the Bible that God ever rebuked them for Sabbath-breaking.

 

7.                                Jesus viewed both the Sabbath and circumcision to be ceremonial in nature.  He did not condemn the Jews for breaking the Sabbath to circumcise a child on the 8th day following his birth according to the laws of Moses:

 

John 7:21-23 (NIV)  Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. 22Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. 23Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?

 

8.                                The Weekly Sabbath is listed in Leviticus 23 as one of many ceremonial ordinances.

 

At the Council of Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was able to persuade the other Early Church leaders to avoid saddling the new Gentile converts with a burden that neither they nor their Jewish fathers were able to bear.  Once the decision was made not to require the Gentile converts to be circumcised, the Sabbath question was settled forever.  There was no chance for the Sabbath question to surface again without first reviving the requirement that Christians practice circumcision.  This understanding helps us to see why the requirement to keep the Jewish Sabbath was never indicated in any Scripture that post-dated this historic council.

 

The link between circumcision, the TORAH, and the Sabbath is clear. Acts 15:4 - Acts 15:5 (NIV):

 

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses.

 

Both Christians and Jews understood that TORAH law was designed to keep Jews and Gentiles separate.  The TORAH, with the Sabbath and its dietary laws, had to come to an end before the Gospel could include the Gentiles.  While it may not matter what day Christians choose to worship God, choosing to retain the Sabbath as a day of rest is like rebuilding the same wall of separation that cost God so much to tear down.  Here is how Paul talks about this concept in Ephesians Chapter 2:

 

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)― 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14For He himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. (NIV)

 

Jews and Christians can now eat together and worship together.  The barrier erected by the Jewish ordinances of the Sabbath, the Jewish dietary laws, and circumcision have been destroyed by what happened at the cross.

 

It should be clear, now, that the Adventist interpretation that only the "ceremonial" laws were nailed to the cross is not possible for a number of reasons.  The Sabbath was a ceremonial law designed to keep Israel and the Gentiles separate, and that barrier must come down if Jews and Gentiles are to be united in the Gospel.  The Old Testament, as well as Jewish traditional theology, views the TORAH as absolutely inseparable.

 

JESUS SAID THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN DOES

NOT MEAN IT WAS GIVEN TO ALL MANKIND (MARK 2:27)

 

Jesus' statement that the Sabbath was made for man looks like a possible defense for Sabbatarianism if you isolate the statement from everything else we know about the Bible.  The Sabbath did not begin in Eden.  It was given to the Jews as a sign to distinguish Israel from all the other peoples of the world.  Sabbath-keeping requires circumcision, which was given only to Israel.  The Jews have always believed that the Sabbath was given to Israel and Israel alone.  This statement of Jesus' is open to a degree of interpretation.  Yes, the Sabbath was "given" to "man", but at what time and under what circumstances?  A former member of The Worldwide Church of God explains why the Pharisees would have been very upset if they had interpreted Jesus' statement to mean that the Sabbath was given to all nations.  There is no indication in the Gospels that the Pharisees were upset by what Jesus said.  Here is an excellent commentary on this question from this former World Wide Church of God writer:

 

'THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN'

 

After the Pharisees criticized Jesus for allowing his disciples to pick some grain on the Sabbath day, Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).  Was he saying that God made the Sabbath for both Jews and gentiles—all human beings?

 

No, that was not the point.  Jesus did not say that the Sabbath was made for all people.  The Pharisees believed that the Sabbath was for Jews only.  If Jesus had said that the Sabbath was made for gentiles, it would have created another controversy.

 

The Pharisees were concerned about the behavior of the disciples, not the gentiles.  If Jesus responded by teaching that the Sabbath was made for everyone, it would have supported the Pharisees' concerns instead of refuting them.

 

The Pharisees were overestimating the importance of Sabbath restrictions.  Jesus responded to them not by expanding the Sabbath, but by reducing it.

 

We can see what Jesus meant by looking at the next phrase: "and not man for the Sabbath."  His point was that the Sabbath was made to serve people, instead of people being created to serve the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was a servant, not a master.  He was addressing the relative importance of the Sabbath, not which specific people were given the Sabbath.

 

We could just as easily say, "Circumcision was made for humans, not for angels."  This statement is true, but we should not focus on the first half as if it meant that circumcision was made for all humans.  It was given to Israel only, not the rest of the world.

 

Similarly, Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for humans, but he did not say, nor did he mean, that it was made for all humans.

 

Michael Morrison

 

You can reference this quotation at the following web address:  wcg.org/lit/law/sabbath/mark227.htm

 

Finally, turning to A. T. Lincoln's expertise on biblical languages once more, we find still additional understanding of this passage.  Since we are unable to render the Greek characters, I have adapted Lincoln's remarks to convey his meaning without the use of them:

 

One further text is often used to support the view that the Sabbath was a creation ordinance, namely Mark 2:27, which contains the saying of Jesus, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."  It is claimed that the [Greek] verb for 'was made' refers more naturally to the creation than to the giving of the law and that [the Greek word here for "man"; 'anthropos'] is generic in meaning and thus can include a reference back to the first man.  Suffice it to say that in its context Mark 2:27 simply does not have such notions in view.  The words of Jesus point to the purpose of the Sabbath— it was brought into being by God for a person's benefit.  Neither the temporal origin of the Sabbath nor its scope are relevant to this saying achieving its intended effect. (D.A. Carson, ed., From Saturday to Lord's Day, p. 349,350)

 

Bill Hohmann has just completed a thorough study of this passage for his own new book, Christianity 101, and we are pleased to incorporate this research in the second and third editions of Lying For God.   His work assists the Christian reader to understand how the failure to apply the basic principles of logic to a study of the Bible can result in interpretations that send Christians off on a tangent.  You can read his entire book at Robert K. Sander's web-site, www.truthorfables.com.  The following is from Chapter Six, "Methods of Deception:"

 

EISEGESIS (A.K.A. PROOF TEXTING)

 

This is the practice of taking a passage of Scripture out of context, and focusing on it in such a way as to conclude something beyond the scope of the context. For example, Sabbatarian legalists are fond of quoting Mark 2:27:

 

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

 

The context was about Jesus explaining to the Pharisees that the "man" was not made or created for the Sabbath, but rather the Sabbath was made for the man, seeing as the mindset of the Jews and especially the Pharisees was one of a strict and burdensome interpretation and application of the sabbath commandment.  To conclude though that the "man" in this instance is to be interpreted to mean all of mankind is to take this way beyond the scope of what was being discussed.  What "man" was given the sabbath and required to keep it?  The Israelites via a covenant between them and God.  To interpret anthropos as being all of humanity in this example is to be sloppy in one's scholarship.  But when you are trying to "prove" a false belief, anything goes, and careful scholarship is the first thing to suffer.  In response, I point this out:

 

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. — Matthew 10:22

 

All men would rightly include other Christian believers, would it not?  But the Sabbatarian attempts to ignore the obvious by insisting "men" is not in the passage; that "men" is implied.  Fair enough then.  If men is implied, then who are these "all;" all animals?  Who or what has the ability to hate?  Other people; all of them.  So is "all" all inclusive here, or not?  Or, is the Sabbatarian legalist going to resort to Clintonian semantics now?

 

If anthropos is going to be understood in Mark 2:27 as meaning all mankind, then shouldn't we apply the same standard to the word "all" here?

 

What we also need to do is examine how the writer, in this case Mark, uses the same word "man" (anthropos) in the gospel of Mark in order to establish whether Mark always uses the word to mean "all mankind."

 

In that same passage, Mark relates that Jesus used the term: "Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."

 

The word "man" here is the same anthropos.  Is the "Son of man" literally the son of all mankind?  No. The word "man" here is used in a more figurative sense.  Already we can see that anthropos as used by Mark, does not always mean "all mankind" as the Sabbatarian insists.

 

Mark 3:1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

 

The word "man" here is anthropos.  Again, does the word mean "all mankind?"  No, for not all mankind was standing there with withered hands.  Mark is referring to just one man.

 

The word anthropos is not a rigid word.  It can mean anything from a single man, to a man or men in general.  To assign to it arbitrarily the meaning of all mankind simply because it is in line with one's theological beliefs is scholastically dishonest.  It is poor and lazy scholarship.

 

The context of Mark chapter two in regards to this example shows the duplicitous way the entire passage is used by those who are deceived.  The Pharisees claim Jesus' disciples were doing that which was illegal to do on the Sabbath; picking grain to eat.  The Sabbatarian insists this was not unlawful, thereby ignoring the context even more so.  They claim that picking and eating grain on a Sabbath was one of the many added restrictions to the law the Pharisees were renowned for, yet Jesus does not dispute their claim regarding the legality of the claim.  It was indeed against the law to pick the grain, even as it was unlawful for David to eat the showbread.  To cover up this flaw in logic and reason, the Sabbatarian often resorts to the excuse of the rights of kings, yet David was not at that time king, and the law did not provide a king with special privileges.  All were treated equally under the law.  This in itself is an example of using one falsehood to prop up another falsehood.

 

It was illegal for the Israelites to go out and attempt to gather manna on a Sabbath, even though there was no manna available on a Sabbath.  It was illegal to go out and gather sticks.  The flawed logic of the Sabbatarian would have us believe that to go out into a field to gather grain to eat was not a violation of the Sabbath Commandment, yet trying to go out to gather manna to eat, that wasn't even there, was a violation!

 

Let us recap. The Sabbatarian quotes Mark 2:27 and makes the claim that "man" means all of mankind, and further concludes all mankind is therefore required to keep the Sabbath, thereby treating the passage eisegetically.

 

By using just some of the methods of proper scholarship, we have determined the claims to be false, for the premise that anthropos means "all mankind" is shown to be false based upon the further writings by the same author.  We also recognize the passage as being used eisegetically by the Sabbatarian, and eisegesis is not a proper method of scholarship.  It is one of the many methods employed in deceptions and falsehoods.

 

The context of Scripture shows that only the Israelites were required to "keep the Sabbath" and that the Sabbath was the sign between God and Israel in relation to their covenant.  We can find no example of anyone prior to Sinai keeping the Sabbath, nor do we find any example of anyone else being commanded to keep the Sabbath, let alone all mankind.  The claim by Sabbatarians that the Sabbath was instituted at Creation is but another example of attempting to prop up one false belief with another false belief.  The seventh day may well have been established as the last day in a seven day weekly cycle, but there is no evidence of Adam and Eve being commanded to rest on that day, or anyone else until Sinai.  It was God who rested on that seventh day of creation, and not Adam and Eve.  The first man and woman did not work the previous six days; God did.  Adam and Eve were created the day before that seventh day.  Strange, don't you think, that Sabbatarians would insist the sabbath day rest was instituted at Creation for all mankind when neither Adam and Eve had been working?

 

You can access Bill's book at http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/ or www.truthorfables.com.

 

There is evidence from Jewish thought, including something Jesus said Himself, that strongly suggests that Jesus intended that His statement that the Sabbath was made for "man" be interpreted as made for Israel.  As we have noted earlier in our discussion of Mark 2:27-28, the Jews would have been very angry with Jesus if He had suggested that the Sabbath was made for everyone.  The Jews thought of and referred to the Gentiles as "dogs" or wild animals.  Jesus revealed the existence of this tragic Jewish attitude in his effort to teach his disciples that God loved even the heathen people of the world in the way he worded His statements in regard to the incident of the healing of the possessed child of the Phoenician woman.  She remarked to Jesus, as you will remember, that even the dogs are allowed to eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table, and Jesus healed her child as a result of that humble, faithful plea in the presence of his disciples.

 

Here is an eye-opening insight from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible.  John Gill preached in the same church as Charles Spurgeon 100 years earlier, and his work is in the public domain.  He quotes the medieval Jewish Torah scholar, Moses Maimonides (1135 to 1204 A.D.):

 

Mark 2:27

 

And he said unto them

Continuing his answer to them, and adding, in confirmation of what he had said, and for the further vindication of his disciples,

 

the sabbath was made for man;

 

for his good, and not for his hurt; both for the good of his soul, that he might have an opportunity of attending divine worship, both in public and private; and for the good of his body, that he might have rest from his labour; and this was the end of the original institution and appointment of it; and therefore works of necessity are not forbidden on this day; such as are for the necessary comfort, support, and preservation of life; or otherwise it would be apparent, that the sabbath was not appointed for the good, but for the hurt of men.  By "man", is not meant all mankind; for the sabbath was never appointed for all mankind, nor binding upon all; only the Jews, who are emphatically called "man", or "men"; see ( Ezekiel 34:30 Ezekiel 34:31 ) ,upon which the Jewish writers remark that "they are called (Mda), "man"; but the idolatrous Gentiles, and nations of the World, are not called "men";" but dogs, beasts Our Lord may here be thought to speak in their language, as he does in Mt. 15:26, (See Gill on Matthew 15:26).  And that the observation of the seventh day, was only designed for the children of Israel, seems manifest from ( Exodus 31:16 Exodus 31:17 ), "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"; and not between him and the rest of the world:  and in ( Exodus 31:14 ), "ye shall keep the sabbath, for it is holy unto you":  on which the Jews F16 make this remark, (Nymme) (ravl alw Mkl) , "to you, and not to the rest of the nations":  nor did they ever think that the Gentiles were obliged to observe their sabbath, only such who became proselytes to their religion; even those who were proselytes of righteousness: for a proselyte of the gate, was not bound to observe it; for so says F17 Maimonides,

 

"those who take upon them the seven commandments of Noah only, lo! they are as a proselyte of the gate, and they are free to do work on the sabbath day for themselves, openly, as an Israelite on a common day.''

 

Yea, they not only say, they were not obliged to keep the sabbath, but that it was not lawful for them to observe it; and that it was even punishable with death them to regard it; for so they say F18,

"a Gentile that keeps the sabbath before he is circumcised, is guilty of death, because it is not commanded him.''

 

They judged them unworthy of having this precept enjoined them, as being not men, but beasts, and worse than they, and had not the privilege the ass has: hence one of their commentators F19 says,

 

``concerning the rest of an ass, thou (O Israelite!) art commanded; but concerning the rest of a Gentile, thou art not commanded.''

 

And not man for the sabbath; who was in being long before that was appointed and enjoined.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FOOTNOTES:

 

F15 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 114. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 35. 4.

F16 Zohar in Exod. fol. 26. 4.

F17 Hilchot Sabbat, c. 20. sect. 14.

F18 Debarim Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 234. 4.

F19 Bartenora in Misn. Sabbat, c. 24. sect. 1.

< Mark 2:26 Mark 2:28 >

 

This account of Jesus' encounter with the Canaanite woman illustrates the fact that the Jews of Christ's day referred to the Gentiles as dogs:

 

 21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."  23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."  24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."  25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.  26He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."  27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."  28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

 

             Matthew 15:21-28 (NIV, Bible Gateway.Com)

 

An extremely conservative apologist for Adventism has proposed the theory that the Hebrew article preceding the word for "man" in the Creation story is a definite article and that the Greek article preceding the word Mark used in the Greek in Mark 2:27-28 for "man" is also a definite article.  He asserts that the use of a definite article in both cases proves that Jesus meant that the Sabbath was given to all the people of the world.  This is an interesting theory because the languages are different, and to our knowledge there is no difficult-to-translate meaning "indicator" convention in either language that provides that when a definite article is used before a noun, it makes the noun mean "all."  What is useful to observe is how NT writers in the Greek were careful to designate when ALL was intended.  An entry at the Resurgence 2.0 web-site by contributor Arnold Gamboa explains:

 

This dispute with the Pharisees arose not over the question of who was supposed to keep the Sabbath, but rather over how the Sabbath was to be kept and who had the authority to determine how the law was to be applied.  The SDA belief that here Jesus is teaching that all mankind must keep the 7th day Sabbath is not found in the text.  Jesus and the Pharisees knew that the Sabbath was only for the Jews.  Neither Jesus nor the Pharisees were concerned with the question of who must keep the Sabbath.  Such a concern is limited to the SDA church and other sabbatarians.  Let us note that in the text it does not say "all mankind" but just "man".  Compare this fact with other universal text found in the New Testament and you will see a marked difference. "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).  "I will pour out a portion of my spirit on all mankind" (Acts 2:17). "...for he wants all men to be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4).  "The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all men" (Titus 2:11).  These universal texts contain the word "all" that is missing from Mark 2:27.  The reason for this is that Mark 2:27 is not a universal text.  It refers to the Jews only.  This interpretation is in complete harmony with the rest of Scripture (see Exodus 16:22-23; 20:8-11; 31:16-17; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Nehemiah 9:13-14; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).

 

http://arnold.gamboa.ph/2010/01/reading-into-mark-227-the-most-common-adventist-error-on-defending-the-sabbath/

 

THE DECALOGUE HAS A CEREMONIAL COMPONENT MODELED AFTER

THE TREATIES OF THE NATIONS AROUND ISRAEL AT THE TIME

 

Robert Brinsmead's intense research prior to the publication of his 1981 essay, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined," uncovered the fact that the 10 Commandments were modeled after the Hittite treaties of the time.  (See "Law and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East," George E. Mendenhall, 1954; and "The Two Tables of the Covenant," Meridith Kline,Westminster Theological Journal 22 (1960) 133-46, both available on the Web).  Brinsmead says:

 

The ceremonial nature of the Sabbath law has been confirmed by Mendenhall's 1954 discovery that the Ten Commandments conform to the structure of treaties between Hittite kings and their vassals.  Annexed to the stipulations of a Hittite treaty was a provision for a periodic ceremony to rehearse the treaty between the lord and the vassal. Meredith Kline beautifully demonstrates that the Sabbath law in the middle of the Ten Commandments is the counterpart of a Hittite treaty memorial celebration with respect to its provision for the rehearsal of God's covenant.  The Sabbath law, therefore, was a law requiring a ceremony of covenantal rehearsal. 

 

The evidence is that the Sabbath was a ceremonial rite given to Israel to help the Chosen People remember that God was the One responsible for bringing them out of the slavery of Egypt into the rest and freedom that having their own nation provided.  It would be so very much like God to communicate His plan for them in the context of their contemporary culture because the people could understand this concept more easily.  Moses, in Leviticus 23, lists the weekly Sabbath as one of the many ceremonial festivals given to the Israelite nation to be observed, labeling them "appointed feasts."  The evidence in this section combines with the fact that a study of the Hebrew linguistics of the Creation Story proves that God did not give the Sabbath commandment to the people of the world in the Garden of Eden.

 

NEW TESTAMENT AND EARLY CHURCH HISTORY OFFER

NO SUPPORT FOR SABBATH-KEEPING AFTER THE CROSS

 

It is interesting to note that in discussions of right and wrong for Christians, the New Testament writers comment about sins that are related to all of the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue with the exception of the 4th Commandment—the Sabbath.  While arguments from silence are among the weakest form of evidence and fail to qualify as "proof," taken alone, this is still a most interesting observation.  Combine this fact with everything else we now know about the Sabbath from biblical concepts, and its significance is very great for the Jews.  In fact Israelites who deliberately broke the Sabbath were, in some cases, to be stoned.

 

It is entirely reasonable to suppose that if Sabbatarianism were to be true, the new Gentile converts coming into the Church would have needed some kind of official guidance in regard to the Sabbath.  Many Gentile converts had attended the Jewish synagogues where Paul had preached and had a degree of familiarity with the Sabbath concept already.  However, many other Gentile converts came directly out of heathenism.  The apostles, and especially Paul, gave them instructions in almost everything else, including whether or not they could eat meat sacrificed to idols.  Paul instructed Christians not to use their freedom from the LAW to fall into sin, and in one passage he gives a list of 23 examples of the kind of sins that a person who lives by the Spirit will not commit.  As in every New Testament case where a mention of the sin of Sabbath-breaking would be anticipated, Paul does not mentioned the "sin" of Sabbath breaking in this list.  The emphasis of the true Gospel of Jesus, as articulated by the Apostle Paul, is that Christians are not guided by principles of any set of laws, but rather by the Holy Spirit in the heart.

 

Without exception, every time the New Testament mentions Christians getting together as Christians, they met on the first day of the week― never on the Jewish Sabbath.

 

Christians went to the Jewish synagogues to witness to their Jewish brethren that Jesus was the Messiah.  There is no indication they went there for any other purpose.

 

Sabbatarians teach that the reference to "The Lord's Day" in the Book of Revelation is a reference to the Sabbath (See Rev. 1:9.).  However, this concept is not in keeping with linguistics and word usage studies.  There is abundant evidence that the term "The Lord's Day" was consistently a reference to Sunday, the first day of the week.  In regard to the Sabbatarian idea that it was a reference to the Jewish Sabbath, Wikipedia has this to say in the article, "The Lord's Day:"

 

Some seventh-day Sabbatarian writers have argued that because Jesus identified himself as "Lord even of the Sabbath day" (cf. Matt. 12:8), kyriake hemera in Rev. 1:10 should be interpreted as a reference to seventh-day Sabbath.  However, in almost every other instance where kyriake hemera or kyriake is used, the unambiguous meaning is Sunday, but there are no early witnesses to the use of kyriake hemera as a name for Saturday.

 

The Wikipedia article does not provide an authoritative citation for this fact.  Notice, however, that the researchers at the Encyclopedia Britannica have concluded that the reference to the Lord's Day in Revelation is to Sunday and that the Lord's Day is to be equated with Sunday (See the Encyclopedia Britannica's Web entry for "Lord's Day."):

 

First day of the week; in Christianity, the Lord's Day, the weekly memorial of Jesus Christ's Resurrection from the dead.  The practice of Christians gathering together for worship on Sunday dates back to apostolic times, but details of the actual development of the custom are not clear. Before the end of the 1st century ad, the author of Revelation gave the first day its name of the "Lord's Day" (Rev. 1:10). Saint Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165), philosopher and defender of the Christian faith, in his writings described the Christians gathered together for worship on the Lord's Day: the gospels or the Old Testament was read, the presiding minister preached a sermon, and the group prayed together and celebrated the Lord's Supper.

 

A "Sabbath" (Gr. sabbatismos; "God's rest") is mentioned in Hebrews 4 to explain the rest that Christians find in the freedom of the Gospel.  The apostles went to the synagogues to witness to the Jews on Sabbaths.  However, when there is a reference to Christians meeting with other Christians, their meetings always occur on Sunday.

 

Sabbatarians point to the fact that Jesus kept the Sabbath, and He is our Example.  Jesus had chosen to live under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant at that time.  The TORAH had not been nailed to the Cross.  Jesus didn't marry and he raised the dead.  Are we to follow Jesus' example in these things also?  If He had wanted Christians to keep the Sabbath, He would not have instructed Paul, through the Holy Spirit, to write Colossians 2:14-17, which forbids the enforcement of Sabbath-keeping on the Gentile converts.  Greg Taylor in his book, Discovering the New Covenant: Why I Am No Longer a Seventh-day Adventist, makes an excellent case that Jesus was preparing His followers for Colossians 2:14-17 by breaking the Sabbath Himself and citing examples of others who had broken the Sabbath and also were guiltless.

 

Although there was not much that could be added to D.M. Canright's exhaustive research on the pagan sun worship idea, additional discoveries were made, and none of them favorable to Ellen White's apostasy theory.  By the 1960's it had become very clear that the Heathen did not rest from work on Sunday.  One historian put it this way:

 

 "In the early centuries of the Church's history down to the time of the Emperor Constantine it would, in any case, not have been practical for Christians to observe Sunday as a day of rest, on which they were obliged, for the sake of principle, to abstain from work. The reason for this was simply that no one in the entire Roman Empire, neither Jews, nor Greeks, nor Romans, stopped work on Sunday" (Willy Rordorf, Sunday: The History of the Day of Rest and Worship in the Earliest Centuries of the Christian Church, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1968, pp. 154-155).

 

Pliny's famous Letter to Trajan (c. A.D. 111-112) is also clear evidence that early Christians had no free day of rest.  They met for worship early in the morning (probably on the first day of the week), and then they went to work.  (See Bruce, New Testament History, pp. 423-24.) 

 

ISAIAH 66 AND THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM ARGUMENTS DON'T HOLD WATER

 

Adventists cite Isaiah 66 as proof that the Sabbath will be kept in Heaven.  See the excellent study on the Sabbath by Robert K. Sanders in Appendix I for a good treatment of the serious problems with this interpretation.  While there may be more than one way to interpret this passage, it cannot mean that the Sabbath will be kept in the New Earth.  What about all the dead bodies lying on the ground?  What about the fact that this passage, if it could be interpreted in this manner, would also indicate that the annual and monthly sabbath feast days would also be kept there?  Even from an Adventist perspective, Seventh-day Adventists believe that all the ceremonial laws were nailed to the cross, and the annual and monthly sabbath feast days are viewed by Adventists as ceremonial.  Furthermore, their Church prophetess, Ellen White, said that God showed her that all the ceremonial parts of the law were nailed to the cross. 

 

Additionally, Adventists cite the fact that Jesus instructed his disciples to pray that the future siege of Jerusalem would not take place on the Sabbath day, thus "proving" that the Sabbath should be kept way into the future.  This argument does not stand up to scrutiny.  Jewish law required that the gates of Jerusalem be closed for the duration of the Sabbath.  Whether or not the Jews were doing this at the time Jesus spoke these words is not particularly important, and it was an action of the Jews— not the Christians— that determined whether the gates were open or closed.  The gates were supposed to be locked for the duration of the Sabbath, and if those gates were locked, His followers would find escape from the city much more difficult than if the gates were open.

 

THE TORAH WAS TO BE TEMPORARY:  THE EXODUS TO THE CROSS

 

As we studied earlier, an interpretation of Moses' account of the events of the 7th day of Creation in Hebrew shows that he went out of his way to indicate to his Hebrew readers that the recurring Sabbath rest did not start in Eden.  None of the patriarchs kept the Sabbath, and they are eternally saved.  Why, then, is it so difficult to understand the concept that Christians are not required to keep it now?

 

Moses stated that the Covenant was not given before Sinai: Their fathers prior to Egypt did not keep the Sabbath: Deut. 5:2-3:

 

"The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today." 

 

God gave them the Sabbath law at Sinai. He did not remind them about it: Nehemiah 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."   

 

It is clear that the Sabbath command did not exist before the Exodus.

 

In other chapters we will study more about the temporary nature of the TORAH.  Colossians 2:14-17 tells us when the reign of TORAH law ended.

 

COLOSSIANS 2:14-17 MEANS EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS

 

In the 1895 version of Replies to Canright, we have proof that Adventist leaders of his time knew that they could not substantiate their arguments against what he said about Colossians 2:14-17.  This book quotes the following passage from Canright's book.  Instead of addressing his key argument at his foundational point, they show that just a year or two earlier, he argued in favor of a Sabbatarian interpretation of this key passage.  They list his own arguments for a Sabbatarian-friendly reading of the passage and attempt to make him appear to flip-flop back and forth to prove that his thinking is inconsistent.  Here is a portion of what Canright said about Colossians 2:14-17.  His basic premise is not addressed by his critics:

 

"But it is argued that as 'the sabbath days' of Col.2:16 'are a shadow of things to come' (verse 17), and the weekly Sabbath is a memorial of creation, pointing back to the beginning, therefore they cannot be the same; for the Sabbath could not point both ways.  But is not this a mere assertion without any proof?  How do we know that it cannot point both ways?  The Passover was a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt, and always pointed back to that event.  Ex.12:11-17.  Yet it was also a shadow of Christ.  Col.2:16,17.  'Even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.'  1Cor.5:7.  So all those annual feasts were types of Christ in some way, and yet all were memorials also of past events, as all know.... Paul says plainly that sabbath days are a shadow of things to come; and one plain statement of Inspiration is worth a thousand of our vain reasonings.  This is in harmony with Paul's argument in Heb.4:1-11, that the seventh day is a type.  For forty years we have tried to explain away this text, and to show that it really cannot mean what it says; but there it stands, and mocks all our theories.  The Sabbath is a type, for Inspiration says so." Canright in Advocate of Oct. 1, 1887.

 

Looking back at the Canright Sabbath Crisis of 1888-1889, it is compelling to note that Canright knew all the cheap arguments that he had used himself in arguing for the Sabbath; saw that they were cheap, and was willing to face the truth that he had been wrong.  Since Canright had been a top leader of the Adventist Movement, he was in a better position to know the struggles the Church had experienced in trying to explain away this devastating anti-Sabbatarian passage of Scripture.  His terse comments are proof that early Adventist leaders knew there was a serious problem with the text and knew they did not have any satisfactory answers for it.

 

By leaving the employment of the Church, Canright was able to practice his more orthodox version of Christianity without any further fear of being terminated for his convictions.  The unwillingness of other, less noble, Adventist leaders has plagued Adventism from its very beginning.  Here is what we now know about the impossibilities of the traditional Adventist defense of Colossians 2:14-17. We are not suggesting that Canright knew all of these arguments.  He knew most of them.  They are the facts as we know them today, which have been researched from the time of Canright down to our own time:

 

Sabbatarians attempt to discredit the fact that the third reference in the passage is a reference to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue by saying that Paul used the plural form of the word, which would signify it was one of the other kind of ceremonial sabbaths.  This attempt to evade the plain meaning of the passage doesn't work because there are about 20 other places in Scripture where the plural form of the word Sabbath, Sabbaton, is used where context demands the meaning be the weekly Sabbath.  The Greeks didn't have the same concern over plural versus singular forms of words that is found in the English language.

