Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 21, PAGE 1,11-13a

September 27. 1982

Creation Or Redemption?

Leo Rogol

The whole theme of the Seventh-day Adventists' Sabbath observance is based upon their misunderstanding that is was given to the Jews, and later to the Gentiles as a memorial of creation. Thus, they say, the Sabbath brings us to a remembrance of God who is the creator of all things and who is to be worshipped by all men. Yet, the reason for establishing the Sabbath as a rest to the Jews was to remind them of the rest they enjoyed by their freedom from bondage. As God rested in the beginning, He gave this as a day for the Jews to remember their rest from bondage, a memorial of their deliverance. (Deut. 5:15) Is it not only fitting that we remember a far greater deliverance by a memorial that brings to remembrance a work wrought for us by the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord? This former memorial was given to a single nation; the latter, to the whole world. Hence, because of the meaning and purpose of the memorial, the Sabbath, it cannot answer to the memorial that reveals the new creation thru redemptive love which was finally accomplished upon the first day of the week, the day Christ rose from the dead "to make an end for sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness. (Daniel 9:24)

It is therefore the purpose of this article to reveal the Adventists' misunderstanding concerning the memorial of creation (what they hold it to be), the Sabbath, in contrast with what the Bible speaks of the memorial of redemption, which is observed upon the Lord's day, the first day of the week.

So again, one of their chief arguments for Sabbath-keeping is, that it is to remind us of our Creator and His works in the beginning. And thus they say in one of their tracts, "God's Memorial," page 7: "The original plan of the Sabbath contemplated its perpetual observance as long as the Creator and created man should exist. It does not point forward to redemption. It was instituted before provisions were made for redemption. (emp. mine. LR.) It looks back to creation!'

In this quotation the admission was made, "It does not point forward to redemption." But the false charge is made in the statement, "It was instituted before provisions were made for redemption." This is what their traditions have established as truth, but what does God say? Many times in correcting traditions of men Christ would say, "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old....But I say unto you...." (Matt. 5:27-28) So let us observe what God said in His word concerning this statement. "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world...." (Eph P4) "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." (Eph. 3:9) When God created all things by Christ the mysteries of redemption were already purposed in His mind. In 1 Peter 1:18-20 we read that we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, "....who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for us." From all that we have just read how can any statement which claims that the Sabbath was "instituted before provisions were made for redemption" reconcile with what God had spoken?

Again, from the same tract pg 11. "And to those that assert that redemption, as a greater work, Is to be celebrated upon the first day of the week . . . . we would say, we only have your words for that. The Bible is silent relative to redemption's being greater than creation." We could become involved in a great deal of discussion over the question concerning which is the greater work, creation or redemption. We are concerned with which memorial is greater now for us — Sabbath or that of the Lord's day. The works of creation and redemption were designed and accomplished by God, but the observance of a memorial involves the duty and action of man. Both works were infinitely great. But we are concerned with the observance of a memorial. The observance of is memorial, an act of worship, is only holy when God decreed it so. Thus it was with the Passover, which reminded the Jews of their deliverance from Egypt. They were to keep this day for a memorial. (Ex. 12:14) But is it of any significance to us today in relation to our worship?

When we consider the theme and purpose of the Bible, that it is a steady, gradual revelation and development, not of creation, as though some evolutionary process, but of the scheme of redemption, that the whole design of the Bible is centered upon this theme, it then does not take much research to come to the conclusion that the memorial of redemption, when redemption was completed, is of greater significance and purpose for man than the memorial of creation.

It has been asked, if the memorial of redemption was greater, why was the Sabbath given in the first place, if it was inadequate, imperfect? We might answer, by the same token, why did God give the laws of sacrifice — the old sanctuary system of worship, since in Heb. 8:7-8 it says, "For if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place be sought for the second. For finding fault with them...." All of this was merely a temporary measure as Heb. 9:9-10 tells us that the way into the holiest (God's throne in heaven) was not yet manifest in those days. This Old Testament worship was a figure for that time which did not make the priest or worshiper perfect, but was imposed on them until the time of reformation (Christ). Then He brought in something better, something perfect.

