Who’s “Lying for God”?
by Brendon Knudson
Analysis of the supposed
“Impossible Barriers to Sabbatarianism”
in from the unscholarly manuscript against
Sabbatarianism and the Adventist Faith
in from the unscholarly manuscript against
Sabbatarianism and the Adventist Faith
NOTE FROM EDWIN M. COTTO founder of the Adventist Defense League:
It came to my attention fairly recently that there is a book floating around the internet and social media sites, where critics KERRY B. WYNNE, WILLIAM H. HOHMANN, and ROBERT K. SANDERS desperately try to refute the truth about the Sabbath in Genesis as taught here on this website and elsewhere on the internet by Seventh Day Adventists. We are flattered it has taken the efforts of THREE critics to compile their book against the truth, and I am personally THANKFUL that they have made such an effort, as it will now show through the following response that the truth is absolutely irrefutable. We should let our readers know that this response will soon be updated to include more replies and information, and that there is a second response in the making, of which a link will be added here once it is complete. We encourage you to visit this page often.
Part 1 – Introduction to the Biblical Claims of “Lying for God”
As one trawls laboriously through the first five chapters of “Lying for God”, most of which contain a perspective of history which leaves out far more relevant information than it includes and puts an emotional, conspiratorial spin on everything it does include, you see many references to “Hebrew linguistics” which are supposed to “disprove” Sabbatarian Christianity.
You don’t actually see any of the real evidence for these claims until chapter 6. It’s as if the writers believe that by claiming the truth of something over and over before presenting the objective evidence, it makes it more convincing? These frequent references to the impending “proof” make grandiose references to “recent discoveries in Hebrew Linguistics”. It’s as if the writers are saying that until Carson and his team did their research, Sabbatarianism could not be adequately refuted.
The fact of the matter is that the claims of Sabbatarian Christianity are so tightly woven together and the case is so strong from both Old and New Testament, that without the imaginative and seemingly ingenious arguments by D. A. Carson as regurgitated in “Lying for God”, there was little that non Sabbath-keeping Churches could do to refute the teachings of Sabbatarian Christianity.
And so “Lying for God” attempts to impress and dazzle with repeated references with technical sounding words and bold claims, like this:
“…the Sabbath was not a Creation ordinance, proof of this fact is found when the texts of Genesis 2, Exodus 16, and Exodus 20 are read in the original Hebrew language by a native Hebrew reader or an advanced Hebrew scholar.”
If this is the case, why does the same book claim that the answers to Sabbatarianism were not “discovered” until 1982?!? If these nuances could be understood by “a native Hebrew reader or an advanced Hebrew Scholar”, they shouldn’t have had to be discovered in 1982, which they later call “our relatively new understanding of Hebrew linguistics”. The fact is, while the book repeates the claim that Jews intrinsically understood the Sabbath to not have been a Creation ordinance, there is no evidence from Jewish teachings to substantiate the claim.
It is important to have a look at some of the bold statements the book makes before it even gets to presenting the evidence so we can see what the book thinks an honest SDA Christian is up against. Here is just a sampling:
“…final blow to Sabbatarian theology…”
“biblical doctrines which many of the Church’s leaders know are historically and biblically impossible.”
“no Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath apologist has dared to acknowledge even the existence of these arguments, much less attempted to refute them”
“no Adventist Hebrew scholar would dare to teach his students what Genesis 2, Exodus 16, and Exodus 20 really say about where the Sabbath came from and what its intended application was.”
“The most important finding was that in the original Hebrew, Moses, writing in Genesis 2, Exodus 16, and Exodus 20, used
an extensive number of literary indicators to clarify that the Sabbath ordinance did not begin at Creation…”
From these statements you would expect something insurmountable. You would expect evidence to be clearly presented with numerous examples to solidify the interpretation. You would expect…
When it starts to get down to giving a glimpse at what evidence would be coming later in the book, the writers say, “This is just one of many unique usage conventions of the Hebrew language that Moses utilized to achieve a level of clarity that could not possibly be misunderstood.” If Moses wrote in such a way as to “achieve a level of clarity that could not possibly be misunderstood”, why do the writers again acknowledge that the understanding they present had to be “discovered” in 1982?!? The inconsistencies in the multiple but contradictory ways the authors try to inundate the reader with assertions before they have presented any facts is nauseating.
As the book finally gets into the chapter where the evidence can be found, it has this rather interesting standard by which it seeks to test Sabbatarian research. I think if the writers of this book consider this a valid principle by which to test research, they should have no problem being scrutinised in its light.
“If a book purports to be “research,” a reasonable expectation of that work is that it would discuss the weaknesses and strengths of the arguments for and against the author’s point of view. If the researcher deliberately ignores powerful arguments that challenge his ideas, that work becomes more like propaganda than an effort to seek out truth.”
Ok, now, this book, “Lying for God” claims to be a “research” document. The book contains the phrase, “our research” 16 times. It says at one point, “Between the three of us, it has taken over 12,500 hours of research and writing to present this Seventh Edition of Lying for God”. So according to the words above, this book can be validly subjected to its own test.
This seventh edition is dated at 2012. So if in my analysis of some of these arguments, I can demonstrate that papers have been published and available BEFORE 2012 that examines the supposed “impossibilities to Sabbatarianism” in a way that defends Sabbatarian interpretation, by the very standards of the authors, their own work is “more like propaganda than an effort to seek out truth.”
My first study will cover the alleged obstacles in Genesis 2. Please keep in mind, though, the principles this book sets as standards and the frequent claims it makes about the evidence it takes so long to get to… We will see through this investigation just who it is that is “Lying for God”.
Part 2 – The Creation Ordinance in Genesis 2
Here is the summary of this argument as can be found in the book “Lying for God”:
“Notice that in Moses’ account of the days of Creation in Genesis 2, the account of the events of each of the first six days ends with the suffix phrase, “and the evening and the morning were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th day.” This suffix phrase LIMITS the events discussed on those days to each day itself– one 24-hour period of time. Moses’ account of the events of the 7th day does not have this limiting suffix. In Hebrew, the lack of this suffix phrase causes the events of that day to be unlimited– essentially to last forever. His “rest”, therefore, lasts forever from that point on…
The thread of the argument as presented by the authors of “Lying for God” is that:
Premise 1 – Days 1 to 6 in the Genesis Creation Week Account all finish with the phrase, “and the evening and the morning were” and then the ordinal number of the day.
