Rebuttal: The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites

The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites
Negative: Presentation of Counter Evidences

 Jaymark Molo

First of all, it is a privilege to be continually part of this conversation with Zandro Ganipan.[1] Despite of admitting the fact that he can not prove that the Seventh-day Sabbath was given only to the Israelites – it is still a pleasure to dwell on his first presentation.


My initial impression after reading his first presentation (especially his first argument) leads me to conclude that there are some teachings in the Seventh-day Adventist Church that needs to be clarified and emphasized.

The Promulgation of the Law at Mount Sinai, by...

The Promulgation of the Law at Mount Sinai, by the illustrators of the Figures de la Bible, 1728 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, we both partially agree that those who suggests that Sunday worshipers today does belong to anti-Christ cannot be warranted its teaching from the Scripture.[2] Perhaps, this erroneous teaching can be traced on the belief that Sunday keepers have already received the mark of the beast. In contrast, the Seventh-day Adventist believes that “no one has yet received the mark of the beast”.[3] Ellen White concurs by stating that: “Sunday-keeping is not yet the mark of the beast, and will not be until the decree goes forth causing men to worship this idol Sabbath. The time will come when this day will be the test, but that time has not come yet.”[4] However, this subject must not be dismissed because Sabbath keeping will become life and death issue in the end times (cf. Rev. 13).[5]

Second, regarding to your third argument, we also believed that Sabbath/s in Ezekiel are plural in form (including the ceremonial Sabbaths). Nevertheless, we contend that there are enormous distinctions between moral law and ceremonial law. The ceremonial law embraced the types and shadows that entered into the sacrificial system of Israel. All the sacrificial offerings, the feast days, and even the priesthood all that were typical of the sacrifice and ministry of Christ our Lord met its end on Calvary’s cross. Therefore, we do not find difficulty in believing that ceremonial Sabbath/s were included on that mark/seal because the nature of ceremonial Sabbath itself was only temporal (cf. Heb. 10:1). Unlike the Seventh-day Sabbath, which we believed moral in nature, are eternal and perpetual. To simply put it, the Seventh-day Sabbath only remains a mark/seal because it was never abolished (unlike the ceremonial Sabbaths) on the cross.


            In this section, we will attempt to answer objectively to our disagreements on his first presentation and to his answers in my cross-examination.[6]

First, regarding to his second argument, he implicitly states that Christ was instituting a new Sabbath (different in the Seventh-day Sabbath) in Mark 2:27 by statement of our Lord “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for Sabbath.” Nonetheless, his arguments cannot be contextually and linguistically advanced because: (1) Immediate Context. The day that Jesus Christ was been accused of breaking the Sabbath was no other than seventh-day Sabbath itself (see, Mark 2:23). To inject another Sabbath in mind of Jesus is to simply miss the day when our Lord Jesus Christ has been accused. (2) Linguistic Context. If Jesus Christ was introducing a new Sabbath here, why did Jesus use the verb in aorist tense (“was made—egeneto”)? That only proves that Christ does not introduce new Sabbath commandment here but establishes its permanent validity by appealing to its original creation when God determined its intended function for the well being of humanity.[7]

Second, on his last part on his second argument, he used Romans 14:5, 6 to base his belief that Sabbath is a matter of liberty and conscience. Unfortunately, a second reading of the text will lead us to reject his conclusion. Here are the following reasons: (1) Total Abstinence? Notice that some of the recipients of the letter to the Romans believed that one should abstain from eating meat and drinking wine (14:2, 21). However, the Old Testament does not require total abstention from animal flesh but only of the flesh of some animals (Lev 11). Neither does the OT consider grape juice improper for ingestion. It was forbidden only to the High Priest and the Nazarite. (2) Common Food? Paul is discussing food that was considered common (koinós, unclean by defilement [the term used in Rom 14:14]), and not unclean foods (akatharthos the term used in Leviticus 11], unclean by nature). Paul says that the weak values one day more than another but he does not explicitly state the reason for the distinction. There is not an explicit statement from Paul indicating what was done during that day or whether the day was considered holy. There are no references in the chapter to the holy days of the Old Testament Whatever it was, the strong valued every day as the same for the purpose or activity that he or she had in mind. (3) Concern of Paul. Paul dedicates only two verses to the subject of “days” and about 21 to the issue of food. Had he been discussing the Sabbath he would have had to develop his thought much more because of the potential controversial nature of this subject. Therefore, to say the Sabbath is a matter of liberty and conscience is not warranted, because in the first place, the issue in Romans 14 was not Sabbath, not even the Old Testament.[8]

Third, his fourth argument completely collides to the immediate context of Deuteronomy 5:15. The immediate context states:

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 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 ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.” (vv. 12-14, emphasis added)

The term “foreigner” highly suggests that this command is not exclusively given for Israelites alone. A universal dimension to the weekly Sabbath is clearly implied in this text (v. 14).[9] Thus, the argument of Zandro Ganipan cannot stand on the immediate context of Deuteronomy 5:15.

