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Whats all the fuss about?


lazarus

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...The Biblical model is for the Sabbath to be a day of unselfish ministry, and a day of getting close to God. Isaiah chapter 58 is a chapter that speaks especially to Sabbath keepers. God's message to Sabbath keepers there is about how he wants us to keep His Sabbath....[not] keeping to ourselves, or spending it in meetings or fellowshipping with the ninety-and-nine, but to give our time and our talents and ourselves to others in unselfish ministry, on His Sabbath. Such activities are pleasant and in fact happy and joyous. And young people, in my experience, are interested in participating in stuff like that. With gentle guidance, they respond very positively and in fact look forward to being a blessing to others on God's Sabbath.

Dave

:tu Dave, (and John, are you listening) for crying out loud! That has been exactly the point most of us on this thread have been trying to make!!! There now, we have common ground upon which we can build a more productive dialog. Shall we? (There is, and never was, any need for the rude interruption of an avalanche of exaggerated alarmist reactionary histrionics that we are moving the church toward a rejection of the Sabbath, making the Sabbath unholy, bending toward the mark of the beast, etc. etc. etc.)

And notice that I purposefully omitted from the quote of what you posted the one phrase that is the rub, and has been a stumbling block to the situation that started this whole topic out and has been a stumbling block to the Church for generations. (Indeed, misunderstanding this text has resulted in a whole set of warped Sabbath rules carried over here by the Puritans and dutifully carried on by their descendants, rules that end up really de-sanctifying the Sabbath, IMHO.) And my point is, and has been repeatedly whenever this topic has come up, that taking a literalistic approach to this single Sabbath proof text out of its immediate context of the whole of chapter 58 and relying on the archaic and perhaps poorly translated KJV continues to trip up Sabbath-keepers and blocks the way to a better understanding of Sabbath.

Yes, if you take the simplistic lexical route, the basic non-contextual meaning would seem to be all about pleasure seeking. But, from what little I know of Hebrew, its meaning is heavily dependent on context. And my point has been that the meaning of the word as used in verse 13 can only be fully understood by looking at the immediate context of how that same word is used in verse 3 and by contrasting contextual meaning in verse 6 and onward. When verse 13-14 are read with the explanatory context of the preceding 12 verses, one should very readily see that it has nothing to do with recreational activities, doing enjoyable things, kids playing, laughing, having fun or anything of the sort. That is why I emphatically say that getting all exercised about the kids playing in the snow or playing anything and citing Isaiah 58:13-14 as proof is seriously missing the point.

Tom

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Yes, if you take the simplistic lexical route, the basic non-contextual meaning would seem to be all about pleasure seeking. But, from what little I know of Hebrew, its meaning is heavily dependent on context. And my point has been that the meaning of the word as used in verse 13 can only be fully understood by looking at the immediate context of how that same word is used in verse 3 and by contrasting contextual meaning in verse 6 and onward. When verse 13-14 are read with the explanatory context of the preceding 12 verses, one should very readily see that it has nothing to do with recreational activities, doing enjoyable things, kids playing, laughing, having fun or anything of the sort. That is why I emphatically say that getting all exercised about the kids playing in the snow or playing anything and citing Isaiah 58:13-14 as proof is seriously missing the point.

Tom

Tom,

In our discussion with the teens one of our less experienced you leaders used this text and said "you shouldn't be doing your own pleasure" on the Sabbath. One of the teens shot back with the obvious, "so if there is something pleasurable to you then you should not do it on the Sabbath" . She had trouble making her real point after that.

Whats that saying ....a text without its context becomes a pre-text for.... We have often used this text as a pre-text for making arguments that are not supported inscripture and get us into unecessary fights.

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Hey ... as long as we are passing out Kudos ... I like having you here also Lazarus. Not only do I enjoy your comments ... I also enjoy having someone to rib and to see if I can rile up.

All is good. It makes for a color blind forum.

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Here's some stuff I do/dont do!

Gee, Lazarus....I didn't know that you were so ....conservative!

And I did realise how many of you liberal Sabbath-breakers are on this board!!! :PF

Y'all take the Seventh-day out of Seventh-day Adventist!!! for real!

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Yes, if you take the simplistic lexical route, the basic non-contextual meaning would seem to be all about pleasure seeking. But, from what little I know of Hebrew, its meaning is heavily dependent on context. And my point has been that the meaning of the word as used in verse 13 can only be fully understood by looking at the immediate context of how that same word is used in verse 3 and by contrasting contextual meaning in verse 6 and onward. When verse 13-14 are read with the explanatory context of the preceding 12 verses, one should very readily see that it has nothing to do with recreational activities, doing enjoyable things, kids playing, laughing, having fun or anything of the sort.