Premise 2 – The seventh day does not close with these words.
Premise 3 – This omission of the words, “and the evening and the morning were the seventh day” in the verses of Genesis 2:1-3 about the seventh day indicates that the rest of that day is without end or unlimited.
Conclusion – Therefore the seven days of the Creation account do not present the first of a repeated cycle, but are a once-off occurrance.
Looking at the flow of this argument, you can see that Premises 1 and 2 are based on observable facts without making any conclusion about those facts. Anyone can verify that the first six days of the creation account conclude with the words that are omitted from the seventh day.
What is equally striking is that the assertions made in Premise 3 are wanting of the same level of observable, verifiable evidence. There is nothing to demonstrate the truth of this premise. We are expected to treat Premise 3 with as much authority as the preceding premises and yet without the data that substantiates the previous two.
What sort of things COULD help establish the alleged “Hebrew Linguistics” which this book points to. Well, as someone with Theological training and a working knowledge of Biblical languages who is married to a polyglot wife with a Bachelor of Linguistics and Languages, I can tell you that to make an assertion about the syntactic significance of a phrase or the omission of a phrase, you would need to demonstrate your case through a multiplicity of examples. What I mean is that you cannot take a single example, being the one which you are wishing to assert a conclusion about, and build your entire case on that one instance. You need to be able to prove your linguistic case from somewhere BESIDES THE INSTANCE YOU ARE EXAMINING. Your evidence for a fact cannot be your own conclusion!!
Now, an alternative premise that could be put forward is that the significance of breaking with a pattern in the Hebrew is highlight the climax of a progression. As one non-Adventist scholar writes, this is appears to be just an “example of the break up of a stereotypic pattern upon reaching the climactic crescendo conclusion.” (Shalom M. Paul, Amos: A Commentary on the Book of Amos, Hermeneia (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1991), 76.
This hypothesis CAN be tested and DOES have a correlation with a passage from Amos. The first chapters of Amos carry a series of judgements against the nations. Each of these have a formulaic pattern. I am using the NET Bible to demonstrate this pattern most clearly from the Hebrew:
Amos 1:3-5 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Damascus has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Amos 1:6-8 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Gaza has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Amos 1:9-10 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Tyre has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Amos 1:11-12 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Edom has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Amos 1:13-15 “This is what the LORD says: “Because the Ammonites have committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment.”
Amos 2:1-3 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Moab has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Amos 2:4-5 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Judah has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Amos 2:6-16 “This is what the LORD says: “Because Israel has committed three crimes — make that four! — I will not revoke my decree of judgment…”
Notice how each of these 8 judgements begins in the same formulaic manner. They all use the 3-4 pattern common in Wisdom Literature (for example Proverbs 30:18-19; 29-31), however the first seven judgements do not actually contain lists of 4 crimes. Here is what the NET Bible says, “However, only in the eighth oracle (against Israel) does one find the expected fourfold list. Through this adaptation and alteration of the normal pattern the LORD indicates that his focus is Israel (he is too bent on judging Israel to dwell very long on her neighbors) and he emphasizes Israel’s guilt with respect to the other nations. (Israel’s list fills up before the others’ lists do.) See R. B. Chisholm, “For Three Sins…Even for Four: The Numerical Sayings in Amos,” BSac 147 (1990): 188-97.”
Amos establishes a pattern in the first seven judgements which is broken in the final climactic judgement against Israel. As we can see here, Hebrew linguistics breaks syntactic pattern not to indicate open-endedness, but to highlight the climax of a procession to which it is building towards.
There are indicators in the literary structure of the Genesis Creation Week passage that strengthen this hypothesis. Genesis 1:1-2:4 is a literary inclusio, sandwiched between two merisms:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created — when the LORD God made the earth and heavens.”
The account is not only a narrative, but is constructed as a polemic against the creation narratives of the surrounding Ancient Near Eastern nations. As such it highlights the creation of light before the light-giving bodies, in stark contrast to the pagan sun-cults surrounding them. The use of the Hebrew term תְּהוֹם (tehom) for “deep” is a cognate reference to the Babylonian creation account where Marduk kills the goddess Tiamat and creates heaven and earth from her carcass. In contrast, this chaotic deep is not seen as a separate divine entity, but a blank canvass from which God crafts increasing order over the course of the week.
The Creation account contains a symmetrical pattern for the six days of Divine activity. From a state of תֹהוּ (tohu) and בֹּהוּ (bohu), literally formlessness and emptiness, the first three days describe God’s activity in FORMING heaven and earth and then the second lot of three days see Him FILLING what He has just formed.
So we see some clear reasons why there should be a symmetrical pattern between the first set of three days and the second set of three days with the words “and the evening and morning were the ___ day” The seventh in a series where the preceding six are symmetrical does not have to follow the pattern of the preceding six. It is free to break its own ground. And according to the ESTABLISHED practice of Hebrew linguistics we have noted, breaking from the pattern at a climax highlights and focuses on the climax as the intended destination of the previous steps in the series. What this means is that while the six days of creating were important, the destination was always the seventh day.
Now, while the seventh day omits the pattern of “and the evening and morning were the ___ day”, the Hebrew of Genesis 2:1-3 does not leave any excuse to think that this is anything other than an open and closed 24 hour period of time. This revolves around the triple use of the word “day” with the ordinal number “seventh”.
The other six days of the creation account refer to the day in the order only once. So we can see “first day” (Genesis 1:5), “second day” (Genesis 1:8), “third day” (Genesis 1:13), “fourth day (Genesis 1:19), “fifth day” (Genesis 1:23), “sixth day” (Genesis 1:31). In contrast, “seventh day” is mentioned three times in two verses (Genesis 2:2-3). Because the reference of the day is always connected to the phrase “the evening and the morning were the ___ day” in the previous six, while the ordinal number of the seventh day is mentioned three times with highlights on the climax of a series, it is no wonder that the rest of the formula is left off for space constraints to avoid being cumbersome.