 

The sentence structure FESTIVAL, NEW MOON, SABBATH is a phrase used in the Hebrew to imply the three aspects of Jewish festival structure and designates the order of ANNUAL, MONTHLY, WEEKLY.  This same annual, monthly and weekly sequence appears five times in the Septuagint― i.e., 2 Chron. 2:4; 31:3; Neh. 10:33; Ezek. 45:17; Hosea 2:11.  All through the history of the Israelites we have annual Sabbaths, monthly sabbaths, and weekly Sabbaths.  If the word Sabbath as translated here means monthly sabbaths, the sentence would read, "Annual sabbaths, monthly sabbaths, and monthly sabbaths."  If it were an annual sabbath Paul meant here, the sentence would read, "Annual sabbaths, monthly sabbaths, and annual sabbaths.

 

Whenever the Old Testament links the New Moon celebration with the Sabbath, as in Colossians 2:16, it is referring to the weekly Sabbath (2 Kings 4:23, 1 Chron. 23:31, 2 Chron. 2:4; Neh. 10:33; Isa.. 1:13; 66:23; Ezek. 45:17; 46.1: Hosea 2:11: Amos 8:5).

 

In the Old Testament, annual Sabbaths are always called "a Sabbath of rest" in the Septuagint.  This Greek version of the Old Testament always, or nearly always, translates this as Sabbata Sabbaton― not simply Sabbaton― as here in Colossians 2:14-17.

 

Paul clearly states that these four things ―diet, annual feasts, monthly feasts, and the weekly Sabbath― are not to be made a test of Christian belief and practice because they are merely shadows of things that were to come, whereas Christ is the Reality.  To try to salvage Sabbatarianism, the Adventists say that Paul could not possibly have meant a weekly Sabbath here because the Sabbath was a memorial pointing backwards to Creation.  This SDA approach fails miserably because the most significant Jewish memorials pointed both backward and forward at the same time.  In Colossians, prior to this passage, Paul refers to Adam as a symbol of Christ.  In fact it is possible that all the major Jewish ordinances point both backward and forward at the same time.

 

Paul was a Jew, and the Jews, for thousands of years, have used the Sabbath as a symbol of the rest that will come in the after-life.  This fact is well-documented in Jewish literature, both ancient and modern.

 

Since the Jews viewed the TORAH as 613 equally important, inseparable laws, it is impossible that St. Paul meant that only the "ceremonial" laws were nailed to the cross.  Before Dr. Bacchiocchi, Adventists taught that if the Sabbath mentioned by Paul in Colossians 2:14-17 was a reference to the weekly Sabbath, it was different than the other items in Paul's list of several Jewish ordinances because it was an eternal, moral principle.  Note that Dr. Bacchiocchi refused to use this argument because the Jewish concept of the inseparability of TORAH law will not permit it, and the sentence structure of the passage requires that the Sabbath mentioned in the list is the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue. 

 

Now read this passage again with the understanding that the Sabbath referenced in this text cannot be anything else but the weekly Sabbath.  The text is from the NIV:

 

Colossians 2:16-17 - Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

 

A deeper study of Colossians 2:14-17, reviewing these principles in greater detail, will be covered in Chapters  XI and XII.  We will also study two other anti-Sabbatarian passages from the writings of St. Paul.

 

HEBREWS FOUR CAN NOT BE USED TO SUPPORT SABBATARIAN THEOLOGY

 

If you use circular reasoning to assume Sabbatarianism to be true, Hebrews Chapter 4 looks, on the surface, like a great proof-text to use in defense of the Sabbath.  However, a careful analysis of Hebrews 1-11, using the most elementary principles of literary interpretation, reveals that the author of this book is using the Sabbath rest as a symbol of the rest that the Christian finds in the Gospel.  It is also interesting to note that the writer's emphasis on the events of the 7th day of Creation is what God did— not what Man was supposed to do.  A thoughtful analysis of this passage clearly demonstrates that the Sabbath is used here as a symbol of the rest the Gospel brings to the Christian through the Gospel's assurance of salvation as taught by the author of Hebrews.  (While many biblical scholars think Paul may have written this book, there is no proof that he did, and some scholars point out some style characteristics of this book that do not seem characteristic of him.)  Read this passage carefully, paying special attention to the symbolism utilized by the writer.  This text has nothing to do with proof that Christians are still required to keep the Sabbath:

 

1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'  And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." 5And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:  "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.  (NIV-Bible www.Gateway.com )

 

Despite the fact that God gave Israel the Sabbath, they never enjoyed the rest that God had intended for them because of their unbelief.  By contrast, the belief of the Christian in the assurance of salvation they find in Jesus provides the rest that God intended Israel to have.  This text says nothing that can be construed to support the requirement that Christians observe the ceremony of the weekly Sabbath.

 

MATTHEW 5:17-19 CAN NOT BE USED TO SUPPORT THE SABBATH

 

Both Sabbatarians and their anti-Sabbatarian antagonists try to use Matthew 5:17-19 to support their points of view.  My assessment of this situation suggests that it is impossible for Sabbatarians to use it for their purposes and next-to-impossible for anti-Sabbatarians to use it.  This passage says nothing definite about the Sabbath question.  According to Paul Kroll (Worldwide Church of God member), the original Greek text for this passage is very difficult to translate into English:

 

17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."  (Matt 5:17-18 NIV)

 

Sabbatarians say this text proves that the 10 Commandments will last until Heaven and Earth disappear, which takes the end of the Law and the Prophets to way beyond the cross.  Since the Sabbath is a part of the 10 Commandments, this passage supposedly teaches that the Sabbath was not nailed to the cross and its observance is required of Christians today.

 

This meaning is impossible because the law set here is the TORAH, the entire set of the books of Moses, and it contains 613 moral and ceremonial laws which the Jews would never think could be divided.  If none of these laws were nailed to the cross, Christians would have to do ceremonial washings and keep all the Jewish feasts.

 

Paul Kroll explains the problem and possible solutions in the following Internet article, "The 'Law' of Matthew 5:17-19."  A Google search will provide you with access to the entire paper, which is well-worth reading:

 

The meaning of "until everything is accomplished" has several possibilities. It is suggested by the Tyndale New Testament Commentary that the translation: "Until what it [the Law] looks forward to arrives" gives the best sense of this phrase. This links the thought with the idea of "fulfillment" in verse 17. This also seems to be the thrust of Paul's comments regarding the relationship of the Law and Jesus' earthly ministry (Galatians 3:19, 23-25).

 

The Tyndale New Testament Commentary expresses the interpretation of "accomplished" in these words:

 

"The law remains valid until it reaches its intended culmination; this it is now doing in the ministry and teaching of Jesus.  This verse does not state, therefore, as it is sometimes interpreted, that every regulation in the Old Testament law remains binding after the coming of Jesus.  The law is unalterable, but that does not justify its application beyond the purpose for which it was intended" (page 115).

 

The Tyndale commentary also makes the same point in these words:

 

"This passage does not therefore state that every Old Testament regulation is eternally valid.  This view is not found anywhere in the New Testament, which consistently sees Jesus as introducing a new situation, for which the law prepared (Galatians 3:24), but which now transcends it.  The focus is now on Jesus and his teaching, and in this light the validity of Old Testament rules must now be examined.  Some will be found to have fulfilled their role, and be no longer applicable...others will be reinterpreted" (page 117).

 

This explanation must be the correct one, or else the early Christian church and the apostles violated Matthew 5:17-19 by telling gentile Christians that circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses was not necessary.  The book of Galatians would also have been in error on this point.  And the book of Hebrews would have been in extraordinary violation of Jesus' words, too, since it states that the entire sacrificial system, the temple worship and Levitical priesthood had been annulled.

 

St. Paul said that Christ is the end of TORAH law:  Rom.10:4 (NIV):  "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."  Under the New Covenant, the "law" is written on the hearts of the people.

 

Bill Hohmann offers the following observation in his new blog-based book, Christian Basics,Chapter 5, "Methodology of Truth:"

 

One of the Sabbatarian Legalist's favorite passages is Matthew 5:17-19 where it is concluded that the legalities of the law remain inviolate even down to the strokes of the letters of the law.  Even a cursory examination of the passage shows this interpretation to be flawed.  The context of what Jesus was referring to was the law and prophets.  In this context it should be understood that this refers to the first 5 books, commonly called "the law" and the writings of the prophets being "the prophets" as well as the context of Scripture overall.  Sometimes the term, "the law" could indeed refer to the entirety of the old testament writings.

 

What then is found in both the law and prophets that has the potential to be fulfilled or destroyed? Prophesies.  Did Jesus state He had come to fulfill the prophesies that were written about Him in the law and prophets, i.e. the old testament writings?  Yes, He most emphatically did.

 

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. - Luke 24:44

 

What then is the excuse of the legalist for rejecting this explanation in light of Matthew 5:17?  They point out that Jesus did not fulfill everything while He walked the earth in human form.  Well then, what do they think the very next verse addresses?  Things that were not fulfilled prophetically that are escatalogical in nature that will be fulfilled at that time, before heaven and earth pass away.

 

Let's humor the legalist a bit here, seeing as they insist this is about the legalities of the law.  When then is the conclusion in regards to verse 18? When heaven and earth passes, so to passes this law after it is "filled to the full."  So the law passes away; the same law they claim is eternal.  Also, if this is all about the legalities of the law being inviolate down to jots and tittles, what about the context of the same chapter where Jesus proceeds to alter points of that law way beyond jots and tittles, and even negating points of law?

 

http://asbereansdid.blogspot.com/2010/06/chapter-5-methodology-of-truth.html

 

 

 

BIBLE PROPHECY CAN NOT BE USED TO SUPPORT

THE IDEA THAT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

WAS DESTINED TO CHANGE THE SABBATH TO SUNDAY

 

As long as Seventh-day Adventists are kept in the dark about the bogus nature of the supposed historical events that marked the beginning of the key prophetic periods that purport to prove that the Roman Catholic Church was destined to change the Sabbath, it will be extremely difficult for them to comprehend the significance of the Sabbatarian myth, even when they are presented with irrefutable evidence that the Sabbath concept is impossible from a variety of biblical and historical perspectives.  It appears that Adventist leaders created supposedly significant prophetic start and finish dates to prove the evil role of the Roman Catholic Church and the unique role of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as its chief righteous antagonist.  Once the facts are known about the enormity of the deceptions, cover-ups, and out-right lying of Adventist leaders down through the last 150 years, their prophetic manipulations should not surprise anyone.  In any case, whether or not the Catholic Church is the entity represented by a prophetic time period or not— and even if it changed other kinds of "times and laws" as Seventh-day Adventists like to say it did— one "time" or "law" that it clearly did NOT change was the Sabbath.

 

We encourage our readers to conduct their own study regarding the problems with SDA prophetic theories about the Roman Catholic Church.  The key date of 457 BC in the Adventist prophetic scheme of things is unusable since nothing of significance happened on that date.  It seems that no one really bothered to check these supposed prophetic dates out carefully until the anti-Sabbatarian movement triggered inquiring minds to question all the claims of the Church in regard to things relating to the Sabbath and the rise of the Advent Movement after 1844.

 

The key prophetic date of 1798, which was supposed to end 1,260 days of papal oppression is absolutely unusable.  While it is true that the pope was taken captive in 1798 by France, popes had been taken into captivity a number of times before.  Most importantly, however, is that papal power continued until decades later.  The fact is that it did not receive its so-called "fatal wound" in 1798.

 

Recently the prophetic interpretations of one of the greatest scientists to ever live, Isaac Newton, have come to light with the re-discovery of over a thousand pages of his commentaries on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.  While this is a subject for another book, Newton put the same prophetic periods that Adventists use to calculate that the final events of this world's history will begin in about the year 2060.  So far his interpretation of the significance of these prophetic periods appears to be far better correlated with what is happening in our world than the self-serving interpretations of the Seventh-day Adventists.  Here is what http://www.isaac-newton.org has to say about these prophetic periods.  Adventists should recognize two of them immediately:

 

Newton, like many historicist prophetic commentators of his age, believed that the prophetic time periods 1260, 1290, 1335 and 2300 days actually represent 1260, 1290, 1335 and 2300 years using the "day-for-a-year principle".

 

For Newton these time periods (especially the 1260 years) represent the time span of the apostasy of the Church (for Newton this means the Trinitarian Church, chiefly the Catholics). Thus, he looked in history for the likely date when the apostasy formally began (one sign of this for him was the date when the papal church obtained temporal power). From there it was a simple matter of adding the time period to the beginning date.  However, things are rarely so simple with Newton.  As already mentioned, Newton looked askance at "date-setting", and for this reason he rarely wrote out the end date for a time period once he had settled on a beginning date.  There are a small number of exceptions, and the date 2060, found twice in the Yahuda MSS at Jerusalem, is one of them. The date 2060 is also significant because in addition to the rarity of end dates in Newton's writings, the calculation giving the 2060 date comes from fairly late in his life and is asserted with uncharacteristic vigour.

 

In 1933, New Zealand Adventist critic, R. Vowless, called attention to the dishonest use of these prophetic dates, yet Adventist evangelists continued to use them up through at least the 1980's and perhaps even till today.  Listen to Vowless's observations:

 

And why were William Miller's and Mrs. White's divinely endorsed dates of 508-538, 1798 and 1844, been altered by the Conference Committee at Washington to 503, 533, 1793 and 1838? It is true that 1798 and 1844 are still carried, possibly as a sop to conservatives, but these new dates are a part of the diagram.  This never occurred before--why now?  Start asking your good elders questions about these dates and you will find them doing similar to the good elder Stevens, of Detroit, who went limping from the platform when someone put such questions to him.  If this proves too embarrassing for them to answer, then write a line to Washington asking them to send you the Committee report, and turn to page 265 and see for yourselves R. Vowless, The White Elephant of Adventism, New Plymouth, New Zealand, P. F. Burrows Ltd., Eliot Street, New Plymouth, p.23. 

 

Access this fascinating document at:   http://www.truthorfables.com/white_elephant.htm

 

For a collection of scholarly papers on the impossibilities of the prophetic dates used by Seventh-day Adventists to prove the Investigative Judgment and the papacy's destiny to be the diabolical force that was to "change the day," visit Robert K. Sander's web-site, TRUTH OR FABLES, at: www.truthorfables.com/2300_Days_by_Vowless.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth (Chapters 4,5,6,7,8,9,10)

 

 

THE COVER-UP 1844 TO 1899

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has everything to gain by keeping the truth about its developmental history masked behind a cloak of deceit and lies.  Beginning in the 1970's, a series of blockbuster revelations ripped the veil of this curtain of deception from the bottom to the top, exposing the foundation of lies upon which the entire Adventist belief model is based.  How could a faith that needs the support of so many lies be true?  By around 1983, and certainly by 1985, enough proof was available to demonstrate, even to the staunchest Adventist leaders of the time, that there is no biblical or historical support for the Sabbath and Investigative Judgment doctrines.  Proof that Ellen White was a fraud had been known by top Adventist leaders of the time since the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes were discovered in 1974/1975.  Here is an event log of the real history of Adventism along with observations about the significance of these events and how they interconnect with each other.  This history is gleaned from a variety of sources, but we owe special thanks to Dirk Anderson at www.ellenwhiteexposed.com, Tom Norris at www.AllExperts.com, Walter Rea's unpublished book, Pirates of Privilege, the collection of early Adventist writings at Robert K. Sander's web-site, and Truth or Fables (www.truthorfables.com). 

 

 

 

ELLEN WHITE & CHURCH LEADERS COVER UP THE PAST AND

THE SABBATH DOCTRINE IS DECIMATED BY CANRIGHT.

 

This period in the history of Adventism reflects the beginning of a new religious system based entirely on a comedy of errors.  As the early years go by, various individuals recognize that Ellen White's visions are not from God, leave the Church, and write about their observations.  The absence of mass communications makes it possible for the Whites to move from place to place as her fraudulent claims become known in each locality.  The Whites cover up the fact that Ellen taught the Shut Door Doctrine for years beyond what she claimed, but even the discovery of this lying deception is not enough to deter Adventist leaders from using her to keep the Church financially strong.  A few decades later, they are also faced with undeniable evidence that the Sabbath doctrine is impossible, but it is too late to turn back.  Reform would destroy the Church and cut off the supply of the tithe money needed to run the Church's operations.  There is growing evidence that Ellen White's prophecies are usually failures, but this fact is ignored by leaders who apparently see her as a tool to use to solidify the view that God is personally at the helm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Sabbath Crisis of 1887-1889, precipitated by D. M. Canright, threatens the very existence of the Church, but he is not telling its leaders much that they do not already know about the extreme difficulties of the Sabbath idea.  They have known most of what he told them from the late 1840's.  However, the slow communications of the age limit the damage.  By the end of the century, Ellen White has reached an income level that would easily classify her as wealthy, enabling her to travel the world, but she has caused so much trouble within the Church that the General Conference exiles her to Australia.  

 

1844 - Jesus doesn't return as Miller had predicted.  Later Ellen White, the Church's prophetess, claims that God put His hand over the Bible truths that would have prevented this mistake in order to test His people.  A few Advent believers stick together, searching for the meaning of what has happened.  An Advent believer by the name of Hiram Edison claims he was shown a vision in his cornfield that the sanctuary that was to be "cleansed" in 1844 was in Heaven― not the Earth.  How the sanctuary in Heaven came to be in a condition that it needed cleansing is never explained.  The small Advent flock continues to believe that the "door" to salvation is closed to those who rejected the message that Jesus was to return to Earth in 1844.  The Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment is adopted by Ellen White from an Advent believer by the name of O. R. L. Crosier, who articulated it, promoted it for a short while, and later repudiated it.  This brilliant tactic enables Ellen to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat.  Later she will claim to have been shown in vision that William Miller's failed prophetic chart was accurate and was exactly the way God would have it. (Early Writings, p. 64, 1882 edition).  Even a cursory reading of William Miller's prophetic interpretations demonstrates the absurdity of his methods.  In writing like this, Ellen White insults the integrity and omnipotence of God, Who she makes to look as if He is unable to understand His own Bible and interpret it with any kind of sensibility.  God becomes the "false prophet", and not Ellen White.  (For an explanation of William Miller's prophetic methodology, see Dale Ratzlaff's book, Cultic Doctrine of Seventh-day Adventists.)  Here is an outline of five of Miller's crazy calculations as furnished by E. F. Ballinger in his (circa) 1950 book, Facts about Seventh-day Adventists:

MILLER'S FIVE PROPHETIC PERIODS

 

Miller had a fertile mind in selecting time prophecies that he thought terminated in 1843. He presented at least five.

 

The 2300 Days

 

His most important date was the 2300 days of Dan. 8:14, which he started from 457 B.C., at the time of the beginning of the 70 weeks of Dan. 9:24.

 

SDA's retain only the 2300 days of Miller's five periods, even though Mrs. White mentions "periods" (plural) eleven times in Early Writings.

 

The Earth 6000 Years Old in 1843..

 

The earth would be 6000 years old in 1843.  Then the seventh 1000, or millennium, would begin.

 

The 2520 Years

 

"I will punish you seven times more for your sins."  Lev. 26:18.  This he interpreted to mean seven prophetic years of 360 days of 2520 literal years.  This period had to begin when Manasseh was taken captive to Babylon, in 677 BC.

 

The 50th Jubilee

 

The Jews had a special celebration every fiftieth year, called a Jubilee.  The last one they held, according to Miller, was in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, 607 BC.  The fiftieth Jubilee of Jubilees would be held in 1843.  That is 49 Jubilees had been missed, a period of 2450 years, and the coming of the Lord would introduce this fiftieth Jubilee.

 

The 1335 Days

 

Miller had the 1335 days of Dan. 12:12 begin in 508 A.D. and terminate in 1843.

 

In Early Writings Mrs. White no less than eleven times speaks of "prophetic periods" (plural) as terminating in 1844, yet the denomination retains only one of these periods the 2300 days.

 

1845 - The Trial of Israel Dammon takes place, exposing the shocking fanatical behavior of Ellen White and the other members in attendance at a brawling "Pentecostal" meeting that includes men and women in questionable positioning with one another, so-called amazing manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and an arrest of the host of the meeting, Israel Dammon, for disorderly conduct.  Ellen White's testimony of the account, which supposedly demonstrated the power of God, totally contradicts that of the police and other witnesses. This level of prevarication suggests that Ellen White cannot be trusted to tell the truth of things.  This means that there is no way to know, in any given instance, whether she has told the truth or not.  (See also 1986.) 

 

1846 - Ellen White receives a vision of the planets at Topsham, Maine in the house of a Mr. Curtis.  An influential man by the name of Captain Joseph Bates is present.  She is "shown" that Jupiter has four moons.  Then she describes a planet with 8 moons, which Bates took to mean Saturn, and then she was "shown" a vision of Uranus with six moons.  This scientific "accuracy" of this vision and the fact that Bates believed Ellen White had no knowledge whatsoever of astronomy convinces him that Ellen's visions are from God.  Bates then lends his influential support to the Whites and her visions.  (See 1892.)

 

1847 - Ellen White writes a letter to Joseph Bates affirming her belief that the door to salvation is closed for those who rejected William Miller's 1844 message.  This teaching is referred to as the Shut Door Doctrine.  Adventist leaders have denied that Mrs. White taught this perverted doctrine until a General Conference photographer, Skip Baker, photographed the letter in 1980 and subsequently published the photos. (See Skip Baker's article, "The Secret Letter," in Adventist Currents, July 1984).  Photos of this letter are available, as well as the text of the letter at:  http://www.truthorfables.com/EGW_to_J.Bates_1847.htm

 

1847 - James and Ellen White publish their pamphlet, "A Word to the Little Flock."  This paper clearly teaches the doctrine of the Shut Door.  Several years later the White's begin to cover-up the fact that they had written in favor of the Shut Door doctrine in this paper.  They lie about the contents of the pamphlet until their deception is unmasked by A. C. Long in 1882.  (See 1882.)

 

1847 - In 1887, the Seventh-day Adventist Church tacitly concedes that Adventism had been struggling, without success, to explain how Colossians 2:14-17 could be harmonized with Sabbatarianism, but without success, for forty ears.  This takes us back to this date of circa 1847.  This fact proves that 16 years before the Advent Movement organized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its leaders knew that this passage represented a serious road-block to their Sabbath doctrine:

 

"But it is argued that as 'the sabbath days' of Col.2:16 'are a shadow of things to come' (verse 17), and the weekly Sabbath is a memorial of creation, pointing back to the beginning, therefore they cannot be the same; for the Sabbath could not point both ways. But is not this a mere assertion without any proof? How do we know that it cannot point both ways? The Passover was a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt, and always pointed back to that event. Ex.12:11-17. Yet it was also a shadow of Christ. Col.2:16,17. 'Even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.' 1Cor.5:7. So all those annual feasts were types of Christ in some way, and yet all were memorials also of past events, as all know.... Paul says plainly that sabbath days are a shadow of things to come; and one plain statement of Inspiration is worth a thousand of our vain reasoning.  This is in harmony with Paul's argument in Heb.4:1-11, that the seventh day is a type.  For forty years we have tried to explain away this text, and to show that it really cannot mean what it says; but there it stands, and mocks all our theories. The Sabbath is a type, for Inspiration says so."  D. M. Canright, Advocate of Oct. 1, 1887, (Quoted in the Seventh-day Adventist anti-Canright book, Replies to Canright, 1895 edition.)

 

1848 - The Present Truth, a periodical published by James White, teaches the Shut Door Doctrine— the belief that salvation was closed to everyone except the Adventists who believed the Advent message in 1844.  (See 1950.) Down through the years copies of these original, suppressed writings have surfaced, proving this fact.  E. F. Ballinger in his circa 1950 publication, Facts about Seventh-day Adventists, proves Adventist leaders have lied in their attempt to cover-up this fact that disproves Ellen White's visions were from God.

 

1850 - Ellen White predicts Jesus will come within a few months. (See Early Writings, p. 58.)

 

1850 - Ellen White predicts the City of Jerusalem will never be re-built.  (Today it has been built up well beyond the boundaries of the city as they were in1850.)

 

1853 - J. N. Andrews attempts to refute an anti-Sabbatarian paper by O. L. Crosier which dealt with, among other things, the biblical evidence that the Sabbath could not possibly have started in Eden and that the Early Fathers of the Church recognized this fact (J. N. Andrews, "A Review of the Remarks of O. R. L. Crozier on the Institution, Design and Abolition of the Sabbath").  Andrews addresses each anti-Sabbatarian argument Crosier presents, and Crosier presents many of the same arguments used by today's anti-Sabbatarian Movement that have not since been discredited.  It is a shocking revelation of how early the pioneer leaders of Adventism recognized that they had a "difficult sell" when it came to advancing their Sabbath-keeping requirement to the other Christians of the day.

 

1854 - In December H. L. Hastings publishes The Great Controversy between God and Man― Its Origin Progress and End. There is powerful evidence that Ellen White copied large portions of Hastings.  The similarities of sequence, subject matter, and theological interpretation are striking.  (See 1974 to learn how re-searchers later discovered her blatant plagiarism of his earlier work.) 

. L

 

1856 - Ellen White predicts that there will be at least one or more persons in the group to which she is speaking who will be alive when Jesus returns.  There is nothing "conditional" implied in her words:  "I was shown the company present at the Conference.  Said the angel: 'Some food for worms, some subject to the last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus'" (Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 131).  All these people have since died.  

 

1858 (CIRCA) - J. N. Andrews thinks he sees great similarities between John Milton's Paradise Lost  and Ellen White's account of a vision she "received" in March regarding the appearance of Satan in the context of the battle between good and evil in the Universe.  Ellen denies having read Milton's book before she had the vision.  Her grandson, Arthur White, explained it away like this:

 

He [J. N. Andrews] told her some of the things she had said were much like a book he had read.  Then he asked if she had read Paradise Lost.  She replied in the negative.  He told her that he thought she would be interested in reading it.

 

Ellen White forgot about the conversation, but a few days later Elder Andrews came to the home with a copy of Paradise Lost and offered it to her.  She took the book, hardly knowing just what to do with it.  She did not open it, but took it into the kitchen and put it up on a high shelf, determined that if there was anything in that book like what God had shown her in vision, she would not read it until after she had written out what the Lord revealed to her.  (See The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, cited in "Ellen White's Habit," By Douglas Hackleman, Free Inquiry, Fall 1984, posted at ellenwhiteexposed.com.)

 

Back in the early years of Ellen White's ministry it might have been possible to believe such an excuse, especially if critical judgment is suspended.  Today, in the context of everything we know about her track record of prevarication, there is little doubt but that she told a bold-faced lie in this case. 

 

1859 - J. N. Andrews publishes his first book on the Sabbath, The History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week (Battle Creek, Steam Press, 1859). (See the Wikipedia article, "J. N. Andrews.")  Andrews' work proves that he was aware of almost all the anti-Sabbatarian arguments that D. M. Canright confronted Adventist leaders with after his 1887 apostasy.  He concedes that by 200 A.D., Christians believed, on a wide-spread basis, that it was a sin to desecrate Sunday:

 

Now let us read what Neander, the most distinguished of church historians, says of this apostolic authority for Sunday observance:

 

"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday. Perhaps at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday as a sin."  J. N. Andrews quoting church historian Joachim Neander (1650 - 1680) in the second edition (1873) of his 1859 book, History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week, p. 127.

 

1859 - The Advent believers adopt a business model for the financial support of their work based on a concept called "Systematic Benevolence."  James White develops the concept, and Ellen White is "shown" that it is the model God wants for them.  "Systematic Benevolence" does not work very well.  If this "testimony" actually did come from God, He apparently must have been mistaken about what His little flock actually needed.

 

"The plan of Systematic Benevolence is pleasing to God. . . God is leading his people in the plan of Systematic Benevolence" (pp. 190, 191). "Systematic Benevolence looks to you as needless; you overlook the fact that it originated with God, whose wisdom is unerring.  This plan he ordained" (Testimonies for the Church, p. 545, cited in Canright, Life of Mrs. E.G. White).

 

CIRCA 1859-1863 - Ellen White predicts that England will join the South and fight against the North in the Civil War.  This did not happen.  There is nothing conditional in this prophecy, although Adventist apologists try to explain it away by saying that one word in the statement can have an alternative meaning that would change the prophecy into a conditional one.  (See Testimonies, Vol.1, p.259.)

 

CIRCA 1859-1863 - Ellen White states the Civil War is being fought, not to abolish slavery, but to preserve it.  This is an amazing statement and contradicts all known facts of Civil War history.  (See Testimonies, Vol. 1, pp. 254,258).

 

1862 - Ellen White predicts that Moses Hull, who is about to leave Adventism, would suffer a terrible catastrophe as a result.  The implication is that he will die much sooner than he might expect to, but she couches her words in general terms:  "If you proceed in the way you have started, misery and woe are before you.  God's hand will arrest you in a manner that will not suit you.  His wrath will not slumber."  (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. I., pp. 430, 431)  Hull leaves Adventism and becomes a Spiritualist.  He leads such an immoral life that even the leaders of the Spiritualist movement are anxious to distance themselves from him.  He dies at a ripe old age after enjoying the pleasures of sin for many additional decades.  (The Life of Ellen White, D.M. Canright, Chapter 15 - "Her Prophecies Fail.") 

