Monday, January 19, 2015

Lying For God v8 PartI pp4-9

A recent copy of Kerry Wynne's comprehensive study "Lying For God" was sent to As Bereans Did. I personally have read through Lying For God more than once over the years and have been increasingly impressed by the depth of the investigation as newer versions arrive. The latest is the best yet. I thought it might be a good idea to share the study here, so I sought and received permission.

I want to make it clear that I am posting this because it is thought-provoking, not because I absolutely agree with every word and endorse the study in its entirety.

I had to mess with formatting just a touch for readability, but in general I tried to leave it as unedited as I could. The study is quite long, and directed specifically at the Seventh Day Adventists doctrines which puts it slightly outside of the scope of this blog but just close enough to make parts of it quite relevant since Armstrongism is an Adventist off-shoot, so I am not going to reproduce the entire study here, only the parts I feel are most interesting/relevant. I will put a link to the full study in the Categories page. I think the section called "Part I" is the most relevant to Armstrongism, so there I shall begin. What I am going to put here is going to take several posts. I've decided to name them "Lying For God v8 PartI" and I will affix the pages that I cover to the end of the title just to keep them all straight.

Today's installment will include material from pages 4-9.



Version 8 - August 1, 2014

by Kerry B. Wynne, William H. Hohmann, Robert K Sanders, and Duane Johnson.

[Page 4]


From The Land Of Goshen To The Mountain Of The Moon

The Hebrews left Egypt on a Thursday night and marched and camped for a total of 38 days before they kept their first Sabbath, treating all the previous days of their journey the same in regard to travel and work. One week before observing the first Sabbath ever kept by anyone, they marched 20 kilometers from their camp by the Red Sea to the edge of the Wilderness of Sin, trampling on the 7th day of their week, arriving around 5 pm on the 31st day of their journey late that “Saturday” afternoon. That evening, God introduced the Manna Obedience Test to Israel, instructing them to gather daily an amount sufficient for their needs for one day, and that on the sixth day they were to gather a double portion in order to provide them with manna on the Sabbath, seeing as there would be none provided on that day. Critical thinking elicits the fact that you cannot keep the Sabbath holy without a preparation day before it. All the work has to be completed before sundown on the 6th day.

At this point in the Exodus journey, the Sabbath represented nothing more than the second of two obedience tests. It was not until a few weeks later when, at Mt. Sinai, the Sabbath was incorporated into the treaty between God and Israel known as the 10 Commandments. Like the ordinance of circumcision and the Jewish dietary laws, the institution of the Sabbath was designed to set the Hebrews apart from every other society on Earth, forming a protective social barrier that would severely restrict their interaction with the Heathen. Regarding these cultic Jewish rituals, a scholar once observed that people who do not eat together seldom become friends. If the Sabbath were a Creation ordinance with truly moral qualities, God would not have led His children out of Egypt without provision for keeping it every step of the way. Once, because of their sins, God seems to have threatened to take Israel’s Sabbaths away.

Hosea 2:11 (NIV) I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath
days—all her appointed feasts.

There is some evidence that this text may merely represent a prophecy of what would become of Israel’s sabbath system as a result of their disobedience, rather than an actual statement that God would specially intervene to take away their sabbaths. During their various captivities, Israel undoubtedly experienced disruptions of their Sabbath -keeping. In either case, the adoption of the fixed calendar by their conquering nations made it impossible to keep the Sabbath as is was specified in the Law of Moses. In effect, they were forced to keep “Saturday” rather than the “Sabbath.” All of this Sabbath chaos illustrates the fact that the Sabbath is characteristically ceremonial rather than moral. For example, if Israel was committing adultery and fornication “too much,” God would not suspend the parts of the Law of Moses that forbid these sins. Not even God Himself can set aside or suspend moral laws because such laws are based on the natural laws of cause and effect.

Before the Hebrews left Egypt, the instructions God gave them regarding the keeping of the Passover Feast suggest that no Sabbath existed at that time. This feast was to last seven days, so whether a fixed or lunar calendar is used for our calculations, one of those days would have to have been a Sabbath-- if there had been a Sabbath in existence at that time. The preparation of food was allowed on all of the seven days of the Passover feast. By contrast, cooking on the Sabbath was forbidden. For the Sabbath, the cooking must be done on the Preparation Day, or the sixth day of the week. If there was no sixth day of preparation, there could be no seventh-day Sabbath because food would have to be prepared for the people on it. While permission to prepare food on th e Sabbath may have been granted in connection with some of the Jewish feast celebrations that God added later, the only national feast week God had given them up to the time of the Exodus was the Passover.