Context can, indeed, be very helpful. To understand the context, it is helpful to have a grasp of the situation Isaiah was addressing. It appears from the passage that people in his day made quite a production of Sabbath-keeping (or, 'sabbathing,' to use your term. Interesting. Grammatically, your word would pass muster.) They fasted, and mourned, and bowed down as bulrushes, as God describes it in the passage.

How does God respond to all that? He says, No! That is not the fast I have chosen. The fast I have chosen is to not seek one's own pleasure, but to give oneself in ministry on My Sabbath.

The sword cuts both ways, in this case, Tom. Yes, what you are saying about true Sabbathing is correct, I believe. However, the other side is also correct. We should be doing this INSTEAD of seeking our own pleasure. And, yes, 'our own pleasure' does, indeed, include 'play' activities.

'Simplistic lexical route' would apply to some of the lexicons one may purchase at the Christian bookstores, which are on the level of Strong's. The lexicons I am referring to go way deeper than that, and examine the etymology as well as the semantic range, with specific applications. Koehler-Baumgartner is the best one around. It goes for around $700.00, last time I checked. In 'the case at bar,' I have gone beyond that, even, and have done my own analysis of the semantic range of the word in the OT, and how it is used in a variety of applications.

Dave

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Originally Posted By: Taylor
....... I know you might not mean it to be humorous,

I'm troubled that there were instances where laughed at things that were not supposed to be funny. My Pastoral credibilty is at stake.

Since no one knows exactly who you are, and since we like you here, you are safe. I think my kids would really like you as a pastor. Too bad you don't pastor around here. (Then again, since we really don't know who you are, maybe you do pastor around her even though your info says Maryland. lol)

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Originally Posted By: Redwood

All is good. It makes for a color blind forum.

At the risk of starting something...

but a color blind forum would be a bad thing. The color blind miss out on the full beauty of nature.

Yes Lazarus ... You are very colorful.

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At the risk of starting something...

but a color blind forum would be a bad thing. The color blind miss out on the full beauty of nature.

I agree Laz. Being color blind we would lose the flavor of the posts and community. We need the diversity of color and culture to get a better view of life. Without color we are too white sided. Snow blind even

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More specifically to the context in verse 3, the phrase "doing as you please" (I think this phrasing better reflects the meaning than "seeking your own pleasure"...) is immediately followed by three very specific examples of what it means to "do as you please" on the day of their "fasting" (Sabbath?):

1.) exploit all your workers,

2.) quarreling and strife, and

3.) striking each other with wicked fists.

In direct and stark contrast verses 6 and 7 lists the conduct which establishes what is God-pleasing fasting/worship as contrasted to the self-pleasing conduct previously identified:

1.) Loose the chains of injustice,

2.) set the oppressed free,

3.) share your food with the hungry,

4.) provide the poor wanderer with shelter,

5.) cloth the naked, and

6.) not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.

With that introduction to verses 13 and 14, it couldn't be more clear now what is specifically being prohibited as "doing as you please" on the Sabbath and what God really wants of us to truly honor his holy day in a way that brings great delight and joy. Everything to understand these two verses is explained in the preceding 12.

I believe that Jesus' life and teachings exemplified this passage. He repeatedly lived out and taught the themes of this passage, including a number of other points not spelled out here, like untying and breaking the yoke, being a light in the darkness, asking and receiving, water of life, being builders and repairers... He launched his ministry on this theme by announcing in the synagogue in Nazareth that he was here to bring good news to the poor, free the prisoners, give sight to the blind and release the oppressed. And he described the end-time judgment scene as hinging on how people treated the hungry, thirsty, homeless strangers, naked, sick and prisoners. It's all about Sabbathing! (Now factor that into a reading of Revelation and Adventist eschatology... But that opens a window on a whole other study!)

Tom

PS Since you mention my use of Sabbath as a verb, I must share an amusing computer quirk each time I use "Sabbathing". My all-knowing spell-checker automatically wants to correct my "mistake" to "Sunbathing"... Hmmm... maybe the computer has a point there, or would that open up a whole new can of worms?!?! LOL

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More specifically to the context in verse 3, the phrase "doing as you please" (I think this phrasing better reflects the meaning than "seeking your own pleasure"...) is immediately followed by three very specific examples of what it means to "do as you please" on the day of their "fasting" (Sabbath?):

1.) exploit all your workers,

2.) quarreling and strife, and

3.) striking each other with wicked fists.