The fact that the Hebrew word for day, יוֹם (yom), has been categorically established as including “evening and morning” over the preceding six ordinal references rules out any attempts to protract the seventh yom into an indefinite, unending eternity. An ordinal day has already been defined six previous times as “evening and morning”. By the time we get to the seventh, the word is pregnant with this undeniable meaning.
Ok, so, we have covered, so far:
1. The summary of the argument behind the supposed “impossible barrier” to Sabbatarianism in the second chapter of Genesis (taken directly from the book).
2. An examination of which premises had evidentiary backing and which did not.
3. Proposed an alternative hypothesis for why there is a lack of the words “the evening and morning were the seventh day” in Genesis 2:1-4.
4. Shown actual linguistic evidence from another Hebrew passage to support that hypothesis.
5. Explored the literary structure of Genesis 1:1-2:4 to give additional linguistic reasons why there was a break in pattern for the seventh day.
Now, let us look at the internal, textual and linguistic evidence that Genesis 2 sees resting on the seventh day as Creation ordinance.
Firstly, the idea is anticipated on the sixth day with the creation of man. Man is created in the “image of God”, with words which connote both ontological and characteristic likeness between the newly created man and God. Man is given active custody over the newly created earth as stewards for Elohim. It is theologically significant that the first thing that God does to “role model” to the beings He has just created in His image is to rest on the seventh day. The connection between the image of God motif and God’s immediately following action is to create an ordinance for the IMAGE to IMITATE.
This connection is exegetically verified by the use of the word קִדֵּשׁ (qiddesh) in Genesis 2:3. This word says that God “sanctified” the seventh day. The meaning of the word is to “set apart” or “distinguish” something. The claim that God rested and blessed all future time because of a desperate attempt to see the seventh day as “unending” does not explain the use of this word. This word in the Piel form is only used when it is setting aside a PORTION of a WHOLE. It is not used for the WHOLE itself. When it says that God qiddesh the seventh day, it means that He claimed ownership over this day as distinct from the six, in a separate sense. It cannot at all refer to God setting aside all future time from that point onwards. This would make no sense in Hebrew.
The argument AGAINST the Sabbath being a Creation ordinance, based on Genesis 2, is an argument from silence. It relies on an unsupported assertion about the significance of an omission. A study of Amos, which shows a separate break in pattern reveals the climactic significance of this Hebrew linguistic device in highlighting the importance to the final in a progressive series. A study of the literary features of the Genesis 1:1-2:4 inclusio demonstrate the internal reasons for breaking with the pattern on the seventh day. Finally, in contrast to the argument from silence against Sabbath as a Creation ordinance, the linguistic and theological evidences from within the passage point directly towards a Divine cessation as a role model for future human behaviour. The Hebrew language in setting apart or sanctifying of the Seventh day testifies to an immediate and cyclical “part of the whole” which God claimed ownership over at the climax of His creative works.
Part 3 – The Sabbath during the Exodus from Egypt
In my last analysis (found here – http://on.fb.me/17t2uJW) I examined the claims of the book regarding whether there was a creation ordinance in Genesis 2. In spite of the appeals to Hebrew Linguistics, it was found that only through special pleading and selective evidence could the case be supported. With a greater weight of evidence the assumptions which the authors of “Lying for God” were found to be unsound.
In this study, we will be looking at two of the assertions that the authors of this book make about the Sabbath during the time of the Exodus. First, we shall consider the claims that God commanded the breaking of the Sabbath during the initial part of the exodus out of Egypt (before the manna was given). The other point we shall look at is the claim that the Hebrew of Exodus 16 intimates that the Sabbath was a “new” thing introduced with the falling of the manna.
A. Alleged breaking of the Sabbath during Exodus out of Egypt.
Here is the summary of this argument as can be found in the book “Lying for God”:
“How could we have been so blind to this before? It’s a no-brainier! God led the Hebrews out of Egypt on a Friday evening shortly before sunset. They marched across the desert Friday night and the next day– Saturday– at His command. On the 31st day of the Exodus, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sin on a Friday evening about 5 pm. That Friday morning they left their camp by the Red Sea and marched 20 kilometers to get there. That Friday evening, God introduced the Sabbath and manna concepts to them for the very first time. Although the manna fell the very next day, they did not keep their first Sabbath until a week later while they were still camped at the Wilderness of Sin. If the Sabbath ordinance had existed prior to the implementation of Sabbath-keeping on the 38th day of their journey, they would have “broken” the “Sabbath” numerous times along the way and would have done so under God’s direct leadership. All it takes to map out a time-table of the Exodus journey is a little knowledge of the Hebrew calendar and how they kept track of time. There are a number of very complete studies of the Exodus journey. One good source for this information is Bible.ca, in their article, “The Exodus Route: Travel times, distances, rates of travel, days of the week,” which can be accessed at:http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-travel-times-distances-days.htm“
Ok, first of all, this argument makes several assumptions.
1. An assumption as to the Route and Chronology of the Exodus.
2. An assumption that God led the Hebrews to be on the march every Sabbath.
3. An assumption that being led by God in a redemptive act of deliverance from Egypt would constitute breaking the Sabbath.
The first assumption is something for which there is a lot of debate. The book opts for the research of Steve Rudd on the bible.ca website. While there are many positive points about Rudd’s suggestion for a route for the Exodus, it is largely based upon circumstantial evidence at this time. Regarding Rudd’s chronology, there are several major errors he makes in his timing, such as stating that the Hebrew month was solar only and had 28 days. This goes against the vast majority of scholarship and Rudd provides no reason for his dissenting view.