 

1863 - The Seventh-day Adventist Church officially organizes.  By this time it has been a while since the group of faithful Adventist believers split into two groups over the issue of the Shut Door Doctrine.  The group that held on to the Shut Door Doctrine for a number of additional years was the one that organized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  The other group, rejecting the Shut Door Doctrine almost immediately, organized into the Church Of God Seventh-day.  Later a dissident member split away from the Church of God Seventh-day and started The Radio (later "Worldwide") Church of God.  This developmental history makes Seventh-day Adventists and The Worldwide Church of God "sister churches."  By 1863 Adventist leaders are already acquainted with most of the anti-Sabbatarian arguments D. M. Canright confronted them with in the late 1880's, and Canright was validated in one way or another by Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi in the late 1970's.

 

1866 - Just three years after the Church officially organizes, two Iowa Conference leaders, Snook and Brinkerhoff, apostatize and expose a whole string of Ellen White's failed prophecies and doctrinal absurdities in their book, The Visions of E.G. White Not of God.  At this early date these SDA leaders did not seem to know that Ellen White was a plagiarist.  They document the fact that Ellen White continued to teach the Shut Door Doctrine for a lot longer than the Church would admit.  These authors prove that Ellen and James White covered up the fact that they had taught the Shut Door Doctrine for several more years than they would admit, and they discuss her failed prophecies.  You can access their book at:

truthorfables.com/Visons_of_%20EGW_by_Snook_&_Brinkerhoff.htm

 

1867 - Adventist leaders plan to construct a building in Battle Creek for the new Health Reform Institute (Sanitarium) and need God's blessing on the project.  They approach Ellen White, who then has a vision.  Ellen says,

"Here, I was shown, was a worthy enterprise for God's people to engage in.  Other people should have an institution of their own.  Especially should those who have means to invest in this enterprise" (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 492,494).  

 

James White, her husband, is away at the time.  When he returns to Battle Creek, he is enraged because he had not been consulted.  The first story of the building is already completed.  He has the building dismantled and put up again according to his design at a loss of $11,000, which in today's terms would represent the squandering of over $1,000,000.  (This event, but not the financial equivalent, cited in Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White)  After her husband's return, James demands another testimony to repudiate the first one. Here is that second "testimony:"

 

"What appeared in Testimony No. 11 concerning the Health Institute should not have been given until I was able to write out all I had seen in regard to it. . . They [the officials at Battle Creek] therefore wrote to me that the influence of my testimony in regard to the institute was needed immediately to move the brethren upon the subject. Under these circumstances I yielded my judgment to that of others, and wrote what appeared in No. 11 in regard to the Health Institute. . . In this I did wrong." (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 563)

 

It is evident that James White, her own husband, knew that her visions were not from God, or he would not have dared to go against what he otherwise would have considered to be the revealed will of God.

 

1868 - James White claims that his wife's books contain many things that are not in any other books and presents this as evidence that her visions are inspired.  Douglas Hackleman in his article, "Ellen White's Habit," has the following observations about this outrageous claim:

 

James White, who served as his wife's editor most of the time until his death in 1881, also made claims and denials.  In his autobiographical Life Incidents (published by Steam Press, Battle Creek Michigan, in 1868) he argued that Ellen's writings contained "many things... which cannot be found in other books" (p. 328).  In his next sentence James provides as an example "her favorite theme, God in nature." But Mrs. White's best-known passage on God in nature is a close paraphrase of an apologetic digression against naturalism from a sermon by nineteenth-century Anglican clergyman Henry Melville.

 

James White dug a deeper hole for himself and Ellen in his next paragraph:

 

If commentators and theological writer generally had seen these gems of thought...and had been brought out in print, all ministers in the land could have read them.  These men gather thoughts from books, and as Mrs. W. has written and spoken a hundred things, as they are beautiful and harmonious, which cannot be found in the writings of others, they are new to the most intelligent readers and hearers. ... She could not have learned from books, from the fact that they do not contain such thoughts. [p. 328, 329].

 

The discovery in recent years by a variety of Adventist researchers that Ellen White and her editorial assistants wove the writings of scores of authors into testimonies, articles, and books published over her byline calls into  question the integrity of both Ellen and James White.  The White Estate recently made available for purchase on request a document comparing eighty-five pages of parallel passages between Mrs. White and Henry Melville alone.

 

1868 - Uriah Smith seeks to accomplish damage control for Ellen White by publishing his book, Visions of Mrs. E. G. White—Manifestations of Spiritual Gifts According to the Scriptures (Battle Creek: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association,1868). Even at this early date there is wide-spread suspicion that the White's are covering up the fact that in one of her earliest visions she was supposedly shown the "truth" of the Shut Door Doctrine by God.  Later research by the critics of E. G. White have conclusively demonstrated that it is highly probable that the account of the Camden Vision which teaches the Shut Door Doctrine is authentic, despite the fact that the only record of this vision was made by a witness who later became one of her critics.  The White Estate does not have anything written by Ellen White herself about this vision.  Since Ellen White is now known to have tried to cover her tracks in regard to the Shut Door issue, it would be no surprise that she kept no record of this early vision.

 

1869 - Dr. William Russell examines Ellen White and determines that her visions are "the result of a diseased organization or condition of the brain or nervous system."  (See Canright, Life of Mrs. E.G. White.)  Note that the White Estate has done a good job of discrediting the credentials of this doctor.  However, from everything we now know about Ellen White's behavior, it appears that whatever the case may be, Dr. Russell was able to diagnose her properly even if his medical training was received informally.

 

1870 - H.E. Carver publishes his book, Mrs. White's Claim to Divine Inspiration Examined, describing among other stumbling blocks to his faith, "two instances in which she claimed to see in vision things that I had communicated to her myself." (Source: Douglas Hackleman, "Ellen White's Habit," Free Inquiry, Fall, 1984.)

 

1873 - The Church publishes a revised edition of J. N. Andrews' classic, History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week. In this edition, Andrews quotes a respected very early historian, Joachim Neander (1650-1680):

Now let us read what Neander, the most distinguished of church historians, says of this apostolic authority for Sunday observance:

 

"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.  Perhaps at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday as a sin (Emphasis by author.) 

 

Note that while it is possible that this same quote is in his original 1859 edition of this book, we know for certain that Adventist leaders knew 14-15 years before the Canright Sabbath Crisis of 1887-1889 that Christians had universally adopted Sunday observance hundreds of years before there was a Roman Catholic Church or a pope.  It is clear that Canright was not telling them very much that they did not know.

 

For the complete text of the 1873 edition of Andrews' book, go to the Wikipedia article, "J. N. Andrews," and click on the link to the book.  You must have the Djvu Reader to view it, which you can down-load free from the Djvu web-site if you do not already have it.  Or, paste the following link in your webbrowser and go directly to it:

http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofsabba00andr/historyofsabba00andr_djvu.txt

 

1873 - The Church publishes Testimony of the Fathers of the First Three Centuries Concerning the Sabbath and the First Day by Elder J. N. Andrews (Steam Press, Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Assoc, 1873).  Andrews now expands his original 1859 defense of the Sabbath with this book.  As before, he discusses a wide variety of early Christian writers who documented the fact that Christians were observing Sunday very early in the history of the Early Church.  By now it should be perfectly clear to Andrews that Ellen White lied about being shown by God in vision that the Roman Catholic Church "changed the day" because he has a wealth of evidence that the phenomenon of Sunday observance by Christians happened hundreds of years before there was a real Roman Catholic Church and a real pope whose authority was sufficient to spread beyond the city of Rome itself.  Again, we see that Adventist leaders did not need D. M. Canright to confront them with all this evidence during the late 1880's. Since Andrews published his first history of the Sabbath in 1859, it is apparent that the early leaders of the Advent Movement knew many of these same things more than four years before the Seventh-day Adventist Church was formally organized in 1863 and knew far more about these things by this year— 1873. 

 

1874 - Isaac Welcome publishes his History of the Second Adventist Message.  This several volume set documents the strange fanaticism of the Whites, and their stand, later denied by them, on the Shut Door Doctrine plus the additional covering up by the Whites of a number of their earlier theologically errant statements.  (A Google search will provide extensive sections of this book for your study, and it is available from Andrews University in a reproduction as well, indicated by one of the Google links.)

1876 - Ellen White predicts that Swedish publishing house manager, Charles Lee, who was very ill, would live. He died a few days later.

 

1876 - The "Systematic Benevolence" financial model is discarded in favor of the 10% model developed by D. M. Canright.  Ellen White is "shown" in vision that this is the method God wants to support His little flock, which is growing larger.  If Ellen White's testimony were really from God, it would appear that God did not know what was best for Seventh-day Adventists, and He had to learn by experience what His people really needed.  Time after time, Ellen's claim that God has showed her things that He did not show her impinge on God's character and power, making Him look incompetent.  This is a form of White collar blasphemy that has occurred over and over up until this point and will continue to happen as long as Ellen White lives.  Robert Sanders writes: 

 

Dudley M. Canright: in a series of articles in 1876, emphasized Malachi 3:8-11 as "the Bible plan of supporting the Ministry."  He urged Adventists to adopt this plan to glorify God...."R&H, February 17, 1876, p.50, 51", see also Spectrum 1986, Adventist Tithepaying― The Untold Story, p. 139. [Cited in Sanders, "Tithing Not a Law for Christians," posted at his web-site, Truth or Fables.]

 

1882 - Ellen White publishes a book called Early Writings, which claims to be a reprint of her first writings, including the pamphlet, "A Word to the Little Flock."  The Whites had claimed that their new book contained no significant changes to the text and no deletions.  (See Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White.)

 

1882 - SDA pastor A. C. Long, who had retained a copy of "A Word to the Little Flock" from years ago publishes a pamphlet entitled "Comparison of the Early Writings of Mrs. White with Later Publications."  In this 16-page tract, he places the original text along side of the altered new text, proving that Ellen White had deleted all the key words and phrases that would have betrayed that she taught the Shut Door Doctrine long after she claimed to have abandoned it.  Again, we see a deceitful, lying prophet who claims to be directly inspired by God.  (See Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White.)

 

1882 - Ellen White is "shown" that the wrong man committed a great mistake.  Here is the account from D. M. Canright's book, Life of Mrs. E. G. White:

 

Rebuked the Wrong Man

 

About the year 1882, two Adventist ministers, E. P. Daniels and E. R. Jones, were laboring together in Michigan.  In giving a health talk one of them had made some remarks quite offensive to aesthetic tastes.

 

Not long afterward Elder Daniels received a testimony from Mrs. White, rebuking him for the offense, which she said took place at Parma, Michigan.  But, as the event turned out, she rebuked the wrong man, and the incident did not occur at Parma, but at another place.

 

Instead of Mrs. White acknowledging her mistake, Elder Daniels, the man wrongly accused, was induced to make the following statement:

 

"Through a misunderstanding, I happened to be the person rebuked, in the place of the one for whom the rebuke was intended, and who justly merited it.  Were all the facts known, it would leave no room for even the slightest disrespect for the motives that influenced her, as she has, as she supposed, the best of reasons for believing that her informant had told her the truth.  And, indeed, he had, but he made a mistake in the name of the person.  All that he had said was true of another, though the incident did not occur at Parma" (Review and Herald Supplement, Aug. 14, 1883, p. 10).

 

1883 - Ellen White publishes a book for which she claimed divine inspiration― Sketches from the Life of Paul. Later it was discovered to have been lifted almost entirely from a book published earlier in England.  The point is that Ellen White LIED about her source for the book.  Compared to her lying, the issue of plagiarism is a much less serious evil.  (See The Life of Ellen White― Seventh-day Adventist Prophet― Her False Claims Refuted, by D.M. Canright, Chapter 10 - "A Great Plagiarist").

 

1883 - Uriah Smith in a letter dated March 22nd, 1883 reveals that he does not believe in the visions of Ellen White.  The "stunners" he is talking about refer to a situation where Ellen White, who sought a reputation as one to whom God reveals the secret sins of others, knew nothing about the fact that the denomination's foremost evangelist was having sexual relationships with numerous women in one of the SDA churches on the East Coast.  She had stayed in the home of this prominent minister and his wife when she visited his community.  E. F. Ballinger tells the story in his circa 1950 book, Facts about Seventh-day Adventists:

 

Elder Uriah Smith was connected with the editorial staff of the RH for fifty years, most of the time as editor in chief.  His works on the prophecies are still considered standard in the denomination.

 

In a letter written March 22, 1883, he said:

 

It seems to me that the Testimonies, practically, have come into that shape, that it is not of any use to try to defend the erroneous claims that are now put forth for them.... Bro. Littlejohn has preached on the subject here treating it mostly from a theoretical standpoint.  But that does not touch the question at issue among us at all.  I presume you noticed in the Review of March 13, Bro. Waggoner's extinguisher of the Mormon gifts.  But, if the same reasoning will not apply somewhat to our own experience, I cannot see straight. The cases of F----, C----, and S--― S--― are stunners to me.

 

If all the brethren were willing to investigate this matter candidly and broadly, I believe some consistent common ground for all to stand upon could be found.  But some, of the rule or ruin spirit, are so dogmatical and stubborn that I suppose that any effort in that direction would only lead to a rupture of the body.

 

Elder Smith was editor of the Review and Herald, the official periodical of the Seventh-day Adventist Church,  for thirty years before he discovered that any omissions had been made from the early visions in Early Writings.  We have a letter of his stating this fact.

 

The three people referred to above were all prominent workers in the Advent cause, associated with James White and his wife, but were very immoral in their conduct; yet Mrs. White never knew of their immorality until the women who were involved confessed their sin.  The fact that she did not know of their vileness was a "stunner" to Elder Smith.  It is a sad fact that Elder Smith after writing these things stultified his conscience and openly maintained his defense of the idea that Ellen White was inspired of God.

 

1887 - A powerful SDA leader, D. M. Canright, apostatizes from the Church and begins writing articles and papers against Adventism, including proof from historical and biblical sources that the Sabbath doctrine is impossible.  By this time Canright is well aware of Ellen White's plagiarism, in addition to her failed prophecies and aberrant teachings.

 

1888 - Fearing that Canright was about to release an anti-Sabbatarianism, anti-Adventist book soon, Adventist leaders attempt to beat him to the draw by publishing Replies To Elder Canright's Attacks on Seventh-day Adventists.  This action turns out to have been unwise, since the following year Canright was able to refute their poorly constructed arguments and reference them by the Adventist book's page numbers.

 

1889 - Arch Apostate, D. M. Canright, publishes his classic Seventh-day Adventism Renounced.  He presents encyclopedic evidence from reliable scholarly sources that prove Sabbatarianism is biblically and historically impossible.  He refutes the SDA leadership point-by-point and page number by page number, referencing the Church's 1888 book, Replies To Elder Canright's Attacks on Seventh-day Adventists.

 

1889 - The Healdsburg, California Enterprise publishes a remarkable story, March 20, 1889, exposing Ellen White's plagiarism.  The article compares five passages from her writings side by side with the passages from the authors she had copied.  The reporter concludes that she is, indeed, a plagiarist.  This is an interesting fact, since Adventist leaders try to say that back in Ellen White's day there was no well-defined concept of what constituted plagiarism. (You can do an Internet search to read the article from the California Enterprise for yourself.)

 

1892 - Astronomer Bernard at Lick Observatory discovers the 5th moon of Jupiter, proving that the source of Ellen White's visions must have been a god who didn't remember what he or she had done when our solar system was created.  (See also 1905.)

 

1892 - Elder J. N. Loughborough publishes Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists.  His publishers have the audacity to change the mention of Ellen White's words in regard to the moons of Jupiter to, "I see eight moons." This is absolute proof that the author and his publishers knew Ellen White was a fraud.  Their actions are inexcusable.  If the Church were not a religious business, their false "product" claims would be illegal.  (See 1905.)

 

1892 - In his 1892 book, Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists, J. N. Loughborough exalts Ellen White's predictions about the Civil War as evidence that her visions are from God without bothering to mention the fact that she predicted that England would fight with the South against the North.  Instead he tells the story of how at a certain believer's home, she predicted that the sons of some of the people present in that room would die in battle.  In a real history, Loughborough would have had no choice but to give the account of Ellen White's disastrous prognostications in regard to England joining the South to fight against the North, as well as other Civil War predictions and comments that were incredibly inaccurate and absurd.  It is no wonder that the Wikipedia article on Adventist Studies says that Loughborough's book is now regarded as down-right dishonest Adventist propaganda, rather than genuine history (Roelf J. Poehler, unpublished paper on the shut-door era.  Quoted in "Early Adventures in Maine", letter to the editor by Donald E. Casebolt, Spectrum 18:2 (1987), p. 63).  To read Loughborough's 1892 book, you must down-load the DjVu reader from Lizard Technologies and then go to this SDA web-site:  dventistarchives.org/docs/RP/RiseAndProgress/index.djvu

 

1893 - The General Conference exiles Ellen White to Australia.  From what the 1919 Bible Conference minutes later reveal about what Adventist leaders knew about her, and from what we now know they knew about her as early as 1863 from the paper by Snook and Brinkerhoff, there is circumstantial evidence that the Church was aware of the fact that their prophetess was causing a lot of trouble for Adventism at the time.  According to Arthur L. White, (Ellen G. White: The Australian Years, Review & Herald, 1983, p. 16), she sailed September 9, 1891. (The facts for this event, but not the interpretation of this incident, came from the paper, "When the Visions Led: an Adventist Anomaly," by Douglas Hackleman, March 25, 2006). 

 

1895 - The Church publishes a more complete version of Replies to Canright.  The book's contributors reference Canright's 1889 book by the page number.  This publication proves SDA leaders had to know that their Sabbatarian arguments were impossible.  The best they are able to do is to obfuscate the issue in hopes that their readers will lose their focus on the importance of what Canright proved.  They grapple poorly with the fact that the first Christian writers documented the extensive adoption of Sunday observance by Christians before the end of the First Century and attempt to use this evidence, which is highly damaging to their own position, as evidence that their preconceived notion of an "apostasy" began very early.  They fail to acknowledge the fact that the angel "lied" to Ellen White about the Roman Catholic Church "changing the day," since they were trying to explain away proof that Christians were not keeping the Sabbath hundreds of years before there was a pope or a Catholic Church.  Their attempted rebuttal of Canright on Colossians 2:14-17 is proven to be equally reprehensible.  It does not address Canright's central point at all, and their quotation of Canright's exact words from his 1889 book prove that these early Adventist leaders had been struggling, without success, to explain away this devastating-to-Sabbatarianism passage from Paul's writings from almost the very beginning of the Advent movement.

 

1899 - Ellen White writes to Dr. Harvey Kellogg accusing him of erecting some buildings in Chicago with funds diverted from the Battle Creek Sanitarium.  Dr. Kellogg and the Battle Creek Sanitarium represent the last road-block the consolidation of power at the General Conference.  Ellen White's son, Willie White, conceded his mother was "shown" that the buildings were built but that, indeed, the buildings were not built.  However, he tries to explain it away.  See Willie White's attempted rebuttal of this fiasco at:

http://www.ellen-white.com/Ellen%20White%20Kellogg%20Chicago%20Buildings.htm.

 

Compare that against the specific testimony of Dr. Kellogg by searching for "The Kellogg File."  You can also reference the mention of the date of 1899 for this event in the "Letter from Dr. Charles Stewart to Ellen G. White," dated May 8, 1907 at http://www.ex-sda.com/perplexed_stewart.htm .

 

1899 - Astronomer Professor W. H. Pickering discovers the 9th moon of Saturn.  Adventist leaders should have realized that something smelled fishy in the fish market in regard to Ellen White's claims that her visions came from God.  Surely these leaders could use their brains to reason that the True God would know how many moons He created for Saturn.  (See 1905.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth - Chapters 4,5,6,7,8,9,10

 

 

THE COVER-UP 1900 TO 1919

 

 

THE SABBATH CONTINUES TO BE ATTACKED

 

ELLEN WHITE NOW KNOWN TO BE A FRAUD

 

Ellen White and the General Conference prevail in their power struggle with Dr. Kellogg's Battle Creek "Empire," destroying his influence within the culture of Adventism.  The General Conference moves to Washington, DC, and takes complete control of the Church.  The Sanctuary Doctrine comes under fire and Adventist leaders realize that Ellen White is a fraud.  However, they continue to use her, like a pawn at times, to achieve their own agenda.  Her case is discussed in a top-secret meeting in 1919.  No decision is reached about the fraudulent claims of Ellen White, so a cover-up plan is put into place.  The Sabbath Doctrine is continuously assailed by D. M. Canright, but little permanent damage is done by his attacks.  Canright dies in 1919, but questions about his teachings persist.

 

1902 - Dr. John Harvey Kellogg finishes preparation on the book, The Living Temple.  Ellen White has a book of her own she wants to sell to the Church that teaches principles that are similar to those taught by Dr. Kellogg called Ministry of Healing.  She accuses him of being a Pantheist and teaching pantheistic ideas in his book.  Dr. Kellogg denies being a pantheist, but agrees not to publish the book.  (Our comparison study between the books of these two authors indicated to us that both of them made statements that if stretched and taken out of context might possibly suggest a slight bent towards a hint of Pantheism.  Our research could not substantiate Ellen White's charges of Pantheism against Kellogg.)  Access "The Kellogg Files" with an Internet search.

 

1903 - The General Conference moves its headquarters to Washington DC from Battle Creek, Michigan.  The environment of the Battle Creek location has become inhospitable to Adventism, having made a bad name for itself in the treatment of Dr. J. H. Kellogg and the community's awareness of the behavior of the Church prophetess, Ellen White.

 

1904 - A group of key physicians associated with Dr. J. H. Kellogg at the Battle Creek Sanitarium find numerous contradictions in the testimonies of Ellen White and begin to question whether she was inspired of God or not.

 

1905 - A. F. Ballinger, a prominent SDA leader in England, discovers there is no biblical support for the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.  Furthermore, he finds that the doctrine is squarely against what the Bible teaches about the concept of judgment and the Gospel.  He writes of his concerns to Ellen White.  Soon he is defrocked at a hearing held at the General Conference headquarters in Washington, DC.  During his presentation he is bombarded with questions from the "jury" from the writings of Ellen White, but no one can provide Bible proof for the doctrine.  He is deprived of his SDA income; he is forced to live in near poverty as he attempts to find a way to feed his family back on the farm.  (See "On Trial for Heresy―The A.F. Ballenger Story," by Dirk Anderson at Ellen White Exposed www.ellenwhiteexposed.com/egw13.htm

 

1905 (MARCH)  - Ellen White is distressed by the questionings of the Battle Creek physicians and is "shown" that she is to instruct them to write out their difficulties regarding her writings and send them to her, promising to respond to each concern.  Here is her "testimony," dated March 30, 1906:

 

Recently in the visions of the night I stood in a large company of people. . . I was directed by the Lord to request them, and any others who have perplexities and grievous things in their minds regarding the testimonies that I have borne, to specify what their objections and criticisms are. The Lord will help me to answer these objections, and make plain that which seems to be intricate. . . Let it all be written out, and submitted to those who desire to remove the perplexities. . . They should certainly do this, if they are loyal to the directions God has given.

 

Note:  This statement of Mrs. White is dated  to March 30, 1906 by A.T. Jones in a letter to Ellen White dated April 26, 1909 as posted on the Web.  D. M. Canright credits it to March 30, 1905 in his book, Life of Mrs. E.G. White. Since either source could contain a typographical error, I am not sure which year is correct. 

 

1905 - Continuing the deliberate deception in regard to how long Mrs. White taught the Shut Door Doctrine, J. N. Loughborough publishes The Great Second Advent Movement.  In the section of his book devoted to an extensive defense of the charges that Ellen White believed in the Shut Door Doctrine for far longer than she admitted, he deliberately omits three words from a quotation from the very early Adventist publication of James and Ellen White, "A Word to the Little Flock" (1847) that proves that Ellen White's critics are correct.  On page 263 of the 1905 edition, he quotes from this early work: 

 

"I believe the work [of Mrs. White] is of God, and is given to comfort and strengthen his scattered, torn and peeled people, since the closing up of our work. . . in October, 1844."

 

Note the three little dots― ellipses― which indicate some words were left out.  Here are those words from the original 1847 copy of "A Word to the Little Flock:"

 

"since the closing up of our work FOR THE WORLD in October, 1844."

 

These three words reveal the fact that Bates and the Whites did believe as late as 1847 that the door of mercy was shut to everyone but a tiny group of people who clung to the 1844 Message!  By 1905, Loughborough had to have been acquainted with the 1882 work of A. C. Long, which had proved the Whites were guilty of covering up the truth to the point of over-kill!  You can access the Loughborough publication by doing a Google search.  In fact, it is now a Google Book.  We learned of this deception from Canright's book, Life of Mrs. E.G. White, and verified it by going to the Loughborough book ourselves.

 

1905 - Astronomer Perrine at Lick Observatory discovers the 6th and 7th moon of Jupiter, again proving that the god who gave Ellen White the astronomy vision in 1846 was either very forgetful or was a liar who deceived her to make her look foolish later on.  (See 1908.)

 

1905 - Astronomer W. H. Pickering discovers the 10th moon of Saturn, once again showing that the god who showed Ellen White the vision of the solar system had been out to lunch when the solar system was created.

 

1905 - Elder Loughborough revises his 1894 book, Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists and publishes it under the title of The Great Second Advent Movement.  On page 258 of that book, there is a foot- note that says, "More moons to both Jupiter and Saturn have since been discovered."  Perhaps he and his publishers thought God might have created some additional moons for these planets after Ellen White's vision in 1846.  How embarrassing!  Absolute proof that SDA leaders knew her claim that her visions were from God was fraudulent!  Imagine participating in a crime like this deception!  (See D. M. Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White for the basic uncomplimentary information about the falsification of her visions. See the article, "J. N. Lough-borough," at The Narrow Way Ministries web-site for documentation of the re-naming of the book, which Canright does not indicate.  Note that The Narrow Way Ministries is strongly Pro SDA and we use this source only for the purpose of getting the name change of Loughborough's book correct.)

 

1906 (APRIL)  - Dr. William S. Sadler, in a letter dated April 26, 1906, writes to Ellen White in response to her 1905 testimony that those who are perplexed by things they find in her writings should put a list of their concerns together and send them to her for explanation.  Among other things, he asks Ellen White to explain how God could have shown her that Dr. Kellogg built buildings in Chicago when, indeed, he did not.  Dr. Sadler is a Battle Creek Sanitarium physician and associate of Dr. J. H. Kellogg.

 

1906 (APRIL) - Many days after the San Francisco Earthquake took place on April 18th, Ellen White reports that an angel had shown her a vision of great buildings falling and awful destruction in a large city and that this had happened two days before the San Francisco earthquake.  She claimed that these events had been shown to her in two sessions, one the night of April 16th and one the night of April 17th.  She wrote that she did not announce that these visions had taken place until many days later because it had taken her so long to write out the extensive information the angel had shown her.  As D. M. Canright observes in Life of Mrs. E. G. White, she had learned to be cautious about naming dates and places until after the events had occurred due to her previous failures at foretelling the future.  It is much safer to forecast events after the fact.

 

1906 (JUNE) - In a communication dated June 3, 1906, Ellen White is "shown" that God has apparently changed His mind about whether she should try to answer all the questions raised by the Battle Creek physicians.  Now, Ellen says God does not want her to answer these questions.  Her "testimony," quoted in A. T. Jones letter of 1909, is as follows:

 

Sabbath night, a week ago, after I had been prayerfully studying over these things, I had a vision, in which I was speaking before a large company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings.

 

I was directed by a messenger from Heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering all the saying and doubts that are being put into many minds.

 

1907 - Dr. Charles E. Stewart of the Battle Creek Sanitarium publishes an 89-page pamphlet which places Ellen White's plagiarisms of Conybeare and Howson's book, Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul, side-by-side with the sections she copied into her book, Sketches from the Life of Paul.  This pamphlet was prepared in response to Mrs. White's request in 1905 to those who had puzzling questions about things in her writings to submit them to her for answers.  Dr. Stewart's booklet points out an extensive variety of evidence that would prove that she was not inspired by God.  Ellen White never bothered to reply to Dr. Stewart's charges.  You can read his entire booklet, A Response to an Urgent Testimony from Mrs. E. G. White, at Robert K. Sander's web-site, Truth or Fables at this Web address:

 

http://www.truthorfables.com/A_Response_to_Urgent_Testimony.htm#AResponse

 

Note that as of the writing of this book, the Ellen White propaganda web-site, www.ellenwhite.info, tries to defend her plagiarism by arguing that the Conybeare and Howson book was in the public domain and that copyright laws were different in her day.  This propaganda outlet fails to disclose that the real problem with Ellen White in this instance is that she claimed to have gotten this information from God in vision, making her a liar and committing a White-collar type of blasphemy.

 

1907 - Adventist leaders fight dirty in regard to Dr. J. H. Kellogg.  He has too much power, and the Whites want to consolidate their power at the General Conference.  The Church decides Kellogg must go.  Two General Conference officials, Elder George W. Amadon and Elder A.C. Bourdeau, visit Dr. J. H. Kellogg in his home on October 7th.  He is disfellowshipped without being given the opportunity to defend himself in a church board meeting, as is the customary practice when a Seventh-day Adventist member contests his charges and wishes to remain in the Church.  He denies being a Pantheist and explains to them how Ellen White herself had earlier read his transcript for The Living Temple and had no criticism for it.  He confronts the leaders with the fact that he did not build any buildings in Chicago― a fact by this time― and questions how God could have shown Ellen something that was not true.  http://www.truthorfables.com/Statement_by_MG_Kellogg.htm 

 

1908 - Astronomer Malotte at the Greenwich Observatory discovers the 8th moon of Jupiter, again proving Ellen's 1846 astronomy vision to be either a product of her imagination or a diabolical spirit guide. (See 1914.)

