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Whats all the fuss about?


lazarus

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In all the talk of "keeping holy," and "separating holy from profane," and "guarding the edges," there's rarely any consideration of what we're keeping holy, separating, and guarding.

Yes, it's 'the Sabbath," but it's a Sabbath defined by what is missing. Perhaps people have a very clear idea of what the content of the Sabbath is, but in my experience, the people concerned with "standards" never communicate what that content is, except in the vaguest terms.

This usually includes their own children and nonbelieving neighbors, who have a clear idea of what NOT to do, but almost no idea of what TO do.

Jesus described the consequences of emptying things of content, of "cleaning out" all the bad stuff.

Matt 12:43"When an evil[f] spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

I've worked with young people my whole life. I cannot tell you how many simply detest the Sabbath. NOT because their parents had "poor standards." On the contrary, the "high standards" of "thou shalt not" have made the Sabbath for them, as one young man raised in an SDA community said, "something to be endured, at best."

On the other hand, within a few WEEKS attending our very different church, and experiencing the Sabbath with us, they become enthusiastic. The same young man said, "Now I can hardly wait for Sabbath to come around." The results are so dramatic that our conference president remarked on them.

Instead of concentrating on what is prohibited, we emphasize the purpose of the Sabbath. As people fill the Sabbath with those positive things, the rest are eliminated so as not to take up time that could be used in blessings.

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Here is what I as a parent let my kids do on the Sabbath. I let them play with the neighbor kids. I let them watch prerecorded nature shows (so we can skip the add) and Vegi tale shows and movies. We have fun spending time together as a family. My thought when we do things on the Sabbath what would Jesus do with us if he was here. Would I feel comfortable sharing the activities we do with Him on the Sabbath? Sometimes the answer is no.

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Matthew 12:11-12 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Is not every widow, shut-in, elderly, sick, poor child of Abba more important than a list of "thou shalt nots"?

Believe me, hauling an animal out of a pit is WORK. You get hot, dirty, grimy, bruised... you use tools, generally to your own benefit because it's your animal... and then you have to clean up the mess you made getting it out of the pit... I've hauled a few animals out of pits... we used to have a ranch.

Is not every widow, shut-in, elderly, sick, poor child of Abba more important than an animal in a pit?

IT IS LAWFUL TO DO WELL ON THE SABBATH. How much clearer do you need it to be?

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Well said Clio. Jesus did good on Sabbath and he want us to go about doing good also.

Sometimes we become very selfish on Sabbath and want our own delight. We forget about those who don't have the privileges of having delight on Sabbath such as those who are homebound.

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Matthew 12:11-12 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Is not every widow, shut-in, elderly, sick, poor child of Abba more important than a list of "thou shalt nots"?

Believe me, hauling an animal out of a pit is WORK. You get hot, dirty, grimy, bruised... you use tools, generally to your own benefit because it's your animal... and then you have to clean up the mess you made getting it out of the pit... I've hauled a few animals out of pits... we used to have a ranch.

Is not every widow, shut-in, elderly, sick, poor child of Abba more important than an animal in a pit?

IT IS LAWFUL TO DO WELL ON THE SABBATH. How much clearer do you need it to be?

Hey Clio

Just wanted you to know I enjoy your posts here. You lighten up some of the storm clouds on the horizon. :JF

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Ed, I appreciate your perspective on Sabbath.

Sometime ago it occurred to me that thinking of "Sabbath" as a verb rather than a noun helps to understand its true and intended meaning. Turning it into a dynamic action word rather than a static holy relic of worship opens up amazing posibilities.

Tom

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And add my hearty AMEN, as well!!

Quote:
Holiness is not refraining from doing anything or something.

Of course holiness also has to do with refraining from working. It's right there in God's law. "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. In it you shall do no work." How can we say it doesn't? Also read 6 T 349-368, "The Observance of the Sabbath." It has to with positive things but we dare not forget that it does also have to do with not working.

Originally Posted By: John317
Our prophet says we should be careful about "the edges of the Sabbath."...