For the second assumption, the Bible does not give detailed timing for the marching between Goshen, Succoth, Migdol, Ethan, the Wilderness of Shur, Marah, Elim or the Wilderness of Sin. It also does not give the times that they set camp throughout their marches. We are only told that it was three days march from the crossing of the Red Sea to Marah (Exodus 15:22-23) and that they came to the Wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month. It doesn’t even say that they murmured against Moses and Aaron on the fifteenth, but just that they murmured while in the desert. It is an assumption that the text does not support to argue that the murmuring occurred on the 15th and the manna begin to fall on the 16th, etc. In short, there is no evidence whatsoever that God actually led the Israelites to march on the Sabbath, but they could have been camped out at these times.
With the third assumption, EVEN IF we assume that the Israelites DID march on the Sabbath, although no evidence for this exists in the text, it is an assumption that such action is breaking the Sabbath. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt by God was a redemptive act. Ever after in Scripture, this act becomes a type or parable of individual salvation from sin. Redemptive acts of deliverance, Jesus revealed by His example, were permissible and even encouraged on the Sabbath, for they revealed the power of God.
Matthew 12:11-12 – “He said to them, ‘Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.'”
God was lifting His people out of Egypt. If they marched on the Sabbath, it was lawful because it was a redemptive act of deliverance. However, the burden of proof is upon anyone who wishes to insist that Israel actually did any marching on the Sabbath. The assertion is impossible to prove from the Biblical text.
B. Allegation that the Manna Introduction in Exodus 16 was the first time the Sabbath was established by God.
We’re going to look at this passage independently and see whether the claims of “Lying for God” can be substantiated. Remember that it has already been demonstrated (http://on.fb.me/17t2uJW) from the Hebrew text that Genesis 2:1-3 teaches that the Seventh-day was ordained by God as “set apart time” in a repeating cycle. But we’re going to pretend we don’t know that and see what Exodus 16 reveals.
Here is a summary of the argument given in “Lying for God” which is quoted from the article, “The Sabbath in the Old Testament”, by Harold H. P. Dressler and included in “From Sabbath to the Lord’s Day” edited by D. A. Carson. The statement in question was not actually a part of the main text of Dressler’s article, but appears only as a footnote on page 37 of the book:
“The anarthrous construction carries significance (i.e. “The whole idea was new”) as pointed out by G. Rawlinson, Exodus (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench & Co., 1906), p.52; A. Dillman, Die Bucher Exodus und Leviticus (Leipzig: S. Hitzel, 1897), p. 175; P Heinisch, Das Buch Exodus (Bonn: Hanstein, 1934), p. 133; G. Henton Davies, Exodus (London: SCM, 1967), p. 140. This construction of the word [Hebrew characters not renderable in our word processing program, the particular form of the word Sabbath found in this passage] occurs only four times in the Pentateuch, Exodus 16:23; 20:10 (followed in v. 11 with an articular construction) and Exodus 35:2 (followed in v. 3 by an articular construction). In the latter three instances this construction occurs within a formula: “six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath . . .” The anarthrous construction in Exodus 16:23, 25 is unique and may, therefore, well signify the newness of an idea.”
As can be seen, Dressler is only pointing out what he believes MAY be a possible meaning of the anarthrous construction. Though he says the construction “carries significance”, it is clear that it did not carry enough significance to make it into the main text of his article. Footnotes are a place where, among other referencing, you can put ideas that are possible, but lack the evidentiary standard of the main text of your paper.
Here is how the argument goes, as “Lying for God” have extracted it from Dressler’s paper:
Premise 1 – In Exodus 16, all the occurrences of šabbāṯ are anarthrous (without the definite article).
Premise 2 – An anarthrous construction signifies that the whole idea is new.
Conclusion – Therefore the Sabbath was only introduced at the giving of the Manna
As can be seen, once again we have an initial premise which is based upon the evidence. It is clearly verifiable that the instances of šabbāṯ in Exodus 16 lack the article. This premise is easily proven.
It is the second premise which is flawed. The book takes as evidence for this premise a footnote by Dressler which has only a handful of references to back it up. The footnote itself gives no actual evidence to support the idea that anarthrous constructions are used to introduce a new idea.
In researching these claims, I read the relevant sections on the use of the Article and Determination/Indetermination in Biblical Hebrew in the following grammars:
A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew by Paul Joüon and Takamitsu Muraoka
An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax by Bruce K Waltke and M. O’Connor
Nowhere in these Hebrew resources is there anything to support the idea that an anarthrous construct introduces something new. There is a logical reason for the anarthrous use of šabbāṯ in these texts – that the word šabbāṯ was an intrinsically definite noun!
Divine names, Human names, Place names, most pronouns, unique appellatives, certain cosmological elements and human institutions, unique titles are all intrinsically determinate. The anarthrous use of šabbāṯ in its first literary reference by that name in Exodus 16 (and many places thereafter) shows that it was already an established institution recognizable by the Hebrews! The use of the article with šabbāṯ after it has been mentioned in the context without the article is not uncommon in Hebrew. In such cases it acts as a weak demonstrative.
“Lying for God” attempts to give a few examples of anarthrous use followed by subsequent articular uses, but these are often not even comparing the same words/phrases, nor is any consideration given for the grammatical situation (common nouns in genitive relationship to proper nouns or pronouns are intrinsically definite by nature of the construction and do not take the article). This rules out the majority of the examples given. Let’s take a look at one example the book gives which does compare the same word in a relevant situation:
FIRST MENTION: “an” altar Gen. 8:20
SUBSEQUENT MENTION: “the” altar: Gen. 8:20
The argument the book takes is that because this is the first time “altar” is mentioned and the first mention is anarthrous “an altar”, a new idea is being introduced. While this may be the first instance of the word “altar”, the concept of places of sacrifice was clearly understood prior to Noah’s building of an altar in Genesis 8.
Genesis 3:21 states that after Adam and Eve sinned, “the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” Implied in this is that there was a sacrifice performed, for Jesus is said to be “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), referencing this first sacrifice which represented Christ’s Atonement. In the very next chapter of Genesis, the conflict involves the differences between the offerings of Cain and Abel. Finally, the fact that seven of every clean animal was brought onto the ark shows that there was a clear understanding on the part of Noah to the typology of the sacrifices and what was acceptable to God. It is clear from all these points that an altar was not a new concept by any means when we get to Genesis 8:20.
