steve wrote:I wish that SDAs could simply stand back and look objectively at the nature of their biblical arguments—especially when addressing their advocacy of the Old Testament sabbath and food laws.
There are several stages to the argument against the SDA position:
1) Though Jesus said that He did not come to "destroy the law" (as the SDAs often point out), yet the Bible does clearly affirm that there was a "change in the law" (Heb.7:12). Though the context of Hebrews 7 is focused on that specific change seen in the priesthood, the statement in verse 12 is extrapolating from this change in the priesthood to a broader change in the law (there would be no other object in making the statement in verse 12). If this was all that we had on the subject, we would be left to speculate in the dark as to what specific kinds of changes in the law have been brought about by the coming of Christ. But we are not left to guess.
Steve, two minor things to point out. The article posted was from a Messanic Rabbi. So when you say, "I wish that SDAs could simply stand back and look objectively at the nature of their biblical arguments" you should include Messanics's as well.
Second, Jesus is the embodiment of the "new covenant." No more killing of bulls, goats and lambs necessary. No more restrictive access to the inner sanctuary.
2) The sabbath was the first, and most conspicuous change in the law to appear in the New Testament. First, by Jesus indicating that His coming, as one "greater than the temple" actually supersedes the sabbath, as the work associated with the temple itself supersedes the sabbath. On this basis, Jesus justified His disciples' violation of the sabbath because they were on His business, just as the priests can violate sabbath because they are doing temple business. He said that it was no more serious than David violating the ceremonial law of showbread (Matthew 12:1-8).
On another occasion, He said that He works every day (in violation of the sabbath commandment) for the simple reason that His Father works a seven-day work week, and He imitates His Father (John 5:16-19), just as we are commanded to do (Eph.5:1).
Jesus plainly stated that it is lawful to do good on the sabbath (Matthew 12:12), which is the only kind of behavior that we are allowed to do all week long (Gal.6:10/Eph.2:10/1 Tim.6:18/Heb.13:16/James 4:17/1 Peter 2:20; 3:6, 11). Since it is lawful to do the same thing on the sabbath, it removes any difference between the observance of the sabbath and the observance of any other day.
This is why Paul tells us that some Christians "observe every day alike," which he does not condemn (Rom.14:5). Paul also lists sabbath days with other laws which were a shadow (Col.2:16-17) given by God to anticipate Christ (just as did the tabernacle and its ceremonies—Hebrews 8:5).
In that this post is regarding "food" and not the sabbath I'll defer comment as not to derail the thread.
Paul said that, when the Galatians began to "observe days and months and seasons and years" that he feared that their conversion had not taken hold (Galatians 4:10-11). The SDA suggestion that Paul was referring to something other than the Jewish holidays is refuted by noting that Paul's concern was with Christians putting themselves under the Jewish law (Gal.4:3-6; 5:1-4), not pagan practices.
From the same Messanic Rabbi comes this about Galatians 4:10-11:
GALATIANS - WAS PAUL TEACHING AGAINST THE LAW?
Now, I know you don't like when I do this "cut and paste" part of an article from another here but I only do this to point you to the fact that there is indeed another POV that can be taken that is just as logical, just as sound from a historic standpoint. I am not suggesting you are wrong and the Rabbi is right, I'm simply suggesting another POV. I realize I take a huge risk posting this because it may be deleted. But that's no way to discuss something.
"The next verse has been widely misunderstood. Yet in regard to identifying Paul's opponents, it is one of the most important verses in the letter to the Galatians:
GALATIANS 4:10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. (NKJV)
The long-standing position of traditional Christian scholars is that Paul is criticizing the Galatians here for keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days given to Israel in the Torah. However, this position requires the assumption that Paul equates the observance of God's Holy Days with slavery to/worship of evil spirit beings.
This view ignores Paul's command to the Corinthians to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread (I Cor. 5:8), as well as his background and training as a Torah-observant Pharisee. In fact, it comes dangerously close to implying Paul held the Gnostic position that the god of the Old Testament was an evil angelic being ("demiurge").
