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Summary: The weekly cycle is God's idea. In the Genesis Creation account, the seventh day is mentioned three times, while the previous six days are individually mentioned only once. Only one of the week's seven days was "blessed" and distinguished as being "hallowed"-it is the seventh. By "resting" on that first seventh day, the Creator in­augurated a weekly cycle of rest for the human family made in His image (Genesis 2: 1-3).*

Sacred Time unRemembered Excerpt

By Daniel Knauft


Chapter 1

Creating Original Love

The weekly cycle is God's idea. In the Genesis Creation account, the seventh day is mentioned three times, while the previous six days are individually mentioned only once. Only one of the week's seven days was "blessed" and distinguished as being "hallowed"-it is the seventh. By "resting" on that first seventh day, the Creator in­augurated a weekly cycle of rest for the human family made in His image (Genesis 2: 1-3).*

Seminary professor Jiri Moskala noted that while the creation of human beings is the crowning act of the physical Creation, the sev­enth day is Creation week's climactic event because this day puts hu­mans in relationship with their Maker. He wrote: "Sabbath is first of all about a relationship of beauty and splendor, of God with humans and humans with God."1 Author Des Cummings,Jr., described the pathos of this day as "original love" and portrayed the Sabbath as "our personal Mount of Transfiguration-the place where we hear our heavenly Father say, 'This is My beloved child.'"2 Dr. Norman Gulley, author and specialist on last-day events, called the Sabbath experience "God close up.''3 

Jesus reminds us: " ' ... the Sabbath was made for man' " (Mark 2:27)-for the whole human family. Two institutions originating prior to the entrance of sin survive to this day-marriage and the Sabbath day. They were designed at the Creation to maintain wholesome hu­man happiness. These sister institutions, created within hours of each other, fulfilled human relationships horizontally and vertically. 

While the physical creation characterized the first six days, what was created on the seventh day is of a different nature-it was sacred time, a reality that cannot be tasted, touched, seen or heard. Time is the element in which we experience relationships. God designed the Sabbath day to enable humans to know Him intimately. He refers to it as His sign (Ezekiel 20:12, 20). Like a lover wooing the heart of his beloved, He passionately urges us to "remember"-remember the sacred, intimate, protected time He wants us to spend with Him (Exodus 20:8).

Christian author and former secularist Clifford Goldstein wrote: 

Holy cities can be burned  ... Holy shrines can be looted. But time is beyond the fire and the knife. No man can touch, much less destroy it. Therefore, by making a special time holy, God has made His Sabbath invincible, placing it in an element beyond the reach of any devices of mankind. Armies can sack cities. Rulers can ban pilgrimages. But no military tank-no swirl of ink-can keep away the seventh day. We can no more stop the Sabbath than the sunset. God protected His memorial to His created objects in space-­which are vulnerable to man-by placing it in time, which is not. (Heaven's Tender Touch, Hart Research Center, Fallbrook, California, 1993)

The Creation event, as described in Genesis 1 and 2, is like a copy­right or patent of the Creator. The Creator's signature is embedded in every cell and atom. God has no competitor as Creator of this planet of interrelated complexity of living forms. There is no alterna­tive explanation that merits notice for the origin of the earth and its vast variety of exquisitely designed organisms and creatures. An or­derly Creation is reality, and it is the springboard for understanding genuine science. Believers who weekly observe the seventh-day Sab­bath of Creation testify to their noble, purposeful origin at the hand of their loving Creator, and they declare that the deeper meanings of life can only be found in an active relationship with Him-"God with humans and humans with God."

