|Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 4:29 am: || |
Hi again, I would appreciate your sharing how you let go. I would like to print this discussion for my husband and sons (22, 18 & 16) to read (they don't have internet access). We are all a little (a lot) confused in this area. My eldest son already came to the conclusion that there is something definitely wrong with Adventism teachings when compared to the Bible! (and I was worried about how to explain to them our change in beliefs) But this week-end when we were all together on a family get away, we discussed some Bible beliefs- he asked this question:
ìIf Paul said we can ìkeep any dayî but we must do so (keep it) unto the Lord. How should we ìkeep itî
My other son, then commented that even though we accept the fact that we donít have to ìKeep the Sabbath holyî he still feels very guilty when he ëgoes out of boundsí.
My youngest son said ìall this sabbath stuff just seems hypocritical ñ if it's bad to do on one day then it should be bad periodî!
Howís that for kids who didnít even know their(strict SDA) parents were having a change in their belief system? I have been agonizing on how to tell them. As you can all see, The Holy Spirit is dealing with all of us in His own time and I am only just learning to see just how wonderful He has been leading us in the last few months.
Please, I would appreciate your stories,advise and Bible references, as we really need to approach this subject with understanding and put it behind us once and for all. If this was already discussed previously, I would appreciate it if someone could let me know where to find it. Thanks!
|Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 6:53 am: || |
Well African, for me I had all this back history of knowing that there were plenty of excellent examples of Christians (my own parents for example) who didn't keep sabbath. Had been raised not keeping a sabbath day, then went into it as an adult, and then came back out of it. And still it was hard to leave it.
We had started attending a church that met on Sunday out of absolutely the most desperate hunger for corporate worship. (There's a darned fine reason why he tells us not to forsake assembling together!) I LOVED the church we started attending. Most of all I love the sense of His presence there (hmmm, He shows up at church on Sunday!) I love the teaching of the Word we hear there. But there was still all this SDA condemnation rolling around in my head of being doomed in not keeping sabbath.
I'd keep asking God (in a whiny little voice), "but God what about the sabbath?" Finally He impressed me that the reason I wasn't getting an answer to that question was that He wasn't interested in answering it at the moment. What He WAS interested in doing was teaching me other things.
My focus on the sabbath was getting in the way of my learning stuff that He deemed more important at the moment. To make progress in those areas, I was going to have to lay aside my questions and simply follow Him (remember when Jesus called Matthew? He didn't give him all the explanations of why they were going where they were going. All he said was, "follow me".) And trust that when He was ready He would answer the whys.
And that's exactly what happened. Many months later HE suddenly brought up the subject and gave me the complete answer within a half hour.
I don't think about "keeping" any day. I think about "keeping" Jesus every day. Just being in relationship with Him...talking to Him, listening to Him, spending time with Him. It's in doing that that He gradually changes our want-to's to agree with Him. It's no different really than when you make a new friend. You just gradually come to like doing the things He likes to do, going the places He likes to go, and doing other stuff just loses your interest.
Your youngest made a very astute observation! If it is wrong to do one day, then it is wrong to do anyday.
For your middle son: God doesn't inflict guilt when we are doing something we know is right, satan does and that is condemnation. Condemnation is from satan. Conviction comes from God. Condemnation is a general feeling that "you are doomed", conviction says, "I'd rather you do this...and then gives you something very specific and immediate to do" and never counteracts His written Word. So, if you see in the Bible that He doesn't care about sabbathkeeping, and you feel guilty, then you know the feeling is not from God, but from satan.
And congratulations on raising such intellegent young men!
|Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 8:15 am: || |
Lydell is right about the Sabbath being a less important issue than assured salvation. When I met my wife and found out that she ìkeptî the Sabbath, I was not concerned. My upbringing as a non-SDA told me that, if she wants to worship on that day, I do not have the right to judge her on that basis. My real issue with her beliefs has to do with assured salvation and completed atonement. I think of the Adventist view of the Sabbath as a ìstumbling blockî standing in the way of her relationship to God. I also think that my insisting on the eighth day as a day of worship would be a ìstumbling block.î
The Seventh-day Adventist beliefs on the Sabbath have always seemed distorted to me. First, I am not convinced that they properly ìkeepî it in regards to the fourth commandment. Second, they elevate its importance so much that it seems they are raising it above the Gospel message.
I agree that you need to discuss other issues at this time. This is a ìsmoke screenî issue.
