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Section 11... Cults
Seventh Day Adventists

 

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Seventh Day Adventist
Chapter X ...  The Sabbath

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

Index To Chapters

 Introduction and Index: Deception in the church. Judge by the right standard, i.e. the Bible, not tradition, creeds, or so-called orthodoxy.

History and Beliefs

  Chapter I -  History and Beliefs: Mission and distinguishing doctrines. The prophetic ministry of Ellen White. Origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Church - William Miller and the second advent of Christ.

Investigative Judgment - Shut Door

 Chapter 2 - Investigative Judgment, Part 1: A 'spiritual" fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy? Four questions.

Chapter 3- Investigative Judgment, Part 2: The cleansing of the Old Testament Temple. What was ehe Sanctuary defiled by? Daniel's vision in 8:13-14 - Context, context, context. Cleansing the Heavenly Sanctuary. The overshadowing theme of Hebrews. When is the Atonement finally complete or, to put it another way, when are we finally saved?

Chapter 4 - The Doctrine of The Shut Door: The metamorphosis of the Shut Door Doctrine. Ellen White's shut door visions. An extremely eenuous defense. So when does the door actually shut?

 Ellen White

Chapter 5 - Ellen White True Prophet of God? Life, career and position in the SDA Church. Biblical tests for a genuine prophet of God do not include dreams and visions or fulfilled predictions. Ellen White's false prophecies.

 Chapter 6 - Ellen White  Vs. The Bible: Out of context and partially quoted verses, contradictions and additions to the word of God.

Chapter 7 - Ellen White’s Health Reform: Biblical dietary restrictions. Ellen White's health reform included some very embarrassing statements

 Chapter 8 - Ellen White's Other Teachings: Phrenology, photography, furnishings, jewelry, labour unions etc. Vitriolic criticism of Others. Preposterous opinion on leisure activities including various sports, chess and checkers, singing, concerts and reading. Examples of plagiarism.

 Chapter 9 - Ellen White's Visions: Had little or no importance in the general scheme of things. Much to the contrary, they ranged from the childish and farfetched to the petty and inconsequential. Many simply served to bolster the Adventist message. The source of Ellen White's visions and her 'guides'. Advice from a dead husband.

The Sabbath and Clear Word Bible

001orange Chapter 10 - The Sabbath: Will those who do not keep the Sabbath eventually receive the 'mark of the beast'?

Chapter 11 - The Clear Word Bible: Widely used within the Seventh-day Adventist churches, the CWB is a paraphrase that includes the teachings of Ellen White, with many words and phrases altered to reflect those teachings.

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Note: All emphasis in the quotes from Ellen G. White Writings (both the underlining and the occasional bolded text), has been added. Also, unless otherwise stated, Bible quotations are from the NASB with all emphasis added)


ON THIS PAGE
Joseph Bates, Ellen White, and The Sabbath

Modern SDA Beliefs

The Sabbath in The Old Testament
The Hebrew Word Shâbath
When Was The Sabbath Instituted?
Reason(s) For The Sabbath
Who Was the Sabbath law Directed Towards?

The Sabbath in The New Testament
The Sabbath Commandment Was Not Repeated In The New Testament.
Other New Testament Facts
Jesus and The Sabbath

The Earliest Church Met on Sunday

Did Someone Change the Sabbath From Saturday?

The 'Lord's Day' - Different From the Sabbath

Is The Sabbath is Seal of God?
Seals and Signs are Two Different Things in Both Old and New Testament

The 144,000

Two Questions
How Can You Keep the The Fourth Commandment and Ignore All The Other Old Testament Laws?
How Did God Say The Sabbath Was To Be Kept?

Conclusion

Joseph Bates, Ellen White, and The Sabbath
In 1845, Joseph Bates, often called the 'real founder' of Seventh Day Adventism, strongly influenced by the work of T. M. Preble (a free will Baptist minister in New Hampshire), became convinced of the importance and sacredness of the Sabbath. Although Preble himself only observed the Sabbath for a very short time, then began writing against it, Joseph Bates published his first booklet, Seventh Day Sabbath, A Perpetual Sign in August 1846.

According to http://text.egwwritings.org...

    James and Ellen White had accepted the Sabbath solely on the evidence of Scripture called to their attention by the Joseph Bates tract. [01]

Not exactly true. Ellen White initially thought Bates was in error about the Sabbath. In her words...

    Elder Bates was resting upon Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and he urged it upon our attention as the true Sabbath. I did not feel its importance, and thought that he erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than upon the other nine. [02]

Just like every other Adventist doctrine, the Seventh Day Sabbath may very well have died a natural death had it not been 'validated' by one of Ellen White's visions.

This is a very similar situation to the eating of pork issue.  Ellen White reprimanded Stephen and Mary Haskell for teaching (based on Old Testaments laws) that believers should not eat pork. However, after she herself was supposedly given a vision a mere five years later, EW taught that eating pork, was not only injurious to a person's health, but was in disregard to God's express command not to eat it. 

In the case of the Sabbath, Ellen White thought Joseph Bates was wrong until she was given a vision. On April 7, 1847, less than a year after Joseph Bates published his Sabbath booklet, she wrote him of a vision she had the previous Sabbath. In it an angel carried her "from the earth to the Holy City" where she saw the contents of the ark

    In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the Ten Commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table was four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God's holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious - a halo of glory was all around it.

    In successive scenes she was carried through a review of the factors that give validity to the Sabbath and its observance. She was shown that the Sabbath is the point at which all mankind must make a decision to serve God or an apostate power. [03]

She also said the Sabbath was not "nailed to the cross" as the other nine commandments were. Had it been, we are at liberty to break them all. [04]

However, it went a lot further. In recounting her 1847 vision to Joseph Bates, Ellen White summed up what she believed and taught...,

    "I saw that the Holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers" [05]

And, in another vision on January 5 1849, she "was shown"

    a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters. "Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting." I asked who this company were. The angel said, "These are they who have once kept the Sabbath, and have given it up." [06]

Note: The company howling in agony part of her vision was sandwiched by some awful errors and flights of fantasy. It was preceded by what the wicked will believe, Jacob's trouble etc. See Jacob's Trouble in Ellen White and the Bible, and followed by angels being admitted to heaven with some kind of "golden card". See Ellen White's Visions.

She elaborated in her book The Great Controversy

    The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false Sabbath [Sunday] in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God. [07]


Modern SDA Beliefs
Following her lead yet again, some Seventh Day Adventists make the claim that one has to observe the Sabbath in order to be saved, and those who do not follow the Sabbath Command will receive the 'mark of the beast' - a far cry from what the Bible teaches.