Brandeis University professor Nahum Sarna agrees: "Its obser­vance is a declaration of faith . . . that the universe is wholly the purposeful product of divine intelligence, the work of a transcendent Being outside of nature and sovereign over space and time."4 Pro­fessor Jiri Moskala noted: "By living Sabbath, believers are showing total devotion and respect to the holy Creator."5 Australian writer Aleta Bainbridge wrote: "By worshiping on the seventh-day Sab­bath, His people proclaim their allegiance to God as the rightful ruler of the universe, their Creator and Redeemer."6 

To those who would cherish refuge in their Maker's weekly tem­ple in time, God Himself has promised that they will " 'ride upon the high places of the earth' " (Isaiah 58:13, 14, KJV). To "ride high" with God-to revere and enjoy Him-is the greatest experience hu­mans can have. 

God has never withdrawn this promise. Has He transferred it to another day of the week-specifically to Sunday? 

Why would such a transfer be necessary? 

Christians have long answered this question by maintaining that they observe Sunday in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Truly, the Resurrection is the divine ratification of Jesus' victory over sin and a divine promise that all the universe ultimately will be secure from God's enemy. Christ's tomb is empty! He is risen! Let Him be glorified! 

With all due kindness, we must ask every Christian believer, whether pastor, professor, priest, pope or Bible student: Why would Christians need to abandon the sacred, seventh-day Sabbath of Creation and the fourth commandment, which magnifies the redeeming Creator God, in order to honor the resurrection of Jesus? Why should one cancel out the other? Do not Creation and Redemption walk hand in hand? Do they not both stand as the transcendent handiwork of our merciful and loving God? 

For millions of Christians throughout the centuries, Sunday has been the day on which to express devotion and worship to Jesus through preaching the gospel, Bible teaching and Christian fellow­ship. Through God-fearing ministries and worldwide missionary services on that day, untold thousands have found their way to Christ and His saving power.

Yet, during these same centuries, many earnest, Bible-believing scholars and honest-hearted devotees of Jesus have recognized that there is a major biblical disconnect in the institution of Sunday as the "Lord's day." Note these three brief points of Bible reasoning: 

First, Jesus Himself designated the particular day of His choosing by declaring that He, the Son of Man, bears this divine title-" 'LORD of the Sabbath' " (Mark 2:28). 

Second, the fourth commandment, which is part of the universal and perpetual law of God, has already designated the seventh-day of the weekly cycle as the Lord's day (Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58: 13). As such, it bears the credentials of the Most High God. 

Third, immediately following his conversion, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was led to Arabia and then to Damascus for a period of three years, during which time he was taught by the LORD through "the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-20). Throughout Paul's New Testament writings, which are drawn from his personal instruction from Jesus, there is not a single line of thought tying weekly recognition of the resurrection of Jesus to the first day of the week. Rather, Paul directly connects the death, burial and resurrec­tion of Christ-which is the heart of the New Testament gospel mes­sage-with baptism (Romans 6:3-6). Upon being "filled with the Holy Spirit," Paul immediately affirmed Christ's death and resurrec­tion through water baptism (Acts· 9:17, 18). And, interestingly, Paul himself provides the most prominent example of on-going Sabbath observance among Jewish and Gentile believers in the early church (see Acts 13:42-44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). 

With this in view, the question of the authority by which Sunday has been designated the "Lord's day" is significant. 

Who has authority over divine institutions? 

The question of authority is well established in Scripture. Every human who has ever lived on this planet is indebted to the LORD Jesus Christ for having bought us with His shed blood and bearing the sins of the whole world upon Himself at the cross (1 Corin­thians 6:20). As Sovereign LORD, He is the "Chief Cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6). All human leadership, whether do­mestic, intellectual, political or ecclesiastical, is obligated to act in submission to His lordship. 

One of the last things Jesus said before returning to the courts of heaven was: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). In modern parlance, this means that the risen Christ is the CEO of all the universe and, in particular, of this planet. His credentials no one can rival. 

In speaking to the religious leaders, Jesus earlier referred to Him­self in metaphor as the "Shepherd" of the sheep and as the "Door" of the sheepfold. He declared that all who attempt to gain access to the sheepfold some other way are impostors-they are thieves, robbers, hirelings or strangers (John 10:1-18). 

