Argument X

 

       At one point when defending the practice of paying unbelievers to acquire and prepare his Sabbath meals, Mr. Pack accuses the authors of A Sabbath Test of painting a very dark, almost sinister, picture of Sabbath observance. He even accuses them of condemning ALL PERSONAL PLEARURE on this day. This of course is not true, but truth is not something that comes easy to Dave Pack in this issue. We encourage you to carefully read his words and compare them to those offered by A Sabbath Test. Then decide for yourself which argument you would want to lay before God Almighty.

 

David C. Pack:

 

"God tells His people to rejoice at the Feast of Tabernacles—even including the high Holy Day. For the critics, it becomes somewhat of a “catch-22” to pretend that, although God commands His people to rejoice, His people are warned not to experience any personal enjoyment or pleasure on the Sabbath. When one keeps God’s command to rejoice, it will be pleasurable."

 

Our Response:

   

     According to this argument, Mr. Pack believes that seeking out unbelievers and soliciting their Sabbath labor is one way God’s people can rejoice on holy time. He then accuses the authors of A Sabbath Test of being caught between a rock and a hard place by refusing to embrace his behavior. He offers this wisdom despite the fact that God specifically forbids His people from acquiring their food or preparing it on the Sabbath (Ex. 16: 5, 23). Additionally, the Almighty prohibited them from soliciting Sabbath labor from anyone (Ex. 20:8-11, Deut. 5: 13-15) as well as forbidding the purchase of all goods and services on holy time (Neh. 10:31).

 

     Despite this fact Mr. Pack promotes the idea that proactively seeking out and paying for the services of Sabbath breakers is in total keeping with the scriptures. This is a striking view that credible scholars openly acknowledge could never have occurred during the time of Christ and the apostles. One such authority is Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. In his book Sabbath—Day of Eternity he explains that the Sanhedrin, which was the governing judicial body of the Jews at that time, saw engaging in any business as a clear breach of God’s law.

 

The Sanhedrin legislated a prohibition against all forms of buying, selling, trading and other commerce for a variety of reasons. The Sabbath must be a day when all business stops. 1 Kaplan, Rabbi Aryeh, Sabbath—Day of Eternity (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America: New York, New York) 2002.

 

     Furthermore, according to the renowned scholar Dr. Alfred Edersheim one of the functions of the priests serving in the temple was to announce when all business was to cease on the Sabbath.   

  

The ancient records of tradition enable us to form a very vivid conception of Sabbath-worship in the Temple at the time of Christ... the Sabbath commenced at sunset on Friday, the day being reckoned by the Hebrews from sunset to sunset. But long before that the preparations for the Sabbath had commenced.

 

No fresh business was then undertaken; no journey of any distance commenced; but everything purchased and made ready against the feast, the victuals being placed in a heated oven, and surrounded by dry substances to keep them warm.

  

The approach of the Sabbath, and then its actual commencement, were announced by threefold blasts from the priests' trumpets. When the priests for the first time sounded their trumpets, all business was to cease, and every kind of work to be stopped.

 

      However, according to Mr. Pack, God’s people may engage in business if they derive pleasure from it. He does so by offering innocent examples that require absolutely no buying and selling, after which he claims that if God’s people may derive pleasure from beholding a beautiful landscape they may also solicit the labor of Sabbath breakers—because that gives them pleasure as well.  

 

David C. Pack continued:

 

God does not forbid pleasure that is appropriate for the Sabbath. It is not profaning the Sabbath to listen to pleasing classical music. Neither is it sinful to appreciate a beautiful landscape or to walk out into God’s creation to better enjoy His Sabbath. Certainly smelling the fragrance of flowers or taking in fresh mountain air is pleasurable—would God have us abstain from enjoying these things on the Sabbath? Does enjoying a delicious, wholesome meal profane the Sabbath? Of course not! Even in I Corinthians 7:5, in which Paul instructs husbands and wives to abstain from the pleasure of marital relations while fasting, he does not command them to refrain from this on the Sabbath. Clearly, God does not condemn pleasure that is within reason and within His Law.