Many books and articles discuss the Sabbath with respect to the New Covenant. We can point you to them. However, I will leave you with these verses of Scripture.
Read Second Corinthians Chapter three. Pay special attention to verses 15 and 16.
 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds;
 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed.
I bring this to your attention to suggest that you stop staring at the Sabbath, and turn your mind to what Christ did for you at the cross. That, I believe, is the most important issue that you and your family need to address first.
|Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2002 - 4:16 pm: || |
I wholeheartedly agree with Lydell and Jerry above. Paul's text about keeping a day unto the Lord is not a mandate. It's simply saying that if a person decides to dedicate a day to worship and Bible study, that's OK and should be a matter of personally honoring God. I still believe, though, that former Adventists really have to let go of Sabbath intentionally or it becomes something that we subconsciously do to "hedge our bets" in case we're really wrong about God not requiring it. (How's that for a convoluted sentence?!)
The Sabbath exerts a powerful claim on ADventists because it is connected to deception. It is literally, I believe, a spiritual hold. Your son's comments about guilt are, as Lydell pointed out, an indication of that demonic hold. What better deception could there be than to make the symbol of Jesus--the Sabbath--the focus of attention instead of JEsus himself? Adventists have taken the symbol of Israel's covenant with God and the promise of their eventual rest in the Messiah and have twisted it into a sign of being saved. It's completely heretical. Jesus, as he so plainly said, fulfilled the law--all of the law. He is our rest; we no longer need a day to point toward him.
If you look at Greg Taylor's story on this website under "Stories", you'll see that he has published his EXCELLENT personal study on how he came to see Biblically that the Sabbath Day is not part of the New Covenant. Rather, Jesus is our Sabbath rest.
You might also check the archives on this forum. A couple of years ago (and even more recently) we've had threads that dealt with the Sabbath and also with other doctrinal issues.
Mark Martin at www.sdaoutreach.org also has some great Sabbath material.
I continue to pray for you and yours, African!
|Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 8:19 am: || |
When I realized Jesus was my Sabbath rest and I knew Sunday wasn't the Sabbath. I asked God, "So, is it OK if I go to church on Sunday? What day do You want me to keep?"
The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "In all you do, do it to the glory of God."
That put a new persective on everything! On everyday and every idle moment. I think Hebrews 4 is so clear that it is "Today".
|Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 10:29 am: || |
I have been thinking about what Sabra said with respect to the Sabbath and would like to comment about the book of Hebrews.
Sabra points out one of the best, yet most difficult passages on the Sabbath. Both sides of the debate use this chapter for their purposes. Adventists have narrowed their focus to a word or part of a verse to ìproveî their point. The problem is, in order to fully understand what is said, you must read more than just one chapter. Chapter three is the beginning of the discussion about the Sabbath, even though it does not use the word.
Hebrews is the best and most complete discussion of the relationship of Jesusí ministry to the typical ministry of the Levitical priesthood. If you study it carefully, you can see how this one book thoroughly opposes the ìInvestigative Judgementî and ìChristís atoning ministry in heavenî after 1844.
The problem with this book is that it is full of references to other books in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. If one approaches it a ìline here and a line thereî at a time, it is not hard to make it say almost anything you want. This is true of other books as well.
Even within the Epistle, the author makes it clear that these are difficult concepts. When starting the discussion about Christís priesthood, a passage that warns that this is not easy reading:
 About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food;
 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child.
 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
I frequently recommend this Epistle to those studying the nature of the New Covenant and its implications for judgement and justification. As such, it is a rich foundation for understanding the role of the Sabbath along with the rest of the Covenant from Sinai.
The problem is that one cannot study it a word, verse, or even chapter at a time. It is a full, cohesive, comprehensive discussion, which one must read from start to finish. Even then, you must take care to research every interpretation of each word, phrase, and verse. In addition, one must be cognizant that everything said is in harmony with all other statements, whether in the next sentence or several chapters distant.
I know it took me a long time to understand. Even now, I question whether I have grasped the full meaning of every verse.
I still recommend this book to you. However, just take care not to read and think you have fully grasped it until you have surveyed the entire Epistle and have studied it carefully and slowly.