Only one Person has been authorized to officially represent and carry forward Jesus' mission of providing salvation on earth-the Holy Spirit, the divine equal of Jesus. Even still, He leads within the parameters that Jesus set forth: " ' ... when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, ... He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you' " (John 16:13, 14). 

This leads us to ask: Has Jesus-"the Good Shepherd"-authorized in Scripture the dismantling of the "blessed" and "hallowed" seventh-day Sab­bath and the instituting of Sunday in its place, or is this change the cunning deed of a "hireling or a stranger," in the words of Jesus? 

We must answer this question according to Christianity's only true authority. Jesus identified what this is in the simple but profound words: " 'I am the good shepherd .... My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me .... Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers' " (John 10:11, 27, 5). 

How should it be decided? 

Many who have been led to investigate this matter are moved by an honest desire to know the facts of the Bible and church history. I recognize that most people reading these words have long-stand­ing religious traditions and deep-seated emotions tied to their ob­servance of Sunday. However, serious Bible students, in their search for the truth, must courageously discard the religious pluralism and relativism of our modern culture. 

Individually, we must each decide how we will determine issues of faith and belief. Will it be by what feels right, by a hunch, or by cultural leanings? And are we merely to pass on to the next genera­tion centuries-old cherished traditions? One contemporary Christian radio commentator wisely counseled: "We should be asking: Is this true or is this just what you were taught?"

Is the Bible not still Christianity's highest authority and only au­thoritative source of absolute truth and the expressed will of God? Biblical scholar Clinton Wahlen offered this reason for the unique status of Scripture:

(The Bible) stands above and independent of organized ecclesiastical authorities because it is a revelation of God Himself. In obeying its precepts we obey the God who is the author and revealer of those principles, and grant to His words and to His person the respect their transcendent authority deserves.8

With this in view, will we then allow Scripture to have the "right to impose obligation on the human conscience," as theologian R. C. Sproul has put it?9 Will the revealed will of God override mere human inclination, speculation and invention?

Referring to the struggle between the subjective and objective in deciding issues of faith, highly respected British theologian and author, the late John R. W. Stott advised: "Our emotions are a fluctuating, unreliable guide to truth and must not be exalted to the place of su­preme authority in determining it. As a committed Evangelical, my question must be-and is-not what my heart tells me, but what does God's word say?"10   

* Unless otherwise specified, all Bible references are from the New King James Version (NKJV), © 1979, 1980, 1982 edition, Thomas NelsonPublishers, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee.

Jiri Moskala, "The Sabbath in the First Creation Account," Perspective Digest, vol. 12, no. 2 (Spring 2007), p. 48. At the time of this writing, Moskala was professor of Old Testament at the Andrews University Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, Michigan. 

2 Des Cummings, Jr., Original Love (Fallbrook, California: Hart Books, 2001 ), p. 112.

3 Norman Gulley, Satan's Trojan Horse-God's End-Time Victory (Hagerstown, Maryland: Review & Herald Publishing Association, 2004), pp. 39, 195. 

4 Nahum M. Sarna, Exodus, The JPS Commentary (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1991), p. 201. Sarna is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Brandeis University. This statement is quoted by Sigve K. Tonstad, The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 2009), p. 115.

5 Moskala, "The Sabbath in the First Creation Account," p. 53.

6 Aleta Bainbridge, "The Cosmic Conflict," Adventist World, May 2013, p. 23. 

7 Dr. James Dobson, from the introduction promo for the radio talk show My Family Talk, spring of 2010. This was a statement of general application not related to the subject at hand.

8 Clinton Wahlen, "What's to Believe About the Bible?" Adventist Review, August 25, 2011,

p. 24.

9 A statement with reference to the authority of Scripture, used by Dr. R. C. Sproul on his daily radio program Renewing Your Mind.

10 John Stott and DavidL. Edwards, Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue (London: Hodder & Stough­ton, 1988) pp. 319-320.

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