Perhaps the clearest evidence that the Sabbath preceded the giving of the manna is the conversation God has with Moses at the start of the chapter which gives the reason for the giving of the manna.
Exodus 16:4 – “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My Law or not.'”
It can be seen here that God already considered the Sabbath His Law which He intended to test/train them in by the giving of the Manna. Combined with the fact that the first reference to šabbāṯ is without the article and therefore considered an established proper name, it is evident that the Sabbath pre-existed the Manna as God’s Law and as we have seen, that ordinance was established during Creation week (see – http://on.fb.me/17t2uJW)
To summarise this analysis of the arguments of “Lying for God” concerning the Exodus from Egypt to Sinai, the claims that are said to dispute Sabbatarian Christianity are built upon unsupported assumptions that even their referenced anti-Sabbath scholars footnote as mere possibilities. The evidence provided is self-defeating or involves too much special pleading and “maybe’s” to be effective in any sense.
The first references by name to šabbāṯ in Exodus 16:23-26 lack the article NOT BECAUSE something new is being introduced, BUT BECAUSE even at this stage it was already considered a proper noun. In looking at the example given of the first explicit mention of an altar in Genesis 8:20 in light of the sacrifices implied in Genesis 3 and 4 and the mention of 7 of every clean animal being taken onto the ark, we can see that altars were implied to have existed from the fall of man. Indeed, the context of the passage, with the introductory reference by God that He was to “test them” according to His “Law”. All of this fits with what we learned by studying the Hebrew of Genesis 1-2 in Creation week where God instituted the Sabbath as an example for His “Image” in Adam and Eve to keep to.
Part 3 Addendum – Additional Hints at Sabbath before the Giving of Manna
Before we get to an analysis of the Covenantal passages in relation to the Sabbath, specifically in the Ten Commandments, in my recent research I’ve come across two further hints, recognized by Jewish commentators, to Sabbath Reform instituted by Moses among the Hebrews prior to the giving of manna.
Exodus 2:11 – “One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens (seḇālāh), and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.”
Hebrew scholars discern two different occasions in this verse. That is, they see that it speaks on one occasion of Moses going out to his people when he “looked upon their burdens”, and a later occasion where “he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.” The syntax tends to confirm this, as evidenced by the repetition in the final clause “one of his people” which would be unnecessary if it were part of the former thought.
The Shemot Rabbah, a midrash on Exodus dating to the 10th to 12th centuries, offers this comment for when Moses “looked upon their burdens”, while he was considered a naturalized Egyptian:
“And he saw his brothers, with their burdens. He saw that they had no rest, so he went to Pharaoh and said: ‘If one has a slave and he does not give him rest one day a week he dies; similarly, if you will not give your slaves rest one day a week, they will die’. Pharaoh replied: ‘Go and do with them as you wish’. And Moses ordained for them the Sabbath for rest.” (Shemot Rabbah, 1:28)
In this Hebrew commentary, the Sabbath is seen as early as predating the Exodus. The Sabbath becomes an issue of contention while in slavery in Egypt. The conflict comes to a head when Moses returns to deliver Israel.
Exodus 5:5, 9 – “And Pharaoh said, ‘Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest (šaḇaṯ) from their burdens (seḇālāh)!’ … ‘Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.'”
“This is to teach us that the Israelites possessed scrolls with the contents of which they would expect deliverance, every Sabbat, assuring them that the Holy One Blessed be He would redeem them. Thus, because they rested on the Sabbath, Pharaoh said to them: ‘Let heavier work be laid upon the men and let them not expect deliverance from false words. Let them not expect deliverance, or be refreshed on the Sabbath day.” (Shemot Rabbah, 5:18)
Here we can see that the issue of the burdens (seḇālāh) of the Israelites has been resumed and Moses has been teaching that they should rest (šaḇaṯ) from their labours. Thus we have another example that in the Hebrew teachings, the Sabbath predated the giving of the Manna.
Part 4 – The Sabbath in the Decalogue/s
In comparison to the earlier claims of the book, the argument on this point becomes very lame (not that the other arguments have in any way been adequate, but that this sinks to a deeper level of impotence). The argument for Exodus 20 appears to be the flip side of the argument for prolepsis in Genesis 2:2-3. The prolepsis argument is not found in “Lying for God”, but in another document where Kerry Wynne subjects the Sabbath to a kangaroo court so he can pronounce his convenient verdicts. The prolepsis argument has been debunked in comments here – http://on.fb.me/10BKRTc &http://on.fb.me/162lYrE
Where prolepsis is the attempt to thrust the blessing and setting apart of the Seventh day into the future, etiology is the attempt, in Exodus 20, to restrict the blessing and setting apart to the Law given at that time. Again, “Lying for God” depends upon others to make its point, quoting again from D. A. Carson’s book:
“The last clause of Exodus 20:11 gives the reason for the Mosaic institution and takes up the terminology of blessing and hallowing from Genesis 2:2-3, now specifically applying these terms to the “Sabbath” rather than the seventh day, and is not to be taken as implying that the seventh day of Genesis 2:3 was already the Sabbath set aside by God for humanity. As H.H.P. Dressler points out, the present commandment is based on a previous event, and the significance of the Hebrew construction translated as “therefore”, is crucial to this interpretation, as it often functions to connect causally an event in the past with a situation some time later. In fact scholars often speak of an “etiology” when a present name or practice is explained on the basis of a previous event or story, and [the Hebrew word translated “therefore”] is one of the marks by which an etiology is recognized. Exodus 20:11 indeed contains in addition to this introductory formula a further feature typical of an etiology—the word play between “the seventh day” and “the Sabbath day.” Such etiological passages, after the introductory “therefore” or “consequently now,” can have the verb in the past tense without implying a strictly past meaning. The presence of these features in Exodus 20:11 suggest that it too is to be seen as providing an explanation of a present institution, the Mosaic Sabbath, by reference to a past event, God’s rest after the creation, utilizing the terminology of Genesis 2:3 and a play on words to make its point. (D. A. Carson, From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, p. 349)”
As we will see, this is a very, VERY shallow look at the text. Zero evidence is provided for the assertions about etiology and the linguistic markers that require it’s use is put forward. No additional references are given from the Scriptures, only internal references to other papers in the same book by Carson. In the deeper analysis we will go through below, we will see that just as the grammar and linguistic features of the creation narrative confirm that God blessed the Seventh day of Creation and every Seventh day thereafter, the Sabbath Commandment upholds the historicity of this and there are deliberate choices that rule out anything other than the idea that the Sabbath commandment is built on something instituted at Creation. However, regarding the assertions about the Hebrew word translated “therefore” in Exodus 20:11, this word is used 746 times in the Old Testament in a variety of functions, and yet no Hebrew Grammar or Lexicon that I had access to mentioned etiological uses. Until additional evidence is supplied for this assertion, it should be treated as a convenient fabrication worthy of being in a book that is “Lying for God”.