May God grant you understanding.
|Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 3:09 pm: || |
Jerry, I think the same can be particularly said of Galatians, don't you? You really have to read it from start to finish, not chopping it up into chapters in your reading or else you miss the connection of ideas. It holds true for much of Romans as well.
|Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 3:29 pm: || |
The only reason I emphasize the issue in Hebrews is because it is heavily symbolic (a little more than some of the books) full of Old Covenant references and parallels and very strict in its use of ceremonial images.
Galatians is more allegorical, but needs full comprehension as well. Its complexity is in its imagery.
Romans is more rhetorical and needs full appreciation of the flow of logic and argument with proper emphasis and meaning of words and phrases. Its complexity is in its logic.
|Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 9:24 pm: || |
I would like to take a minute to thank all of you who recommended reading Galations! I was REALLY blessed reading through it again. I am seeing things I never knew were there. (Isn't it nice to be able to "see" without the Adventist tinted glasses...?!)
|Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 7:35 am: || |
As the Epistles are really letters to churches, isn't it important to read all of them in their entirety? It has been my experience that they speak a great deal more in their entirety then they do in their parts.
On Galations, if you have not read Luther's "Commentary on Galations", I would recommend doing so. It is available in updated language and is very informative. I believe it is important to see how these epistles "spoke" to the giants who brought the church from the dark ages. It will certainly debunk a lot of SDA theories on Luther!
In His Grip
|Posted on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 4:34 pm: || |
It's true; books need to be studied as whole books. Our women's ministry director keeps reminding us that there is a logical and effective way to study the Bible inductively. She draws concentric circles, and in the very center she places the literal Bible symbol or passage we're looking at. Let's take the Bread of Life idea from the feeding of the 5,000. At the core of the circle is the theology of the passageóin this case, the bread representing the bread of life. In the next circle surrounding the core circle with the theological idea of Bread of Life is the very literal event: 5,000 men plus women and children were fed. In the next circle surrounding the literal event is historical reality: this feeding happened at a specific time in historyóit is not an allegory. It has a place in time. In the next circle surrounding the circle of history is the Biblical circleówhat does the entire cannon of scripture say about Bread of Life? Where in the NT and also in the OT can stories be found which parallel the feeding of the 5,000? (Manna in the desert for Israel, for example.) The final circle encircling all the rest is Lesson for Livingócontemporary applications of the lessons drawn from the original passage.
It is not really "safe" to draw lessons for today from any Bible passage until one asks, What did this passage mean to the original people who experienced it (or read it, in the cases of the early churches receiving epistles)? What was the political and historical setting that made this passage significant to the original audience? How does this story mesh or parallel with other Biblical passages dealing with the same subject?
Only then can we say, How does this story affect MY life today? What does it mean to me?
More and more I see how truly twisted and irresponsibleóeven blasphemousóproof-texting is. It completely misuses scripture for one's own purposes without exploring the entire passage and the context of the book it's inónot to mention the significance of related passages in the whole of the Bible.
I am so thankful that the Bible is God's living word and that He speaks to us through it!
|Posted on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 9:18 pm: || |
Colleen, that is an interesting way to diagram Bible study! Thanks for sharing this method.
Thomas, I have started reading Luther's "Commentary on Galations" (the modern version) and am enjoying it, thanks.
Thanks to everyone for all the helpful study tips.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 12:54 am: || |
Thanks to all of you for your responses. Points well taken! It makes so much sense. Iíve shared all with my husband ñ who is astounded that weíve read the Bible but itís never been so clear as it is now. My husband, my youngest son and I have enjoyed studying the passages you all recommended here and the printed materials as suggested. We are amazed the way the Bible is coming alive to us. We canít help but ask ourselves how we could have missed so much before. We enjoyed Galatians ñ we read the whole book together. We accept that TODAY is the most important day of our lives and in it we can rest in Him completely, allowing Him to live thru us , drawing us closer to Him in a wonderful relationship with Him daily. My husband agrees ñ we should not stare at the Sabbath issues anymore but that we need to move on to other studies and issues that will help us to grow spiritually.
Can someone kindly elaborate on Hebrews Chapter 4:1-11. My brother in law referred to this passage last Friday when he came over to share worship with his mom and us. Although we believe as we now do, both my husband and I couldnít voice our interpretation or clarify what he was saying.