Clearly, the sectarians proselytizing at Galatia were trying to get the congregation to observe some type of Jewish "days and months and seasons and years." But were these the same "days and months and seasons and years" that normative Judaism kept?
If you remember from our earlier discussion, Paul's use of the phrase "Works of the Law" indicates that he was speaking specifically against beliefs held by the Qumran Essene sectarians, as defined in 4QMMT. According to Martin Abegg, another Qumran document (4Q327) was connected to 4QMMT:
4Q327 . . . plots the Sabbaths and festivals for one complete solar year . . . This is one of the few calendars that designates the extrabiblical Festival of Oil, which fell on the twenty-second day of the sixth month. The structure of the work makes it likely that two more extrabiblical festivals were originally listed as well: the Wine Festival and the Festival of Wood Offering. . . .
Some scholars believe that 4Q327 was not actually a separate and distinct work. They argue that instead it originally attached to the beginning of one copy of A Sectarian Manifesto (text 84). In favor of this suggestion is the handwriting: the same scribe wrote both 4Q327 and the copy of the Manifesto. . . . (p. 319, Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation)
A recent article in the Biblical Archaeological Review gives us some specific information about this calendar and how it differed from the calendar used by the majority of Jews:
Even the Essene calendar was different. The Temple authorities maintained a lunar calendar; the Essenes followed a solar calendar, which consisted of exactly 52 weeks per year, that is, 364 days. According to this calendar, festivals always fell on the same day of the week. Thus, Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets), Passover and the first day of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) always occurred on a Wednesday. The Essenes considered the solar calendar used by the Hasmoneans in the Temple, tied as it was to a 354-day lunar calendar, to be adulterated with Babylonian elements. For example, the names of the months-Nisan, Shevet, Adar, Tishri-were Babylonian. The difference in calendars created a terrible discrepancy in holiday observance, with the Temple authorities and the Essenes celebrating festivals on different days. This naturally created a sharp rift between the two groups. (p. 64, "Jerusalem's Essene Gateway," Biblical Archaeological Review, May/June 1997)
The Essene calendar was a rival to the traditional Jewish calendar endorsed by the Pharisees. Paul, trained as a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Phi. 3:5), would have followed the traditional calendar sanctioned by the Temple authorities. Yeshua himself endorsed this calendar indirectly (Matt. 23:1-3).
The Essene calendar (and consequently, their new year) always began on a Wednesday because the sun, moon, and stars were created on this day (Gen. 1:14-19). The first of the month was called "A Day of Remembrance"; however, the Essene months generally did not start with a new moon. The Qumran sectarians, following the Essene calendar, had substituted different feast days and different months for the true calendar observed by the majority of Jews. Because of the seasonal drift caused by the structure of their calendar, the Essene seasons were also off. Finally, as another document from Qumran (4Q319, "Calendar of the Heavenly Signs") shows, the Essenes had a different system of sabbatical and Jubilee years.
It is easy to understand why Paul would have viewed this calendar and its different holy "days," "months" which did not start on the new moon, out-of-sync "seasons," and variant sabbatical "years" as demonically inspired. These "days and months and seasons and years" were just as much satanic counterfeits as the pagan observances the Galatians had kept before their conversion."
How do the SDAs respond to this volume of New Testament data? Their case is almost 100% negative. It consists in taking each of these key passages and trying to argue that not one of them means what the average reader would think that they mean.
You know, that might be true for some SDA's. It's just as true for some Calvinist's, Methodist's, Catholic's, etc. so this isn't a trait merely limited to Adventist's.
The point is Steve is that there is a whole host of historical reasoning that SDA's, and especially Messianisc's cite is both sound and based on the common history and reality of the 1st Century church.