Quote:
"Guarding the edges of the Sabbath" isn't about clock (or calendar) watching.

Tom[/quote']

"We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord's day with quietness of mind..." 6 T 356

If you check out the context, you will see the sentence has to do with what we do just before and just after the Sabbath begins. It is clearly dealing with the question of how we prepare for the Sabbath. The entire chapter explains how to keep the Sabbath, including her statement that we should avoid cooking on the Sabbath and do our best not to travel on it. Also this statement: "If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly." 6 T 359 (This was written during the 1890s.)

I left both Christ and the church for a very long time after being baptized when I was about 15. My happy memories of the Sabbath in our home as I was growing up were a strong influence in bringing me back to Christ and His church.

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...I've worked with young people my whole life. I cannot tell you how many simply detest the Sabbath. NOT because their parents had "poor standards." On the contrary, the "high standards" of "thou shalt not" have made the Sabbath for them, as one young man raised in an SDA community said, "something to be endured, at best."

On the other hand, within a few WEEKS attending our very different church, and experiencing the Sabbath with us, they become enthusiastic. The same young man said, "Now I can hardly wait for Sabbath to come around." The results are so dramatic that our conference president remarked on them.

Instead of concentrating on what is prohibited, we emphasize the purpose of the Sabbath. As people fill the Sabbath with those positive things, the rest are eliminated so as not to take up time that could be used in blessings.

I grew up loving the Sabbath, and all my children (4, ages 15 to 30) love the Sabbath. I know many kids I grew up with that hated it and ended up leaving the church. I left the church, too, but it wasn't because of a dislike of the Sabbath. In fact, as I've said elsewhere, the Sabbath was a strong influence in bringing me back both to Christ and to the SDA church.

I am wondering if you think the people you refer to in the above post would agree with what Ellen White wrote in the chapter, "The Observance of the Sabbath," in 6 T 349-368. Or do you think they would consider it legalistic, irrelevant or obsolete?

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Whenever I talk to church members, (our's or others), I find a lot of confusion about high standards. I find it hard to decide, from what others say to me these days, just what it is to "keep the sabbath holy."

...I find less confusion when I read the Bible about it, but there are still lots of interesting questions to study. Here are some Bible texts I would be interested to see comments on, as they might pertain to the Sabbath:

Quote:
Leviticus 10:10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

How would the principles in these texts pertain to the Sabbath, or, do they?

What do you think of what Ellen White wrote in the chapter, "The Observance of the Sabbath," in 6 T 349- 368? I think that chapter would probably answer your questions. She addresses the very questions about the difference between holy and unholy that you bring up here, and talks also about the relationship between Sabbath keeping and sanctification. I find it a wonderful chapter.

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Originally Posted By: John317

Yes, we can mow people's lawns and do work for others on other days of the week. If we can do that work on the Sabbath, it will be so easy to excuse ourselves when it comes to making a decision to keep the Sabbath and the rest of God's commandments or receive the mark of the beast. Would God really expect me to die rather than work on the Sabbath when I have been doing all kinds of work on it all along?

Exactly so. And that is why satan is trying so hard to get us to be careless about the Sabbath... Dave

I've been reading recently where Ellen White warns of the time which she says is just before the close of probation when there will be attempts to bring about changes in the church, and those changes will be (1) lack of confidence in the Testimonies; (2) a rejection of the idea that there is a heavenly sanctuary; and (3) carelessness in regard to the keeping of the Sabbath. She says attempts will be made to change the church in order to bring it more into harmony with the popular churches.

I'm sure you also are familiar with some of these statements.

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Originally Posted By: Tom Wetmore
The importance of the Sabbath at the end of time will not be so much an issue for the clock and calendar watchers as it will be an issue of the true mission and spirit of the Sabbath as identified in the first part of the chapter 58.

Actually, both issues will be important at that time. God's instruction about how we should keep His Sabbath addresses both we should not do on His day (Ex. 20:8 - 11, Isa. 58:13) AND what we SHOULD do (Isa. 58:1 - 14)

The Sabbath is the counterpart of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Dave

There is a definite connection between the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Sabbath.

