Sabbath, More than a Day?

There are two prevalent attitudes that I have witnessed amongst Sabbatarians that can lead to neglect of the teaching, learning, and living the Sabbath.

Nothing Else To Learn

The first of these attitudes is the belief that we have learned all we need to learn about the Sabbath. Those who accept such a position feel the need to move on to other doctrines after they have learned that the seventh day is the Biblical Sabbath. After they discover this, they totally set it aside as the day in which “we go to church.”

When we accept such an idea, the doctrine goes into hibernation until it is time to prove to someone else that they need to “go to church on” the Biblical Sabbath. The problem with such a view is that it does not recognize that the Sabbath is not merely to teach us the day to assemble. It also includes a prophetic portion of looking forward to the ultimate fruition of all things. This can be seen in the Prophets including Isaiah who said from one Sabbath to another shall all flesh come to worship(Isaiah 66:23).

The Look Back

But more than the future look, the Sabbath provides a look back at creation. We can look at creation and catch a glimpse of how we should live today, on the Sabbath, and will live in the world to come. Our brothers and sister who “already know everything” about the Sabbath will not learn of the way that the Sabbath trains us to live today and in the coming kingdom.

Looking for the Sunday Law

However, there is another prevalent view of the Sabbath that forever looks for manifestations of the coming Sunday law. Here the Sabbath is reduced to a mile-marker on the way to the second coming. We look for this “Sunday law” in every bill that comes around. We find non-existent bills that are very close to bringing in the second coming, however, just like the other view, we end up with a lack of understanding of how the Sabbath provides a glimpse of the coming kingdom and thus has a strong ethical component that directs our living. But even more than that, the Sabbath also provides strength for living the life of Christ. All of these themes are tied up in the doctrine.

Proclaiming the Sabbath More Fully

It is true that some reduce the teaching to simply the day we assemble for worship and others reduce it to a discussion of a coming Sunday Law, but there will be some who will preach the “Sabbath more fully” as Ellen White predicted.

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