Do the SDAs have a single positive case for the New Testament upholding the sabbath obligation? Only Hebrews 4:9, which describes a "keeping of sabbath" still incumbent on the people of God. This "keeping of sabbath" is described by the author as a "rest" that Christians must "strive to enter"—even though the Book of Hebrews has not one line advocating the keeping of the Jewish law, and, in general, is primarily directed toward discouraging Jewish believers returning to the practices of Judaism. Why would he break ranks with his own argument in order to interject a statement about the need to observe the sabbath?
The "rest" that Hebrews 4 recommends is not the observance of an Old Testament commandment, but a "rest" that was predicted in the Old Testament (in Psalm 95). That "rest" is seen as foreshadowed in God's resting on the seventh day of creation and also in Israel's entrance into Canaan. However, the author clearly points out that the "rest" of which he speaks was something the Israelites did not enter (they did observe the seventh-day sabbath). The rest recommended by the author of Hebrews was only anticipated in the Old Testament, and has become a reality in Christ. Jesus speaks of this "rest" as a "rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:28-30).
To mistake this "keeping of sabbath" for advocacy of observing the seventh-day sabbath (rather than the spiritual rest that is prefigured in the Old Testament sabbath) is as great a mistake as to take the exhortation, in 1 Corinthians 5:8, that we should "keep the feast" (that is, the Feast of Unleavened Bread) as an advocacy of our keeping the Jewish feast by that name, or Paul's reference to our "having been circumcised" (Col.2:11) as a reference to the physical operation.
In that this post is regarding "food" and not the sabbath I'll defer comment as not to derail the thread.
3) Then, when we go to the New Testament looking for its teaching about the Jewish dietary restrictions, we find the case to be no different. We first find Jesus declaring that one cannot be defiled by what goes into the mouth—an idea that directly contradicts the Jewish teaching that certain foods are inherently unclean and defiling to the eater (Matthew 15:11, 17).
In Luke 10:8, when Jesus sent His disciples out to evangelize, He told them to eat anything that was served to them (something no Jew observing the dietary laws could do), which can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean.
Steve, Jesus sent His disciple out to evangelize to a "Jewish Nation" so the likely hood that the would be serving unclean animals was minimal to non-existent at best:
Mat 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
Luke 10:8 has more to do with the Pharisaical nature of Jewish life in the day of Christ where wild rites, and rituals had become the norm. As Matthew Henry says, "Probably, Christ here refers to the traditions of the elders about their meat which were so many that those who observed them were extremely critical, you could hardly set a dish of meat before them, but there was some scruple or other concerning it"
When Peter was told that the animals which he was calling "unclean" should not be given that pejorative label, because "God has cleansed" them (Acts 10:15), he only later learned that there was an intended application to "unclean" Gentiles. He was not expected to realize that application at the time of the vision, but was supposed to regard the unclean animals in the sheet as that which God had cleansed, and which he was being commanded to eat. The cleanness of Gentiles was a secondary (and intended) application.
Steve, that's somewhat confusing logic in my mind. It would seem to me that if the "primary" application was indeed eating unclean animals then there would some example given of Peter heeding to the commandment he was given in vision. Also you stated that "The cleanness of Gentiles was a secondary (and intended) application" but that doesn't it seems clear to me since there is nothing citing where Peter did as God stated to do in vision.
An example might be where Paul saw Jesus in vision in Acts 9. Paul did exactly what he was told to do in that vision. In that it seems there in nothing to indicate Peter set off to eat an unclean animal then I can't honestly say that this is the "primary" application of Acts 10.
When the Jerusalem Council was deciding how many of the Jewish scruples should be accommodated by Gentile Christians, they conspicuously left sabbath keeping and kosher diet off their list of "necessary things" (Acts 15:28-29). "No other burden" of the law was to be added.
Steve, that's actually incorrect. In fact all four of the requirements that they did require come straight from the Mosaic law.
In the decision of that Council, some of the restrictions that were enjoined were of a dietary nature, but they were the things related to involvement in idolatry, not to a kosher diet. The same concern is expressed in Revelation 2:14 and 20.
Eating these that die of themselves (i.e. strangled) or eating blood were both "Kosher" requirements.