As our study unfolds it will become painfully clear that Exodus 16 provides water-tight proof—not merely evidence--that no Sabbath existed before the giving of the Manna. We do not use the term, proof, loosely. What this fact means is that any

[Page 5]

argument for the existence of the Sabbath prior to the Exodus must be remarkably clear, or it is hardly worth discussing. Also, any pro-Sabbatarian arguments must be able to stand on their own with evidence gathered only from Genesis 1 through Exodus 16. In view of the absolutes of Exodus 16, Sabbatarians should not expect to be taken seriously if their approach involves taking references to the Sabbath from beyond the account of the Exodus journey and stuffing them back into Genesis 2. In order for them to provide meaningful support for their agenda, they must demonstrate clear Sabbath content in Genesis 2.

All it takes is a brief survey of Genesis through Exodus 16 to see that there is nothing of this sort available to Sabbatarians. At the same time, there is only a limited amount of evidence available to anti-Sabbatarians, such as the four of us, to actually prove that there is no Sabbath content in Genesis. This evidence in found in part in that Moses used special literary devices to limit the blessing, hallowing, and sanctifying (the setting aside) of that day to t hat ONE day ALONE. We will explain these indicators and how they work subsequently. Meanwhile, let us turn our attention back to the Exodus journey. God introduced the Sabbath to Israel as something new. The people acted as if it were something new — a stiff-necked and stubborn people testing the boundaries. Some individuals gathered firewood on that first Sabbath. They did so publicly. If the Sabbath had existed prior to Exodus 16, these offenders would have been stoned. The stubborn nature of the Hebrew people strongly suggests that if there were Sabbaths before Exodus 16, some of them would have tested God by breaking the Sabbath every chance they got; yet there is no record that God ever rebuked them for Sabbath -breaking prior to Exodus 16. Here is what the Law of Moses has to say about Sabbath-breaking:

Num 15:32 - 36 (NIV) 32 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, 34 and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. 35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” 36 So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Think how bad the Exodus journey would make God look if the Sabbath had originated at Creation! Was He not powerful enough to control the events of the Exodus to provide for Sabbath-keeping, including, in each case, a Preparation Day? What kind of example would He have set for His people? Do God’s children only have to keep the Sabbath when it is convenient? Clearly, there was no Sabbath to break until day 38 of the Exodus. Sabbatarian apologist, Brendan Knudson, suggests the possibility that if there was Sabbath-breaking involved under God’s direction-- “The ox is in the ditch” principle excusing God for leading His people to trample on it. Our position is that God had enough power to halt all the forces of Evil and Nature to enable them to keep the Sabbath if there had been a Sabbath to keep, and that as a cognate requirement, He would have also given them preparation days to assure that they could keep their Exodus Sabbaths without preparing food or gathering firewood upon it. People get hungry on Sabbath whether food was prepared the day before or not.

Everything we know about God’s character screams out that He would not lead His people to break an eternally binding moral law. This fact explains several mysterious things that honest-at-heart, thinking Sabbatarians have secretly pondered. Why is there no mention of the Sabbath in Genesis? Why did God give Abraham a surgical procedure (circumcision) as a “seal” for his descendants instead of the Sabbath, which was never even mentioned? Why was Sabbath-keeping not included in a list of basic laws that God gave to Noah around the time of the Great Flood? Why did St. Paul instruct the early church not to require Sabbath-keeping of the new Gentile converts (Colossians 2:14-17)? And why did St. Paul not list Sabbath-breaking in any of the several lists of sins he discussed in his writings? In Galatians St. Paul discusses the Christian's freedom from the “LAW,” and it is clear he is discussing moral, rather than ceremonial, laws because the example he cited was adultery. Yet in the same breath he explained that the Christian is not subject to the LAW, he gave a list of 15 sins that he said would keep a person from entering Heaven. Robert K. Sanders observes that in Romans 1:28 -32 he listed 16 sins that were not mentioned in Galatians 5 and that he listed still more sins in Ephesians 4:25-32-- and that in all of these lists there is not a single mention of Sabbath-breaking. With all the sins that Paul’s writings mention-- which included sins of motive and omission in addition to the sins of commission that are the focus of the Decalogue -- it is difficult to imagine how an objective Bible student could think that the 10 Commandments were intended to represent a complete guide to morality or that the Sabbathkeeping should be transferred from Judaism to Christianity. Apparently God didn’t think so either because he gave additional moral laws to Moses after He wrote the 10 Commandments in stone, including prohibitions against fornication (a very different sin from adultery in Hebrew thought) and homosexual relationships.