 

1909 - A.T. Jones, a partner to Elder E. J. Waggoner in the 1888 "Righteousness by Faith" movement that was squelched by the Church, finds out that Ellen White had offered in March of 1906 to answer any questions people might have about things she has written.  He writes Ellen that by now he has heard about the second "testimony" she was "shown" that she was not to answer the questions that her first "testimony" had told her to answer.  He confronts her with the fact that Dr. Sadler and Dr. David Paulson had written to her on June 3rd, 1906 and she had not answered their questions.  Furthermore, he tells her that it is impossible for her to answer their questions because there are no answers:

 

For if the writings were really the word of God -

a. They need no explanation.

b.  If the writings to be explained were not the word of God, then I would not want any explanation of them; for I would not care anymore for them than for any other writings that were not the word of' God.

Further I knew that the things that could be written, you simply could not explain; and that any explanation would be worse than no explanation.  And the event has fully justified this view.  (Cited in the letter Jones to White, April 26, 1909)

 

1909 - A. F. Ballinger publishes his classic Cast out for the Cross of Christ, which represents a very complete debunking of the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment.  He wrote this book after he moved to California to recover from the financial ruin that his termination from denomination employment caused and to promote the truth that he has learned about the Gospel.  The book includes a presentation of the letter he wrote to Ellen White explaining, point by point, her errors placed side-by-side with the Bible statements that show that what she teaches conflicts with Scripture.  (See Dirk Anderson, "On Trial for Heresy— the A. F. Ballinger Story," at :

www.ellenwhiteexposed.com 

 

1909 - At the last General Conference Mrs. White attended, a certain minister was asked to read one of her unpublished testimonies.  As he read it, he recognized that it was his own production.  Since he had been taught all his life that Ellen received her testimonies from God, his faith in her was shaken.  (See Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White.)

 

1911 - The Church spends $3,000 to revise Ellen White's book, The Great Controversy, due to anger over the fact that she had plagiarized extensively.  The revisions were demanded by Church leaders because she had copied from so many sources without giving credit to the original authors while she, in general, claimed that her work was directly inspired by God.  Dr. Stewart had done extensive research on Ellen's plagiarism for his 1907 booklet, which placed her plagiarisms along side of the original sources she had not credited.  Until Walter Rea discovered extensive plagiarism in the writings of Ellen White in the early 1980's, Seventh-day Adventist leaders denied any knowledge of significant or extensive plagiarism by her as late as 1979.  This deception is incredible in view of the fact that it was an official Church action, taken under extreme public pressure, to correct her blatant copying in the single most important book to Adventism, The Great Controversy. (See Canright, Life of Mrs. E. G. White.)

 

1912 - The Church publishes J.N. Andrews' book, Advent History of the Sabbath— a book that proves that Adventist leaders now have an exhaustive understanding of the breadth and depth of Early Church writings and understand that Sunday observance was characteristic of Christianity by around 100 A.D.. Andrews, in a much earlier, 1873 work, Testimony of the Fathers of the First Three Centuries Concerning the Sabbath and the First Day, proved that the Church was well-aware of this fact.  Actually Andrews knew by 1859 that Sunday observance was wide-spread by 100 A.D. as evidenced by the content of his 1859 book, The History of the Sabbath and the First Day of the Week.  (See also 1859.)  However, Andrews' 1912 book provides a much more extensive and more scholarly approach to the Church's defense of this thorny-for-Sabbatarianism problem. D. M. Canright quotes the 1912 edition of Andrews' book:

 

The "Advent History of the Sabbath," edition of 1912, is compelled to admit that Sunday observance was in the Christian Church at the beginning of the second century.  The author says: "The results of our investigation concerning the origin of Sunday [is] that it was not introduced into the Christian Church until the beginning of the second century" (page 450).

 

D. M. Canright quoting a Seventh-day Adventist book in his own 1915 book, The Lord's Day From Neither Catholics Nor Pagans: An Answer To Seventh-day Adventism On This Subject.

 

In this same book, his research on the interpretation of a key section of Chapter 14 of the Didache is thorough and balanced.  He seems to present all the facts.  However, his general approach to the Didache and other such sources is to seek to demonstrate that they are invalid because they are forgeries and/or contain non-canonical ideas. 

 

See Appendix II for an evaluation of Andrews' work on the Didache.  Andrews quotes the following amazing statement of Tertullian de Orat., c.23 as cited by Rose's Neander, London, 1831, Vol. I, p. 33:

 

The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.  Perhaps at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday as a sin.

 

1914 - D. M. Canright publishes his last revision of Seventh-day Adventism Renounced.  Adventist leaders are confronted with virtually all the fundamental, fatal-to-Sabbatarian arguments that the new-Sabbatarian movement of today uses with the exception of the facts of Hebrew linguistics in regard to the Creation Story and the discovery in more recent years of even stronger evidence that Chapter 14 of Didache was written as early as 50 A.D.. Canright disproves the theory that sun worship had any possible influence on the very early adoption of Sunday observance by Christians to the point of over-kill, and reminds his Adventist "brethren" of what they have known since 1873, when J. N. Andrews published his book on the history of the Sabbath― that Sunday observance was characteristic of Christianity by the beginning of the Second Century (100 A.D.). 

 

1914 - Astronomer Nickolson at Lick Observatory discovers the 9th moon of Jupiter.  By this time there is no excuse for Adventist leaders not to repudiate the prophetic claims of Ellen White.  The biblical requirement for a true prophet is to be right 100% of the time in matters for which it is claimed God is responsible for communicating.  This is a major disgrace!  Her false claims would appear to "embarrass" God terribly, making Him look like He couldn't keep track of His own moons.  This is why Ellen White's false claim that her visions came from God represents "White Collar" blasphemy. 

 

1915 - D. M. Canright publishes The Lord's Day from Neither Catholics nor Pagans:  An Answer to Seventh-day Adventism on This subjectThis book utilizes a wide variety of scholarly sources that not only prove that the Roman Catholic Church could not have possibly had anything to do with the early adoption of Sunday observance by Christians, but also that the idea that sun worship had any such influence is preposterous.  With evidence this powerful, it is no wonder that much later, in 1977, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi essentially confirmed that Canright was right, since he conceded that Christians had universally adopted Sunday observance by 140 A.D., hundreds of years before there was a Catholic Church or a pope, and additionally conceded that he could not prove a link between sun worship in the Roman Empire and the virtually immediate abandonment of Sabbath-keeping by the first Christians.  Read this for yourself at: truthorfables.com/The_Lord's_Canright.htm

 

1916 - D. M. Canright publishes The Complete Testimony of the Early Fathers Proving the Universal Observance of Sunday in the first Century.  This booklet confronts Adventist leaders of the day with every imaginable proof that Sunday observance was close to universal by the early part of the second century.  He uses biblical evidence, discusses the meaning of various Greek words, and observes scholarly restraint in his claims.  For example, he gives 125 A.D. as the accepted date for the testimony of the Didache's documentation of Christians worshiping on the first day of the week, but adds that some authorities even date that part of this collection of the first Christian writings to 80 A.D..  By the 1980's, scholars, using a variety of analytical approaches, had dated the Didache to as early as 50 A.D. and no later than 125 A.D..  The Wikipedia article, Didache, indicates that American biblical scholars are willing to date this document to as early as 50 A.D..  This booklet makes very interesting reading.  It can be found at: exadventist.com/Home/Sabbath/tabid/53/Default.aspx

 

It is in the form of a complete photocopy of the original pamphlet showing both sides of the page.  Its contents should have moved Adventist leaders to abandon their apostasy theory of Sabbath abandonment and to cease their reprehensible propaganda campaign.

 

1916 - Continuing the Shut Door fraud, Elder G. I. Butler wrote about the same subject, quoted the same passage, and suppressed the same three words as did his predecessor in that cover-up crime; J. N. Loughborough.   (See 1905.)  See also Canright, The Life of Mrs. E. G. White.

 

1919 - D. M. Canright publishes his book, Life of Mrs. E.G. White Seventh-day Adventist Prophet: Her False Claims RefutedIn this book he thoroughly treats her plagiarism.  It is amazing that in the early 1980's, the secretary of the White Estate at that time, Dr. Robert Olson, stated that the charge of significant plagiarism on the part of Ellen White was unfamiliar to him.  Canright's book is easy to find with an Internet search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

 

1919 - Top Adventist leaders meet secretly for several days at the 1919 Bible Conference to discuss their growing realization that Ellen White is a fraud.  They discuss her failed prophecies, historical errors, and her plagiarism, as well as other problems.  They discuss whether to tell the truth about her at the time or to cover-up the whole thing.  Special concern is expressed as to how to keep the truth about Ellen White from the Church's seminary students.  You can access the complete transcript at the following Web address:

spectrummagazine.org/files/archive/archive06-10/10-1couperus.pdf

 

The stenographer's transcript of these meetings is ordered by General Conference president, A. G. Daniells, to be locked up in the vault and made inaccessible for 50 years.  It will later be discovered in 1974.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth - Chapters 4,5,6,7,8,9,10

 

 

THE COVER-UP 1920 THROUGH 1939

 

DAMAGE CONTROL IS BECOMING MORE EFFECTIVE.

 

Conservatives are anxious to cover-up the aftermath of the 1919 Bible Conference, so a "political purge" takes place.  Ellen White is established as an honorable prophet in the minds of most SDA pastors and rank-and-file members, but the Sanctuary Doctrine continues to be challenged by thinking SDA leaders. Still, SDA damage control techniques keep the problems with the Sanctuary Doctrine/Investigative Judgment issue so quiet that few Adventists ever hear about it.  The White Estate manipulates the writings of Ellen White to serve the conservative, non-Gospel agenda of top SDA leaders.  Questions about the Sabbath and D. M. Canright still linger, prompting the Church to publish another book to counter his teachings. 

 

1922 - At the 1922 General Conference session, Adventist leaders Holmes and Washburn, having heard about what happened at the 1919 Bible Conference from stories leaked out from some of the participants, work behind the scene to purge as many of the delegates as possible who were unsupportive of Ellen White.  Since Ellen White had few supporters at the conference, the purge was a big one.  A. G. Daniells loses his position as General Conference president.  (See the Wikipedia article, "1919 Bible Conference.")

 

1930 - William W. Fletcher, a distinguished SDA leader and Bible professor at Avondale College in Australia, voluntarily resigns from the Church because he cannot accept the traditional SDA teaching of the Sanctuary Doctrine.  (See Raymond F. Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?")

 

1930 - A. G. Daniells reveals to the young LeRoy Froom the existence of thousands of Ellen White documents relating to the Gospel versus legalism debate of 1888, conceding that he had had a part in covering up the fact of the existence of these manuscripts.  He tells Froom that these documents paint a completely different picture of Adventist history and explains that the Church has misused her writings, manipulating her writings as they chose to further the legalistic goals of those leaders.  He charges the young Froom to set the record straight with the Church after he is gone by releasing those writings.  (See 1971.)

 

1931 - Louis R. Conradi, a key European Division leader, voluntarily separates himself from the Adventist Church and forfeits his ministerial credentials because he could not prove the traditional SDA Sanctuary Doctrine from the Bible.  (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?").

 

1932 - William W. Fletcher publishes his paper, "Reasons for My Faith."  Raymond F. Cottrell, who is conceded by many to be the greatest Seventh-day Adventist theologian of all time, stated years later that Fletcher's arguments were superior to those of his opponents.  (Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?").

 

1933 - In Defense of the Faith, by William H. Branson (Review and Herald, 1933, 398 pages), is published.  Branson attempts to refute Canright, but his basic arguments are disproved decades later, either by the direct testimony of, or by the inadvertent "hostile witness" of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi in 1977.  Branson seeks to prove that the Roman Catholic Church really did "change the day," but Bacchiocchi later proved that the adoption of Sunday observance was universal centuries before there was a Roman Catholic Church or a pope. J. N. Andrews wrote about the almost immediate adoption of Sunday observance by Christians as early as 1859.  Why Branson thought he could write a successful rebuttal of Canright is simply difficult to fathom.  Andrews conceded that Sabbath abandonment took place in the Second Century back in writings he published in 1859 and 1873.  Canright disproved even the possibility of the sun worship/Roman Catholic Church Sabbath "apostasy" theory to the point of over-kill, and it was the writings of Canright that Branson wrote his book to refute!  It helps to understand why he would attempt such an impossible task when we remember that his pay check came from the Church.

 

1933 - "The White Elephant of Seventh-Day-Adventism?" by R. Vowless (New Plymouth, New Zealand,  P. F. Burrows Ltd., Eliot Street, New Plymouth, accessed at http://www.truthorfables.com/white_elephant.htm, is published, proving that Adventist leaders knew even as early as 1933 that Ellen White did wholesale copying from other authors for her Conflict of the Ages series and other books.  Here is a remarkable quotation from this pamphlet:

 

Turning to the Bible again, I read: "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets," Hebrews 1:1; and "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," 2 Peter, 1: 21.

 

I do not know how the S.D.A.'s interpret the above Scriptures; for, Mrs. White, the prophetess of the remnant church, is recognized, as, perhaps, one of the world's greatest plagiarists.  Let anyone compare the "The Great Controversy," by Mrs. E. G. White, with book entitled "History of the Reformation," by D'Aubign'e; "The History of Protestantism," by J. A. Wylie; "History of the Waldenses," by Wylie; " History of the Sabbath," by Andrews; and "Sanctuary," by Smith. Then they will soon see where her inspirations came from.  Also, it would be found interesting to compare her first edition of "The Great Controversy" with the last edition, a very marked difference will be found in thought and expression.  The criticism was so strong against her plagiarism that she was forced to make the alterations.

 

"Patriarchs and Prophets" by Mrs. E. G. White, received some wonderful help from Adam Clarke's Commentaries as we cannot help but notice when comparing the different paragraphs.  It is now becoming a well known fact that "Steps to Christ" was written by Miss Fanny Bolton, without any dictation or assistance whatever from Mrs. White— yet it carries Mrs. White's name.  Is this in keeping with the eighth commandment?  Some people think if they keep the fourth, it does not matter so much about the others.

 

Some of their pastors say that "all the critics of Mrs. White could not put together one chapter of "Desire of Ages" by the same author."  No, perhaps not, and it is very evident that Mrs. White was not able to produce many of them, or, in fact, any of them.  "Desire of Ages" was culled from other authors on the "Life of Christ," special mention may be made of Geikie's "—Life of Christ."  Again, it is interesting to compare her first edition of "Desire of Ages" with the latter and again notice the changes in thought and expression; and even as late as 1926, "Desire of Ages" was undergoing another revision.  I trust that Mrs. White's critics are more honest than to copy the words of another author's pen in order to write a chapter of "Desire of Ages."

 

We hear so much about her Health Reform Teachings, but they do not mention that the teachings were taken from three other doctors' books written by Drs. Cole, Jackson, and Thrall.

 

In 1883 she published "Sketches from the Life of Paul," and in the preface there was found this statement: "The writer of this book, having received special help from the Spirit of God, is able to throw light upon the teachings of Paul and the application to our own time, as no other authors are prepared to do."  This book was copied so strongly from "Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul," by Conybeare and Howson, that Conybeare and Howson served notice upon "The Review and Herald Publishing Association," that, unless the book was taken off the market, they would bring a suit against them for plagiarism.  Mr. H. W. Kellogg who was then manager of the Publishing House informed Mrs. White that they would not undertake to publish any more copies of such, unless she would stand for the responsibilities of meeting the threatened suit.  Needless to say, no more have been printed and her order for a new edition, which had just been previously booked, was withdrawn.  Dr. Stewart published a booklet of eighty-nine pages in which he arranged parallel columns of quotations taken from Mrs. White's book, "Sketches from the life of Paul," and the book by Conybeare and Howson just mentioned, and the quotations read like this: Conybeare and Howson's) "The judges sat in the open air, upon seats hewn out in rock, on a platform which was ascended by a flight of stone steps immediately from the Agora." (Mrs. White's) : "The judges sat in the open air, upon seats hewn out in the rock, on a platform which was ascended by a flight of stone steps from the valley below."

 

In the preface, where it is said ............ "having received special help from the Spirit of God" ......., why did they not speak the truth and write ....... "having received special help from Conybeare and Howson"?

 

As this is only an introduction to some of the things which I have found out, I shall not say more here about this wicked plagiarism which is put down as the "Precious rays of light shining from the throne of God."  And I would never dare say or intimate that God was a plagiarist, would you?

 

This quote is astonishing in view of Dr. Robert Olson's denial of any knowledge of charges of serious plagiarism on the part of Ellen White as late as 1979.  Walter Rea only discovered by 1982 what Vowless knew in 1933 and Canright knew in 1889.  Since Canright represented the single greatest enemy of Adventism, and since the Church had published so much material to attempt to refute his arguments, it strains the imagination to think that Dr. Olson knew nothing about Ellen White's problem with plagiarism.

 

1934 - Frank M. Wilcox's book, The Testimony of Jesus, is published by The Review and Herald Publishing Association, revealing inexcusable lying and deceit on the part of the author.  If the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes had not been discovered in 1974, we could look back at the life and ministry of Wilcox and say he was an honest soul who was simply deceived by the claims of Ellen White.  However, Wilcox was one of most outspoken critics of Ellen White in that secret meeting.  Here is what he said in those Minutes:

 

I would like to ask, Brother Daniells, if it could be accepted as a sort of rule that Sister White might be mistaken in details, but in the general policy and instruction she was an authority. . . It seems to me I would have to accept what she says on some of those general policies or I would have to sweep away the whole thing.  Either the Lord has spoken through her or he has not spoken through her; and if it is a matter of deciding in my own judgment whether he has or has not, then I regard her books the same as every other book published.  I think it is one thing for a man to stultify his conscience, and it is another thing to stultify his judgment.  It is one thing for me to lay aside my conscience, and it is another thing for me to change my judgment over some view that I hold.

 

In his book on Ellen White, Wilcox stultifies his own conscience, presents himself as a staunch believer in her prophetic gift, and makes outrageous claims for her, like this one:

 

Are the writings of Mrs. White verbally inspired?  Was she given the exact words in which her thoughts are expressed?  She never made any such claim.   Indeed, she states very positively that such was not the case.  Nor did the pioneers in this movement ever believe or teach verbal inspiration for the writings of the messenger of the Lord.

 

It is amazing how much Wilcox "forgot" during the 14 years since the 1919 Bible Conference.  He lies through his teeth, and this fact is painfully clear.  Here are a couple of those statements Ellen White made that Wilcox "forgot:"

 

1. "When writing these precious books, if I hesitated, the very word I wanted to express the idea was given to me" (Selected Messages, vol. 3, pp. 51, 52). 1907.

 

2.  "....yet the words l employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation" (Review and Herald, Oct.8,1867,quoted in Selected Messages, vol.1, p. 37).

 

Apparently Wilcox was willing to sell his soul and stultify his conscience for the sake of Adventism, his position, and his pay check. 

 

1936 - A. G. Daniells, former General Conference President and one of the most vocal critics of Ellen White's claim to be directly inspired in the 1919 Bible Conference, publishes his defense of her inspiration, entitled The Abiding Gift of Prophecy.  He seems to have forgotten that he knew Ellen White was a fraud back in 1919. Perhaps he was trying to redeem himself for the destructive role he played in the Conference.  To see what he said about Ellen White in 1919, access the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes with a Google Search. (Cited in E. F. Ballenger, Facts about Seventh-day Adventists, posted at ex.sda.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth - Chapters 4,5,6,7,8,9,10

 

 

THE COVER-UP: 1940 ― 1959

 

ON THE SURFACE, THINGS LOOK STABLE.

 

THE "GOLDEN AGE" OF ADVENTISM BEGINS.

 

The Sanctuary Doctrine continues to be a thorn in the side of Adventism, but most Adventists remain ignorant, as usual, of this problem.  While leaders who oppose it are terminated, the Church secretly works very hard to find biblical support for it, but without success. The Golden Age of Adventism ensues.  Ellen White and the Sabbath continue to reign virtually unchallenged in the thinking of almost all Adventists.  This is a great time for Adventists to feel proud of their Church.

 

1945 - Harold E. Snide, Bible professor at Southern Junior College (now Southern Adventist University), discovers serious problems with the Church's Sanctuary Doctrine and goes to the General Conference in Washington, DC to dialogue with Adventist leaders.  He withdraws from the Church in 1945.  (See Cottrell, "Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?")

 

1950 - E.F. Ballinger publishes Facts about Seventh-day Adventists.  This book outlines the lies and deceptions of SDA leaders from the very beginning of the Advent Movement with a special emphasis on proving that the Whites covered up the fact that they taught the Shut Door Doctrine and did not work to save lost sinners for many years beyond what they claimed.  Ballinger's book provides irrefutable evidence that after SDA leaders discovered the fact that the Whites had deceived the Church in regard to the cover-up, joined the Whites as active participants in the deception.  In her suppressed very early writings, Ellen claimed to have received the principles of the Shut Door Doctrine in vision from God.  Like a number of other anti-EGW writers over the years, Ballinger discusses and documents the extensive plagiarism of Ellen White, complete with comparison studies.  This book, or booklet, had to have been known to SDA leaders in the 1950's, since Ballinger published it as part of his anti-SDA, anti-EGW circulated publication, The Gathering Call, which he published for over 28 years.  The information in this book was obtained through an extensive career in Adventist leadership which spanned decades before he discovered the deceptions of the Whites and the Church.  That Adventist leaders were again confronted with the facts about the cover-up of the Shut Door teachings of the Whites in 1950 makes the White Estate's continued denials after 1950 appear to be down-right "criminal."  You can access Ballinger's Facts about Seventh-day Adventists at www.ex-sda.com. How is it possible that Dr. Robert Olson, as Secretary of the White Estate later on, had no knowledge of the existence of this book by E. F. Ballinger?

 

1951 - The Church publishes Frank D. Nichol's book, Ellen G. White and Her Critics.  This book represents the largest single collection of desperate attempts to explain away the failed prophecies of Ellen White and crazy things she said.  Here is a classic example of Nichol's gift for explaining away the obvious:

 

From Chapter 24 of Ellen G. White and Her Critics (F. D. Nichol, 1951):

 

Mrs. White wrote:  "When England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion."—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 259.

 

"England did not declare war." "Her prophecy was a complete failure."

 

Again we need the context in order to see what Mrs. White is setting forth:

 

England is studying whether it is best to take advantage of the present weak condition of our nation, and venture to make war upon her.  She is weighing the matter, and trying to sound other nations.  She fears, if she should commence war abroad, that she would be weak at home, and that other nations would take advantage of her weakness.  Other nations are making quiet yet active preparations for war, and are hoping that England will make war with our nation, for then they would improve the opportunity to be revenged on her for the advantage she has taken of them in the past, and the injustice done them.  A portion of the Queen's subjects are waiting a favorable opportunity to break their yoke; but if England thinks it will pay, she will not hesitate a moment to improve her opportunities to exercise her power, and humble our nation.  When England does declare war, all nations will have an interest of their own to serve, and there will be general war, general confusion."—lbid., p. 259.

 

Note the conditional character of these statements: "She fears, if she should commence war abroad, that she would be weak at home." "But if England thinks it will pay." Then follows the sentence: "When England does declare war...."  It is evident that Mrs. White is here using the word "when" as a synonym for "if," which is good English.  In fact, if we do not thus understand the word "when" in this connection, we have an unusual situation— a series of problematical "ifs" is followed by a simple statement that England is going to declare war.  Thus Mrs. White's last sentence would make pointless her preceding sentences.

 

A similar use of the word "when" is found on the preceding page in her work:  "When our nation observes the fast which God has chosen, then will he accept their prayers as far as the war is concerned."  No one, least of all the critic, will argue that the word "when" in this connection introduces a simple statement concerning a future fact that will undebatably happen.

 

1955 - Raymond F. Cottrell and a special committee attempt to prepare a chapter on the Sanctuary Doctrine for the new S.D.A. Bible Commentary.  The committee finds no biblical support for the doctrine and is in a quandary about how to approach the task the General Conference has given them to explain what Adventists believe with support from the Bible.  (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?")

 

1958 - The General Conference assigns Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell the task of revising the chapter on the Investigative Judgment (Sanctuary Doctrine) for the classic SDA book, Bible Readings.  Here is Dr. Cottrell's explanation of what happened:

 

"In 1958 the Review and Herald Publishing Association needed new printing plates for the classic book, Bible Readings, and it was decided to revise it where necessary to agree with the Commentary.  Coming again to the Book of Daniel I determined to try once more to find a way to be absolutely faithful to both Daniel and the traditional Adventist interpretation of 8:14, but again found it impossible.  I then formulated six questions regarding the Hebrew text of the passage and its context, which I submitted to every college teacher versed in Hebrew and every head of the religion department in all of our North American colleges― all personal friends of mine.  Without exception they replied that there is no linguistic or contextual basis for the traditional Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8:14." (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?")

 

1959 - On May 5, 1959 a special issue of the Review & Herald showcases a beautiful painting and article designed to cover-up the fact that Ellen White taught the Shut Door Doctrine during her earliest years as a prophetess after claiming she had received such instruction in a vision from God; and that while she believed and taught this unfortunate doctrine, the Advent believers made no effort to seek and save lost souls.  Ellen White taught until much later than she or the Church would like to admit, that the door of probation had closed for everyone except for their small band of Adventist believers.  Deceptively, the Review & Herald painting shows Ellen White looking upward at a globe of light hovering over the Eastern U.S. and then shooting around the entire world.  The article/painting falsely represents this November 1848 vision as containing instruction from God on how to reach the world with the Advent message through the publishing work.  On page 39 they have recorded an explanation of this painting.  Here is an extended quotation from E. S. Ballinger, Facts About Seventh-day Adventists (1950), posted at www.ex-sda.com:

 

Harry Anderson has sought, in this beautiful painting, to capture a scene in the early history of the Advent Movement.  Mrs. E. G. White thus describes the scene she saw in her vision of the beginnings of the publishing work:


"At a meeting held in Dorchester, Mass., November, 1848, I had been given a view of the proclamation of the sealing message, and of the duty of the brethren to publish the light that was shining upon our pathway."


"After coming out of vision, I said to my husband:  'I have a message for you.  You must begin to print a small paper and send it out to the people.  Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first.  From this small beginning it was shown to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.' "
― Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 125.


It was in July, 1849, that James White responded to this vision by starting the publication of
Present Truth, which was shortly renamed Review and Herald.  From this small beginning has indeed grown a world work, as Mrs. White forecast in vision.


In the background of this picture are shown James White and Joseph Bates taking notes.

 

We wrote to the Review & Herald Publishing House asking permission to reproduce this painting. They refused to grant our request.

 

THE EDITOR GUILTY

 

The most important portion of this description of the cover is found also on page 5 from the pen of the editor. In addition to quoting that portion referring to light going around the world, the editor also says: "James White believed that he had present truth to present to the world." This statement is represented as being taken from one of Mrs. White's earliest visions which was given her at Dorchester, Mass., Nov. 1848. The vision from which this was taken has never appeared complete in any of Mrs. White's publications.  We have a complete copy of this vision which we expect to reproduce in the next issue of the Gathering Call.  The length of it prevents our using it in this issue.  That portion which relates to seeing the lights going around the world is not in the Dorchester vision.

 

Joseph Bates wrote this vision while Mrs. White spoke it; and there is no reference whatsoever to light streaming clear around the world.  It is a disgrace to any people to publish such illustrations or such statements in regard to the Dorchester vision.

 

MRS. WHITE WAS 58 YEARS OLD WHEN SHE FIRST SAW LIGHTS GOING AROUND THE WORLD

 

The first time that Mrs. White gave utterance to seeing lights encircling the globe was when she was visiting Europe, in 1885 or 1886.  It was first published in the RH July 26, 1887.  If Mrs. White saw this in 1848, why was it not published until 1887, nearly 40 years later?  In proof of this we reproduce her first publication of her seeing lights going clear around the world.  It is found on page 379 of the old edition of Gospel Workers, published in 1892.

 

In my very girlhood the Lord saw fit to open before me the glories of heaven.  I was in vision taken to heaven, and the angel said to me, "Look!"  I looked to the world as it was in dense darkness.  The agony that came over me was indescribable as I saw this darkness.  Again the word came, "Look ye!"  And again I looked intensely over the world, and I began to see jets of light like stars dotted all through this darkness; and then I saw another and another added light, and so all through this moral darkness the star like lights were increasing.

 

In this Dorchester vision Mrs. White saw that they should begin printing the message but she had no idea of printing the message for the world, for in that vision she stated that they had received the "shut door," which meant that they believed probation had closed.

 

Another illustration is presented in this Special on page 7.  It represents James White and his wife together with other workers bowing around a stack of their first paper, the Present Truth, and asking God's blessing to go with it as they mailed it out to their friends.  Present Truth was an 8-page paper which was edited by James White from July 1849 to November, 1850.  The eleven issues were bound together and had a wide circulation in the early days.  Mrs. White states that they bowed around very issue of this paper and asked God's blessing upon it.  There was hardly a number of this paper that did not contain arguments trying to prove that probation had closed in 1844.  One number is largely given to the shut door.

