Argument XVII


      David C. Pack's hostility toward A Sabbath Test and its authors may have reached new heights in this particular phase of his argument. In it, he implies that the men who wrote the book are perilously close to the lake of fire and all that it brings with it. This is because the authors present a very interesting connection between buying and selling on the Sabbath and the Mark of the Beast.


     At this point it is important to understand that Messrs. Braidic and Fischer are NOT saying that going to restaurants on the Sabbath is the Mark of the Beast, but rather a symptom of it—because to engage in this practice seriously compromises God's Sabbath law. This observation infuriates Mr. Pack because it directly touches on a behavior that is such an important part of his Sabbath observance. After all, Dave Pack engages in buying and selling every time he patronizes restaurants on holy time. Furthermore, he advocates this practice as a legitimate form of honoring the fourth commandment.


     As with virtually all his points, this COG leader doesn't refute the authors' words with proof, he simply screams out his condemnation of them. Apparently he confuses "Biblical facts" with "railing accusations." On the other hand, the authors of A Sabbath Test present a very compelling and unemotional Biblical case concerning this particular point. Notice the difference between these two approaches.


David C. Pack:


Let’s pull no punches. This problem illustrates why Christ told the Pharisees that they were in danger of the unpardonable sin—of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Regarding misguided teachers, to be Laodicean involves lethargy, but it also indicates that one has God’s Spirit—and thus at least a degree of sound mindedness (II Tim. 1:7). Yet, Christ also said that by their fruits you know them! The thinking that assigns the Mark of the Beast to dining out on the Sabbath is so wrong—so alien—so unrelated to God’s true test at the end of the age—so confusing to His great purpose—so far from biblical reality!—that it is in the same category as the mindset of the apostates who left God’s way completely. To call such teachers “Laodicean” is to pay them an unmerited compliment.”


Since there are no explicit biblical explanations that exist for what they conclude is the single most important issue facing the Church of God today, the authors have to fill in the blanks with their own abundant, then redundant, and then even tediously repetitious explanations. Just as much explanation is required to lay the groundwork for their interpretation of the Mark of the Beast, they have to be very careful and allow their readers to “fill in the blanks” and “connect the dots” themselves. An explicit explanation by the authors, here, would be all too transparent and would risk exposure.


Our Response:


       It is clear from the tone of this accusation that one particular chapter of A Sabbath Test cuts Mr. Pack deeply. Therefore, he resorts to name calling and insults when expressing his rage. Noticeably absent is one relevant scripture. Instead, he simply goes on a tirade in an attempt to deflect a very credible argument. Here is what Mr. Pack was so offended by. As you read it ask yourself whose position honestly reflects Biblical factsthe authors of A Sabbath Test (seen below) or Dave Pack's (seen above)?


A Sabbath Test


The book of Revelation describes an event in which a powerful political leader—known as the “beast,” and an apostate religious figure—known as the “false prophet,” cause the vast majority of people on earth to receive a special mark (Rev.13: 16). Those who refuse will suffer great persecution and even death (verse 15). However, those who receive this mark will suffer the wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. 14:9-10).


God’s Church has rightly understood this mark to be a rejection of the true Sabbath and holy days and the embracing of false religious customs and festivals. This understanding is drawn in part because of the remarkable contrast that can be drawn between God’s Sabbath and this “mark.” The mark of the beast even has the appearance of being a counterfeit Sabbath.


To illustrate this point, consider the following: one is called a “mark” (Rev. 13:16), the other is called a “sign” (Ex. 31:13,17). The mark of the beast is placed “in the right hand and the forehead” (Rev. 13:16). The Sabbath, which is a part of God’s law, is placed “in the right hand and as frontlets between the eyes” (Dt. 6:6-8). The mark of the beast is very popular: “all received it” (Rev. 13:16). The Sabbath is very unpopular, almost all reject it. Those who refuse the mark will be persecuted by the Beast (Rev. 13:15-17). Those who receive the Mark of the Beast will be punished by God (Ezk. 20:13, Rev. 14:9).


But there is more.


The Mark of the Beast
The Sabbath


Sanctified by God
(Ge. 2)

Sanctified by the church at Rome
Called "a sign"
(Ex. 31:13
Called "a mark"
(Rev. 13:16)
Kept on the seventh day
(Ex. 20:10)
Kept on the first day
Worn in the forehead, hand, and heart
(Dt. 6:6-8)
Worn in the forehead and hand
(Rev. 13:16)
Don't buy and sell
(Neh. 10:31; 13:15-21)
Permitted to buy and sell
(Rev. 13:17)
Persecuted by the beast
(Rev. 13:17; Dan. 7:21-22)
Punished by God
(Rev. 14:9-10)

Perhaps the most unique quality of the mark of the beast is its connection to buying and selling. Notice what the apostle John writes when describing it.


And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark..." (Rev. 13:17). 


