VERDICT-- No Sabbath in Genesis!

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A study of the question of a Sabbath presence in Genesis from the multiple perspectives of Hebrew linguistics, the developmental history of the Hebrew language, the culture that produced the language, and the history of Jewish thought regarding the nature of the Sabbath and the LAW. Includes a point-by-point rebuttal of Seventh-day Adventist apologist, Edwin M. Cotto's paper, The Sabbath in Genesis, posted at the Adventist Defense League's website.
  1   VERDICT:   No Sabbath In Genesis A Point- By Point Rebuttal of The Adventist Defense League’s Paper   By Edwin M. Cotto “The Sabbath In Genesis.”   Additional Refutations to Objections Submitted   by Sabbatarian Apologist, Brian Knudson.   By   KERRY B. WYNNE   B.A., English & history (1970 & 1972), Pacific Union College   M.A., educational administration, Andrews University (1978)   WILLIAM H. HOHMANN   B.A., theology, Ambassador College (1976)   ROBERT K. SANDERS   Founder Of Truth Or Fables.Com   DUANE JOHNSON   Independent Biblical Researcher and Author You may contact the authors at the following e-mail address. In order to receive a reply you must read VERDICT   from cover to cover, and the first line of your e-mail message must contain a statement to the effect that you have read it and still have additional questions. Due to time constraints and limited staff, we cannot answer questions that are already covered in the book. Also you have permission to distribute this publication in written or electronic form provided that the document is kept fully intact and proper credit is given to the authors. We request that you send copies of this book to 10 other people who fit our target audience. If you are a Hebrew language scholar with special training in the Ancient Hebrew form of the language, we would like to talk to you: LyingForGod@Yahoo.Com    2   VERDICT: NO SABBATH IN GENESIS From The Land Of Goshen To   The Mountain Of The Moon   The Hebrews left Egypt on a Thursday night and marched and camped for a total of 38 days before they kept their first Sabbath, treating all the previous days of their journey the same in regard to travel and work. One week before observing the first Sabbath ever kept by anyone, they marched 20 kilometers from their camp by the Red Sea to the edge of the Wilderness of Sin, trampling on the 7th day of their week, arriving around 5 pm on the 31st day of their journey late that “Saturday” afternoon. That evening, God introduced the Manna Obedience Test to Israel, instructing them to gather daily an amount sufficient for their needs for one day, and that on the sixth day they were to gather a double portion in order to provide them with manna on the Sabbath, seeing as there would be none provided on that day. Critical thinking elicits the fact that you cannot keep the Sabbath holy without a preparation day before it. All the work has to be completed before sundown on the 6 th  day.    At this point in the Exodus journey, the Sabbath represented nothing more than the second of two obedience tests. It was not until a few weeks later when, at Mt. Sinai, the Sabbath was incorporated into the treaty between God and Israel known as the 10 Commandments. Like the ordinance of circumcision and the Jewish dietary laws, the institution of the Sabbath was de-signed to set the Hebrews apart from every other society on Earth, forming a protective social barrier that would severely restrict their interaction with the Heathen. Regarding these cultic Jewish rituals, a scholar once observed that people who do not eat together seldom become friends. If the Sabbath were a Creation ordinance with truly moral qualities, God would not have led His children out of Egypt without provision for keeping it every step of the way. Once, because of their sins, God seems to have threatened to take Israel’s Sabbaths away.   Hosea 2:11 (NIV) - 11 I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days — all her appointed feasts.   There is some evidence that this text may merely represent a prophecy of what would become of Israel’s sabbath system as a result of their disobedience, rather than an actual statement that God would specially intervene to take away their sabbaths. During their various captivities, Israel undoubtedly experienced disruptions of their Sabbath-keeping. In either case, the adoption of the fixed calendar by their conquering nations made it impossible to keep the Sabbath as is was specified in the Law of Moses. In effect, they were forced to keep “Saturday” rather than the “Sabbath.” All of this Sabbath chaos illustrates  the fact that the Sabbath is characteristically ceremonial rather than moral. For example, if Israel was committing adultery and fornication “too much,” God would not suspend the parts of the Law of Moses that forbid these sins. Not even God Himself can set aside or suspend moral laws because such laws are based on the natural laws of cause and effect.   