Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., Andrews University


A PERSONAL NOTE: The essay below is Dale Ratzlaff first response to my two parts analysis of his arguments about the Mosaic origin of the Sabbath. I promised Ratzlaff that I would post his responses in all the discussion groups that carry our discussion. This explains why I am posting his comments on his behalf. My response to Ratzlaff arguments will be posted over this weekend.

"Dale Ratzlaff" wrote:

Dr. Bacchiocchi:

I believe we are going about this discussion in the wrong way. We cannot (should not) jump from Gen. to Mark to Heb. in one leap seeking to prove or disprove anything so fast. We are not limited in time as we were on the radio debate. If this is going to be a serious RE-study of the Sabbath let us not reach conclusions so fast! Rather, let us look at each new development of Sabbath understanding as it unfolds in Scripture. Let us agree on the data before we seek to reach a conclusion. Let us come to this study, laying aside our preconceived opinions, and seek only to find what Gods Word says. Let us look at ALL the data and THEN reach conclusions. Let us start with Genesis, agree on what Genesis says about the Sabbath. Then let us go to Sinai, find what the Old Covenant says about the Sabbath. Then, and then only, are we prepared to go to the New Covenant. In each unfolding let us seek to discover all that a given portion says and let us not try to immediately impose upon a section that which we think it means based upon our understanding of other references. This we can and should do at the CONCLUSION of our study and then only after we have agreed on the data step by step.

I sincerely believe that if we come to the Bible with the spirit of a learner, not me trying to disprove your conclusions, or you mine, we stand a better chance of allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us.

In the Sabbath study I was involved with, we listed our tentative conclusions after each portion of the Bible we studied. Our goal was to simply state in summary fashion nothing more or nothing less than what was taught in THAT section of Scripture. We found these summary conclusions to be very helpful when later we drew our final conclusions.

Following are the fifteen tentative conclusions we came to from our study of Genesis. Tell me which of the conclusions you accept and which ones you reject. Lets agree here on the data we jointly accept. If we do this now and at each new, unfolding of Sabbath section, then we may well reach the same conclusionGods truth!

1. Creation was completed in six days.

2. God rested on the seventh day.

3. God blessed the seventh day.

4. God sanctified the seventh day.

5. The reason God sanctified the seventh day was because He rested on it.

6. The seventh-day account does NOT have the formula "and there was evening and there was morning, a seventh day" as do the six days of creation.

7. The creation record is carefully constructed.

8. There is no mention of the word "Sabbath" in the book of Genesis.

9. There is no command for mankind to rest in the Genesis account.

10. Nothing is expressly mentioned regarding man in the seventh-day-creation rest.

11. The seventh-day "rest" of God was most likely characterized by His delight in His new creation and by open fellowship with Adam and Eve in the sin-free, perfect environment of Eden.

12. The conditions which characterized the "rest" of God would probably have continued had it not been for mans sin.

13. The seventh day of Gen. 2:2, 3 may have been a regular day as were the first six days of creation, or it may have been an indefinite period of time.

14. The fact that the Genesis account is so carefully constructed indicates that the omission of "and there was evening and there was morning, a seventh day" was intentional.

15. When man sinned, he was excluded from Gods presence and God began His "work" of redemption to restore man back to Himself.

As I am bared from the SDANET, It is important you post my COMPLETE response without editing.

In His joy,

Dale Ratzlaff


Christian regards

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,
Professor of Theology and Church History, Andrews University