[Page 6]


Imagine you are trying to keep the Jewish Sabbath above the Arctic Circle! The Arctic night “Sabbath” eventually arrives. Suddenly you are not allowed to light a fire in your dwelling place because the sun went down but didn’t come back up. Your heater goes out. You honor God’s “law” by not re-lighting it. The next morning you are found frozen to death, and you go down in history as a noble Christian Jewish Sabbath-keeper who would rather die than break the Jewish Sabbath. Perhaps you miraculously survive the Polar Winter “Sabbath without a fire. You can’t work for the oil company that hired you until the sun comes up (making it “Saturday” morning) and goes back down again, creating a Saturday night. Eventually, however, the sun does come back up, stays up for a day, and goes back down. The Arctic stretch of extended non-Sabbath is finally over. You can go to work now. Sabbath-keeping is conventional for a while, but eventually the sun comes up and won’t go down! Now you have to contend with the extended Arctic stretch of non-Sabbath time. Because the sun won’t go down, Sabbath won’t “start” on Friday night. You have to go to work every day because the Sabbath won’t start since there is no sundown on Friday night.

Actually, there are more variations of this Arctic Sabbath nonsense. In the Arctic fall, If the Sun fails to set on a Friday night, you have “endless” work days. If the Sun fails to set on a Saturday night in the Arctic fall, you have an “endless” Sabbath. We will leave it up to your imagination to figure out what happens in the Arctic spring depending on which day the sun rises for the first time of the season. Please review t he dual requirements of the Sabbath commandment. Both requirements apply to Jews. Christians who keep the Jewish Sabbath seem to forget the six-day requirement since it works against the ill-contrived idea that Adam and Eve qualified to rest on the 7th day of Creation along with God. God had worked for six days prior, but Adam and Eve had existed only about one day:

Exodus 20:8 (NIV) :“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

If you manage to die of over-work during this stretch of non-Sabbath time, you go down in history as the Sabbath-keeping Christian who would rather die than break the Jewish Sabbath. Is it illogical to think that God would impose a moral law on His earthlings that could not be kept anywhere in the solar system. The sins of fornication and adultery can be committed on Planet Earth or in a space ship on its way to Mars, but the Sabbath can’t be kept anywhere but in a climate like Palestine in the Mid-East. The Adventist prophetess, Ellen G. White, “solves” this problem by mandating that people should not live in parts of the Earth where the Sabbath cannot be kept. Try presenting the Gospel to a Polar -living Eskimo while at the same time telling him that he has to move to a different part of the world in order to keep “God’s Law.”
"In the countries where there is no sunset for months and again no sunrise for months the period of time will be calculated by the records kept. But God has a world large enough and proper and right for the human beings He has created to inhabit it without finding homes in those lands so objectionable in very many, many ways" (Ellen G. White, Letter #167, 23 March, 1900).
For the above reference, follow this link:

God gave the Sabbath to Israel only. The Nation of Israel is located in a mild climate where the sun does rise and set every 24 hours for the entire year and where the temperatures are moderate enough to get through a cold winter night simply by piling on the blankets.

If you lived in the Arctic Circle as so many people do now, would you be condemned to Hell and receive the Mark of the Beast because you COULD NOT keep the Sabbath right no matter how hard you tried? Would God have to give you a special dispensation to break His law so you wouldn’t end up with the Mark of the Beast?

On top of all this, Sabbath-keepers at the North Pole cannot keep the Sabbath according to a fixed calendar or the lunar calendar. During the Arctic winter, the moon’s position remains very close to the sun after it goes down. Here is what happens according to astronomer, Laura Spitler:

[Page 7]

While the Moon does rise during the summer at the North Pole, since the Sun is always up, you generally can't see it, so I'll focus on the movement of the Moon during the winter. 
The daily movement from Earth's rotation causes the Moon to circle once around the sky. If you spent the entire day staring at it, you'd have to turn around exactly once. This movement is also the same that the Sun makes during the summer . . . 
The second movement caused by the Moon's orbit around the Earth is analogous to the movement of the Sun over the course of a year only it repeats over the course of a lunar month. Near the new Moon phase, the Moon is near the Sun and therefore never rises during the winter. As the Moon approaches full, it will start to pop up above the horizon. Eventually near the full Moon phase it will be high enough in the sky to stay up all day and circle like the Sun. . . The elevation of the circle will rise as the Moon becomes completely full and then start to decrease until it begins to dip below the horizon. Eventually the Moon will stop rising at all as it gets close enough to the new phase. The cycle then repeats.