 

Mrs. White's Topsham vision given on Sabbath, March 24, 1849, contains the positive evidence that she believed and taught the "shut door."  Those who have copies of this Present Truth will find the portion relating to the shut door at the bottom of col. 1, page 22.  It is this portion of the Topsham vision that is omitted from all of Mrs. White's subsequent reproductions.  James White, Mrs. White, Joseph Bates, Hiram Edson and others of the pioneers wrote for the Present Truth condemning the 1st-day Adventists and other churches for trying to save sinners, because God had rejected all of the world excepting the Advent believers.

 

MRS. WHITE ASKING GOD'S BLESSING ON THE SHUT DOOR

 

The inconsistency of these pioneers including James White and his wife bowing down and asking God's blessing to attend the contents of this document which was saturated with the teachings of the "shut door," and then a century later, trying to make all people believe that Mrs. White was shown in vision that they were called to publish and send the message clear around the world, is a shame to any people.

 

Quoted in E. S. Ballinger, Facts About Seventh-day Adventists (1950), posted at ex-sda.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth - Chapters 45,6,7,8,9,10

 

 

COVER-UP DURING THE 1960'S AND 1970'S

 

The Golden Age Continues Through the 1960's.

 

The Golden Age of Adventism continues.  Canright seems forgotten.  The Sabbath, Ellen White, and the Sanctuary Doctrine appear to be beyond question.  However, Adventist leaders still know there is a serious problem with the Sanctuary Doctrine.  The best minds in the Church are secretly trying to find biblical support for this teaching.  Adventism flourishes, membership increases dramatically, and Adventist education expands.  Prophetic seminars utilizing bogus dates from "history" are used to deceive hundreds of thousands of people into thinking the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the true Church of Bible prophecy for the last days and that all other churches are Babylon.  Adventists do not question Colossians 2:14-17, and if they ever do, they are told that the Sabbath referred to in this passage is merely a reference to the monthly and annual ceremonial Sabbaths.  No one seems to notice that the syntax of this passage requires this passage to target the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue.  The typical Adventist is ignorant of the fact that the adoption of Sunday observance by Christians was virtually immediate, making it impossible that sun worship or the Roman Catholic Church were responsible for the Christian adoption of Sunday as its day of worship.

 

1961 - The General Conference president gives Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell the task of solving the Investigative Judgment problem.  Cottrell sends a questionnaire out to a large number of Adventist scholars and theologians to poll their opinions.  The analysis of Cottrell's survey indicates there is widespread concern that the doctrine cannot be supported from the Bible alone.  The General Conference orders the formation of a top secret committee.  The committee's task is to meet until it can find the biblical support the Church needs to validate the Sanctuary Doctrine/Investigative Judgment concept.  The committee includes an elite group of SDA Bible scholars and theologians.  (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?").

 

1966-1967 (CIRCA) - Kerry Wynne, a student at Pacific Union College, interviews Dr. Robert Olson regarding Wynne's interest in studying the Seventh-day Adventist ministry.  Dr. Olson is Chairman of the Religion Department at this time, prior to assuming his duties a few years later as Secretary of the White Estate.  Wynne questions Dr. Olson in regard to some doubts he has about Ellen White, including charges that she is a false prophet.  Dr. Olson explains that these charges stem mostly from a disgruntled apostate Seventh-day Adventist leader by the name of D. M. Canright, who left the Church because he felt his talents were not adequately appreciated by Ellen and James White.  He says that Canright was a bitter man and that his charges against Ellen White were based on the desire to seek revenge.  (It has been many years since this interview, and Wynne is only claiming to recall the gist of what Dr. Olson said.)  He suggested that to ally his fears he should go to the Pacific Union College Library and check out the book, The Life of Mrs. E.G. White, by D. M. Canright.  Wynne follows Dr. Olson's advice, checks out the book, and reads it quickly.  Canright's tone seems a bit angry, and Wynne, unable to grasp the full implications of what he was reading, decides that Dr. Olson is right.  Wynne concludes that Ellen White is a true prophet of God and continues in this belief until he reads the People Magazine story about the Fox Sisters.  (See 1999.)  Since Canright made a big deal about Ellen White's plagiarism in the book that Dr. Olson recommended, this brief interview nearly proves that Dr. Olson knew of her plagiarism when he denied any knowledge of such charges just prior to the exposure of her extensive plagiarism by Walter Rea.  (See 1979.)  

 

1968 - The secret Sanctuary Doctrine committee disbands without reaching any conclusion.  The committee studied 48 papers by competent SDA Bible scholars and theologians in vain.  The total failure of the committee to find support for the doctrine is kept secret.  The existence of this secret committee will not be known until Dr. Cottrell retires from the Church and can write and speak what he wants to without fear of losing his employment with the Church.  (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?").

 

Adventism Self-Destructs in the 1970's.

 

The wrecking of Adventism begins.  One block-buster revelation after another of the perfidy of Adventist leaders and their deceptions burst upon the scene.  Damage control becomes extremely difficult.  Adventist leaders are seen to have manipulated Ellen White's writings to serve their own agenda.  The foundation for the belief in the Sabbath, Ellen White, and the Investigative Judgment is destroyed.   Adventism begins the process of dividing into several "camps" of interpreting the Adventist faith.  It appears that the more Adventist leaders know about the impossibilities of the Church's key doctrines, the more financial corruption there is.  Church leaders are busy in illegal conflict of interest speculation with Church and personal funds, which culminates in the disaster of the unmasking of the Davenport Scandal at the end of the decade.

 

1971 - The Church publishes the epic, Movement of Destiny, by LeRoy Froom.  He concedes that a massive cover-up of Ellen White's writings related to the Gospel versus the legalism crisis of 1888 had been deliberately suppressed by the Church.  This confession, made under pressure from some elements from within the Church who had heard of the existence of these writings, is astonishing.  However, Froom is far from honest with his readers.  He still maintains that the documents in question no longer exist when he knows they are locked away safely in the vault.  (Search for Norris, All Experts, Seventh-day Adventists, article "White Estate.")  According to insider Norris, Froom conspired with Arthur White to cover up what Ellen White actually said about Gospel related topics and the Investigative Judgment.  In fact, as Froom lay dying he called his son to his side and ordered him to burn boxes of his research that he had utilized in the writing of Movement of Destiny.  Norris says, "Scholars have long known that this large book, which claims to be the official story of 1888, is fiction."

 

1974 - (Some authorities say 1975) - Dr. Stephen F. Yost receives special permission to do research in the vault at the General Conference in Washington, DC.  In the very back of the vault he finds a brown package hidden under a pile of dust.  He opens it up and finds the stenographer's transcript of a secret meeting of top SDA leaders at the 1919 Bible Conference.  He removes the package from the vault.  In reading it he discovers that almost without exception, each key Adventist leader expresses his or her conviction that Ellen White is essentially a fraud.  This amazing document will be published 5 years later (1979) in Spectrum, Volume 10, No. 1.  (Spectrum is a liberal Seventh-day Adventist related independent publication that is barely tolerated by the Church.)  These leaders discuss whether the Church should tell the truth about her or continue the cover-up including the pros and cons of either choice.  If a cover-up plan is to be implemented, they wrestle with the problem of how they would keep the truth about her from their seminary students.

 

1974 - Andrews University history professor Donald R. McAdams publishes Ellen White and the Protestant Historians.  His work exposes Ellen White's extensive plagiarism of a host of Protestant writers and historians.  He wrote his book, he said, because his students complain that her account of history often differs with that of accepted historical sources.  In March he sends a letter to Arthur White, then director of the White Estate, detailing his findings.  McAdams' findings are disturbing:

 

What we find when we examine the historical portions of the Great Controversy (those events from the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. through the French Revolution) is that entire chapters at the time are simply selective abridgments of protestant historians. ... In the samples I have examined there is not one historical fact in her text that is not in their text. [pp. 16, 17]

 

1974 - Andrews University history professor Donald R. McAdams also finds extensive evidence that Ellen White got her concept, most of her material, and her theology for her book, The Great Controversy, from a book written much earlier by an early First Day Advent writer by the name of H. L Hastings, entitled The Great Controversy Between God and Man― Its Origin Progress and End. He notes that even her chapter titles have similar names and an almost identical order.  (Cited in Douglas Hackleman's, "Ellen White's Habit," referencing McAdams, Ellen G. White and the Protestant Historians, 1974.)

 

1976 - Dr. Ronald Numbers, then a professor at the Church's medical school, Loma Linda University, publishes his block-buster book, Prophetess of Health.  He outlines conclusive evidence that proves Ellen White got her ideas about health reform from other authors who wrote about health issues and who preceded her by as much as 20 years— in particular a certain Dr. Jackson.  He demonstrates that the larger problem is that she lied when she claimed that she had received this information in visions from God.  The Church has no answer for his charges because the evidence is compelling.

 

1977 - Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi publishes his iconoclastic scholarly defense of the Sabbath, From Sabbath to Sunday.  He concedes that Christians had universally adopted Sunday observance by 140 A.D., proving that Ellen White lied when she claimed that God had showed her in vision that the Roman Catholic Church and the pope had "changed the day."  He concedes that the Sabbath mentioned by St. Paul in Colossians 2:14-17 is a reference to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue, flatly contradicting traditional SDA teaching on this point.  The ramifications of these astonishing concessions to the anti-Sabbatarians are profound: (1) It contradicted Ellen White's claim that all the ceremonial laws were nailed to the cross.  (2) It required the necessity for Bacchiocchi to teach that the Sabbath and the other Jewish ordinances listed by Paul were not the "shadows" to which Paul referred but instead were the extra rules and regulations of the Judaizers, created by them to make the observance of this set of Jewish ordinances more rigorous.  (3)  Concept #2 forced Bacchiocchi to develop the theory that Paul validated all the ordinances in Paul's list of Jewish ordinances for continuance into the Christian era, rather than indicating that they were to be discarded as mere "shadows."  Concepts #2 and #3 combined forced Bacchiocchi into the unenviable position to conclude that Christians must keep the Jewish dietary laws and annual and monthly sabbath feast days if they are going to believe that Colossians 2:14-17 does not abrogate the Jewish Sabbath.  This book launches the current anti-Sabbatarian movement by its colossal failure to defend the Sabbath in a believable way.

 

1978-1979 - Researcher Tom Norris discovers the suppressed writings of Ellen White related to the 1888 debate between the Gospel and legalism in the vaults of the newly formed General Conference Archives.  These documents prove that Ellen White's son, Arthur White, had been hiding thousands of documents about this 1888 debate over righteousness by faith that tell a very different story about Ellen White from what Froom and the White Estate had been teaching about her.  Furthermore, the discovery uncovers some of the actual documents from this 1888 debate that the White Estate and the Review claimed no longer existed.  Here is what Norris says:  

 

More than that, there were thousands of rare Ellen White documents from the 1888 period that were discovered hidden in the White Estate.  Here was a large and stunning collection of 1888 materials that had been deliberately hidden from the church all these years.  No wonder Arthur White tried to keep the White Estate off limits to any researchers or scholars.  He, and Froom, and others, had been perpetrating a massive fraud on the Adventist Community.  Although this historic discovery took place in 1978-79, just before Glacier View, the leaders were in no mood to admit that such a major scandal was taking place.  Besides, the conservatives were in control and such a discovery would destroy their agenda to eliminate the evangelicals and promote their legalistic version of Ellen White's theology that they had so badly misunderstood."  (Search for Norris, All Experts, Seventh-day Adventists, White Estate.)

 

1978 - Ingemar Linden publishes The Last Trump.  A former Seminary Bible and homiletics teacher, his book proves Ellen White had taught the Shut Door Doctrine much later than she admitted, contrary to the denials of the Church, and supported his claim by quoting from previously unreleased portions of a letter Ellen White had written to Joseph Bates on July 13, 1847.  This upset Arthur White, who was director of the White Estate at the time.  Notice that SDA leaders continued to deny that Ellen White taught the Shut Door Doctrine long after Linden proved she had taught it.  (See Douglas Hackleman, "Ellen White's Habit.")

 

1979 (JANUARY) - Dr. Robert Olson, then Secretary of the White Estate, states there is nothing to the rumors that Ellen White borrowed extensively from other authors.  He lies.  Dr. Olson has had access to the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes since they were discovered in 1974 or 1975.  In the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes, the delegates discuss the length and breadth of Ellen White's plagiarism, including her wholesale copying of a book by two English authors and re-labeling it Sketches from the Life of Paul.  The delegates mention how she lifted virtually the entire book from these authors yet claimed that God had given her the information in vision.  Walter Rea documents the presentation during which Dr. Olson made this deceitful statement in his book, The White LieKeep in mind that the 1919 Bible Conference minutes had been available to Dr. Olson since 1974 or 1975 and it would have been the single most important document he had ever seen since it proved these early SDA leaders knew Ellen White was a fraud:

 

At an afternoon presentation by Olson in January 1979 at Loma Linda University in California, someone in the audience asked about Mrs. White's borrowing from published sources.  Olson's reply was to the effect that there was nothing to it, that all of her writings were her own.  He then volunteered that there was some minister in Southern California making waves with allegations about borrowed material for her key book, The Desire of Ages, but that there was nothing to these rumors.

 

To say that I was in a state of shock after the meeting is to put it mildly.  My file at that very time already held several letters from that same Olson encouraging me to keep sending him my comparisons of Ellen with her contemporaries.  Furthermore, he had personally talked with me when he was in California only a short time before and had sought my promise that I would not publish any report on my work until he and the White Estate staff had been given additional time to survey the material.

I had agreed to his request, and the fact of the agreement had been recorded in the in-house memo that he wrote afterward and that I held in my files. (The White Lie, Introduction)

 

1979 (MAY) - Spectrum Magazine publishes the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes in its May issue.

 

1979 (SEPTEMBER) - Robert Olson, Secretary of the White Estate, publishes a short paper about the 1919 Bible Conference Minutes. (See Olson, Robert W., "The 1919 Conference and Bible and History Teachers' Council." Washington, DC: Ellen G. White Estate, September 24, 1979. 10p. Heritage Room DF [BIBLE CONFERENCE - 1919]). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth - Chapters 4,5,6,7,8,9,10

 

 

THE COVER-UP: 1980 ― 1989

 

THE IMPOSSIBILITIES OF THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL SDA DOCTRINES GET AIRED

 

 

The factual basis for the three key doctrines of Adventism is destroyed.  Bacchiocchi's "New Sabbatarianism" blasts any hope of ever returning the Sabbath doctrine to respectability.  The Church is unable to defend the Sanctuary Doctrine and lies about what happened at Glacier View.  The Church is forced to acknowledge that Ellen White lied about her prophetic gifts and borrowed about everything she ever wrote, setting the stage for the astonishing public acknowledgment of this fact in 1990.  The attention drawn to the impossibilities of the Sabbath motivates thinking Adventist theologians to take a closer look at the prophetic dates used to prove that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church of Bible prophecy.  The discovery is made that Adventist leaders should have known that most of these dates were unsubstantiated as prophetic markers by what actually took place on those dates.  Adventism is in shambles by the end of the 1980's, but the majority of Adventist believers are still not aware of the existence of these fatal-to-Adventism developments. 

 

1980 - Skip Baker, then General Conference Photographer, convinces vault officials to grant him access to the 1847 letter Ellen White wrote to Joseph Bates.  Baker is shocked by its release to him.  He makes numerous photographs of the letter.  He notes the letter clearly proves that Ellen White believed in and taught the Shut Door Doctrine as late as 1847― a fact that Adventist leaders had vehemently denied for well over 100 years.  He discovers that much of the letter had been intentionally mutilated to keep the contents beyond page 3 from being legible.  However, there is enough damaging evidence on the first page to prove that she taught the Shut Door at the time.  To see a photograph of this letter, access it at:  www.truthorfables.com/EGW_to_J.Bates_1847.htm

 

1980 - Dr. Desmond Ford, guest professor of religion at Pacific Union College and on loan at the time from Avondale College in Australia, is put on trial at Glacier View Ranch near Denver, Colorado, for his views on the Sanctuary Doctrine.  He had disclosed in a forum lecture at Pacific Union College that he cannot find biblical support for this doctrine and that its teachings appear to be fundamentally anti-Gospel.  About 40 top SDA theologians and biblical scholars are present at the trial.  They vote unanimously in favor of six of his eight points.  Ford is defrocked and forced to earn a living outside of Church employment.  Neal C. Wilson, then General Conference president, flies back to General Conference headquarters in Washington, DC and announces that the Glacier View Committee unanimously agreed that Dr. Ford's views are wrong and that he should be defrocked.  (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?").

 

1980 - News that an Adventist pastor, Dr. Walter Rea, had found evidence of plagiarism in the writings of the Church's prophetess, Ellen G. White, reaches the ears of John Dart, the religion editor of the Los Angeles Times.  Dart interviewed Dr. Rea in his home, and very quickly publishes a story with banner headlines that read, "Plagiarism Found in Prophet Books,"  (October 20, 1980).  The story is syndicated to 1,000 newspapers and reported on worldwide radio and TV.  Dr. Rea is fired from the Church in November.  (See Walter Rea, Pirates of Privilege, p.76 in the spiral-bound edition available from Dr. Desmond Ford's, Good News Unlimited organization in Australia.)

 

1980 - The Church forms a committee in Glendale, California to study the evidence they already have that Ellen White borrowed extensively from the writings of other authors without giving credit to her sources.  Eighteen key scholars from across the country met to examine the evidence.  They receive orders to work with Dr. Rea in their study.  The committee concludes that the evidence is alarming and that further study is needed.  Unfortunately, the committee acts without the consent of the Church's high administrative council, PREXAD.  PREXAD blocks any further activity by the Glendale committee and announces its own plan to deal with the issues. (See Rea, Pirates of Privilege, p.75 of the spiral bound edition from Good News Unlimited.)

 

1981 - Circa 1981 - A group of about 40 SDA biblical scholars and theologians sign a statement which came to be known as the "Atlanta Affirmation."  This document, sent to General Conference President, Neal C. Wilson, rebukes him for lying about what happened at Glacier View and for the way he treated Dr. Ford both before and after the Glacier View trial.  (See Cottrell, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?")

 

1981 - Robert D. Brinsmead, a highly controversial independent Seventh-day Adventist theologian with a large following in the United States in earlier years, publishes his classic paper, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined."  Brinsmead's paper, the writing of which is evidently prompted by his keen perception that Dr. Bacchiocchi's 1977 book came closer to destroying the case for Sabbatarianism than to defending it, refutes Bacchiocchi's fanciful Sabbath theology and painfully exposes the impossibilities of Sabbatarianism.  A brilliant writer, Brinsmead disproves the entire Sabbath concept with the most up-to-date scholarly research and lock-step logic.

 

1981 - The Church's Davenport Scandal breaks loose with the bankruptcy of SDA physician and real estate developer, Dr. Donald J. Davenport.  This scandal exposes Adventist corruption on an unimaginable scale, including bribery, kick-backs, illegal conflicts of interest, and cover-up.  Many Church entities are shown to have been involved― state and regional conferences, Adventist institutions like Pacific Union College, and a wide variety of Adventist leaders, including the General Conference president and six union conference presidents.  The Davenport Scandal shows Adventist leaders behaving as if they do not believe in Heaven or Hell, much less than in the unique SDA doctrines of the Investigative Judgment, the inspiration of Ellen White, and the Sabbath.

 

1981 - Dale Ratzlaff, who is later to be described by SDA Bible professor Judd Lake as the "fountain head of all [SDA] critics," leaves the Church because he cannot find biblical support for the Church's Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment (Sanctuary Doctrine).  He continues to keep the Sabbath for a while and later writes his devastating critique of the Investigative Judgment entitled Cultic Doctrine of Seventh-day Adventists.  Later, he will publish a comprehensive anti-Sabbatarian book entitled Sabbath in Crisis, which is now renamed Sabbath in Christ.  (See also 1990.)  His book on the Sabbath will later become one of two documents written by former SDA authors that influence The Worldwide Church of God to turn its back on the Sabbatarianism heritage it had shared with Seventh-day Adventists from the very beginning.  (See also 1995.)

 

1982 - Robert D. Brinsmead publishes another block-buster paper on the Sabbath, "A Digest of the Sabbath Question."  This paper provides additional scholarly proof for the points he made in his 1981 paper and is written in his usual brilliant style.  These two papers confront SDA leaders with biblical and historical evidence that prove that Sabbatarianism is impossible― not merely questionable.

 

1982 - Dr. Walter Rea publishes his block-buster anti-Ellen White classic, The White Lie.  This phenomenal book explains the extent of her plagiarism with many specific examples, and it details the cover-up of the Ellen White problem by Adventist leaders.  Rea's book effectively destroyed the Ellen White myth, and Adventist leaders should have raised the "White" flag of surrender and repudiated the Church's claim that she was a prophet of God.  Rea eloquently demonstrates that the biggest problem with Ellen White was not simply her plagiarism, but that she repeatedly lied every time she made the blasphemous claim that God Himself gave her the information she copied.

 

1982 - The Church commissions Dr. Fred Veltman, then head of the religion department at Pacific Union College, to study the charges of Walter Rea that Ellen White had plagiarized most of the material she put into her book, The Desire of Ages.  Dr. Veltman launches an eight-year study focused on this one book.

 

1983 - The Church fires Dr. Ron Graybill, a research assistant for 13 years and the Associate Secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate, after his Johns Hopkins University doctoral dissertation, "The Power of Prophecy: Ellen G. White and the Women Religious Founders of the Nineteenth Century," was leaked out.  Without his consent or knowledge, copies of the dissertation, which he had placed on a five-year embargo, are circulated to Adventist leaders throughout the world.  He had taken the liberty to use material that the White Estate had placed in a top secret category.  It is highly significant to observe that someone who had unlimited access to Ellen White's entire collection of writings for over 13 years eventually determined that she was a fraud.  His paper was skeptical of her prophetic gifts, her character and integrity, and he provided evidence that suggested that she produced her visions whenever necessary to maintain her authority.  (See Walter Rea's unpublished book, Pirates of Privilege, p. 72-73, spiral bound edition available from Dr. Desmond Ford's Australian organization, Good News Unlimited. This book is also available at various web-sites, including SCRIBD.)

 

1984 - Walter Rea's 1984 book, Pirates of Privilege, is not published.  Earlier, Rea had been fired in November of 1980 for uncovering the fact that Ellen White plagiarized the writings of other authors while claiming that she got that information in visions from God.  He was 60 years old at the time the Church fired him, and had served the Denomination faithfully for many decades.  Adventist leaders attempted to deny him his retirement benefits as well.  Dr. Rea took the Church to court and won back his retirement benefits.  However, he was forced to agree not to publish Pirates of Privilege to have his retirement benefits reinstated.  Thus, every cent paid by the Church to Walter Rea after his firing represents, in a real sense of the word, out-right bribery in the form of "hush money."


Read Pirates of Privilege at
www.truthorfables.com.

 

1986 - Adventist seminary student, Bruce Weaver, discovers a newspaper account of a wild meeting at Israel Dammon's home and a transcript of the court record.  It shows that Ellen White lied about her participation in the same fanaticism that she condemned later.  (See Bruce Weaver's story at Ellen White Exposed, taken from Adventist Currents, Vol. 3, Number 1, 1988.)  See also 1874.  His article can be found at the following link:

http://www.ellenwhiteexposed.com/israel.htm

 

1987 - The White Estate publishes a shoddy, disorganized, and difficult-to-read release of hundreds of Ellen White's writings related to the Gospel versus legalism debate of 1888.  There is no acknowledgment that the fact that these documents actually exist represents a huge scandal.  The released document is so shoddy that it suggests that the Church deliberately made it so difficult to study that few people would have the courage to struggle through it.  Tom Norris, the Adventist researcher who, earlier, had been given unlimited access to these documents, says this regarding this event:

 

"The late publication of this large collection of 1888 materials from the White Estate proves that they were hiding and suppressing Ellen White's writings, and acting in bad faith all during the Righteousness by Faith debates of the 1970's and even during Glacier View, and beyond.  Arthur White was indeed guilty of misleading and deceiving generations of SDA's, including the scholars and the critics about Ellen Whites Gospel theology and her role in 1888.  And thus the SDA leaders have been caught perpetrating a massive fraud about Ellen White and the fundamentals of Adventist theology.  Here is the largest scandal that the denomination has ever faced, and yet few today are even aware that such a scandal exits because it has never been acknowledged, much less confessed or explained.  And thus this massive fraud is still ongoing in nature even though the White Estate managed to publish the hidden documents some time ago."  (Search for Norris, All Experts, Seventh-day Adventists, White Estate.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

 

Section II - The Long War Against Truth - Chapters 4,5,6,7,8,9,10

 

 

THE COVER-UP: 1990 ― PRESENT

 

The New Anti-Sabbatarian Movement Takes Its Toll.

 

The new anti-Sabbatarian movement gets under way as many thinking Adventists come to understand that there is no factual basis for the three pillars of Adventist doctrine.  At first, these facts are communicated to the Adventist family through what you might call the "Adventist Underground" via books and copies of articles by Brinsmead and others.  Dale Ratzlaff becomes the chief architect of the anti-Sabbatarian, anti-Adventist movement, and his books on the Sabbath and the Investigative Judgment attain wide circulation and influence.  The Worldwide Church of God renounces Sabbatarianism, providing a huge insult to its Adventist "sister church." 

 

The Internet comes into wide-spread use, and anti-SDA and anti-Ellen White web-sites spring up as the TRUTH about the lies of Adventism is made available to millions of Internet users.  Dirk Anderson sets up a pro-Ellen White web-site and begins gathering material to support the prophetic claims of Ellen White.  The more he learns about Ellen White, the more convinced he becomes that she is really a fraud.  His web-site flips and becomes an anti-Ellen G. White web-site.  Soon Anderson's new web-site is the single most devastating witness against the prophetic claims of Ellen White. 

 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is now losing up to 300,000 members a year, and it is believed that many of these losses are caused by the influence of the new anti-Sabbatarian movement.  The Church continues to be plagued with almost continuous financial scandals, which this author believes result from hypocrisy of its leaders, who, by now, know there is no biblical or historical basis for any of Adventism's distinctive teachings.  To them, the SDA is now nothing more than a "cash cow." 

 

More researchers study the prophetic dates used by Adventists to prove the Church is the only true church for the end-times, and they demonstrate successfully that many of these dates are not useful for any known prophetic purpose.  These researchers later post their work on the anti-SDA web-sites that have sprung up since the late 1990's and 2000's.

 

1990 - Dr. Fred Veltman completes his study of the Desire of Ages. He concludes that Ellen White had plagiarized the vast majority of her material from other writers, including writers of religious fiction, and that there is hardly a single idea that is unique to Ellen White in the Desire of Ages.  His findings are published in the December, 1990, issue of Ministry (pp. 11-14).  Amazingly, Dr. Veltman concedes that he has no explanation for her lying about receiving direct, divine inspiration for things that she copied from the writings of others.  (You can find the entire Veltman Report by doing an Internet Search.)

 

1990 - Dale Ratzlaff publishes his anti-Sabbatarian book, Sabbath in Crisis.  As you may recall, Ratzlaff had left Adventism in 1980 because he could not find biblical support for the Sanctuary Doctrine.  He remained a Sabbath-keeper for several years after his apostasy from the Church.  Eventually he began to look into other Adventist doctrines, including the Sabbath.  Among the sources he studied were the Brinsmead papers.  As a result of this study, he rejected Sabbatarianism and began to work on Sabbath in Crisis.  This book has now been re-named Sabbath in ChristRatzlaff's book appears to be one of the most complete treatises on the impossibilities of Sabbatarianism available today.  Together with the Brinsmead papers, Sabbath in Crisis/ Sabbath in Christ has lead the way in forging the current anti-Sabbatarian movement that is threatening the very existence of Adventism, particularly in North America.

 

1995 - The Worldwide Church of God renounces Sabbatarianism after studying the writings of former Adventists, Robert D. Brinsmead and Dale Ratzlaff.  This repudiation of Sabbatarianism represents one of the most significant events in the history of modern Christianity.  Since the Seventh-day Adventist Church and The Worldwide Church of God ultimately developed out of one group of Advent believers immediately after the Great Disappointment of 1844, the implications of this astonishing development are devastating to Seventh-day Adventists.

 

1997 - Dirk Anderson switches his web-site devoted to defending Ellen White to exposing her as a fraud after Dale Ratzlaff challenged him to read D. M. Canright's 1919 book, Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Prophet― Her False Claims Refuted.  Since 1997 Brother Anderson's anti-EGW web-site has become the repository of one of the largest collections of original documents as well as research papers written by Dirk Anderson and others, exposing the fraudulent claims of Ellen White and the Church's cover-up of its knowledge that she was a fraud. 

 

You can read Dirk Anderson's story at: http://www.ellenwhiteexposed.com/archive/testimony.htmHis research is so devastating to Adventism that the Seventh-day Adventist Church successfully brought legal action against him that forced him to give up his original internet domain name.  This tactic made it more difficult for Internet users to find his web-site. 