 

Yet, statements from the book A Sabbath Test paint a much different picture. After quoting Isaiah 58:13, the authors write, “By this statement, God makes it abundantly clear that we are not to seek personal enjoyment on His Sabbath. It is true that the Sabbath was made for man (Mk. 2:27), but it is God’s day (Ex. 31:13-17). Therefore, His people are to honor His instructions regarding how it is to be kept” (p. 34).

 

They then conclude, “Therefore, God was instructing His people to avoid physical activities which cater primarily to personal pleasure. Tragically, this is exactly what dining out on the Sabbath is. It is something that is geared toward personal pleasure. It is what millions of Americans and Europeans do for entertainment and recreation every single day and especially on the Sabbath.

 

Do you grasp what these authors are saying? They are equating the physical necessity of eating—ingesting food in order to obtain necessary nutrients for life—as entertainment and recreation. Who is missing something here? Should such a rift in logic or judgment not serve as a warning flag?

 

As with all the other “proofs” used to support their unstable hypotheses, this “proof” is tailored to fit the authors’ predetermined conclusion.

 

Our Response:

 

    Here Mr. Pack is advancing an argument that employs an extraordinary level of deception. Consider what he has done. He suggests that the authors of A Sabbath Test are opposed to participating in such Sabbath activities as taking walks and enjoying the beauty of creation. He then suggests that music is also on their list of Sabbath taboos. With this accomplished, this COG leader unleashes his “unrighteous indignation” with the following accusation.

 

“Do you grasp what these authors are saying? They are equating the physical necessity of eating—ingesting food in order to obtain necessary nutrients for life—as entertainment and recreation.”

 

     Notice that instead of mentioning dining out at restaurants on the Sabbath as the issue, Mr. Pack cleverly attempts to con his audience into believing that the monsters who wrote A Sabbath Test are actually opposed to food altogether on holy time. In other words, Messrs. Braidic and Fischer want God's people to go hungry every seventh day.

 

     This argument is not only dishonest, it’s a joke. Mr. Pack knows full well that both the authors and the scriptures are in total agreement with the role of food on the Sabbath—they are both in favor of it. This is why God rained a double portion of manna on the sixth day (Ex. 16:5). However, both God and the authors are equally opposed to seeking out unbelievers and paying them to acquire the nourishment Mr. Pack speaks of. This is why the Eternal prohibited the children of Israel from acquiring any manna on the seventh day (Ex. 16:25-26). What Mr. Pack is suggesting is that restaurants are more considerate of the physical needs of God’s people than God Himself. After all, God wouldn't rain down manna on the seventh day and wouldn't allow His people to prepare their Sabbath meals on that day either. He wouldn't even allow them to hire others to prepare it for them. But Dave Pack will. Wow! Forget Fischer and Braidic—that makes Dave Pack more righteous than God.

 

Going Hungry

   

     It is also interesting that when some Israelites attempted to gather manna on the Sabbath, because they required the "physical necessity of eating,” God was furious (Ex. 16: 27-29). Furthermore, the Almighty did not provide an alternate food source for them. The scriptures say, "They found none" (verse 27).

 

     Tragically, this COG leader attempts to make his case by twisting the words of men who deeply respect God's Sabbath law. In essence, he is using “sleight of hand” to distort what they are conveying. Fortunately, we have their own words to ascertain the REAL TRUTH. Here they are.

 

A Sabbath Test

 

Perhaps the most important instruction recorded by Isaiah concerning the Sabbath is that God wants His people to call this day a “delight.” Regrettably, some have put a unique twist on these words. Many have interpreted them to mean that we are to do things to make the Sabbath a delight. In other words, find something that gives pleasure and do it on the Sabbath. After constructing such a premise, many in God’s Church contend that going out to eat causes them to do less work, and thus makes the Sabbath more enjoyable. Therefore, going to a restaurant on this day is a delight and is in keeping with the words recorded by Isaiah.

 

Such an interpretation is a HORRIBLE DISTORTION of the scriptures! God did not create the Sabbath to insure that man would have one day of personal enjoyment every week. He created this day so that our natural pursuit of personal desires would not so consume our lives that they would estrange us from the very God who made us. In other words, the Sabbath is not a day to seek personal pleasures, but rather to reject them. It is a day dedicated to embracing that which is holy.