SDAnet.org, a media organization operated by members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, partly echoing Ellen White's words, says (All Emphasis Added)

    Scripture reveals that before the Second Advent the whole world will be divided into two classes: those who are loyal and "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,' and those who worship "the beast and his image" (Rev. 14:12, 9). At that time God's truth will be magnified before the world and it will be clear to all that the obedient observance of the seventh-day Sabbath of Scripture gives evidence of loyalty to the Creator...

    The central issue will be obedience to God's law and the observance of the Sabbath. In the face of this conflict everyone must decide whether to keep God's commandments or those of men... Those who reject it will eventually receive the mark of the beast. [08]

Although the reasoning might take a more circuitous route, it often reaches exactly the same conclusion. For example, when asked why all churches that continue to worship on Sunday will eventually receive the mark of the beast, the website of the Seventh day Adventist church of UK and Ireland says they... "certainly would not say that any truly born again Christian who is currently worshipping on a Sunday has the 'mark of the beast' or is under Satan's influence". [09] However, In their words they believe that

    ... some time in the future the Sabbath versus Sunday question will become a key issue in Christianity. When it does then Christians will have to make a choice as to which side they are on. It is this decision, choosing to obey God or not to obey Him, that we think will eventually determine who has the 'mark of the beast'.  [10]

(It is more than a little confusing because their Who We Are page says "We do not believe that we are saved by Sabbath keeping, clean living, or keeping the Ten Commandments – but by trusting entirely in Jesus Christ as our only source of Salvation". [11]

Dennis Meier, writing on Adventist.org, the official website of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, points out that keeping the Sabbath is important, not as a salvation requirement, but as a sign of our salvation.

    As baptism is a symbol that in itself doesn't save anyone but rather is a vivid demonstration, so the Sabbath is a sign of salvation in our time. []

If I am reading the rest of Mr. Meier's piece correctly, he is saying that no disciple - someone already saved-  would ignore God's will. And part of His will is the keeping of the Sabbath.

However, David Newman, senior pastor of Damascus Grace Fellowship - a contemporary Seventh-day Adventist congregation, seems to take a different view. Although he definitely advocates the Sabbath, he writes (All Emphasis Added)

    Sabbath keeping never has been and never will be the basis of anyone's salvation. From the time of Adam to the present, people have always been saved in the same way - only by grace... As we clearly see from Scripture, Sabbath observance is not a salvation issue; it never has been, it is not now, and it never will be in the future. God will not take anyone to heaven because they have kept the Sabbath. He will not keep anyone out of heaven because they did not keep the Sabbath. Since a person is saved by grace alone - trusting totally in Jesus, he or she is only lost when that person decides to stop trusting totally in Jesus. 
    [13]

So what does the Bible actually say?

The Sabbath in The Old Testament

The Hebrew Word Shâbath
The first Biblical instance of the word Sabbath (Heb. shâbath) is found in Genesis 2:2

    By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (Heb. shâbath) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. (NASB)

However, the English translation is not altogether accurate. God, being God, does not need to rest because of tiredness or fatigue. The word literally means "to cease" or "stop". Note how it is used in a couple of other instances.

    The manna ceased (Heb. shâbath) on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year. (Joshua 5:12 NASB)

    Then these three men ceased (Heb. shâbath) answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. (Job 32:1 NASB)

By the end of the sixth day in the creation story God had finished creating the world and, although the Bible simply says he ceased working, who can doubt that He took the time to enjoy the results of His work.

Therefore when we read the fourth commandment that tells us to "rest" on the Sabbath day, it does not mean to sleep the day away or simply do nothing. It is telling us to take a break from our usual routine. It is a day when a person can set aside all their weekday worries and concerns - a time set apart for worship, for contemplation, for rest, and for family. The Sabbath is It is a day of joy and blessings and celebration when we can remember and thank God for the perfect universe He created. Additionally, walking in Jesus' footsteps, the Sabbath is a good day to do something for those less fortunate than ourselves.

While we are bidden to assemble together and encourage one another - more so as the day draws nigh (Hebrews 10:25), I doubt that an hour in a modern church on a Sunday morning accomplishes the same thing as devoting one full day to rest and worship.

In fact, whether or not it is rightly attributed to the Puritans, the saying "Good Sabbaths make good Christians" is probably a very wise one.


When Was The Sabbath Instituted?
There is no record in the Bible  that anyone knew about, much less kept, the Sabbath (a radical concept in the ancient world) before the time of Moses. However, if we consider that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper just before He died, and the Israelites were commanded to celebrate Passover at the time they were finally freed from slavery, it is entirely possible, even likely, that the Sabbath was instituted on, or shortly after, the seventh day itself in reflection of God's day of rest, .

What we can be certain of is that God's commandment to keep the Sabbath existed before the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai.

About six weeks after the Israelites departed from Egypt, they were crossing the wilderness of Sin, on their way to Sinai. When they complained that they did not have enough food and would die of starvation, God told Moses that He would "rain bread from heaven" that the people could gather every morning for six days. However, he also said He would "test" them. On the sixth day the people were to gather twice as much as they did on other days, because "on the seventh day, the Sabbath" there would be none. (Exodus 16:26 NASB) 

In spite of this, some people went out to gather manna on the seventh day, which angered the Lord.

     Then the Lord said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? "See, the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16:25-30 NASB)

Additionally, when the nation reached Sinai Moses went up on the mountain and received the Ten Commandments that are recorded in Exodus 20. The fourth commandment reads "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy". People cannot 'remember' something they are not already familiar with.


Reason(s) For The Sabbath
Although Exodus 20 does say "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me",  the redemption from bondage was not given as a reason for the Sabbath. The reason given for God blessing the Sabbath day and making it holy was because He 'rested' on the seventh day.

    "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:9-11 NASB)

In Deuteronomy 5:6-21 Moses reiterated the Ten Commandments. However, when he came to the  fourth commandment, he said nothing about the Lord making the Sabbath day holy because He had rested on the seventh day, but gave the redemption from bondage as the reason why they were to keep the Sabbath...

    You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:15 NASB)

Moses first states that God delivered the Jews from Egypt, and because of that God commanded the Israelites to observe the Sabbath Day (As an aside, neither we, nor our ancestors, were slaves in Egypt rescued by God's mighty hand). Or did Did Moses mean that the Sabbath was to commemorate both creation and the deliverance from slavery?

While we will never know for sure (not in this life anyway) why Moses edited the fourth Commandment, it is entirely possible that he may have been stressing the fact that it was the rescue from slavery, not the creation of the world, that defined the Israelites as a chosen people.  Without God's miraculous intervention, they would have still been slaves in Egypt instead of a free people on the verge of entering the Promised Land - a fulfillment of one third of the covenant promise made to their father, Abraham.

