Clear Word vs Bible: Doctrine of the Sabbath

old_testament_law

This is the third post in a series on the SDA Clear Word, for the previous entry please click HERE.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church believes that the weekly Sabbath day is a moral law that should be kept today.  They also believe that you must keep it perfectly by your own diligent effort without a mediator after the close of probation or you will get the mark of the beast and be damned.  For proof on that please click HERE.

This post is not really about the Sabbath though.  My issue with the SDA isn’t really the Sabbath anyway it’s the false gospel associated with it.  For example, I respect Seventh-Day Baptists a great deal and understand why they observe the Sabbath.  I believe they are mistaken but I also believe there is a thing called Christian Freedom which applies to things like the Sabbath Day (Rom 14:5).

That said, do SDA actually believe that Sabbath keeping is taught in scripture or did they feel the need to modify the Bible to say what they believe?  This is the question that I seek to answer in comparing the Clear Word version with the Holy Bible.  I am going to present some common texts that SDA themselves use to argue for Sabbath keeping and see if they made any significant changes.

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.; 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made..” Gen 2:2-3 KJV  “Then on the seventh day of creation week, God stopped to enjoy what He had made and to rest in the beauty of it all. So He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a day of spiritual refreshment and joy, a memorial of creation.””

 

Notice in the Holy Bible nothing is created on the Seventh Day, God simply stops working.  In the Clear Word the author adds a creation of rest as an ongoing memorial.  SDA do in fact believe in a Seventh Day of “creation week” where as most Christians speak of six days.  If SDA really believe that the text teaches rest was created in this text why do they feel the need to add it in?

Where is this talk of a “memorial” and “refreshment” in the Holy Bible?  This concept is added in lock stock and barrel, there is no indication of such things in the original.  Why did SDA feel the need to add this in the text?  If they believe this is taught here would it not be there already?

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” Exo 31:16 KJV  My people are to keep the Sabbath, celebrating it forever as a sign that they belong to me.”

 

Notice that the Holy Bible excludes Gentiles entirely, if you are born as a child of Israel and are within their literal generations living before the new covenant then you could argue this applies to you.  The Clear Word though says “my people” and instead of generations just uses the word “forever”.  These concepts are not in the Biblical text.

SDA believe that literal passages such as this one are to be interpreted figuratively so that they apply to believing New Covenant gentiles as well.  But if they honestly did believe the text conveyed this meaning all on its own why tweak it?  Shouldn’t it already plainly say what you believe?

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16 KJV “He also went to His hometown of Nazareth, and as His boyhood habit had been, He attended the synagogue on the Sabbath.  On this particular Sabbath, the one in charge asked Him to give the Scripture reading.”

 

The first thing that strikes me is that they felt the need to use the word Sabbath twice.  Check in the greek on BibleHub and you will see it only occurs in the text once.  The reason seems to be that the writer of the clear word wants to define custom as childhood sabbath keeping and scripture reading.  This concept isn’t in the Holy Bible at all.  His custom could simply be to preach the Word in the Synagogue during his ministry.

I’m not saying that Jesus didn’t keep the sabbath growing up.  I’m just saying this verse doesn’t convey what the Clear Word does.  For some reason the writer chose to add it in himself.  It does make sense that Jesus would have kept the Sabbath as a child, he grew up in the old covenant and was even circumcised on the 8th day.  He also kept Passover and the rest of the Torah.  It would be silly to draw prescriptive conclusions off of that though.

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Luke 6:5 KJV  “Then He said, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath and knows what is right to do because He’s the One who set it apart“.”

 

Where did all the text in red come from?  There isn’t even a stray word in this verse of the Holy Bible that conveys a shred of that thought.  It’s as if the SDA just threw their hands in the air and decided to turn the Gospel of Luke into Bible Fan-fiction.

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Rom 14:5 KJV  “The same thing applies to religions festivals.  One person thinks he has to keep every Jewish festival, while another thinks those days are no different from other days.  About nonessentials like these, everyone needs to make up his own mind.”

 

The Holy Bible uses broad terms that can include any and all days.  Clearly the Apostolic faith has no Holy Days with regards to the Law.  The only way to rescue Sabbath keeping as a law is to insert distinctions of types of days into the verse with your imagination.  But Paul gives no such distinctions.

If SDA really believe that this passage has a distinguishing of types of days why did they have to add those distinctions themselves into their new Bible?  Why isn’t it clear enough on its own?  Is the Holy Bible insufficient for them?

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” Col 2:16 KJV  “Don’t let anyone control your life by giving you a set of ceremonial rules about what to eat, what to drink and which monthly festivals or special sabbaths to keep.”

 

The key to understanding what the SDA have changed in this passage is the use the words “which” and “or”.  These set up a paradigm where some things are included and others are excluded.  This is because they believe that the Saturday Sabbath day is not spoken of in this verse at all.