 

1997 - Robert K. Sanders, who left  Adventism some years prior to 1997 after discovering problems with Ellen G. White and the Sanctuary Doctrine, launches his anti-SDA, anti-Ellen White, and anti-Sabbatarian web-site, Truth or Fables.  Since 1997 Truth or Fables has provided a substantial collection of anti-SDA documents not available anywhere else, including top quality, well-researched biblical studies by Sanders and others who exhaustively deal with the problematic teachings of Adventism.  Sander's web-site also features a collection of documents that deal with the extensive corruption which has plagued the Seventh-day Adventist Church since the 1970's.  His ministry includes a small panel of experts who dialogue directly with individuals who have specific questions about Sabbatarianism, Ellen White, and other SDA issues.  His ministry helps many people throw off the deceptions of Adventism and embrace the Gospel of Jesus as outlined by Paul in his writings.  Go to TRUTH OR FABLES and read his testimony at:  http://www.truthorfables.com/My_Testimony.htm

 

1998 - Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi publishes Sabbath under Crossfire in response to the tremendous growing threat of the new anti-Sabbatarian movement that he inadvertently started in the first place by his catastrophic embarrassment of Sabbatarianism represented by his book, From Sabbath to Sunday, back in 1977.  Bacchiocchi ignores the newer key arguments of the anti-Sabbatarians, such as the Hebrew linguistics of the Creation Story, the improved understanding by scholars of the diversity in the Early Church, and the link between circumcision and the Sabbath.  More importantly, as you will recall, he brought further embarrassment to Adventists by enlarging on the requirement that Christians must keep the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbath feast days, and monthly sabbath feast days, in addition to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue.

 

1999 - People Magazine publishes an article about the Fox Sisters, who started the Spiritualist Movement in the mid 1800's.  This information proves Ellen White lied about being shown in vision that the "rappings" were not the result of "human trickery."  The article tells the story about how these sisters confessed, decades later, that they made up the story about the rappings at their farm house and that they deceived people during their seances by tying a string to their toes which activated a rock placed against the wall.  After touring the country for decades giving lectures and seances, they toured the country lecturing about how they had managed to deceive everyone.  The author of the article uses exactly the same words as Ellen White, just turned around, stating that the Fox Sisters confessed that their spirit manifestations WERE THE RESULT OF HUMAN TRICKERY.  This People Magazine article brings to mind the fact that Ellen White said in the Great Controversy that Spiritualism would soon pervade all the main-line churches and that it would be considered a sin to talk against the spirit manifestations within these churches.  Here we have another clear example of a total failure of Ellen White as a prophet.  Nothing of the sort has happened.

 

See this link for the story of the Fox Sisters:  www.ellenwhiteexposed.com/egw54.htm

 

2002 - Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell, widely acknowledged to be the greatest Seventh-day Adventist theologian of all time, presents his paper, "The Sanctuary Doctrine: asset or liability?" at the San Diego Forum on February ninth.  His presentation exposes not only the impossibilities of the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, but the perfidy of Adventist leaders spanning over many decades of Church history.  Wisely, Dr. Cottrell waited until his retirement from the Church to present this paper.  There is no question but that he would have been fired if he had presented his views while being actively employed by the Church.  It is possible that we would never have known about this scandalous cover-up if it had not been for his willingness to reveal what happened after his retirement.

 

2004 - An "Independent" SDA-related ministry, satellite broadcaster 3ABN opens the floodgates to a huge scandal when its governing board dismisses the board's president's wife, Linda Shelton, alleging sexual misconduct.  This event led to scrutiny of financial and other irregularities, which would later come to nearly threaten the existence of this very large pro-SDA broadcasting network.

 

2007 - Plans to merge two huge SDA "independent" ministries, Amazing Facts and 3ABN are scrapped by the Church due to the growing scandal at 3ABN.

 

2007 - The Church publishes its first "scholarly" attempt to defend its Sabbath doctrine for 30 years, almost certainly timed to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the publication of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi's 1977 book, From Sabbath to Sunday.  The author is Dr. Skip MacCarty, Associate Pastor of the Pioneer Memorial Church at Andrews University where the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary is located.  This author takes his readers on a theological wild goose chase to bring them around and around to accept, hook, line, and sinker, the convoluted theological gymnastics of his predecessor, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi.  MacCarty ignores the impossibilities of the arguments against Sabbatarianism from the Hebrew linguistics of the Creation Story and the biblical prerequisite of circumcision for Sabbath-keeping, and slicks over the impossibilities of Colossians 2:14-17 in the same manner as Bacchiocchi.  However, MacCarty fails to spell out to his readers that what he and Bacchiocchi teach about Colossians 2:14-17 absolutely requires Adventists and Sabbatarians to keep all the Jewish ordinances mentioned by Paul, including the Jewish dietary laws and annual and monthly sabbath feast days.  He states that a discussion of Early Church history is beyond the scope of his book, and for good reason.  The facts of the history of the Early Church demonstrate that he thinks he knows more about the Sabbath than the first Christians did.

 

2008 -  The Andrews University Press publishes a book by SDA scholar, Dr. Ron du Preez, entitled Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can't Be Found In Colossians 2:16, which refutes Dr. Bacchiocchi's and Dr. MacCarty's conclusion that the Sabbath of Colossians 2:14-16 is a reference to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue.  Du Preez looks at Old Testament texts that list sets of Jewish holy day classifications and concludes that St. Paul is merely teaching against the animal sacrifices that are associated with this list of holy days.  He confines his discussion only to Colossians 2:14-17, ignoring the problems associated with the Hebrew linguistics of Genesis and Exodus which rule out the possibility of a Sabbath commandment at Creation and that Sabbath observance is dependent on the ordinance of circumcision, which was officially put to rest at the Council Of Jerusalem.  Du Preez' pivotal argument is questioned and invalidated by Evangelical scholars.  He ignores the extreme difficulty  with the concept that St. Paul would be teaching the first Christians not to judge each other on the basis of whether or not they were offering animal sacrifices on Jewish holy days.

 

2009 - The Church has beefed up its propaganda campaign to defend Ellen White, but it is unable to defend the Sabbath doctrine in any kind of meaningful way.  The only defense for the Sabbath "left" to Adventists is that it supposedly was given to the entire world at Creation— an argument invalidated by the Hebrew linguistics of the Creation story in Genesis, Exodus 16, and Exodus 20, as well as the exegetical context of the Creation account itself.  The propaganda effort to defend Ellen White seems to be focused on technicalities and ignores the problem that she told a falsehood when she claimed direct, divine inspiration from God for the things she copied!  A visit to www.ellenwhite.info will give you an excellent sampling of this propaganda.  Here are some highlights:

 

·      Her nearly total plagiarism of Conybeare and Howson's book on the life of the Apostle Paul, which Ellen White called Sketches from the Life of Paul, is defended with the excuse that copyright laws were different in her day and that the Conybeare and Howson book was in the public domain.  There is no mention of the fact that she said in her introduction to the book that God had revealed the information she put in the book to her in vision.

 

·      Her accusation of plagiarism of multiple sources for the Desire of Ages is defended with a few short comparison clips and the explanation that her critics make too much out of the similarities they noticed.  This fanciful defense is in total denial of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's official eight-year study of plagiarism in this book by Dr. Fred Veltman, who, after eight years of exhaustive study at Church expense, said these things:

 

In practical terms, this conclusion declares that one is not able to recognize in Ellen White's writings on the life of Christ any general category of content or catalog of ideas that is unique to her.  We found source parallels for theological, devotional, narrative, descriptive, and spiritual materials, whether in reference to biblical or extra-biblical content.

 

QUESTION - "How do you harmonize Ellen White's use of sources with her statements to the contrary?  Do you think the introductory statement to The Great Controversy constitutes an adequate admission of literary dependence?"

 

ANSWER - I must admit at the start that in my judgment this is the most serious problem to be faced in connection with Ellen White's literary dependency.  It strikes at the heart of her honesty, her integrity, and therefore her trustworthiness. . . . As of now I do not have - nor, to my knowledge, does anyone else have - a satisfactory answer to this important question. The statement from The Great Controversy comes rather late in her writing career and is too limited in its reference to historians and reformers.  Similar admissions do not appear as prefaces to all her writings in which sources are involved, and there is no indication that this particular statement applies to her writings in general.  truthorfables.com/Desire_of_Ages_Veltman.htm )

 

Therefore, www.ellenwhite.info, fails to disclose that the real problem with Ellen White's wholesale copying of Conybeare and Howson's book, Sketches from the Life of Paul, is that she lied when she claimed that God directly revealed this information to her when she actually copied it from a human source.

 

2010 -  The arrest of former 3ABN president  Tommy Shelton is announced by Fairfax County, Virginia Police on March 16, 2010, following a two-year investigation of allegations that he molested children while pastoring churches previous to 2004. Subsequently, Tommy Shelton plead guilty to child molestation on July 19, 2010. 

 

After reviewing the extent of deception of the Church from the very beginning of the Advent Movement, it is difficult to comprehend why "truth" needs so many lies to protect and defend it.  We now know that, not only did Adventist leaders cover-up the truth about the impossibilities of the Sabbath Doctrine, the fraudulent claims of Ellen White, and the absurdities of the Doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, but they also misused the writings of their own prophetess to force the Church into submission regarding legalism.  It should not come as any surprise then, that the Adventist leaders, since the unprecedented events of 1995 in regard to The Worldwide Church of God, have shown no interest whatsoever in fundamental doctrinal reform.

 

While there seems to be corruption of one degree or another in Christians churches,  the degree of it in Adventism is way out of proportion to its relatively small size.  This characteristic of Adventism is consistent with our view that a very large number of Adventist leaders have to live with hypocrisy on a day-to-day basis because they know that what they teach is not the truth.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

 

Section III - Doctors Bacchiocchi, MacCarty, and du Preez Wreak Havoc with the Sabbath & SDA Theology - Chapters 11,12

 

 

DR. BACCHIOCCHI AND DR. DU PREEZ
WREAK HAVOC

 

We now turn to a detailed study of two Adventist theologians who have spent countless futile hours trying to turn the impossibilities of the Sabbath doctrine into a plausible reality.  To the "faithful," their efforts have been as successful as the fairy godmother that turned a pumpkin into a royal carriage for Cinderella.  However, to the informed, their work is no more effective than the use of a sieve to hold water.

 

DR. RONALD DU PREEZ CHALLENGES BACCHIOCCHI

 

Du Preez attempts to refute Bacchiocchi's New Sabbatarianism by re-establishing credibility for the traditional SDA defense of the passage- that the Sabbath reference in Colossians 2:14-17 is to annual  sabbath feast days and has nothing to do with the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue.  However he approaches the problem from a novel and extremely risky point of view.  In fact it appears like he has not bothered to think through the logical consequences of his theory.  He suggests that Paul is discussing the practice of offering animal sacrifices on Jewish holy days- these representing obsolete shadows- and teaching that the first Christians not to judge each other on whether they were or were not observing this practice.  Du Preez exchanges these high cost problems for what he had hoped would be at least a small gain for the Sabbatarian reading of Colossians 2:14-17:

 

1.              Du Preez' animal sacrifices connection with Colossians 2:16-18 means that Gentile Christians would have been performing animal sacrifices according to the law- something technically impossible for the Colossians to do, seeing as this could only be done at the temple in Jerusalem.

 

2.              The one incident recorded where a Christian, St. Paul, may have offered an animal sacrifice was in connection with a Nazarene purification ceremony that was not connected with any offering for sin tied to any annual sabbath.  There are commentaries pro and con regarding whether or not Paul used bad judgment in this situation.  Since the Bible tells things the way they were, and even the authors of their own books seem to tell about their own mistakes.

 

3.              What then of Jesus' sacrifice?  Isn't this idea contrary to what the author of Hebrews wrote about the completeness of Christ's sacrifice on the cross as sufficient for all?

 

4.              If Paul was merely instructing the first Christians not to judge each other in regard to offering animal sacrifices on Jewish feast days, he would not have been condemning the practice of animal sacrifices.  He would be, in reality, condoning the practice itself.

 

5.              If St. Paul is in harmony with the continuance of animal sacrifices into the Christian dispensation, indicted (if du Preez were to be correct) by not condemning the practice and again by teaching the first Christians not to judge each other in regard to whether or not they practice animal sacrifices on Jewish holy days or no, then Adventists are right back where they started with the New Sabbatarianism of Bacchiocchi, only worse:

 

6.              If du Preez' conclusions concerning Colossians 2 were correct regarding the weekly sabbath not being addressed, then this further implies that SDA and other Sabbatarian theologians and scholars besides Dr. Bacchiocchi were "right" also, but all for the wrong reasons.  This all begs the logical conclusion that we are dealing with a belief that went shopping for Scriptural support when in fact there is none.  It is an obvious attempt to continue the justification for keeping the sabbath, seeing as all other explanations used by SDA theologians and scholars have failed in regards to Colossians chapter 2.  When this explanation fails, Dr. du Preez or another scholar will step forward with yet another explanation, no matter how implausible.

 

7.              Ellen G. White becomes a false prophet because, supposedly unlike Paul, she teaches that all the ceremonial laws were nailed to the cross.

 

8.              Adventists must now begin teaching that its membership may begin keeping Jewish holy days and performing animal sacrifices on those days.

 

Du Preez has not derailed the New Sabbatarianism of Dr. Bacchiocchi.  Instead he has made it a thousand times more repugnant, and anti-Gospel, and made Adventism look extremely bad in the eyes of other Christians.

 

Du Preez, therefore, appears to be willing to sacrifice the principles of the Gospel in favor of the privilege of continuing to believe that Christians must keep the Jewish Sabbath.  The cost of continuing to believe in the principles of Sabbatarianism has now reached a price that no Christian can possibly afford to pay.

 

Du Preez' Methodology

 

Du Preez' Evidence From Classifications of Jewish Holy Days and Leviticus 23

 

Du Preez theorizes that St. Paul modeled his list of classifications of Jewish holy days after that of a similar list found in Hosea 2:11.  He presents a language comparison study, inherently flawed in our opinion, that suggests the possibility that the Hebrew word translated "sabbaths" in the third position of holy day classifications in the Hosea text refers to the "ceremonial" sabbaths rather than to the sacred seventh day Sabbath of the Decalogue.  He seems to base this opinion primarily on the premise that there are four items in the Hosea list but only three in the one in Colossians 2:14-17.

 

Du Preez further theorizes that there is evidence that God made a distinction between two major classifications of Jewish holy days when He outlined a list of them in Leviticus 23.  He thinks God used one term to refer to the ceremonial holy days and another term to refer to the sacred weekly Sabbaths.  Du Preez explains that there is an equivalent word in Greek for the word that God used to refer to the ceremonial Sabbaths and that Paul chose this equivalent Greek word to refer to the classification of Jewish holy days that falls in the third position in Paul's list in Colossians 2:14-17.

 

Du Preez' Greek word, Sabbaton, Argument—An Old SDA Defense In New Clothes

 

In addition to arguing that the third position of holy days in Paul's statement reflects a usage pattern that indicates the yearly classification of holy days types, he resurrects the traditional SDA defense that the Greek word, Sabbaton, used in this third position, is the plural form of the word and must, therefore, refer to one of the ceremonial types of sabbath holy days.  In doing so, he asks us to strain our trust in his methodology beyond the point of reason.

 

The word Sabbaton, a Greek word in the plural form, is used in the New Testament to refer to either a 7-day week or to the weekly Sabbath. In each case where New Testament writers use this word,  the context of the sentence  easily determines how the word must be translated- either to "week" or to the "sacred" Sabbath of the Decalogue.  In other words, in each case the same word is used, but it would be virtually impossible to translate the word the other way because the statement would not make any sense.  Thus we have a wide understanding of the model of Greek usage Paul had in his mind when he wrote Colossians 2:14-17.

 

According to Bob Pickle, a conservative SDA author and web-host, Sabbaton occurs in the NT 68 times.  It is singular 41 times and plural 25 times, with the last two times being singular in the Critical Text [the Greek text of B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort first published in 1881] and plural in the Received Text [the manuscript from which the King James Version of the Bible was translated] (e-mail Bob Pickle to Kerry Wynne, October 31, 2010).  Therefore we have almost 70 occasions to see how New Testament writers used this Greek word, and these writers are extremely consistent from two contrasting perspectives that nearly demand that Paul used this word in Colossians 2:14-17 to refer to the weekly Sabbath.  Du Preez is asking us to believe that Paul cast aside his excellent command of Greek usage and used this word in a manner unlike that of any other New Testament writer.  Jason C. Meyer of Bethlehem College and Seminary (Minneapolis), reviewed du Preez' book in Volume 35, Issue 1 (April 2010) of Themelios, and pointed out this extremely serious problem.

 

Clearly, du Preez struggles to demonstrate that Bacchiocchi, Brinsmead, Ratzlaff, and others are wrong in their conclusion that the weekly Sabbath is included in St. Paul's list in Colossians 2:14-17.  Here is an anonymous blog posted at theologyweb.com, which comes up with a Google search for du Preez and Colossians 2:16.  It is posted by contributor, Thief On the Cross, May 2nd, 2007at:

 

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=130606

 

Colossians 2:16 mentions the Greek word Sabbaton (Strong's # G4521) which by definition only means 7th day Sabbath and the common word "week?" (You can look this up to verify.)  To support this fact, I have listed all the scriptures in the New Testament where this word is used. (Every place speaking of the 7th day Sabbath in the New Testament uses this word.) And note that it only means either the 7th day Sabbath or the common word "week"; thus confirming the definition of this word when you look up its meaning.  Here are all the scriptures that use this word:

 

Matthew 12:1, Matthew 12:2, used twice as 7th day Sabbath in Matthew 12:5, Matthew 12:8, Matthew 12:10, Matthew 12:11, Matthew 12:12, Matthew 24:20, used twice (first as 7th day sabbath and second as the common word "week") in Matthew 28:1...

 

Mark 1:21, Mark 2:23, Mark 2:24, used twice for the 7th day sabbath in Mark 2:27, Mark 2:28, Mark 3:2, Mark 3:4, Mark 6:2, Mark 16:1, Used as the common word "week" in Mark 16:2, Also appears as the common word "week" in Mark 16:9...

 

Luke 4:16, Luke 4:31, Luke 6:1, Luke 6:2, Luke 6:5, Luke 6:6, Luke 6:7, Luke 6:9, Luke 13:10, Luke 13:14, Luke 13:15, Luke 13:16, Luke 14:1, Luke 14:3, Luke 14:5, Used as the common word "week" in Luke 18:12, Luke 23:54, Luke 23:56, Used as the common word "week" in Luke 24:1...

 

John 5:9, John 5:10, John 5:16, John 5:18, John 7:22, John 9:14, John 9:16, Used twice as 7th day sabbath in John 19:31, Used as the common word "week" in John 20:1, Used as the common word "week" in John 20:19...

 

Acts 1:12, Acts 13:14, Acts 13:27, Acts 13:42, Acts 13:44, Acts 15:21, Acts 16:13, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:4, Used as the common word "week" in Acts 20:7, Also used as the common word "week" in 1 Corinthians 16:2, and lastly it is used in Colossians 2:16 as the 7th day sabbath.

 

How ironic that the very last scripture that uses this word tells us that it was a shadow of things to come! After this, it is mentioned no more!  Also all Sabbatarian New Testament proof-texts that mention the Sabbath are in this above list.  How ironic!

 

I would like to use simple logic here.  We know that fish does not come from serpents, neither do they gather grapes from bramble bushes.  Even so, God would never misuse a word, as even the use of words has rules.  Now it is a fact that the word Sabbaton used in all these Scriptures that I've just listed above only means 7th day Sabbath and the common word, "week."  Just like "yes" means "yes" and "no" means no. God would never put the word "no" where He means "yes"; and if the 7th day Sabbath did not belong in Colossians 2:16, He would have never used the Greek word Sabbaton (which is translated in the KJV as "Sabbath days," just as it is translated in all those other verses of scripture meaning the same thing consistently all the way to Col 2:16 where it is last used).

 

If anyone seems to be contentious over this, consider the consistency of how this word is used all over the New Testament until Col 2:16 where it is last used.  There can be no exceptions to the rule; if the word sabbaton can mean anything other than what it means, then I can use the word "yes" to mean "no."  If this does not agree with your doctrine, it's not what I said that's the problem.  You need to count your doctrine to be at a loss and come to terms with the truth.  Remember, we can do nothing against the truth.  We can only do for it.

 

The Ezekiel 47:17 Similarity Problem: Typical Lists of Jewish Holy Days

 

Du Preez also finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to demonstrate that the list of Jewish holy day classifications in Ezekiel 47:17 is significantly dissimilar to that of the one in Hosea.  Why? Because du Preez,, like most other biblical scholars, sees one of those classifications as a reference to the weekly Sabbath.

 

Here are the texts so you can see their similarities and differences.

 

HOSEA 2:11

 

I will also put an end to all her gaiety,

Her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths

And all her festal assemblies.

 

EZEKIEL 45:17

 

17"It shall be the prince's part to provide the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the drink offerings, at the feasts, on the new moons and on the sabbaths, at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel; he shall provide the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering and the peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel."

 

I am indebted to the work of the following scholars for this presentation:

 

Hugo Mendez, M.A., Religion, University of Georgia, from his essay, "What Is The "Sabbath" of Hos. 2:11 and Col. 2:16? A Response To du Preez."  You can read his complete essay at the following link:

 

www.catholicadventist.com/Papers/Q_Sabbath_Col2duPreez.pdf

 

Jason C. Meyer of Bethlehem College and Seminary posted at:

 

www.thegospelcoalition.org/publications/35-1/book-reviews/judging-the-sabbath--discovering-what-cant-be-found-in-colossians-2-16

 

Mendez argues that the minor differences between the lists of holy day types in these texts are not particularly significant, and he states, "Denotation rarely hinges on number or case, even less so when the linguistic similarity between these two texts is so profound."  Beyond this, he sees a much stronger similarity between Ezekiel 44:17 and Colossians 2:14-17 than between Hosea 2:11:

 

Col. 16 can be distinguished from Hos. 2:11 insofar as it lacks pronominal indications, as well as the absence of the closing construction "all her appointed times" makes the link between Hos.2:11 and Ezek. 44:17 that much stronger than that existing between Hos.2:11 and Col. 2:16.

 

Additionally, Meyer observes two additional problems. (1) Du Preez theorizes that St. Paul modeled his list of classifications of sacred days after that of Hosea because Paul references statements of Hosea more frequently than those by Ezekiel- an unimpressive argument.  (2) Du Preez dismisses the traditional reading of Colossians 2:16 [that the pattern of annual/monthly/weekly sacred day "set" indicates that the third reference is to the weekly Sabbath] on the questionable premise that in seven of the eight instances where these sets are mentioned in the Old Testament there are four or five items in the sequences instead of three. the following is a list of all the places where this characteristic list of holy day classifications occur in Scripture.  Checked against a Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible, the New International Version from which we quote is consistent in observing the original Hebrew singular or plural designations:

 

ANNUAL-MONTHLY-WEEKLY CHART

 

1 Chronicles 23:31 (New International Version)

 

and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on Sabbaths and at New Moon festivals and at appointed feasts. They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.

 

2 Chronicles 2:4 (New International Version)

 

Now I am about to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God and to dedicate it to him for burning fragrant incense before him, for setting out the consecrated bread regularly, and for making burnt offerings every morning and evening and on Sabbaths and New Moons and at the appointed feasts of the LORD our God. This is a lasting ordinance for Israel.

 

 

 

Chronicles 8:13 (New International Version)

 

according to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for Sabbaths, New Moons and the three annual feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

 

 

Nehemiah 10:33 (New International Version)

 

for the bread set out on the table; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, New Moon festivals and appointed feasts; for the holy offerings; for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel; and for all the duties of the house of our God.

 

 

Isaiah 1:13-14 (New International Version)

 

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!

            Your incense is detestable to me.

            New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—

            I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

 

14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts

            my soul hates.

            They have become a burden to me;

            I am weary of bearing them.

 

45:17 (New International Version)

 

It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths—at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.

 

 

Ezekiel 46:1-11 (New International Version)

 

"'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The gate of the inner court facing east is to be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day and on the day of the New Moon it is to be opened. 2 The prince is to enter from the outside through the portico of the gateway and stand by the gatepost. The priests are to sacrifice his burnt offering and his fellowship offerings. [a] He is to worship at the threshold of the gateway and then go out, but the gate will not be shut until evening. 3 On the Sabbaths and New Moons the people of the land are to worship in the presence of the LORD at the entrance to that gateway. 4 The burnt offering the prince brings to the LORD on the Sabbath day is to be six male lambs and a ram, all without defect. 5 The grain offering given with the ram is to be an ephah, [b] and the grain offering with the lambs is to be as much as he pleases, along with a hin [c] of oil for each ephah. 6 On the day of the New Moon he is to offer a young bull, six lambs and a ram, all without defect. 7 He is to provide as a grain offering one ephah with the bull, one ephah with the ram, and with the lambs as much as he wants to give, along with a hin of oil with each ephah. 8 When the prince enters, he is to go in through the portico of the gateway, and he is to come out the same way.

 

9 " 'When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate. 10 The prince is to be among them, going in when they go in and going out when they go out.

 

11 " 'At the festivals and the appointed feasts, the grain offering is to be an ephah with a bull, an ephah with a ram, and with the lambs as much as one pleases, along with a hin of oil for each ephah.

 

 

Hosea 2:11 (New International Version)

 

I will stop all her celebrations:

       her yearly festivals, her New Moons,

       her Sabbath days—all her appointed feasts.

 

 

Galatians 4:10 (New International Version)

 

              You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!

 

Colossians 2:16 (New International Version)

 

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

 

Note that whether the writer begins his list from the weekly end or the annual end, the list goes in the order of smallest to largest or largest to smallest, even if the number of classifications included is different.  The "appointed feasts" refer to annual sabbaths.  Meyer makes the following observation:

 

This analysis is problematic for three reasons. First, the author does not sufficiently take Lev 23:2 into account.  Here the Hebrew term for "appointed times" (moed) serves as an inclusive term for the wider Jewish system, which includes the Seventh-Day Sabbath (Lev 23:3).  Second, the inclusive nature of "all her appointed times" (moed) in Hos 2:11 could show that God will put an end to the wider Jewish system of Lev 23, which includes the Seventh-Day Sabbath.  Third, it is questionable to assume that Paul could not have multiple parallels in mind in Col 2:16.  Why does an additional item in the sequence eliminate similar texts from consideration?

 

Du Preez' Additional "Mine" Versus "Your" Theory

 

Du Preez also thinks he has noticed that when God is talking about the holy weekly Sabbath, He refers to them as "My Sabbaths," but when He is talking about the ceremonial sabbaths, He refers to them as "Your Sabbaths."Bill Hohmann researched this theory and concluded that, to the contrary, a consistent pattern is that God referred to them as "My sabbaths" when His people were spiritually close to Him and to them as "Your sabbaths" when His people were spiritually distant from Him.

 

Bill Hohmann provides the following texts to support this observation:

 

As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. - Leviticus 26:35

 

And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. - Amos 8:10

 

Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths. - Lamentations 1:7

 

I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. - Hosea 2:11

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: - Exodus 32:7

 

Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. 2Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. 5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink. 6Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. 7And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. 8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. 9Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness. 10And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. 11I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. 12And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD. - Hosea 2:1-13

 

The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. 2The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. 3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. 4And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. 6And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. 7But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen. 8¶Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. 9Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.  - Hosea 1:1-9

 

Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away. - Isaiah 50:1

 

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. - Isaiah 1:11-15

 

Du Preez Leviticus 23 and Colossians 2:14-17 Defense: "Sabbaths" Versus "Feasts" Of The Lord

 

Du Preez believes he finds additional evidence that Paul could not have been referring to the weekly Sabbath in Colossians 2:14-17 in the form of a supposed word usage pattern he finds in Leviticus 23— a chapter in which God explains the various kinds of holy days He has given Israel. He sees two supposed distinctions of importance:  (1) between "sabbaths of the LORD" and "feasts of the LORD." (2) Between the feasts that involved the sacrifices where the Jews would sit down to eat (the "chags") and all other feast days that didn't involve eating or which refer to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue (the "moeds").

 

The supposed "evidence" he finds is that the Hebrew word, "moeds," has an equivalent word in Greek, "heorte," and Paul chose to use the word "heorte" in Colossians 2:14-17 in reference to the feast days he mentioned.  Our same blogger-theologian outlines a remarkable logical pathway to prove that the argument du Preez uses supports the anti-Sabbatarian view instead (the view that the Sabbath Paul referenced was none other than to the weekly Sabbath.) This argument is a complicated one to follow, but a patient reading and re-reading of his outline of the problem is well-worth one's time.  A lot is at stake here.  If du Preez theory is correct, Paul actually validated the concept that it is OK for Christians to sacrifice animals on Jewish holy days:

 

The argument against the Sabbath days in Colossians 2:16 meaning the 7th day Sabbath using Leviticus chapter 23 is also of no avail when you consider the original Hebrew text, God's conversation with Moses, how He distinguishes the feasts from the 7th day Sabbath twice in the text, and how Moses responds in verse 44.

 

God introduces the feast days in verse 4 as one who uses a colon before making a list.  Then He begins to specifically give out the details and commandments concerning these appointed times.  He mentions the "sabbath of the LORD" in verse 3; then in verse 4 He says," These are the "feasts of the LORD", even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons."  This is the first distinction between the "sabbath of the LORD" and the "feasts of the LORD".  I will get to the second distinction in a moment.