Note: God's promise to give Abraham an entire country for an everlasting possession, is one of the most solemn declarations He ever made and is the third of three interconnected and inseparable promises - two of which have been literally fulfilled. So why do we understand the promise of the land to be a 'type' of a heaven to come, and not be literally fulfilled as well? See Location and Nature of Heaven - Part II of What and Where is Heaven?

Perhaps, their rescue was not only far more pertinent to them than the story of creation but, as a 'type' of greater things to come (See Hebrews 4:9-11 below), it was necessary that it remain deeply impressed in their minds and heart.


Who Was the Sabbath law Directed Towards?
In a 1898 letter written from Australia to Uriah Smith, Ellen White wrote

    There is nothing in the Sabbath that restricts it to any particular class of people. It was given for all mankind. [14]

But the Bible does not say this.

In the 31st chapter of Exodus, the Lord said the sons of Israel would observe the Sabbath...

    The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you....So the sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.' "It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed." (Exodus 31:12-13, 16-17 NASB)

    These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which the Lord established between Himself and the sons of Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai. (Leviticus 26:46 NASB).

    These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the sons of Israel at Mount Sinai.  (Leviticus 27:34 NASB)

The term "sons of Israel" was used well over 600 times in the Old Testament - over 350 times in the Pentateuch alone. So who exactly was being referred to?

As we know, it was Jacob whose name was changed to "Israel" in Genesis 32:28. Numerous verses make it very obvious, that Jacob's sons and grandsons -  in fact all his descendants that made up the twelve tribes were known as the "sons of Israel"

    In Genesis 46 the list of Jacob's sons and grandsons is introduced with the words "Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt".

    Referring to eleven of Jacob's sons (Joseph was in Egypt) Genesis 42:5 says "So the sons of Israel came to buy grain among those who were coming, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also."

    Exodus 3:10 has the Lord telling Moses "Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt."  ( NASB)

Therefore, it makes absolute sense that after the gospel was preached to the Gentiles, and more and more of them became Christians, the Sabbath commandment was not repeated in the New Testament.

Note: On several occasions, the Clear Word Bible replaces "sons of Israel" with "the people", "my people" etc.

    Exodus 31:12-16 NASB. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  (13)  "But as for you, speak to the sons (Heb bên) of Israel (Heb. yisrâ'êl) saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  (14)  'Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. (15)  'For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.  (16)  'So the sons (Heb bên) of Israel (Heb. yisrâ'êl) shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.'

    Exodus 31:12-16 Clear Word: — (12) The Lord continued, (13) "say to the people, 'Most importantly, remember to keep the Sabbath holy because it is a special day for me, and it's a day of rest for you. It's a sign between you and me for all time to show that you are the people whom I have chosen and set apart (14) The Sabbath is holy and anyone who desecrates it by working on that day will be put to death. To break the Sabbath is an act of treason against a divine government. (15) There are six days in which you should do your work to earn a livelihood but the seventh day is the day set apart for me. Anyone doing unnecessary work on that day is to be put to death. (16) My people are to keep the Sabbath, celebrating it forever as a sign that they belong to me.

    Leviticus 26:46 NASB. These are the statutes and ordinances and laws which the Lord established between Himself and the sons (Heb bên) of Israel (Heb. yisrâ'êl) through Moses at Mount Sinai.  (Leviticus 26:46 NASB).

    Leviticus 26:46 CW These are the instructions, the statutes and laws that the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the good of His people (Leviticus 26:46 CW)

Yet, although Leviticus 27:34 uses exactly the same Hebrew words for "sons of Israel", the Clear Word Bible translates it as "children of Israel".

    These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the sons (Heb bên) of Israel (Heb. yisrâ'êl) at Mount Sinai.  (Leviticus 27:34 NASB)

     These are the instructions the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai to give to the children of Israel (Leviticus 27:34 CW)


The Sabbath in The New Testament

The Sabbath Commandment Was Not Repeated In The New Testament.

Eight of the Ten Commandments were specifically reiterated in the New Testament - and one was by implication.

    The First Commandment was repeated in Matthew 22:37-38  - "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment". (NASB). Also See 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

    The Second Commandment about not making idols was repeated in several places. (Idolatry was also on all the major lists of sins).

    Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14 NASB)

    Little children, guard yourselves from idols.  (1 John 5:21 NASB)

    The Third Commandment: In light of the First Commandment, the third regarding not taking the Lord's name in vain really did not need to be repeated. Incidentally, there can be little doubt that this commandment goes beyond trivial matters. It is related to Leviticus 19:12 which says "You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord". Can anyone doubt that the third commandment also applies to making false prophecies in the name of the Lord.

    The Fifth commandment was repeated in Ephesians 6:1-3. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth."

    The Sixth to Tenth Commandments (Exodus 20:12-17) - you shall not murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness and covet your neighbor's possessions, were reiterated in several places in the NT. For example

    Jesus said, "you shall not commit murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 19:18-19 NASB)

    Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Romans 13:8-9 NASB)

However, the silence is deafening when it comes to the Seventh Day Commandment.

What About Hebrews 4:9-11?
It is sometimes believed that Hebrews 4:9-11 refers to the Sabbath commandment.

    So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11 NASB)

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Just as creation week was used as a pattern for the Sabbath, there is little doubt that the weekly Sabbath foreshadows what is to come, i.e. the Millennium

    Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6 NASB)

During this thousand years, that follows six thousand years of labor, strife and hardship, God and humanity will both rest. In other words, this Seventh millennium can be called the 'Sabbath Millennium'. Not only is the Sabbath Millennium indicated by typology, but a number of biblical and non-biblical prophecies, found in the book of Enoch, 2 Peter and the Epistle of Barnabas, also indicate that the Seventh Millennium of history will be the 'Sabbath Millennium'

See The Sabbath Millennium which is Part II of the Millennium


Other New Testament Facts
The Gentiles Were Never Warned to Keep The Sabbath
Even the converted "sons of Israel", thought of the keeping of the Jewish festivals (Passover, Pentecost, feast of tabernacles, new moons, jubilee, etc.) as an obligation instituted by God Himself. However, the Gentile Christians were not brought up to follow the law of Moses and may never even have heard of these festivals.

They certainly had no conviction that these days were binding on them especially since neither the people from whom they had heard the Gospel, nor the leaders of the fledgling church ever instructed them to observe these festivals. This is more than a little strange considering that non compliance with the Sabbath actually carried the death penalty in the Old Testament. See Exodus 31:14-15.