I thank you all for your prayers as we deal with these issues. I do realize that some of my questions may seem irrelevant ñ but to us they are big issues. I know the Holy Spirit will continue to lead us on. It is so refreshing to find a place to explore Godís Word, but as I mentioned previously ñ I am a bit restricted with the use of internet and although I have been able to read some of the material on the archives, I am not always sure if a topic or Bible reference has already been discussed. In this respect, I would appreciate if you would just refer me there. Thanks!
|Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 6:20 am: || |
Hi African. I think this is one of those times when you need to read the whole context carefully. Going back to chapter 1 and on thru chapter 4 (that's where I stopped scanning just now) what is the subject?
I know SDA's try to use this passage as referring to a 7th day sabbath, but it isn't addressing that at all. (For example, notice that v. 8 says "if Joshua had given them rest"...yet Joshua never gave the 7th day sabbath commandment) It is talking about Israel failing to enter Canaan because they were not content to rest in what God had said, instead they were trusting to their own ideas.
If you continue on past the SDA stopping point of v. 11 you will get back to the correct topic which is that we have a high priest to whom we can go boldly today and every day. We are taking our rest in his completed work on our behalf.
I just noticed that my study Bible has an outline for the whole book that basically runs like this: First we are told that the person of Jesus is better than the prophets (1:1-4:13), better than the angels 1:4-2:18, better than Moses 3:1-19, better than Joshua 4:1-13. Then the superiority of Christ's ministry (4:4-10:18)by showing that Jesus is better than Aaron 4:14-5:10, and the Melchizedek priesthood is better than Aaron's 7:1-8:5, and Jesus mediates a better Covenant 8:6-10:18. Then the subject is the superiority of the walk of faith in 10:19-13:25.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 8:43 am: || |
I agree the "Letters" must be read as a complete thought. Just as any letter you would receive from someone---the entire letter must be considered in order to develop the theme. An overview of Hebrews quickly leads the reader to the conclusion that Christ is superior to everything that you can conceive. There is nothing that is superior to Him.
Here's my understanding of chapter 4 (and beyond)
"Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands (the unbelieving mind causes us not to enter into rest) let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it (rest). For we (present age) have had the gospel preached to us, just as they (Exodus generation) did. but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now 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 (God's)work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seveth day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."
What do these to comments have to do with each other??
Read the account of creation: The seventh day has no ending--all the other days have evening and morning "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the the seventh day he rested from all the work of creating that he had been done.
(The word rested does not mean rest in the manner that we have been taught by the SDA [rest and then begin to work again]; it means ceased--it never says that God began working again on the next day after the seventh day) So on the seventh day he ceased to work anymore---period. God's work was complete!
The seventh day was never terminated--God's work remained complete. Gen 2:1 says the heavens and the earth were completed!!
Take this concept with you when you go back to Hebrews 4:3 "And yet his work has been finished since the creationof the world". (God never began working again! His work was complete, done, finished!)
It still remains that some will enter that rest, (Some will believe and cease to work)and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience (because of their lack of faith). Therefore 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." (God is still offering his rest--through the gospel message; it is not too late. If you hear it and believe it you can still enter his rest). For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day (Today--not the Sabbath day). There reamins, then a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.
Now how did God rest from his work??? See Heb 4:3--his work has been finished since the creation of the world!!!! God wants us to rest from the moment we understand and believe in the Gospel message. He wants us to cease working--he wants us to understand that the work has been done, finished, completed and there is nothing left to add to it. God doesn't have to do anything else and we don't have to do anything else.
"Let us therefore make every effort to evnter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joint and marrow; it judges the thouts and attitudes of the heart (mind). Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. (If your are resting or working in your mind--God knows!) Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone throuth the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fimrly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempte in every way, just as we are--yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence (all the work has been done--work has ceased--you can approach God with confidence knowing that you do not have to anything but believe) so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Israel displayed a lack of confidence in God--they didn't believe him, hence, they did not receive the blessing that was already theirs!
When we display a lack of confidence in the gospel--we don't believe what God says, we don't trust him. We don't think the work is complete and we feel insufficient to complete it. We are consumed with doubt and fear--just like Israel!!! And, if we remain this way we will not receive what is already ours!!
Lydell, already did an excellent job of identifing all the things Christ is superior too. So, since Jesus is higher than all these things---HAVE FAITH IN HIM!!! Hebrews 10:18 "But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back I will not be pleased with him."
It's important that we stay grounded in FAITH!
What happens if we don't stay grounded in faith? God is not pleased and we are disciplined in order to get our attention back on faith.
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline. and do not lose heart whe he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accpets as a son." Heb. 12:5,6
"Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet. (Don't be your own stumbling block) so that the lame (those who have shrunk back from faith) may not be disabled (ineffective for Christ) but rather healed."
"Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you (Moses, Abraham, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Peter, John, Matthew, Luke, Paul) Consider the outcome of their way of life (they had entered rest) and IMITATE THEIR FAITH. Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. (The words they told you about Jesus yesterday and today are still true today and will be true forever--he is still superior to all things--HAVE FAITH IN THE WORK HE HAS DONE)
I think these next texts are very pertinent:
"Jesus suffered outside the gate to make the people hoty through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him ouside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here (in the camp) we do not have an enduing city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."
We have to go "outside" of what human viewpoint views as acceptable. Human viewpoint believes that we can merit God's favor by some means. Every denomination has their "taboos". If you do certain things or avoid certain things--you are more favored by God. The SDA do it through Sabbath keeping--through Sabbath keeping they are more deserving of God's favor (even though other believers have a stronger,enduring faith in Christ they still are not viewed with the same acceptance from God).
We must do the "unacceptable"--we must cling to something in which others feel is not good enough. We must cling to FAITH IN CHRIST!!
"Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name".
|Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 8:17 pm: || |
Good comments, Lori. African, you can find more discussion about Hebrews 4 in the archives for 2000 under "Hebrews 4 Revisited". There have been other threads on this subject too. Try using the Keyword Search utility if you have some time to sort through the hits.
May God bless your search. Hebrews is really a goldmine of encouragement and teaching for believers!
|Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 3:55 pm: || |
One thing that was pointed out to me by an SDA is that the KJV says "If they shall enter My rest" while the NKJV says "They shall not enter My rest." and the NIV, "They shall never enter My rest" Unfortunately for him, the reference is to Ps 95:11 which says "They shall not enter My rest" also in the KJV. I'm not having a lot of confidence in the KJV. I've noticed other discrepencies that I can't think of right now. Makes sense that a lot of denominations are KJV only. It's too hard to understand and satan doesn't want us understanding the Bible.
|Posted on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 12:09 am: || |
I heartily agree with your observations above. I have long felt that Satan feels victorious when he can cause folks to feel that they only have "permission" to read/study from a version that has 400 year old language that is at best awkward, and at worst misleading because of the evolution (pardon the term) of our language during the last four centuries. Satan is the author of confusion, and if he can keep God's Word confusing to us, what a coup!
I have a question that I'm hoping someone can help me with. Praise God, my dad is really studying to resolve his old SDA issues after all these years!! One of his major remaining hang-ups at this point is the Sabbath -- and the main hook presently is the verse in Isaiah 66:23, "23From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,î says the LORD."
I understand this in the context of the Millennium, and see it as a fulfillment of God's promises to Israel to be fulfilled during that time. But that seems like a very difficult and tangential way of trying to explain this passage to him just now. Has anyone else found a more simple way of dealing with this verse?? He has only recently become willing to start investing the effort to study for himself, and I don't want to make the answer more of a stumbling block for him than the problem.
Thanks for any help and insight,
|Posted on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 6:20 am: || |
Well it is curious that they always use that verse. Rev. 21:23 says, speaking of the New Jerusalem, that "the city had no need of sun or moon to shine upon it: for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb". If according to this verse (and Is. 13:10, and 60:19-20 and Rev. 22:5), there won't be a moon, or a night for that matter, then it is obvious that the wording "from one New moon to another" has something other than a literal interpretation of referring to the moon. If that is so, then you would have to include the phrase "and from one Sabbath to another" with it. It's obviously saying that "continuously" man will come and bow before Him. Kind of interesting that on both the New Moon festival and the sabbath no work was to be done...back to resting in His completed work...and worshipping.
|Posted on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 11:07 am: || |
When I was presented with this text as an argument for Sabbath in heaven it was too ridiculous to me. What is Sabbath--REST! One moon to another and one sabbath to another is everyday! Seems too simple to me. Even if we're talking about the earthly reign, still says there will be no need for light because the Light of Jesus will be sufficient. I think Isaiah was using the moons and the sabbaths because that is the way they told time then. He was simply telling them it would include everyday, though I don't think there is any time in heaven like our time, I think he's just saying ALL THE TIME-REST. Goes back to the creation, days 1-6 end in "The evening and the sun were the 1st...6th day" The seventh day simply says "He rested" (period).
So glad to hear your dad is studying! That is so exciting! I will add him to my prayer list.