Follow this link to the above reference:

It appears that even our lunar Sabbath brethren can’t keep the Sabbath “right” above the Arctic Circle. Will they go to Hell because they can’t keep it right? Does God have to give them a special dispensation that would go something like, “Well, my lunar Sabbath-keepers have such a good heart and they really want to do what’s right, but in this case they can’t. I’m going to let them into Heaven anyway.”


There is no greater lunacy about the Sabbath than what happened to the Seventh-day Adventists of the South Pacific Islands of Western Samoa and Tokelau in 2011. On midnight on December 29, 2011, a world agreement moved the International Date Line from the American side to the Australian side for the purpose of benefiting tourism. These islands never experienced December 30th because an instant jump was made from December 29th to December 31st at 10:00 GMT. The seventh day of the week got turned into the day that was formerly Sunday. The General Conference of Seventh -day Adventists considered the matter and decided that the Adventist churches on Samoa and Tokelau were to keep the same day they had always kept, ignoring the change of the International Date Line. As a result, Adventist Sabbath -keepers on these islands began keeping Sunday with the other Christians. These other island Christians, by keeping their new “Sunday,” are expected, according to the statements of Ellen White, to receive the Mark of the Beast if they don’t start worshiping on the right day. These other Christians moved their “Sunday” to the new “Sunday,” which was the former 7th day “Sabbath,” but because they are still thinking of it as “Sunday,” they are probably doomed, according to the typical viewpoint espoused by Adventism, to end up in Hell. Now, they are worshiping on what used to be the 7th day Sabbath, which would have rescued them from Hell. But, alas, the INTENT of these other Island Christian s is observe the first day of the week. Their motives are, therefore, wrong, but the motives of the Adventists are pure because they are trying to keep the actual 7th day of the week. It seems that by special dispensation of the General Conference, the Adventists, who now are keeping Sunday will be protected against receiving the dreaded Mark of the Beast. Now, if the non-Adventist Christians on these islands would become Seventh-day Adventists, they could get a special dispensation from the General Confere nce president to keep the “wrong” day, and both Adventists and non-Adventist Christians could be saved.

The ability of the General Conference to change Sunday into Saturday by dispensation appears to give it powers that rival the ecclesiastical authority falsely credited to the pope by the Catholic Church. For the whole story, see the article in Adventist Today, “Samoa, the International Dateline Shift, and the Seventh -day Sabbath,” which appeared in the publication in 2013 at the following link. Note that the author of the Adventist Today article does not discuss the Mark of the Beast problem.
The authors of VERDICT are solely responsible for taking the Mark of the Beast logic to its furthest logical extent:

[Page 8]

