I n his ongoing effort to justify the practice of dining out on the Sabbath, David C. Pack advances a very interesting argument. He claims that he is no more complicit in the sin of restaurant personnel who labor for him on the Sabbath than God is in the "sin" of gentiles eating unfit food that He permitted the Israelites to sell them. He does this by implying that there is no moral distinction between these two behaviors. Therefore, if God can be a party to one, then he (Dave Pack) can be a party to the other. But is his understanding correct? Remember, although God permitted "strangers" to eat food that was compromised, He absolutely prohibited these same strangers from working on His Sabbath (Ex. 20:10, Deut. 5:14).
This prominent COG leader then argues that because God holds unbelievers who profane the Sabbath to a lower standard prior to their conversion, He must also view His people's use of an unbeliever's Sabbath trespasses differently as well. In essence, he is suggesting that God sees dining out on the Sabbath as: "no harm, no foul." He advances this idea by challenging A Sabbath Test’s view of a "stranger within your gates."
A Real Eye Opener
We encourage you to read what follows very carefully. It's a real EYE-OPENER. As you do, never lose sight of Mr. Pack's goal in every one of his arguments. He wants you to believe that the Lord of the Sabbath approves of His people seeking out unbelievers on holy time and paying them for their goods and services, including their LABOR. This particular argument is based on a premise that claims if God's people can't prevent unbelievers from working on the Sabbath, they are free to soliciting that labor.
David C. Pack:
"At this point, they [the authors of A Sabbath Test] proceed to make analogies between the “strangers” in the days of Moses and the “strangers” who work in restaurants today. At first glance, their position appears to be plausible. Nonetheless, we need to understand how God viewed the strangers or foreigners of Moses’ day. To what extent did He hold them accountable for His laws?"
"If dining out on the Sabbath causes employees to sin, then we must conclude that God contributed to the sin of foreigners when He decreed that animals that die of themselves should be given or even sold to “strangers” among the Israelites!" (Deut. 14:21)
Consider Mr. Pack’s stream of logic. According to him, because an Israelite was permitted to sell a gentile food which was unfit for them (Israelites) to eat, God would somehow permit these same Israelites to go outside their camp on the Sabbath and purchase a meal from unbelievers, just as Mr. Pack does today. Does anybody really believe this? Here is a clue: Once again, consider what God specifically commanded these very same Israelites to do regarding food on the Sabbath.
You shall not acquire food on the Sabbath.
God actually rebuked the Israelites when they attempted to engage in this practice. His exact words were: “How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Ex. 16:26-28). He uttered them after the Israelites went out to gather food (manna) on the Sabbath.
You shall not prepare food on the Sabbath.
God specifically instructed the Israelites to do their meal preparation on the sixth day (Ex. 16:23). Furthermore, at no time did He suggest that they could commission others to prepare it for them on the Sabbath. He actually indicated that the preparation day was given to “prove” the Israelites and to test their obedience (Ex. 16:4).
You shall not go outside your place on the Sabbath.
God revealed this specific aspect of His command because the Israelites went outside the camp to obtain food on the Sabbath (Ex. 16:29). Furthermore, God was furious with this practice and He made that fact abundantly clear.
Mr. Pack may see Deuteronomy 14:21 as proof that God would have permitted His people to dine out on His Sabbath, but Exodus 16 clearly contradicts his conclusion. With that said, some may wonder why God would permit the children of Israel to sell others meat that died in such a way as to make it unfit for His people to consume. Here is the answer.
The REAL TRUTH about Deuteronomy 14:21
At this point, it is important to understand that God was NOT instructing His people to sell gentiles unclean animals (i.e. swine, cats, dogs etc) as food. The animals He permitted them to sell were clean. However, because of the nature of their death, God declared them unfit for His people, but not unfit for others. The question for us to consider is: WHY? Why does God state that Israelites are not to eat meat that dies of itself while those who are not of God’s faith may eat it if they wish? In order to understand what the Eternal was conveying in His instructions, let's look at His exact words.
Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk (Deuteronomy 14:21).
Notice that although an animal that died of itself was not to be consumed by God's people, it could be consumed by unbelievers—even unbelievers within the camp where God's law was in force (the "stranger that is within your gates"). Although Dave Pack implies that for a gentile to eat food that had been compromised was a sin, this is not true. Actually, it was not a sin at all for them. That's right! Those "strangers" will never be judged for this, in this life or the next. If it was a sin for them to eat such things, then God would have been complicit in it. However, that is clearly NOT how He works (Jas. 1:13).