Before the Hebrews left Egypt, the instructions God gave them regarding the keeping of the Passover Feast suggest that no Sabbath existed at that time. This feast was to last seven days, so whether a fixed or lunar calendar is used for our calcula-tions, one of those days would have to have been a Sabbath-- if there had been a Sabbath in existence at that time. The preparation of food was allowed on all of the seven days of the Passover feast. By contrast , cooking on the Sabbath was forbidden. For the Sabbath, the cooking must be done on the Preparation Day, or the sixth day of the week. If there was no sixth day of preparation, there could be no seventh-day Sabbath because food would have to be prepared for the people on it. While permission to prepare food on the Sabbath may have been granted in connection with some of the Jewish feast celebrations that God added later, the only national feast week God had given them up to the time of the Exodus was the Passover.    3    As our study unfolds it will become painfully clear that Exodus 16 provides water-tight proof  — not merely evidence--that no Sabbath existed before the giving of the Manna. We do not use the term, proof, loosely. What this fact means is that any argument for the existence of the Sabbath prior to the Exodus must be remarkably clear, or it is hardly worth discussing. Also, any pro-Sabbatarian arguments must be able to stand on their own with evidence gathered only from Genesis 1 through Exodus 16. In view of the absolutes of Exodus 16, Sabbatarians should not expect to be taken seriously if their approach involves taking references to the Sabbath from beyond the account of the Exodus journey and stuffing them back into Genesis 2. In order for them to provide meaningful support for their agenda, they must demonstrate clear Sabbath content in Genesis 2.    All it takes is a brief survey of Genesis through Exodus 16 to see that there is nothing of this sort available to Sabbatarians.  At the same time, there is only a limited amount of evidence available to anti-Sabbatarians, such as the four of us, to actually prove that there is no Sabbath content in Genesis. This evidence in found in part in that Moses used special literary devices to limit the blessing, hallowing, and sanctifying (the setting aside) of that day to that ONE day ALONE. We will explain these indicators and how they work subsequently. Meanwhile, let us turn our attention back to the Exodus journey. God introduced the Sabbath to Israel as something new. The people acted as if it were something new —  a stiff-necked and stubborn people testing the boundaries. Some individuals gathered firewood on that first Sabbath. They did so publicly. If the Sabbath had existed prior to Exodus 16, these offenders would have been stoned. The stubborn nature of the Hebrew people strongly suggests that if there were Sabbaths before Exodus 16, some of them would have tested God by breaking the Sabbath every chance they got; yet there is no record that God ever rebuked them for Sabbath-breaking prior to Exodus 16. Here is what the Law of Moses has to say about Sabbath-breaking:   Num 15:32 - 36 (NIV) 32 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD com-manded Moses.   Think how bad the Exodus journey would make God look if the Sabbath had srcinated at Creation! Was He not powerful enough to control the events of the Exodus to provide for Sabbath-keeping, including, in each case, a Preparation Day? What kind of example would He have set for His people? Do God’s children only have to keep the Sabbath when it is convenient? Clearly, there was no Sabbath to break until day 38 of the Exodus. Sabbatarian apologist, Brendan Knudson, suggests the possibility that if there was Sabbath- breaking involved under God’s direction -- “The ox is in the ditch” principle excusing God for leading His people to trample on it. Our position is that God had enough power to halt all the forces of Evil and Nature to enable them to keep the Sabbath if there had been a Sabbath to keep, and that as a cognate requirement, He would have also given them preparation days to assure that they could keep their Exodus Sabbaths without preparing food or gathering firewood upon it. People get hungry on Sabbath whether food was prepared the day before or not. Everything we know about God’s character screams out that He would not lead His people to break an eternally binding moral law. This fact explains several mysterious things that honest-at-heart, thinking Sabbatarians have secretly pondered. Why is there no mention of the Sabbath in Genesis? Why did God give Abraham a surgical procedure (circumcision) as a “seal” for his descendants instead of the Sabbath, which was never even mentioned? Why was Sabbath-keeping not included in a list of basic laws that God gave to Noah around the time of the Great Flood? Why did St. Paul instruct the early church not to require Sabbath-keeping of the new Gentile converts (Colossians 2:14-17)? And why did St. Paul not list Sabbath-breaking in any of the several lists of sins he discussed in his writings? In Galatians St. Paul discusses the Christian's freedom from the “LAW,” and it is clear he is discussing moral, rather than ceremonial, laws bec ause the example he cited was