Paul never spoke of dietary laws, except to say that they were unrelated to Christian obligations, and should not be advocated. He said that rules about "meat and drink" (along with sabbaths, new moons and festivals) were among the Old Testament shadows that prefigured Christ. A few verses later, he said that food restrictions are on no spiritual value (Col.2:20-23). Elsewhere, Paul said that those who restrict believers from eating certain meats were teaching "doctrines of demons" because "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused (1 Tim.4:1-5).
Steve, everything Paul said was regarding the vanity and philosophies of men, and not God. Verse 8 makes this abundantly clear.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
In fact, Paul teaching seems to be right out of the playbook of the doctrine of Jesus.
KJV - Mar 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God
, ye hold the tradition of men
, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
KJV - Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men
, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ
What is the SDA response to this data? Again, entirely negative. They expend all of their energy trying to prove that these verses do not teach their obvious meanings. Where do they find a single New Testament verse that positively advocates the observance of dietary regulations?
Taken in historical context where in scripture does one find that these dietary regulations have been set aside?
I have never seen one. Even if they can contrive clever ways of arguing against the plain meaning of the relevant passages, the simple facts remain that, in order to prove the obligation of Christians to keep a kosher diet, they can show no positive teaching in the New Testament, and must rest their whole case on undermining the meaning of every relevant passage.
Well, Steve, I can't speak for all Adventist certainly but when I see different teachers and theologians(non- Adventist's) making statements about the meaning of scripture that makes the position you take seem different than mine what am I to say?
The SDAs do not do biblical studies as the rest of us do. They do not go to the New Testament to discover the teaching of Jesus or Paul about keeping the sabbath or dietary laws (else they would have no difficulty seeing the clear teaching). They begin with the assumption that their doctrine is correct, and that the New Testament writers must agree with them, and then go to the New Testament to engage in damage control, trying to prove that the teaching there is not really refuting them, as it appears to do in every place.
Ha, that's laughable! Have you ever been to an Adventist bible study or read the vast amounts of Bible commentary that Adventists have written? I am constantly blown away at Adventist that study the Bible seriously not to prove their doctrines right but to demonstrate that the Bible is right.
This is no different than the approach taken by the Roman Catholics to the subject of their doctrines about the Virgin Mary. They assume that certain things are true about Mary, and assume that the New Testament must agree with them. When every relevant New Testament text refutes their assumptions about Mary, they must expend all of their energy doing damage control, and trying to make "black" appear to be "white." The arguments are not only unimpressive (though sometimes quite ingenious), but they do not bear the marks of an honest inquiry into the teaching of scripture.
Steve, would it be helpful for me to point out that virtually every argument you've made regarding food and the sabbath is exactly, 100% the same as the arguments I see Catholics make regarding these doctrines?
Now I know that RND will post a point-by-point "answer" to each sentence in this post—as per his regular practice. I am going to place this requirement upon any such response: it has to be worth posting. For example such statements as,
Well TK, I suppose in taking that logic to the next step one could say Peter was actually being disobedient to God because he didn't "kill and eat" the gentile men that came to his door that day!
Christ didn't die on the cross for people to eat whatever they felt like eating.
Are not worth the time it takes to read them. Adding a smiley face does not make them any more worthy of the space they occupy. We are desiring grown-up discussions here.
That's a subjective statement regarding posting and frankly it gives you the out you need to go "poof" to my entry. So be it.
To avoid wasting my time, and in keeping with our standards here, I am going to ask that any response from RND actually contain arguments based upon scriptural exegesis. For the sake of myself and the many people who have complained to me about RNDs lengthy and vacuous postings, I will delete any that are mere negations without argumentation, or that are statements depending on nothing but humor for their validity. We do not need merely more verbiage—though real biblical exegesis—and pertinent humor— are always welcome.
Steve that's again a subjective way of looking at things. What is the difference between your exegesis that makes subjective statements about "day, months, and years" without any historical understanding mine where I provide ample proof from other commentaries or teachers?