 

I would like to mention how a certain SDA tried to read in a distinction that just did not exist within the text because of the distinction God made twice in the chapter.  He tried to make a categorical distinction between the Hebrew words "chag" (Strong's # H2282) and "mo'ed" (Strongs's # H4150) used in the text. The "chags" were the feasts that involved the sacrifices where the Jews would sit down to eat.  The "mo'eds" were all the rest that did not involve eating, meaning "appointed times" and was also used to summarize all those days besides the "sabbaths of the LORD" in verse 38.  This is the second distinction, by the way.

 

The reason that this SDA's observations of differences between these two Hebrew terms were irrelevant to the debate was because of how God used the term "mo'ed" to summarize all those days that were not classified as "the sabbaths of the LORD".  I will explain the problem.

 

When God finished speaking to Moses, Moses does exactly what God commanded him in verse 44 which says, "And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts (mo'ed- Strong's # H4150) of the LORD." Notice the word "chag" is not used in this verse.  Also notice that the "sabbath of the LORD" was already given to them prior to this chapter, so Moses gave them all these thing that were "besides the sabbaths of the LORD," using the term "mo'ed" to summarize all these things.

 

This is interesting because the Hebrew word "mo'ed" (Strong's # H4150) has a Greek equivalent in the New Testament- the term "heorte" (Strong's # G1859) used in Colossians 2:16 as "feast" in most English translations just before the New Moon is mentioned.  Everything that was besides the sabbaths of the LORD in Leviticus 23 is covered in the term "heorte" ("feast" in English) in Col 2:16; just like all those things are covered in the Hebrew term "mo'ed" ("feast" in English) in Lev 23:44 when "Moses declared to the children of Israel the "mo'ed" (feasts) of the LORD."

 

We read the Bible in English, so the word for us is feast or feasts. The definition of this term according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:

 

1.) an elaborate and usually abundant meal often accompanied by a ceremony or entertainment: Banquet

b (1) : something that gives unusual or abundant enjoyment <a visual feast> (2) : Abundance, Profusion <an unprecedented feast of corruption, gargantuan in scale-Neil Sheehan>

 

2.) a periodic religious observance commemorating an event or honoring a deity, person, or thing.

 

According to this last definition, we can see that the word "feast" also means "appointed times" and was the correct English term to adequately depict the Hebrew word "mo'ed" in our English text of the Bible, as it also means "appointed times".  So, verse 44 which says, "And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the "feasts" of the LORD", is right on the money.

 

When you truly go through Leviticus 23 with a fine tooth comb, it clearly shows that there is nothing else left for the English term "sabbath days" in Col 2:16 to mean anything other than the 7th day sabbath- even all the times when you see the word "sabbath" in the text of Leviticus 23.  For example, when God gives Moses the "Feast of Weeks" or what is now known as "Pentecost", the word "sabbath" is used multiple times.  The average SDA would see that and conclude that all these times the word "sabbath" is mentioned here proves that the "sabbath days" in Colossians 2:16 is talking about yearly (annual) feast days.

 

But... when you read the text closely, the very first time you see the word "sabbath" after verse 4 is in verse 11.  Starting from here, let's identify all those usages of the term "sabbath". The word "sabbath" in this verse is the 7th day Sabbath. The priests waved the sheaf offering on the 8th day.  Leviticus 23:15 does a count starting from the morrow after the Sabbath, which is Sunday (the day the priests waved the sheaf offering), from there to count 7 sabbaths (seven 7th day Sabbaths).

 

Verse 16 finishes the thought saying, "Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD."  Now note: the Hebrew term used in the text for "sabbath" mentioned since verse 4 to this point is shabbath (Strong's # H7676). I say this because the next use of the English word "sabbath" will not use the same Hebrew term (7676), but the term shabbathon (Strong's # H7677), which has a different meaning than shabbath (Strong's # H7676).

 

Shabbathon means- a sabbatism or special holiday-sabbath.(H7677)

 

shabbath means- intermission, that is, (specifically) the Sabbath:- (+every) sabbath. (H7676)

 

The next term for "sabbath" is used in verse 24 as shabbathon, referring to the memorial of blowing of trumpets.

 

The only day that uses the Hebrew term (H7676) other than the 7th day Sabbath in this chapter is the Day of Atonement in verse 32 where it is used twice, which only occurred once a year.  This is the only day other than the 7th day Sabbath that "no work" was to be done "at all".  All the other feast days commanded that no "servile work" be done.  This meant they could not go to do their trade that day, but could do other things as long as the work was not servile.

 

This couldn't be used to mean the "sabbath days" in Colossians 2:16 because it is already mentioned in the Greek word "heorte" ("feast" in English) in the same verse covering it just like how it is covered in Leviticus 23:44 in the Hebrew word "mo'ed" ("feast" in English).  When verse 44 says, "And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts (mo'ed) of the LORD", period, it showed Moses being obedient to God right away giving the children of Israel "everything" that God gave him that was "besides the sabbaths of the LORD" in Leviticus chapter 23, the Day of Atonement being included here.

 

Next, "Besides the sabbaths (H7676) of the LORD" is mentioned in verse 38. After this H7677 is used twice in verse 39 where they are translated "sabbath" in English, verse 39 being the last verse to mention "sabbath."

 

Our anonymous theologian blogger summarizes the problems with du Preez' work succinctly as follows:

 

In conclusion, I would like to summarize my position. I have many scriptural witnesses (over 50) attesting that the "sabbath days" in Colossians 2:16 is indeed the 7th day Sabbath.  I covered the definition of the Greek term, sabbaton, and how it is used consistently for every instance of the mentioning of the 7th day sabbath in the New Testament- every scripture using this term used it only to speak of the 7th day Sabbath and or the common word week.  All the scriptures using this term are unanimous all the way to Colossians 2:16 where the term is last used.

 

I examined every argument against this fact; including the argument using Leviticus chapter 23 as a proof text against this, when in fact it actually proves that the Sabbath days in Col 2:16 is in fact the 7th day Sabbath.

 

If for no other reason, there is just nothing else left that it could mean since everything else is covered by the Greek term "heorte" used as "feast" and "holyday" in the English translations; just like they are all covered in Leviticus 23 by the Hebrew term "mo'ed" used as "feasts" in the English translations.  The only thing not given in debut by Moses in Leviticus 23:44 is the "sabbaths of the LORD".  Everything else besides the sabbaths of the LORD in Leviticus chapter 23 is given in verse 44 definitively; thus giving us infallible proof that the 7th day Sabbath is in fact the Sabbath days mentioned in Colossians 2:16.

 

These comments were posted by contributor, Thief On the Cross, May 2nd, 2007at:

 

www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=130606

 

 

AN EXHAUSTIVE STUDY OF BACCHIOCCHI'S METHODS

 AND CONCLUSIONS

 

Our review of du Preez' work on Colossians 2:14-17 demonstrates the extreme difficulties Dr. Bacchiocchi had when he sought to reconcile this text with the necessity of writing a book to prove that even though D. M. Canright was right about the reference to the weekly Sabbath, his conclusions about what that fact meant were wrong.  At this point we should be ready to launch into an exhaustive analysis of Colossians 2:14-17 and see that the facts prohibit the traditional defense of Adventism, du Preez' animal sacrifice theory, and the New Sabbatarianism of Bacchiocchi.  Since we have touched on some of these things before, it may be easier, now, for our readers to follow our arguments.

 

Because Dr. Bacchiocchi had some changes in his thinking between the publication of From Sabbath To Sunday (1977) and the time he wrote Sabbath under Crossfire (1998), an analysis of the latter work is a fairer treatment of his ideas.  All the elements of Dr. Bacchiocchi's teachings which we discuss in this section are articulated in the chapter entitled "Paul and the Sabbath" from his 1998 book, Sabbath under Crossfire.  The entries in blue print and all capital letters represent summaries of his key ideas, rather than quotations from his text.  In some cases Dr. Bacchiocchi may have taken several pages to develop a concept, which we have summarized in a few sentences, and in other cases he may have presented an idea in not many more words than we have used, and the wording may be relatively similar.  This chapter of his book is fairly short and is accessible to all Internet users by going to Dr. Bacchiocchi's own web-site, http://www.biblicalperspectives.com.  There are no page numbers provided on the Internet version of this chapter, so a page reference for each idea is not possible.  At the time this section of this manuscript is being prepared, it appears that Dr. Bacchiocchi's family is maintaining his web-site.  He passed away in December of 2008.

 

In October of 2006 Kerry Wynne sent a rough draft of the following section of this paper to Dr. Bacchiocchi.    Wynne asked only that he seek to determine whether or not Wynne had represented his ideas accurately.  He replied only that he had skimmed the paper and that it was evident that Wynne did not understand the principles of literary research.  There was no hint that he felt Wynne had misrepresented his teachings.  While there have been changes to the wording of his rebuttals to his ideas since he read the rough draft, there have been no significant changes to Wynne's summaries of his teachings.

 

Before beginning our study, a structural analysis will give us a better idea of just what a Sabbatarian is up against when trying to render the passage in a favorable light.

 

Colossians 2:14-17 (NIV) - 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

 

These items are not to be enforced on Christians:

 

1.              JEWISH DIETARY LAWS

2.              ANNUAL FEAST DAYS

3.              MONTHLY FEAST DAYS

4.              WEEKLY SABBATHS

 

These items were shadows of things to come and found their fulfillment in Christ:

 

1.              JEWISH DIETARY LAWS

2.              ANNUAL FEAST DAYS

3.              MONTHLY FEAST DAYS

4.              WEEKLY SABBATHS

 

If you try to make the "Sabbath Day" of Colossians 2:14-17 into a monthly or annual Sabbath, Paul's sentence becomes nonsense.  In this case, Paul's sentence would read something like this, if the meaning were 'monthly:'

 

"in regard to an annual, monthly, or monthly celebration."

 

If the meaning of Sabbath were changed from weekly to annual, it would read something like this:

 

"in regard to an annual, monthly, or annual celebration."

 

A reason would have to be given to Paul's target audience for no longer requiring the observance of a list of things that had been sacred to the Jews for over a thousand years.  What reason did Paul give, as his rationale, for the change?  Some kind of set of rules and regulations had gone out of effect when Jesus died on the Cross. 

 

According to Bacchiocchi's alternate and highly creative interpretation, what was nailed to the cross was not a list of rules and regulations, but rather a list of the sinner's transgressions of those rules and regulations.  He needs this premise to avoid the fact― fatal to Sabbatarianism― that the list of Jewish ordinances listed in the passage are the Old Covenant ordinances which became "shadows" because of something that happened at the cross.  Even if we could not determine exactly what was nailed to the cross, Paul has actually told us all that we need to know when it comes to the Sabbath question.  These ordinances are no longer enforceable.  Let us see if Dr. Bacchiocchi can provide a convincing case for his idea of what was nailed to the cross.  We will summarize each point from Sabbath under Crossfire (1998) and evaluate it according to biblical facts, concepts, and principles for the integrity of his logic:

 

DR. B: THE SABBATH IS NOT MENTIONED IN THE CONTEXT OF A DIRECT DISCUSSION OF OLD COVENANT LAW.  IT IS MENTIONED IN THE CONTEXT OF PAUL'S INSTRUCTIONS TO AVOID THE ASCETIC PRACTICES THAT WERE THE FOCUS OF THE FALSE TEACHERS (JUDAIZERS) ― SYNCRETISTIC BELIEFS AND PRACTICES WHICH INCLUDED ELEMENTS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT.  THEREFORE, WE MUST CONCLUDE THE LAW THAT WAS NAILED TO THE CROSS WAS NOT THE MOSAIC LAW WITH BOTH ITS MORAL AND CEREMONIAL REGULATIONS.

 

While it is true that Paul addressed more than one area of the false teachings of the Judaizers, the Sabbath was unquestionably mentioned in the list.  From a standpoint of logic, the inclusion of other items has no power to negate the significance of the importance of the mention of any other element in the group.  Furthermore, logic dictates that if he condemned all the things in this specific group without differentiating any level of condemnation for the items, all the items in the set must be approximately as wrong as any of the other items in the set.  Thus, Paul is indicating that the observance of obsolete Jewish ordinances is just as bad as the practice of other syncretistic practices, including the worship of angels― hardly a flattering commentary on the value of Sabbath-keeping.  It is interesting to note that Dr. Bacchiocchi acknowledges the fact that Paul included a condemnation of something that included elements from the Old Testament.  Just what were these elements of the Old Testament?

 

A careful study of Colossians 2 clearly reveals that Paul was warning the Church of two dangers:

 

1. Greek philosophy.

2. Jewish traditions that would undermine the gospel.

 

In Colossians 2:8, he warns the Church about the dangers of heeding human traditions:  (NIV) "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."  But when it comes to which "elements" of the Old Testament Paul lumps with Greek philosophy and Jewish traditions, he is very specific.  The "written code" has been canceled:  Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV):  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

 

Paul continues, in Colossians 2:16-17, to explain what impact the cancellation of the Mosaic Law would have on the Church :

 

Colossians 2:16-17 (NIV) Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." 

 

The Mosaic Law is the law set that requires the keeping of the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbath feast days, monthly sabbath feast days, and the weekly Sabbath. 

 

The writer's language is very clear in regard to the fact that there is no judgment in regard to the keeping or not keeping of these Jewish ordinances— so clear that even if we could not figure out why this was true, we would still understand that we were commanded not to judge in regard to the observance of these things.  What other kind of a code has regulations?  It sounds like a good description of the Torah, which had 613 of them.  It is difficult how one could avoid the conclusion that Paul meant that the Torah was nailed to the cross.  This most likely explanation makes sense when we understand the Hebrew way of thinking about Noachian Law versus Torah Law.  The end of Torah law did not mean the end of all law to a Jew.  Bacchiocchi does not seem to acknowledge any understanding of this concept, but it is difficult to imagine that he knew nothing about it.

 

At the highest level of interpretation, the Gospel of Jesus, as articulated by St. Paul, compels us to interpret this passage to mean that in so far as the process of determining the question of our salvation, all law sets of all kinds are nailed to the cross.  If a Christian's compliance with either Noachian or Torah law were to be used to determine our eligibility for salvation, not one of us would be saved.  We have all violated not only the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law.  Our motives are rotten, even if our outward actions appear to be compliant. 

 

Paul made it very clear that the freedom from the fear that the LAW will be used to determine our salvation cannot be used to justify sinful living, and he even went so far as to list a group of sins that will keep a person out of Heaven.  The Holy Spirit is the new LAW for the Christian, and the Holy Spirit would never lead a person into sin.  The charge of Seventh-day Adventists that the concept that the entire LAW was nailed to the cross opens the flood-gate to sinful living is no more than a sensational claim.  Surely the Christian does not refrain from sin  merely because there is a written law against it.  The Holy Spirit works on the heart to lead the Christian because of his or her love for both God and other people. This love "fulfills" the law; a concept hard to grasp for those ensconced in the letter of the law.

 

DR. B: WHAT WAS NAILED TO THE CROSS WAS NOT THE LAW ITSELF, BUT WAS THE WRITTEN RECORD OF OUR SINS AGAINST THAT LAW.  THIS MAKES SENSE BECAUSE THE GREATER CONTEXT OF COLOSSIANS 2:14-17 IS GOD'S FORGIVENESS.  PAUL DOES NOT USE THE GREEK WORD FOR LAW (NOMOS) ANYWHERE IN THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS, AND THE WORD PAUL USES IN THIS PASSAGE IS CHEIROGRAPHON, WHICH MEANS A WRITTEN DOCUMENT.  IN APOCALYPTIC AND RABBINICAL LITERATURE, THE WORD CHEIROGRAPHON IS USED TO DENOTE THE "RECORD BOOK OF SINS" OR A "CERTIFICATE OF SIN INDEBTEDNESS."

 

1.  Bacchiocchi admits that if the Greek word cheirographon does actually refer to the Mosaic laws, there is at least a possibility that this passage could include the weekly Sabbath as one of the ordinances that was nailed to the Cross.  The problem for Bacchiocchi's idea that the document nailed to the Cross was merely a record of our sins, rather than the law itself, is that in non-biblical Greek, this word has a number of meanings and may refer to (1) a labor contract, (2) a document giving authority to act, or even (3) to business agreements.  It is misleading to say, then, that this word, as used in this passage, simply means the document itself upon which the debt is recorded.  It would only make sense that the context in which this word is found would determine what kind of written document it is.  This particular cheirographon is made up of "ordinances" and "decrees;" an interpretation demanded by Paul's use of the Greek word, dogmasin, which is the word immediately following the word cheirographon and which modifies this word.  An English equivalent example of a word with a modifier in this order would be "the color blue."  There are a number of colors.  Which color is it?  Blue!  What kind of a written document is it?  Decrees and laws!  Who makes decrees and laws?  The King!  Who signed the law decree?  God Himself!  Notice that the same word, dogmasin, appears in a discussion of the Mosaic Law in Ephesians 2:15, indicating both texts deal with similar issues.  (Credit for the information about Greek linguistics goes to Robert D. Brinsmead, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined.") 

 

It is highly significant to note that Paul's audience was a mixture of Jewish and Gentile Christians.  Paul uses this language devoid of Hebraics, using cheirographon, knowing that both Jew and Gentile will understand what he is writing about.  Dr. Bacchiocchi conveniently ignores Paul's audience.

 

Paul uses similar language in another passage, giving strength to the concept that Paul really did mean that the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross:

 

Ephesians 2:15 (NIV):  "by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations."

 

The context of this passage in Ephesians is to show that the TORAH was a major barrier between the Jews and the Gentiles and that it was God's purpose to destroy this barrier with the advent of the Messiah.  Another link with this concept is Romans 7:8-13, which further establishes the idea that Paul is discussing the Law of Moses.  Now look at Ephesians 2:15 and 16:  

   

by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.  His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (NIV)

 

Additionally, Paul was not writing for a rabbinical or apocalyptic audience.  With the Epistle to the Colossians, he was addressing a general audience.  Paul was a highly skilled and brilliant author.  One would think he would have the sense to write for his target audience.

 

The Bible teaches that it is the Law of Moses that is "against us."  How can Bacchiocchi conclude that the Law of Moses is not against us when the Bible says it is?

 

Deut 31:26 (NIV) "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.

 

Removing the barrier between us and God created by the witness against us of the Old Covenant "Book of the Law" does not mean that some moral void has taken its place.  There is the New Covenant of the Spirit, where the believer is led now by the Spirit of God in them.  The spirit of the Law is therefore not lawlessness as implied by those who hold to the Old Covenant letter of the law.  Faith and love are the criteria for fulfilling the Law as contrasted to the Old Covenant kept in the letter, where faith and love were absent.

 

DR. B: PROOF THAT THE WORD, CHEIROGRAPHON, MEANS A WRITTEN DOCUMENT CONTAINING THE RECORD OF OUR SINS IS THAT IN THE ORIGINAL GREEK OF COLOSSIANS 2:14, A CLAUSE ADDS THAT THIS CHEIROGRAPHON WAS "REMOVED OUT OF THE MIDDLE."  "THE MIDDLE" WAS THE POSITION OCCUPIED AT THE CENTER OF THE COURT OR ASSEMBLY BY THE ACCUSING WITNESS. THE IMPLICATION, HERE, IS THAT THE WITNESS WAS TESTIFYING AGAINST A WRITTEN RECORD OF THE PERSON BEING TRIED FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW.

 

When you go to court, you are being tried for breaking the law itself- not for breaking the written record of that transgression against that law. It is the accusing witness that stands in the middle of the court, and it is the law that accuses and condemns the defendant.  If it is the law that accuses and if it is the law which "stands in the middle," it would seem that it is the law itself that would be removed.  When a judge hands down a pardon- an event very comparable to what happens when a human being is eternally saved― the "law" has to be removed, or "suspended" for that moment.  Recall that Paul places the Greek word, dogmasin, which means "regulations" or "ordinances," adjacent to the word, cheirographon, as a modifier.  What type of written document is it?  A list of regulations and ordinances!  A piece of paper that documents a person's transgression of a law is not the law itself.  Dr. Bacchiocchi is unsuccessful in his attempt to exploit the court metaphor for his Sabbatarian bias.  The commitment Dr. Bacchiocchi demonstrates to avoid the idea that the Torah was nailed to the cross appears to be the result of his need to read this passage in a way that will not conflict with his presupposition that Sabbatarianism is true. 

 

DR. B: ADDITIONAL PROOF THAT PAUL IS SAYING THAT WHAT WAS NAILED TO THE CROSS WAS MERELY THE WRITTEN RECORD OF OUR SINS- NOT THE LEGAL GROUND (LAW) FOR OUR ENTANGLEMENT INTO SIN- IS THAT IN COLOSSIANS 2:15, THIS ACT OF FORGIVENESS DISARMS THE PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS.  BECAUSE THESE EVIL POWERS CANNOT ACCUSE THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, YOU DON'T NEED THE HELP OF A SECONDARY MEDIATOR.  THIS INTERPRETATION SEEMS TO SQUARE WITH, AGAIN, THE IMMEDIATE ARGUMENT OF COLOSSIANS 2:14-17, WHICH IS THE FULLNESS OF GOD'S FORGIVENESS.

 

Only a strong Sabbatarian bias could prompt a claim such as this.  There can be no such thing as additional "proof" as Dr. Bacchiocchi would like to provide since his concept about Paul's intended use of the Greek word cheirographon has been shown to be invalid.  The immediate argument of this passage is clearly not the fullness of God's forgiveness.  The fact that forgiveness is one of the components of his statement does not identify it as the focus of the passage.  The key theme, here, is that the death of Christ on the cross caused a whole set of Jewish ordinances to become obsolete because they were nailed to the cross with Him.  The Judaizers and all other parties who attempt to establish unnecessary and obsolete barriers between God and His people, who are now made up of both Jews and Gentiles, are unwittingly teaching a false gospel and are in league with the "principalities and powers who are evil, and who wield this cheirographon for their own benefit." 

 

Jesus, as the God of the Old Testament, died on the cross, thus ending that covenant even as all such covenants end upon the death of either party to a covenant.  Paul uses the marriage covenant in Romans 7 to explain this obvious fact regarding covenants.  Principalities and powers are those people in position of power and authority who wield their control through the Law and the administration of the Law.  If they administer the law of the Old Testament to their own advantage, which they did, then the rug is pulled out from under them by removing the Law they use to control and rule unjustly over others.  Even the devil could no longer bring accusation against one freed from that Law. - W. Hohmann

 

Paul indicates these things were accomplished by the death of Christ:

 

1.                                                                                                                                                                                       Our sins were forgiven.

 

2.              A set of Jewish ordinances that were shadows of Him was set aside.

 

3.              A great victory was won over principalities and powers, including Satan and his evil angels.

 

Of these three items, Paul gives additional explanation for the second item― the set of Jewish ordinances.  He explains that this set of Jewish ordinances has become obsolete because they were merely shadows of things that were to come and that the Reality shadowed by these things is Christ Himself.

 

To his credit, Dr. Bacchiocchi does not stoop to use the poorly conceived Sabbatarian argument that "things to come" is a reference to events that were still future in relationship to the time Paul was writing his letters to the Churches.  The time reference for "things to come" would have to be the time the Mosaic Law was given, since these ordinances were instituted at that time. 

 

DR. B: THE WEEKLY SABBATH IS NOT THE TARGET OF COLOSSIANS 2:14-17 BECAUSE PAUL IS NOT CONDEMNING THE TEACHINGS OF MOSES REGARDING JEWISH DIETARY LAWS, CEREMONIAL ANNUAL AND MONTHLY SABBATHS, AND THE WEEKLY SABBATH.  INSTEAD, HE IS MERELY CONDEMNING THE EXTRA MAN-MADE REGULATIONS IMPOSED ON THE KEEPING OF JEWISH DIETARY LAWS, ANNUAL SABBATHS, MONTHLY SABBATHS, AND THE WEEKLY SABBATH ITSELF BY THE FALSE TEACHERS.  "A PRECEPT IS NOT NULLIFIED BY THE CONDEMNATION OF ITS PERVERSION."

 

Whatever Paul was "targeting," that "thing" got nailed to the cross.  As you may recall from an earlier discussion, Bacchiocchi teaches that it was the written record of our sins that got nailed to the cross- at least plausible, but not the case as is so eloquently established by Robert D. Brinsmead in "Sabbatarianism Re-examined."  The very structure of Paul's statement and the facts of Greek linguistics forbid any pathway of logic leading to Bacchiocchi's explanation.  Let us review the possible candidates for what might have gotten nailed to the cross that might come to mind:

 

The extra rules and regulations supposedly invented by the Judaizers - As we have noted already, Bacchiocchi does not even suggest this candidate  himself.  It wouldn't make sense that an Act of God would be needed to do away with human traditions.  He teaches that it was a written record of our sins that was nailed to the cross- a metaphor that is forbidden by the logistical constraints of the text itself.

 

The body of laws God gave to all the world at the very beginning, which are not formally codified by Moses in his writings, but which clearly exist because of numerous references to such laws throughout the Book of Genesis - This is not likely, since this would make no more sense than turning off all the traffic signals in New York City at rush hour.  Bacchiocchi himself does not mention this possibility.  If he were to do so, the implications would be self-incriminating.  It would explain how Paul could talk about the TORAH being nailed to the cross without giving people the freedom to violate "natural" law.  Since the mentioned but non-codified laws discussed in the Book of Genesis are, for the most part, simply "scientific" statements of cause and effect, not particularly different than, let's say, the laws of gravity, they could not be nailed to the cross any more easily than the events of the cross could have stopped the Earth from spinning.

 

The "ceremonial" part of the TORAH, and not the "moral" part, was nailed to the cross. - Dr. Bacchiocchi does not suggest this himself.  It is one of the traditional SDA arguments, which he knows is not even possible, in view of how the Jews thought about the TORAH as a fully integrated and inseparable unit.  Furthermore, it would destroy the only possibility of demonstrating that the Sabbath is validated by Colossians 2:14-17, rather than set aside by it ―made necessary since there is no way around the fact that the Sabbath of Colossians 2:14-17 is a reference to the Weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue.

 

A written record of our sins as taught by Dr. Bacchiocchi - We have seen that the structure of Paul's statement in Colossians 2:14-17 places modifiers by the words in the passage that identify the written document as rules and regulations (dogmasin).  Rules and regulations are far different from a record of a person's transgressions of those rules and regulations.  Review the in-depth study of this "candidate" presented earlier.  This is Bacchiocchi's choice, but it is a virtually impossible one that is inconsistent with a wide variety of other factors.  There is no written record of our sins available to be nailed to the cross - at least not in this passage.

 

The TORAH; a special set of laws for Jews only, designed to govern Israel from the Exodus to the Cross - We are consistent with the content and context of the text, as well as the major themes and concepts of the Bible, in concluding that what was nailed to the cross was the TORAH― a special group of laws designed to reign in the rebellious nature of the Jews and keep them headed in the right direction between the Exodus and the cross.  It is also a simple explanation that even a child can understand by just reading the passage itself.  The TORAH contained the laws requiring the Jewish ordinances of the dietary laws and Sabbath systems, including the weekly Sabbath.  These ordinances, and especially the Sabbath rest, pointed forward to Christ as symbols of Him.  Once He died on the cross, symbol met Reality.  Now that the Real Thing has arrived, the shadowy symbols were no longer necessary, just like you can snuff out the candles when the flood lights are turned on.

 

There is no reason to accept Dr. Bacchiocchi's evasive solution to this problem and every reason to stand with the straightforward reading of the passage.  The "shadows" were the Jewish ordinances and they were nailed to the cross in the sense that the temporary law set that required their observance was nailed to the cross.  Paul was "targeting" the TORAH with its Jewish ordinances.  A set of humanly authored rules and regulations does not even qualify as a candidate for something that requires the death of Christ on the cross to be made of no effect.

 

DR. B: THE JEWISH ORDINANCES LISTED BY PAUL ARE NOT LABELED BY PAUL AS THINGS THAT ARE SHADOWS OF CHRIST AND WHICH POINTED FORWARD TO HIS COMING. THE "SHADOWS," INSTEAD, ARE THE MAN-MADE RULES AND REGULATIONS CREATED BY THE JUDAIZERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING THESE JEWISH ORDINANCES EVEN MORE RIGOROUS TO OBSERVE THAN THE MOSAIC REQUIREMENTS THEMSELVES. THE PRONOUN "THESE" IN "THESE THINGS" REFERS BACK FURTHER TO THE ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS IMPOSED BY THE FALSE TEACHERS- NOT TO JEWISH ORDINANCES THEMSELVES. DR. EDWARD LOHSE, AN IMPORTANT NON-SABBATARIAN EVANGELICAL BIBLE SCHOLAR, SUPPORTS MY VIEW ON THIS PARTICULAR POINT. 

 

If judged by conventional principles of literary evaluation, a pronoun must be viewed as referring to something in the sentence or paragraph immediately before it unless such a reading clearly cannot be accommodated within any sense of propriety.  In view of the fact that there is no compelling reason to reject the standard literary expectation in this situation, other than Dr. Bacchiocchi's a priori bias toward Sabbatarianism, any disinterested party of biblical scholars would likely agree that the items in Paul's list are, indeed, shadows of things that pointed forward to Christ and were nailed to the Cross.  In particular, the weekly Sabbath, as we mentioned earlier, was spoken of by the Jews as a symbol of the rest for God's people, both in the (incorrectly) anticipated earthly Messianic kingdom and in the Paradise beyond the grave.