As nonSDA says (bold in original)

    If the Sabbath was indeed such a profound issue, such a "life-or-death" matter of eternal consequence, then why did Jesus and the Apostles say nothing of its importance?... it is never mentioned in the New Testament, not even once. And yet are we to believe this is the single-most important issue that is supposed to decide the fate of humanity?... God wanted us to figure out the most profound issue in Christianity on our own, without any help or guidance from His Word? Or was it because the writers of the Bible were uninspired and had no idea this would become an issue at the end of time? Of course not! It is absurd to think that such a critical decision--a decision upon which hinges the eternal destination of the Christian believer--would be met with silence by Paul and other New Testament authors. Every student knows that when a teacher has an important point to make to his students, he reiterates that point over and over again. [15]

Also significant is the fact that when some of the believing Pharisees opined that it was necessary to circumcise the Gentile Christians and to "direct them to observe the Law of Moses" (Acts 15:5) Peter, after much debate among the early church leaders, asked why they (the Pharisees) put God to the test by placing upon their necks a yoke which they themselves were not able to bear (Vs 10). And James, adding to what Peter had just stated, said it was his judgment that they not trouble the converted Gentiles, but write to them to "abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood (Vs. 19-20)

Although, in the Old Testament, Sabbath keeping was not only for those who had been circumcised, but even for the temporary visitor (Exodus 20:10), James said nothing about the Gentiles having to rest on the seventh day.

    Note: Exactly the same argument can be made of "hell". If it is a place of eternal torment - the inescapable destination of everyone who ignores or forsakes God, then how do we account for the fact that other than a few uses by the Saviour, all the New Testament authors, with the sole exception of James, never even once mentioned Gehenna? The Book of Acts is an approximate 30 year history of the early church, from it's fledgling beginnings to its spread among the Gentiles. Yet, the early apostles who took the Gospel to men of all nations, never once saw fit to warn people of the torments of Gehenna. The fact is that they never even hinted of such a place.

    Even James did not speak of Gehenna in terms of future punishment, but simply said that the tongue can be a terrible instrument of evil and can do so much damage, sparked by the fire of Gehenna. See What and Where is Hell?

Non-compliance to the Sabbath Not Mentioned in List of Sins
There are several lengthy lists of sins in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-6,  Revelation 22:12-16). While none of them are all-inclusive (other sins are mentioned elsewhere) Sabbath-breaking is on none of these lists, whereas sexual immorality and idolatry are in all the major ones.

Paul Emphasized That We Were No Long Under The Law
Paul expressly declared that he had  committed "no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar" (Acts 25:8) which probably indicates that he personally kept the Sabbath. However, he also said that each person must be convinced in his own mind about the days they choose to observe.

    One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6 NASB)

Paul was also pretty emphatic that we were no long under the law...

    if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." (Galatians 2:21)

    Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB)

    But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. (Galatians 4:9-11 NASB)

And, in his letter to the Colossians, Paul said

    (14) having canceled out the certificate (Gk. cheirographon) of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (15) When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (16) Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--  (17)  things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:14-17 NASB)

It is unclear to me as to how a festival, new moon or Sabbath day could be a "shadow of what is to come".  Perhaps, the full significance is not yet apparent. In speaking of the new heavens and the new earth that the Lord will make, Isaiah wrote...

    "And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the Lord.  (Isaiah 66:23 NASB)

However, regarding what was nailed to the cross, Paul wrote that it was "certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us" However, the word 'certificate' was translated form the Greek cheirographon, which means handwritten. This points to the only document in the OT recorded as being hand-written. The Ten Commandments were tablets of stone, written on by the finger of God, i.e. handwritten (Exodus 31:18)

The Law and the Prophets
The gospel of Luke says

    "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. (Luke 16:16 NASB)

Although thoughts on what the latter half of the verse means are quite varied , I have to agree with Steven Cole's understanding of the passage. See Footnote I.

However, The 'law and the prophets' in the first half of the verse is a term that refers to the entire Old Testament which was the sole teacher until John the Baptist arrived on the scene. As the messenger who prepared the way of the Lord he, quite literally, had a foot in both eras.

 In Luke 16, Jesus chastised the Pharisees for completely missing the fact that everything the Law and the Prophets proclaimed found fulfillment in Him. However, dealing as it does, with the relationship between the Old Testament law and the New Testament's emphasis on Grace, this is not the easiest concept to grasp. See Jesus and The Law

Remember that there was never any mention of eternal life in the Law of Moses. 

    The benefit of keeping the Law, then, was the quality of life in this present world. If the Jews were obedient to the covenant, they would receive life/blessing as manifested by the temporal blessings of long-life, abundance of rain for crops, peace, wealth, and maintenance of the land of Israel. If they were disobedient to the covenant they would receive death/cursing as manifested by the temporal cursings of short-lived lives, lack of rain for crops, war and captivity, and loss of the promised land. [Jason Dulle. The Law: The Misunderstood Covenant. Details

Which is why people had to turn to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.


Jesus and The Sabbath
Jesus' Commandments
The Savior very clearly stated - "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15 NASB)

What commandments?

Jesus summed them up in the Gospel of Matthew

    And He said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "this is the great and foremost commandment. "the second is like it, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40 NASB)

If you love God with your whole being, you certainly will not misuse His name, or have other gods before Him. If you love your neighbour as yourself, you cannot murder him, steal from him, sleep with his wife, or give false testimony against him. In short Jesus summed up the commandments perfectly...

However, keeping the Sabbath was a ritual that did not fall under either of Jesus' headings.

Did Jesus and the Apostles Keep The Sabbath?
While nothing is said about Jesus and the Apostles resting on the Sabbath, it is clear that they attended synagogue on the seventh day in keeping with Leviticus 23:3 which proclaims the Sabbath as being a "holy convocation" - literally a sacred assembly. However, both Jesus and His disciples often used the Sabbath to preach the Gospel in the synagogue.

    He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? (Matthew 13:54 NASB)

    They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach.  (Mark 1:21 NASB)

    When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? (Mark 6:2 NASB)

    In Acts 13, Paul and his companions went into the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch, where Paul gave a very extended discourse. See verses 16-42.  Verse 44 says that "The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord."

    Acts 18 tells us that, in trying to persuade the Jews and Greeks in Corinth, Paul reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath for a year and a half.