Here Is the Point
With this said, what did the Eternal mean when giving His instructions in Deuteronomy 14:21? What was His intent and motivation behind this directive? The answer is actually found in the verse itself. The issue is HOLINESS. In truth, He was speaking about how His people are to behave because they belong to Him.
Clearly, the relationship between God and His people is unique. However, the same cannot be said about the relationship between God and unbelievers. The point here is that God was not making a distinction between sin and righteousness, but rather a distinction between those who are His people and those who are not. Now here is the striking lesson God is teaching.
The True God is Different;
You MUST be Different, Too
Throughout the scriptures it is abundantly clear that the True God is not like other deities. He is a HOLY KING. He is divinely pure—the epitome of dignity and majesty. He would never think of eating food that dies of itself or even that which has been cooked on a stove in which an unclean animal had once died (Lev. 11:35). The Great Creator and Sustainer of the Universe is so connected to moral purity and dignity that He would never boil a calf in its mother’s milk or eat garbage out of a trash can.
When God gave these instructions, He was exhorting the children of Israel to appreciate the unique relationship they had with Him. In short, the Holy One of Israel was telling His people that they are to be holy as well. They are to be different from others. They are to be cleaner, more hygienic, more dignified, more modest and proper. They are not to dress in a way that is unseemly, nor behave in a way that lacks self-respect. They are not to mutilate their bodies with excessive piercings nor deface it with paintings. Their pagan neighbors may choose to behave in such a way, but God's people are to be different. Why? Because He is different.
A Lesson for God's People Today
In a similar manner today, Christians are God’s children as well. As such, they should not eat food that has been tainted by being dropped on the floor, thrown in the trash, or that which has been set out too long before being cooked. This enduring moral principle is brought out at the beginning of this chapter.
Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing (Deuteronomy 14:1-3).
If Dave Pack sincerely desires to be like the True God, he would never seek out "strangers" and pay them to labor for him on holy time. Instead, he would seek to be holy—different from those in the world—not go back into the world and partake of its sin. In other words, he should not do what the unconverted allow themselves to do. The point in God's instructions in Deuteronomy 14 is NOT that if an unbeliever breaks God’s Sabbath, he is exempt from God's judgment—for indeed he would be subject to it. Remember, the Sabbath was made for man at the very beginning, not just for Israel in the Sinai Desert. Additionally, unbelievers were bound by God's Sabbath law (Ex. 20:8-11) even though they did not know God. The real point being expressed in Deuteronomy 14 is that everything about us and our way of life should reflect the dignity of our calling. In essence, God is saying: "If unbelievers want to eat garbage or food that is unseemly, let them do it. However, My people must be different because I am different."
David C. Pack continued:
"Today, God is working with spiritual Israel; His judgment begins with His Church (I Pet4:17; Eph 2:19). Colossians 2:16-17 and Ephesians 1: 22-23 show that God’s government within His Church has authority in how those within the Body of Christ keep the Sabbath and Holy Days. However, that authority does not extend to people in the world, those whom God is not yet calling."
Here, Mr. Pack is making two points. First, he claims that the ministry is responsible for determining how God's people keep the Sabbath.
Therefore, because he is a minister, he is making an administrative judgment that permits God's people to do what the scriptures PROHIBIT. This sounds just like an argument that could have been advanced by the nobles of Judah when Nehemiah, a lay person, contended with them for engaging in business on the Sabbath (Neh. 13:17-18). With that said, consider the following:
Does Dave Pack have authority to legislate disobedience?
The short answer is NO! Furthermore, the idea that he can mandate Sabbath behavior that flies in the face of scripture is a teaching of the Catholic Church, not the Church of God. Here is how the Mother of Harlots expresses it.
Sunday is our mark of authority. The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact. (The Catholic Record, Sept. 1, 1923)
When Dave Pack claims to have the authority to teach that God's people may go back into spiritual Egypt and purchase the Sabbath labor of unbelievers, he is placing himself above the Bible. He may deny this fact, but his actions speak for themselves.