Consider these points:

Both tests have to do with simply accepting the word of God on something that does not really make sense. The rest part makes sense for sure, but the seventh-dayness does not. There is no reason that God chose the particular tree, and there is no reason that God chose Saturday as the rest day. We know it was the last day of the Creation week, yes, but He could just as easily have blessed the first day or even the day on which He created humans. The point is that both the prohibition against eating from that tree and the prohibition against work on the Sabbath day are based solely on God's command.

And there is a very good reason why this is so. Both are/were tests of obedience and faith. They resolve the essential question of what people will do when they are faced with a decision to obey or not to obey God based not on human reasoning but on His command alone. The onlooking universe is wanting to know whether we will obey God because it makes sense to our human reasoning or whether we will obey because we have complete trust in God and are totally submitted to Him. Do we make reason our god or is God really our Lord and Master? Eve and Adam chose reason over faith and submission to the Creator. At the end, most of the world will also choose human reason over obedience to God's commandments. So the Sabbath serves the same purpose as the Tree served in Eden.

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What was it that Ed said...hmmm... oh yes, you quoted it, something about missing the point of the Sabbath. And what an extravagant expenditure of words in this adventure in missing the point.

John, read the whole of Isaiah 58. Meditate on it. And consider the words of EGW about that chapter. (She has a lot to say about it, repeatedly.) Such things as "The whole chapter is of the highest importance." "The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah contains present truth for the people of God." "I cannot too strongly urge all our church members, all who are true missionaries, all who believe the third angel's message, all who turn away their feet from the Sabbath, to consider the message of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah." "The whole of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is to be regarded as a message for this time, to be given over and over again."

And yes John, as much as it probably surprises you, I have read, seriously and repeatedly, what EGW says about the Sabbath and how she stresses the importance of the whole chapter of Isaiah 58 in talking about the Sabbath as The message for the end of time. The importance of the Sabbath at the end of time will not be so much an issue for the clock and calendar watchers as it will be an issue of the true mission and spirit of the Sabbath as identified in the first part of the chapter 58. In the end, that will be God's test of our religion to see if we have pure religion as Christ defined it. (Look up those ideas in EGW's writings...)Tom

I can agree with much that you say here, except your statement that at the end the test will be "the true mission and spirit of the Sabbath." Yes, true Sabbath keeping does depend on our personal relationship with Christ all during the week and on whether we show Christ-like love for others. All of that is extremely important. But we shouldn't muddy the waters regarding what the test at the end of time will be all about: it will be about whether we are willing to obey God's commandments even though it looks like it will cost us our life. It was the same test that came to Daniel and his three worthy friends when they were faced with obedience and death or disobedience and life. What if Daniel had said, "Well the test is not about clock watching, so I can just change the time of my prayers"? If we get our eyes off what the Bible clearly says about it, we can begin rationalizing and say that it really doesn't have to to with "clock and calender," so we can disobey God and still be saved. That would be a lie that Satan would love us to believe, wouldn't it?

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OK, John, just a few brief observations for now since I have to get going. It's preparation day an I have a lot to do before Sabbath starts. I leave a more substantive response for later when I have the luxury of a Sabbath pace.

First, you are still missing the point. Get your head out of the alarmist zone. Suggesting (although it sounds more like accusing) as you are that what is being advocated by others is essentially on the road to apostasy is very much out of order and serves no productive purpose in this discussion. I don't think anyone that you seem to be striving so vigorously against in this topic is in any way suggesting or moving toward a position of abandoning the Sabbath. Quite to the contrary, I for one (and I believe Ed) am trying to move people to a higher regard for the Sabbath, suggesting a whole new paradigm of really honoring the Sabbath.

And finally, casting the Adventist equivalent of a hex ("Oh dear, they are rejecting EGW", "Well, EGW says..." "They are destroying the pillars of our faith...", ie rejecting the Sanctuary, etc, etc, etc.) is more than just an irritating adventure in missing the point. It casts a pall on any discussion that totally diverts the discussion, if not scares off rational dialog. It tends to be a conversation stopper. Quite simply it is the last resort of a weak position, IMHO. So, get off that train of thought and actually get on board the substance of what I have posted. How about engagement instead of diversion and stop using tactics that end up shutting down dialog.