     Luke wrote that on the Sabbath day they went outside the gate to a riverside, and sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. (Acts 16:13 NASB)

However, all four Gospels relate instances of Jesus healing people on the Sabbath - the man with the withered hand in Matthew 12:9-13, the disabled man in John 5:2-9, the blind man in John 9, and the very ill woman who was bent double, in Luke 13:11- 13. These acts of compassion defied the Pharisees' elaborate interpretation of the Sabbath Law, and was one of the hot-button issues the Jewish leadership held against Him. To them, healing was work and should not be done on the Sabbath. To Jesus it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:12).

In another example, related in Matthew 12, the Pharisees condemned Jesus' disciples for doing something else they considered not lawful to do on a Sabbath, i.e. picking and eating heads of grain. As David Guzik notes,

    This was not a violation of the Mosaic law, but of scribal traditions, which had precisely determined that to pluck the heads of grain was to "harvest." To rub them between your hands to separate the chaff was "milling." To blow away the chaff from your hand was "winnowing." All of this was forbidden on the Sabbath - even for personal use. [16]

Probably knowing it would do no good to challenge the wrongful allegation of Sabbath-breaking, Jesus' reply was threefold.

    1) When David and his companions were fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 21), they found themselves hungry, they entered the house of God, and were given all that was on hand - the Shew-bread that was not lawful for them to eat. In other words, Ahimelech the priest, did not find the Law so rigid that he could not feed the hungry men - provided the men had not defiled themselves. In other words, human need is more important than ceremonial laws.

    2) The priests in the temple regularly worked on the Sabbath, but were yet considered blameless because of the temple itself was greater than the law.

    3) Most importantly, Jesus' statement that the Son of Man is not only greater than the temple, but is "Lord of the Sabbath" was a direct claim to Deity. God who instated the Sabbath, is also free to ignore it if the situation warrants - as it did when He healed several people on the Sabbath -

 
Did Someone Change the Sabbath From Saturday to Sunday?

The Pope - "Man of Sin"
Some believe that it was Constantine, other an early pope. Ellen White was certainly of the latter opinion. She not only often called Sunday the "Papal Sabbath but in her account of the vision of 1847, she said that she "saw"

     that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws. [17]

However, no evidence has ever been produced to show that the pope did any such thing. See quotes from the Catholic Catechism in Footnote II

In another account of the same vision, Ellen White said the person responsible for the change in the Sabbath day was the "man of sin" who "thought to change times and laws"

    The man of sin, who exalted himself above God, and thought to change times and laws, brought about the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. In doing this he made a breach in the law of God.  [18]

The phrase "man of sin" comes from the King James version of Paul's letter to the Thessalonians (The NASB says "man of lawlessness").

    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
     

The primary purpose of the second chapter of Thessalonians was to correct and comfort the Thessalonians who greatly feared that the day of the Lord had already come that they had somehow missed the Rapture.

The phrase "Let no one in any way deceive you" implies that there had been attempts to deceive by person or persons unknown. Paul informed them that the day would not come until the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed, i.e. the antichrist who will come to great prominence in the last days.

"Alterations In Times And Law"
 If read in context, changing times and laws is what Daniel said the antichrist will endeavor to do at the end of days. The antichrist will apparently be  an eleventh king who will subdue three of a consortium of ten kings, speak out against the Most High, wear down the saints who will be at his mercy for a time, and will  "intend to make alterations in times and in law". He is not a pope who lived centuries ago, but will arise in the future.

    'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:24-25 NASB)

Ellen White also said it was "the beast that changed the Sabbath" [19]. The problem being that the beast also makes his appearance in Revelation - close to the end of days.  

The Council of Laodicea?
In A.D. 364, the Council of Laodicea decreed that 

    Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. [20]

But then they weren't saying anything very different from what Paul did when he confronted Peter.

The word "Judaize" come from the Greek Ioudaizo - to adopt Jewish customs and follow Jewish laws. A Judaizer therefore is a Christians who insist that all Christians should follow the Law of Moses. The term is used only once in the New Testament when Paul publicly challenged Peter for compelling Gentile converts to Christianity to "live like Jews" .

    But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? (Gk. Ioudaizo) (Galatians 2:14 NASB)

Paul went on to say "a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus"

Constantine?
In the year 321 A.D., Constantine decreed,

    "On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost".

It it is very likely true as Philip Schaff, author of History of the Christian Church, went on to say (All Emphasis Added)

    ... the Sunday law of Constantine must not be overrated. He enjoined the observance, or rather forbade the public desecration of Sunday, not under the name of Sabbatum or Dies Domini, but under its old astrological and heathen title, Dies Solis, familiar to all his subjects, so that the law was as applicable to the worshipers of Hercules, Apollo, and Mithras, as to the Christians. There is no reference whatever in his law either to the fourth commandment or to the resurrection of Christ. Besides he expressly exempted the country districts, where paganism still prevailed, from the prohibition of labor, and thus avoided every appearance of injustice. Christians and pagans had been accustomed to festival rests.

    Constantine made these rests to synchronize, and gave the preference to Sunday, on which day Christians from the beginning celebrated the resurrection of their Lord and Saviour. This and no more was implied in the famous enactment of 321. [21]


The Earliest Church Met on Sunday
Numerous quotes that precede the pope, Constantine, and the Council of Laodicea, show that the early church regularly assembled on the first day of the week

    The Didache: (Estimated Range of Dating: 50-120 A.D.)
    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 who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned." [22]

    The Epistle of Barnabus: (Estimated Range of Dating: 80-120 A.D.)
    Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which also Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens. [23]

    Justin Martyr: (100-165 A.D.)
    But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples. [24]

    Is there any other matter, my friends, in which we are blamed, than this, that we live not after the law, and are not circumcised in the flesh as your forefathers were, and do not observe Sabbaths as you do? [25]

    Eusebius Pamphilius: The Sabbath and the rest of the discipline of the Jews they observed just like them, but at the same time, like us, they celebrated the Lord's days as a memorial of the resurrection of the Saviour. [26]


The 'Lord's Day' - Different From the Sabbath
The phrase "the Lord's day" used by the early writers in the quotes above had to come from Revelation 1:10 - the only place it occurs in Scripture.

      I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,  (Revelation 1:10 NASB )

When the apostle John wrote that he "was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" it raises the question of what day he meant. Ellen White claimed that John was referring to the Sabbath or the seventh day of the week.

    The Lord's day mentioned by John was the Sabbath, the day on which Jehovah rested after the great work of creation, and which He blessed and sanctified because He had rested upon it. [27]

And the Adventist Clear Word paraphrase of the Bible reflects this, telling us that John was referring to the weekly Sabbath...

