Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
T he Letter that appears below is included in a Video CD entitled, A Sabbath Test that will be sent to numerous leaders in God’s church. Our purpose for writing it was to once again appeal to them to seriously address the issue of buying and selling on the Sabbath—specifically going to restaurants on this day. Much of the Video CD covers a debate on this topic that arose this summer between Blow the Trumpet and Mr. David C. Pack and the Restored Church of God.
Although this argument was somewhat contentious, it illustrated the lengths many leaders will go to when rationalizing a practice that has absolutely no basis in Biblical fact. This letter appears on the Video CD under the title “To the Nobles.” Although it was written earlier, it was assigned the date of September 18th because this is the week it will be sent.
September 18, 2005
Our purpose for writing is to bring to your attention a matter of great urgency—one that must be addressed by you as a leader in God’s Church. It involves God’s Sabbath and how His people have become very caviler in its observance. One particular manifestation of this attitude is dining out in restaurants on this day—a practice that has grown in popularity over the past several years.
Although most of the leaders in God’s Church believe this to be a minor point, it most assuredly is not. Quite frankly, history reveals that this may be the most important issue God’s people face today. We realize these words may sound strong, but does that mean they should simply be dismissed out of hand?
Consider what God’s people must do to engage in this practice. First, they must consciously seek out unbelievers who are desecrating God’s holy day. They then must consent to pay for this sacrilege. Tragically, those who go to restaurants on God’s Sabbath actually rationalize this behavior and have even argued that restaurant personnel are performing a service that is worthy of their patronage. But how do you think God views this thinking?
Today, those who work on the Sabbath, whether in a restaurant or anywhere else, are truly in bondage. However, it is a very unique bondage. They are slaves to sin (Rom. 6:16)—a sin that has been sold by mankind’s greatest enemy (2 Cor. 4:4, Rev. 12:9). This being the case those in God’s Church who avail themselves of this service are actually condoning both the slavery and the SLAVE MASTER. They may deny this truth, but this is exactly what God was conveying when He gave the fourth commandment. This Great Lawgiver actually explained why His people were to release their servants from labor on the Sabbath. Notice what He said:
"But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor your ox, nor your ass, nor any of your cattle, nor the stranger that is within your gates; that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day." (Deut. 5:14-15)
Here, God is telling His people that labor on the Sabbath is a form of bondage. This is the very bondage He freed them from when He delivered them out of Egypt. This being the case, it is hard to understand why anyone would want to return to that bondage-even to look at it. Now think of this in terms of what is being taught by so many in God’s Church today. It should actually frighten us.
Now compare that teaching with what God’s word reveals about our own lives. The scriptures explain that just as the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt until God miraculously delivered them, those whom He has called in this present age were also once enslaved in “spiritual” Egypt. God’s people today were once in BONDAGE. We once believed the things the world believed, taught the things the world taught, and practiced the things the world practiced. We even profaned God’s Sabbath and holy days. We did so because we served the same Slave Master the world serves today.
However, our calling reveals that a Great Deliverer has again rescued His people from a world that does not know Him or His way. For this reason, God’s people today should never compel the unbeliever (a slave in Egypt) to work on their behalf on the Sabbath. We must refrain from this practice because we were miraculously delivered from this very practice ourselves. Remember that YOU were once a SLAVE in Egypt. This is not some catchy slogan. It is a profound TRUTH—one that God’s people must come to respect. Furthermore, we must also appreciate the fact that God hates the BONDAGE that once gripped our lives.
With this in mind, God’s people must understand that their Great Deliverer would no more permit them to return to this world and avail themselves of its sin, than He would permit the Israelites of yesterday to return to Egypt and avail themselves of their sin. As much as some may want to go back to Egypt, God forbids it and warns of its consequences. Notice what He says.
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)
Once again, consider these words in the context of dining out on the Sabbath. In order to engage in this practice, God’s people must literally return to a world that does not know Him—a world that tramples on this great day. In the Old Testament that world was called Egypt. In the New Testament it is called Babylon. But make no mistake about it; these worlds are one and the same.
When God commanded His people to cease from working on the Sabbath and to not compel others to work on their behalf, He was making a powerful statement. He was commanding His people to COME OUT OF EGYPT, to COME OUT OF BABYLON! In other words, God’s people are not to be a part of the very sin that once gripped their lives. This is because they are now FREE! For His leaders to teach otherwise is to promote BONDAGE!
The video CD you are watching contains what we believe is the most comprehensive examination of this subject in the Churches of God. As your brothers in Christ, we appeal to you to carefully consider its message—not because we produced it, for we have no patent or copyright on truth, but because it is so crucial that God’s people understand the importance of keeping His Sabbath HOLY!
We realize that you may want to ignore this issue. But ask yourself, “What if it is true?” Is it really worth risking the potential consequences for ignoring this VITAL TRUTH?
Consider how God’s people in the past have suffered because they failed to honor God’s Sabbath. One only has to read the twentieth chapter of the book of Ezekiel to begin to understand how God’s people have routinely contaminated this day and how they have suffered horrible consequences for this defiance. God’s people were actually stripped of their freedom for profaning this holy time. Israel suffered unbelievable brutality at the hands of Assyria, while Judah had their judgement delivered by Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans. This happened in no small part because they polluted God’s Sabbath. Their defiance was born out of arrogance and God dealt with it forcefully. These great nations God had supernaturally raised up actually thought they could keep the Sabbath according to the dictates of their own conscience. Does this sound familiar?
The captivity of both Israel and Judah can be directly linked to a cavalier attitude they had regarding a command that was designed to keep God’s people connected to Him. Today that attitude has emerged in His Church and is every bit as pervasive as it was over twenty-five centuries ago. As a result, the Church today reflects what is arguably the most apathetic approach toward this holy time since the days of Nehemiah. Today the Sabbath is used by many of God’s people as a time to tie up loose ends. Many of them now buy groceries, pick up their laundry, do their banking, wash their cars, and yes, go to restaurants on this day. After all if it is ok to do one, why can’t you do the others? Additionally, ministers now advance convoluted human arguments in defense of their blatant disregard of God’s instruction concerning how this day should be kept. Listen carefully when they explain why it is acceptable with God to go into a worldly business and avail themselves of its products and services. This on a day when God specifically commanded His people to not go out of the community He had raised up.
At this point it is important to understand that God’s word is not silent on this subject. As a matter of fact it presents a cold warning to His people regarding this practice. Consider the following: when God first taught a great company of emancipated Israelite slaves about His Sabbath He specifically addressed the issue of food. When doing so He gave them three specific directives. First, He said that they were not to acquire food on His Sabbath. Second, they were not to prepare food on His Sabbath. And third, they were not to leave the camp on the Sabbath. He gave these instructions in order “to prove them whether they will walk in my law or no” (Ex. 16:4). It is ironic that in order to go to a restaurant on the Sabbath, one must violate all three of these directives. So now the obvious question is this: will God’s people today walk in His law or no?
Our request is to you is quite simple: seriously investigate this vital truth and let God’s wisdom fall where it may. The information included on this disc will help you do just that. Some of it is tender and inspiring. Other parts may appear combative and strident. However, when they are all put together a wonderful truth stands in its midst—one that offers all of God’s people a opportunity to not only take, but pass A Sabbath Test.
Regardless of what you conclude, we love you very much. Our prayers are with you and with all of God’s people everywhere.
Blow the Trumpet
To the Church