A. The Sabbath Commandment and the Creation Account
Exodus 20:8-11 – “Remember the Sabbath (השׁבת) day, to keep it holy (לקדשׁו). Six days you shall labor, and do all your work (כל־מלאכתך), but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God (ליהוה אלהיך). On it you shall not do any work (מלאכה), you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.For in six days the LORD (יהוה) made (עשׂה) heaven and earth (השׁמים ואת־הארץ), the sea, and all (כל) that is in them, and rested (וינח) on the seventh day (ביום השׁביעי). Therefore the LORD blessed (ברך) the Sabbath (השׁבת) day and made it holy (ויקדשׁהו).”
Genesis 2:1-4 – “Thus the heavens and the earth (השׁמים והארץ) were finished, and all (וכל) the host of them. And on the seventh day (ביום השׁביעי) God finished his work that he had done, and he rested (וישׁבת) on the seventh day (ביום השׁביעי) from all his work (מכל־מלאכתו) that he had done. So God blessed (ויברך) the seventh day (את־יום השׁביעי) and made it holy (ויקדשׁ), because on it God rested (שׁבת) from all his work (אשׁר) that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth (השׁמים והארץ) when they were created, in the day that the LORD God (יהוה אלהים) made (עשׂות) the earth and the heavens.”
In the above account, I’ve added the Hebrew words which are common to both accounts, with one exception which I will mention shortly.
The scenario clearly has the same reference to the “work” (אשׁר) of “YHWH Elohim” (יהוה אלהים) on the six days when He “made” (עשׂה) “heavens and the earth” (השׁמים והארץ) and “all” (כל) that is within. The focus is upon the “seventh day” (ביום השׁביעי) which God “blessed” (ברך) and “made holy” (ויקדשׁ).
Some say that since the Seventh day in the Genesis account is not explicitly called the Sabbath by Moses, that the Sabbath did not exist at that time. This fails to understand something very important in the Hebrew. There is some debate as to whether the noun šabbāṯ (שָׁבּת) derives from the verb šaḇaṯ (שַׁבת) or vice versa. However, Moses clearly sees that the meaning of the Sabbath derives from the act of God’s resting on the Seventh day of creation. Therefore whether the noun or verb came first, in the mind of Moses, it is clear that the action precedes that name. Therefore it is not imperative that the noun be present in the Genesis account because it is represented there by the verb.
This is confirmed in a very powerful way by a choice between the two accounts which not only reveals that it was understood the verbal action of God’s šaḇaṯ to be sufficient in Genesis 2 to represent the noun šabbāṯ, but confirms that the meaning of the verb šaḇaṯ in Genesis 2 means “Rested” and not “Stopped” or “Ceased”.
There is a word in the Exodus Sabbath commandment which is foreign to the Genesis Sabbath Account. God (the speaker of the Ten Commandments) uses a different word for “rested” in Exodus which is nûaḥ (נוַּח). This word does not have a semantic range which extends to mean “stop” or “cease”, but it’s meanings when in the Qal stem are “to rest”, “to repose”, “to remain”, “to settle down”, “to be quiet”. This gives a final blow to those who would deny that šaḇaṯ in Genesis 2:2-3 means simply “stopped” or “ceased”. Had God wished to convey this, there were other synonyms which would have retained that semantic overlap, yet nûaḥ excludes this meaning altogether.
The real question, though, is WHY, with all the identical terms used in both Genesis 2:1-4 and Exodus 20:8-11, did God not choose to break the pattern by exchanging nûaḥ for šaḇaṯ. The reason is simple and seals the fact that the Sabbath existed from Creation. The noun šabbāṯ in Exodus was already the equivalent of the verb šaḇaṯ and it appears a deliberate choice to have these two words be linked up. Had the verb šaḇaṯ been used, it would have more naturally been linked through comparison to the šaḇaṯ in Genesis 2, however by using nûaḥ it is made certain that the proper name for the day in Exodus would be linked to the action of God in Genesis.
Those who say that the Seventh day of Creation was not the same as the Sabbath do so in ignorance of the deliberate association of the name of the day by the time of Moses to the original action of God. The Hebrew makes it clear that the Seventh day of Creation was the first Sabbath by the presence of the verb from which the name takes its meaning. As an added note, the choice not to use the noun Sabbath in Genesis 2 is a further argument against alleged prolepsis, for it would be more natural in prefiguring the Sabbath commandment to use the proper name at the later time, rather than leave out the name in its original setting before it had become an established moniker for the day.
To summarise this section:
• There are multiple textual and contextual links between the Sabbath Commandment and the Genesis Seventh day of Creation
• The deliberate choices of both God and Moses in the words show that the Creation Seventh day was the first Sabbath, before the verbal action (šaḇaṯ) of God became adjusted and fixed as the name for the day (šabbāṯ).
• The choice of God in retelling what verbal action He did on the Seventh day (nûaḥ) gives the final evidence that the meaning of šaḇaṯ in Genesis 2 means “rested”.