The second point this prominent COG leader is making is that because he does not have authority over unbelievers, he bears no responsibility for their behavior—even the behavior he specifically directs. Therefore, he teaches that because God's leaders can't shut down businesses on the Sabbath, they may now solicit those Sabbath-breaking services and teach others to do so as well. This is human reasoning run amok. It is not only self-serving, but also totally antithetical to everything the True God stands for. With that said, we have some questions for all who agree with Mr. Pack's assertion that he is not complicit in the sin of restaurant personnel who profane the Sabbath on his behalf. We will present them using three hypothetical scenarios. Here they are.
Imagine if Dave Pack wanted someone killed. However, he knows that God's law prohibits murder, so he decides to enlist the services of a professional "hit man." This seems like the perfect solution. By doing this, he would not have to commit the act himself.
After soliciting the assassin's service and negotiating the terms (location, method, as well as price and how it is to be paid), Mr. Pack waits for the dirty deed to be done. While waiting, he reasons that he has done nothing wrong. After all, the assassin is unconverted and is totally ignorant of God's law. Therefore, God holds him to a lower standard. Additionally, the assassin is a highly skilled professional. If he doesn't kill for Mr. Pack, he will kill for someone else. That's what he does. He is a killer. It isn't as if Mr. Pack can prevent him from this line of work.
After the "hit" is carried out, the assassin is unexpectedly caught and confesses to everything—revealing all the details. This leads the authorities to serve an arrest warrant on David C. Pack. Here is our question:
Does God Almighty consider Dave Pack
complicit in this murder?
We realize that Mr. Pack will consider our hypothetical as outrageous and grossly offensive. But is it? Consider how closely the facts of our "murder for hire" scenario resembles his "Sabbath food preparation for hire" behavior.
Both acts require God's law to be violated. Murder violates the sixth commandment. Labor on the Sabbath violates the 4th.
Both acts (murder and Sabbath labor) are identified as capital crimes in the scriptures. The penalty for both is DEATH.
Both acts involve people who don't have a clue regarding the True God. At least we hope that's the case.
Both acts require skilled labor to be contracted.
Both acts require specific conditions to be met. In the case of the restaurant: the type of food, how it is to be prepared, when it is to be served, etc. In the case of the assassination: the intended target, as well as the time, location and method of "hit" etc.
Both acts require payments to be made.
Both acts involve the pro-active involvement of God's people. In this case, without the involvement of Mr. Pack the specific target won't be killed and the specific meal won't be prepared for him.
Both murder and Sabbath labor are CONDEMNED by God Almighty.
Both murder and Sabbath labor are acts that require those involved to REPENT.
Now we will readily admit that there is not any possibility of Dave Pack succumbing to murder as reflected in our scenario. He knows full well the horrific nature of this act and can appreciate the gravity of this sin. However, we offer it to illustrate that his rational for dining out on the Sabbath lacks the same moral clarity as that which was reflected in the "Hit Man" scenario. Whether this COG leader wants to admit it or not, every time he seeks out the services of restaurants on the Sabbath, he is soliciting a capital crime. The fact that they are habitual Sabbath-breakers changes nothing. With that said, let's try a different example.
Imagine if Dave Pack wanted to purchase a large screen plasma television and was looking for a real good deal. A friend refers him to a small unassuming shop in a remote area that "specializes" in such things. After selecting the features he wants and negotiating a price, Mr. Pack is advised that his new TV must be acquired from the company warehouse and that he may pick it up on Thursday. This is great news because he will have it just in time for the NBA finals.
However, while waiting for the big day, Mr. Pack does some research and discovers that the televisions being sold at this shop are stolen. There is no doubt whatsoever that this is true. Although he can't prove it, his information is totally reliable. During his investigation he even determines that his particular TV was going to be stolen from a warehouse of a large well known retail chain. Unfortunately, he didn't know which one.
What Should He Do?
It is undeniable that the price Dave Pack had to pay for his TV was fantastic—less than half of that charged by others. However, he now knows that the merchandise will be "HOT"—"RED HOT." This COG leader then ponders his dilemma. What should he do? Hmmmm. Let's think about this.
Mr. Pack then reasons that although his television is stolen, he isn't the one stealing it. As a Christian, he would never do such a thing. Furthermore, the real thief is ignorant of God's law and truly can't appreciate his crime. Even after being confronted, the thief rationalized that he did nothing wrong because no one got hurt. After all, some rich insurance company will pay the retail chain for their loss.