The problem is, in the Holy Bible Paul uses the phrase “in respect of”.  This indicates a categorical distinction rather than an itemized one.  Thus we are on the Category of the Holy Days of the Torah, and the weekly Sabbath was included in that system.

If SDA truly did believe that this verse didn’t address the weekly Sabbath why was it necessary to modify at all?

 

The Holy Bible

The Clear Word

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” Rev 1:10 KJV  “On the Sabbath of the Lord I went to the island’s rocky shore to worship.  Suddenly the Spirit took control of me, and I heard a voice behind me that sounded as loud as a trumpet.”

 

I am fully aware of how SDA eisegete the Sabbath into Revelation 1:10.  If it really was as obvious as they say though why did the writer have to change the words?  Shouldn’t it be clear all on its own to anyone reading?

Also we have an added narrative of John walking around the shore .  I don’t know why that was necessary but if fan-fiction is allowed at this point then who knows what we can come up with.

 

Conclusion

If the Bible doesn’t say what you believe, instead of bending the text to your beliefs I recommend simply bending your beliefs to the text.  It can be painful but in the end it is worth it.  And one of the perks is you can read any old Bible and it will say exactly what you believe all the time.  You don’t have to go make a special one that works better for you.

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About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Leaving Adventism, The Clear Word and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Clear Word vs Bible: Doctrine of the Sabbath

  1. SofaTheologian says:

    “The Clear Word, originally published in March 1994 as the Clear Word Bible, is an English-language “devotional paraphrase of the Bible expanded for clarity”.[1][2] It is an interpretive text of the Bible written as a personal devotional exercise by Jack Blanco, former dean of the School of Religion at Southern Adventist University, to be an additional study tool and devotional alongside the Bible.”
    “Blanco originally wrote The Clear Word as a devotional exercise for himself. After friends and family saw what he did, they encouraged him to publish it. The New Testament part was first published and readers widely received and encouraged him to do the whole Bible.”
    Just because some Adventists do, say, or believe certain things doesn’t make that true for all Adventists. I would never hold the Baptist faith accountable for the actions or beliefs of a few people that claim the denomination. The Clear Word Bible is just, that a personal project and book written by one person. It was published as a devotion and a paraphrase. Nobody is trying to change the bible, it is claimed up front as a paraphrase. Obviously, much of this project is depicted directly relating to the beliefs of the author just like a commentary, and you don’t believe any of them. That much is glaringly true from your website.

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    • ACTheologian says:

      No, it’s sold on the ABC as a Bible and is used for teaching purposes in SDA churches. No getting around this.

      When they remove it from the ABC and put out an apology let me know.

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      • SofaTheologian says:

        I’ve never once seen this personal devotional exercise used for teaching in an Adventist churches. Here you are assuming that just because you saw one or maybe even several do something you assume all are wrong. There is a history of the church being incredibly righteousness by works based, but not as much any longer, outside of a few pockets. However, the pendulum is swinging to counter balance and there are also pockets 100% only justification without sanctification. Anything goes, ‘Do what thou wilt’.
        It’s such a wide spectrum I do not see how you can sit on your armchair throne and judge the entire denomination under the same swath of your mighty sword.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        Well the sword you speak of is the Word of God. So it’s not my authority it’s his. Secondly, the SDA Church publishes the clear word in their ABC publishing house as a Bible and allows it to be used for teaching and preaching.

        So the fact that the GC doesn’t officially codify it in the fundamental beliefs is moot. In every respect that matters it’s a special SDA Bible just like the Jehovah’s Witnesses New World Translation.

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      • SofaTheologian says:

        No thw sword I speak of that you are using is just a sword of judgement. It’s obvious you hate The SDA faith and detest Adventists. Even presented with the truth you cannot see through the anger you are holding onto. It is a paraphrase, it’s advertised as a paraphrase, it’s a personal project. You’ve already made up your mind though. I just pray someday you’ll let go of this idol you’ve created of hating Adventists.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        No I don’t hate Adventist’s at all. That’s why I proclaim the gospel to them. So that they will repent and become Christians.

        I was clear on my objection to the clear word. Rephrasing my argument is called a straw man. So I simply reject your assertions.

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      • SofaTheologian says:

        I haven’t seen you proclaim any gospel, I’d have doubt you really know what the gospel is with the way you display a lack of grace. And I didn’t make a straw man argument, I just made an observation. Careful wielding that sword it’s double edged, when chopping at Adventists it might cut you as well. Carry on Brother, God bless.

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      • ACTheologian says:

        Well you must be new to my posts. I cycle law and Gospel. Part of law is exposing heresy which my clear word series covers well. After this I will be cycling through the new Covenant.

        But I’ll give you a fast forward. Read this post here you will find law and Gospel in it.

        https://actheologian.com/2015/10/31/the-false-go

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