If the Sabbath looks back to creation, then redemption is greater in significance as far as our need is concerned because it is the mystery of God hid before Sabbath came into existence. It was designed in the mind of God before "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it...." (Gen. 2:3) If there were no sin the world would stand in no need of the Bible, the story of man's fall and God's plan of redemption. The Bible tells us of sin and the judgment at the beginning in Genesis 3, and the promise of a savior. It tells us of the increase of sin and the judgment upon the ungodly-the flood-and it tells us of comfort and hope 'given to righteous Noah. The Bible reveals God as the absolute, the highest power, the Creator. But when God reveals himself as the Redeemer, He reveals himself to man in relation to his greatest need. Man has a great need to remember God as creator and ruler of the universe, but man's needs and hopes depend upon the memorial of redemption.

In Rom. 1:16-17 we read of God's answer to man in relation to his need. The gospel is God's power unto salvation to all who will believe. It also reveals another important fact. "....Therein is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith." The Sabbath was contained in the Law, but the righteousness of God Is Contained in the gospel. Hence, the law, which contained the Sabbath command is not found in the gospel, wherein is revealed the righteousness of God, and whereby we are saved. "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets." (Rom. 3:21). The law, therefore, which contained the Sabbath, was merely the witness of the righteousness of God in the gospel. Paul further stated: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen thru faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." (Gal. 3:8) The Sabbath, contained in the Mosaic law could not answer, or fulfill the promise that the Gentiles would be justified thru faith. Yet, the just shall live by faith. That is why Paul said that, ...."by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh 'be justified in his sight " (Rom. 3:20) Again, "For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise... Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made." (Gal. 3:19) So we can see that in a sense the Sabbath, or that memorial of the past was inferior, was subservient to God's greater purpose as revealed in the memorial of redemption which we observe upon the first day of the week.

Since man is less and less susceptible to divine impressions, and in the same proportions more and more prone to forget the Creator, who is also our Redeemer, he needs not the Sabbath, but the gospel. The Sabbath was a memorial of creation in its perfection before sin was present in creation. Hence, since the Sabbath was a memorial of creation in its perfection (Adventists claim it was a memorial of creation only) it does not answer man's need, who is imperfect, since in the gospel is found the memorial of that which answers man's needs. God's creation was marred by sin; the world ravaged by a flood as sin increased; therefore, man was not in need of that which was meant for the perfect, but needed something for his imperfection — redemption. Yes, the Sabbath was given to the Jews to remind them of their deliverance from Egypt, but this was only given to one nation til the seed should come. Remember, we are considering the thought, which is greater — the memorial of creation or that of redemption? Which is for the universal application?

The charge is also made, "Now if a day should be kept to celebrate redemption, would it not be the day on which he shed his blood? Redemption is not completed; but in the Lord's supper and baptism are two memorials of the greatest events that have occurred in connection with this work for man. Neither of these is a weekly memorial, Baptism may be received by the believer on any day of the week; and it is said of the emblems of the broken body and shed blood of the Son of God, without reference to any particular day." (pg.11)

In answer to this fallacious charge, notice this. The historical fact that Jesus suffered, shed his blood and died would have been of no value to us had he remained in the tomb. Though he shed his blood and died we would have yet been in our sins had he not risen from the dead. In 1 Cor. 15, Paul was reminding them of the gospel. Notice that he said that Christ died for our sins, was burled, and rose the third day. One of these facts, standing alone, is of no merit without the completion of the rest of the acts. In vs. 14, we read, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." Then in vss. 16-18, "For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."