Fourth, regarding to his fifth argument, allow me to focus on his argument on Colossians 2:14. Here our critic suggests that the Seventh-day Sabbath was nailed on the cross. Allow me to present to you the two proposed Adventist solutions regarding with this contention: (1) Ceremonial Sabbaths. The popular interpretation argues that the Sabbaths refer to the ceremonial Sabbaths. This traditional interpretation asserts that the Sabbaths in Colossians 2:14-16 were part of Hebrew ceremonial system – with its feast, new moon celebrations, and various Sabbaths, symbols pointing forward to the work of the Sabbath. In contrast to the Seventh-day Sabbath, it points back to the creation, and it was instituted long ago before the Hebrew ceremonial system, and was encoded in the Decalogue, as no ceremony was. Thus, the “Sabbaths” were clearly ceremonial ones, and not the moral Sabbath of the Decalogue.[10] (2) Colossian Heresy. The second proposal suggests that Paul is reacting to syncretistic practices[11] promoted by the false teachers with respect to eating, drinking and festivals (2:22; 8). Paul is in fact warning “the Colossians not against the observances of these practices as such, but against ‘anyone’ (tis) who passes judgment on how to eat, to drink, and to observe sacred times. The judge who passed judgment is not Paul but the Colossian false teachers who imposed ‘regulations’ (Col 2:20) on how to observe these practices in order to achieve ‘rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body’ (Col 2:23). Therefore, what Paul is rejecting is not “the teachings of Moses but their perverted use by the Colossian false teachers.”[12]

Lastly, his answer to my last question on my cross examination gives dubious account to the number of literatures that proves that “the church substituted Sunday for Saturday.” The burden of proof lies on the person who claimed that they had the power to change such law.[13]

Thus, I have maintained the position that the Seventh-day Sabbath was not only given to the Jews alone.

[1] Allow me to commend first, again, the honesty of Zandro Ganipan on conceding that he can’t prove his stand on the Bible. His sincerity to the truth is quite unparalleled compared to the other debaters here in Debate Forum. Even though it is quite odd that we are still pursuing this debate (because our Moderator, whose a member of Iglesia ni Kristo, insisted so) – we are uninterrupted for the sake of truth! Follow our discussion: (1) The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites by Zandro Ganipan [Courtesy Introduction]; (2) The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites by Jaymark Molo [Courtesy Introduction] ; (3) The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites by Zandro Ganipan [Affirmative]; (4) The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites by Jaymark Molo  [Cross Examination]; (5) The Seventh-day Sabbath Was Given Only to the Israelites by Zandro Ganipan [Cross Examination Answer]

[2] Yet, I believed that they (Sunday worshippers) would be part of the propaganda movement of anti Christ in the last portion of the end time.

[3] George R. Knight, Questions on Doctrine: Annotated Edition (Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2003), 153.

[4] Ellen G. White, Manuscript 118, 1899.

[5] See, Anthony Macpherson, “The Mark of the Beast as a ‘Sign Commandment’ and ‘Anti Sabbath’ in the Worship Crisis of Revelation 12-14,” Andrews University Seminary Studies, 43, Vol. 2 (2005): 267 – 283. See also, Norman R. Gulley, “Good News About The Time of Trouble,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 7/2 (Autumn 1996): 125-141; Norman R. Gulley, “The Battle Against the Sabbath and its End-time Importance,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 5/2 (Autumn 1994): 79-115; John Paulien, “Revisiting the Sabbath in the Book of Revelation,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 9/1-2 (1998): 179-186.

[6] I am quite disappointed to the answers that our critic had given to my cross-examination. In my humble opinion; some are irrelevant (see his answers in question/s # 1, 4); some are presumptuous (see his answer in question/s # 2, 3). Yet, I do not question his motive in answering my questions.

[7] Interestingly, during our cross-examination, he used Hebrews 4:8-9 to substantiate his point; unfortunately, even their Catholic Bible will not agree to his view, for it says, “There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest reserved for God’s people.” (Heb. 4:9, New Jerusalem Bible, emphasis added)

[8] See, Angel Manuel Rodriguez, The Biblical Sabbath: The Adventist Perspective,” Biblical Research Institute, pp. 1-35.

[9] See, H. R. Cole, “The Sabbath and the Alien, ”Andrews University Seminary Studies, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Autumn 2000): 223-229.

[10] See a recent study, Ron du Preez, Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can’t Be Found in Colossians 2:16 (Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2008).

[11] For an extended discussion of Gnosticism, see Ibid. (1982), 2:484–90. For other useful works, see Francis D. Nichol, ed., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, l957), 6:54–9; Justo L. Gonzalez. A History of Christian Thought (Nashville: Abingdon, l970), 1:128–44; Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church, rev. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, l970), 51–5; Colin Brown, Christianity & Western Thought (Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity, l990), 70–82.

[12] See the works, Samuele Bacchiocchi, The Sabbath in the New Testament: Answers to Questions (Berrien Springs: Biblical Perspectives, 2000), 75-87; Samuele Bacchiocchi, The Sabbath Under Crossfire: A Biblical Analysis of Recent Sunday Developments (Berrien Springs: Biblical Perspectives, 1999), 229-247.

[13] See, Cardinal James Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (Ayers Publishing, 1978): 108; Stephen Keenan, Catholic—Doctrinal Catechism 3rd Edition: 174; Our Sunday Visitor (February 5, 1950); Louis Gaston Segur, Plain Talk about the Protestantism of To-Day (London: Thomas Richardson and Son, 1874): 213; The Catholic Mirror (September 23, 1893); Catholic Record (September 1, 1923); The Question Box,” The Catholic Universe Bulletin (August 14, 1942): 4.

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