    On the Sabbath of the Lord I went down to the island's rocky shore to worship. (Revelation 1:10 CW)

However, this seems very unlikely because if John was referring to the seventh day, why didn't he simply call it by the name it was known by for thousands of years - the Sabbath? Calling a day the "Lord's day" means that it had to be a day connected with the Lord Jesus Christ. And the only day that had special significance connected to Christ was Sunday - the first day of the week. Sunday was...

    The day our Lord was resurrected. Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19.

    The day Christ first appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. Matthew 28:9-10; Mark 16:9ff; Luke 24:13-49; John 20:11-29.

    The day the Holy Spirit fell on the Disciples on Pentecost. 

Note: Jesus rose from the dead on the Feast of First-fruits, which was followed fifty days later by Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks or Pentecost. The Savior was crucified and laid in the tomb before the High Sabbath started at sunset on Wednesday. He remained in the tomb through the weekly Sabbath, and rose sometime after sunset.  If we begin the count on Sunday, the fiftieth day would fall on Sunday - the first day of the eighth week. Hence, the ancient church observed Pentecost on the first day of the week. See The Feasts of Israel

The truth is that Sunday never replaced Saturday as the Sabbath. As the Bible shows, although believing Jews observed the Sabbath, one can only imagine the impact the resurrection made on the men who knew, or may even have seen with their own eyes Christ dying and being buried. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the day He proved victorious over death was the day they called the "Lord's day" - and this was the day they assembled together to commemorate His resurrection,to marvel over what had happened, to encourage one another, partake of the Lord's Supper, etc.

    On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight (Acts 20:7).


Is The Sabbath is Seal of God?
Ellen White made a few very true statements about the Seal of God, spoken about in Revelation 9:4, that reads "They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" (NASB). In her words...

    The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God - candidates for heaven. [28]

    Those that overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be the favored ones who shall receive the seal of the living God. Those whose hands are not clean, whose hearts are not pure, will not have the seal of the living God. [29]

However, according to her, God's seal is Sabbath keeping. In the afore-mentioned letter written from Australia to Uriah Smith in 1898, Ellen White wrote

    The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. If men keep the fourth commandment, they will keep all the rest [30]

Speaking of Passover, she said

    Suppose an Israelite had neglected to place the sign of blood upon his door, saying that the angel of God would be able to distinguish between the Hebrews and the Egyptians; would the heavenly sentinels have stood to guard that dwelling? We should take this lesson to ourselves. Again the destroying angel is to pass through the land. There is to be a mark placed upon God's people, and that mark is the keeping of his holy Sabbath. [31]

Seals and Signs are Two Different Things
The question is how Ellen White came to the conclusion that the Seal of God, spoken about in Revelation 9:4 is the Sabbath? Perhaps by confusing two different words - 'seal' and 'sign' - which comes of not knowing anything about the original languages that the Bible was written in. Note her words in Testimonies for the Church and The Great Controversy

    The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord's memorial of creation. "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:12, 13. Here the Sabbath is clearly designated as a sign between God and His people. [32]

    Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious Sabbath, and the sandy foundation upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God. [33]

In her diary, Ellen White also wrote that "... in Exodus is plainly presented the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as the genuine Sabbath and it is the seal of the living God, the sign between Him and His people. [34]

However, Exodus 31:12, 13 says nothing about a seal, but uses the Hebrew ôth or sign.

    The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign (Hebrew ôth) between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. (Exodus 31:12-13 NASB)

The word 'sign' means something that indicates the presence of something else. Which is exactly how it is used on numerous occasions in the Old Testament. In most cases it indicated that God was with the person or people concerned

     The rainbow was a sign of the Covenant: God said, "This is the sign (Hebrew ôth) of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;  (Genesis 9:12 NASB)

     Circumcision was a sign of the Covenant:  "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign (Hebrew ôth) of the covenant between Me and you." (Genesis 17:11 NASB)

     Moses received a sign that God was with him: "And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign (Hebrew ôth) to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain."  (Exodus 3:12 NASB)

     The plagues were a sign to the Egyptians: "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs (Hebrew ôth) of Mine among them."(Exodus 10:1 NASB)

     A shadow retracing it's steps was a sign to King Hezekiah: "Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What will be the sign (Hebrew ôth) that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day?" Isaiah said, "This shall be the sign (Hebrew ôth) to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?" (2 Kings 20:8-9 NASB)

A seal (Hebrew chôthâm) was, and is, a very different kettle of fish. In the ancient past, kings and others in authority had seals or signets (often set in a ring) that they used to officially authorize a document in lieu of a signature (the Jews possibly impressed a seal upon a lump of clay. See Job 38:14). Judah's signet is mentioned in Genesis 38:18.

    He said, "What pledge shall I give you?" And she said, "Your seal (Heb. chôthâm) and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. (Genesis 38:18 NASB)

Among numerous instances of a seal being used (legitimately or otherwise) are the following

    "Now because of all this we are making an agreement in writing; And on the sealed (Heb. châtham) document are the names of our leaders, our Levites and our priests." (Nehemiah 9:38 NASB)

    "Now you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king's name, and seal (Heb. châtham) it with the king's signet ring; for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed (Heb. châtham) with the king's signet ring may not be revoked." (Esther 8:8 NASB)

    So she (Jezebel) wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed (Heb. châtham) them with his seal (Heb. chôthâm), and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city.  (1 Kings 21:8 NASB)

As today, a seal was also used to close an entrance or container so that nothing could enter or leave it.

    A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed (Heb. châtham) it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.  (Daniel 6:17 NASB)


'Seals' and 'Signs' in The New Testament

'Seals' '

'Signs' and 'seals' are also completely different words in the New Testament Greek . The word 'seal' in Revelation 9:4 is translated from the Greek sphragis which, literally or figuratively, means to fence in. In the New Testament it most often occurs in the context of the Seven Seals that Jesus opens in the last days SEE.

However, Matthew 27:66 demonstrates that sphragis carries exactly the same meaning as 'chôthâm' in the Old Testament. Just as king Darius sealed (Heb. châtham) the mouth of the den with his own signet ring in Daniel 6:17, Jesus' tomb was also sealed (Gr. sphragizo) by the Pharisees.

    And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal (Gr. sphragizo) on the stone.  (Matthew 27:66 NASB)

Other verses, using exactly the same Greek verb sphragizo, say believers are sealed by God's Holy Spirit.

     Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed (Gr. sphragizo) us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NASB)

     In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13 NASB)

     Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  (Ephesians 4:30 NASB)

Paul told the Corinthians that just as 'seals' prove the authenticity of a deed or document, the conversion of the Corinthians validated or authenticated his claim to be an apostle.

     If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal (Gr. sphragis) of my apostleship in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 9:2 NASB).