Now THIS is interesting to me! The specific issues I want to explore further, have to do with the word itself as used in this passage, and its immediate context. I don't have time at the moment, but I will dig further into this, and will respond.

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Anybody, indeed everybody, contemplating becoming a SDA-type Sabbath Keeper, should read this entire thread which I and my wife have just completed in about 2 hrs...

This is the problem as my wife and I see it...we who grew up as SDAs beginning 84+ yrs ago and who have each had approx 20 yrs of formal SDA education and have been steady attenders of only SDA churchs all this time (until recently becoming literally aged.).......THIS is THE problem: Here are some 20 or so various SDA believers who cannot agree about the Sabbath in any really significant numbers and who are obviously confused because "they or we" have these different authorities all telling us about the Sabbath. These authorities are (a) EGW (B) the Old Testament, and © the New Testament. These are different 'authorities'!!!! They do not agree about the Sabbath with each other in important ways!!! Therefore, may I suggest that since the 'authority' on Christianity is NOT the Old Testament, nor, pardon me, please, is EGW....Therefore, since the New Testament IS THE authority about Christianity and Christian living we should attempt to find what the New Testament says about Sabbath observance and follow what IT says, without trying to put "..old wine into new wineskins..", or our preprogrammed thoughts and words into its wordings and meanings. Christ said HE was Lord of the Sabbath.(IMO, meaning...that He was Lord of the Sabbath, too, as well as all other days).. (My wife, sitting beside me says, in effect, "Stop there! What else does one need to know?!)

I cannot help but emphasize that information about being Christian and about doing Christian living comes from the New Testament primarily....not, primarily, the other two sources.

Ben Herndon

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These authorities are (a) EGW (B) the Old Testament, and © the New Testament. These are different 'authorities'!!!! They do not agree about the Sabbath with each other in important ways!!!
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More specifically to the context in verse 3, the phrase "doing as you please" (I think this phrasing better reflects the meaning than "seeking your own pleasure"...) is immediately followed by three very specific examples of what it means to "do as you please" on the day of their "fasting" (Sabbath?):

1.) exploit all your workers,

2.) quarreling and strife, and

3.) striking each other with wicked fists.

In direct and stark contrast verses 6 and 7 lists the conduct which establishes what is God-pleasing fasting/worship as contrasted to the self-pleasing conduct previously identified:

1.) Loose the chains of injustice,

2.) set the oppressed free,

3.) share your food with the hungry,

4.) provide the poor wanderer with shelter,

5.) cloth the naked, and

6.) not to turn away from your own flesh and blood.

With that introduction to verses 13 and 14, it couldn't be more clear now what is specifically being prohibited as "doing as you please" on the Sabbath and what God really wants of us to truly honor his holy day in a way that brings great delight and joy. Everything to understand these two verses is explained in the preceding 12.

Now, then, this is getting interesting indeed! We see several issues raised in this post--issues of word meaning, and of context. I am delighted to see things head this direction. Let us, now, examine the position statements:

1) "(I think this phrasing better reflects the meaning than "seeking your own pleasure"...)"

On what basis do you make that statement? The word is 'chepets.' Isaiah uses this word seven times in his book. It is rendered, 'what you please,' 'want' 'desire' 'will' both in Isaiah and elsewhere in the OT. While 'doing what you please' would seem to be supported, so would be 'seeking your own pleasure.' It appears to this student that either would work. Do you have any cites that would indicate otherwise?

2) "is immediately followed by three very specific examples of what it means to 'do as you please' "

Very well, that would seem reasonable. However, note the first example, "exploit all your workers." That is not something which would be done on the weekly Sabbath. These people professed to keep the Sabbath. Thus, they would not have their workers working on the Sabbath. What days is God referring to, then? This takes us to the third position statement.

3) "on the day of their "fasting" (Sabbath?):"

Is it the Sabbath? Sabbath is not mentioned here. What is mentioned? Looking at the usage pattern in the OT, the word appears to indeed describe 'fasting' or a fast as we know it. The word 'day' is 'yom,' straightforward enough. Are these days of fasting referring to the weekly Sabbath? Firstly, there is no indication in the verse that they do. Thus, at best the tie-in would be speculative. Secondly, I believe the Jewish custom was to fast on weekdays, not on the Sabbath, which was a special day, with a special Sabbath meal. Thus, it would not be a day of fasting. Thirdly, on the day of their fasting they oppressed their workers. That would not occur on the Sabbath, which was a solemn day of rest. Nor does God say anything here about their working on the Sabbath. If that were an issue, then one would think it would be mentioned along with the other issues.