• The fact that Moses’ description of the first Seventh day does not include the Sabbath name later affixed to it makes the hypothesis of prolepsis even more unlikely.
One of the last things that can be drawn out of the Exodus Sabbath Commandment is that the same word for the “work” of God during creation week is used for the “work” of man. Thus the Sabbath Commandment also sees man as the image of God in terms of work, further strengthening the idea that God’s resting on the Seventh day of Creation was as an example for Adam and Eve.
B. Comparing the Sabbath Commands of Exodus and Deuteronomy
(The image in this post is related to this section, so please refer to it for observations.)
The two commandments are paralleled with various type modifications to indicate the links between the two passages. Plain text indicates words which are unique to each version, while bold, italics and underlining (and combinations of these) represent where the Hebrew contains the same words. As can be seen, the Deuteronomy Sabbath Commandment is more expansive than the Exodus version, though each is broken up into four verses which cover roughly the same content or have differences which correspond to each other. This gives a good order for analysis. We will examine the similarities and differences of each verse
1st Command – In Exodus, the commandment begins with the word “Remember”, which in fitting with the reasons in that Commandment pointing to the Creation history points to something which the majority of the earth by this stage has forgotten. Thus by Exodus 20 beginning with “Remember” and Deuteronomy 5 beginning with “Observe”, the Sabbath is placed in the context of it’s Historic Foundation and Everlasting Importance. In Deuteronomy, it begins with the word “Observe” which means to “Protect, Guard, Mark, Preserve”, pointing to something that had now been ingrained over 40 years of the falling Manna. In Deuteronomy it also points back to the Exodus Commandment saying, “as YHWH your God commanded you”. Therefore the reasons to be given in this version of the Commandment are additional to and built upon the original reasons given in Exodus 20.
2nd Command – These two verses are identical.
3rd Command – The first major differences in this passage is that it specifically mentions among the livestock the “ox” and “donkey” and includes the term “any” before the reference to “cattle”. The specific mentions of these species does not mean that all livestock not mentioned are excluded from the Commandment, but the additional species act as a synecdoche further embracing all other beasts of the field. In Deuteronomy there is an additional enlargement to this verse saying, “so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.” This word for “rest” is the same as in Exodus 20:11 where God rests – nûaḥ. As God rested, we are to rest.
Reason – This last section of each Commandment has the most disparity. The “Remember” from the start of Exodus 20:8 is echoed in this section of the Commandment in Deuteronomy. Whereas Exodus 20 gives the reason for the Commandment as Creation, Deuteronomy does not ignore this (having alluded to it in the words “as YHWH your God has commanded you”), but it gives an additional reason special to the Hebrews, tying it to the deliverance from Egypt. The motifs of Creation and Deliverance/Salvation complement each other, and in Deuteronomy, the power of God is emphasised (“a mighty hand and… an outstretched arm”) which is Creative power.
Both versions of the Sabbath Commandment are literary inclusio’s.
Exodus Sabbath Inclusio:
“Remember THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY…
Therefore YHWH blessed THE SABBATH DAY AND MADE T HOLY.”
Deuteronomy Sabbath Inclusio
“Observe THE SABBATH DAY to keep it holy
—as YHWH YOUR GOD COMMANDED YOU
—therefore YHWH YOUR GOD COMMANDED YOU
to keep THE SABBATH DAY.”
So we can see many similarities in form and structure between Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15. Now let’s look at why Deuteronomy is different, a key to understanding this is the phrase “as YHWH your Elohim commanded you”. This phrase is found repeatedly through the surrounding chapters. The nearest use is in the Fifth Commandment to honour mother and father (Deuteronomy 5:16). So we see that the most Relational Commandments concerning God and Family are tied together with this phrase. The formula is also used with slight modification at times in Deuteronomy 5:33; 6:1, 17, 20, 25. The differences throughout are in the personal thrust of the formula:
5:12, 15, 16 – “YHWH your (2nd person singular) Elohim commanded you (2nd person singular)”
5:33 – “YHWH your (2nd person plural) Elohim commanded you (2nd person plural)”
6:1 – “YHWH your (2nd person plural) Elohim commanded me (Moses) to teach you (2nd person plural)”
6:17 – “YHWH your (2nd person plural) Elohim… which He has commanded you (2nd person singular)”
6:20 – “YHWH our (1st person plural) Elohim has commanded you (2nd person plural)”
6:26 – “YHWH our (1st person plural) Elohim has commanded us (1st person plural)”.
In the three instances within the 4th and 5th Commandments, we see that the 2nd person singular is being used, as the Commandments are personal to each person and are being quoted. The mostly plural uses by Moses through the rest of the instances point out to us that the social focus of this passage. The usage builds to the final verse of chapter 6 where Moses inclusively combines himself with his audience.
When we look at the beginning of Deuteronomy chapter 5, we see that Moses has called together all the Israelites and there he delivers a sermon. The differences in the Commandments as Moses quotes them in this chapter do not indicate a different textual tradition (as some higher critics say) or even that there was a second version of the Commandments given by God, but the social format of the entire presentation leading up to the reading of the Commandments and afterwards, show that Moses is giving minor commentary throughout. Whereas the Exodus Commandments are given in a universal context outlining the ultimate reasons of God, Moses’ presentation focuses it for the Israelite audience, thus the reference to God’s delivery from Egypt.
The Sabbath Commandment in Deuteronomy links up with the Family Commandment that follows, as seen by the reference to the phrase “YHWH your Elohim commanded you”, and also as the deliverance referenced in the Sabbath Commandment (“you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and YHWH your Elohim brought you out…”) reaches its destination in the Fifth Commandment (“the land YHWH your Elohim is giving you”).
The careful modifications to the Sabbath Commandment in Deuteronomy also reach out to touch the First and Tenth Commandments thus highlighting the central place it holds in the Decalogue. The reason given in the Sabbath Commandment is “you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 5:15). This clearly connects with the prologue to the Decalogue which many argue is part of the First Commandment itself – “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deuteronomy 5:6). The addition of “ox” and “donkey” in the livestock specifically mentioned as required to rest links to the same animals listed in the same order in the Tenth Commandment (Deuteronomy 5:21).