adultery. Yet in the same breath he explained that the Christian is not subject to the LAW, he gave a list of 15 sins that he said would keep a person from entering Heaven. Robert K. Sanders observes that in Romans 1:28-32 he listed 16 sins that were not mentioned in Galatians 5 and that he listed still more sins in Ephesians 4:25-32-- and that in all of these lists there is not a single mention of Sabbath- breaking. With all the sins that Paul’s writings mention -- which included sins of motive and omission in addition to the sins of commission that are the focus of the Decalogue-- it is difficult to imagine how an objective Bible student could think that the 10 Commandments were intended to represent a complete guide to morality or that the Sabbath- keeping should be transferred from Judaism to Christianity. Apparently God didn’t think so either because he gave additional  4   moral laws to Moses after He wrote the 10 Commandments in stone, including prohibitions against fornication (a very different sin from adultery in Hebrew thought) and homosexual relationships.   CAN YOU KEEP THE SABBATH AT THE NORTH POLE?   Imagine you are trying to keep the Jewish Sabbath above the Arctic Circle! The Arctic night “Sabbath” eventually arrives. Suddenl y you are not allowed to light a fire in your dwelling place because the sun went down but didn’t come back up. Your heater goes out. You honor God’s “law” by not re -lighting it. The next morning you are found frozen to death, and you go down in history as a noble Christian Jewish Sabbath-keeper who would rather die than break the Jewish Sabbath. Perhaps you miraculously survive the Polar Winter “Sabbath without a fire. You can’t work for the oil company that hired you until the su n comes up (making it “Saturday” morning) and goes back down again, creating a Saturday night. Eventually, however, the sun does come back up, stays up for a day, and goes back down. The Arctic stretch of extended non-Sabbath is finally over. You can go to work now. Sabbath-keeping is conventional for a while, but eventually the sun comes up and won’t go down! Now you have to contend with the extended Arctic stretch of non- Sabbath time. Because the sun won’t go down, Sabbath won’t “start” on Friday night. You have to go to work every day because the Sabbath won’t start since there is no sundown on Friday night.    Actually, there are more variations of this Arctic Sabbath nonsense. In the Arctic fall, If the Sun fails to set on a Friday night, you have “endless” work days. If the Sun fails to set on a Saturday night in the Arctic fall, you have an “endless” Sabbath. We will leave it up to your imagination to figure out what happens in the Arctic spring depending on which day the sun rises for the first time of the season. Please review the dual requirements of the Sabbath commandment. Both requirements apply to Jews. Christians who keep the Jewish Sabbath seem to forget the six-day requirement since it works against the ill-contrived idea that Adam and Eve qualified to rest on the 7 th  day of Creation along with God. God had worked for six days prior, but  Adam and Eve had existed only about one day:   Exodus 20:8 (NIV): “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.   If you manage to die of over-work during this stretch of non-Sabbath time, you go down in history as the Sabbath-keeping Christian who would rather die than break the Jewish Sabbath. Is it illogical to think that God would impose a moral law on His earthlings that could not be kept anywhere in the solar system. The sins of fornication and adultery can be committed on Planet Earth or in a space ship on its way to Mars, but the Sabbath can’t be kept anywhere but in a climate like Palestine in the Mid- East. The Adventist prophetess, Ellen G. White, “solves” this problem by mandating that people should not live in parts of the Earth where the Sabbath cannot be kept. Try presenting the Gospel to a Polar-living Eskimo while at the same time telling him that he has to move to a different part of the world in order to keep “God’s Law.”   In the countries where there is no sunset for months and again no sunrise for months the period of time will be calculated by the records kept. But God has a world large enough and proper and right for the human beings He has created to inhabit it without finding homes in those lands so objectionable in very many, many ways (Ellen G. White, Letter #167, 23 March, 1900).  For the above reference, follow this link:   God gave the Sabbath to Israel only. The Nation of Israel is located in a mild climate where the sun does rise and set every 24 hours for the entire year and where the temperatures are moderate enough to get through a cold winter night simply by piling on the blankets.   If you lived in the Arctic Circle as so many people do now, would you be condemned to Hell and receive the Mark of the Beast because you COULD NOT keep the Sabbath right no matter how hard you tried? Would God have to give you a special dispensation to break His law so you wouldn’t end up  with the Mark of the Beast?  
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