With these words you almost get the impression that while God is commanding His people to refrain from buying and selling on the Sabbath (Neh. 10:31), the beast, under the direct authority of Satan the devil (Rev. 13:2), is doing the very opposite. He is declaring that unless you reject the Sabbath, he will make it impossible for you to ever buy and sell. With this in mind, is it possible that the rejection of God’s Sabbath is defined more by engaging in business on this day than any other activity? After all, commerce drives so much of man’s physical existence. A leading industrialist once put it this way, “nothing happens in this world until something gets sold.” The point here is that the exchange of money represents a huge part of man’s profane existence. This practice touches virtually everyone on earth."


This is a fact that is undoubtedly not lost on Satan the devil. He knows all too well what makes the world go ’round. This being the case, it is almost certain that this great deceiver (Rev. 12:9) will use commerce to persuade God’s people to reject their Creator. In essence, he will attempt to seduce them into profaning the Sabbath by buying and selling on that day. If they refuse, they will never be able to buy and sell. What an incredible test of faith that would be! It is true that Satan will use the beast to deceive all the people on earth to accept his mark, but the real target will be God’s people. (A Sabbath Test)


    At this point, it is interesting to note that the great Mother Church used the power of buying and selling in the past to pressure opponents to yield to it and its authority. In 1163, Pope Alexander issued an edict at the Council of Tours regarding the treatment of those considered to be heretics.  Notice the sobering words of this edict.


Whereas a damnable heresy has for some time lifted its head in the parts about Toulouse, and already spread infection through Gascony and other provinces, concealing itself like a serpent in its folds; as soon as its followers shall have been discovered, let no man afford them refuge on his estates; neither let there be any communication with them in buying and selling; so that, being deprived of the solace of human conversation they may be compelled to return from error to wisdom.  (History of the Christian Church, 1879, Mosheim)


A Warning of Captivity


     Although Mr. Pack dismisses the connection between God’s prohibition against purchasing goods and services on His Sabbath and captivity, it is clear that Nehemiah saw it much differently.


Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day?

Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath. (Neh. 13: 17-18)


     The word “evil” employed by Nehemiah comes from the Hebrew “ra” and means CALAMITY. The point he was making was that their current circumstances as subjects of the Persian Empire was the direct result of making the Sabbath a day filled with profane labor and business.


     When this great servant of the Almighty rebuked the leaders of God people, he was making a direct reference to a warning issued by Jeremiah a century before. Here is how that rebuke was expressed by God’s prophet prior to their Babylonian captivity. As you read these words consider their application today.


God’s Warning to Judah


Tell the kings and all the people of Judah and everyone who lives in Jerusalem and enters these gates, to listen to what I say.


Tell them that if they love their lives, they must not carry any load on the Sabbath; they must not carry anything in through the gates of Jerusalem


or carry anything out of their houses on the Sabbath. They must not work on the Sabbath; they must observe it as a sacred day, as I commanded their ancestors.


"Tell these people that they must obey all my commands. They must not carry any load in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath. They must observe the Sabbath as a sacred day and must not do any work at all.


But they must obey me and observe the Sabbath as a sacred day. They must not carry any load through the gates of Jerusalem on that day, for if they do, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. Fire will burn down the palaces of Jerusalem, and no one will be able to put it out."  (Jer. 17:20-22, 24, 27 Good News Translation)


     Tragically, the leaders of Judah refused to heed God’s word and they would pay dearly for their defiance. Both the scriptures as well as secular history reveal that a powerful Chaldean army would attack Jerusalem and leave it in ruins. Here is how Jeremiah described its utter destruction and the price it had to pay for not heeding God’s warning.


Now on the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who was in the service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire. So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. (Jer. 52:12-14)


A Tragic Consequence


       The book of Lamentations bewails what happened to this once great city. Here is how Jeremiah expressed his sorrow at its destruction.


How lonely sits the city

That was full of people!

She has become like a widow

Who was once great among the nations!

She who was a princess among the provinces

Has become a forced laborer! (Lam. 1:1 New American Standard Version)


“A forced laborer”


     God’s people were thrust into captivity because, like Dave Pack and a host of other leaders, they thought they could trifle with the Sabbath. They did so because they would rather embrace their traditions than listen to the truth. They thought they could decide for themselves how the Sabbath could be observed. They thought they could make up their own rules concerning this holy convocation. But in the end all they got was bondage.


This is what Jeremiah was warning Judah about during the Days of King Zedekiah.


It is what Nehemiah was warning the nobles of Judah about during the days of Artaxerxes. 


And it is what “A Sabbath Test” warns God’s leaders about today.


     The point to this is really quite simple. When Nehemiah contended with the nobles of Judah he made a direct link between them allowing merchants access to their lives and the CAPTIVITY Jeremiah warned of prior to their fall. Dave Pack, on the other hand encourages that access, and by doing so invites the CAPTIVITY and the fall.




 Argument XVIII

"An Ox in A Ditch"


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