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi has resorted to a logical fallacy commonly called "an appeal to authority."  Dr. Lohse, as a highly respected theologian, is a valuable resource, but he is still subject to errors of interpretation and understanding.  That Dr. Lohse would agree with Dr. Bacchiocchi then, by itself, is no more definitive than taking Dr. Bacchiocchi's own opinion.  Neither author provides the proper evidence to support this position.  

 

Dr. Lohse appears not to have thought the whole issue through to its logical conclusion.  Perhaps he stands in awe of Dr. Bacchiocchi's tremendous stature as the acknowledged world authority on the seventh day Sabbath and has allowed himself to be taken in by one of Dr. Bacchiocchi's occasional lapses of scholarly excellence. Perhaps he simply cannot comprehend the gripping, overwhelming fixation that compels a dyed-in-the-wool Sabbatarian to protect this belief at all costs.  If Dr. Bacchiocchi's reading of this passage is correct, and if his primary way of defending Colossians 2:14-17 in general is correct, Dr. Lohse needs to lead the world of Evangelical Christianity to Judaization.  Evangelical Churches would have to open their doors on Sabbath morning, no pork could be served at potlucks, and Church members would be observing all of the sabbath feast days.  Perhaps we would find the Evangelical Churches camping out annually to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem, performing the required sacrifices.  One way to evaluate the TRUTH of a teaching is to follow it to the end of its logical conclusion.

 

The Judaization of Christianity cannot be the TRUTH because it clearly opposes everything Paul stood for as God's personally chosen spokesperson for interpreting Christianity to the Gentiles.  Paul warned his readers that his Gospel of Grace was the only true gospel and that they were to reject anyone who taught a "different gospel."  Clearly, a gospel of grace plus the requirement to keep a set of obsolete Jewish ordinances as a requirement for salvation is a "different gospel."  Because the teaching purports to achieve a higher level of righteousness than the Gospel of Paul, a teacher of such a theory might be suspect as a wolf in sheep's clothing.  In I Timothy 1:5-7, Paul says that those who turn away from a faith-based gospel to teaching the law do not know what they are talking about.

 

The term "shadow" is used two other times in a figurative sense in the book of Hebrews (Heb. 8:5 and 10:1), and in both cases it is in association with the Law of Moses.

 

We have seen that it is impossible to get around the fact that the weekly Sabbath is classified, by Paul, with a group of things that are now obsolete because they were mere shadows of "things to come."  The weekly Sabbath, as a Jewish institution, looked both backward to Creation and forward to Christ.  The Reality has already come in the person of Christ.

 

Paul teaches that something that happened when Jesus died on the Cross caused the Jewish ordinances in this list to become of no importance to both Jews and Gentiles.  The Gentiles were "grafted" into Israel.  The Christian Jew and the Christian Gentile are now one body in Christ.  The "barrier" that stood between them, the TORAH, was ripped down by God Himself when Jesus died on the cross.

 

A study of a literal Greek translation (available at http://www.olivetree.com of Colossians 2:14-17 demonstrates that there is no need to question what kind of written document is indicated or which things are shadows.  It appears straightforward that what is against us is found in the handwriting composed of decrees.  How can you possibly get a list of sins committed by a certain individual out of the term decrees?  See Deut 31:26 (NIV) "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you."  Also, there is nothing else that "which" could refer to as a shadow other than the things listed.  What kind of scholarship is represented by an effort to prove that it refers to something that isn't even hinted at in the original language?

 

14. {HAVING BLOTTED OUT} {THE} {AGAINST} {US} ceirografon  {HANDWRITING} {IN THE} dogmasin {DECREES,} {WHICH}  {WAS} {ADVERSE} {TO US,} {ALSO} {IT} {HE HAS TAKEN} {OUT OF}  {THE} {MIDST,} {HAVING NAILED}  {IT} {TO THE} {CROSS;}

 

15. {HAVING STRIPPED} {THE} {PRINCIPALITIES}  {AND}  {THE}  {AUTHORITIES,}  {HE MADE A SHOW [OF THEM]} {PUBLICLY,} {LEADING IN TRIUMPH} {THEM} {IN} {IT.}

 

16. {NOT} {THEREFORE} {ANYONE} {YOU} {LET JUDGE} {IN} {MEAT} {OR} {IN} {DRINK,} {OR} {IN}   {RESPECT} {OF FEAST,} {OR} {NEW MOON,} {OR} {SABBATHS,}

17. {WHICH} {ARE} {A SHADOW} {OF THINGS} {TO COME;} {BUT} {THE} {BODY [IS]} {OF   THE} {CHRIST.}

 

When we add up all of these considerations, we see that the extra man-made rules and regulations for observing the Jewish dietary laws and all the sabbaths cannot possibly be what was nailed to the cross.  If this were to be the case we would appear to need an act of God to make of no effect laws written by human beings.  Man-made rules are not used in Scripture to represent large spiritual events or truths; so equating these humanly devised regulations with "shadows" violates a key concept of biblical principles.  Jesus cannot be symbolized (shadowed) by man-made rules and regulations.

 

DR. BACCHIOCCHI AND ROMANS 14:5

 

 (NIV) 1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who regards one day as special does so to the Lord. He who eats meat eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

 

DR. B: ANY ATTEMPT TO SEE THE SABBATH AS ONE OF THE DAYS REFERRED TO IN THIS PASSAGE IS NOT POSSIBLE SINCE THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE WEAK AND THE STRONG OVER DIET AND DAYS CAN NOT BE TRACED BACK TO THE MOSAIC LAW.  THE WHOLE DISCUSSION HERE IS NOT ABOUT THE OBLIGATION TO KEEP THE LAW VERSUS FREEDOM FROM ITS OBSERVANCE, BUT RATHER CONCERNS UNNECESSARY SCRUPLES OF CONSCIENCE CAUSED BY HUMAN CONVENTIONS AND SUPERSTITIONS.

 

Bacchiocchi is correct that the conflict between the weak and the strong can't be traced back to the Mosaic Law. Whether you are weak or strong, you keep the covenant rules, or you die.  If you pick up sticks or carry a burden on the Sabbath, you are put to death.  A mention of this fact does nothing to further the examination of the Sabbath question.

 

Since there is no TORAH observance without circumcision, and since the Gentile converts do not have to be circumcised and therefore cannot keep the Laws of Moses, the discussion is, indeed, about the obligation to keep the Law versus freedom from its observance.  Christians are free from its observance.  Paul says not to be concerned about disputable matters.  The fact that the Sabbath can be disputed is a clear indication that it is not something about which to judge someone.  We are in the process of disputing the Sabbath by the very act of writing this book.  By contrast, we could not possibly write a credible paper to convince people that they could kill, steal, or commit adultery.  In fact, were we to discover tomorrow that there was no God-no Heaven to win or Hell to shun-we would not write a paper like that.  Even without an eternal judgment to face, just the natural consequences of these behaviors would create a hell on Earth for us, were we to be so foolish, right in the here and now.

 

The question raised by this passage of Scripture actually is, "An adherence or lack of adherence to what set of dietary laws and sacred days determines whether a Christian is to be considered weak or strong?"  Let us apply a little logic to this question and work at it by the process of elimination:

 

1.               Dr. Bacchiocchi wishes us to believe that these unnecessary scruples of conscience are merely in regard to the traditional man-made rules and regulations for keeping the Jewish dietary laws, annual sabbaths, monthly sabbaths, and the weekly Sabbath.  However, as has been demonstrated earlier, the Jewish ordinances themselves are targeted in Paul's list of practices that are obsolete because they are "shadows."  In Paul's mind, the Christian is weak or strong, depending on his or her willingness to reject all unnecessary and irrelevant practices, whether they are man-made or part of a divinely instituted covenant which God Himself has declared obsolete.  This statement of Paul's is consistent with other things he has said about day sacredness throughout his writings.  There is every reason to reject Dr. Bacchiocchi's reading of this passage and no reason to accept it.

 

2.               It is similarly impossible to think that Paul was discussing how a Christian could be judged to be weak or strong on the basis of his or her rejection of pagan dietary laws and pagan sacred days in this particular passage.  Did the pagans have any dietary laws at all?  The only pagan dietary law we know of is you can eat anything you want.  Would a Christian be judged to be strong or weak on the basis of his or her attachment to pagan sacred days?  It would seem that any interest in observing pagan sacred days would be considered a weakness on the part of a Christian.

 

There is only one reasonable answer left. Since the Torah was fulfilled in Christ, its requirements exist no more.  Adherence to its requirements brought a real sense of security to the Israelites under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant, but under the terms of the New Covenant, any degree of reliance on obsolete ordinances for a sense of spiritual security would be considered a sign of weakness on the part of a Christian.  Instead, it is a sign of strength to be able to find security in Christ and His Grace, rather than in the observance of arbitrary ordinances.   The very idea that any day of the year has any sacredness in-and-of-itself is superstition, whether those days are sacred to pagans or Jews.

 

Since all days are now alike, there is nothing wrong with keeping any one of those days if the motivation for keeping such a day is not to win God's favor but to honor Him.  Thus, Paul is teaching the Roman community of Christians that the Gentile Christians should not condemn the Jewish Christians for keeping the Sabbath and the Jewish Christians should not condemn their Gentile brothers and sisters for not keeping the Sabbath.

 

DR. B:  PAUL, IN THIS PASSAGE, APPLIES THE BASIC PRINCIPLE "OBSERVE IT IN HONOR OF THE LORD" ONLY TO THE CASE OF THE PERSON "WHO OBSERVES THE DAY."  IN THIS MATTER, PAUL MAKES A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DIET ISSUE AND THE "DAYS" ISSUE.  HE DOES NOT SAY THAT THE PERSON WHO REGARDS ALL THE DAYS ALIKE DOES SO TO THE LORD.  THEREFORE, PAUL DOES NOT GIVE HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL TO THOSE WHO THINK IN TERMS OF ALL DAYS BEING ALIKE.

 

This is one of the most remarkable statements Dr. Bacchiocchi has ever made.  As Jesus' specially chosen interpreter of New Covenant Christianity to the Gentiles, it was Paul's responsibility to point out any real spiritual problem.  Paul even rebuked Peter for slighting his Gentile brothers, and he was not known for remaining silent when confronted with error.  Knowing Paul, he would have rebuked any Christian who might think in terms of all days being alike if this view was wrong.  Since the Sabbath was a particular day, and since Dr. Bacchiocchi thinks that Paul did not teach that Christians don't have to keep the Jewish Sabbath, would not Dr. Bacchiocchi expect a pointed rebuke to all those who were so "misguided" as to regard every day alike?  If Sabbatarianism were true (which it clearly isn't), those who regarded every day as alike would be wicked violators of an eternal, moral principle.  The logic of Dr. Bacchiocchi's argument is absent.  In some cases, actively doing something honors God.  In other cases, refraining from doing something honors God.  We honor God by giving our offerings with a willing heart.  At the same time I honor him by not swearing by His name.  Paul puts both concerns for ceremonial dietary laws and the ceremonial superstition about the special qualities of any day in the same basket as non-essentials.  Since days have no intrinsic sacredness, what difference does it matter if you observe a day or if you don't?  The answer is that it doesn't.

 

DR. B: IF PAUL HAD SET ASIDE THE SABBATH, THE JEWISH CHRISTIANS WOULD HAVE ATTACKED PAUL VICIOUSLY, LIKE THEY DID OVER HIS EFFORTS TO SET ASIDE CIRCUMCISION.  THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF SUCH A CONTROVERSY ANYWHERE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, INDICATING THAT PAUL NEVER DISCOURAGED SABBATH KEEPING OR ENCOURAGED SUNDAY KEEPING INSTEAD.

 

The Jewish Christians, and especially the Judaizers, vehemently opposed the exemption from circumcision for the Gentiles because they knew that this automatically exempted them from Sabbath-keeping as well.  Can Dr. Bacchiocchi really be as theologically uninformed as not to understand exactly why there was such a huge fight over circumcision?  As we have learned earlier, the Sabbath and circumcision cannot be separated.  We have seen that neither Jew nor Gentile could keep the Sabbath without the circumcision requirements being met.  Therefore, when the Council of Jerusalem decided not to impose the rite of circumcision on the Gentiles, the Sabbath perished forever with it.  This is why the New Testament does not mention a requirement for Christians to keep the Sabbath thereafter.  Nearly everything Jewish about Christianity was destroyed at the Council of Jerusalem.  The gateway to Sabbath observance within the Jewish community had always been closed to anyone who was unwilling to be circumcised, whether Jew or Gentile.  Without circumcision for the new Gentile converts, there could be no Sabbath-keeping for them.  Perhaps a review of this matter is in order.

 

The Bible teaches that the Gentile/alien must go through the same process of becoming a Jew by circumcision if he wanted to participate in the Jewish religion.  In fact a Jew was a Gentile till he was circumcised.

 

Exodus 12:48-49 (New International Version)

 

 48"An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD's Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat of it. 49The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you."

 

Exodus 12:43-45 (New International Version)

 

Passover Restrictions

 

 43The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "These are the regulations for the Passover: "No foreigner is to eat of it. 44Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him, 45but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it."

 

Leviticus 24:22 (New International Version)

 

22You are to have the same law for the alien and the native-born. I am the LORD your God.' "

 

Jewish scholars from the very beginning of Jewish history have understood that the TORAH was given only to the Hebrews.  By the time of Jesus, the typical Jew may not have been aware of the fact that they, as a people, had never believed that the Gentiles would be lost by not keeping the TORAH.  Instead, Jewish thought has always held the belief that the Gentiles would be saved if they kept the Noachian laws.  In fact, Jewish traditional law called for the stoning of a Gentile who kept the Sabbath without first being circumcised.  (This applied to the Gentile who had chosen to become a part of the Jewish community.  The Sabbath commandment itself provided that temporary guests― travelers, for example― were to keep the Sabbath with their Jewish hosts.)

 

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, had to use a different approach than in his letter to the Colossians.  With a large number of Jewish Christians living in Rome at the time, Paul was careful to show that the Jewish Christians were free to continue to keep the Sabbath.  The idea that Sabbath-keeping became intrinsically wrong after the Cross is not part of Paul's teachings.

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi presents the fact that Paul never encouraged Sunday observance as evidence that Paul never taught that the Gentiles did not have to keep the Sabbath.  If the Pauline theory of Sabbath abandonment is true, this fact would be no surprise.  Of course Paul never encouraged Sunday keeping because there is no intrinsic sacredness or "holy magic" about Sunday.  Sunday was chosen by Christians for a variety of reasons.  Meeting together on the Sabbath was not practical.  Every New Testament reference to the Apostles being in the synagogues on Sabbaths mentions the fact that they were there to witness to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.  Additionally, Jesus stated that His followers would be cast out of the synagogues for following Him.  Also, understanding the teachings of Paul that Sabbath observance was now optional, they may have had communal worship on Sundays so as to distance themselves from the Jews and Judaism, as well as allow those Jewish Christians to rest on the Sabbath.  During this period of time, the Jews were highly disliked within the Roman Empire for their frequent uprisings against the government.  Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday.  Any other day of the week would have been appropriate, but Sunday had special significance to the believers.  The fact that Christians chose Sunday as the day to meet with each other was not merely an accident, but neither was it a choice governed by the concept of day sacredness.

 

Finally, it is difficult to imagine that Paul would write to the Christians in Rome, counsel them about how they  should relate to the observance of sacred days, and fail to give them any instructions about how they should relate to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue.  Circumcision was included in Paul's comments, and circumcision was excluded from things to be required of the Gentile converts.  Since keeping the Sabbath was not provided for  within a Jewish community without circumcision, the Sabbath issue was dead.

 

With a large number of Jewish Christians in its membership, Paul would need to take a somewhat softer approach in conveying the truth about the Sabbath and other Jewish sacred days than he did when writing to the predominantly Gentile Colossian Church. The diversity in the make-up of the Church at Rome prompted  Paul  to be concerned about them arguing about things that are not essential to the Gospel.  He talks about how the LAW is fulfilled by genuine love.  A review of Romans 13 is a good way to help understand the context of Paul's statement in the next chapter.  Back in Romans 2, he talked about the principles of the Law being in the hearts of the Gentiles through their consciences.  Thanks to our understanding of the Jewish differentiation between Noachian and Torah law, it is likely that Paul was thinking in terms of Noachian law when he wrote this passage:

 

ROMANS 2:12-16 (NIV) 12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

 

The Gospel of Grace as taught by Paul teaches that there is no salvation earned by Gentiles who follow their consciences or Jews who follow the TORAH.  Both the Gentile and the Jew are equally condemned for their failure to measure up to a perfect Godly standard.  Paul's statement in Romans 2:12-16 seems to teach that at least some Gentiles will do well on Judgment Day.  It is difficult to comprehend how Dr. Bacchiocchi could possibly conclude that keeping a set of Jewish ordinances could suddenly become essential for Gentiles in the Christian era.

 

Bacchiocchi argues that the New Testament writers are totally silent about Sunday observance for Christians and that this fact proves Sabbatarianism. This argument is not valid, since the New Testament writers discuss the obsolescence of Sabbath-keeping: (1) Circumcision is a required entrance sign for observing the Sabbath, and Paul clearly taught that the Early Church made the decision at the Council of Jerusalem that circumcision was not to be required of the Gentiles coming into the Church.  (2)  Colossians 2:14-17 is a direct command against requiring the observance of the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue. 

 

At the same time he argues that the apostles kept the Sabbath because they went to the Jewish synagogues on the Sabbath day, supposedly setting the example for Christians to follow.  This logic is also flawed.  The apostles went into the Jewish synagogues on the Sabbath day to witness to them that Christ was, indeed, the Messiah.  They went as missionaries.  Also, every recorded time when Christians met together themselves, they met on the first day of the week- not on the Jewish Sabbath. 

 

DR. BACCHIOCCHI ON GALATIANS 4:9-11

 

Please study Galatians chapter 4 for the complete context:

 

GALATIANS 4:8-11 (NIV) Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God-or rather are known by God-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

 

DR. B: THE DAYS OF THIS PASSAGE IN GALATIANS ARE NOT A REFERENCE TO THE JEWISH CALENDAR OF SPECIAL DAYS, BUT A REFERENCE TO THE SPECIAL DAYS OF THE PAGAN CALENDAR.  THEREFORE, THIS PASSAGE IS NOT DIRECTED AT THE JEWISH FEAST DAYS OR WEEKLY SABBATH. 

 

The root of the problem with Dr. Bacchiocchi's Sabbatarian interpretation of Galatians 4:10-11 is his singular failure to recognize a massive theme that runs from one end of the Bible to the other, that the jurisdiction of the TORAH was to be temporary.  As we have seen, earlier, the Bible clearly teaches that God did not make the TORAH Covenant with His people prior to Mt. Sinai.  Amazingly, in Galatians 3, just one chapter before this passage, Paul is talking about the TORAH having a certain beginning and a certain end.  The beginning was at the Exodus, it being added to the Abrahamic Covenant, and it was to end when the Messiah arrived.  Please examine Galatians 3:15-19:

 

15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life.  Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19What, then, was the purpose of the law?  It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred has come

 

Dr. Bacchiocchi turns to Dr. Troy Martin for support for his idea that this passage in Galatians is a reference to their return to the observation of the sacred days of the pagan calendar, rather than those of the Jewish calendar.  Dr. Martin, Professor of Religious Studies at Xavier University in Chicago, published two articles in New Testament Studies and the Journal of Biblical Literature.  He cites Martin as saying that the days of Colossians 2:14-17 are definitely Jewish but that the days of Galatians 4:10 seem to be characteristic of the pagan calendar.  Bacchiocchi states that Martin reaches this conclusion on the "time structure" of pagan calendars, as well as the immediate context of Paul's statement, which appears to be "pagan" as evidenced by their "renewed pre-conversion reckoning of time."

 

In regard to their analysis of what Paul meant in this passage, what both scholars fail to realize is that a COMPARISON between two similar ideas does not perform the function of setting context.  This is an error of logic, because it simply does not follow.  The thrust of Galatians is directed against the influence of Judaizers- not "paganizers."

 

Paul chides the Galatians for trading their former slavery to the observance of the days of the pagan calendar for the slavery of their unfortunately adopted observance of the days of the Jewish calendar.  He is saying that observing either set of holy days is a violation of the principles of the freedom that the Gospel brings.  No day has any holiness in and of itself, and the need to observe either set of holy days represents a superstition of one kind or another.

 

The context of Chapter Four of Galatians is a focus on fighting the Judaizers from Jerusalem.  By the time we get to verse 17, Paul calls the reader's attention back to the previous and over-all context of his remarks:

 

(NIV) 17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.

 

If Dr. Bacchiocchi and Dr. Martin had read just a little further in this chapter, they would have noted that by this statement, Paul dispelled any possible confusion about whether he was talking about a return to pagan principles or to the slavery of the Law of Moses. Look at verse 21:

 

              (NIV) 21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?

 

"Those people" refers to Judaizers- not to paganizers.  There is no suggestion here that Paul was addressing a problem of pagans trying to win back the new Gentile converts to heathenism.  He states plainly that the concern is over their desire to be under the LAW, again-clearly a reference to the TORAH.  There is simply no license in this statement of Paul's to use one's theological imagination to force this passage to read in a manner favorable to Sabbatarianism.  Martin, who is not a Sabbatarian, seems oblivious to the overwhelming compulsion of Dr. Bacchiocchi to force everything Paul wrote into a light that is favorable to Sabbatarianism.  Since the context of this passage is unquestionably one of Jewish things, common sense tells us that we must acknowledge that this is a linguistic question of comparison- not context.  This comparison is between the slavery to the days of the pagan calendar to the slavery to the days of the Jewish calendar.  The idea that any day on any calendar has intrinsic sacredness and must be honored is superstitious, whether it is a pagan superstition or a Jewish superstition.

 

In this text, Paul recognizes that the Galatians know God.  Logic tells us that if Paul says these people have basically a good relationship with God, he is not likely to mean that he is afraid that these Gentile believers are being tempted to return to pagan practices.  Rather, they are just in danger of thinking that they have to observe obsolete Jewish ordinances to keep His favor.  In the Book of Hebrews, the author is addressing the problem that the Jewish Christians are being tempted to go back to Judaism and to the inferior things there.  If the Jew could be tempted to return to Judaism, it is certainly possible that the Gentile could be tempted to return to heathenism.  But Paul clearly indicates in the context in which this passage is found that he is concerned that the Galatians seem to want to return to the LAW, which is exclusive to Judaism; so, again, we are biblically justified in rejecting Bacchiocchi's attempt to make us believe that the Sabbath cannot be one of the "days" included in this passage.

 

DR. B: THE "DAYS" OF GALATIANS 4:10-11 COULD NOT REFER TO THE JEWISH CALENDAR REGARDING SPECIAL DAYS BECAUSE THE PHRASE "ELEMENTAL SPIRITS OF THE UNIVERSE" IS TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH FROM THE GREEK WORDS STOIKEIA TOU KOSMOU, WHICH MOST SCHOLARS INTERPRET AS THE BASIC ELEMENTS WHICH THE PAGANS THOUGHT THE WORLD WAS MADE OF- EARTH, WATER, AIR, FIRE, OR PAGAN GODS WHO CONTROLLED HUMAN EVENTS. 

 

We have reviewed the chapter's context and have found that Paul gives us all the clarification of context that any reasonable reader would expect.  Galatians 4:1-7 is a discussion about sacred law.  Verse 17 makes it clear that he is discussing the worrisome influence of the Judaizers, and verse 21 clearly identifies the LAW as the subject under discussion.  Therefore, there is no compelling reason to believe Paul was expressing concern in this passage that his beloved Galatians were beginning to observe their former pagan sacred days.  The translators of the NIV chose to translate the words stoikeia tou kosmou as "principles." From the Greek-Interlinear Bible http://www.olivetree.com , we find these possible meanings for this word [stoikeia] in the Greek language:

 

New Testament Greek Definition:

 
4747 stoicheion {stoy-khi'-on}
from a presumed derivative of the base of 4748; TDNT - 7:670,1087; n n
AV - element 4, rudiment 2, principle 1; 7
1) any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or
composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal
1a) the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not
however the written characters, but the spoken sounds
1b) the elements from which all things have come, the material
causes of the universe
1c) the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as
others think) because in them the elements of man, life and
destiny were supposed to reside
1d) the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles
of any art, science, or discipline
1d1) i.e. of mathematics, Euclid's geometry

 

After discussing the enslavement of the Galatians as represented by their return to the keeping of special days, months, seasons, and years, Paul moves on in Galatians 4:21-31 to explain the two covenants.  The first covenant - the Sinaitic Covenant - is represented as a body of arbitrary requirements to which the Jews were slaves.  The second covenant is represented not only as freedom from the requirements of the Sinaitic Covenant, but the new freedom to be found in Christ under Grace with the motive of following Christ as a result of the transformation of the heart.

 

It is strange that when Paul himself uses the term "slavery" to describe the bondage of the Jews to the Law which required them to observe a large calendar of holy days, Dr. Bacchiocchi would presume to declare that Paul is referring to the calendar of pagan holy days.  It is clear that Paul is referring to Jewish sacred days because the Book of Galatians is devoted almost entirely to combating the influence of the Judaizers, and the Judaizers were advocating that the Galatians embrace the observance of Jewish, not pagan, holy days.  Notice Paul's words in Galatians 5:1:

 

Gal 5:1 (NIV) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

 

Paul is clearly concerned that his beloved Galatians are being wrongly influenced by the Judaizers to think that their salvation is dependent on, or enhanced by, observing the sacred days of the Jewish calendar.

 

Dr. Martin may believe these "days" are pagan, but another well-respected scholar, disagrees.  The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that the "days" of Galatians 4:10 "are in the first instance Sabbaths, though they include other days too, e.g., the Day of Atonement (Eduard Lohse, The Sabbath In The New Testament, 7:30, footnote 232, quoted in Robert D. Brinsmead, "Sabbatarianism Re-examined.") This assessment is in keeping with the sentence structure, as noted earlier, that Hebrew writers used when talking about the Law of Moses. 

 

Also consider that Paul knew how to use the Greek language very well.  It could be that no one has ever done such a good job of putting the most profound spiritual truths into language that, in general, can be understood by most readers.  Because of his good command of language, it is almost inconceivable that Paul would not add a "disclaimer" to this passage if the weekly Sabbath were still required of Christians.  He would add something like, "I need to clarify something.  I don't mean you shouldn't keep the 7th Day Sabbath."  Since Paul was a highly articulate writer under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, he knew what affect his words would have on his immediate target audience.  There can be no doubt that Paul's words were inspired by the Holy Spirit in view of how this passage would be understood by readers down through time.

 

In the next chapter, Galatians 5, we find Paul talking about the LAW again.  He teaches that those who attempt to keep the law have fallen from grace.

 

Gal 5:2-4 (NIV) 2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

 

In keeping with the theme of the Book of Galatians, Paul continues with a discussion of the LAW, which continues his explanation that the TORAH has been replaced with non-arbitrary laws that are written on the heart through the Holy Spirit.  This is in line with the concept that moral laws are simply statements of cause and effect.  In the first chapter of the book of John, John writes that everyone who is born into the world is influenced by the Spirit of God.  There is a basic understanding of right and wrong in all cultures and all societies.  For example, if you steal something from someone and that person wants his or her property back badly enough to fight you for it, one or both of you may die in that fight.  A Gentile growing up in the darkest recesses of Africa can see these self-evident truths, and the Holy Spirit is there to convict through the conscience.  However, that same heathen person will never come to the self-evident conclusion that he must not do any work on one of the days of the week, much less be able to figure out, as a self-evident principle, that he should not work on the 7th day of the week.  His "week" might have 10 days, or 17 days, or he may have no concept of a week at all.  If a law is self-evident and based on natural cause and effect, it is a moral law with eternal implications.  If a law is not based on a self-evident principle of natural cause and effect, it is not a moral law and must be classified as ceremonial and temporary.  Paul teaches that after the cross the new covenant Christians are led by the law of the Spirit and not the Law of Moses.  Christians know what real sin is without having to look at a codified set of laws.  Furthermore, Paul says that the Mosaic Law was made for the lawbreakers- those that commit gross sins; those who have a lifestyle of sin.  There is never an excuse for breaking a moral law.  This cannot possibly be said of the Sabbath law!  It is the Sabbatarian who, by fiat, declares the Sabbath to be a moral law.  A few examples of when the Sabbath law could be broken include the following examples:

 

The work of circumcising a child on the 8th day if the 8th day fell on the Sabbath

 

Rescuing an ox from a ditch.

 

The example of when the Israelites marched around the City of Jericho for seven days in a row.

 

Joshua 6:15 (NIV) 15On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.

 

The army of Israel was even commanded by God to fight and kill on the Sabbath as in the following example:  
a

1 Kings 20:29 - 30 (NIV) 29For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.

 

The Bible teaches that the LAW is not designed for the righteous:

 

1 Tim. 1:9-11 (NIV) 9We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

 

It is impossible to keep the Mosaic Law.  Again we see that Christians that are led by the "Law of the Spirit" which has set them free.  Christians do not need a written code to tell them what is immoral.

 

Romans 8:1 - 4 (NIV) 1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.