4) "With that introduction to verses 13 and 14"

Is it? How do you know it is intended as an introduction? KIM that there were no chapter or verse breaks in the original. On what basis would you characterize vv. 1 - 12 as an 'introduction' to vv. 13, 14?

I'd like to stop here for now, and await the tiger's response.

Dave

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Let me start with your last question. I do recognize that the original text had no chapter and verse breaks. I am more concerned about the context without regard to chapters as verses. Typically when I look for the context of a particular Scriptural point, I backtrack to where there is a clear literary break, transitional phrase, typical opening/introductory phrase, time marker in a narrative, or some clue as to where the topic at hand starts and then read back to the verse in question and then past it until there is a clear literary closing. Sometimes its not real clear, but sometimes it is. Often the starting point and ending point do not correlate to the chapter/verse breaks.

This passage shows a very clear literary ending as the last declaration of verse 14 - "The mouth of the Lord has spoken." That seals an important message from the Lord - it's his byline. So now one should go back through the passage to see where the Lord opens his mouth or there is some phrase to introduce or announce the message from the Lord. I find just such a phrase in the first verse of the chapter - "Shout aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins." This marks out the literary boundaries of the immediate context.

But there is a larger context because this theme reoccurs throughout Isaiah. In fact there is a preamble that sets the stage for this starting back at the beginning of chapter 56 where there is another intro - "This is what the Lord says:" When I first began to explore the context of 58:13, I went back to this point. And indeed here is where you can see a larger context about the Sabbath and that Sabbath is about doing good. Read what comes next in 56:1-2:

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Maintain justice and do what is right...Blessed is the man who does this, and holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing evil.

And there is one more thing to consider, as I told John before, EGW repeatedly draws attention to the whole chapter 58 of Isaiah as being an important message for the end time. She strongly urges for it to be read as a whole integrated message.

Regrading your 3rd point, I put Sabbath in parenthesis with a question mark quite intentionally. It was to hint at an association or correlative application to the later verses explicitly about Sabbath. I did not intend it to indicate fasting on Sabbath, but that the problems identified as corrupting fasting also were corrupting the Sabbath and blocking it from being a blessing.

Your second point - exploiting workers. I did not mean to suggest that the core problem was that workers were being exploited only on days of fasting and the Sabbath. Nor that it was simply making their servants work on Sabbath. (Although there had certainly developed a practice of a Jew getting a gentile to do what a good Jew would never do themselves, including working on the Sabbath. I don't think you can assume they didn't do this.) I think a fair interpretation would be (particularly in light of the larger context) these bad actions were a way of life that did not even stop during times of fasting/worship or on the Sabbath. But more significantly, no amount of fasting, piety or superficially keeping Sabbath could hide or make up for their disregard for others and their wellbeing, which God is stressing as being far more serious. Loving one another and looking out for the wellbeing of others is more important than fasting or the Sabbath. ("The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.")

And finally to your first point, it is clear from the context that the intended meaning has a negative connotation. "Doing as you please" today is an expression with a negative connotation that suggests selfishness and willful indifference to what others want, need or may even require. That is quite consistent with the context. On the other hand, "seeking your own pleasure in todays English and todays cultural climate is neutral at worst and more likely understood as positive. Pleasure seeking, recreation or enjoying oneself is very broadly understood as being beneficial and necessary for taking a break from regular routine or work such as taking a vacation, holiday or the Sabbath.

OK, this is long and I am tired.

Tom

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Ben, I have no problem with what you have posted. Welcome aboard this train.

I agree that the NT should be our primary source and that Christ is indeed Lord of the Sabbath. Notwithstanding the immediate dialog about Isaiah 58, that is why I keep trying to move the discussion toward talking about what Jesus did and taught about the Sabbath. I think our fullest and best understanding is found in the NT.

However, I don't think we can totally disregard the OT and since many here have some degree of regard for EGW, I will sprinkle a bit of that flavoring in the soup for those who may think they need that nutritional supplement for their spiritual diet.

Carry on!

Tom

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The whole point about "principles vs. rules" is that so much of the counsel about Sabbath, especially in EGW, is about "rules," applications of the principles to a particular context.

It is quite common for rules to conflict or seem to contradict one another, simply because they are formed in response to opposite contexts.

When one derives the principles behind the rules, everything snaps into focus, and we don't have to 'ignore' any of the examples. Until that point. nothing appears rational.

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Quite true. And the frustration that I experience when this sort of discussion ensues is that the irrationality and conflict override the discussion because rules rule before the principles are even understood or explored.

What are some basic Sabbath principles in your view?

Tom

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