W hen defending the practice of dining out on the Sabbath, Dave Pack employs what is arguably one of the greatest insults to God's law in his quiver of points. This COG leader contends that seeking out unbelievers, who profane what God made holy, can actually be an opportunity to encourage the brethren as well as to facilitate Christian love and service. He also argues that for some, dining out "offers the only possible opportunity for fellowship after services.” If that is true, what happens on the Sabbaths when no one dines out? No fellowship?
Mr. Pack concludes his point by claiming that no reasonable person could believe that God would not appreciate this practice. This by the way, this is the same observation made by Protestants when defending such things as Christmas and a host of other traditions it holds dear. Here is how Mr. Pack advances this argument.
“One of the greatest ways of encouraging one another and communicating sincere love for the brethren has been to share a meal upon coming together on the Sabbath. Someone who is single or a widower hardly ever has the opportunity to serve others a meal. Yet, they can use the liberty to invite other brethren for a meal on the Sabbath or high Holy Day at an appropriate restaurant”
“Dining out on the Sabbath (in moderation) has always been a special treat for those honored to serve others, as well as for the guests. The motive should always be to lift up, encourage and show other brethren that they are appreciated. For many brethren, who are scattered in various locations, eating at a restaurant offers the only possible opportunity for fellowship after services.”
“No reasonable mind believes that the God who said that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” would forego wonderful, vital fellowship among His children on the Sabbath so that worldly restaurant employees will still render the exact same service anyway—but now at someone else’s table.”
What Mr. Pack is employing in this argument is human reasoning at its very worst. He concludes that if an act of charity can be integrated into an act of disobedience it nullifies the disobedience. Sadly, this line of thinking does not reflect God's word, nor does it express His wisdom. Instead, it is a desperate attempt to make something God hates look like something He loves.
The Bible declares that God takes no pleasure in sin (Psa. 5:4) and this holds true for the sins of others. Mr. Pack, on the other hand, not only embraces the sin, but asserts that partaking of its fruit advances the cause of true godliness.
Jesus warned against this type of reasoning and explained what God thought of Mr. Pack's argument. Suffice it to say, it is not pleasant. When describing a time of judgment, the Messiah explained that hiding behind good works to justify sin carries no moral weight with the Almighty.
Matthew 7: 21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
This is exactly what Dave Pack is promoting. He wants you to believe that seeking out Sabbath-breakers and paying for their labor pleases God because it is an opportunity to do good—this despite the fact that God prohibited His people from acquiring their Sabbath meals or having them prepared on the seventh day.
It's Been Tried Before
Dave Pack is not the first person to justify sin by cloaking it in an act of righteousness. King Saul of Israel did the same thing when rationalizing his failure to follow God's instruction concerning how to prosecute a war with the Amalekites. Consider the similarities between what Saul did three thousand years ago and what Dave Pack advocates today.
A Crushing Pronouncement
As Samuel prepared to leave Saul he issued a final observation concerning what the King had done and the consequences he would have to suffer for his disobedience. Notice what Samuel says.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king. (1Sam. 15:23)
In these thirty-two words, judgment was pronounced on the first king of Israel. All that Saul had been given was going to be stripped from him because of his own pride and arrogance. Because Saul thought he had a better way of doing things than the God who made him, his throne was going to be given over to someone who understood that Israel belonged to God, not to a king.
We at Blow the Trumpet believe Mr. Pack should prayerfully consider that although the Sabbath was made for man (Mk. 2:27), it is God's Sabbath, not Dave Pack's. Furthermore, Jesus is its Lord (vs 28), not Dave Pack. This fact alone should inspire this COG leader to take serious pause before attempting to improve on God's instructions regarding holy time. King Saul thought he could do God one better as well and we all know how that turned out.
A Final Thought
As God's people consider the issue that is set before them, it is important to understand that the Almighty's position concerning profane labor on the Sabbath has never changed (Mal. 3:6, Heb. 13:8). He was opposed to it at the beginning and He remains opposed to it to this very day. Nothing more graphically illustrates the strength of God's view on this issue than what was expressed in His own law, which was introduced to ancient Israel after they were delivered out of bondage in Egypt.
When the Holy One of Israel first presented His great moral code to these emancipated slaves, it was His intent that no one would labor on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11) with the exception of those He specifically designated (Levites in His service). To do so was a capital crime (Ex.31:14). Furthermore, He made no provisions for His people soliciting the labor of unbelievers on His Sabbath. This included those within the camp as well as outside the camp. Those inside the camp were bound by the same Sabbath law as the Israelites. And those outside the camp were declared off limits to God's people on the Sabbath. Simply because these "outsiders" now saturate our society does not mean God now permits His people to seek them out and purchase their goods on holy time. This is NOT how He thinks. Mr. Pack may believe that things are different now, but when it comes to God's Sabbath law, your Bible says otherwise. There is not a hint in God's word that suggests that what was once Sabbath breaking is now Sabbath keeping.
Finally, when God's Millennial Kingdom is established on earth, under the leadership of Jesus Christ and His saints, no one will be engaging in labor on His Sabbath. That includes the labor involved in running a restaurant. Why? Because God's great moral law forbids it—and in the Kingdom all will obey His law (Isa. 66:23). Today God's people have the distinct privilege of serving under that law. Mr. Pack may teach that we may take our lead from the world and its culture, however, as for us we will fear the Lord (Deut. 6:24-25).
"Hiding Behind the Feast"
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