This COG leader also reasons that because of the thief's lack of conversion, God holds him to a different standard. This man will have his chance after he is called. Therefore, if the thief is held to a lower standard by God for his "act," then God must also hold him (Dave Pack) to a lower standard for accepting the merchandise. Now for the question.
Does God Almighty consider Dave Pack
complicit in theft if he (Mr. Pack) knew that the
TV he ordered and paid for, was going to be stolen?
Once again, we are certain that Mr. Pack would not succumb to the temptation portrayed in this scenario. He can easily detect its moral defect. Furthermore, we are confident that he would be furious that we would offer it. In all likelihood he would claim that it is totally manufactured by apostates who don't know a thing about the True God or His Sabbath. Well, in fairness to Mr. Pack, let's try one more time.
Imaging Dave Pack is dining at an exclusive Five Star Restaurant on a Friday evening. He made reservations three weeks ago and was truly looking forward to sharing this time with a few close friends from the Restored Church of God. He realizes that the menu is a little "pricey" but it is more than worth it—the food is superb and the service is legendary. Additionally, the atmosphere is wonderful—soft music, candlelit tables and a very sophisticated clientele. Add to that, this was God's Sabbath and NOTHING is too good for God. That is why Mr. Pack selected this particular bistro. He honestly thought it would be the perfect setting to ring in holy time.
After ordering wine and selecting dinner the fellowship begins. At some point, the conversation turns to dining out on the Sabbath. Mr. Pack knows his companions are sympathetic to his view so he boldly explains why he, and they, are totally innocent of any trespass of God's law. He reasons that even though his server is working on the Sabbath, at least he (Dave Pack) is not. Additionally, if Mr. Pack wasn't there his server would be assisting someone else. Therefore he (Mr. Pack) has not added to his server's burden. Additionally, although the entire staff at the restaurant are laboring on the Sabbath, they don't know any better. They are unconverted and totally ignorant of God's law. Because of this, the Almighty holds them to a different standard. That being the case He must hold the one who solicits their labor to a different standard as well. Anyway, it isn't as if Dave Pack can prevent his server from profaning the Sabbath. There is not one thing he can do about it. Additionally,t by dining out Mr. Pack and his guests won't be burdened with their own meal preparation on holy time. Therefore, no trespass has been committed.
Here is our question. Actually, we have a few questions.
Are restaurant workers breaking God's law when they labor for Mr. Pack by preparing his meal and serving it to him on the Sabbath? If no, was the assassin or the thief breaking God's law when they performed their service?
- Is it possible for Dave Pack to prevent restaurant workers from laboring for him on holy time? In other words, if someone offered the RCG one million dollars if Mr. Pack could prevent restaurant personnel from working on his behalf this Sabbath, is there something he could do to insure they wouldn't? We can think of one thing.
- If Mr. Pack insists on soliciting the services of restaurants on the Sabbath, would God Almighty consider him complicit in the labor they performed for him?
This COG leader may argue all he wants that he bears no responsibility for the Sabbath labor performed for him by restaurant personnel, but this is simply NOT TRUE. He directs that labor and benefits from it. That is why he seeks it out and pays for it! Although the employee(s) would be working for someone else if Mr. Pack wasn't there, so would the assassin and the thief.
David C. Pack continued:
"Here is the point: While all men should repent “yesterday,” so to speak, God will only truly judge them when they are called."
"Accountability changes altogether when one’s mind is opened and becomes convicted to the truth: “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin” (Jms. 4:17; Heb. 10:26)."
It is difficult to understand why Mr. Pack would ever draw consolation from these words. This is because although eternal judgment is not on an unbelieving world at this time, it is on God's Church—including its leaders. The point here is that the world may be ignorant of God's truth, but Dave Pack isn't. He knows full well what the Lord of the Sabbath thinks of the sin he promotes. He is simply too proud to change. The bottom line is this: Every time Dave Pack solicits the Sabbath labor of unbelievers, he adds one more exhibit in a case against himself. The only way he can escape God's judgment is to REPENT. Arguing the "I'm not responsible" defense simply WON"T WORK.
"Nehemiah Never Bought It"
Return to Directory