To summarise this section:
• The Sabbath Commandments in both Exodus and Deuteronomy are in the form of inclusio’s.
• The context of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy is a sermon being preached by Moses to the Israelites.
• The Ten Commandments are quoted with slight commentary and modification, with Moses always pointing back to the original giving of the Law in Exodus 20.
• The unique features of the passage in Deuteronomy highlight social aspects of the Commandments in the context of the people of Israel.
• The Sabbath Commandment in Deuteronomy links with the Fifth Commandment in a relational sense and with the First and Tenth Commandments marking the Central Focus of the Decalogue.
• The Redemption history justification for the Sabbath Commandment given in Deuteronomy complements the Creation history justification given in Exodus as both involved Divine Creative Power.
So we see that in spite of some claims that the Sabbath Commandment in Deuteronomy limits the application of the Decalogue to the Hebrews, the context of Moses’ adjustments is homiletic and not exegetical with the sermon being built on the universal delivery of the Commandments in Exodus 20. The Sabbath Commandment is still seen as the centre of the Decalogue and is given additional meaning in the context of Redemption to complement it as a commemoration of Creation.
C. The universal scope of the Sabbath Commandment
The book “Lying for God” has a section where it attempts through various sources, including Jewish sources quoted in SDA publications, that circumcision was required to keep the Sabbath. While some Jews believed this, it does not make it Biblically true. The argument is summed up as follows:
“In our study of the problems of Sabbatarianism, our interest is as much in how the Israelites viewed the concept of law and its relationship to the Sabbath as we are in the actual teachings of the Scripture regarding it. What we do know is that by the time of Jesus, the keeping of the Torah– the Law of Moses– was thought of to be for Jews only, and Gentiles were not welcome to participate it its ordinances unless they were circumcised.”
As we shall now see, one of the words in the Sabbath Commandments given in both Exodus and Deuteronomy, shows that the Sabbath Commandment applied to the uncircumcised stranger who was passing through Israelite territory.
In Exodus 20:10; 23:12 and Deuteronomy 5:14, among the list of those who are required to keep the Sabbath is found the word gēr (גּר). Rabbinic Judaism tends to identify this as the “circumcised foreigner” rather than the “uncircumcised foreigner”. The word CAN have either the general meaning of any foreigner (all non-Hebrews) or a narrower meaning of “righteous foreigners (circumcised non-Hebrews). The context, as always, is the key.
Exodus 20:10 does not give any indication as to whether the meaning of gēr is in reference to all foreigners in the land or only circumcised foreigners in the land. However, the other two passages reveal the full meaning.
Exodus 23:12 – “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien (גּר), may be refreshed.”
This repetition of the Sabbath requirement is found in the enlargement of the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God when the Israelites determined they could not bear to hear any more from God directly (Exodus 20:19). Like Deuteronomy, this social version of the Commandment embraces the humanitarian aspect of the Sabbath. The Israelites were to rest SO THAT their livestock, servants AND the gēr might also rest. The fact that this use of gēr includes also the uncircumcised is based on the previous mention of the word a few verses above:
Exodus 23:9 – “You shall not oppress a sojourner (גּר). You know the heart of a sojourner (גּר), for you were sojourners (גּר) in the land of Egypt.”
This verse highlights how the Hebrews were in the position of gēr while they were in Egypt. It doesn’t imply that they had adopted Egyptian religious practices, but speaks in the general sense of being foreigners. It is speaking of the vulnerable status of being a minority within another culture. Also, the command not to oppress the foreigner within the land must also embrace a universal sense inclusive of uncircumcised foreigners in the land. So we see that the Sabbath in Exodus 23:12 is for the uncircumcised stranger as well as the circumcised Hebrew.
In the Sabbath Commandment in Deuteronomy, we see again a social aspect of the Sabbath commandment with the commentary which shows that the rest of those mentioned alongside the Israelites was to be equal to the Israelites rest as it says synecdochally, “that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you”. The Deuteronomic account also gives the larger context for the gēr by reference to the experience of slavery in Egypt.
In this, we see that the Sabbath was binding upon the uncircumcised as well as the circumcised, thus demonstrating its universal nature beyond the covenant God had established with Israel. A final blow to the idea that circumcision was required to keep the Sabbath holy is the history of the Israelite wandering in the wilderness. For almost 40 years, God caused Manna to fall from Heaven to ingrain the Sabbath into the Hebrew psyche. Yet from the time that the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land at Kadesh, the Scriptures reveal that the Hebrews were forbidden from performing circumcision (Joshua 5:7) and the entire next generation who entered the promised land were not circumcised until they had crossed the Jordan (Joshua 5:2-4). Circumcision was required to partake of the Passover (Exodus 12:43-49) and they did not eat it during all the 40 years in the wilderness until the right of circumcision was renewed (Joshua 5:11).
To summarise this section:
• The Sabbath Commandments in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 as well as in Exodus 23:12 reveal that even the uncircumcised foreigner (gēr) travelling in Israel was to observe the Sabbath in an equal sense to the Israelites
• This highlights the universal and humanitarian aspect of the Sabbath Commandment and how it was meant to be kept as a witness to non-Israelites.
• The Sabbath was kept in the wilderness while the rite of circumcision was not practiced showing that it is not dependent upon circumcision to be kept holy.
So we have seen in this study that the Sabbath Commandment is a universal principle instituted at Creation and named for the resting God did on that day from the works He had created. As such, the Sabbath represents and is a reminder of God’s Creative-Redemptive power and took on a new meaning as God delivered the Israelites out of slavery and gave them rest. It is the central focus of the Decalogue and while the Ten Commandments were encoded and given to the Israelites, it was not for them alone, but was to be kept holy as a witness to all nations, binding even upon foreigners passing through the Promised Land. As God’s rest on the Seventh day of Creation was a role-model for humanity (Adam and Eve), the Sabbath Commandments teach that redeemed humanity are to keep the Sabbath as a witness to those who are not yet connected to God’s Covenant.