'Signs'
On the other hand, the Greek semeion - an indication - is translated into the English 'sign'. It is equivalent to the Hebrew ôth

    This will be a sign (Gr. semeion) for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12 NASB)

     Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign (Gr. semeion) from You.  (Matthew 12:38 NASB)

    An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign (Gr. semeion); and a sign (Gr. semeion) will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah. And He left them and went away. (Matthew 16:4 NASB)

    The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign (Gr. semeion) from heaven, to test Him.  (Mark 8:11 NASB)

    Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign (Gr. semeion), saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him. (Matthew 26:48 NASB)

    They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign (Gr. semeion) when these things are about to take place?  (Luke 21:7 NASB)

    Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs (Gr. semeion) which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- (Acts 2:22 NASB)

In summary, the Sabbath cannot be connected with the seal of God in Revelation 9 simply because the Sabbaths were not a 'seal' but a sign of the relationship between God and the "sons of Israel".


The 144,000
The Bible tells us that in the interlude between the sixth seal and seventh seals, an angel in possession of "the seal of the living God", cries to four other angels to not harm the earth, the sea, nor the trees, until the servants of God have been sealed on their foreheads.

    (2) And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, (3) saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (4) And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (Revelation 7:2-4 NASB)

Ellen White and Joseph Bates both believed the 144,000 to be a literal number of people who were to be sealed.

Because, at the time, Sabbatarian Adventists "numbered a few hundred at most", Bates stated that part of the 144,000 were "all advent believers that have, and do, participate in the advent messages as given in Rev. 14:6-13, will love and keep this covenant with God, and especially his Holy Sabbath". The rest of the 144,000 were made up of "those who do not yet so well understand the advent doctrine; but are endeavoring to serve God with their whole hearts, and are willing, and will receive this covenant and Sabbath as soon as they hear it explained.” [35]

However, since the Bible also tells us that every believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), the number and identity of people that are to be sealed generates a great deal of controversy. Some believe the 144,000 will be Jews who will be saved from the physical nation of Israel. The Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses both claim this literal number will come from their ranks.  Scripture does not support either of these claims

There are several compelling reasons one cannot consider the 144,000 to be a literal number. In the first place, 144,000 is the number of the twelve tribes of Israel... squared (12 x 12) then multiplied by 1000, which certainly indicates symbolism. In the second place, Scripture tells us that these people are the only ones protected from God's wrath during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:2-3). However, the Bible also makes it clear that no believer is going to be the target of God's wrath which is, in fact, the very point of salvation.

See The 144,000 and Christians and the Wrath of God

Finally, two question have to be asked...


Two Questions
How Can You Keep the The Fourth Commandment and Ignore All The Other Old Testament Laws?
As the Bible says...

    All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Timothy 3:16 NASB)

The problem being that the Bible is made up of Old and New Testaments, each of which has seemingly different teachings and commands - to say nothing of emphasis. This has led to more than a little confusion for those that have not grasped the seamless relationship between the Old and New Testaments.

Many Christians struggle with the tension between the Old Testament emphasis on regulations, and the New Testament emphasis on grace, and are not clear what our relationship to the Old Testament should be, especially when it comes to the Mosaic Laws (particularly the Ten Commandments), and the keeping of the Sabbath and/or other Feasts of the Old Covenant.

If present-day Christians are bound by the Fourth Commandment, it stands to reason that they are bound by the other nine, especially considering the those nine were repeated in the New Testament.

However, this leaves us with a very large problem. Jesus Himself identified the second greatest commandment as being "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:28-31), which was a direct quote from the laws of Leviticus. See 19:18.

If Jesus said one of the OT laws, outside of the Ten Commandments, was the second greatest commandment ever, then we have absolutely no basis for arbitrarily rejecting any of the regulations in the Pentateuch. In fact, Jesus' statements that He had not come to abolish (or destroy) the law or the prophets and that the tiniest part of the law will not pass away until all things be accomplished, suggests that the binding nature of the law of Moses will forever remain in effect.

However, the intent of the law extended far beyond the exact wording. A principle that transcends time and culture lies behind every Mosaic command and is therefore applicable to all God's people, regardless of when, or where, they live. In other words,  perfect obedience to the law took place in thought, word, and deed.  which is why the last five commandments were summed up in Jesus' words about loving our neighbour. When Jesus came, the transition was made from a mere letter-of-the-law, minimal standards approach, to understanding and obeying the intent behind the law, accomplished with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

This was a fundamental shift in thinking, first introduced in Matthew 4:17 - "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". The word "repent", translated from the Greek metanoia, means a complete change of mind. It emphasizes the idea of a radical change in one's attitude toward sin and God. [See Repentance ...The Missing Message] We are now living under the New Covenant which actually demands a higher degree of holiness and obedience to God.

This is a long and fairly complex subject that has been covered in more detail in Jesus and The Law.

Also to be taken into consideration is how the Sabbath is to be kept.


How Did God Say The Sabbath Was To Be Kept?
God never every reversed any of the Old Testament restrictions, not did He ever change the death penalty for ignoring or deliberately breaking one of those restrictions. Therefore if someone believes that Sabbath keeping is an obligation because of an Old Testament law, then that person is also under obligation to keep it exactly as God specified. In summary...

1. You Cannot Work At All

    but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. (Exodus 20:10 NASB)

If carrying a load on the Sabbath was prohibited.

    'Thus says the Lord, "Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the Sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. "You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. (NASB)

And a man was put to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36), I am sure we can include working in the yard, vacuuming, watering the lawn, and washing the car as "work".

2. You Cannot Buy or Sell.

    "When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales,  (Amos 8:5 NASB)

    As for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or a holy day; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.  (Nehemiah 10:31 NASB)

    In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads, and they brought them into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I admonished them on the day they sold food.  (Nehemiah 13:15 NASB)

In other words you cannot do any shopping whatsoever - not even a stick of gum. Hopefully you don't run out of a necessary food item like baby food. Remember that the no buying and selling law includes stocks that you would not be able to sell of the Sabbath, even if you needed to.

3. Fires Cannot be Lit

    "You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day." (Exodus 35:3 NASB)

In other words it is cornflakes, not eggs and pancakes, for breakfast. And all your other meals have to be cold as well, which means outdoor barbecues and grilling is out.


Sabbath Requirements That Are Now Impossible to Keep.

However, not working, lighting fires, and buying and selling were what God said people were not to do on the Sabbath. However, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans in 70 AD, made it impossible to fulfill two other Sabbath requirements - things that the people were required to do. This fact alone should tell us that Sabbath keeping was not intended to continue forever. The only alternative is to believe that, when God handed down the Sabbath laws, He did not realize that not all Sabbath requirements could have continued after 70AD. 