Tom

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Originally Posted By: Clio
Matthew 12:11-12 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Is not every widow, shut-in, elderly, sick, poor child of Abba more important than a list of "thou shalt nots"?

Believe me, hauling an animal out of a pit is WORK. You get hot, dirty, grimy, bruised... you use tools, generally to your own benefit because it's your animal... and then you have to clean up the mess you made getting it out of the pit... I've hauled a few animals out of pits... we used to have a ranch.

Is not every widow, shut-in, elderly, sick, poor child of Abba more important than an animal in a pit?

IT IS LAWFUL TO DO WELL ON THE SABBATH. How much clearer do you need it to be?

Hey Clio

Just wanted you to know I enjoy your posts here. You lighten up some of the storm clouds on the horizon. :JF

I enjoy your posts as well David and look specifically for them in various threads where we interact.

It's amazing.... this started out with sledding on the Sabbath on church grounds... What an awesome celebration of the gift of joy, snow, health, Christian friends, and nature from Abba. What a tragedy it has come to this.

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Redwood,

I take my example from Jesus as it's recorded in the Bible. He met each person with whom He interacted where they were. He met their physical, secular needs and then used that as a personal parable or opening to begin addressing their spiritual needs.

Without loving your fellowman in a practical way that meets their need, you may as well not love your brother or sister at all. How many times have you heard, "It's not help unless its help the way I need help!" Does it do you any good at all to have someone help around your house if you have to go around behind them and re-do everything they've done? Do you even want their help if they look down their nose at you and tell you how unworthy you are of the help they're offering?

Why would anyone receive spiritual help from someone who treated them in such a way? That is not love. That is not the example Jesus gave.

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Wow! This has been quite a discussion. Because I don't write well, or speak well, and don't even think deep, I'll add only my 2 cents.

In my house, there is a plaque on the wall which reads," If it pleases me to please God, I can do as I please." That's good enough for me, and releases me from a lot of confusion.

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To take this thread back vaguely to where it started...

Today Sammy and I went to the Chinese SDA Church in Sydney - the preacher was Dr Jonathon Kuntaraf, the GC SS director and an old friend of Sammy's. Sammy picked up Jonathon and some other visitors from the airport this morning and took them straight to church....I came along later. And left earlier, after the potluck -

And on the front lawn of the church, almost on the street, I saw some of the teenage boys with a cricket bat and ball, hitting it around.

What should I have done?

(PS I just kept walking).

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What should I have done?

Well, looking at the question on a couple of levels . . .

As for the core issue, the activity was inappropriate for them to engage in on the Sabbath. And, it was not a good witness, occurring on the front lawn of the church.

Then the question arises, what should be done about it? Nan, you were a visitor. If it were me, I would question what standing I had to intervene. As far as talking to the boys, well, that would be quite a step. Should it be done? I don't know. Perhaps it could be done in a way that would get them thinking about the issue, and not in an offensive way.

I might have gone inside the church and asked to talk to one of the deacons, who would seem to be the responsible parties for something like this on the church grounds. Or, to someone else in senior church leadership.

Dave

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Another option would have been to join them OR distract them into something that might be more like what a Sabbatarian would promote.

By the way ... I think the distraction idea is best. Provide a better alternative to the one they are doing. Our witness is always better than our preaching.

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...Extremely strong language, and quite inappropriate for such a forum....

The points... brought up are extremely important, and right on point....

And, of course, there is the possibility that what has been objected to is in fact true. It is something that needs to be reflected upon and taken seriously....

Exactly my point about what John posted regarding mine and several others' posts!!

And regarding what you have just posted to me, let me quote someone right back at you..."Let's not squelch anyone who is making a serious effort to contribute, but welcome the contribution. Practice what you preach."

Tom

(Oh where oh where are the rolling eyes emoticons when you really need them...)

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