Hanson summarizes a variety of opinions submitted by various Sabbath-keeping theologians, but the one that fixes the problem the best is the lunar Sabb ath approach. As we will explain shortly, the lunar calendar was by Israel in favor of a fixed calendar at some time after the building of the second temple but before the birth of Christ. Therefore, the Jews had been keeping the 7th day of an arbitrary fixed week even before the time of Jesus. However, if the following author is correct, it is possible that the arbitrarily chosen day that the Jews were keeping at the time of Christ may have been changed a second time by Constantine. Some authorities find that some Jewish sects were keeping the Sabbath according to the lunar calendar during the time of Christ. Please note that you are about to read a Seventh -day Adventist’s point-of-view. We object to his assertion that “the Sabbath is introduced in the biblical book of Genesis.” We quote him according to his written statement:
The Samoa Dateline Dilemma shows that one cannot use the International Date Line in determining the Sabbath. In fact, the Old Testament Sabbath does not use the modern Gregorian Calendar: The calendar used by Moses was based upon the phases of the Moon, not a continuous weekly cycle. 
The Old Testament calendar starts every month on New Moon Day, and the Sabbaths are always in the same place: The 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th of the month. This is why the feast days in Leviticus 23 have a Sabbath on the 15th of the month, and why the words "New Moon" and "Sabbath" often occur together in Scripture. 
The Moon is the clock which orbits the round Earth and provides the reference for Biblical time. If this reference is ignored, then an arbitrary man-made marker (such as the International Date Line) has to be substituted. 
The Sabbath is introduced in the Biblical book of Genesis. Note that does not say "count every seven days", but rather Genesis 1.14: And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for SEASONS, and for days, and years. 
“The word for SEASONS is Strong’s #4150, ‘religious festivals’. Notice that Genesis 1:14 says that the "religious festivals" are designated by the "lights in...heaven". Psalm 104:19 identifies the light as the Moon. 
The Sabbaths and Feast Days are linked by the Fourth Commandment as recorded in two different Bible books: The Fourth Commandment in Exodus 20 clearly references the seventh day Sabbath based on Creation; The Fourth Commandment in Deuteronomy 5 clearly references the seventh day Sabbath based on the deliverance from Egypt, which occurred on the evening of the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. 
Note that the Sabbath commandment in Deuteronomy 5:12-15 does not mention Creation, but rather the Exodus from Egypt, which happened on the 15th, at night. To repeat, the seventh-day Sabbaths are always in the same place: The 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th of the month, and they use the same calendar as the Feast Days—the Lunar Calendar. The format of the Biblical Month: 
Note: Moon phases are approximate, and are shown for the Northern Hemisphere; If you're south of the Equator, they are reversed. 
The reason most Jews today keep Saturday is the same exact reason that most Christians keep Sunday—because of Constantine's calendar change, and the persecutions by which he enforced these changes. Prior to this, in 46-45 BC, Julius Caesar (the Julian Calendar) had separated the months and weeks from the Moon and made a continuous eight day cycle, but he did not enforce it on other nations living within the Empire. 
In AD 321, Constantine created a compromise calendar. He blended the Hebrew idea of a seven day week with the Julian concept of a continuous weekly cycle, and added the veneration of the "sun god" from Mithraism to create the Roman calendar used today. He enforced his calendar upon the entire Roman Empire with military power. 
[Page 9]
Because of these changes which were being enforced by persecutions across the Roman Empire, the Jewish Sanhedrin met for the last time around AD 350, and modified their calendar to the form used by most Jews today, in which the Sabbath is on Saturday. Other Feast Days are determined using a form of the Lunar calendar. 
Constantine's calendar was modified slightly by Pope Gregory into the calendar used today. However, the true Calendar ordained at Creation, according to Genesis 1:14 and Psalms 81:3, is based on the phases of the Moon. Therefore, neither Saturday nor Sunday is the Old Testament Sabbath, and the International Date Line is not involved at all. 
This situation in Samoa is a tiny foreshadowing of what is coming. If the proposed New World Calendar is adopted, and the 364-day perpetual year is implemented, then the extra "blank" day (called "World Day Holiday") will disrupt any continuous seven-day cycle. At that point, the whole world will face a situation where the day that "should have been" Saturday or Sunday will fall on a different day.

NOTE: According to Hanson, this on-line source for this information no longer exists.


Byker Bob said...

I knew that there was no "fixed" calendar prior to Hillel II, but had always assumed that at least the seven day week had been a constant. Obviously, one Herbert W. Armstrong believed in the fixed week throughout antiquity when he wrote "Has Time Been Lost?"

In fact, the entire world seems to have had difficulty with the very concept of calendar up until the time of Rabbi Hillel II and Pope Gregory.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if one of the first things we find out when we get to the Kingdom is that the sabbath actually coincides with what we now know as Sunday?

I am surprised that sabbatarians do not insist on keeping the sabbath in sync with when it actually falls in Jerusalem. It is said that God, who is not governed by the time-space continuum, by living in the tabernacle, and later the temple, placed Himself under the time and space of Israel. This is how the citizens of that time and space reckoned what God considered Holy. It is about 9:30 AM where I am right now, and according to the world time feature on my cell phone, that makes it approximately 6:30 in the evening in Jerusalem. So, if we went by Jerusalem Standard Time, this is about the time slot that a sabbath would be beginning or ending. Same day, but we are approximately 9 hours earlier than Jerusalem.


Byker Bob said...

There is so much to be considered in these sabbath posts that I have read and re-read them for maximum absorption and processimg. One of the interesting facets is that there was a great controversy over the status change from the memorialization of Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection from fluid date to fixed date (Quartodecimen Controversy). However, while there is much said about the prohibition of the keeping of the Jewish sabbath, and the institution of Sunday as a "new and improved" sabbath, there does not appear to be any controversy over making the seventh day lunar sabbath into a fixed date, regular interval date 52 times per year. You would think that in either case, one would be seen as being equally bad or wrong as the other.

It surely isn't as simple as that old booklet that we all absorbed and at one time believed, "Has Time Been Lost?" We were also taught that the Jews are the keepers or preservers of the oracles. If Jewish scholars and teachers know that the assignment of sabbath status to a particular day of the week was at one time arbitrary, what does that say for the level of scholarship of our own former teachers?