4. The Offerings Was Doubled on the Sabbath
In the Old Testament the nation was commanded to sacrifice a male lamb to the Lord every morning and every evening. However, on every Sabbath the offering was doubled - two lambs were sacrificed every morning and every evening. Numbers 28: 3-4, 9-10.

5. Fresh Shew-bread in the Holy Place
The Shew-bread or bread of the Presence was called so because it was set on the table before the Lord at all times (Exodus 25:30). On the Sabbath, these twelve loaves were removed and replaced by new ones, while the old loaves were eaten only by the priests in the Holy Place (Leviticus 24:9).

    Note: It was this bread that the high priest Ahimelech gave the hungry David and his men.


Conclusion:
In summary, we have no legal obligation to keep the Sabbath. The Lord's day and the Sabbath were celebrated for different reasons in the New Testament church, and no law required them to observe both. The Jewish Christians were free to continue to observe the Sabbath and the Gentile Christians who chose not to observe it were free to abstain. As Paul pointed out in Romans 14, every Christian is at liberty to choose whether or not to observe these days.

Unfortunately, Sunday, the first day of the week, originally kept to commemorate the resurrection of the Saviour and to rejoice in the fact that He rose from the dead has become a day on which the vast majority of Christians set aside an hour or two for worship, with the rest of the day devoted to recreation, amusements and even business. At best Sunday is being observed as a day of rest, not so much a day of worship

The importance of a day of rest and remembering God cannot be overstated. The Sabbath was intended as a blessing long before Calvary and there is no reason that to suppose it is no longer a blessing. Anyone who is persuaded in his own mind that he should keep the Sabbath, or simply wishes to do so, should.

However, the Sabbath is not the seal of God - His mark that will protect the person from the plagues of the last days.


Continue On To Chapter X - The Clear Word Bible


Footnote I

    Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death

    2174: Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation...

    2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish Sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God.

    2177: By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ's Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lord's Day or Sunday." [36]
    [PLACE IN TEXT]


Footnote II

    "This is a difficult phrase, in that the Greek verb can be either middle or passive voice. If it is passive, it could be translated, "Everyone is urged insistently into it" (Darrell Bock, Luke [Baker], 2:1349-1354, argues for this view). But most commentators argue for the middle voice, which views the subject as participating in the results of the action.

    Here it means that each person takes the initiative to press his way into the kingdom. I believe that contextually this is the better view. "Everyone" does not refer to every single person in Israel, but rather to the great multitude of sinners who were flocking to hear Jesus and respond to His message of grace (15:1), in contrast to the few Pharisees who were responding. Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, "While you guys sit around scoffing, the very people whom you despise are stampeding into the kingdom!" [37]
     [PLACE IN TEXT]


End Notes... The Sabbath
[01] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1), Page 120 - 121.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=1BIO&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=121

[02] Ellen G. White Writings. Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, Page 85. Chapter 10—The Sabbath of the Lord.
https://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=CET&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=85

[03] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1), Page 120 - 121.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=1BIO&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=121

[04] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen G. White. Early Writings, Page 33.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=EW&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=33

[05] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. A Vision. April 7, 1847.
https://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Periodical&bookCode=Broadside3&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&year=1847&month=April&day=7&paragraphnumber=4

[06] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. To those who are receiving the seal of the living God.
https://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Periodical&bookCode=Broadside2&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&year=1849

[07] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen G. White. The Great Controversy, Page 605.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=GC&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=605

[08] Seventh-day Adventists Believe. Chapter 19. The Sabbath. http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/27/27-19.htm

[09] Adventist Church of UK and Ireland. http://adventist.org.uk/who-we-are/what-we-believe/fundamentals/3

[10] ibid.

[11] Seventh day Adventist church of UK and Ireland. http://adventist.org.uk/who-we-are

[12] Dennis Meier. The Sabbath as a sign of salvation. https://www.adventist.org/en/spirituality/sabbath/article/go/0/finding-gods-rhythm/

[13] J. David Newman, D.Min. Is the Seventh-day Sabbath Still Important if You Believe in Grace?
http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/sabbath/newman_contents.htm

[14] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. Lt. 31, 1898.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=EGWLetter&bookCode=Lt31-1898&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=1

[15] Adventist Truth about the Mark of the Beast. http://www.nonsda.org/mark-of-beast.htm

[16] David Guzik's Commentaries on the Bible. http://classic.studylight.org/com/guz/print.cgi?book=mt&chapter=012

[17] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. A Vision. April 7, 1847.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Periodical&bookCode=Broadside3&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&year=1847&month=April&day=7&paragraphnumber=3

[18] Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, Page 86.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=CET&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=86

[19] ibid.

[20] Synod of Laodicea (4th Century). Canon 29. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3806.htm

[21] Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, Volume III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 311-600.
http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/hcc3/cache/hcc3.pdf

[22] Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html

[23] Barnabas 15:9 The Epistle Of Barnabas.  Translated by J.B. Lightfoot.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-lightfoot.html

[24] Justin Martyr. Chapter LXVII.—Weekly worship of the Christian.  Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.lxvii.html

[25] Justin Martyr. Dialogue with Trypho (Chapters 10-30) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01282.htm

[26] Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, The Heresy of the Ebionites Chapter XXVII.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxvii.html

[27] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. The Sanctified Life, Page 74. A Sabbathkeeper.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=SL&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=74

[28] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White: Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, Page 216.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=5T&lang=en&pagenumber=216

[29] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, Page 445.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=TM&lang=en&pagenumber=445

[30] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen  White .Lt 31, 1898.
http://t.ext.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=EGWLetter&bookCode=Lt31-1898&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=1

[31] Ellen G. White Writings.  Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, Page 217.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=HS&lang=en&pagenumber=217

[32] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. The Opposition of the Enemy. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, Page 117.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=8T&lang=en&pagenumber=117

[33] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. The Great Controversy 1888, Page 640.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=GC88&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=640

[34] Ellen G. White Writings. Ellen White. Ms 82, 1893. Diary, July to August 1893. With the Brown Family at Long Point, New Zealand.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=EGWManuscript&bookCode=Ms82-1893&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=1

[35] Ellen G. White Writings. The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1, Page 46.
http://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=1EGWLM&lang=en&collection=2&section=all&pagenumber=46

[36] Catechism of The Catholic Church. Part III. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a3.htm

[37] Steven J. Cole. Lesson 75: Scoffing or Submitting? (Luke 16:14-18).
https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-75-scoffing-or-submitting-luke-1614-18

    Ellen White’s Visions

www.inplainsite.org