Concerning baptism, we all know that God never established a particular day as a memorial for this It was not given for the observance as a memorial day, but that the believer might receive the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, etc.) In Rom. 6:4-5 we read: "Therefore we axe buried with him by baptism into his death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." It would do us no good to die in His death if there were no spiritual resurrection to a new life. Hence, all the meaning and power of the gospel is contained not only in one single act, but consummated in the final resurrection of our Lord, upon the first day of the week. Without becoming involved in too much discussion, to answer the charge that the emblems of his body and blood to be observed without reference to any day, we may simply state, all who read their Bible know that the "breaking of bread" In Acts 20:7 was an established custom practiced by all Christians by apostolic example. This is also further demonstrated by the command that they were to give upon the first day of the week upon which they met. (1 Cor. 16:2) Acts 20 tells us why they met, so we do have a particular reference as to what day, the purpose and frequency of assembling ourselves together upon the first day of the week.

It only stands to reason that we understand no one can observe a memorial before the establishment of the act for which that memorial is given. Jesus died, was burled and arose from the dead to fulfill all that written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the .psalms concerning him. (Luke 24:44) Jesus rose on the first day of the week to complete the work of redemption. It is strange that the Bible makes no mention of Jesus ever meeting with his disciples on the Sabbath after his resurrection, after redemption was made complete, but always on the first day of the week. We should think that if Jesus intended that the disciples continue to observe the memorial, the Sabbath, some mention would have been made of his meeting with the disciples on that day, and not on the first day of the week. Hence, it is only fitting that the first day of the week stands for us as a memorial of the "mystery which from the beginning hath been hid in God...." It stands as a memorial of the truth that we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without sin, who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world. This day stands as a memorial of the gospel preached unto Abraham, that God would justify the heathen by faith, when Jesus would come who was that seed in whom all nations of the earth would be blessed. That Sabbath was for the Jews, for it was contained in the covenant made on Sinai with the Jews only, when at "That time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." (Eph. 2:12) We were strangers from that covenant which contained the Sabbath command. We were without God, hence the Sabbath; the memorial given to the Jews could not compare with the memorial of the New Testament because "Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (vs. 13) This memorial is universal, to all nations, not local as the Sabbath, given to one nation.

Finally this last observation. The statement is also made: "Thus universal observance of the memorial of the Great God will be only seen in the immortal state, when from one Sabbath to another, and from one new moon to another, all flesh shall come to worship before the Lord." (p. 3) Adventists claim that the Sabbath will be observed after the destruction of the earth, after his second coming. Remember, however, according to their doctrine, the Sabbath is a memorial of the Genesis one creation. In Heb. 10-11, we read of that Genesis one creation, that the earth and the heavens which are the work of his hand shall perish, they shall wax old as a garment. This shall happen after the righteous are raised immortal. If then, the world shall perish, the work of his hand, which is recorded in Genesis one, how can it be that the Sabbath will still remain a memorial of something that will no longer exist? We can have no memorial of anything that does not exist, else there is no purpose in the observance of that memorial. The Jewish nation was once delivered from bondage and at the eve of the departure observed the passover. At the end of that nation came also the end of the passover, for they were no longer the people of God as a whole as they once were when God established them as a holy nation. So there is no purpose in observing a memorial (Ex. 12:14) of a people Who no longer are God's people.

Yet Adventists will read from Isaiah 66:23 and say that the Sabbath will be observed by all redeemed. Will God want the redeemed to remember something that was polluted by sin, had to be destroyed because of sin and thus will no longer exist? No! Our memory shall always dwell upon the "lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. (1 Pet. 1:3-4) God's redeeming love will be the theme, the song upon the lips of all redeemed hosts throughout all eternal ages. Thus the memorial of redemption is and always shall be greater than the memorial of creation. Our eternal presence before God in the courts of heaven shall be the eternal testimony that Jesus died for our sins, that he then went to heaven to prepare a place for us in order that he might remove us from this earth destroyed by sin. This life shall never pass. This present creation shall pass away with a great noise. (2 Pet. 3:10)

Yet the very ones who use Isaiah 66:23 are the ones who refuse to accept the next statement: "....for their worms shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched ...." in reference to their teachings on eternal punishment.

— RD 2, Cherry Tree, Pa.