Seventh-Day Adventism & Sabbath Keeping
Truth overview: Seventh-Day Adventism is a cultic religion that legalistically holds to a few pet beliefs while overlooking major doctrines of the Bible. Its low view of Christ, denial of hell, and promotion of legalistic practices do nothing but detract from the cross of Christ and lead people astray. It has been joined in some of its doctrines recently by sabbath keeping movements such as the unbiblical Hebrew Roots movement.
LIE #1: "CHRISTIANS SHOULD WORSHIP ON SATURDAY"
For more on the sabbath read this new piece from Pastor Logan J. Fowler: Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?
Yes, it is true that the Ten Commandments include “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). However, how was it to be remembered? Exodus does not tell us to remember the sabbath by having church services. No, Exodus 16:26 tells us that no food should be gathered food on that day. And Exodus 20:10 tells us that no work should be done on that day. Yet Jesus Christ directly breaks both of these rules for remembering the sabbath.
- In Matt. 12:1, Jesus defended his disciples when they gathered food on the sabbath.
- In Matt. 12:13, Jesus did a work in healing a man on the sabbath.
- In John 5:9, Jesus also did a work in healing a man and then instructs the man to do a work in picking up his bed on the sabbath day.
- In John 5:17, Jesus confirms that he worked on the sabbath day with “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
- In John 9:14, Jesus did a work on the sabbath day in making clay. Jesus could have easily spoken the words to heal the man’s eyes, but he purposefully chose to work.
Christ, who Christians are called to follow, would not have made a very good Seventh Day Adventist or Hebrews Roots sabbath keeper. How could he do these things that are in direct contradiction to remembering the sabbath? The answer is found in Exodus and Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 20:12 “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” (sanctify simply means “set apart”)
The sabbath was given to the children of Israel as a sign that they were separate from other nations, and it spoke to resting in the coming savior Jesus Christ. Note: Christians are the gentile bride of Christ, not the children of Israel. Christians do not take on a sign given to Israel, the unfaithful wife of Jehovah.
The idea that remembering the sabbath is a universal rule for all people is directly contradicted by Christ’s own actions and by Christ’s own words. He proclaims that the sabbath was made for a specific purpose and not as a general rule for mankind.
Mark 2:27-28 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
In all of the epistles, which are the instructions God sent specifically to Christians, the word sabbath is only mentioned one time and its message is to stop judging people about remembering the sabbath. Yet Seventh Day Adventists often judge people about this day.
Colossians 2:16 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days”
We must rightly divide the word of truth. And, on this topic, instead of passages clearly directed toward the children of Israel, Christians follow the pattern of Christ (who broke the sabbath), the epistles, and the church history we see in Acts.
The pattern in the New Testament is that Christians met, preached, tithed, etc. on the first day of the week, Sunday. Note particularly Acts 20:6-7 where Paul is in Troas for seven days and the day these early Christians chose to come together, observe communion ("break bread"), and preach was Sunday.
Acts 20:6-7 "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."
1 Cor. 16:1-2 "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
Seventh-Day Adventists will argue that keeping the sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:8) and none of the other commandments have been done away with. This is very true, however, unlike the other nine, Christ brought new revelation directly impacting how Christians are to deal with the sabbath. Jesus, who called himself "Lord of the sabbath," on more than one occasion taught that Jewish laws of the Old Testament for keeping the sabbath do not apply to New Testament Christians.
Luke 13:14-16 "And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?"
Mark 2:23-28 "And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
The phrase "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" points to the fact that the sabbath was for a specific people at a specific time to teach a specific lesson. It is not a rule for all of mankind to follow today. More on this below.
As already mentioned, Colossians is quite clear that observing the sabbath is not required of Christians thanks to the sacrifice of Christ.
Col. 2:14-16 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:"
The sabbath day was instituted in Exodus 16 as a way for God to test the obedience of the Children of Israel (16:4) and also to point to Christ. As the Children of Israel were to rest on the sabbath, Christians today rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ, as it teaches in Hebrews 4. When Christ came the need for the sacrifices and sabbath to point to Christ was no more. In other words, today, Christians do not need to keep these old Testament ordinances to point to Christ -- because Christ already came and we can tell his story word-for-word from the word of God.
Hebrews 4:8-10 "For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
LIE #2: "GOD COMMANDS (OR RECOMMENDS) THAT CHRISTIANS AVOID SOME MEATS"
Commanding to abstain from meats is a doctrine of the devil that glorifies the abstainer and does not honor God. The Bible commands Christians to keep themselves pure from sexual sins (I Cor. 6:16-20), but is very clear that it does not matter what goes into man's mouth (in moderation, of course).
1 Timothy 4:1-4 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:"
Mark 7:15-20 "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man."
Romans 14:2 "For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs."
Col. 2:20-23 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
Many Seventh-Day Adventists also believe, in practice and conversation, that a combination of grace and works, such as abstaining, is necessary for salvation. The following verse says the contrary (also read Eph. 2:8-9).
Gal. 5:1-6 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Lie #3: "Unbelievers do not burn forever in hell; they just burn up" (total annihilation)
Individuals who die without accepting Christ as their savior will burn for ever and ever in the literal flames of hell, contrary to Seventh-Day Adventist teaching. Luke chapter 16 provides one of the clearest pictures of hell. Jehovah's witnesses, as well as other cults, try to argue that the passage is a parable, but this idea holds no water at all. No other parables use proper nouns (real people: Abraham, Lazarus, and Moses). Furthermore, if it is a parable, what is it teaching, why doesn't Christ give the meaning of parable, and why don't his disciples ask him for it? Because it is not a parable.
Luke 16:19-31 "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
In addition, the following words from Jesus Christ himself are incontestable. If he's not talking about a real, literal hell then what is he talking about? He's just trying to confuse us into believing there is a such a place? No, he's speaking candidly about the realities of the result of rejecting the savior -- eternity in hell. And he is reinforcing what is taught in the Old Testament.
Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"
Mark. 9:43 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:"
Isaiah 33:14 "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
Also, to address the notion of total annihilation (the idea that people who go to hell simply burn up and out of existence) please note the following:
The Beast was cast alive into the Lake of Fire:
Rev. 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
The Beast died in the flames:
Daniel 7:11 "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame."
Yet, the Beast is still alive in the Lake of Fire a thousand years later:
Rev. 20:10 "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
And the lake of fire is exactly where individuals who are not written in the Book of Life will end up.
Rev. 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Seventh Day Adventists sometimes use Ecclesiastes chapter 9 as "proof" that hell doesn't exist. Verse five says "the dead know not any thing" and verse 10 says there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave. While it could be Biblically stated that there is no knowledge in the grave because graves contain just physical remains while souls go to heaven or hell, the context of Ecclesiastes must be taken into account. As the book points out numerous times (especially chapter one), Ecclesiastes is a book of man's wisdom, what man sees "under the sun." It is the best man can surmise from his point of view, and the final chapter (12) blatantly points out that the best of man's wisdom is vanity. Thankfully God gave us the Bible which tell us exactly what is after death.
AND MANY, MANY MORE...
Read More: Should Christians Keep the Sabbath? (PDF)