 

But what does it mean to call the Sabbath a delight? What is the delight? To better understand what God was conveying with this instruction, consider what He specifically said:

        

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words... (Isa. 58:13)

 

Here God is not telling His people to make the Sabbath a delight. He is instructing them to call it a delight. God’s people should delight in the great Kingdom the Sabbath pictures. That Kingdom will be a time of unimaginable abundance. The Sabbath is evidence that God will deliver that Kingdom and establish it when Jesus Christ returns in power and glory. In that hope is the delight He spoke of.

 

Those who believe they need to go to a restaurant on the Sabbath to “delight” in this day fail to grasp the great joy of this sacred time. Consequently, they feel a need to do something “worldly” on this day to make it more joyous. What a terrible mistake.

 

God created the delight that fills each Sabbath. His instruction to His children is to recognize that joy and celebrate it in their worship of Him. The Sabbath is a day to look forward to with great anticipation. It is not a day of inconvenience. It is a day of joy and hope when God’s children assemble together and appear before their King. (A Sabbath Test)

 

     The authors then offer a splendid explanation of how our behavior should reflect the God ordained purpose of the Sabbath.

 

A Sabbath Test

 

The Sabbath pictures liberation and freedom from bondage. It pictures the great hope of God’s Kingdom. It is a unique day in which we can finally stop doing the labor, chores, and mundane activities of life. On the Sabbath we can come out of this world for one day, and picture a time when this world will be delivered into the hands of the King of kings.

 

The Sabbath is a delight, not because we are out having fun, amusing ourselves and being entertained. It is a delight because we have a special time set aside to seek our Maker. In a very real sense, the Sabbath is a time when the bride shares moments with the Bridegroom. (A Sabbath Test)

 

     Additionally, Braidic and Fischer outline Sabbath appropriate activities that embrace God’s purpose for His holy time. As you read them ask yourself if these men are opposed to delighting in God’s day.

              

A Sabbath Test

 

Although God’s law outlines certain prohibitions concerning the Sabbath, it also outlines numerous activities that enhance the honoring of this great commandment. In reality, the command to honor God’s Sabbath is among the most affirmative in the Decalogue. Here are just some of the things you can engage in on that day:

 

Rest from your labor.

 

Fellowship with God’s people.

 

Study His word.

 

Pray to Him.

 

Refrain from worry.

 

Meditate on His way.

 

Sing praises to Him.

 

Be nourished by His servants.

 

Anticipate His Kingdom.

Celebrate God’s plan with family.

 

Teach your children.

 

Delight in the great hope He has given you.

 

Serve God’s people.

 

Comfort the weak.

 

Encourage the strong.

 

Embrace the lonely.

 

And in all of this, God’s word instructs His people to DELIGHT in this day, knowing that the Sabbath stands as evidence that God’s hope for all mankind will one day be accomplished!

 

The Sabbath pictures God’s great millennial Kingdom. It is a day filled with hope and rich in meaning. God’s people should see it as nothing less. The Sabbath is a day that provides a glimpse into a Kingdom that will be absent of suffering. That Kingdom will be a time of great peace, great prosperity, great health, and great hope. It will be a time when ignorance and superstition will be replaced with the knowledge of a loving God and Father. Honoring the Sabbath that pictures that Kingdom is nothing less than a tremendous privilege and blessing. It should fill all of God’s people with a sense of purpose and hope, and most of all, it should fill them with THANKSGIVING. (A Sabbath Test)

 

A Final Thought

 

     Does God want his people to rejoice in His Sabbath and holy days? Of course he does. The Almighty specifically instructed His people to “DELIGHT” in them. However, the Creator did not instruct His children to “MAKE the Sabbath a delight, He told them that they are to “call it a delight” because of what it means. He also cautioned against seeking our own pleasure and disguising it as something HOLY. Sadly this is exactly what David C. Pack is doing. If God’s people are truly honest with themselves the words He spoke through Isaiah should be pretty clear. At least they are to us.

            

If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding you own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD… (Isa. 58: 13-14)

 

 

 

Argument XI

"The Utility Defense"

  

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